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Three Political Science Professors: John Dilulio, John Lapinski, and Professor Malhotra discuss what the election results mean Credit: Raven Willis

After several long months of campaign advertisements and rallies, Obama-sightings and Tea Party meetings, the midterm election season finally came to a close last Tuesday.

Yesterday, professors John DiIulio, Jr., Neil Malhotra and John Lapinski, all of whom teach political science, gathered as a panel to explain the results of the recent elections and forecast the future of U.S. politics for students and faculty.

The event, which was sponsored by the Political Science department, began with each professor interpreting the election and continued into an informal conversation among the panelists. The discussion focused on the significance of the increased numbers of Republicans in Congress after the elections.

DiIulio said he believes the media has overplayed the defeat of numerous Democratic candidates to Republican and Tea Party contenders. “A lot of these races weren’t blowouts. There was a turnout factor,” he said. “I’m not so sure I understand all the panic.”

The audience consisted of Penn undergraduates, graduate students and professors, many of whom participated in the question-and-answer session. Questions focused on predictions regarding the future prospects of the Democratic Party, with the audience and panel weighing the consequences of the economic crisis, health care legislation and corporate campaign contributions.

DiIulio believes numerous Democrats will return to office in two years. “There’s a lot of Democrats that can’t wait for 2012. You’re going to see a lot of people make comebacks,” he said.

Lapinski, in particular, drew on his current and past experience working in the Elections Unit at MSNBC News in his responses, citing exit poll questions he had written. He referenced the difficulty of evaluating the growth of the Tea Party as measured by specific poll questions and responses.

DiIulio also took the event as an opportunity to highlight and praise Penn Leads the Vote, calling on the student group’s leaders in the audience to talk about their work.

College senior Jared Fries, a PLTV co-director, recounted how the group made 500 telephone calls in two hours asking students to vote in the midterm elections.

College sophomore Maria Silfa said the panel was effective in putting the future of American politics into perspective. “It not only talked about what we can expect in the next few years but also what we can expect in the next 10 years in the political arena of the United States.”

Nov. 10 — This article has been adjusted to reflect that Penn Leads the Vote made 500 phone calls in two hours, rather than the 30 minutes the original article claimed.

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