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The Foley Institute Fall 2018

Fall 2018

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Wednesday, November 7th | 12:00 p.m. | 308 Bryan Hall 

Coffee & Politics: Making sense of the midterm results


On Wednesday November 7, the Foley Institute hosted Travis Ridout and Mark Stephan from Washington State University’s School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, and John Wilkerson from the University of Washington. Each speaker presented their analyses of the 2018 midterm elections. Wilkerson discussed how his findings showed Justice Kavanaugh’s investigative hearing had a larger effect in Senate races than House races. Ridout and Stephan discussed their analyses of President Trump’s effect on the Republican party during the 2016 and 2018 elections.

Collectively, the speakers agreed polling data generally predicted the results accurately and that it will lead to more partisan gerrymandering and redistricting.

Tuesday, October 30th | 4:30 p.m. | CUE 203

Bipartisan solutions to climate change?

On Tuesday October 30, the Foley Institute hosted former members of Congress Bob Inglis (R) and Bryan Baird (D) to discuss their collaboration on bipartisan solutions to climate change. Inglis discussed his experience as a conservative believing in climate change and shared his perspective on how to approach the issue in a manner that conservatives could agree with.

Together, the former congressional representatives introduced and continue to support a carbon tax bill, intended to promote market competitiveness in producing alternative, cleaner forms of energy. They concluded their talk by encouraging all attendees to share what they had learnt with friends and family, emphasizing the importance of public opinion in making progress on climate change.

Thursday, October 25th | 4:30 p.m. | Goertzen 21

Media and Politics Symposium: Targeting you! Micro-targeting in elections.

Image result for travis ridoutRelated imageImage result for Emily Stewart vox

On Thursday, October 25, Shannon McGregor, Travis Ridout, and Emily Stewart discussed the issue of micro-targeting, gathering and selling data on internet users, and its recent effects on our political process.

They argued that the practices employed during the 2016 election were a dangerous trend that could lead to massive overhaul in our political process. At the very least, they said, there needs to be more accountability by organizations like Google and Facebook that would allow the general public to be more aware of their activities during elections.

Shannon McGregor is a professor specializing in Political Communication at the University of Utah, Travis Ridout is Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy at Washington State University, and Emily Stewart is a Vox News reporter who reported extensively on Cambridge Analytica and micro-targeting during the 2016 election

Monday, October 15th | 12:00 p.m. | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee and Politics: Why they come

On Monday October 15, Miguel De La Torre spoke at the institute on the historical origins of the current immigration crisis. De La Torre argued that the historic appropriation of Latin American resources through political interventions by the United States had contributed to the current phenomenon of large numbers of Latin American workers entering the United States. He identified the United Fruit Company, NAFTA, and subsidies for big farmers as other factors that contributed to the economic circumstances south of the border that he suggested left few options for many but to try and cross the border.

Although De La Torre argues that certain Latin American countries are actually due some form of recompense for the resource wealth that they have lost, but stated that he would be satisfied just to see more humane treatment of undocumented migrants.


Thursday, October 4th | 4:30 p.m. | CUB Junior Ballroom

Public Lecture: Fantasyland


On Thursday, October 4, author Kurt Andersen delivered a public lecture based on the ideas contained in his best-selling book Fantasyland: How America went Haywire.

Andersen discussed the history behind what he sees as America’s strong connection to subjective beliefs and feelings over empirical and factual truths. He suggested that extreme religious views, combined with intense individualism, conspiracy theories, and a show business mentality have contributed to what he calls Fantasyland America. As a result, a delusional set of beliefs have gained sway in the U.S., making Americans appear to hold more extreme views, and believe more fake news than the rest of the global north.


Tuesday, October 2nd | 12:00 p.m. | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee and Politics: Trump’s Foreign Policy

On Tuesday, October 2, Kenneth Schultz discussed how the divergence between Republicans and Democrats may impact U.S. foreign policy.

He suggested that increasing political polarization has had several effects in the U.S. Declining bipartisan support when employing diplomatic power, inconsistency in commitments to allies and adversaries, as well the concentration of power in the executive branch are widening the party gaps on foreign policy. Noting that Republicans and Democrats are highly divided along ideological lines, he said that there has been an increasing reliance on presidential unilateral powers.

Kenneth Schultz is professor of political science at Stanford University.


Wednesday, September 26th | 12:00 p.m. | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee and Politics: District 9 Town Hall

On Wednesday, September 26th, two of the four candidates for Washington’s 9th district, Jennifer Goulet (D) and Matthew Sutherland (D), participated in a candidate town hall meet at the institute, and discussed their proposed platforms if elected.

The candidates, who are challenging incumbents in the district for positions in the state legislature, updated the audience on their priorities if elected, including support for increased access to education, and affordable healthcare.


Wednesday, September 19th | 12:00 p.m. | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee and Politics: Polling in the midterms


On Wednesday, September 19th, Dr. Stuart Elway discussed details of poll results in Washington for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Elway, the founder and owner of Elway Research Inc., explained a potential shift in the Eastern side of the state from Republican-leaning to Democratic-leaning. His data showed that politics in Washington has become increasingly polarized, with a clear partisan divide between counties on either side of the state, divided by the so-called Cascade Curtain.

He highlighted the fifth, eighth and fourth Congressional District races, which are closer than in recent years, but it was unclear whether this was leading to a “blue wave”. However, demographic changes in the state will likely lead to more redistricting after the next census, with increased numbers of Washingtonians living in the cities, which could lead to a greater divide between the urban and rural parts of the state.


Monday, September 17th | 12:00 p.m. | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee and Politics: 5th District Candidate Town Hall


On Monday September 17th Lisa Brown returned to WSU to discuss her campaign for the 5th congressional district. Brown addressed an audience of students, faculty, and community members on the current state of inefficiency in Congress and how she hopes to improve it should she be elected to replace incumbent Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers.

Following her address, Brown took questions from the audience on topics ranging from ecological protective measures to gun control reform. Brown put particular emphasis on her passion for reforming university funding and confronting the student debt crisis. She cited her experience coming from a lower-income household and the opportunities that a Pell grant afforded her, and noting that such federally funded aid is increasingly hard to come by. Brown finished her talk by urging her supporters to speak on her behalf and participate fully in the electoral process by watching or attending upcoming debates.