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>> Steven Miller:

My name is Steven Miller and I'm the Communications Manager of Waubonsee Community College.

We had this podcast so that people can learn more about the employees, students, partners and programs of Waubonsee.

Rich Kiefer is a professor of political science and history here at Waubonsee. He and I sat down and talked about political science as a discipline, what it is, what it's like to study it, and what's involved in politics today and a bit about impeachment.

We hope you enjoy the conversation.

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Today we're sitting down talking to Rich Kiefer.

He's a Professor of Political Science and History here at Waubonsee Community College. And political things are always an interesting topic and probably particularly so now with the recent political events that we're probably all familiar with the news.

Rich, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself and your history here at the college.

>> Rich Kiefer:

Thank you Steven.

So again my name is Rich Kiefer.

My title here is Professor of Political Science and History.
I've been the college's full-time political science professor since 2000 I came on. Almost every semester I've been here there's always been something exciting to talk about in the political field.

So my first semester here was the Gore Bush 2000 election and kind of the fiasco that unfolded in Florida and the recount, and that just happened to coincide with my first semester. So that was kind of an exciting time to be teaching political science. Almost every semester I teach I tell my students that, you know, try to be aware of what's going on around you because there's always something interesting going on. I think especially in this day and age, we have some very extraordinary events taking place that don’t normally occur. You know, sometimes we have some comparisons in the past we can kind of reference but everything that's happening is unique in its own, own way, so I've been teaching them political science in history for a long time.

Prior to that, I worked at another college for a number of years, taught part-time at a few places. I love my discipline. I taught just about every history course we offer here. Any given semester I teach several sections of intro to American government and we tend to have students from all sorts of different backgrounds and majors so that to me is kind of an exciting way to look at the material. And then I teach a few upper-level political science offerings.

So this semester Spring of 2020 I have comparative politics which we look at how other governments are set up and then I also have state and local government which is how the state government piece kind of interacts with the federal government and their role.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure, sure, so a very, very broad variety of things.

Interesting, you mentioned you started here in 2000. After you had Bush-Gore in that election, then I guess the next year you had 9/11 and just the ongoing sequence of events.

>> Rich Kiefer:

It really is and a lot of these things kinda flow from each other. You look at who won in 2000 eventually became president really affects the direction foreign policy might take. You look at the direction the country pivoted after 9/11 and events that followed were directly related to that, we're still in Afghanistan. It's the nation's longest continuous conflict. It's going on almost as 21st year there. So yeah, that affected indirectly. That's how we end up getting involved in Iraq the first time in 2003 with the invasion. So yeah, I mean, there's always something going on.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

And obviously every two years there's a new election cycle, whether state government or midterm elections, presidential.

>> Steven Miller:

So we're going to probably talk about a lot of a variety of things here today.

But let's start with the with the big thing, this is we're recording this in early February and so whenever anybody listens to this, the fact is that an impeachment proceeding has just ended.

So talk about that.

I'm particularly interested in kind of how that impacts your discussions and your classrooms. So however you want to get there broad, but how does the impeachment proceedings this historic thing that has happened what just three times I guess?

>> Rich Kiefer:

Against the presidency?

>> Steven Miller:

Yes.

>> Rich Kiefer:

So typically this topic comes up in my class.

It's part of my curriculum anyway any given semester. And when we look at like federalism and checks on power and how the executive branch and legislative branches interact, those are things we talk about in my classes every semester. And you're correct with presidential impeachments, there's only been three that have actually played out now. You know a lot of our students that I have in my day classes face to face or you know, 18 to 24 years old so the. Clinton impeachment may be fresh in our minds, but it was you're looking at 1998 and 99 it plays out. So you're looking at 21 years.

When you talk about that as a point of reference, they know who Clinton is but a lot of times they think of him as that's Hillary's husband. You realize that they don't have a first hand reference point with that. You go before that and you get to go to 1868 with Johnson and then that becomes this historical reference in the book. So this semester I noticed a lot of my students started to ask more questions about it and even people asking blatantly, do you think the current president get impeached cuz you heard discussions of this.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

I just listened right before this interview, I was listening to the president give kind of a briefing in the White House where he basically explained how he thought this whole thing was a hoax and that it was a horrible travesty. He actually,. I'm kinda paraphrasing him, but he said they were out to get me from day one. And there were people in the Democratic party in opposition to him that would like to see him stumble and be removed from office but as far as an actual process, it never went anywhere until last Fall. Really after September is when this really kicked in quickly. I always in class explain the process, what's the role of the House what's the role of the Senate, what's the repercussions of found guilty?
And we talk about things like what could be a potential impeachable offense and how do we define high crimes and misdemeanors?
But last Fall, we started having people ask almost daily, well, what's going on and what is this?

