The PPC supported lectures and symposia on campus and in the community around issues of climate change, voting access and rights, how unbiased data helps inform policy-makers, worker rights, and much more. We also kicked off our Run Up to the 2020 Caucus series and celebrated the Center's 30th anniversary.
The Future of Politics: Looking Ahead to 2020
Tamara Keith, White House correspondent for National Public Radio; Chris Buskirk, publisher and editor of American Greatness; and Melissa Ryan, writer, organizer, and digital strategist of Ctrl Alt-Right Delete; engaged in a conversation about the current state and the future of politics in front of a crowd of nearly 600 at the Englert Theatre.
This event was the first of the PPC's Run Up to the 2020 Caucus series, which runs through the end of January 2020. Ben Kieffer of Iowa Public Radio moderated the discussion, and started by asking the three guests to describe how they saw the current state of the major parties in politics.
Buskirk replied that we are in a time of political and cultural realignment. The parties are uncertain about the future and are aware of some dissatisfaction among their constituents, and so must rethink their identities. He felt that when Donald Trump announced his candidacy it forced Republicans to assess who they were as a party. Now the Democratic party is facing the same sort of identity crisis, with so many candidates running, and so many new representatives that emerged from the mid-terms.
Ryan answered that faith in institutions is at an all-time low, and that neither Republicans nor Democrats are doing very well with voters. She believes there is an increased focus on personalities like President Trump, and amplified attention on new Democratic representatives. Ryan also believes that Democrats are paying more attention to the constituencies that bring them into office, and not just swing voters. Republicans are holding onto the base they have left, and will need to refocus on emerging demographics if they want to continue to win in a fair fight.
Finally, Keith's assessment was that "for all of the soul-searching going on, there's also a lot of falling in line." Republicans have become the "party of Trump." She pointed to the 2018 Republican candidates who separated themselves from Trump and did not win. Likewise, during the debates between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Democratic voters were opposed on certain issues such as minimum wage, but now are more unified on the same issues.
Keiffer guided the conversation through many political topics, and audience members had an opportunity to ask questions.
To read more about Buskirk, Ryan, and Keith, or to listen to the program, click here.
Visualizing Equitable and Sustainable Communities in Iowa
In honor of its 30th Anniversary, the Public Policy Center showcased how our research impacts the lives of Iowans and our communities. In a fun, fast-paced, "3-minute thesis" style, and poster presentations, researchers talked about the issues they study. The event drew approximately 80 community members, and offered an opportunity for them to mingle and ask questions of the researchers. Attendees also were able to provide feedback on the issues that are most important to them.
Topics included material hardship and income in Iowa, equitable access to safe drinking water, how Integrated Health Home policies affect vulnerable children, ideological differences between male and female legislators, Iowa as a policy innovator, and more. The program was split into three oral presentation sessions, with 15-minute poster sessions in between.
Iowa City Mayor, Jim Throgmorton and former Iowa City Councilor, Kingsley Botchway presented remarks. Throgmorton talked about the importance of public policy in the community. "Our plan is to foster a more sustainable city, address racial inequity, have affordable neighborhoods, allow for immigrants and refugees to better adjust, address climate change, and revise some of our city codes to help with sustainability and bring more diversity to the community," he said. Botchway spoke about the collaborative partnership between the Iowa City Community School District and Sarah Bruch's Equity Implemented Partnership project.
To view presentations and posters from this event, click here.
Other key events of 2018-2019 included:
- US Senator Ben Sasse on U.S. foreign policy
- Capturing the Flag – a film and discussion about voter suppression
- Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin on the importance of good data in policymaking
- "Big Ideas" – a series exploring poverty, education, health and risk, and work and wages
- Cokie Roberts: An Insiders View of Washington, DC
- University of Iowa Veterans Association Spring fundraiser
- Workers' Dream for an America that "Yet Must Be"
For a full listing of our 2018-2019 events schedule, please visit our events page.