Professionalism in Politics
Welcome to the start of what I know will be a rich and rewarding time for you at the Electoral College of the Americas. Founded in 1982, the College is the undisputed leader in the area of electoral arts and sciences, and the only institution offering the distinguished Master of Electoral Engineering. Our instructors nearly all of them current or former public officials are among the most accomplished election professionals in the nation. Through research, teaching, and extensive field work, members of our faculty have helped shaped the political life of not only Miami-Dade County but cities, states, and small republics around the globe. We have every reason to believe that you will follow in their footsteps and that the Electoral College's motto "Producing tomorrow's election results today" will continue to have special meaning.
So take a moment to get acquainted with our faculty, staff, and our lovely Miami campus. We think you'll agree: The Electoral College is a remarkable place.
Best wishes for a successful academic year.
Gerald F. Wrigg, Ph.D.
Dean, Electoral College of the Americas
Given the controversy over the presidential election and the increased attention being directed at the national electoral college, we believe some perspective is necessary. Specifically we'd like to address the growing sentiment that the electoral college should be abolished. It wields too much power, say its mostly Democratic detractors. We disagree.
Yes, every four years the electoral college chooses our nation's leader. But as we know, this is largely a ministerial function, an opportunity for party hacks to take a weekend in our nation's capital, run up huge bar and "entertainment" tabs at the public's expense, then rubber-stamp the election results. And yes, every 100 years or so there's a discrepancy between the electoral vote and the popular vote, and we get stuck with the candidate who, collectively speaking, was our second choice.
But that's not because the electoral college wields too much power. Just the opposite. The real problem is that the institution, which doesn't even become involved until after the election, currently plays not too great but too small a role in determining the president of these United States. The electoral college was created in the first place because the Founding Fathers understood that some elections were just too important to be left to the complete discretion of the huddled masses. It was a good idea then. It's a better one now.
The solution is not to eliminate the electoral college but to make it integral to the daily political life of the nation, to make it more proactive, more -- well, more like the Electoral College of the Americas, right here in Miami. After all, this young institution already has demonstrated what the right people, with the right training and motivation, are capable of achieving. Why not take Miami's political culture national? You can bet there'd never be another contested presidential election.
But we don't want to preach, and we'll leave boosterism to the other publications in town. Instead we've decided to simply reprint, with the school's permission, of course, excerpts from the Electoral College of the Americas' most recent catalogue. The folks in Washington would be well advised to take a page out of it.
Master of Electoral Engineering, M.E.E.
Advanced Topics in Geography 506a: A cross-cultural analysis of the physical and theoretical construction of place.
Instructor: Demetrio J. Perez
Note: The final assignment (100 percent of the final grade) will require students to formulate original and compelling new definitions of what it means to "live" in a particular locale.
The Psychology of Political Life 509a: This course utilizes Freudian analysis to deconstruct the political ego, super ego, and id (the "little voice" that drives individuals to seek public office). Emphasis will be on the interpretation of personal testimony.
Instructor: Joe Carollo
Grassroots Campaigning 547a: This course examines the art and science of one-on-one campaign outreach. Students will accompany the instructor on walking tours of the City of Miami, interacting with potential voters in such intimate settings as the corner bodega, the neighborhood coffee shop, and the occasional front lawn.
Instructor: Xavier Suarez
Note: This class may sometimes meet late at night. Students should wear reflective clothing and carry their college ID.
Managing a Successful Campaign 604b: An examination of the people, resources, and ideas that are absolutely indispensable to a winning campaign. Students will receive instruction in advantageous propaganda placement, creative-opposition research, and the art of persuading reluctant candidate-clients to see things your way.
Instructor: Armando Gutierrez
Influencing Senior Citizens 610b: This advanced lecture course explores specific techniques for harnessing the support of a large bloc of constituents. Topics covered include the power of emotional appeal, effective pandering, and psychological manipulation.
Instructor: Humberto Hernandez
Note: This course will be offered via closed circuit from our satellite campus in Pensacola, Florida.
