The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

The Wild 2016 Race for the White House: An Informed Analysis

16S Public Program Wild Ride

“The Wild 2016 Race for the White House: An Informed Analysis” featuring Benjamin Wallace-Wells ’00, Molly Ball, and Brendan Nyhan and moderated by Linda Fowler.

Article Type 

With the 2016 presidential election approaching rapidly, politics has once again risen to the forefront of many of our thoughts. As primaries and caucuses for party nominations quickly come and go, the competition to win the nomination becomes ever stiffer as voting results force some nominees to the frontlines of the battle for the presidency while others are forced to drop out. Now perhaps more so than ever, the media and the public alike are also becoming politicized as debates regarding likely nominees and general election scenarios rage on. This intense scrutiny focused on the 2016 presidential election is, perhaps, partly due to the various conflicting forces at play in this presidential election, from the great ideological divergence between the potential nominees of the opposing parties to the different personas adopted by potential nominees within their own parties. A number of important developments, including the sudden loss of a Supreme Court Justice and a new round of terrorist attacks in Europe, have further intensified this election. With so much at stake, so many conflicting messages, and so much information to process, informed analysis is critical to help make sense of what is happening at the polls and what that may imply for America’s future.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center in collaboration with OSHER at Dartmouth welcomed Dartmouth alum and political writer for The New Yorker Benjamin Wallace-Wells ’00, The Atlantic staff writer Molly Ball, and Dartmouth Assistant Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan to an exciting roundtable discussion about the many conflicting forces driving the current Presidential election campaign. Dartmouth Professor of Government, Emerita, and former Rockefeller Center Director, Linda Fowler, moderated the discussion, which featured the viewpoints of seasoned political professionals on what has become among the most contentious Presidential election campaigns in American memory.

Panelists' Bios

Benjamin Wallace-Wells ’00 has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2007 before joining The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2015. Previously, he was a fellow at the New America Foundation and worked as a metro reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer and as a political writer at the Washington Monthly. He has also written for New York magazine, The New York Times magazine, and Rolling Stone. His writings mainly focus on American politics and society and have been collected in such anthologies as “The Best American Political Writing.”

Molly Ball has been a staff writer with a focus on politics for The Atlantic since 2011. Previously, she was a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Politico, and she has also reported for newspapers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Cambodia as well as for The New York Times and The Washington Post. A graduate of Yale University, she was the 2009 recipient of the University of Michigan’s Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship and has appeared on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

Brendan Nyhan is a contributor to “The Upshot” at The New York Times and has been an Assistant Professor of Government at Dartmouth College since 2011. He has been published in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, where his research focuses on political scandal and misperceptions about healthcare and politics. Previously, he served as a media critic for Columbia Journalism Review, co-edited Spinsanity, and coauthored The New York Times bestseller, All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media and the Truth. A graduate of Swarthmore College, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and served as a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan.

Linda Fowler is a Professor of Government and Frank J. Reagan Chair in Policy Studies, Emerita, at Dartmouth College, where she teaches courses on American politics and conducts political research. Until 2004, she also directed the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and Social Sciences. She has published a number of journal articles and books, including Political Ambition: Who Decides to Run for Congress, and she is a frequent commentator about American politics in the media. Previously, she was a Professor of Political Science in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, worked for the Environmental Protection Agency, and served as Secretary of the American Political Science Association. A graduate of Smith College, she received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and was the recipient of the 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship.

The views and opinions expressed and any materials presented during a public program are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences