UChicago professor emphasizes political participation at assembly

William+Howell%2C+professor+of+American+Politics+at+the+University+of+Chicago%2C+talks+about+the+presidential+election+at+the+assembly+on+Oct.+21.+He+addressed+topics+including+voter+fraud+and+the+Supreme+Court+nomination.+

Screengrab from assembly

William Howell, professor of American Politics at the University of Chicago, talks about the presidential election at the assembly on Oct. 21. He addressed topics including voter fraud and the Supreme Court nomination.

Olivia Griffin, Features Editor

Political engagement, voting and involvement will be important even after the Nov. 3 election, according to a University of Chicago professor who spoke to students about the political crossroads that the U.S. has arrived at and the threats to democracy during an assembly on Oct. 21.

“The work of political rejuvenation and reconstituting our democracy is going to persist long after this election,” said William Howell, a professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and chair of the political science department. “And it’s going to involve conversation, public discourse, political organization and engagement through all kinds of avenues that aren’t just about showing up on election day. Many of those avenues are open to young people.” 

The Q&A format assembly gave students a chance to ask questions concerning politics, ranging from conspiracy theories to the electoral college. 

If you really care about the righteousness of your cause, in a deep way, you would do well to get past just looking at the opposition as being evil and awful because that posture in our politics is pretty debilitating”

— William Howell

Mr. Howell touched on the concerns for voter fraud due to the increase of mail-in ballots, and he explained what Democrats must do to see a transfer of presidential power in January.

“In a world in which you have the parties as polarized as they are and the numbers as close as they are, [voter] turnout is a lot of the game,” Mr. Howell said. 

While mentioning both the Democratic and Republican response to a rushed Supreme Court nomination, Mr. Howell said that the long-term effects of a conservative-leaning Supreme Court should be the focal point of discussions.

“In the coming years, because of demographic changes, it looks like we’re going to be leaning left more and more,” Mr. Howell said. “And so, the extent to which the court is out of sync with the interest of the public, that’s only going to be exacerbated over time.” 

Activism is prevalent right now in American politics, and Mr. Howell introduced his idea of effective activism. 

Mr. Howell said, “If you really care about the righteousness of your cause, in a deep way, you would do well to get past just looking at the opposition as being evil and awful because that posture in our politics is pretty debilitating.”