The Future of US Politics: Looking Ahead to 2020

The Englert Theatre, 221 E Washington, Iowa City
Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Panelists on Englert Stage

Nearly 600 people turned out for this thoughtful discussion of politics in the United States and the future of the Democratic and Republican parties from left, right and analytical perspectives. Featuring Melissa Ryan of Ctrl Alt-Right Delete, Chris Buskirk of American Greatness, and Tamara Keith of NPR, with Ben Kieffer of IPR as moderator.


Listen to the conversation here.




Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
Session Details Speakers
7:00 PM Panel Discussion
  1. Chris Buskirk
  2. Tamara Keith
  3. Melissa Ryan
  1. Ben Kieffer (Moderator)
  • Chris Buskirk

    American Greatness

    Chris Buskirk is the publisher and editor of American Greatness. He is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He has written for The Washington Post, The Spectator, USA Today, The Hill, The New Criterion, and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News, NPR’s Morning Edition, the PBS Newshour, and Hardball with Chris Matthews and regularly appears on CNN. He is the author of the book, Trump vs The Leviathan and, along with Seth Leibsohn,  American Greatness: How Conservatism, Inc. Missed the 2016 Election & What the Establishment Needs to Learn. He was a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute and received a fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Chris is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold businesses in financial services and digital marketing. He received his B.A. from Claremont-McKenna College. 

  • Tamara Keith

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    Tamara Keith is a NPR White House Correspondent and co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. During the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton.

    Prior to moving into her current role in January 2014, Keith was a Congressional Correspondent who put an emphasis on covering House Republicans, the budget, taxes, and the fiscal fights that dominated at the time. She began covering Congress in August 2011.

    Keith joined NPR in 2009 as a Business Reporter. In that role, she reported on topics spanning the business world from covering the debt downgrade and debt ceiling crisis to the latest in policy debates, legal issues, and technology trends. In early 2010, she was on the ground in Haiti covering the aftermath of the country's disastrous earthquake and later she covered the oil spill in the Gulf. In 2011, Keith conceived of and solely reported The Road Back To Work, a year-long series featuring the audio diaries of six people in St. Louis who began the year unemployed and searching for work.

    Keith has deep roots in public radio and got her start in news by writing and voicing essays for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday as a teenager. While in college, she launched her career at NPR Member station KQED's California Report, covering topics including agriculture and the environment. In 2004, Keith began working at NPR Member station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, where she reported on politics and the 2004 presidential campaign.

    Keith then went back to California to open the state capital bureau for NPR Member station KPCC/Southern California Public Radio. In 2006, Keith returned to KQED, serving as the Sacramento-region reporter for two years.

    In 2001, Keith began working on B-Side Radio, an hour-long public radio show and podcast that she co-founded, produced, hosted, edited, and distributed for nine years.

    Keith earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree at the UCB Graduate School of Journalism. Keith is part of the Politics Monday team on the PBS NewsHour, a weekly segment rounding up the latest political news. Keith is also a member of the Bad News Babes, a media softball team that once a year competes against female members of Congress in the Congressional Women's Softball game.

  • Melissa Ryan

    Ctrl Alt-Right Delete

    Melissa Ryan has spent more than a decade working at the intersection of politics, media, culture, and technology. Today, she uses her expertise to help people, policymakers and institutions combat online extremism and toxicity.

    Melissa became fascinated with extremism and disinformation during the 2016 U.S. elections, as she watched once-fringe extremist networks rise to prominence as they were amplified by mainstream candidates and media. She was among the first progressives to chronicle the rise of the alt-right online when she launched Ctrl Alt-Right Delete shortly after the election, which has since grown to more than 15,000 weekly readers. Recognizing the international nature of the fight against extremism, Ryan partnered with Hope not hate, a UK organization fighting racism and fascism for a generation, to publish the newsletter bringing their expert research and campaigning work to the USA.

    Ryan’s expertise is sought out by journalists, politicians, leaders and everyday Americans who want to better understand how current events are shaped by social media and how political campaigns use digital strategy to engage voters.

    Ryan’s career has spanned nearly the full history of digital politics. She began as a blogger, writing about local and state politics for Connecticut Local Politics. Her commentary about the 2006 Senate race between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman brought her into national political prominence, and where she formed the basis of her understanding of how online communities can affect real-world outcomes.

    Ryan has been in the center of major progressive fights ever since. Her pioneering online fundraising work raised more than $5 million online for Senator Russ Feingold’s 2010 campaign. She played a key role in mobilizing protestors and framing the story of the #WIunion protests of 2011, helping create an international story about Scott Walker’s anti-union power grab.

    As digital director at the New Organizing Institute, Ryan managed and drove the training program that created what The New York Times Magazine’s Robert Draper called “the yawning digital divide between the two parties.” During her tenure as digital director of EMILY’s List, Ryan’s team added more than 1 million supporters to the PAC’s online outreach. In 2012, she managed outreach to progressive media and influencers for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

    Ryan was honored in 2014 with a Campaigns & Elections Rising Star award and has spoken at top conferences and events for Netroots Nation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the New York Daily News Innovation Lab, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

    Ryan currently lives in Boston, MA. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @MelissaRyan.

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