SMLS | A Memo to the Next President

SMLS | A Memo to the Next President

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Christian Holm
July 25, 2016

Two weeks earlier, the first SMLS of the semester focused on diagnosing America’s ongoing crisis of hyper partisanship and polarization. This week’s follow up dialogue saw students and policy experts take the next step - proposing solutions that moderate Americans can get behind.

TWC students joined John Hudak, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and Romina Boccia, deputy director, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and research fellow at the Heritage Foundation for a high level policy discussion, framing the next President’s agenda in 2017. Moderating the discussion was TWC’s Senior Director of Academic Affairs Alan Grose.

This SMLS was more interactive than previous conversations. Grose started things off by asking students to identify issues that will push them to vote for one candidate over the other, going around the room to get a sense of what issues matter most to students.

Students quickly identified the Middle East, criminal justice reform and inequality as their primary concerns. Following an intra student discussion, Grose turned the questioning over to students, who responded with a series of questions for the panelists:

Zartashia Javid (Institution: University of Arkansas - Little Rock; Internship: National Association of Federally Impacted Schools) Is there any chance that a third party candidate could make some noise and possibly make it to the debate stage this fall?

Hudak: The only third party candidate with a chance of making it is the Libertarian in the race, Gary Johnson. If he reaches 15% in the polls he makes it to the debate and I think it would be refreshing if he were to make it. The media loves a good political soap opera and this would definitely mix things up

Elena Ryan (Institution: University of New Hampshire; Internship: Freemuslim, Center for De-Radicalization and Extremism Prevention) Will it be possible to move any gun legislation forward during the next Presidency, given how polarized people are on the issue?

Hudak: There are so many entrenched interests that make this issue so difficult. I think it would take a coalition of interest groups, especially the police to make any sort of impact. Right now cops are very susceptible to gun violence and they may want to get more involved at some point


Boccia: I’m originally from Germany, so seeing how two different countries view the gun issue is eye opening. One of the biggest concerns about gun regulation is that it will curate a black market for weapons which would be extremely dangerous. I am in favor of focusing our efforts on mental health first and taking steps to prevent dangerous people from carrying out violence with guns


To view photos from SMLS, click here

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