A billionaire-bashing socialist senator, a scandal-plagued political juggernaut and real estate tycoon-turned-reality-TV-star walk into a bar — and everyone’s dying to know what happens next. When the political pundits need some insight, they call Sonoma State University Political Science Professor David McCuan, who has established himself as a go-to-source for political analysis in both local and national politics. Now that school’s out for summer, McCuan is busier than ever.
“The 2016 election is far, far different than anything we’ve seen in quite some time,” he says. “Much of that is due to Donald Trump and his rhetoric, while we are also seeing the core elements of the two major parties changing right before our very eyes.”
With California’s primary election actually holding some weight in the outcome of the election this year (the nominations are usually decided long before California’s turn to vote), McCuan is especially in demand for interviews. This year has been “far busier” for him in terms of media requests.
“Each day begins about 4:45 a.m. as the phone starts ringing and buzzing with requests or hits of information,” he says. “This cycle knocks off after 11 p.m. It’s a wild ride for sure.”
On June 7, the day of California’s primary election, he’s booked solid with several live radio segments on KCBS and KQED (the Bay Area’s NPR affiliate) after the polls close. The two are the top two stations in the San Francisco, which is the fourth-largest media market in the nation. The following day, he will be on KQED and Santa Rosa’s KSRO in the morning to discuss election results. He’ll be on KSRO again in the evening as a featured guest on Steve Jaxon’s show, “The Drive,” for their record eighth round of election night coverage.
And then there are daily calls and emails from print journalists working for national publications like the Economist, as well as large international newspapers interested in the American elections. (The international audience is huge, especially in this election.)
“For Bernie, it’s about reforming and re-making the modern Democratic Party,” he recently told the Russian newspaper Pravda. “Leading a revolution in many ways is the victory that Sanders gets by losing the nomination.”
To top it all off, McCuan just returned from several weeks in Germany on a U.S. State Department-sponsored lecture tour on the 2016 elections. His talks focused on explaining the American voting system and current state of American politics to German high school and university professors at three different U.S. Teacher Academy engagements, as well as a talk at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and several other speaking engagements throughout the country.
One of the most unexpected questions he’s received this election season came on that tour. “I was asked in Germany, ‘So, professor, with all your data and charts, can you explain to us how you Americans could give a madman the nuclear codes after November?'” says McCuan. “I passed the question off to a professional diplomat!”