Partisan Politics: How It Shapes Our Democracy

Four Mondays, January 9, 16, 23, and 30, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

Can the two parties’ domination of our electoral system be sustained in an era of widespread disenchantment with both Republicans and Democrats? Approval ratings of both major parties have dropped in recent years, and independent candidates at the state and local levels now receive a larger share of the vote than at any time since the 1930s.  Does this situation offer a real chance to independent candidates like Kinky Friedman?  Or, can a new party or parties arise to challenge the 150-year dominance of the Republican and Democratic parties?   Is the U.S. Supreme Court independent from partisan politics? 

January 9:  Richard Murray, “Is the Party Over?”
Richard Murray has taught at the University of Houston since 1977 and is currently the Bob Lanier Professor of Urban Public Policy in the department of political science and director of the Center for Public Policy.  His academic interests are in Houston and Texas politics, focusing on campaigns and elections, political parties and interest groups, and public opinion. Professor Murray has written extensively in these areas, while teaching courses ranging from graduate seminars to introductory American government.  He has consulted in more than 200 political campaigns and conducts polls for local media and local governments.  Professor Murray is a political analyst for KTRK TV, Channel 13.

January 16: Daron Shaw “Picking up Steam or Running out of Gas?  The GOP in 2006”
Daron Shaw has been a consultant in Republican presidential campaigns since 1992.  He was a consultant on strategy for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign and a member of the planning committee for the 2004 National Election Study.  An associate professor of government at the University of Texas, Shaw is also a research fellow at  the Hoover Institution and a member of the National Election Studies Board of Overseers.  He is writing a book on campaign effects in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

January 23: Bruce Buchanan, “The Presidency and American Politics:  A Status Report”
Bruce Buchanan, a professor of government at the University of Texas, is author of The State of the Presidency and Presidential Campaign Quality. A political analyst regularly featured in the national and international media, Buchanan’s most recent paper at the American Political Science Association conference is entitled “Expectations of Presidential Performance.” He  has a Ph.D. from Yale University.

January 30: R. Ted Cruz,  "The Supreme Court of the United States:  Where It Is and Where It Is Going"
As the solicitor general of Texas, R. Ted Cruz is the chief appellate lawyer for the state. He is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, where he teaches U.S. Supreme Court litigation. Arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court, he successfully defended the constitutionality of a public monument displaying the Ten Commandments. Previously, he served as director of the Office of Policy Planning for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, as the U.S. Department of Justice coordinator for the Bush transition team, and as domestic policy advisor to President George W. Bush on the Bush-Cheney campaign.


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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!


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