Moakley Forum Elaborates on the Importance of Swing States


On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Suffolk Business School hosted a discussion on the potential swing states have to affect the outcome of the election this year. The Sawyer Business School’s dean, William J. O’Neill Jr., was the master of ceremonies for the luncheon. The discussion included three guest panelists that all have different types of political experience: Suffolk’s own polling mastermind David Paleologos, Michael Dukakis, former Massachusetts Governor, 1988 Democratic Presidential nominee, and distinguished professor of Political Science at Northeastern University, and Party Blute, former State Representative, former Congressman, and current Deputy Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee. The event lasted an hour-and-a-half.

The Moakley Forum, titled “The 2012 Presidential Election: Why Swing States Matter,” was held in Sargent Hall with attendance reaching close to, if not higher than, one hundred people. The mood was rather considerate and respectful to each of the speakers.  When Paleologos began the discussion, everyone fell silent as they listened to his wise and carefully researched opinion of the elections this year. Paleologos started by explaining that “we’ve got six or seven states that matter at this point,” and that “Ohio is the road to the White House for both [President] Barack Obama and [former Massachusetts Governor] Mitt Romney.”

For Ohio, Paleologos stated, “Mitt Romney needs it to win while Barack Obama needs it to block…Romney from winning.” As clever as it is, this is also realistic in a present campaign in the 21st century. No longer do candidates visit each state, but rather visit the states that have the most undecided and potential votes.

Paleologos went on to give details on how diverse each voting ballot is simply depending on the state. For example, as he explained, Massachusetts has four candidates on the ballot, while Colorado has a whopping seventeen and Florida has seven, all for President of the United States.

Of the sixteen tables, almost half were filled with students that came as part of one of their classes and stayed for the free lunch provided in the back.

Beginning by saying that Paleologos is “the only pollster [he] listen to,” Governor Dukakis told the crowd his intentions during the time allotted to him. In particular, Dukakis mentioned how corrupt he considered the Citizens United v. FEC case citing it as “one of the worst three or four cases handed down by the Supreme Court.”

The other issue Dukakis expressed concern for was the potential problem with the current process of the Electoral College. Dukakis remarked how he strongly thought that the “Electoral College should have been abolished 150 years ago.”

Blute, Dukakis’ Republican colleague, acknowledged him saying “on campaign finance, I agree with Governor Dukakis,” but said he considers the Electoral College part of our founding documents.

The speakers also mentioned the possible situations of a 269-269 tie election between Obama and Romney, as well as any chance of a Romney-Biden administration.

The name for the event Moakley Forum, comes from the late Massachusetts Congressman John Joseph “Joe” Moakley who served almost three decades in the United States House of Representatives on behalf of his constituents in the ninth district. Both the Moakley Center for Public Management and the Moakley Foundation were also keys sponsors of the luncheon.