Analyzing the Elections: Prequels and Sequels

Four Mondays: October 17 and 24, November 14 and 28, and Two Wednesdays, November 2 and November 9, 6:00–7:30 P.M. | Covenant Church, 4949 Caroline, 77004, in the museum district. Parking available behind the church or on adjacent side streets

To an unprecedented degree, the 2016 elections have placed all three branches of the United States government in play. In this course, three different speakers with expertise on the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court will discuss what has brought us to this point and what we might expect after the elections are finalized and each branch resumes its work. 

October 17: The Supreme Court: A Refresher.  Dr. Robert Carp will review what the Founding Fathers intended the Court to do, how the Court acquired the right of judicial review, and the way the Court works now: how its agenda is set, what its workload is, and how case opinions are assigned. He will also take a look at the wrestling match between the President and Congress over a Supreme Court appointment this year. Robert Carp is a professor of political science at the University of Houston. His research and teaching specialties are judicial process and behavior, constitutional law, and law and society. He has authored or co-authored seven books in the realm of judicial process and more than thirty articles on judicial decision-making in refereed journals.

October 24: What about the Congressional Races?  Dr. Sean Theriault reminds us that with the White House on the line and a vacancy on the Supreme Court, it would be easy to overlook the congressional elections. But what happens in the House and Senate will have immediate and drastic consequences for whoever wins the White House and whatever it is that the new president hopes to accomplish. Dr. Theriault will put the 2016 congressional elections in historical context and make predictions for what is likely to happen on Election Day.  Sean Theriault, a professor of government at the University of Texas in Austin, specializes in research on congressional decision-making. He was named UT Professor of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2012.

November 2:  The  End of the Marathon: Our Two-Year-Long Presidential Race Comes, at Last, to a Merciful End.  Two years after Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush started their bids for the presidency, soon followed by twenty others seeking the nominations of the Republican and Democratic parties, we will finally reach the finish line on November 8.  The party nominations took widely divergent paths: the Democrats startled by Bernie Sanders’s appeal while the Republicans experienced a “Black Swan Event” in the rise of the combustible Donald Trump, who upended the usual course of things in the GOP race.  Now the survivors battle it out in one of the most interesting campaigns of the last 100 years.  Dr. Richard Murray is the Bob Lanier Professor of Urban Public Policy and director of surveying for the Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston, where an endowed scholarship in his name was established in 2008.

November 9:  The Presidential Race in Perspective: Dr. Richard Murray. Now that the results are in, what does it mean for the future of the country and the Republican and Democratic Parties? Did the Electoral College map shift? Did each party’s bases change? What can we expect from the new President?

November 14:  What’s Next for Congress?  Dr.  Sean Theriault. Who won? Who lost? Why?  And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean for the future of politics and policy in the United States?

November 28: The Supreme Court: a Look into the Future: Dr. Robert Carp. What can we expect of the Court in the next four or eight years, given the type of people the new President is likely to appoint?



Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez October 26-29, 2019 you may access the itinerary, trip cost, and registration documents here.

If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Register today!


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.