Making Sense of Current Events
 Fall, 2020 - Course materials: https:/ -


I. Introduction

--Human nature and human psychology

--Our search for human order

--Our search for truth

--Language, politics, and media manipulation

II. Major issue: COVID-19

--The science of the virus

--The politicizing of science

--The impact of the virus

--The future of public health

III. Major issue: The election of 2020

            -–The nomination process

--The Electoral College and the electoral system

--Political parties and political ideology in the 2020 election

--The role of the media

IV. Major issue: The American electorate

--The characteristics of the American electorate

--Civic education and participation

--Voting behavior

--Partisanship and divisiveness

V. Major issue: Climate Change

--The science of climate change

--The politics of climate change

--Globalization and parochialism

--The future of the planet

VI. Summary and conclusions

--The challenge of self-government

--The future of the American experiment

--Bases for hope, bases for despair

--Writing a new United States Constitution

Online Resources

Christof Koch,
“What is Consciousness” --from Scientific American, June 1, 2018

Nathan J. Robinson, “How to Avoid Swallowing War Propaganda” --from Current Affairs, January 20, 2020

Nathan J. Robinson, “Lessons From Chomsky” --from Current Affairs, December 7, 2020

Andrew Prokop,
"How Democrats' Delegate Math Actually Works" --from Vox, March 2, 2020

Andrew Prokop,
"Super Tuesday, Explained" --from Vox, March 2, 2020

Brian Resnik,
“9 Essential Lessons From Psychology to Understand the Trump Era” --from Vox, January 10, 2019

Steven Davies, “The Great Realignment: Understanding Politics Today” --from Cato-Unbound, December 10, 2018

Kirsten Weir,
“Politics is Personal” – November, 2019 --from The American Psychological Association, November 1, 2019

Neil Farquahar, "Playing on Kansas City Radio" -Radio Sputnik - New York Times, February 13, 2020
Backup Version

"The State of Civics Education" --from the Center for Amerian Progress (February 21, 2018)
PDF Version

Phillip Rucker, "Something Has to Be Done: Trump's Quest to Rewrite History of the Russia Probe"
--from The Washington Post, February 16, 2020
Backup Version

"Goodbye Sweet Norms" --How Trump is Assuming Dictatorial Power --from On the Media, February 15, 2020

Thamas B. Edsall, "The Audacity of Hate" --from The New York Times, February 19, 2020
Backup Version

Thomas B. Edsall,
"The Trump Voters Whose 'Need for Chaos' Obliterates Everything Else" --from The New York Times, September 4, 2019
PDF Version

Lesley Stahl's Report of  Interview With Donald Trump  May 23, 2018 - [Video]

David Brooks,
"Why Sanders Will Probably Win the Nomination" --from The New York Times, February 20, 2020

Frank Bruni,
"Why Democrats Are Bound For Disaster" --from The New York Times, February 21, 2020

"70 Former U.S. Senators: The Senate is Failing to Perform Its Constitutional Duty" --from The Washington Post, February 25, 2020

Jacob Freedlander,  "An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter" --from Politico, February 6, 2020

"Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)" --from

"State Presidential Primaries 2020" --from

"The Primaries Are Just Dumb" --from The New York Times (editorial), February 26, 2020

Ephrat Livini, "Ranked Choice Voting and the Quest to Save Democracy in the US" --from, July 31, 2019

"State Primary Election Types" --from the National Conference of State Legislatures

Amber Phillips, "What's Super Tuesday and Why Is It Important?" --from the Washington Post, March 1, 2020

Christiane Amanpour,
"One of the Largest Misinformation CAmpaigns Ever Conducted" --from PBS, February 20, 2020

McKay Coppins,
"The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President" --from The Atlantic, February 10, 2020

"Who's Winning the 2020 Presidential Delegate Count?" --from, March 4, 2020

Ken Rosling,
Factfulnedz' 10 Reasons  We're Wrong About the World -And Why Things are Better Than You Think--Excerpts
from Google Books, March 5, 2020

"Freedom in the World: A Leaderless Struggle for Democracy" --from

"Important Dates in the 2020 Presidential Race" --from

"March 10, 2020 Democratic Party Primary Elections" --from

"Washington" --from, (No date.)

