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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

U.S. seeks change, NW speaker says

By Crystal Fillmore/reporter

The nation may be ready for a “realignment or change,” for the upcoming presidential election, a guest speaker told NW students and faculty last week.

Jim Riddlesperger, a TCU political science professor, reflected on the past 40 years of elections as to what has changed or remained the same during a seminar sponsored by the social sciences department March 5.

“What has changed over the last 40 years?” he asked.

With each generation evolves a need for change. From “presidential support … to the support of Congress and the Supreme Court,” Riddlesperger said there has been a decrease in these areas over the years.

“We are not as trustworthy in our president, government or Congress as we used to be,” he said, “which shows in voter turn out.”

Riddlesperger said that between 1964-68 a high of 68 percent of all adult Americans voted. A decrease was reported in 1996 of 49.6 percent and an increase in 2004 with 53 percent of Americans voting.

“The objective for the candidates in 2008 is to get 27 percent of Americans to vote for them … at least one out of four to support their campaign in order to win the election,” he said.

Richard Nixon set the tone for his campaign, in 1968 as “image is everything,” which is still the main focus for candidates today.

Riddlesperger described Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain as all having similarities among them: they are all three senators. A senator has not been president since John F. Kennedy in 1960.

“Each candidate desires good education, good healthcare … want away with terrorism,” he said.

Riddlesperger talked about character-istics he believes a president should have with “vision, leadership and communication” at the top of the list. He gives Clinton credit on showing national leadership.

“I think that when you vote … consider the candidate’s policies, leadership characteristics and national mood,” he said.

A student said she was a Libertarian and asked out of the remaining candidates, “who shares similar views that Libertarians could consider in supporting?”

Riddlesperger said Obama “shares” more of a libertarian view than the other candidates. The example given was his view on healthcare and making it “optional” for employers to have healthcare.

The economic vibe in 1968 after Nixon was elected was that of a society dealing with riots, Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. Nixon viewed the nation as in need for a change.

“Are we ready for another realignment?” he asked. “We are in an unpopular war … with a jittery economy, in need for change.”

For the 2008 election, Riddlesperger predicted a Democratic year in need for a change of direction.

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