CANCELED F702 Winter 2020 The 2020 Presidential Election: Primary and General Election Issues
Thursdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 30–Feb. 6
Instructor: Helen Desfosses
Since our nation’s founding, a few presidential elections have been deemed historic. The election of 2020 will be particularly so. This election will reflect the longest campaign season ever, with the greatest number and diversity of candidates ever, the line between entertainment and politics more blurred than ever, and the division and polarization between parties sharper than ever. Out of this maelstrom we can expect several developments: 1) issue confusion, with the issues rising to the top of campaign debates bearing only a tenuous relationship to the most important issues facing our country; 2) an unparalleled level of candidate diversity in both demographic and ideological terms; 3) an unprecedented high importance of money in an election, at a time when popular trust in political candidates—and in the American political system in general—is at an all-time low; and 4) America's inexorable march toward the 2020 election date of November 3. This course will incorporate lectures, class discussions, and short case studies in exploring the readiness of our country for a positive and constructive outcome on November 3 and beyond.
Dr. Helen R. Desfosses is a retired professor of public administration and policy, a former elected official, and a consultant around the world on effective and transparent elections. She has taught several OLLI courses.