So almost every day we were spending some time on current events just touching base with well, this is where the status is. In last fall, they actually moved to the point of an inquiry and then they did a vote for a formal inquiry and then they eventually did a formal impeachment vote. So when we left at the break, it was literally at the finals week, they impeached the president, and that's another aspect of this process that you have to explain to people who won't really follow it.

That when you're saying impeachment it's a process but there's different steps. So when you say someone being impeached, a lot of people go immediately to they're gonna be removed from office and you have to explain. No, when you've been impeached you formally been charged by the House with an article of impeachment. And then you have this trial that takes place in the Senate and trials kind of different definition over there in the Senate, but ultimately they have to convict them. And the only penalty that the constitution affords for impeachment conviction is removed from office and in the past the other guideline, the caveat they put on that is you're banned from pursuing future government office.
So last semester, this actually played out. And I know, I think we talked a little bit maybe before the start of the term and we said well this'll play out, the trial's going to play out in February. And we were wondering how that's gonna affect things.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

Well it's wrapped up. Here we are two weeks into the term and it's been resolved.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure. So it's all of that the historic and this will be something that your future students for years to come will be talking about. This is gonna be a topic of your discussions going forward and its connection to other things and what does impeachment look like going forward and all these kinds of things.
So do you find your students today. More than just curious as students. Or is it an investment, are they asking questions in class more than just to stay current in the news or to understand the larger historical context?

>> Rich Kiefer:

This particular, we're in the midst of a 2020 presidential election, House is up, a third of the Senate. Regardless, every time we're in this mix and we saw in the midterms of 2018, I think, another spike in kind of student interests. So students are more engaged. They're thinking the process.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

They know an election is coming up.

They're wondering who the candidates are gonna be.

They hear this stuff.

Some of them, I think, are still a little tentative, to kinda express their own political views in class overtly, but you can tell they are following it. I told them it's okay to look at this through a political lens. So I mean, I say in class, if you're a supporter of President Trump, or, a critic of his, you probably view this process very differently. And you see this play out in the media, whether it's friendly media towards him or more hostile. These are all themes that we tie into the course. So I think it's it becomes real to them.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

And a lot of ways this is almost too soon to kind of digest what the ramifications might be.

>> Steven Miller:

I'm not a political science person. I'm more of a media guy. And so I too have listened to this and anybody coming to my office knows that. I'm gonna have the news in my office, cuz I'm consuming this just as an observer. And I have a daughter who's in AP US history class in high school right now. And so she's studying this kind of stuff at that level. And so we talk about this and it's just interesting to see and hear people's take on it and then understand the lens through which they're viewing it. And understand that it's okay to have that lens. I've already said, you tell the students it's okay to view this through that lens. As long as we understand that everybody has a lens-

[CROSSTALK]

>> Rich Kiefer:

And this, first thing we talk about, the Clinton impeachment is similar too. There was a little bit of a break with the ranks but ultimately when the Senate voted on that, that didn't break party lines.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

And I remember first hand that if you were a supporter of Clinton and his popularity ratings were actually fairly high at the time of
his impeachment over 60% I believe. And a lot of Democrats felt this wasn't justified, a lot of Republicans felt, hey, this conduct is unacceptable. And really any misconduct should be a potential impeachable offense, and it's funny. You're seeing a lot of both sides did this in the trial. You had the President's attorneys running clips of Democrats in the past talking from 21 years ago. You had the Democrats running clips of. Republican senators, how they talk. And even the participants that are here now looked at those circumstances very differently.

This is gonna be decided for a long time,. I heard a lot of people say hey, have we lowered the bar for impeachment? So we're gonna have more of these coming. And this was the same argument in 1998, 1999. This was when they talked about, a lot of, in retrospect people review this differently.

But with Nixon, now with Nixon the process had started in the House, the full House never got to vote on the articles of impeachment and he resigned. And most people acknowledge that the writing was on the wall, the Republican Party started to break with him and it looked like the numbers were there. And so he resigns before it went any further. Some people say maybe he should have stayed and fought for it. Clinton, I think the same reason he never contemplated leaving was because his approval rates were high and he knew-

>> Steven Miller:

And the numbers weren't there.

