News American Politics at the British Library 09.11.2023
On Monday 6 November Upper Sixth Politics students visited the British Library. Here they enjoyed a brilliant roll of speakers addressing a range of fascinating topics, including from Professor Philip Davies, ‘US elections never really go away’. Each speech was concluded with a question and answer session with Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Greg Walden, who were colleagues in the House of Representatives for over twenty years representing California and Oregon respectively. These insightful conversations provided perspective on the inner workings of American politics. Brief moments of sentimentality touched on the home life of Sanchez, who married a two-time Trump voter and gun owner, showing that bipartisan cooperation is possible. Walden spoke on the difficulties of the Capitol riots and the lasting effects on Congress. These discussions formed part of wider learning about interest groups (lobbyists and PACs), the Supreme Court and the looming threat of political gridlock.
These conversations helped inform the A level syllabus and provided real world examples and illustrated the practical, lasting implications set by the US constitution. The Senators also discussed the reality of direct accountability to their constituents. They both talked about the lack of water in their relatively desert-like constituencies and the exacerbation climate change has made to this issue. This perspective helped to inform a nuanced and broader understanding of the complexities of national versus regional politics. This contrasted with the topic of broader, foreign relations where the US centric approach was preached.
This trip was an informative and educational experience for Politics students, especially in American studies.