The Democrats will most likely lose seats in the House and Senate in the upcoming elections, according to Professor Stephen Wayne, who spoke Tuesday on the upcoming Congressional mid-term elections. Wayne, chair of the American Government undergraduate program, spoke in Healy as the first installment of what Lecture Fund organizers are calling the Faculty Unplugged Program. The Faculty Unplugged Program is a forum where professors on campus can come and talk about issues that they may not get a chance to discuss in their usual coursework -especially those professors who some of us may not have access to on a regular basis, according to a Lecture Fund member Robert Bovo (MSB ’00). Jessica Vianes (COL ’99), chair of the Lecture Fund, said that through Wayne’s speech the organizers were trying to see how well the Faculty Unplugged Program was received before finalizing plans for the rest of the year. “We were very pleased with the results of the turnout, so we’re definitely going to pursue more faculty to come and do the same kind of thing,” she said after Wayne’s lecture. Wayne, who teaches Presidential Electoral Politics and the Honors Senior Seminar in American Government, began by explaining what usually happens in a mid-term election on the national level. “The president’s party generally loses at mid-term elections,” Wayne said, “and loses most the second mid-term the president has.” Wayne explained that because there are many candidates in the president’s party who have been riding the presidential “coat-tails,” by the time the second mid-term election comes around, the voters “do get disappointed with the president” and the president’s party. “We see actually only six mid-term elections since the beginning of the century when the president has picked up seats. With the exception of Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, every single president this century has lost seats in the second mid-term election – so we would expect the Democrats to lose seats,” he said. Finally, Wayne predicted how this November’s elections would turn out. “In all likelihood the Democrats will not gain seats. There was a time when we thought the Democrats might win control of the House – I think that’s not likely today,” he said. “But on the other hand it’s also not likely the Democrats are going to get killed in the House. I would say that in all likelihood, the Republicans will pick a few seats in the House – maybe as many as ten or as few as six or seven. If the Republicans were to pick up ten seats, it would be 238 Republicans to 197 Democrats, and that might be important because on certain votes.if you have a few more Republicans you have better chance of getting [certain legislation] through.” Wayne added, “It’s not going to matter all that much whether you have 238 Republicans or whether you have 228 Republicans – the Republicans will continue to control the House, and Gingrich will continue to be Speaker, and he will have to pursue a partisan, though less ideological agenda.” “The Senate,” Wayne finished his predictions, “is a different ball-game.” He explained that the Republicans could win four, five or possibly even six seats, and if this happened they would have the power to break a filibuster. This would be good for the Republicans, Wayne said, but it would still not give them a two-thirds majority, which is required for impeachment and to overturn vetoes. Wayne also discussed the various subtleties of predicting the outcomes of mid-term elections, such as the advantage incumbents have in good times and the power of state and local issues in determining House and Senate seats. Describing how the Republicans are trying to rally support for the upcoming elections, Wayne said, “The people who are most aroused are the people who are . pro-prayer, who are anti-gay, and who want to have the government get behind and enforce the norms of society, whatever those norms are. The Republicans, by waving the `Clinton flag,’ are really appealing to this group, who want Clinton out.” Wayne predicted that unless the Republicans won “and won big,” however, the impeachment issue would die. “The last thing in the world they want is to campaign in 2000 against President Al Gore, who returned morality and dignity to the Oval Office, who finally demonstrated his leadership potential,” he said. Wayne added, to a chorus of laughter, “[Gore] who with the help of his mentor Bill Clinton realizes how you can rent out – use – the White House to raise money for the Democrats . They want Gore attached to a scandal-plagued administration.” Wayne’s lecture, which ran for an hour and a half, ended with a series of questions from the audience. Vianes said that “the purpose is to bring speakers to campus to educate the Georgetown community. We’re actually working on getting quite a few speakers. They range from people like Mark McGuire to Mike McCurry – a pretty diverse group. The Lecture Fund has been a long-standing Georgetown program, and in previous years such speakers as Newt Gingrich and Michael Moore have come on campus to speak to students – but this year is the first year for the Faculty Unplugged Program. “We felt that the faculty were a resource that we hadn’t tapped before,” Vianes explained, “and so in conjunction with bringing speakers from outside of campus, we thought we should take advantage of what we have here.” Although not everything has been finalized, plans have been discussed to bring professors with expertise in such varied subjects as film and theology to speak to students as part of the Faculty Unplugged Program, in conjunction with the many outside speakers coming to Georgetown as part of the Lecture Fund series of programs.

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