Amicus Curiae lecture fuels discussion on partisanship, politics

With a frustrated nation torn during this election season, Marshall University has brought in speakers to help educate students about our nation’s politics before they hit the voting booths.

The Amicus Curiae Lecture Series began Thursday with Dr. Alan I. Abramowitz of Emory University. Abramowitz spoke to Marshall students on the topic of “Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Polarized American Electorate: What to Expect in November.”

Abramowitz is a political science professor who has written many books on U.S. politics, such as “The Disappearing Center” and “The Polarized Public.” He specializes in national politics, polling and elections.

The lecture is meant to explain why the two political parties are so alienated.

“Democrats and Republicans increasingly don’t like each other,” said Abramowitz. “This is what we political scientist call affective polarization. Which is just a fancy way of saying we don’t like each other.”

The presentation continued with statistics and graphs breaking down why there has become such a divide within our political system. Abramowitz covered hot button topics such as race, religion and regional division. He stated that the divide hasn’t only been created by the political leaders but more by the supporters.

“It’s not just the leaders that we don’t like talking about, it’s the other supporters that we don’t like. We don’t even want our kids marrying them,” Abramowitz said.

He then showed a graphic showing that 50 percent of Republicans and a third of Democrats are against the idea of their children marrying supporters of the other party.

The lecture centered around the idea that it wasn’t just this election and these candidates that have polarized the nation, instead it has been a steady slope into the state we are in now. Each election has slowly pulled voter views further to the right and left.

Since the 1988 election, the political scientist has predicted the popular vote winner within two percentage points in every election for the U.S. president. Although he did not give his prediction, he did show how each candidate could lose votes and gain votes.

“We’ll have to wait till after the election, but with the growing issues in this country we will most likely see a drop in the number of Republicans in this country from 2014 to 2016,” said Abramowitz.

He also explained the possibility of the third party candidates, such as Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, taking away from the votes in this election especially on the Clinton side.

“Gary Johnson will not be the next president of the United States, sorry Gary Johnson supporters. But he could determine the next president by way of steal votes from the two main parties,” Abramowitz said.

The Alumni center had a packed house for the lecture, and although there were people who represent each party, Abramowitz was able to give the students of Marshall and people of Huntington a clearer understanding when they head into the booth in November.