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POL 53 — Election 2016

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): 5 Tues, 1 Thur
Course Format: On campus
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Oct 6—Nov 15
Time: 7:00—8:30 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 17
Unit(s): 1 Units
Tuition: $260
Limit: 489
Status: Closed
Please Note: Schedule: Thursday, Oct. 6; Tuesdays, Oct. 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1 and 15, 7:00-8:30 pm. Due to scheduling contraints, this course will be held at 2 different auditoriums on campus. Parking info. and directions will be provided a week before class starts.
On campus
5 Tues, 1 Thur
7:00—8:30 pm
Oct 6—Nov 15
6 weeks
Drop By
Oct 17
1 Units
Please Note: Schedule: Thursday, Oct. 6; Tuesdays, Oct. 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1 and 15, 7:00-8:30 pm. Due to scheduling contraints, this course will be held at 2 different auditoriums on campus. Parking info. and directions will be provided a week before class starts.
The 2016 presidential election season has been anything but ordinary. So much in the Democratic and Republican primaries consistently defied conventional wisdom and upended the predictions of experts. It seems that the usual rules don’t apply this year. Are we seeing a fundamental shift in American politics, or at least in the Republican Party? How do these new electoral dynamics relate to a host of profound and ongoing changes in the country—deep-seated political polarization, a fragmented and broken media landscape, changes in the mode of campaigning, the shrinking power of our political parties? How will history evaluate an economic recovery that has left behind a stagnating and politically seething middle class, diminished social mobility, and exacerbated inequality? What do demographic changes portend for the future, and how long-lived will the resurgence of populism prove to be? This course will attempt, with the help of experts, to make sense of an election that defies all historical precedent and to take stock of the health of American democracy. Each week we will examine major topics at stake in the election and for the country: strategies and tactics in modern political campaigning, existential security threats to the United States, inequality and opportunity, tomorrow’s workplace, and the future of democracy.

This course is designed for the entire Stanford community, and Continuing Studies students will be joined in the classroom by Stanford graduates and undergraduates.

This course may not be taken for a Letter Grade.

Full Schedule & Topics

Thursday, October 6
The 2016 Campaign

What happened to the GOP, and will it ever be the same? Why has populism returned on both sides of the political aisle? How has political campaigning and strategy changed in the 2016 election? This session includes analysis of and predictions for the November election.

Guest Speakers:
(1) David Plouffe (Former Campaign Manager for President Barack Obama; Strategic Advisor, Uber)
(2) Mike McCurry (Former Press Secretary, Clinton Administration; Co-Chairman, Commission on Presidential Debates)

Tuesday, October 11
Existential Security Threats to the United States

ISIS is a threat to the United States, but according to President Obama not an existential threat. But what of nuclear warfare, bioterrorism, or climate change? We focus here with leading experts on the most worrisome threats to the United States and the world—those that threaten our very existence.

*Due to tight scheduling restrictions, we were unable to avoid holding a class session on October 11th, which is Yom Kippur. For those who will miss class due to religious observance, please be in touch with our office at continuingstudies@stanford.edu to discuss accommodations we can make.

Tentative Guest Speakers:
(1) William Perry (Former Secretary of Defense; Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute)
(2) Admiral Gary Roughead (29th Chief of Naval Operations; Former Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution)
(3) Amy Zegart (Davies Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Co-Director, Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation)

Tuesday, October 18
Inequality and Opportunity

Why has inequality continued to increase in the face of an economic recovery? Why is social mobility higher in Canada than in the United States? What explains a persistent and growing educational achievement gap between high and low income families? How does the United States look in comparison to other countries? Two of the world’s most distinguished economists help us examine these questions.

Tentative Guest Speakers:
(1) Raj Chetty (Professor of Economics, Stanford)
(2) Emmanuel Saez (Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley)

Tuesday, October 25
Tomorrow’s Workplace

Our economy faces striking challenges: declining wages for blue collar labor, increasingly impotent labor unions, globalization and new forms of trade protectionism, the rise of a “gig economy” in which people are not formal employees of places like Uber, and new technologies—especially artificial intelligence—that threaten to displace millions from the workplace. What are the implications for the future of work? And what economic and labor policies are needed to address this future?

Tentative Guest Speakers:
(1) Paul Saffo (Futurist)
(2) Natalie Foster (Co-Founder, Peers; Former Digital Director of Obama for America)
(3) Manuel Pastor (Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity, USC)

Tuesday, November 1
The Future of Democracy

What might the two party system and presidential elections look like after November? Is this a blip? Or are we seeing a fundamental change in our political structures and process? Whither American democracy?

Tentative Guest Speakers:
(1) Larry Kramer (President, Hewlett Foundation)
(2) Peter Wehner (Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Columnist, The New York Times)

Tuesday, November 8
Election Night! No Class.

Tuesday, November 15
Election Recap

Tentative Guest Speakers:
(1) Mark McKinnon (Political Advisor to President George W. Bush and John McCain)
(2) Ruth Marcus (Reporter, Washington Post)
(3) David Brady (Bowen H. & Janice Arthur McCoy Professor in Leadership Values, Stanford; Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and at SIEPR; Professor of Political Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Election 2016 Course Instructors:

Rob Reich, Professor of Political Science, Stanford; Faculty Director, Center for Ethics in Society; Faculty Co-Director, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

Rob Reich’s research focuses on contemporary political theory, and his most recent work examines the relationship among philanthropy, democracy, and justice. He is the author or editor of six books, including the new Philanthropy in Democratic Societies and Education, Justice, and Democracy. He has received several teaching awards, including the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. Reich received a PhD from Stanford.

David Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford

David Kennedy, one of the nation’s most distinguished American historians, is the author or editor of more than ten books on American history, including Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. He has been a frequent contributor to The Atlantic and The New York Times. He received a PhD from Yale.

James Steyer, CEO and Founder, Common Sense Media; Consulting Professor, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford

Jim Steyer is the CEO of the kids’ advocacy organization, Common Sense. For thirty years, he has taught courses on civil rights and children’s issues, and he has received the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is the author of The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on Our Children.

Textbooks for this course:

No required textbooks