2016: The Year In Politics

Dec 20, 2016

A tumultuous year in politics is drawing to a close. In a year when the word "unprecedented" was tossed around weekly in election coverage, choosing one defining moment is difficult for political analysts Dave Andersen of Iowa State University and Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa.

"This was a really unusual election year. Very unusual. Certainly the most unusual in my lifetime, and I think going back, even unusual beyond that," says Hoffman.

She says the question is whether the unusual nature of this year's election year is a one-off outlier or a harbinger of things to come.

"There are some troubling aspects in terms of if this is a new era. The one thing I would focus on is the norms in American politics. There were a lot of norms of American politics broken in this particular cycle, in terms of transparency, in terms of civility, in terms of political discourse."

Andersen boils his answer to six words.

"'Forget the hope, bring the change.' Because I think that's what the electorate said this year. Obama was elected in 2008 with hope and change and the idea that we need to reinvent government, and largely the Republicans in Congress prevented his vision from coming through, and I think the country is seeking massive change."

In this Politics Day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Hoffman and Andersen about the year of politics in 2016.