>> Rich Kiefer:

They weren't gonna get the 67 votes. Well, this is what happened in 1868, there were people saying, we're 80 plus years into a new government. They've been talk about impeachment before, but it never made it to this point for a president. And they said, we've just lowered the bar. We're going to have impeachment we're gonna have this hostile legislature that's gonna run out a President they don't like, and it hasn't happened yet. But I think you can make a case in every instance, maybe without Nixon is an outlier. Politics definitely played a role in the whole process so-

>> Steven Miller:

Yeah, okay, so with that in that that part of the conversation in context, what is this thing we call political science, and what is it, what is it not? And what is the importance and value of it, cuz you mentioned-

>> Rich Kiefer:

Sure.

>> Steven Miller:

We have these elections every two years.

We're coming up on a local elections here in the next few weeks. So these things happen pretty consistently. So what is the importance of a person, young person, old person being studying this as a discipline or just being interested in it?

>> Rich Kiefer:

Sure, well both those, we'll take both those in the classroom, just general interest and then the serious political scientist. But political science is a discipline, essentially what we try to do, and this is my take on it.

Essentially what we try to do is use the scientific method to explain phenomena, and the phenomena we study is political behavior, political outcomes. And again this is more my personal opinion on this, my view, I think political science does really a strong job of explaining past phenomena. We can go back and look at past events and try to dissect them and come up with theories that might explain that behavior, the outcomes. It doesn't always automatically translate to a predictive model though. So we could try to explain the 96 election, or the 84 election, maybe the 16 election, but it doesn't always guarantee that we're gonna have a model that explains 2020 or 2024. So I think there's some value there.

It also, and this is what I try to stress in class, everybody can have political viewpoints and opinions but what you wanna try to do is develop informed opinions and kind of fact based and methodological explanations for what's going on. So you can say I like this candidate or that candidate, but
if you want to look at phenomena, why does this party surge here or decline here? You wanna delve a little bit deeper.

I remember when I was even a student in my graduate program, there's discussion of what's the difference between political punditry, what you see a lot of on TV and the media and actual hard political science, which is research based and progression models and it's kind of math heavy in some instances. Earlier you mentioned that you watch a lot of, from a media perspective you're always watching this, well, it depends what media you have on, right? So if you watch this, we talked earlier about impeachment, if you have this on and you're watching for instance, MSNBC, you're getting a very different take on these events with the guests that they have, and the anchors and their lens. If you flip over to Fox, the guests they have on and what they're focusing on and their examples and what they hone in on. It's almost like two different things. And if you're only getting your information from one of those sources, I don't think you're doing yourself a service in general because you're not getting the whole perspective where people are coming from.

>> Steven Miller:

And, if I may just jump in here. That's not a judgement of one or the other.

>> Rich Kiefer:

No.

>> Steven Miller:

It's just a reality. There are these lenses that we talked about. Everybody has a lens, a filter, and so to be well informed, it's important. It seems important to understand the lenses and filters and look through both of them or [INAUDIBLE] for them.

>> Rich Kiefer:

I would agree with that.

And I tried it on the first day of class, I tried to tell my students, yes, we talk about politics. And I think some of them come, you ask about what the discipline political sciences. They come in and I think a lot of them aren't quite sure what that is, what does it mean? What are we gonna do? Maybe we're gonna talk about government, I try to explain what we're gonna do. And, and I always point out, look, I have political viewpoints and beliefs and views, but that's not really what this class is about. I'm not here to tell you how to think about these things. I'd like you to develop your own opinions on it. And one of the ways you do it is develop informed opinions.

As far as like subject matter, in short. American government class which we teach every semester, the nuts and bolts of it really stay the same from term to term. We do a historical background, we talk about philosophical approach to what democracy means and methodology for governments. But then we move to the American example, so we'll cut through to early American history, what leads to independence, and then what type of governments were considered for a national government. So we talk about the Articles of Confederation and eventually our goals to get around with the Constitution.

So that's part of the first third of the course. Second third, we talk about the political process, which is Always going on around us. Elections, roles of parties, political thought, role of the media. Specific elections, like the electoral college, versus the popular vote. And then the last part we look at is the institutions, which, most people think they're more familiar with. But how has the office of the presidency changed over time? What was the intent of Congress? How has that changed? Evolution of the courts, the bureaucracy. To me, that 16 week session, we tend to go over this, flies by.

