Every four years, the ongoing presidential election is often described as the most important of our lifetime and perhaps in the nation's history. Virtually all other international and domestic events are interpreted in terms of their impact on the eventual outcome of the race. When it is over, historians look back, analyze what happened, and debate about why it happened and whether or not the results were inevitable. The year 2020 - before it becomes history - offers us all a front-row seat to observe and, if we choose, participate in what will certainly be the on-going dominant, dramatic and consequential story of the year as it is covered in the news media we consume and also reflected in many of our conversations with family and friends. This course will provide an opportunity to reflect upon and discuss the campaign as it is happening with the first four primaries and caucuses taking place in February and more than 25 more in March. Most of the readings for the course will come from Playing With Fire: The 1968 Election and The Transformation of American Politics, the book Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC wrote in 2017 looking back at the presidential election that had occurred when he was 17 years old.
John Weingart (Eagleton Institute of Politics)
01:090:101 section 36