By Jeanine RussawStaff Writer Award-winning political journalist Jonathan Alter provided objective insight on the positions of this election’s presidential candidates with his lecture “Between the Lines: Politics, Media, and Society” at Temple Emanuel in Great Neck, N.Y. Sunday, Nov. 4. Alter began his lecture by emphasizing his professional objectivity, despite his personal preference for President Obama. “I don’t know how the election will turn out,” he said when asked about polls and predictions. “I think this race is just too close to call—there are too many uncertain variables to say that Obama will be re-elected.” Alter explained to his audience the importance of votes from Ohio for Obama. The audience became heated when he delved into Romney’s reasoning for passing by Pennsylvania in his rally calendar. There was an “unlikelihood” of Romney winning over the two-thirds of the population he needed to have a hold on the state. This topic led to other critiques of the Romney-Ryan platform by Alter. “The stakes in the election are very big. I believe the American Social Contract is on the line this election, “Alter said. “Paul Ryan’s plan strips away the contract upon which America is now built. If Romney is elected, Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade will be repealed.”
Alter explained to his audience that his support of Obama was with the understanding that Obama’s positions are far from perfect. Expectations for the election became a pressing topic of discussion—Linda Drum questioned Romney’s stance with the Republican party. Should he win, said Alter, “Romney will live looking over his shoulder because he knows he will be a man without a party should he deviate from any pre-imposed policies.” Professor Michael D’Innocenzo raised a question. “Regarding voting, the three groups that made a difference for Obama are African-Americans, Hispanics, and younger citizens,” he said, “what do they mean for Obama in this election?” Alter provided statistics that said that the turnout of the Latino population was not as high as that of the black population, even though 70 percent of Latinos are in favor of Obama. Additionally, the youth voter turnout leaves something to be desired. “At the end of the day,” said Alter, “it doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you take advantage of the rights you have to vote for someone who favors your interests.” Alter’s speech succeeded in rousing the undecided voters of the community to action. By the end of the night it was clear the audience had made the critical decision to vote, no matter their choice of candidate.