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Buchheit Lecturer

 

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The political landscape after 2012
The Buchheit Family Lecture

By Grace Galvin

South Carolina has a long history of interesting politics that leaves journalists, like Washington Post political correspondent Dan Balz, intrigued and yearning for more drama from this southern state’s political arena. “South Carolina politics never cease to be interesting,” said Balz, “I think I can say they never seem to cease!” After logging more than a few hours in this state over the course of his impressive career, Balz came back to speak at the Buchheit Family Lecture Series on January 23. His lecture, “The Political Landscape after 2012,” revolved around the evolution of politics during the 2012 election.

Balz has been covering politics for the Washington Post since the 1970s. He spent much of his time over the past year personally following and researching both presidential campaigns, as well as assessing the 2012 electorate.

As Balz presented his findings, we learned how President Obama was able to claim office for a second term even though his victory margin was smaller in 2012 than in 2008. Obama’s campaign was able to avoid talking about his record, or “report card.” It focused on changing the shape of the electorate and put the party’s demographic advantages to use for voter turnout. Obama’s campaign also used social media to reach out to the American people to make them feel more involved on a personal level, which made Obama seem more relatable than Mitt Romney. According to Balz, the skillful use of these tactics may have made the 2012 election the turning point in how campaigns are run in the future.  

The 2013 Buchheit Family Lecture 

Balz’s findings also allowed him to predict where we are heading as a nation and what this means for President Obama and the Republicans. Balz says we will see a different Barack Obama in his second term. He will be tougher and less willing to “deal with” Republicans. Obama’s inaugural speech set out a vision that cheered a progressive mission for the country, which greatly alarmed Republicans, as well as the remaining 49.4% of the country that did not vote for President Obama. Balz will analyze this nation’s interesting politics further as he finishes his book, Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America.


Grace Galvin is a public relations minor and a student in the J-school’s publication writing and design course.

 
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