Session 4: After 2016: American Politics and the Prospects for Reform
NYU Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, 238 Thompson Street, Colloquium Room
Bob Bauer, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence; Co-Director of the Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic, NYU School of Law
The program will consist of a discussion of the various and different criticisms heard over the last two years of the American political process, and the implications for coherent--or any--reforms in the years ahead. It has been suggested that government has become "dysfunctional," largely because of undercurrents of political polarization. Congress is incapacitated, it is argued, by partisan division and a weakened leadership unable to discipline their caucuses. Parties are said to have failed in performing their historical role, suffering from increased withdrawal of the electorate from two-party identification and pressed on all sides by third party groups, ranging from Super PACs to interests organized to exert direct influence on government policy. A fractured media environment echoes political divisions and speaks only to audiences open to the particular outlet's message. The electoral process is under attack as an unreliable measure of voter choice among the competing partisan and policy alternatives.