Understanding the issues at home and abroad

February 08, 2021 |

a person wearing glasses and a white shirtDr. Tomasz Inglot has been a member of the Political Science and International Relations faculty since 1995. With the election and its aftermath still fresh in our minds, Dr. Inglot offered the following perspective on voting and voter participation:

Voter participation in some countries including the US has been on the rise while traditional political parties have been in decline in European Union countries. In the US, we have seen a radicalization of the two leading parties and an electorate that is rigidly polarized, motivated by inflexible ideological positions and an unwillingness to compromise”

In conjunction, either led by or leading the eligible voters, traditional parties and political leaders have drifted away from their moderate positions to capture the slipping electorate. Exploitation of highly divisive cultural and emotional issues (immigration, abortion, human rights) has driven the middle-ground and younger voters to support newer fringe parties or opt out altogether.

Increased participation and extreme polarization do not make for better democracies. Frequently the voters do not know the candidates well and are susceptible to believing in misleading and highly partisan information. Further fragmentation and alienation of the electorate has allowed anti-vaxxers, anarchists and conspiracy theorists to thrive in a volatile political environment.

I construct my classes to encourage my students to open up to the world using media sources with a high level of integrity and with sufficient coverage of the world outside of the US. As native of Poland, I tell them stories of my travel and living overseas, in Europe and the Far East. I welcome the podcast initiative as an important resource to include in my classes.