Panelists at the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics discussed the predicted results of Tuesday’s midterm elections and urged both political parties to use the watershed change of power as an opportunity for compromise.
Dan Schnur, the chairman of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission and the director of the Unruh Institute, led the panel discussion with Roberto Suro, faculty fellow at the USC Center on Communication Leadership & Policy.
They were joined by Hillary Levi. a senior majoring in cinema-television production, and Tessa Madden, a senior majoring in political science.
They deliberated on the anticipated Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, wins by the Democratic party in California and the nature of this year’s electoral turnout.
“It appears that Republicans have regained control of the House,” Schnur said. “For those of you on the other side of the aisle, it appears Democrats will maintain control of the Senate.”
Suro speculated as to the causes of the nation’s recent electoral volatility.
“It could also be a result of the way the media age is developing. It allows for very rapid mobilization around ideas like we’ve never seen before,” Suro said.
Utilization of social and digital media by the Obama administration was a key factor in his win, but the panelists were unsure how it factored in this election.
“Democrats spent more in this election than Republicans,” Suro said. “And if you look at the demographics of Tea Party voters, they aren’t necessarily the kind of voters you’d reach with digital media.”
Levi discussed the idea of a conflict between traditional Republicans and new members.
“What we’re seeing is the changing face of Republican politics, where you have traditionalists who bring a moderate, solutions-oriented attitude to the Hill and those younger, more excited members, like those in the Tea Party, who are dead-set on seeing their message and idea of change come into play,” Levi said.
Zach Lindberg, a junior majoring in business administration and political science who identified as Republican, said he was happy with the results of the elections.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “And I think people will be surprised, because I expect the Republicans will work closely with the president on education and foreign policy issues, but I also think, in terms of the economy, they’ll hold true to their core ideals.”
Jafet Santiago, a senior majoring in political science who also identified as Republican, was disappointed with the party’s results in California.
“Yeah, I was disappointed,” he said. “I think if you followed the polling, it was always pretty clear that California was going to remain a Democratic stronghold.”
Correction: 11/7/10: A previous version of this story identified Hillary Levi as a political science major. Levi is actually a cinema-television production major. This version of the story has been corrected to reflect the change. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.