>> Steven Miller:

I guess they don't have enough time.

>> Rich Kiefer:

No, there's three big things we look at. And I never get tired of teaching it, because each semester, we have real world examples that have changed. We have new ones to look at.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

Other classes that I might teach, we have very specific focuses. So international relations, we're looking primarily how nation-states interact, the international system, and then case studies of international affairs.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure, sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

So that's a little more straightforward. People go I think I get what we're gonna do there. But people come in and say the American government, I think sometimes they think we're just gonna have a Constitution test. I'm like well no, that's not the only thing we're gonna look at.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure, interesting.

Yeah, who is it that said all politics are local? So talk us through from the big events we've talked about. The impeachment, and elections, national elections to the impact on state, and then even down to local elections, because these things happen all the time.

>> Rich Kiefer:

Probably the immediate, I think the ripple effect, and we're kind of seeing this already is, and I think this may be shaped how people voted in the Senate. And maybe even the House, depending on party lines, is if they think they're in a vulnerable district or not. So you're hearing a lot of talk about did a Senate votes, whether it's Democrat or Republican, was it shaped by how it might play with their voter base back home?

To be honest, most senators are kind of unsafe. Safe districts, their states are pretty safe. There's a few in play. If you follow the news, they made a lot of noise about Doug Jones, the Democrat down in Alabama. And they said, well, he may be, it's a conservative area. Will he maybe support Trump? Well, he ended up not doing it.

Susan Collins up in Maine, she's considered vulnerable. She's a Republican. And maybe they thought she may be buck with her party, and maybe go with the Democratic. And she ultimately didn't.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

>> Rich Kiefer:

But you do see that out [INAUDIBLE].

We don't know, because, and one of the things I like about this is, come November, we will see was it a factor? And I think you're gonna see ads, and their voting, and all of this will come up. House is a little different. Out of the 435 House races, again, you could argue about 400 of them are safe. Republican or Democratic majority districts. But you do have about 40 that might be considered in play, and that's enough to tip which party is gonna be in the majority. So I've already seen some ads locally targeting how people may vote it on the impeachment vote. In the House, so yeah, it's gonna be an issue in November.

And I think certainly nationally, it will be a backdrop. We've never had a president run for a second term, run for reelection while under the cloud of impeachment. Clinton was in his second term, and because of term limits, he was already kind of labeled a lame duck. And in the case of Johnson, he didn't receive either party's nomination. So in 1868, he wasn't gonna be running for reelection. But it is unique.

>> Steven Miller:

Yep, yeah...And it's gonna be interesting.

And then so if I can overlay that with another question-

>> Rich Kiefer:

Sure.

>> Steven Miller:

Seems to be connected.

You're talking about representative things. So this is Census year. There's a lot of talk in different places about the Census, and the impact that that has. Because it can impact the number of seats in the House of Representatives that a particular jurisdiction get.

So talk about the role of Census in this.

>> Rich Kiefer:

Well, that's an excellent question, because the Census only comes up every ten years.

In the Constitution says the Census will be conducted. And you're exactly right, that the immediate ripple effect is it determines your congressional value of the states.

How many members you get for your state.

And it's all based on population. The other ripple effect is that determines your state's value in the electoral college for the president. So that's directly linked as well.

Illinois, we've had a lot of people leaving. We're one of the states, in fact, by most estimates, we've lost the most people again this last year. As compared to 50s.

Now, keep in mind, we are one of the top five, top six states in terms of population to begin with. But when people leave like that, the last several Censuses that have taken place, we've actually lost congressional districts. So we're predicting, regardless of the outcome of this 2020 Census, we may lose anywhere from one to two congressional districts, which is huge. So one, it affects your representation in the House and the federal government. And also, you have to end up redistricting. So someone's gonna get squeezed out at the state level. It also affects the re-apportionment of federal dollars. So when you lose Individuals, it's gonna affect the amount of money that flows back from the federal government.

>> Steven Miller:

And those dollars or you just expanded on that point.

Those dollars are used for, and. I'm asking the question here, roads?

>> Rich Kiefer:

It could be any number of things. They always talk about reapportionment dollars. So it could be a program through the Department of Education. It could be through the Department of Transportation bill, it could be any form of infrastructure. Well, if you look at some states that have a military base or something, if you talk about changing it or closing. If you have more representation in the House, you can say, hey, don't do it in our state.

