OLLI at San Francisco State University
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Emerging Dynamics of the Presidential Campaign
Next year's presidential contest has all the hallmarks of a "generational election," i.e. one that sets the tone for American politics for decades to come. The choices could hardly be more stark, nor could the stakes be higher. On the one hand, within the Democratic primaries, voters will choose between candidates who represent moderate policies that continue the policy legacy of recent Democratic presidents like Barak Obama and Bill Clinton and more progressive alternatives who view the incremental reforms of the past as outmoded in light of the rapid economic, social and culture changes of the first decades of the 21st century. What considerations tell in favor of either the moderates or the progressives? Which have the best chance of prevailing in the general election? What difference will the choice between a moderate or a progressive make to the issues frames likely to vie for saliency in 2020? To answer these questions we will examine some of the candidates' central policy positions as well as their varying personal styles. On the other hand, whoever prevails in the Democratic primary will most likely face Donald Trump in the general election, a candidate like no other in recent American political history. What frame will Trump try to impose on the general election? What are his prospects for success now that he is no longer a renegade outsider candidate but the President of the United States? Issues to be considered in this course include: the economy; the environment, race; refugees and immigration; rage; and hope.
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