Wayne Morse Center prepares discussion panels to follow 2016 elections

The University of Oregon’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics hosted a watch party for the New Hampshire Primary in Gerlinger Lounge on Tuesday, Feb. 9.  A panel of scholars from the center led discussions during the broadcast about the primaries’ function in the democratic process as well as the unique populist platforms of the 2016 presidential election.

“The primaries are where the parties shape what they stand for before each election,” Wayne Morse Scholar and UO graduate Celine Swenson-Harris said. “It’s the first opportunity for voters to respond to these platforms.”

The New Hampshire Primary is the first in the country and follows the Iowa Caucuses.

Senator Sanders, who lost to Hillary Clinton by less than one percent of the vote in Iowa the previous week, won in New Hampshire by a landslide. Sanders received 60 percent of the vote, and gained the support of 15 delegates, with Clinton receiving 38 percent and 9 delegates.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump won with 35 percent of the vote and 10 delegates. Governor John Kasich and Senator Ted Cruz came in second and third place, each with less than 20 percent of the vote and with four and three delegates respectively.

The discussion panel for this primary is just one of a year-long series being put on by the WMC that will follow the 2016 election. The aim is to inform the campus community about the platforms of each candidate and party, but also focuses on political trends.

UO Professor of Political Science and coordinator of the WMC’s discussion series Dan Tichenor says that this year both are seeing a prevalence of anti-establishment candidates.

“Usually, there will be only one ‘movement politics’ – or anti-establishment – platform in one or both parties,” Tichenor said, “But this year we are seeing multiple populist movements on both sides, and we are even seeing them be frontrunners.”

For the Democrats, Sanders election reform and anti-Wall Street platform has given him a lot of media and voter attention. For Republicans, there are candidates with no political backgrounds and who run on strict anti-government platforms like Donald Trump, s Carly Fiorina (who dropped out of the race after New Hampshire) and Ben Carson.

Swenson-Harris says it’s a bit too early to say whether these populist candidates have enough traction to win the nomination or even the election on these platforms, but we are seeing them in the spotlight more so than in previous years.

One of the Wayne Morse Center discussion panels will feature a lengthier talk about populist politics, but the date is not certain.

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Troy Shinn

Troy Shinn

Politics News Reporter for the Oregon Daily Emerald. UO Senior studying Journalism and Film.