The election season of 2008—marking the 56th consecutive quadrennial election of the president and vice president and the first since 1928 in which neither an incumbent president nor an incumbent vice president ran for his party’s nomination—has been filled with surprises, controversy, and confusion and has aroused enormous public interest.
The primary field of 9 Democrats and 12 Republicans began to narrow after the Iowa caucuses, yet Super Tuesday yielded no nominee for either party. Though he had been written off by the pundits, John McCain won the Republican nomination after the March 4 primaries, when the historic frontrunner Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, knotted into a virtual tie—and by mid-April the only clear prediction became that, for the first time since 1960, the next president would be a sitting senator. Through it all, newspapers published pages of political print, television networks staged elaborate debates and devoted hours of coverage to politics, and, on YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook, the campaign raged.
This fall, the general presidential campaign will undoubtedly generate just as much heat, and there are senatorial races in 35 states, congressional races in every state, and gubernatorial races in 11 states, all to be decided on November 4, 2008. Richard Murray will once again channel that energy into enlightenment and excitement about our elections. Join us for three timely lectures, the final one on November 5, the day following the historic Election of 2008.
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 April 2008.
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