November 2, 2010


Midterm elections conjure up contrasting views

Emory’s top experts in political science, law, business, public health and journalism gathered to discuss “President Obama and the Midterm Elections” in an open forum Oct. 28.

The panel produced contrasting views, providing many different perspectives on what is expected to come out of the elections.

Alan Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science, said to expect more polarization within each party -- the Democrats will become more liberal and Republicans will become more conservative due to Tea Party influences.

Tom Smith, finance professor at Goizueta Business School, said that the economy plays an important role in voting. However, it should be interesting to see how people vote, since most people don’t know that the recession is over and has been since June 2009, he added.

Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism, talked of the days under the Fairness Doctrine, a policy under the Federal Communications Commission introduced in 1949, where news had to be covered in a fair way and include all contrasting points of view.

“Now the airwaves have a different tone, and has changed the way we absorb politics. Couple that with the decline in newspapers and news organizations giving slated views of politics, [and it means] we are the most informed and most misinformed than ever before,” said Klibanoff.

A Q&A touched on controversial topics such as “Would you have advised Obama to appear on The Daily Show like he did?” and “Is the Tea Party an emerging party in the U.S.?”

There was one point all of the panelists could agree on: The midterm elections should be an interesting time to observe in American history. 

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