For good or for bad, politics is having a moment.
Whatever else might be said about America’s 45th president, there can be no doubt that Donald Trump has heightened attention to politics. For our department, this is thus an opportunity. While 2016 will be forever remembered for its rancorous presidential election, it has also reminded us of why we need a careful study of government and politics, both here in the U.S. and abroad.
Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science has many faculty who are able to provide insight into this new political era—whether from political philosophy, the study of international relations, the politics of other nations, or the analysis of American voters and their institutions.
We also have many students who are deeply engaged in both the study and practice of politics. I am especially proud of the fact that there are many political science majors behind ND Votes, a non-partisan and student-led initiative to encourage greater political engagement among Notre Dame students.
Our students have modeled respectful but spirited dialogue—having enough confidence in what they stand for that they are not afraid to engage with those who have a different point of view. Perhaps most impressively, they have done so civilly. I only wish that the rest of the country could do the same.
During this “political moment,” many find our political system to be disillusioning. But that need not be the case. I am pleased that this newsletter highlights many examples of how politics can also be inspiring. Our faculty, student, and alumni show us that politics is more just a necessary evil, but the means by which much good can be accomplished.
Chair, Department of Political Science