Democratic Dialogue Series: Parties, Populism and Polarization

Election Dialogue 10-27-16




Parties, Populism and Polarization

7:30-9:00 p.m.


October 27, 2016

Soda Center, Saint Mary’s College of California
1928 St. Mary’s Rd. Moraga, CA 94575






Saint Mary’s College invites the SMC community and the public to participate in a free and timely election panel discussion entitled “Parties, Populism, and Polarization. Five distinguished experts will lead the conversation:


Alan Abramowitz is one of the country’s foremost experts on presidential elections. He is the author of The Polarized Public: Why American Government Is So Dysfunctional; The Disappearing Center: Engaged Citizens, Polarization and American Democracy; and Voice of the People: Elections and Voting in the United States. He is frequently cited as a source in media coverage of politics.

Bruce E. Cain is the Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and Professor of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. A pioneer in computer-assisted redistricting, he is a well-known expert on elections, term limits, polling, and the relationships between lobbyists and elected officials. He is a frequently cited source in media coverage of politics. 

Ruben Barrales is president and CEO of GROW Elect. He has served as president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also served for five years as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for President George W. Bush. In 1998, he was the California Republican Party nominee for state controller. GROW Elect is a political action committee dedicated to recruiting, training, advising, and funding qualified Latino Republican candidates for state and local offices in California.

Vanessa Williamson is a Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. She studies the politics of redistribution. She is the co-author of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, named one of the ten best political books of the year by the New Yorker. It examines the three components of the Tea Party – at the grassroots, in the media, and among Washington elites.

Michele L. Jawando is the Vice President for Legal Progress at American Progress. Previously, she served as general counsel and senior advisor to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), where she was responsible for policy issues pertaining to the federal judiciary and nominations; voting rights; women and labor issues; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, issues; education; telecommunications; technology; and ethics. As a member of Sen. Gillibrand’s senior staff, she helped lead some of the office’s landmark work, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and Sen. Gillibrand’s trailblazing work on military and campus sexual assault. Prior to working for Sen. Gillibrand, Jawando served as the national campaign manager for election protection and legislative counsel at People For the American Way.

For more information contact Professor Steve Woolpert at or (925) 878-1604.


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