Category Archives: UCTV Prime Vote

Incumbent v. Challenger – Two Very Different Animals

UC San Diego political scientist Sam Popkin knows what it’s like to face the wrath of the President of the United States. While working on Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign, it was Popkin who stepped into Ronald Reagan’s shoes at the podium during Carter’s debate prep sessions and, after 11 minutes of giving the president a hard-to-swallow dose of what Reagan was expected to deliver in the real debate, both Carter and his wife seemed ready to pounce.

In total, Popkin has served on five Democratic presidential campaigns. He’s also conducted extensive research on every campaign going back to World War II for his book “The Candidate: What it Takes to Win — and Hold — the White House.” As a result, he’s got plenty of insight, frank assessments and strong opinions about the saga that is Obama v. Romney, which he shares this week on “UCTV Prime Vote.”

No matter what you thought of the candidates’ first debate this week, you’ll eat up the juicy details Popkin shares from his own experiences in “The Candidate: Debate Prep.” Then on “The Candidate: The Incumbent,” Popkin focuses on Obama’s advantages and weaknesses as the incumbent, an “entirely different animal” than Romney’s role as challenger. Popkin weighs in on that in “The Candidate: The Challenger.”

Once you hear Popkin’s perspective, which he’s also been sharing with The Atlantic’s James Fallows, you’ll look at the presidential race in a whole new light. Don’t miss it!

The Candidate: Debate Prep with Sam Popkin

The Candidate: The Incumbent with Sam Popkin

The Candidate: The Challenger with Sam Popkin


It’s A Great Time To Be Sam Popkin

by Shannon Bradley

UC San Diego political scientist Sam Popkin has a wonderful new book out called “The Candidate: What It Takes To Win — and Hold – The White House” and for political junkies like me, it’s pure heaven. So many great stories about the inner workings of campaigns that, when viewed together, show patterns among successful and failed candidates.

The book’s getting all sorts of attention, my favorite review is here in the Washington Post, and he continues his online chats with James Fallows at, in what Fallows teasingly calls, “Ask Dr. Popkin.”

I had the pleasure of talking with Sam about his book and the presidential election in the downtime between the conventions and the debates. Our conversation lasted more than an hour but we’ll present his commentary in short, web-friendly chunks on our YouTube channel, UCTV Prime.

We’re starting today with The Candidate: Debate Prep, given that Obama and Romney are well into that right now, with Sam’s insight into how it feels to stand face to face with the president, and repeat what’s being said about him on the campaign trail. As Jim Lehrer would say, “Tension City!

Next up, Popkin evaluates how Romney is doing as The Challenger and Obama as The Incumbent. We’ll get to Sam’s thoughts on The Successor when we have time. It may not be relevant in this election, but if Obama prevails in November, it could become so in 2016.


The Affordable Care Act is Good Enough for This Professor

UCSF's Janet Coffman

There’s already more than enough heated rhetoric about Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) — or anything political for that matter — to last us until the 2016 election. Instead of partisan pundits and spokespeople, we really need to hear the calm, reasonable, rational voices of people who’ve spent their careers studying and interpreting public health policy, among many other issues.

That brings us to our latest installment of UCTV Prime Vote, featuring Janet Coffman, an associate professor of medicine at UC San Francisco. In her commentary “The Affordable Care Act is Good Enough,” Professor Coffman argues that voters need to understand what the ACA does in order to judge it properly. In her view, the health care law is not perfect, but it’s better than what we have now.

Share your response to Professor Coffman’s argument in the video’s comments section and, whatever you do, make sure your trip to the polls in November is an informed one. Stay tuned in September for more programs about the ACA and other important issues of our time.


UCTV Prime Vote: As Latinos Go, So Goes the Nation


UC Berkeley's Lisa Garcia Bedolla about to tape her UCTV Prime Vote commentary on the Latino vote.

We’ve got pundits, too!  Next up on UCTV Prime Vote is UC Berkeley’s Lisa Garcia Bedolla with As Latinos Go, So Goes the Nation, in which she argues that Republicans will never become a majority party without support from Latinos.

Professor Bedolla joins faculty from throughout the UC system who present their views on issues relevant to the next election.

Got five minutes to watch some thoughtful, research-based commentary without all the partisan shouting?  Check out the UCTV Prime Vote website. Then let us know what you think with a comment on the website, YouTube channel or Facebook page.


Affordable Care Act: SCOTUS Rules, Cal Responds

We’ve heard what the Supreme Court had to say about their 5-4 decision to uphold President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”  And if you’ve been paying even the slightest amount of attention, you’ve heard what the partisan pundits think on the various cable news talk shows. But how do scholars in public policy, economics and public health evaluate this hefty decision?

UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy wanted to find out — and share the experience with UCTV viewers–so they gathered together a panel of experts to analyze the impacts of the Supreme Court’s decision and what it means for future health reform, constitutional law, medical care, health insurance, public policy and politics.  It’s a thorough, reasoned assessment — and one you surely won’t find on cable.

Watch “SCOTUS Rules, Cal Responds:  UC Berkeley Experts Assess Decision on the Affordable Care Act” in its entirety, or stay tuned next week when we post shorter highlights from the event as part of our “UCTV Prime: Vote” series.