US Politics: Even worse than it looks (Sat) Panel

Shanto Iyengar, Simon Jackman (chair) & Norman Ornstein

Is American politics dysfunctional or does it just look that way? What happens when aggressive hyper-partisanship collides with a political system that can only work co-operatively? Is the damage fatal to the democratic system? 

This session is presented in partnership with The United States Studies Centre. 


Shanto Iyengar holds the Chandler Chair in Communication at Stanford University, where he is also Professor of Political Science and Director of the Political Communication Laboratory. Iyengar’s areas of expertise include the role of mass media in democratic societies, public opinion and political psychology. He has received professional awards including the Philip Converse Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book in the field of public opinion, the Murray Edelman Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard University. Iyengar is author or co-author of several books, including News That Matters, Is Anyone Responsible?, Explorations in Political Psychology, Going Negative and Media Politics: A Citizen’s Guide.


Simon Jackman became CEO of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in April 2016. Born and raised in Australia, he went to the United States for his PhD (Political Science, Rochester) in 1988. From 1996 to 2016, Jackman taught Political Science and Statistics at Stanford University. Jackman’s research focuses on public opinion, political participation, and electoral systems, in both the United States and Australia. Since 2009, Jackman has been one of the Principal Investigators of the American National Election Studies, the world’s longest-running and most authoritative study of political attitudes and behaviour.


Norman Ornstein is a long-time observer of US politics. He is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal, and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Ornstein served as co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and participates in AEI's Election Watch series. He also led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign-financing system. His many books include The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, and, most recently The New York Times bestseller, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, both with Thomas E. Mann.

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