"Impeachment" --from The Constitution Annotated - from The Library of Congress

Stuart Stevens,
"Republicans Like Me Built This Moment. Then We Looked Away" -from The Washington Post, March 18, 2020

William A. Galston, "Appoint a Coronavirus 9/11 Commission" - from The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2020

Viet Than Nguyen, "The Ideas That Won't Survive the Coronavirus" -from The New York Times, March 10, 2020

David Leonhardt and Yaryna Serkez, "American Will Struggle After Coronavirus."  These Charts Show Why. -from The New York Times, March 20, 2020

"The Globa Coronairus Crisis Is Poised to Get Worse, Much Worse" - from The New York Times, April 13, 2020
PDF Version

Frank Bruni, "She Predicted the Coronavirus.  What Does She Forsee Next?" -from The New York Times, May 2, 2020

John Cassidy,
"A Portrait of the Coronavirus Economy"  -from The New Yorker, May 9, 2020

George Packer, "We Are Living in a Failed State" -from The Atlantic,  June, 2020

Fareed Zakaria, "The Real Scandal Is Not What China Did to Us, ButWhat We Together Are Doing to the Planet" -from The Washington Post, May 7, 2020

Franklin Foer, "Putin Is Well On His Way To Stealing the Next Election: RIP Democracy" -from The Atlantic, June, 2020

"How Russia Hacked--And Why It Will Happen Again" -from The Atlantic, June, 2020

Paul Krugman, "Covid-19 Reality Has a Liberal Bias" -from The New York Times, May 14, 2020

George Packer  "The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions" -from The Atlantic, April, 2020

Michael Gerson,
"The New Populist Right Against the Experts" -from The Morning Advocate, May 29, 2020

David Brooks, "The First Invasion of America: And The Cultural Earthquake It Is Unleashing" -from The New York Times, May 23, 2020

Bobby Allyn, "Nearly Half of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are Likely Bots" -from NPR, May 20, 2020

Matt Zaplonsky and Isaac Stanley-Becker,
"Gripped by Disease, Unemployment and Outrage, America Plunges
Into Crisis"
-from The Washington Post, May 20, 2020

George Will,
"Trump Must Be Removed.  So Must His Congressional Enablers" -from The Washington Post, June 1, 2020

William A. Galston, "Aftershocks of the Dream Deferred" -from The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2020

David Brooks, "America is Facing 5 Epic Crises All at Once" -from The New York Times, June 25, 2020

Jeffery Toobin,
"Why the Mueller Investigation Failed" -from The New Yorker, July 6 and 13, 2020 [June 29, 2020]

William A. Galston, "How to Avoid an Electoral Crisis" -from The Walstreet Journal, June 20, 2020

Julie Bosman, Manny Fernandez and Thomas Fuller, "After Plummeting, the Virus Soars Back in the Midwest" -from The New York
, August 1, 2020

Wade Davis, "The Unraveling of America" -from Rolling Stone, August 6, 2020

Pope Frances, "Fratelli Tutti" - October 3, 2020

Ranked Choice Voting in Maine - September 23,l 2020

2020 Presidential Election Polls -from

Chiafalo v. Washington -Supreme Court upholds state penalties on "faithless electors"..

Michelle Cottle, "End Our National Crisis" -from The New York Times, October 17, 2020

Farah Stockman, "Why They Loved Him" -from The New York Times, October 17, 2020

"End Our National Crisis" -from The New York Times, October 18, 2020

William Galston, "'American Values' Portend Trump's Defeat" -from The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2020

A. C. v. Raimondo -Federal District Court for Rhode Island, Opinion by Judge William E. Smith, October 13, 2020

William Galston, "Without a Platform, Trump Fails" -from The New York Times, October 27, 2020

Willam Galston, "An Election Doesn't Have to Tear Us Apart" -from The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2020