Tag Archives: environmental politics

Environmental Politics and Presidential Elections

The day after the 2012 election, I had the pleasure of leading a class of Davidson Learns, a new lifelong learning initiative serving the Lake Norman area, on environmental issues in Presidential elections.  The talk was entitled “Does the Earth Matter, and in it I took the audience on a whirlwind tour of presidential debates, which was fun because unlike my Davidson undergraduate students, most in the audience remembered these events very clearly.  We watched clips from debates between Bush, Clinton, and Perot, Clinton and Dole, Bush and Gore, and Bush and Kerry, and Obama and McCain, and looked at word clouds from these debates of terms relating to the environment.  We also discussed data and analyses of public opinion related to the environment and presidential candidates.

My thesis was that while environmental issues have never been the most important issue in a presidential campaign, 1) they have influenced some voter preferences and 2) they have been key components of campaign strategy in all of the presidential elections.  This is primarily due to their latent importance to the American electorate.  We had a lively and interesting discussion of these ideas – it was great to connect and talk about American politics and the environment with members of the broader Davidson community, and look forward to doing it again in the future.

A New Professor at Davidson College

Here I am, outside our new house in Davidson, on my way to my first day of classes!  I am teaching Environmental Social Sciences, a required core course for the college’s new Environmental Studies major, and American Politics, in which I am focusing on the politics of reform.  I am very much looking forward to teaching these two courses this fall — they will enable me to step back from my specific research on information-based governance and think more broadly about politics and the environment.  And it will be great to learn from my students about their perspectives on the many different issues and topics that we will covering in both courses.  If you’re interested, you can check out my syllabi on my Teaching page.

Otherwise, things have been going great so far — everyone has been incredibly friendly and welcoming, and have really been helpful in the settling-in process.  Davidson has a beautiful campus and wonderful community, and I am looking forward to becoming a part of it.