Beyond the Media Noise into the Presidential Election

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 (All day) to Tuesday, December 8, 2020 (All day)
Graphic of U.S. capitol building with Vote button and mascots

This lecture series features panels of SF State faculty providing analysis of the presidential election, followed by group discussion. The 15-session series explores how campaigns operate, including media coverage and campaign finance, and will discuss such issues as the economy, health care, immigration and foreign policy. Facilitator: Joel Kassiola. Tuesdays, 4 p.m. – 5:40 p.m. Free.


August 25: Introduction and The Electoral College Explained and Assessed

What is the Electoral College? How and why do we have it? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Can we change it? How? To what?

Featuring Professors Eva Shepard Wolf and Rebecca Eisler.

September 1: The Coronavirus Crisis: Past Management and Future Projections

What is the latest understanding of this novel virus? How much has it harmed human health worldwide? Here in the U.S.? What are the projections for the next three months? Six months? Twelve months? Were the federal, state and local (city and county) governments’ responses to virus adequate from a public health point of view? What have we learned about governments’ responses to pandemics? What are the projections for a vaccine and therapeutic treatments in the near future?

September 8: The Economy: Latest Data, Future Projections, Pandemic Impacts

What were the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic? Worldwide? Here in the U.S.? What were the federal government’s economic responses to the economic consequences of the pandemic? Were they adequate from an economic point of view? How significant is the huge debt piled up responding to the virus outbreak? Should foreign trade be viewed differently after the pandemic? With China, in particular? What are the future economic projections? What if there is a second wave of the pandemic this winter?

Featuring Professors Max Lee and Chenghao Hu.

September 15: The Environment: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Pollution and Consequences

What is the state of the environment in the U.S. today? What is climate change? What are the latest data regarding climate change? Have there been changes proposed to manage climate change? Will they be enacted? How has the energy policy changed under the current administration? What have been the results of these changes regarding energy? Pollution? Can environmentalists learn anything valuable about social change from reactions to the virus pandemic?

September 22: Education: Kindergarten – 12 and Higher Education

What were impacts of the pandemic on schools and colleges? What are lessons learned after the virus and economic consequences? What is the remote learning legacy? How will lower budgets for public schools impact students? Pre-kindergarten initiatives for all? What are the impacts of the virus on special education and its students? Will there be some public school reforms as a result of the virus crisis? What will happen to college student debt? What impact will the virus have on college costs in the future after the virus? What is the future of remote learning for colleges?

Featuring SF State President Lynn Mahoney and Professors Sheldon Gen and Kathleen Mortier.

September 29: Immigration

Will there be paths to legal status for immigrants? Paths to citizenship? What are the impacts of the coronavirus crisis upon Immigration — documented and undocumented? What are the security concerns about unregulated immigration? What is the status of open borders ideas during a time of a pandemic? What are the best uses of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? What will happen to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients? What should be the criteria for admission to the U.S.? Criteria for citizenship? What is the present status and future of the border wall?

October 6: Health Care: What Have We Learned About the U.S. Health-Care System

What did we learn about the U.S. health-care system’s response to the coronavirus crisis? Where are we with regard to fundamental reforms of the health-care system like single-payer? What is the status of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)? What is the status of health insurance in the U.S. post-“Obamacare” and post-virus crisis? Are we prepared for a second wave of the coronavirus?

Featuring Professor Anoshua Chaudhuri.

October 13: The State of Civil Liberties in the U.S. in 2020

This session explores police misconduct, reforms and budgets; income and wealth inequality; the problem of homelessness; online privacy protection; criminal justice reforms; and religious freedoms during a pandemic.

Featuring Professors Martin Carcieri and Nicholas Conway.

October 20: U.S. Foreign Affairs I: Russia, China, North Korea and Iran

This session explores military and arms competition with Russia, China, North Korea and Iran; nuclear arms treaties and sanctions with North Korea and Iran; and trade coronavirus sanctions for China.

Featuring Professors Andrei Tsygankov and Rabab Abdulhabi.

October 27: U.S. Foreign Affairs II: Europe, Latin America, Middle East

This session features a discussion on U.S. foreign relations with Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

November 3: Election Watching and Real-time Analysis

Let’s continue our tradition of watching and analyzing the elections together!

November 10: Post-Election Analysis of Results

Dig deep and analyze election results.

November 17: Looking Ahead: Domestic Affairs

Look to the immediate future in the wake of the election results. Who might hold what positions, and what will be the priorities and policies regarding domestic affairs?

December 1: Looking Ahead: Foreign Affairs

Join us for a discussion of the immediate future in the wake of the election results. Who might hold what positions, and what will be the priorities and policies regarding foreign affairs?

December 8: What Can You Do Before the Next Election to Improve our Society?

Just like the city of San Francisco, SF State is known for valuing activism, social engagement and service to community.

Online (Zoom)
Political Science Department, Alumni Association
Joel Kassiola