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Policy debate helps to bridge political divide

February 18, 2020
by James Helicke

Skidmore College hosted a policy debate with leading pundits from both sides of the political spectrum aimed at encouraging dialogue at a time of growing political division in the nation.

The Periclean Honors Forum Fourth Annual Policy Debate featured Matthew Continetti, resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, and Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of Washington Monthly. The Feb. 13 panel, “The Rise of Populism and the Future of Left and Right,” was moderated by students Maya Bornstein ’20 and Hannah Tuohy ’22.

Program director Flagg Taylor noted that civil discussion is becoming increasingly difficult in “our hyper-polarized" contemporary period.

“This series is dedicated to bringing a range of opinions to campus so we all might be more inclined to submit our own opinions to rigorous examination,” the associate professor of political science said.

Despite differing political views, the tone for the discussion remained friendly throughout.

“I find when I’m on a panel with Paul that we agree too much,” Continetti quipped at the beginning of the discussion.

Both Continetti and Glastris also agreed on the importance of dialogue as they outlined different ways that populism in the United States and abroad have shaped the political landscape.

“Right now, we’re locked in to as 50-50 a nation as we’ve ever been,” Glastris said at the event in Gannett Auditorium.

Periclean Honors Forum Fourth Annual Policy Debate

Audience members asked the panelists questions during the Periclean Honors Forum Fourth Annual Policy Debate.

Earlier in the day, both visited a political science course and also spoke to a group of students interested in pursuing careers in the evolving field of journalism.

The Periclean Honors Forum Annual Policy Debate is designed to bring distinguished thinkers and practitioners to campus to discuss important philosophical, political or ethics topics of significant public concern.

The policy debate was made possible through a gift from Janice Billingsley ’68.

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