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Political Science Chair and Professor Karen Beckwith on City Club Panel for GOP Debate

Posted on August 4, 2015

Next July, Cleveland will host the 2016 Republic National Convention, where state delegates will select the party’s presidential candidate. It will mark the third time the convention has been held in Cleveland—the first since 1936.

And before the city ramps up to host an estimated 50,000 people next summer, Republican candidates will kick off primary season in Cleveland this week.

On Thursday, Aug. 6, the party’s top 10 ranked candidates will be in town to participate in the first GOP Presidential Primary Debate. The two-hour televised event, airing on Fox News Channel, will begin at 9 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena—the same place the Republican National Convention will be held next year. The candidates will be announced today at 5 p.m., selected based on an average of five national polls.

The GOP’s spotlight on Cleveland is not by chance: Throughout history, Ohio has proven a key battleground state, and a “must-win” for either major party.

“Republicans haven’t won the presidency without winning Ohio,” said Political Science Chair Karen Beckwith. “And while holding the convention here will not make citizens more likely to vote for the Republican candidate, there’s a belief that that might be the case, and that the presence of the convention might serve to increase voter turnout for the Republicans.”

Prior to the debate, Beckwith will share this and other academic insights as part of a panel discussion at the City Club of Cleveland. She will join John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, and Jakiel Sanders, chair of governmental affairs for the Cleveland Young Professional Senate, to discuss the dynamics in the GOP primary race, the stakes for this debate and the beginning of debate season.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring some professional academic perspective to what is often a media spectacle,” Beckwith said.“ It allows us to have a less ideological and more informed discussion about the debates themselves at the beginning of primary season.”

The panel discussion—sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation, the Cleveland Young Professional Senate and ideastream—will begin at 6:30 p.m. Following the discussion, the City Club of Cleveland invites guests to stay for a debate watch party.

Beckwith plans to bring some of her students to the event—one of many opportunities she has in store for her students over the next 12 months, as she and her colleagues in the political science department plan courses for spring and summer 2016 that will center on the upcoming Republican National Convention.

The convention “will allow students to be up close and see what a national nominating convention looks like,” Beckwith said. “They’ll also have the opportunity to do a substantial amount of research on anything from media coverage to candidates’ campaigns to public protest.”

Getting a first-hand, up-close look is a major benefit of Cleveland hosting the convention, Beckwith said, but it’s also a great opportunity to showcase the city and Case Western Reserve.

“I think Cleveland is going to be an outstanding host,” Beckwith said. “I hope people will come to University Circle to visit Severance Hall and the museums, but most of all to see Case Western Reserve University and our extraordinary students and faculty.”


Article from CWRU Daily, August 4, 2015.

Page last modified: August 4, 2015