SPECIAL SERIES : 2006 General Election
SF State Class Analyzes Election Results
November 8, 2006 12:50 AM
On a drizzly evening that would entice most to shack up at home with a good movie or neglected coursework, more than 100 students opted to remain at SF State to eat free pizza and watch a real-time analysis of the election returns in Jack Adams Hall.
In an event sponsored by this semester’s BSS 275 lecture series, California: The Promise vs. the Reality in the 2006 Election, a panel made up of five political science professors and two students gave running commentary on the election results. The discussion revolved largely around the national Senate and House races, and audience participation was encouraged.
Despite the focus on congressional races, a diverse range of issues were addressed by the panelists, including the significance of female and minority votes, alternative voting methods and the timing of Saddam Hussein’s sentencing.
Alternating audio among the big screen TV projection of CNN’s live broadcast of the election returns, panel discussion and audience questions the evening had a casual feel.
The format was a hit with many participants.
“I like seeing this,” said Mario Flores, director of SF State’s Project Connect. “It’s nice that students have the chance to come together and watch the future leadership of the United States.”
Michelle Jorgensen, 22, an SF State political science major, agreed with Flores that the event was a good opportunity to witness the democratic process in the company of others.
“I’ve always kind of watched politics on my own,” Jorgensen said. “So it’s nice to have a gathering.”
As the evening wore on and reports broke that the Democrats had taken control of the House of Representatives and were likely to win half of the seats in Senate, many event attendees applauded.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I don’t think it’s so huge that you’re going to wake up tomorrow and everything is different, but I think it’s a good way to send a message to the Bush administration that things are wrong with their protocol.”
Political science professor Robert Smith, who was a panelist at the event, also agreed that the Democrats might not be able to take the country in an entirely new direction, but that “the best they can do, is stop Bush from taking it in his direction.”
These doubts however, did not keep students from expressing their desires to see certain issues addressed in the coming years.
“I’ve been hoping for the Democrats to come into power since 2000,” said Robert Theis, 30, an SF State chemistry major. Aside from saying he hoped to see Congress move forward in a bi-partisan way, Theis also said, “I would like to see the mess in Iraq addressed, especially because I’m an Iraq war veteran. And I’d like to see priorities change in general.”
Other students said they hoped to see more discourse on issues such as stem cell research, immigration and student loans.
This is the second election event BSS 275 has hosted since the course began in 2003, the first being the presidential elections in 2004.
For those who took in the free politics and pizza provided by the event, Kathryn Johnson, coordinator of special projects for the college of BSS and co-facilitator of BSS 275 said, “We’re going to do this in 2008 and we want to make this a regular tradition.”
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