The next Political Pundit Night is around the corner and it promises to be the best yet — a real humdinger.
Remember round one: October 24, 2016. It was the week before the presidential election and the first Political Pundit Night was held at Mandeville Hall at the Clemens Center in downtown Elmira to discuss the presidential election that was right around the corner. The event was well attended, differing opinions were articulated and ideas ricocheted off the walls. There was debate between the pundits, between the pundits and the audience, and between those in the audience themselves. It was obvious that the contest between Hillary and the Donald had created lots of excitement, engagement and passion.
Remember round two: January 30. It was just 10 days after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. The turnout to discuss the new presidency at Mandeville Hall was stunning. Hundreds attended and more were turned away from the event. Emotions ran high. The conflict in the crowd over Trump reflected a divided nation — a nation in conflict. It also reflected the reality that the new president — like him or not — was a catalyst for public discussion and controversy.
Round three is next: The upcoming Political Pundit Night will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday. The topic will be Trump’s presidency. The questions abound: How has he been doing thus far? Will he succeed or fail as president? What does he need to do to succeed going forward? Is his temperament and leadership style what America needs, or does he represent a clear and present danger to America, its allies and the world? Furthermore, is the media biased against Mr. Trump, or is it the other way around?
Round three — like rounds one and two — will again take place at the Clemens Center. But this time the event will be held in the majestic Powers Theater, which has 1600 seats. Given the seating capacity, this time no one will be turned away. The event is open to the public, free and no tickets are required.
The panel of political pundits or experts will include professors, journalists, public officials, consultants, analysts, commentators and attorneys — including:
•Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell
•Corning Mayor Rich Negri
•Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan
•Bob Price, veteran journalist from the Family Life Radio Network
•Attorney and the president and founder of the Trailblazers Political Action Committee — Leslie Danks Burke
•Attorney Christina Sonsire
•Conservative talk show host Frank Acomb
•Political consultant Denise King
•Political consultant Amo “Tory” Houghton III — son of former Congressman Amo Houghton II
Each person attending Political Pundit Night will receive two free tickets to the Political Pundit Night Elmira Pioneers baseball game at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
The upcoming Political Pundit Night will truly be an educational and family event, and the best pundits will be those like you in the audience.
So let’s talk politics and let’s play ball!
Dr. Stephen Coleman is a professor of political science at Elmira College.
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