Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Worst in the Nation? The Primary Role of Iowa and New Hampshire

A conversation with CLS Professors and campaigners Jim Tierney and Tim Wu.

Welcome back all from Winter break. As is customary when returning to school from time off, ACS asks "what did you do over vacation?"

Professors Tierney and Wu spent their winter recesses in both New Hampshire and Iowa, canvassing for their chosen candidates and observing the process. Professor Tierney described his trip as "political tourism." He presented his remarks as an invitation to begin an ongoing dialog on campus as to the current election season.

Professor Tierney went on to discuss the critical features of the caucus system: the social aspects and issues of representativeness. Ultimately, he finds value in the process, in the opportunity to deeply evaluate the candidates, for individual voters to air their concerns directly to the candidates and to robustly engage in policy discussions.

Professor Wu explained his motives in heading to Iowa as to see how preferences are formed as a student of politics. He similarly advocate for the caucus system due to its electoral transparency; he enjoyed the ability to really see and understand - on a generalized level - what type of person supported each candidate. Professor Wu especially enjoyed the looming prospect of physical altercations, as a signal for the overwhelming interest and intense passions. According to Professor Wu, "the entire national election should be done by caucus, its just entertaining!"

The Professors discussed several anecdotes from their trips and then invited an open discussion with students about the nature of these early political processes.

Stay tuned for future opportunities to discuss the ongoing elections with the CLS community.

ACS is a non-partisan organization that takes no position on the ongoing primary elections. ACS would like to thank Professors Tierney and Wu for sharing their experiences and sparking such a lively discussion.

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