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The University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication officially opened its doors in January 2010, just as online platforms and technologies began dominating the media. Ralph Begleiter founded the CPC to examine the impact of new technologies on political discourse. With more than 30 years of broadcast journalism experience and two decades as CNN's world affairs correspondent, Begleiter was at the forefront of identifying this emerging field of study. At the inaugural Delaware Debates event in October 2010, Begleiter said, "We think we're among the first to recognize political communication, especially involving new technologies and an electorate increasingly using them, as a distinct field worthy of study by students, faculty researchers and practitioners."
Today, tracking social media feeds is as common as checking news headlines. The CPC remains at the forefront of understanding the intersection of political communication methods and influence, and continues to inform and engage University of Delaware students and the broader community.
The CPC celebrates its accomplishments, made possible by generous supporters over the past 10 years who have upheld the CPC's mission as a nonpartisan, interdisciplinary center that fosters public engagement and academic research:
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Since opening its doors in 2010, the CPC has sponsored 18 national and state public opinion polls, which has supported UD’s research of many issues that draw national attention. To advance the understanding of politics, it’s important to bring attention to topics that help people think about politics in untraditional ways. A multidisciplinary approach ultimately strengthens the research, says Paul Brewer, who has led the research mission for the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication since 2011.
2010—The CPC opens its doors in January and plans election year events. In a historic moment at the University of Delaware, tea party activist Christine O’Donnell wins the Republican primary and challenges Chris Coons for the U.S. Senate seat. The University of Delaware continues to provide the only professional-caliber debates for Delaware.
CNN's Candy Crowley addresses a National Agenda audience at Mitchell Hall on September 15, 2011.
2011—The Breaking Boundaries symposium draws scholars from 11 universities. The National Agenda series debuts, featuring CNN’s Candy Crowley, UD alumni Steve Schmidt (AS13) and former NJ Gov. Chris Christie (AS84). It begins an annual tradition to host public events that engage students and the general public in conversations about political topics.
Ralph Begleiter addresses the election-night crowd at UD's Election Central 2012.
2012—Candidates for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, governor, and lieutenant governor face off at Delaware Debates. About 1,000 students track election returns at Election Central.
2013—A CPC poll finds that 55% of Delaware voters support the new same-sex marriage law, and at least 58% support voter ID laws.
2014—The public convenes for Delaware Debates 2014. National Agenda welcomes two presidential campaign strategists and a former White House press secretary.
Political strategists review the 2016 election results. From left: David Plouffe (via Skype), Jennifer Palmieri, Lindsay Hoffman, Kim Alfano, and Chris Russell.
2015—New York Times columnist Frank Bruni dubs UD the "maker of political kings." Lindsay Hoffman begins directing National Agenda following the retirement of founding CPC director Ralph Begleiter. Hoffman welcomes Black Lives Matter activists Johnetta Elzie and DeRay McKesson.
Joe Biden and John Kasich join the National Agenda "As We Stand | Divided" series on Tuesday, October 17, moderated by Lindsay Hoffman (right).
2016—UD alumna Nancy Karibjanian (AS80) joins the CPC as the new director, just in time for election season. Hillary Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, makes her first public appearance at National Agenda after Clinton is defeated.
2017—Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and then Gov. John Kasich captivate a capacity audience at Mitchell Hall.
Ralph Begleiter (center) moderates a debate with the candidates for Delaware's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives: incumbent Lisa Blunt Rochester and challenger Scott Walker.
2018—The CPC and the Biden Institute host a voter engagement drive for National Voter Registration Day. Ralph Begleiter returns to moderate back-to-back debates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House.
2019—U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and former national security adviser Tom Donilon dive into the topic of trade with China and East Asia. Gov. Chris Christie returns to the National Agenda stage.