McCourtney Institute for Democracy unveils spring 2016 speaker series

February 01, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State will offer a spring speaker series featuring national journalists and political science scholars examining issues related to the 2016 presidential campaign. All of the events are free and open to the public.

David Karol, co-author of "The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform," will deliver the Center for American Political Responsiveness keynote address at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, in Foster Auditorium, located in 102 Paterno Library. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight calls "The Party Decides" “probably … the most-cited and the most-maligned … also the most misunderstood book of the 2016 campaign.” The book presents evidence that party elites continue to exert influence on the nomination process. Karol’s talk will take up these arguments in light of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Conservative commentator, columnist and author Reihan Salam, executive editor of National Review, will discuss “Donald Trump and the Future of the GOP” in his presentation at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29, in the HUB’s Freeman Auditorium. National Review recently published an entire issue dedicated to making the case why Donald Trump should not be the Republican presidential standard bearer. His speech will provide an updated analysis of Trump and the Republican Party following the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

Mary E. Stuckey, professor and director of graduate studies in the Georgia State University Department of Communication, will deliver the 2016 Kenneth Burke Lecture at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, in the Life Sciences Building Auditorium. Stuckey, who is the author of nine books focusing on presidential communication and rhetoric, will discuss the use of anger as a tactic for political candidates.

Based in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, the McCourtney Institute for Democracy promotes rigorous scholarship and practical innovations to advance the democratic process in the United States and abroad. The institute pursues this mission independently and through supporting the work of the Center for Democratic Deliberation and the Center for American Political Responsiveness.

To learn more, go to or email the institute’s managing director, Chris Beem.

Last Updated February 01, 2016