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Listen: Political Scientist Ben Berger on the 2016 Election

RadionTimes (WHYY): "Election Day is here! Discuss..."

Earlier today, Associate Professor of Political Science Ben Berger shared his thoughts on the 2016 election on WHYY's RadioTimes. 

Like many voters this election season, Berger admits to feeling weary. “Voters are weary, and I am pretty weary, too," he says (17:20). "I will be very happy if all the citizens are just weary tomorrow and actually willing to get over it. And I’m a little worried, and I think a lot of people are, that weariness won’t be what everyone feels and some people will be quite agitated.”

Berger notes (24:17) that in this election, "More Democrats report that they are actually 'for' Hillary Clinton than 'against' Donald Trump. More Republicans say they are 'against' Hillary Clinton as opposed to 'for' Donald Trump. Very interesting. It's the highest level there's been of Republicans being not 'for' the Republican but being 'against' the Democrat in quite a while." 

He also explains (28:49) that, due to cognitive bias, people are prone to believe the things they already want to believe. If people believe Donald Trump is going to win and doesn't, and the people believe he didn't win because the election was rigged, "then that has to be dealt with right away. I am not quite sure how it gets dealt with right away. That's the most urgent thing and that's why I hope people are just weary and not something else tomorrow."

Berger also discussed the past practice in Swarthmore of poll workers carefully checking and at times challenging the registrations of Swarthmore College students (31:08), last night's rally for Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia and the fear of what happens should the "other" side win (35:25), protest votes (39:56), Senate gridlock (42:56), Trump's chances of winning Pennsylvania (44:29), bipartisanship (46:23), and the role of the media in the election (48:05).

Berger, the executive director of Swarthmore's Lang Center Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, studies the intersection between normative political theory and empirical political science. His current projects include a book on civic education and another on moral engagement and disengagement. His Attention Deficit Democracy: The Paradox of Civic Engagement won the North American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award for the best social philosophy book published in 2011.

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