When you look at leadership positions and committee assignments, the larger your kind of state caucus is, the more likely is you might get into one of those positions besides seniority. So yeah, it's gonna have a profound effect. It's been over 100 years, but we've kept that number 435, every 10 years those 435 house districts get reallocated. If Illinois loses one or two, that also means another state is gonna pick it up. And it's changed things. So Texas is growing at one of the fastest clips. Florida has grown over the last few years. Colorado's in growth mode. New York and. California are both very large states, but California's actually been losing population a little bit, so we'll see. But it's having a ripple effect very much so on state influence in the federal government.

>> Steven Miller:

So the lesson here is be counted when we're coming upon Census day and April 1st.

>> Rich Kiefer:

And that's a big deal.

You've probably seen some ads where they're trying to get Census volunteers, and local communities have actually put interest. Because it also affects, the ripple effect on population is at the state level, it might affect state of apportionment dollars. So if you think your village or town has grown, your municipality, that also affects how state allocates funds. And you also can, I guess, look at how many people are left in the state, how they get burdened with taxes. Are there less people that are gonna have to pay more in taxes to provide whatever the services are?

But Illinois is very much concerned about counting everybody.And there is this concern about how the Census questions are worded. And how do you count homeless people? Or how do you count people who might be here illegally, or nonresidents? And do you get an accurate count? And who's in each household? And we don't know the answer to that yet. But there's some concern that some people deliberately not wanna be counted in this, for some reason.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure.

So part of what's in the political conversation these days is the topic of election meddling. We heard about this a lot. Russian involvement, or the ability to interfere with elections. And a lot of this is driven by social media, and media in general. Social media in particular, there's a lot of issues with. Facebook about a year or so ago.

So in your experience and your education, you're interacting with students and teaching. What should people know about this idea of elections being influenced by the media broadly, or social media, more specifically?

>> Rich Kiefer:

It's an excellent question.

So one, media has always played a role in trying to shaping public opinion, and getting out voters, and informing voters, or misinforming voters.
So that's not a new phenomenon. I mean, you go back to print media, and biases, and Editorial boards who they might endorse, and all this.

It's kind of funny when I talk in contemporary classes about the impact of newspapers in the past or who they endorse.It's amusing to me because a lot of students aren't getting their information from newspapers. And they don't realize that at one point they were this powerhouse of political endorsement. So you do wonder about the impact of that cuz newspapers still do endorsements, but I think to lesser effect. More recently, you're right social media seems to be creeping in. And I think that speaks to the point of where students get information from. And you're right, advertsements come in, the social media platforms, whether it's easy to go to Facebook or whatever. But there's a bias there, and they're using it to make money. It's not a public service, they're making money off this. And they actually are tracking your for other reasons to target you for other marketing. But if the information is false out there or if it's deliberately manipulated by bots, or someone pretending to be a person and they're not. And it repeats falsehoods in a convincing way, it has real ramifications. And it's hard to figure out how much of a ramification there is on this. I'm more concerned more recently, and you're probably familiar with the term, deep fake.

>> Steven Miller:

Yeah.

>> Rich Kiefer:

Where you have videos now that, it doesn't take a high level of software or expensive effort to do this, and you make it look like someone's actually. It's their words, their video, it's been manipulated to say different things or show different things. And I'm very concerned that it makes people not believe legitimate news when it comes out as well. And it doesn't help that you have people criticizing legitimate news as fake or inaccurate.

I was at a conference, what was it, about two years ago, and it was in New York City. And one of the questions was about the role of the media, and fake news was kinda the backdrop of it. And I asked the question of, how do we point students in the right directions so they know what legitimate news is? And I usually try to have a conversation about that in my class. I say, you're familiar with the term fake news? What does that really mean? And it's more than just someone saying, I disagree with this so it's labeled fake. You talk about what's the opposition of fake news? What's the opposite? And legitimate news would be sourced, it's not just opinion based. And you like to think that it's fact based. Now, we can argue over some of the information you're using, but you like to have a starting point. And I think it's harder and harder for people to realize this stuff. So even when something's presented as legitimate, it's easy for people to go, no, that couldn't possibly be. That's been manipulated, that's not a real video. And a lot of people's own biases shape how they view the news. They kind of cherry pick what they like, and that's not good. And I tell all my students to try to broaden their horizons, even if it's just for a semester. Try to look what the other, if you consider yourself liberal or conservative, try to look what the other side's putting out there, just so you understand where they're getting information. Cuz time and again, you hear people just getting in a tunnel and they get basically classified in a bubble.

