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Election 2008: Outcomes and Implications

Wed March 5, 2008 at Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

The 2008 presidential election has already proven to be one of the most interesting and unpredictable in U.S. history. On the Republican side, frontrunners have faded to near extinction only to roar back and take the national lead. Still other candidates soared to a sizable national lead early only to flame out spectacularly and exit the race over the span of a few weeks.

The Democratic primary is so hotly contested that it may not be decided until the Denver convention- a phenomenon not experienced by either party in nearly four decades. Campaigns have played on ideas of change, ideas of history, and ideas of hope. Presidential candidates have touted policy and traded personal attacks. War, jobs, health care, race, and gender have all played key parts in the election thus far and it’s only March. No matter the outcome, this race will profoundly affect the nation for years to come.

This panel looks to examine the race in terms of its successes and failures and how it will impact government moving forward. What does the race mean for each party leading into the general election and--more importantly--what does it mean for the policies of a new administration in January 2009?

Discussion topics:

  •  What will come from the Democratic National Convention?  Will “superdelegates” decide the nominee and if so, will that battle fracture the party irreparably going into the general election?
  • Assuming that John McCain is the Republican nominee, can he win over the much needed conservative wing of the GOP in the general election? 
  • With such heated battles in both primaries, what will the eventual nominees have left for a general election contest?
  •  How will the overall tenor of the election affect a new government in January 2009?  Will calls for change overcome partisan rancor or will we see more of the same?

Moderator:  Dr. Paul Stekler


  • Dan Bartlett, former Counselor to President George W. Bush
  • Matthew Dowd, founding partner, ViaNovo
  • Thomas Mann, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
  • Wayne Slater, lead political writer, The Dallas Morning News
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