Brenau President Ed Schrader moderates while Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster and strategist, left, and Maria Teresa Kumar, Democratic commentator and CEO of Voto Latino, discuss political issues during Beyond the Talking Points: What Election 2016 Really Means to Women. The discussion was a part of the Douglas and Kay Ivester Programming Series at the university. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Brenau President Ed Schrader moderates while Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster and strategist, left, and Maria Teresa Kumar, Democratic commentator and CEO of Voto Latino, discuss political issues during Beyond the Talking Points: What Election 2016 Really Means to Women. The discussion was a part of the Douglas and Kay Ivester Programming Series at the university. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Experts Tell Brenau Audience that Political Landscape Will Change Dramatically After Election Day

Oct. 27, 2016
Brenau Staff

Regardless of who wins the 2016 presidential election, two national political experts with diverse points of view agree: The view into the nation’s political future will look vastly different after voting ends on Nov. 8.

Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster and strategist, speaks to a class before participating in Beyond the Talking Points: What Election 2016 Really Means to Women. The discussion was a part of the Douglas and Kay Ivester Programming Series at the university. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster and strategist. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Republican pollster and strategist Kristen Soltis Anderson, co-founder and partner at Echelon Insights, and Democratic organizer and commentator Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, were part of a moderated discussion called Beyond the Talking Points: What Election 2016 Really Means to Women Tuesday evening at Brenau University’s Pearce Auditorium.

Anderson and Kumar may belong to different political parties, but they agreed Hillary Clinton is likely to beat Donald Trump to the White House. Anderson added the caveat, if Trump were to become president, he would redefine what it means to be conservative in America.

“If Donald Trump wins, I think he will say, ‘What I’ve been doing is right, and I’m going to keep doing it,’” she said.

Both women appear regularly on national television news programs and have been characterized in a variety of national publications as two of the most influential voices in American politics. Tuesday, they discussed their ideas of what this historic 2016 election means to women, shared their expertise on the pivotal roles being played by younger voters and answered questions from the audience.

“There’s quite a discussion and perhaps controversy as to the impact of female voters in the voting block and how that will affect this election,” said Brenau President Ed Schrader, who moderated the discussion. “This year at Brenau, we’ve declared an academic focus and a social focus on conversation, not confrontation. That’s no accident.

“Today, it is critical more than ever, because of this serious division, which seems to be growing in our country that is really the worst that our country has seen in generations.”

Maria Teresa Kumar, Democratic commentator and CEO of Voto Latino, participates in a sound check before Beyond the Talking Points: What Election 2016 Really Means to Women. The discussion was a part of the Douglas and Kay Ivester Programming Series at the university. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Maria Teresa Kumar, Democratic commentator and CEO of Voto Latino. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Kumar said she was “thrilled” to receive the invitation to Brenau and found many similarities in Gainesville to the small, rural town in Sonoma County, California, where she grew up. As a first-generation American, her citizenship has meant something great to her since she received her naturalization at 9 years old.

“I believe deeply in the principles of this country,” she said. “If you were to ask me for a very short analysis of why we’re here, I think we are where we were 100 years ago.”

Kumar said 100 years ago, the country faced major technological and economic changes, it was on the eve of an economic depression, it faced massive immigration and it was struggling through a world war.

She said her hope is the nation will once again identify “who we are as Americans.”

Anderson arrived to campus early, spending some time with the Brenau chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, of which she was a member as a student at University of Florida. She was received by Brenau Trustee and Alpha Chi Omega alumna Anna Jacobs, fellow alumna M.K. Wells and the chapter president Emily Burgess.

Burgess, a senior majoring in organizational leadership, said it was an honor to have Anderson request a visit to their home.

“I think it’s really amazing to have someone [who is] representative of women in government, because it’s really important to see such a role model, especially one from an organization we started out in,” she said. “We can see how our roots can really help us develop into leadership roles where we can have a positive influence.”

Anderson spoke with Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Heather Hollimon’s Women in U.S. History 1 class about her education, her early interest in politics and her thoughts on this year’s election. She also discussed her book titled “The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up).”

The role millennials such as Brenau students will play in this election was a topic both women addressed Tuesday. Emma Johnson, freshman majoring in history and political science in Hollimon’s class, asked Anderson how she thinks millennials should stay involved in politics after the election.

“There is a lot of stuff you can do at a local level that really has an impact on people’s lives, that is miles away from the nasty, partisan discourse of Washington and that gives people the ability to get the experience they need if they ever wanted to one day take the plunge and go further,” Anderson said. “That’s my pitch, especially for young women.

“We should have our best and brightest and our young talent interested in being a part.”

 

Schrader thanked both women and those in attendance for their participation in the important event. He said Brenau’s history as a women’s college has made it instrumental in the formation of female leaders such as these.

“We’ve been doing things differently since 1878,” he said. “We’ve been encouraging, supporting, mentoring, educating and inspiring world-changing female leaders for over 138 years. And it’s a really important time to emphasize that.”

 

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