News Release

Election Analysts See Opportunity, Challenge

WASHINGTON — While think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute are showcasing their analysts for the 1998 elections, many political researchers say the greatest concerns of most Americans will remain on the back burner.

Issues such as education, the distribution of prosperity and the relationship between money and political access are addressed by the Institute for Public Accuracy, a national consortium of policy analysts.

Among those available for comment are:

LARRY AGRAN
Former mayor of Irvine, Calif., attorney and founder of CityVote, Agran said: “Washington-based, millionaire celebrity analysts continue ignoring what should be the country’s top priority: closing the growing gap between rich and poor in America. One-fourth of all kids are poor, and that’s an absolute national disgrace. Ending child poverty should be our government’s number-one priority. It’s far better than tax cuts for the rich.”

JOHN BERG
Professor and director of the graduate program in Professional Politics at Suffolk University in Boston, Berg is author of Unequal Struggle: Class, Gender, Race and Power in the U.S. Congress. He said: “One of the things to watch in 1998 is how mad people are about big money’s domination of our electoral process. Some are fighting back, using tools like state-level voter initiatives to reform campaign finance. I think they have a good chance of winning.”

ROBERT BOROSAGE
Co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, Borosage said: “The concerns people have even in this good time are much more about issues like education and affordable health care, which are much more linked to Democratic reforms than Republican conservatism. We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the conservative era of the last two decades.”

MANNING MARABLE
Noted author, professor of history and director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, Marable said: “The fundamental issue in American politics in the 1990s has been the conflict between the public versus the private. Should government be utilized to address real problems experienced by millions of Americans, or should the private sector and corporate interests determine what’s good for America? The public’s interest should not be sold to the highest corporate bidder.”

GWENDOLYN MINK
Feminist writer and professor of politics at the University of California at Santa Cruz and author of Welfare’s End, Mink said: “The top issue on the minds of most voters is probably education, and the future of their children that education can purchase. For that reason I think voters are going to think very hard about making the decision about returning the Republicans to power in Congress. [The Republicans] are much more interested in pursuing the principles of devolution and privatization than ensuring the welfare of the people.”

ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ
Syndicated columnist, author of Justice: A Question of Race and recipient (with Patrisia Gonzales) of the 1998 human rights award from the Albuquerque (N.M.) Human Rights Commission, Rodriguez said: “I wouldn’t put it past the electorate and Congress to be bolder, and attack groups they see as vulnerable. California showed there’s no longer any sense of civility…. Now, it’s ‘their fault.’ It’s blame politics, going national.”

RON WALTERS
Renowned political analyst and strategist, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, Walters said: “This election cycle is critical for minorities, disadvantaged and immigrants because of the budget surplus. If the political system is configured correctly, they stand to gain.”

For more information, contact Theresa Caldwell or Sam Husseini at the Institute for Public Accuracy, (202) 347-0020.