Aggressive Financing 633b: A real-politik approach to campaign financing. This course looks beyond the traditional public money-private money paradigm while teaching students the basics of raising, directing, and redirecting funds, borrowing against existing assets, and purchasing adequate influence.
Co-instructors: Carmen Lunetta and Donald Warshaw
Study Abroad: Spend one semester in beautiful and exciting Melbourne, Australia, while working on an ambitious Electoral College study (1) measuring the effectiveness of United States extradition laws as they apply to U.S. citizens living abroad, (2) comparing United States and Australian "victimless" crime statutes, and (3) gauging the political and economic impact of the global trade in stolen automobiles.
Director: Joe Gersten
Job Placement: During their final semester students will have the opportunity to take a salaried staff position in the office of a local elected official.
Advisor: Pedro Reboredo
Note: Positions may differ in the amount of work required.
The Raul Martinez Dining Hall and Community Control Lab: A two-in-one facility, the RM is open to students for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and features an assortment of hot and cold foods, snacks, and beverages. During the lunch hour, designated student "marshals" practice patrolling the hall, extending favors and assistance or extracting penalties as deemed appropriate by selected faculty members.
Campus Radio Station: WECA-AM is a fully operational broadcast facility and the only college radio station in the nation that features an all-talk format. Under the guidance of station manager Marta Flores, students are provided an opportunity not simply to create compelling on-air personalities but also to make names for themselves in the rapidly expanding field of endorsement-for-compensation political journalism.
The Alberto Gutman Research Center: This complex features one of the most extensive holdings of county and court records in the Southeast. Special resources include the Lincoln Diaz-Balart Financial Disclosure Records Room, the Gilda Oliveros Contracts Collection, and the James Burke Listening Library. The state-of-the-art Miller Dawkins Computer Laboratory is located on the first floor.
Biographies of the faculty and staff
A tireless and energetic educator, Mayor Joe Carollo is an expert in political calculus and mercurial decision-making. He currently is contemplating a sabbatical leave from the College, though maybe not.
Radio virtuoso Marta Flores is a pioneer in the emerging new field of entrepreneurial journalism, mixing politics, reportage, and broadcast consulting services.
Joe Gersten, a former Miami-Dade County commissioner, has performed numerous consciousness-raising experiments at the grass-roots level and was one of the earliest supporters of converting disadvantaged neighborhoods into entrepreneurial zones. He has served as director of the ECA's Study Abroad program since 1993.
A master of public relations and campaign strategy, Armando Gutierrez's contributions to Miami's electioneering fame are legendary. Professor Gutierrez has produced numerous political biographies of opposing candidates and is the foremost expert in the area of judicial election insurance.
Affectionately known as Humbertico by his adoring former students, Professor Humberto Hernandez left public life in 1998 and currently is a scholar-in-residence at our government-operated satellite campus in Pensacola, Florida. His specialties include banking and real estate.
For seventeen years Carmen Lunetta served as director of the Miami-Dade seaport, where he developed innovative strategies for the disbursement of political campaign funds. Recently recognized by the state for his work in the field, Professor Lunetta is currently on a six-month sabbatical, though intensive tutorial work for select students is available at his home in nearby Weston.
Despite being the ECA's youngest faculty member, Demetrio J. Perez already has accumulated more firsthand experience than many seasoned veterans. A scholar of both election law and the science of subjective mapping, Professor Perez combines classic electoral engineering with more modern approaches.
County Commissioner Pedro Reboredo has recently submitted his well-publicized study on the flexible time-management techniques of government employees. His findings are currently under review.
An ex-mayor of Miami, Xavier Suarez has experimented widely in the area of political reinvention. Currently he is conducting an appropriation study of the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee.
Donald Warshaw's recent departure from government allows him time to lecture on the intersection between the public and personal in politics. In addition to his teaching duties, Professor Warshaw will soon be presenting his views on civic responsibility at an eagerly anticipated meeting of legal experts, journalists, and panel members from the community.
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