Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Donald Trump — The Candidate and the Campaign

Donald Trump — The Candidate and the Campaign

LA 297H: Donald Trump — The Candidate and the Campaign

Offered Fall 2016


Michael Berkman, Professor of Political Science and Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Christopher Beem, Managing Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Course Description

Many Republicans and Democrats alike have noted that the Trump candidacy and campaign have been unorthodox, given the candidate’s off-the-cuff rhetorical style, strained relationship with many other party officials, and seeming approval of the use of force against political opponents and protesters.  This course analyzed the campaign and candidacy, focusing on questions such as: Does Trump’s nomination reflect fundamental changes in the electorate? How does his brand of populism/nativism compare to earlier populist movements in the U.S.? And how does it compare with contemporary campaigns by new-right parties in Europe?  Class sessions will include discussion and presentations by faculty from different disciplines of the liberal arts. Students acquired a historical and comparative frame of reference with which to understand and evaluate Trump’s candidacy, and its implications for American democracy.

The course included guest lectures from faculty throughout Penn State, including:

  • Daniel Letwin, Associate Professor of History
  • Matthew Golder, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Cynthia Young, Associate Professor of African American Studies
  • Jenny Van Hook, Professor of Sociology and Demography
  • Matthew Jordan, Associate Professor, Media Studies
  • John Gastil, Professor, Communication Arts and Political Science,
  • Debra Hawhee, McCourtney Professor of Civic Deliberation