Professors discuss post-election results

IUS Horizon

Thomas Wolf and Linda Gugin
Thomas Wolf and Linda Gugin

Post-election results and what they mean were discussed at a political forum in the University Center North on Thursday, Nov. 13.

Linda Gugin, professor of political science, Clifford Staten, professor of social science and dean of Social Sciences, and Joseph Wert, associate professor of political science, were joined by Thomas Wolf, professor emeritus of political science, in a discussion about the 2008 political races.

Wert showed the audience a map from National Public Radio of the electoral state results of the presidential race.

Gugin opened the discussion and said at this date, Missouri is still undecided between McCain and Obama.

“If Missouri goes for Obama, he will end up with 360 electoral votes,” she said.

Gugin discussed the breakdown of the electorate, with the majority of 65 or older Americans voting for McCain.

“One demographic group that Obama did better than Kerry, was the Catholic vote,” Gugin said. “He received 54 percent of the Catholic vote.”

Staten said economic issues hurt McCain.

“McCain lost his advantage with the foreign policy issue,” he said. “When the economy spiraled downward, this really hurt him.”

Wert said the gasoline prices going down might have hurt the Republicans also.

“Drill baby drill was no longer catching voters’ attention,” Wert said.

Staten said McCain was also hurt because of the Bush legacy.

Wert said the Democrats picked up 20 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and six Senate seats.

“There are still three Senate races too close to call,” Wert said. “Those being in Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota. Georgia will have a run-off election.”

Wolf talked about Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska and his conviction charges.

“There is the possibility he could be removed from the Senate even if he does win the election,” Wolf said. “Sarah Palin could legally resign from being governor and be appointed to the Senate by her lieutenant governor, who would then be governor.”

Wolf also said it was questionable whether Senator Joe Lieberman would remain a part of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate because of his support for John McCain.

Wert said he didn’t think that Mike Sodrel would run for Congress again.

Travis Schuster, music freshman, asked what the Republicans need to do to become competitive again.

“They certainly need to move toward the middle and avoid the extreme right,” Gugin said. “The country is becoming more diverse and nonwhite.”

Staten said there will be a struggle on who will control the Republican Party.

Wert advised Republicans to find a leader to rally around.

“If not Sarah Palin, maybe Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana,” Wert said.

Wolf said that Republicans are going to have to move beyond the abortion issue.

“Even some Christian conservatives are looking at issues like the environment,” Wolf said. “Democrats are getting some of their votes now.”

Gugin said one issue that Republicans cannot ignore, is the youth vote.

“About 66 percent of young people voted for Obama,” she said.

Staten said the Republicans are going to have to moderate their stand on immigration to win the Hispanic vote.

Gugin said many people were interested in this election because of potential judicial appointments, particularly the Supreme Court.

“I think there is a good chance that John Paul Stevens will retire from the Supreme Court,” she said.

Staten was optimistic that President Obama will bring Republicans into his cabinet.

“I also think he will try to develop better relations with our South American neighbors,” Staten said. “They’ve been ignored by the present administration because of their leftist governments.”

Matt Winternheimer, business freshman, said he was happy with the election results.

“It’s the first time I ever voted,” he said.

Staff Writer