Historian Doris Goodwin discusses upcoming election at Fresno State

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Doris Kearns Goodwin is a presidential historian and a Pulitzer-prize winning author. She said the candidates have been very cruel and critical of each other and it's made for interesting television but Goodwin said we should be focusing on the strengths and weaknesses. (KFSN)

A woman who has made a career out of documenting the history of our country's leaders made a stop Monday night at Fresno State.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a presidential historian and a Pulitzer-prize winning author. She said the candidates have been very cruel and critical of each other and it's made for interesting television but Goodwin said we should be focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of these two people to really figure out how would be the best leader.

Crowds entered Fresno State Monday night, they all came to get a lesson in history and a little perspective on the current election from a woman who has spent much of her life studying and writing about past presidents.

"In my lifetime, it's been the least uplifting election and the incredible thing is we may well now be seeing our first woman president and it's been totally overshadowed by Trump," she told the crowd.

Trump has been on her mind for a while and not for good reason. Goodwin said he's a phenomenon 104 years in the making. In 1912, she said, there was a rift in the Republican Party.

"That's when the first primary system was ever created and that, in the end, is what caused this whole thing," she explained.

Goodwin said there are problems with both political parties. The coverage and the campaigns, she said all of it has left many voters disheartened. However, Fresno State president Joseph Castro said her words could help.

"We want everyone in Fresno on the campus and off campus to have a stronger sense of the history of elections and what's happened in the past and how to look at this election in that historical context," she said.

In the seats during Goodwin's lecture were people of all ages. Many who are too young to vote like Mary Janzen's group of AP history students. She said this was a chance for them to learn how to be active and responsible.

"Active and responsible citizens vote and they're educated voters who research what is happening, who's saying what and make educated choices," Janzen said.

In the end, Goodwin's message was one of hope.

"It's a troubling time but somehow we come out of these things," she said.

Goodwin said the issues need to be discussed in a civil way and voters need to show up to the polls.

"However, disheartened they feel, they should go to the voting booth anyway and even if they don't want to vote for the presidential candidates," she told the audience. "Vote for the people at the lower level."
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