Community Connections panel discusses future of two-party political system

By Ginna Royalty

From left to right: Naeemah Clark, John Hood, Carrie Eaves and Christ Fitzsimon

Alamance Community members and Elon students, faculty and staff gathered in McKinnon on Tuesday night for a panel discussion on the two-party political system and the future of our government. The Burlington Times-News and Elon University sponsored the event. Naeemah Clark, associate professor of communications at Elon University, moderated the panel.

The panel consisted of John Hood, founder and chair of the John Locke Foundation, Carrie Eaves, assistant professor of political science at Elon University, and Chris Fitzsimon, founder and executive director of NC Policy Watch. Clark posed some initial questions for the scholars and then audience members had the opportunity to ask questions.

Clark’s opened up the panel asking the panelists to discuss having a president who won the Electoral College vote, but not the popular vote and what this result says about the two-party system and how Americans are voting. “This election told us what we already know, we are incredibly polarized,” Eaves said.

Other questions from Clark included the role of third party candidates, the divisions of the Republican Party, and the protest movements that have been happening over the past couple of weeks.

Connor Torossian, sophomore, asked the first question from the audience, wondering if we will see a competitor come in for the next election from the Republican Party.

“I do think there is a possibility that Trump will not be on the ballot in 2020, ” Hood said. He then added, “I think there are some other scenarios that lead him to not finish his term, or not run for a second term,” causing the audience to chuckle.

The audience was also filled with Alamance Community members, including Jim Romer, Burlington citizen. “Both of the men on the panel have been published, but I liked them much more in person. They had good points and were very civil,” Romer said. “After all this, I just think we need better communication between the two political parties.”

“I appreciated how faculty and staff were involved and asking questions, such as Jon Dooley,” said Gabby Vance, junior. “I think it was clear that they care just as much about learning about these types of conversations as we do. They want to prepare best for how to facilitate these difficult conversations.”

For more Community Connections events, please visit


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