Political experts discussed messaging in the presidential campaigns and upcoming events in the next nine weeks of the general election at the first installment of the “Road to the White House 2012: Politics, Media and Technology” series.
College Democrats President Aaron Taxy and College Republicans President Madeline Lansky moderated a discussion with Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, Raphael Bostic, director of the Bedrosian Center on Governance and Public Enterprise and Roberto Suro, a faculty fellow at the Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.
The weekly panels aim to provide an opportunity to listen to and take part in a discussion on topics ranging from domestic policy to the effects of swing voters.
They are sponsored by the Unruh Institute of Politics, the Bedrosian Center on Governance and Public Enterprise and the Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.
Panelists analyzed and speculated the effects of last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this week. Suro said that, at this point, any incident could tip the election.
“In this close of a race, any external event could produce a breakout moment for the other candidate,” Suro said.
The event also touched upon how both the Obama and Romney campaigns will define the futures of their respective parties.
“For all sorts of reasons in a multimedia era, it’s a lot harder for candidates to put a stamp on their party,” Schnur said. “I don’t know if there will be a Romney republicanism or an Obama democratism.”
The first half hour of the discussion began with the student moderators posing questions to the panelists. During the second half of the panel, the audience was given the chance to question the experts directly.
Students, including Nathaniel Haas, a freshman majoring in political science, posed questions to the panel. Haas said the discussion gave college students the opportunity to stay updated on important national events.
“It’s hard to stay informed in college, so events like this are really helpful in allowing students to stay informed about issues that are important to us, like the presidential election,” Haas said.
After the panel, Taxy said that the principal aim of the series is to foster a non-partisan conversation rather than a debate.
“It is part of the atmosphere that the Trojan Family fosters,” Taxy said. “At USC, we like to have a conversation and learn something from someone who might disagree with us.”
Lansky wrote in an email there are few opportunities for college students to express their views in a non-partisan way besides outlets like this series.
“It’s nice to take a break from the biased discussions that revolve around politics and hear non-partisan, analytical perspectives,” Lansky wrote.
The subject of next Wednesday’s panel is “The Key Issues: Jobs, Healthcare and Medicare —What Will Decide the Election?” It will run from noon to 1 p.m. in Ronald Tutor Campus Center 227.