Harvard Professor Thomas Patterson predicts this coming presidential election will be one of the most important of our lifetime. “I think the political system is changing,” Patterson told the crowd in the Geneva Room last night as a guest of the President’s Forum lecture series.
Patterson noted the causes are the War on Terrorism, the War in Iraq as well as the economy that are keys in the likely substantial upturn in voter turn out this year which will possibly reach 60 percent.
Patterson is the author of several books including “Vanishing Voter: Civic Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty,” which looks at the causes of declining electoral participation, including weakening loyalty to political, modern campaign techniques and attack journalism.
In his lecture, he went on to discuss some of the positive indications of this presidential campaign such as the increasing involvement of ordinary citizens, the flood of new voter registrations, and the growing force of the small donors impacting the voting process which is up four times in this election.
He also discussed some of the discouraging issues in this campaign including the apparent bias in news media and the destructive force that the increasingly negative coverage has on the election process, the distraction that money and special interest groups create among the electorate, and the lack of professionalism by all involved including reporters, lobbyists, and professional politicians.
In the end he encouraged all to participate. “If you intend to vote, vote and take a friend.”