As many prepared to watch the final Presidential Debate, Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas spoke with the Penn Yan branch of the American Association of University Women about the upcoming election. The discussion focused on the challenges of modern politics to find consensus/compromise among both the electorate and elected officials.
“Part of that challenge, I argued, was just in the way we talk about politics in general,” explained Lucas. “Compared to our past, we are more likely to talk and see major issues of the day through specific political groups that we are aligned with and less likely to discuss those issues with people we disagree with. That polarization can be seen in both the politician’s approach to specific issues, failing to truly reach out to members of the other side, and citizens’ unwillingness to see merit in the other side.”
Lucas explained the problem permeates national discourse in the media, the presidential debates and local elections. He urged the group to think about proposed solutions to those problems, from replacing the Electoral College to imposing terms.
“These reforms often sound great in principle, but provide additional difficulties in reality,” he said. As a society, he recommended two courses of actions: (1) citizens need to be more actively engaged, with an open mind, in politics or (2) we need to rethink all of the fundamental rules of government to ensure that they meet our expectations.
“We then had a good discussion about possible changes, the nature of the current election, and the role of women and so-called women’s issues in the national election,” said Lucas.
A member of the faculty since 2000, Lucas holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his M.A. and Ph.D. from State University at Binghamton.