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NOVEMBER 6, 2017 ― The University of Delaware’s National Agenda speaker series continued on November 1 with a conversation about past and present political divides with former Michigan Congressman David Bonior and former Delaware Governor and Congressman Mike Castle. The statesmen recalled their challenges and accomplishments while in office and discussed challenges facing America today.
The Center for Political Communication hosts the National Agenda speaker series to promote civic engagement and civil discourse. Guest speakers for the fall series, entitled “As We Stand | Divided,” have explored the many divides that exist in the United States, including gender, geographic, religious, partisan, and cultural.
David Bonior, who served as a U.S. Representative from 1976 to 2002 and as the Democratic whip from 1991 to 2002, praised the distinguished career of Mike Castle. “In Congress, he was a highly respected moderate, whose reasoned approach on controversial issues like gun restrictions, stem cell research, and LGBT rights was a breath of fresh air. He was a courageous Republican in a Congress that was more and more leaning to the far right.”
American citizens have lost confidence in the government. “Our democracy is suffering from a lack of honesty and courage,” said Bonior. He suggested three policy changes to restore public confidence in the government, which have broad support among both Republicans and Democrats. He recommended that Congress reform the Electoral College system to ensure that presidents are elected by national popular vote. He recommended that Congress overturn the 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which laid the groundwork for the opaque campaign spending practices of super PACs. Congress should also reform unfair gerrymandering practices and establish competitive legislative districts.