And all it does is you get a news cycle that just reaffirms your world view. And I think once you're in that, it's really hard to break it. And I think it starts to connect people in ways that we weren't connected before. So you may think, I just have this view, a conspiracy theory, whatever. But suddenly, your hooked up with a whole group of other people that go, yeah, this is happening. And it gives some legitimacy to this, where it probably shouldn't. And then you're with the community, now that you feel like everybody thinks this way. And that may not be the case either.

If I could also just say this about the media-

>> Steven Miller:

Absolutely.

>> Rich Kiefer:

I tell people, you're in a different time frame, you get information that's much more instantaneous. So literally when you were watching impeachment hearings, you had a president that was able to tweaks in real-time.

>> Steven Miller:

In real-time.

>> Rich Kiefer:

And in effect, it was almost surreal. At one point during hearings, the Democratic chairmen are actually referencing Tweets that are coming out in real-time to a witness that the President is tweeting about. You've never had this before.

>> Steven Miller:

That was a fascinating moment.

>> Rich Kiefer:

It's happening in real-time as the trial's going on. The President's tweeting aspects of it in real time.
For most of history, this is this is unheard of. We had 24 hour news channels during. Clinton's administration, and they covered it, but it was very different. You didn't have that social media input. With Nixon, you basically had several major networks, and when they showed those hearings is during the daytime, by the way. If you had the TV on, you're stuck watching it. It shaped your view. If you looked at an editorial, the way they worded it, you were stuck with it.

Today, very different. You have all sorts of different outlets you can go to. You can look at the BBC, and see how they're covering it. It's, to me, a completely different world view on this.

>> Steven Miller:

Yeah, it used to be the case that pamphlets or broadsheets were developed to advance a political idea.

>> Rich Kiefer:

[LAUGH]

>> Steven Miller:

Yeah, it used to be the case that pamphlets or broadsheets were developed to advance a political idea.

And so it is not unlike what we have today, it just goes fast now. I mean, you would have to-

>> Rich Kiefer:

It goes faster, and you can reach a much broader audience almost instantaneously. And it can be a great opportunity to move information. It can be a great challenge for governments if they're trying to contain information or censor. I mean, you see this work both ways. Opposition leaders, whether it's in Iran or even Russia, that they're able to connect and get information out, which years ago wouldn't even be feasible.

But I do think that the downside is if you have the wrong information going out, or false information, or misleading. And again, don't kid yourself, there's been misleading information in pamphlets and other things for years too. So this is just kinda the newest, latest, iteration of that.

>> Steven Miller:

It just happens so fast now, as you said, in real time, and goes around the world instantly.

>> Rich Kiefer:

[LAUGH]

The State of the Union was on Tuesday night, and even that night you started seeing social media jump on it. And you had a couple of images that a lot of people jumped on. So whether it was the perceived snub of a handshake between Trump and Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, or later on when Pelosi is ripping up the speech, that went viral instantly. So you got people commenting on it, retweeting it, sharing it. And it happens so rapidly it takes on a life of its own.

There's parodies, all sorts of stuff that goes-

>> Steven Miller:

Yeah, the ability to make memes and things.

>> Rich Kiefer:

Yeah, yes.

>> Steven Miller:

And just blow it around the world.

So you mentioned earlier, a lot lot of your students in classes today are 18 to 24 years old. They don't remember the Clinton impeachment, they're living history now. And they will be telling their children, or their future students, or wherever life takes them, they will be talking about their experience in college now in your classes.

What would you tell students today?

Maybe those students who are in. AP US history or political science classes in high schools, what would you tell them about politics today? These these young people who are not old enough to vote yet. They may not be able to vote in this election. What should they be thinking about and paying attention to as they begin forming their own political ideology and entering this world of politics?

>> Rich Kiefer:

A couple ways you could approach that, but a lot of people, they're still establishing the world view, they're doing this. And always tell people, whether you're aware of it or not, you actually are living through history. And I say, you don't have a choice. This is the world you live in, stuff's happening. And you may not always understand the historical context of it till after the fact. And I tell people all the time, like Clinton impeachment, people were living through that, but you still have to go to work. You still have to go to your classroom, whatever. You have other things going on, raising your family. And it's like any other point in history, with World War II, Great Depression, whatever, American Revolution, Civil War, people live through these moments. And I said, it's a lot of times it's not till after the fact when you look back you go. And I tell people, you're living through these moments now.

