Dr. Brendan O’Malley, recently appointed Assistant Professor of History at Newbury College, will give a brief talk explaining the history of presidential nominating conventions. He received his Doctorate in History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and his Bachelor of Arts in History from Vassar College. He researches and writes U.S. political history.
Dr. O’Malley will trace the origins of the conventions out of the electoral controversies of the 1820s through the birth of our modern primary system during the turbulent Vietnam War era. Throughout this history, the tension between political elites and those who felt disenfranchised drove many of the changes in the ways we selected candidates for the highest office in the land. The talk will address key questions like how did two parties come to dominate the way we elect our President? The current state of affairs is puzzling considering that the Founders thought we must avoid “conflicts of rival parties,” as James Madison wrote in Federalist #10.
Dr. O’Malley will be followed by two Newbury College students who will bring us to the present-day by sharing their first-hand experiences at the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions this past summer. Katelynne Bazile(Psychology major, English minor, Class of 2017) and Alexis Desrosiers (Media Production major, Class of 2018) represented Newbury at the national conventions through their participation in the Washington Center Convention Academic Seminar. Bazile and Desrosiers both worked with news organizations (CNN and CBSN) on the Convention floor. They will share what they learned about the Conventions’ purposes, planning processes, and media production from their inside perspectives.
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