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The 21st Annual Travers Conference on Ethics and Accountability in Government

This year's Travers Conference will focus on Parties and Partisanship in the Era of Twitter and Trump. Join in an exploration of how social media and societal trends have challenged the power of American political parties and reshaped the nature of the Americans’ partisan attachments. The 2018 Travers Conference will bring together academics, journalists and political practitioners to assess the current state of voter partisanship and political party organizations. One particular focus will be examining the role that social media plays in potentially transforming the functioning of these longstanding features of American politics.

Partisanship Out of Control?
This panel will consider the current nature of voter partisanship, and how it has evolved over time.   It will address a series of questions: Has partisanship become a more salient and all-consuming identity to Americans in recent years? Is it increasingly fueled by dislike for the opposing party?   What does this all mean for the role of political independents?

Parties Losing Control?
This panel will examine the difficulties faced by modern political party organizations in performing key functions. The 2016 presidential election suggests that both parties are finding it more challenging to control nomination battles and settle on nominees that are palatable to broad sections of the party. Party leaders in Congress have also encountered difficulty in controlling factions within their parties and governing effectively. What does it mean for our politics to have parties that are deeply polarized yet seemingly unable to control their own decision-making processes?

Social Media in Control?
This panel will consider the rise of social media and its influence on politics. It will address the extent to which social media provides users with biased information and insulates them in partisan “information bubbles” that make the vulnerable to “fake news.” Can and should this be combatted by the companies themselves or by governmental regulation? What effect does this channel of communication have on the nature of partisanship, and the ability of parties to perform basic organizational functions?

Registration must be done through UC Berkeley at


FREE; lunch provided to registered participants

Hosted by the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley, in cooperation with The Commonwealth Club of California

April 20, 2018

UC Berkeley
See Travers Website for exact location
Berkeley, 94704
United States