Politics & Polls #4: How the RNC is ‘Unconventional’

Jul 21 2016
By Julian Zelizer & SamWang (Produced by B. Rose Kelly)
Source Woodrow Wilson School

It’s been an interesting week at the Republication National Convention in Cleveland. Donald Trump’s wife Melania was accused of plagiarizing her speech. Ted Cruz was booed offstage after failing to endorse Trump. And Hillary Clinton was called a “criminal” and compared to “Lucifer.”

Will such dramatic incidents have an impact on voters? And more generally speaking, what role do these conventions play in modern America? Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang debate this issue and more in episode four of Politics & Polls.

Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 
Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published over six hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.com

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. In 2012, his statistical analysis correctly predicted the presidential vote outcome in 49 of 50 states. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum and autism.