Political Science, Current Events


The spotlight once again will be on Florida in the 2018 midterm election cycle. The stakes are high for both parties, with Florida being key to which party controls the US Senate and House. Both the Senate race and the gubernatorial contest are projected to go down to the wire. The next governor will have veto power over the 2022 congressional redistricting plan. Dr. Susan A. MacManus, Distinguished Professor Emerita at USF, is Florida's most-quoted political scientist.
Is our democracy broken? History offers hope. Consider six pivotal cases in U.S. history from three centuries as decision makers would have; through background briefing on the issues. In class, we will analyze and wrestle with the issues and options decision makers faced. Experience history in a more immersive way and emerge with a greater appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of American democracy and a new appreciation for its resilience. Case readings (30 pgs. each, provided) are required preparation.
Demographics, water, energy, and climate change will have a major impact on the U.S. and its role in the world, no matter who is president or which party controls Congress. Will the U.S. recognize and adapt to the challenges? We will examine the effects of protracted conflicts on our foreign military policies and consider strategy options, focusing on our policy on Syria and the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
This course will be a friendly gathering of people who enjoy considering newsworthy events together. We invite you to join our talented communicators as we engage in discussions on the pressing topics of our time. Class participation is an integral part of this course: you will be invited to help select several topics and your opinions are welcome. We will identify current issues, consider them in all their complexity, and then move on to consider possible solutions. Topics will range from domestic to foreign affairs as well as Florida-specific and women's issues.
In every mid-term election since the Civil War, the president's party has lost, on average, 32 seats in the House and 2 in the Senate. In the upcoming 2018 midterm election, Democrats need only 24 seats to flip the House and two to take the Senate. The road to the White House starts now, in earnest! If you thought "Decision 2016" was intriguing, raucous and surprising, then join fellow political enthusiasts for this political discussion forum.
Russia once again looms large in American politics. The world is facing a combative and assertive Russia, as initial hopes for democracy and reform have collapsed. This class will look at how post-Soviet Russia got from there to here: we will explore the rise of populist nationalism in Russia and its relationship to populism in the west. Finally, we will examine the dominance of Putin as Russia has transitioned from dictatorship and back again.
We have approximately 100,000 military and civilians on the Korean Peninsula today plus countless Americans who are married to Koreans living permanently in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). We have had a strong military force there for the past 60 years. American Presidents since Clinton have said a nuclear North Korea is unacceptable. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have had a recent meeting with some positive results. But where will the future lead us?
Follow the candidates, the issues, and the media coverage as the 2018 election period roars to a frenetic finish. Using real-time examples, learn how media biases &emdash; some subtle, some overt &emdash; shape your image of certain candidates, and study how candidates manipulate the media to influence your choices on Election Day. For our final class (the Monday after the election), discuss your personal choices, the validity of polling, and what the winning candidates did to succeed.
The Middle East is frequently in the news, but many of us lack the background to put that news into context. Obtain that background from a person who has lived and studied many years in the region. After learning about the emergence of Islam in the 7th century, we will consider the economy, particularly the oil market, along with the political issues that preoccupy the states in this region.
Consider the impact of this administration's economic policies on deficits and the national debt by reviewing the U.S. attempt to operate central banks and the establishment of the Federal Reserve. Understand how the Fed operates, controls interest rates and the money supply, and the management of the national debt. In addition, we examine other institutions such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Finally, we will see if the assets of the federal government are being managed in a way that allow us to continually increase our national debt.