Your Election Connection

Knowing how our political system works is an essential element of being a citizen — and a key part of L&S. From faculty who study campaigns, elections and the impact of politics to alumni and students actively engaged in the most pressing aspects of this year's presidential race, an interest in politics pulses through the college. 

In Depth

Elections Research Center analyzes the political process

The Elections Research Center, founded by Professor of Political Science Barry Burden and his colleagues in 2015, fosters cutting-edge academic analysis of national and state elections. 

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Come Together

L&S is committed to open inquiry in a safe space for all. Upcoming events offer a chance to listen, share and learn:

What We Know, What We Missed, What’s Next: Making Sense of the 2016 Election

L&S faculty from Political Science, History, Sociology and Journalism and Mass Communication join in a conversation about the 2016 election and what this may mean for the future of American politics. Steve Paulson from Wisconsin Public Radio moderates this discussion including panelists Katherine Cramer, Sergio Gonzalez, Erik Olin Wright and Lucas Graves. 

Tuesday, November 29, 5:30 p.m., Discovery Building. Find details here.

Journalism Ethics & Election 2016

The Center for Journalism Ethics hosts a panel discussion exploring the role of political journalism in federal elections, particularly the presidential race, covering questions of truth, trust and verification. Molly Ball of The Atlantic, Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Michael Wagner of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication are panelists in the discussion hosted by Center for Journalism Ethics director Katy Culver.

Thursday, December 8, 6:30 p.m., Overture Center. Find details here.

What are you watching most closely in this election?

"I've been watching what I always watch — what are the implications of the debate for education? The two candidates' K-12 policies are very traditional for their parties. This year, unusually, higher education features prominently in their policies. Clinton proposes making college debt-free by making public college free for families earning less than $125,000, and also refinancing all student debt. It's a little more difficult to tell what Trump is thinking: his public statements are vague, and inconsistent, but no doubt his team is working on a thoughtful plan."

Harry Brighouse, professor of philosophy who works on issues in political philosophy, philosophy of education and educational policy

What are you watching most closely in this election?

“As both a disabled person and a scholar of disability studies in the humanities, I am heartened by the unprecedented visibility of disability in this presidential election cycle. One in five Americans is disabled, making us the largest minority in the country. Yet this is the first presidential election in which candidates have presented extensive policy statements about improving the lives of disabled Americans. At the same time, bullying and mockery of disability has also had an unprecedented visibility in this election, showing that there are still many challenges facing us as we continue to fight for disability justice in this country and worldwide.”

Ellen Samuels, associate professor in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, Department of English and Disability Studies Initiative

What are you watching most closely in this election?

“My current projects examine how social media affects what people know about the candidates and the election, and how they feel about people who share (or don’t share) their political views. This gives me the fun task of keeping tabs on which pieces of information are getting attention in social media and also the general tenor of conversations there. I’m looking for this year’s ‘binders full of women,’ ‘horses and bayonets’ and ‘Big Bird’ moments, as well as how people talk about those who are supporting the other candidate.”

Michael Xenos, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Arts and affiliate faculty of the Department of Life Sciences Communication and the School of Journalism & Mass Communication

What are you watching most closely in this election?

“I have been watching various nonverbal cues displayed by the candidates, such as facial expressions of emotion.  I have also watched closely people’s reactions to a woman, Secretary Clinton, in a position of power, running as a candidate for president. Some people are thrilled with her competence and power and others react negatively. These negative reactions probably stem from the fact that her position of power is a stereotype violation. Women are not supposed to be as competent and powerful as she is.”

Janet Hyde, Helen Thompson Wooley Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies and director of the Center for Research on Gender and Women

Election Expertise in Real Time

How do you cut through the campaign noise and find voices worth listening to? Start by following these political experts and resources on Twitter: 

Rikhil R. BhavnaniBarry BurdenKatherine CramerLewis A. FriedlandYoung Mie KimEleanor Neff PowellNils Ringe • Michael W. Wagner  

Department of Political Science • Elections Research Center