UCLA faculty, visiting scholars and political thinkers continue to grapple with a contentious presidential campaign that includes “two of the most unpopular candidates in American history,” as Bill Schneider, longtime political analyst and current visiting professor in the UCLA Department of Communication Studies put it during a recent campus event related to the election.

Schneider hosted a discussion between two of UCLA’s most-quoted residential campaign experts: Lynn Vavreck, professor of political science and communication studies, and Matt Barreto, professor of political science and Chicana and Chicano studies. They came together for the grand opening of the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center on Friday, Oct. 7.

Vavreck, Barreto and Schneider shared their insight as keen election campaign observers and to talk through the results of data-gathering around candidate messaging, electorate attitudes and polling trends.

It was the latest, but not the last campus dialogue around the election. In May, Vavreck hosted members of the news media to talk about the rise of Donald Trump. In August she was part of a discussion at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, in which she and American University’s Allan Lichtman, attempted to prognosticate the results of the forthcoming election. (The upshot? It might really come down to what Bernie Sanders supporters decide to do on Nov. 8.)

As the 2016 campaigns head into the final month, there’s more to come.

Thursday, Oct. 13:

The UCLA Department of History presents: “Historians and Others (Try to) Make Sense of the 2016 Election.”

Stephen Aron, professor and Robert N. Burr Department Chair of the department, moderates a "Why History Matters" panel discussion featuring professors Ivan Berend and Ellen Dubois, campaign strategists Bill Carrick and Paul Maslin, and Los Angeles Times Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Mascaro. A reception follows.

Location: California Room, UCLA Faculty Center.

Wednesday, Oct. 19:

The Hammer Museum at UCLA hosts a live viewing of the final presidential debate.

Location: Hammer Annex (advance tickets required) at 6 p.m. (doors at 5 p.m.)

Thursday, Oct. 27:

The Institute of American Cultures will bring together representatives from all four ethnic studies centers for “Beyond the Elections: Political Impacts on Communities of Color.”

Location: 144 Haines Hall (Chicano Studies Research Center Library) 5:30 to 8 p.m. RSVP required.

Tuesday, Nov. 1:

The Hammer Museum presents “Is the Electoral College Obsolete?,” a discussion between Alexander Keyssar, professor of history and social policy at Harvard University and author of "The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States," and journalist Ari Berman, author of "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America." Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.

Location: Billy Wilder Theater (tickets required) at 7:30 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.)


UCLA Extension recently launched a special eight-week course titled “The November Election,” which offers a deep dive into what's on the ballot this year, with particular emphasis on the presidential election, the U.S. Senate race in California and other competitive races throughout the country, as well as the California ballot propositions. The course also looks at campaign financing, the proposed national popular vote for president as it relates to the Electoral College, the initiative process and other reforms. The final class will analyze the Nov. 8 election results and their meaning.

The class is led by Robert Stern, co-director of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. Podcasts featuring visiting experts are available at Itunes U or on the UCLA Extension SoundCloud page.