Stanford Talks Election: What We’re Doing

The 2016 Presidential Election season has been anything but ordinary. So much in the Democratic and Republican primaries consistently defied conventional wisdom and upended the predictions of experts. It seems that the usual rules don’t apply this year. Are we seeing a fundamental shift in American politics, or at least in the Republican Party? How do these new electoral dynamics relate to a host of profound and ongoing changes in the country — deep seated political polarization, a fragmented and broken media landscape, changes in the mode of campaigning, the shrinking power of our political parties? How will history evaluate an economy recovery that has left behind a stagnating and politically seething middle class, diminished social mobility, and exacerbated inequality? What do demographic changes portend for the future, and how long-lived will the resurgence of populism prove to be? This course will attempt, with the help of experts, to make sense of an election that defies all historical precedent and to take stock of the health of American democracy.

We meet once per week, on Tuesday evenings, with examinations of major topics at stake in the election and for the country: Strategies and Tactics in Modern Political Campaigning, Existential Security Threats to the United States, Inequality and Opportunity, Tomorrow’s Workplace, and the Future of Democracy. Distinguished guests will participate in sessions moderated by the instructors. The course is designed for multiple audiences: for undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford and for community members through the Continuing Studies Program. Cross-generational dialogue via online discussion boards.

Check out our home page and follow us on Twitter: @Election2016st1 and use #StanfordTalksElection to join the conversation!

We’ll be posting videos from the lectures here one week after broadcast, and you’ll also be able to find them on iTunes U, YouTube, and on our website above.

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