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By Lindsay Hoffman, Ph.D., National Agenda Director for the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication
To learn more about National Agenda 2019, visit cpc.udel.edu/nationalagenda.
Listen to the award-winning Midterm Matters Podcast, which was produced by Delaware Public Media in partnership with the CPC. From March to August 2018, University of Delaware political experts discussed national and local issues emerging with the
upcoming midterm elections.
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Guest speaker Amberia Allen (left) discussed why Humor Matters with National Agenda director and moderator Lindsay Hoffman on Wednesday, October 24, at the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall Audiitorium.
FEBRUARY 2019―"Midterm Matters" was the theme of the National Agenda 2018 program, and I think we can all agree that even today, the Midterm Matters. The House leadership now has a Democrat majority; a record number of women now serve in Congress; and emotions still run high as we see more and more contenders for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States heading into 2020.
Each fall, nationally known speakers visit the University of Delaware to talk about important issues in today's political landscape, and the series of public events at Mitchell Hall is only one part of the National Agenda program. Earlier in the day, the two dozen students enrolled in the course meet with each speaker, asking questions in an intimate setting. This is probably the most intimidating part for students at the beginning of the semester, but by the end, they are pros at asking good, tough, and funny questions of our speakers!
Cybersecurity expert and UD alumnus Dave DeWalt (EG 86) spoke with students in the National Agenda class on September 26, 2018.
The eighth annual series was created to examine the many moving parts of an election, but also to capture the moment in the middle of President Donald J. Trump's first term. The events in fall 2018 also spurred conversation. Lauren Duca—a strong opponent of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court—described why she thought he should not be nominated, just a few weeks before the contentious confirmation hearings featuring Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
UD alumnus Dave DeWalt (EG 86) brought a very different—and a little frightening—energy to the Mitchell Hall stage as he talked about the many cybersecurity threats facing elections and our daily lives. I had a few folks tell me they were going home to put on their tinfoil hats after this talk!
National Agenda guest speaker Gabe Fleisher, a 16-year-old high school student, publishes a daily political newsletter with more than 50,000 subscribers.. He joined the National Agenda progam on October 10, 2018.
Our third speaker, Gabe Fleisher, brought a youthful energy to National Agenda; he was, after all, just 16 years old. He writes a political newsletter with more than 50,000 subscribers and wowed college students just a few years older than him with his depth and breadth of political knowledge. It was an inspiring talk!
Amberia Allen, a talented up-and-coming comedian, talked about representation of women and minorities in Hollywood, and her time as a writer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
The Delaware Debates was, as always, a huge production, but an incredibly successful one, featuring debates for Delaware's candidates for U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Delaware Press Association recognized the U.S. Senate debate with a second place award for special programming in radio and television. The issues-focused debates featured tough questions from veteran journalist—and CPC founding director—Ralph Begleiter, as well as questions from UD and Delaware State University students. The joint initiative of the University of Delaware and Delaware Public Media was live-streamed, and the U.S. Senate debate was broadcast live nationally on C-SPAN and in some regional media outlets. Our next program of debates will be in 2020!
National Agenda guest speakers Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan discussed the dangers of anti-journalism sentiments on November 14, 2018.
Our final speakers arrived in Newark, Delaware, after a tense midterm election and for one of them, after a trip to Saudi Arabia covering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Kevin Sullivan spoke of the dangers to journalists when a president calls the media the "enemy of the people," and Mary Jordan talked about the difficulty of covering politics now versus when they began writing at the Washington Post.
I always ask my students in National Agenda to rank their favorite speakers at the end of the semester (a truly difficult task), and they really enjoyed this talk from Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. I think it offers some insight into our current political moment and some hope that journalism and journalists still play an important role in our democracy.
National Agenda 2018 class with Amberia Allen (center, back row) and Dr. Lindsay Hoffman (center, green dress)
As is often the case, the last day of class featured some tears of joy and sadness, as the students acknowledged the end of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Together, they had engaged in classroom discussions about sexual assault and the Supreme Court nomination process; the importance of midterm elections—particularly for Millennials; and the moral foundations that drive our beliefs, values, and behaviors, among many other topics.
I look forward to bringing you "Direction Democracy" in the fall of 2019, where we will examine where we've been, where we are, and where we are going in the 240-plus years of this uniquely American experiment that is democracy.
Held each fall in the auditorium of Mitchell Hall on the University of Delaware's Newark Campus, all events in the National Agenda speaker series are free and open to the community. The program is made possible with support from the University of Delaware's Office of the Provost. For more information, please visit www.cpc.udel.edu/nationalagenda.
Please visit the linked event pages below for recaps of each event, including summaries, videos, photos, transcripts, and podcasts.