Virtual discussion features Florida Republicans

By Emmalyse Brownstein

Virtual discussion features Florida Republicans

By Emmalyse Brownstein
Hosted by the Department of Political Science, event participants will explore “The Future of the Republican Party.”

The University of Miami’s Department of Political Science will host a virtual discussion about the future of the Republican Party at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 16.

The event will feature panelists associated with the GOP from the South Florida area, including Al Cardenas, former chair of the Florida Republican Party; Mercedes Schlapp, former White House director of strategic communications for former President Donald J. Trump; Carlos Curbelo, former member of Congress; and Nelson Diaz, immediate past chair of the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County. 

The discourse will be led by a moderator, and the panel will also address questions from the audience at the end. It is the second in a series of politically-themed virtual events, which included a preview of the Congressional agenda with former Congresswoman Donna Shalala in January and will feature a review of President Joseph R. Biden’s first 100 days in April.

Gregory Koger, department chair and professor of political science, is the main organizer of the event. According to Koger, it’s a conventional thing for the losing party of a presidential election to engage in some self-reflection. But on top of that, he said, there’s a greater need for this discussion. 

“I think there's special urgency for the Republican Party to think about where it's at and where it wants to be going forward,” said Koger. “The Trump presidency is over. But he continues to be a leading force in the party. That in itself brings with it certain liabilities that they [Republicans] might want to think and talk about. To what extent is the core ideology of the party going to be like going forward? And then the elephant in the room is the insurrection.”

The virtual discussion is open to everyone. In past discussions in the series, Koger said, there have been upward of 400 attendees.

“One of the challenges we face as a country is that our political conversations have been increasingly separated so that progressives and conservatives have their own media spaces,” said Koger. “Coming together and politely discussing major issues is a model for how we can talk about politics.”

Koger also added that although the event is geared toward the University of Miami community, plenty of people beyond students, faculty, staff, and alumni could take something away by attending.

“I think this is a conversation that has tremendous public importance,” he said. “This is a two-party country and one of the two parties is in a moment of crisis and needs to decide what it wants to stand for. And we have excellent guests who are having a conversation about where the Republican Party ought to go from where it is.”

To join the event, register here.