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Distinguished panel discusses effects of election

November 16, 2012

Joe Florio/The Courier - Members of the panel for the post-election forum.

On Tuesday, Wells Theater was the site of a political enthusiast’s dream when it hosted a high-caliber discussion on the effects of the election. The panel was part of the Midwest Matters Initiative by Monmouth College and sponsored by Security Savings Bank.On the panel were David Wilhelm, former chair of the Democratic National Committee; Rick Pearson, a Chicago Tribune political reporter; Mike Glover, a recently retired political reporter for the Associated Press out of Des Moines, IA, and Thom Serafin, political communications analyst and founder and CEO of Serafin & Associates. The discussion was moderated by Professor Robin Johnson of Monmouth College’s political science department.

Professor Johnson started the evening by reviewing the election results through a PowerPoint presentation. This lead into his first question which was, with all the problems in our country, why was there no change in the political landscape? David Wilhelm directed his view based on the power of incumbency and that Romney had to fight through a hard primary. Other views discussed the effects of redistricting and President Obama’s ability control the dialogue of the campaign.

The participants then were asked if things like the Debates and the Hurricane mattered. Thom Serafin replied in the positive saying, “The hurricane mattered because it stopped Romney’s momentum.”  Wilhelm countered with a statistic that said only ten percent of those who voted made up their mind in the last ten days and the majority went for Romney. Rick Pearson and Mike Glover were also both unconvinced of the debate or hurricane’s importance.

The panel focused in on the issue of the youth vote; however, they didn’t completely agree.When asked about the transferability of the youth vote to future Democratic candidates, they were divided. Glover said yes because of Obama’s political machine. Serafin said no because it is based on the candidate and youth vote decreased in 2012. Wilhelm corrected Serafin and said that the youth vote actually increased from 2008 and 2012 and was in fact comparable to the sixty and older crowd.

The final questions revolved around the ultimate question of what happens next. The answers were varied.  Glover predicted the demise of the Republican Party, quoting a friend, “We may not see another Republican President in our lifetimes.” Wilhelm countered by stating that Democrats need to be “very, very careful” in the midterms because even if the Karl Rove Super Pac strategy didn’t work in the presidential, it can in the midterms, which would mean a Republican takeover of the Senate. Various potential candidates for both parties in the 2016 presidential election were suggested, including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The possibility of the Republican party nominating a Latino candidate also was discussed, a point of interest since the Latino vote went enormously to Obama.

Luckily, both the audience and participants were encouraged by the discussion.  Professor Johnson in his Politics and Elections class on Thursday said, “Last night after the event, they (the panel) commented on the quality of the questions from the audience.” This panel discussion concluded the Midwest Matters presentations at Monmouth College.

Elisha French
Contributing Writer

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