America is known as the land of opportunity, but the land of the free doesn’t usually come free to many….
For the 28th consecutive season, political scientist David Kozak will give his lecture on the American political climate. He’s decided…
I am often asked, is the West red or blue? Republican or Democrat? The answer is neither. Even as the rest of the nation aligns by region into red, Republican South and blue, Democratic North, western states continue their maverick ways, switching from one color to the other.
Akhil Reed Amar thinks that Americans need to be cognizant of two constitutions. At his 4 p.m. lecture today in the Hall of Philosophy, he’ll explain just what he means by that.
The world’s preeminent scholar on the American Revolution is visiting Chautauqua Institution to offer context for the current political climate in Egypt.
Jim Lehrer will moderate a conversation between nationally syndicated columnists Michael Gerson and Mark Shields at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater, closing Week Two’s morning lecture series, “The Lehrer Report: What Informed Voters Need to Know.”
Gerson, whose columns appear twice weekly in The Washington Post, writes a right-leaning column on issues that include politics, global health, development, religion and foreign policy.He was a top aide to President George W. Bush, a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report and a speechwriter for Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential campaign.
Shields, who has worked in Washington during the administrations of nine U.S. presidents, started writing his left-leaning column, now distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate, in 1979. In 1968, he worked for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. He also held leadership positions in three other presidential campaigns and wrote a book about the 1984 presidential campaign, On the Campaign Trail.
The topic for our discussion is “What Informed Voters Need to Know.” The topic itself is informative. It presumes that there are some voters who are — and will remain — uninformed. It presumes that some knowledge — some set of facts — is essential to being — or becoming — an informed voter. It thus, by implication, privileges some form of “knowing.” And finally, it presumes that voters, having acquired the knowledge necessary to be classified as “informed,” will vote based on how that knowledge interacts with their principles and philosophies, and not on something else — say, who has the broader smile or the grayer hair. Or whose supporters have been able to out-buy and out-shout the opposition.
I think the first presumption, that some voters are and will remain uninformed, is a fair one. Unfortunately. Obviously, one of our goals at this institution is to reduce that number as far as possible. But let’s consider for a moment why voters — so many voters — remain uninformed. After all, this is the Information Age. Though print versions of newspapers may be dwindling, newspapers themselves are doing OK on the Internet. TV options have mushroomed — perhaps that’s not the best word — radio has gone in the last 50 years from almost all music with some news to at least an even split between entertainment and talk. And even the entertainment includes sports journalism. Blogs, websites, Google, Twitter, Facebook — we have more information than we know what to do with. If information were food, everyone would have a three-course gourmet feast at every meal.
In continuing this week’s theme, “The Lehrer Report: What Informed Voters Need to Know,” GOP pollster and strategist Whit Ayres and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile will join Jim Lehrer at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.
“Long-term forces are at work in this presidential election,” Ayres said about the upcoming showdown between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
The major variables include the economy, the nation’s satisfaction with the country’s direction, world affairs and the job market.