So Another phenomenon that's happened, which doesn't typically happen in presidential elections, is where the winner of the electoral vote loses the popular vote. Doesn't happen very often. It can happen, it has happened. I tell people, if you've been alive for certain amount of years, it's happened a couple times in your life. So 2016 and also 2000, but before that, you got to go back to 1888 so it doesn't happen very often, but people living through that moment. You view it a certain way, years from now you look back and a lot of times you'll be reading about a book, or somebody's perspective of what was important. And you just mentioned at the start of this question about how will people read about it in the future and how will you tell your children or other students about it?It's shaped through a different lens, cuz now we can talk about, well, here's the outcome.

And if all we look at was outcome of an impeachment vote or election turnouts, we simple here's what happened. It doesn't really give you the nuanced way of living through it single politics are very divisive it was in kind of an ugly period of political discourse. But when you live through it, you sometimes pick up on some of that.

>> Steven Miller:

Sure, given that we're talked about a couple of times here elections happen pretty frequently.

We've got local elections coming up here in the next few weeks and then, of course, the national elections in November. How can someone prepare themselves and make sure that they're informed to make a vote?

>> Rich Kiefer:

Well, my short answer would be to take a class with me. Right here. Waubonsee Community college.

>> Steven Miller:

I'm thinking about signing up myself.

>> Rich Kiefer:

That would be great! We always have room for one more!

The reality is where students get information from, and I always tell them, make your best effort to be informed.

But they're getting it mostly online, and certainly, there's more reliable sources than others. One source that comes to mind and a lot of its kind of maybe I must find your entertainment base. But there are some ones that can help people narrow down if they really are like undecided.

One that comes to mind that I side with, and it's a website that will ask you questions like social and economic issues. And it'll tell you like this is, some of it is not real sophisticated but some of it goes, it will say this is the candidate that's really most in line with what you thinking. That can be eye-opening cuz people sometimes gravitate towards people on one or two issues, or they gravitate maybe on charisma or whatever. And they may not realize really what the policy issues or their official stances so that's kinda useful. I tell people to obviously look at candidate websites to see really what they are, almost all the candidates that are running have election sites. And they have policy positions, will say there's their platform on all these different things and you should look at it because you don't always know. I think it's a lot to ask people to watch all these debates, but there's debates and the fall will be maybe the major candidates will debate. But that can be insightful, especially if you're undecided. I kind of suspect a lot of people watch those debates with their candidate mind and for their person to do well.

>> Steven Miller:

Waiting for confirmation.

>> Rich Kiefer:

But there are other sources like I tell people if you wanna look at polling data I think Real Clear Politics is a good starting point cuz it's kind of clearinghouse. They don't tend to so their own polls, they consolidate polls that other groups have done.

And I think if you can see some trends sometimes that is useful if there is clear winners, I do point out to people that when you see national polls, that's not how we pick the president. It's really going to be 51 separate elections, the 50 states and DC and that's what you got to look at and you don't have to win all those states to become president. And I think it can provide some insight there as well, but I always tell people try to expand the information that is given to you. So step outside your comfort zone and I think that helps people sometimes with trying to gain information.

>> Steven Miller:

What would tell someone to walk in to get involved in the political process, maybe not to study political science but more than voting. What would you recommend somebody do to get involved in the process?

>> Rich Kiefer:

There's so many opportunities and especially in an election year like this, every candidate is looking for good volunteers and I tell people to find an issue or a candidate that you believe in. Whatever your persuasion is, and get involved, it's the best education because you see how things happen. Every campaign is dependent heavily on volunteers and if you have any type of talent or aptitude for that you will move up in a campaign. A lot of people end up on staff start off as volunteers, a lot of people who end up with paid positions. You worked on a campaign where your candidate won and then maybe there's an opportunity.

When you get involved, you start to realize these people who are in office, whether it's governor, mayor, you know, congressperson, senator, president. You realize, they're people, you know, they came from somewhere and why not you? Cuz at some point someone is gonna have to step up, whether it’s you or someone else, future generations have to come in. And in otherwise representative democracy doesn't work, I could just tell you.

But thanks for having me today. I enjoyed the conversation. I think we're living in amazing times and. I'm excited to see what comes next.

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