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University Connected Learning
Consider the following recent events in our country: the unconventional presidency of Donald Trump and the development of a "Trumpist" movement; the false claim (believed by many) that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen"; the intensive gerrymandering by Republicans, making it very difficult for Democrats to be able to be competitive in state and federal elections; targeted efforts to make voting more difficult, especially for specific population groups and political parties in certain voting districts; the turning over of election oversight in many of those states to partisan officials, threatening the validity of election results; the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and continuing threats of that sort; the stalemate in Congress; the role of media groups like Facebook in spreading false information believed by many; and the sense of the Supreme Court as no longer an independent branch of government. Many have seen these events and more as exhibiting a constitutional crisis that threatens to guarantee the power of one particular party to maintain political rule--an undemocratic process common to authoritarian states. Many are worried, and much has been written. We will look at relevant texts and hear lectures by experts to help us think through and analyze the current political situation.