Hiram College

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As the 2016 election cycle recently hit a fever pitch, one Hiram College professor used his political science expertise to weigh in on the 2012 presidential election.

Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the James A. Garfield Center for the Study of the American Presidency, Douglas Brattebo, co-edited two books on the 2012 presidential election.

Brattebo Book 1

“These books explore a great many of the factors and dynamics that will decide the outcome of the 2016 presidential election,” explained Brattebo. “For any reader who wants to understand what might happen in November 2016, that inquiry ought to be based on a solid understanding of what happened in the 2012 general election.”

The first book, “A Transformation in American National Politics: The Presidential Election of 2012,” edited by Douglas M. Brattebo, Tom Lansford and Jack Covarrubias, highlights complex and evolving societal changes. The second, “Culture, Rhetoric and Voting: The Presidential Election of 2012,” edited by Douglas M. Brattebo, Tom Lansford, Jack Covarrubias and Robert J. Pauly, Jr., is a companion to the first book and focuses on psychology, religion, culture, rhetoric and voting.

The volumes are the direct result of “The Presidential Election of 2012” conference that Professor Brattebo held on the College’s campus in November 2012 with 40 student scholars from the Presidency Center. Of the papers presented, a subset of particularly insightful and well-written were selected for the books. The co-editors – former colleagues of Brattebo – reviewed the selections before working closely with the authors to edit the papers.

Brattebo book 2

“The depth and quality of the analysis contained in the chapters of these two books is just remarkable,” said Brattebo. “Perhaps most impressive to me is the fact that the writing style of these authors is accessible to a wide audience.”

Going in-depth into the 2012 election was crucial as Barrack Obama was the first Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt to be elected twice with a majority of the popular vote. Yet even more important is what’s called the “coalition of the ascendant” – African-Americans, Latino-Americans and Asian-Americans, as well as millennials, singles and LBGT voters – put and kept Obama in office. A question for the future of American politics is whether the rising coalition will continue to elect Democratic presidents and one day lead to a Democratic majority in Congress.