By ANDREW HILLEBRAND, Guest Writer
The eighth Presidential Election: Political Science Faculty Forum, sponsored by the Political Science Association and Pi Sigma Alpha, was held Wednesday in the Social Sciences Building at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
UM-Dearborn Political Science professors Ron Stockton, Julio Borquez, Lara Rusch, Frank Wayman and Mitchell Sollenberger discussed the Electoral College, partisan polarization, urban and metropolitan policies, America’s role in the world and domestic security issues.
Each professor explained a different aspect of the 2012 presidential race to the students and faculty in attendance.
Professor Stockton began with an explanation of the Electoral College and what states are likely to vote in favor of either candidate. He also explained analysis of polls, saying that poll numbers can be reliable, but only if analyzed correctly.
“Every poll has an error in it somehow,” he said. “If you take one poll you can be diverted, but if you take seven, or eight, or nine polls and average them together and come up with a poll of polls, it’s like a collective pattern.”
Stockton said that based on an average of different polls, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are very close in the crucial state of Ohio, with Obama holding a slight edge based on the most recent polls.
Stockton was followed by Professor Borquez, who stressed the growing partisan polarization among voters and politicians in the United States across a wide variety of issues and its effect on the election.
“When you have two bases of firmly-rooted Democrats and firmly-rooted Republicans, those bases are not likely to be influenced much by campaign events,” he said.
Professor Rusch talked about urban and metropolitan policies, and how they relate to the election. She said that Obama’s “place-based urban policies,” such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Sustainable Communities Initiative, make him appear to be ahead of Romney in terms of urban policy.
Professor Wayman talked about America’s role in the world – specifically foreign policy.
Wayman gave his opinion that both Obama and Romney “fall short” in terms of foreign policy, but Obama appears to have a slight edge in that category.
Professor Sollenberger discussed domestic security issues, touching on “enhanced interrogation techniques,” “black sites,” extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and terror drones. He said that while Obama has reduced the use of enhanced interrogation and black sites during his presidency, he has continued extraordinary rendition and indefinite detention without any criminal charges or trial in places such as Guantanamo Bay.
Sollenberger also talked about Obama’s use of terror drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, killing thousands of civilians. He concluded that, while Obama hasn’t kept some of his 2008 security campaign promises, Romney probably won’t provide an improvement in domestic security.
“I don’t see much change,” he said. “I don’t think it will get worse; I don’t think it will get better. Obama and Romney, I think the two candidates are basically the same person when it comes to national security issues and the war on terrorism.”