To kick-off a new, year-long 2020 Election Series, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall was delighted to welcome professor and political expert, Dan Schnur (who will moderate each installment of the event series) and Seema Mehta, an award-winning political writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Gathered at Akasha Cafe in Culver City, the event commenced by having the two speakers discuss the current climate of the Democratic candidates and how there are two ideologies that speak to constituents: the “more moderate” Biden/Buttigieg camp who believe in fixing what they believe is wrong with the country, versus the Sanders/Warren perspective who believe that the first and most important order of business is to make sure Donald Trump is no longer in office. A correction-ist versus revolutionist approach.

Schnur also commented on Trump’s tremendous success in getting his core base of followers to really rally behind him no matter what, all the while leaving those undecided voters alone. An interesting strategy considering most politicians employ the 80/20 rule, where candidates focus 80% of their attention and resources on appealing to the middle 20% of voters. Mehta offered statistically-backed anecdotes on how in the 2016 election, there were voters who hid their support for Donald Trump for fear that they would be ostracized by their leftist California peers. She posed the question: are there large numbers of Trump supporters that are unaccounted for? If so, what does that mean for the election?

“Underneath an angry person, is a frightened person,” Schnur offered. “Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have found a way to appeal to the fears of their bases and get those supporters to authentically engage in their platforms.”

Mehta and Schnur confabulated about the immense changes, both cultural and economic, that are occurring in today’s society. Changes that are, in fact, the biggest transformations society has seen since the Industrial Revolution, Schnur pointed out. The twosome also admitted their excitement for the upcoming election and how hugely it will shape culture, regardless of the outcome. The point was stressed that now, more than ever, civic engagement and participation is crucial, no matter what side of the line voters fall on, to ensure that America remains a nation of power and integrity.