October 28, 2016

Dr. White in class

With the presidential election less than two weeks away, Catholic University students are more interested than ever in learning about campaign politics. Every four years,  John White, professor of politics, offers Pol 405: National Elections to educate students about the process of electing the country’s next commander in chief.

“I decided to take Dr. White’s National Elections class because this election is entirely unconventional,” said junior Rachel Simoneau, a politics major from Coventry, R.I. “Elections impact all our lives and I took this class to better understand this election as it unfolded.”

In his course syllabus, White notes that “American elections can be compared to pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. With each contest a new piece is inserted and a more complete picture emerges. Thus, the 2016 election marks the 58th time since 1789 that another piece will be added to the puzzle.”

The course focuses on the interplay between the economy, culture, and partisanship and how these factors affect the way Americans vote. It also explores the way voter demographics affect the results of elections.

White has built the course around the input of guest experts who either Skype with the students  or speak to them in person. The experts range from pollsters to social media experts to staff members affiliated with the campaigns.

Recently Stan Greenberg, a pollster and member of former President Bill Clinton’s administration, talked via Skype with the students. In the past, speakers have included John Halpin of the Center for American Progress, and Joe Najm, a University alumnus who earned a B.A. in politics in 2015 and now works as an engagement associate with MediaMath, a digital advertising technology company in New York City.

“We have a wide variety of guest speakers that  ... provide their insight about this tumultuous election,” said Simoneau.

Learn more about The Catholic University of America Department of Politics.