Big Ideas: Election 2020

This fall we have the quadrennial opportunity to study American politics during a presidential campaign. Combining real-time analysis of the election campaigns, an in-depth study of the relevant historical context, and a lively roster of guest speakers from academics and social movements, this twice a week class taught by two UC Berkeley professors provides an interdisciplinary introduction to American politics in a time of unprecedented crisis and possibility.

Michael Mark Cohen, American Studies and African American Studies, and Saru Jayaraman, Goldman School of Public Policy, take you through the day-to-day flow of the 2020 campaign, taking on everything from polling data and social media coverage, the COVID-19 pandemic and the waves of social protests, to the presidential debates and the final vote tallies. While the presidential election will hold center stage, they will also explore politics from a local, state wide and international level.

New programs are added every Monday and Wednesday evening. Each session begins with a lively, up-to-the-minute discussion of the latest events in the race. From there, delve into the sources of these current events. Each Wednesday features a guest speaker; specialists, academics and social movement leaders from across the campus, the Bay Area and the world offer their expert insight into our political system.

This election, and this moment of crisis, will define the future of American democracy. And in this class, we will examine this turning point as it happens.

Browse more programs in Big Ideas: Election 2020.

Investing in the Future

How do we connect youth who are struggling to the possibility of a brighter future? We meet them where they are with opportunity and compassion. Youth advocates from the spheres of education, non-profit, and health come together in this engaging conversation to talk about how they implement programs, how they navigate challenges, and how they found their career paths.

This panel is part of the Global Empowerment Summit that aims to activates changemakers around collaborative solutions in the areas of empowerment, education, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and social impact.

Watch Guiding Lost Youth to a Better Future – Global Empowerment Summit 2019.

To watch more, please visit https://uctv.tv/global-empowerment-summit/

The Great Immigration Debate

Is immigration an overall benefit, or burden to society? That’s was the central question posed at the 2019 Arthur N. Rupe debate at UC Santa Barbara. Rubén Rumbaut, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UC Irvine, takes the position that immigration is not only good, but necessary for the success of the United States. Taking the stance that immigration needs to be scaled back and tightly controlled is Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a controversial organization that has been designated an anti-immigrant hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The participants began by laying out their visions for the hallmarks of good immigration policy. Rumbaut leans heavily on the ideas that the population of the United States is aging, fewer children are being born, and our pension and social security systems will fall into crisis without an influx of new workers. Thus, he argues immigration is necessary to prop up those systems, strengthen the labor force, and repopulate shrinking towns across the country. Krikorian’s central idea is the polar opposite. He argues the United States is in good shape, and has no need for new immigration. Therefore, he says immigration policy should seek to have a net zero impact on the economy. He proposes updating the system to only accept immediate family members of current US citizens, and set the bar for skilled immigration to “Einstein” levels, meaning only people at the top of their fields.

Both debaters address several aspects of immigration policy, from big picture concepts like measuring success, to details such as how many people from any given group should be granted citizenship each year. While their differences of opinion are clear throughout the debate, they do find agreement on one issue: the current long-term population of undocumented immigrants in the United States should be granted amnesty.

With a topic as complex and divisive as immigration, it is not surprising to see more disagreement than agreement. But, finding some common ground is essential if any real progress is to be made. Whatever your stance, this debate provides some insight into the other side of the argument.

Watch — Immigration: A Boon or Burden to U.S. Society? – 2019 Arthur N. Rupe Great Debate

Honoring the Legacy of an Urban Planning Pioneer

Leo Estrada built a legacy fighting for civil rights, voting rights and equal representation for Latinos during his 40-years at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. Estrada was a pioneer in the field of urban planning, providing his expertise to the U.S. Census Bureau throughout his career. Estrada passed away in 2018, and the Luskin School established a fellowship in his honor, proving support to underrepresented graduate students in the Department of Urban Planning. Recently, the Luskin School paid tribute to Estrada with a daylong symposium centered around the lessons of his work.

The New Majority & the 2020 Census: Shifting the Balance of Power

In his keynote address, Arturo Vargas, president and CEO of the NALEO Educational Fund discusses the importance of the census, and the long history of efforts to avoid counting immigrants and minorities. Indeed, the Hispanic origin question was only added to the census in the 1970s, when Leo Estrada was working at the U.S. Census Bureau. Vargas calls the controversial proposal to require undocumented immigrants to identify themselves a scare tactic, aimed at decreasing representation in Washington. He details other challenges ahead, and what must be done to overcome them.

Demography & Population Studies as a Conduit to Systems Change

Quality data is paramount to ensuring equal representation. If we don’t know who is living in our communities, we can’t create and maintain the systems needed to care for and support those communities. In this panel discussion, experts on data collection, Chicano studies and urban planning discuss the challenges of getting good data, and how to turn data into action.

The Historical Exclusion of Minority Elected Officials & The Modern Fight for Minority-Majority Districts

Leo Estrada had a major impact on redistricting in California. This panel discussion features former elected officials, legal and political experts discussing how Estrada worked to ensure people of color achieved equal representation in the legislature. Not only was his expertise and data collection essential in understanding the makeup of California communities, but it also proved invaluable in recruiting the best candidates.

Mentorship: Building a Diverse Pipeline in the Academy

Leo Estrada’s legacy lives on in the scores of people he mentored over his decades-long career. This panel of academics, who crossed paths with Estrada at various points in their lives, discusses the lessons learned from his unique form of mentorship. They explain how making it in academia can be especially difficult for people from underrepresented communities, and how Estrada’s methods could be used to get more students from those communities through higher education.

Watch — The New Majority & the 2020 Census: Shifting the Balance of Power

Taking the Lead

Madeleine Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated with her parents to the United States at age eleven. She first rose to public prominence in 1993 as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and in 1997 she was appointed as the nation’s first female Secretary of State by President Bill Clinton. In 2012 she was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama. Now a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University, Albright has remained active as an author, lecturer, and international envoy.

In her Commencement address to UC San Diego graduates Albright stresses the need to build communities, both locally and globally, and the importance of public service – topics on which she is eminently qualified to speak, having spent her adult life as a diplomat and dedicated public servant. As Secretary, Albright was an articulate advocate for democracy, human rights, fair labor practices, environmental protection, and global trade, and in her talk she notes that these core values align precisely with UC San Diego’s institutional philosophy and mission goals.

She urges the assembled students to become actively involved in public life and to assume leadership roles in addressing such serious issues as income inequality, climate change, nuclear proliferation, peace in the Middle East, terrorism, and, of course, immigration reform, noting that in addition to being the first female Secretary of State she is herself an immigrant. Albright emphasizes that the interconnectedness of today’s world heightens the need for thoughtful communal consensus in formulating new strategies and policies, and that UC San Diego graduates are well-disposed to effect those changes.

Watch — UC San Diego All Campus Commencement 2019 with Madeleine Albright