Axelrod, Rove to debut 2018 Bryan Series

Political strategist David Axelrod joined Friends of the LBJ Library members to speak about his memoir, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,” at the LBJ Presidential Library on February 25, 2015. The discussion was moderated by director Mark Updegrove and introduced by Elizabeth Christian. By Lauren Gerson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s Note: The Bryan Series event has been postponed until October 1 because of Hurricane Florence. 

Kicking off the Guilford College Bryan Series will be the duo of David Axelrod and Karl Rove. The event will be held on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. Both speakers are successful politicians but have strongly opposing views.

A Republican political consultant, Rove is most well-known for his work in the George W. Bush administration, where he was senior adviser and deputy chief of staff. Since then, he has worked as an analyst and contributor for news sources like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. Overall, Rove is a conservatively-leaning analyst.

On the other side of the aisle is Axelrod. Axelrod worked in a similar role to Rove in the Obama administration, where he was deputy chief of staff. He currently works on a number of different contributing roles as a senior political commentator for CNN. He is also the director of the non-partisan Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago. Axelrod’s views are usually liberal.

“The two of them will be coming from opposite sides of the political spectrum and having a conversation,” said Suzanne Ingram, director of the Bryan Series.

With the midterm elections coming up, the hope is that the two will provide their different viewpoints on what the outcome might be.

“We hope they will also talk about what is going on in North Carolina,” said Ingram. “There’s a lot of issues there we hope they’ll address.”

Some are hoping that having the speakers will promote positive dialogue within the community.

“I think seeing these two people who likely disagree on very fundamental things, come to talk with each other about these things, I think that’s a key aspect that we need to be looking at as students,” said senior Chris Collins, a Bryan Series intern. “It’s often miscommunication, or even not communicating with other people at all, that ends up breaking up relationships, or just not knowing what other people are thinking.”

Senior Daniel Bowen, who is also working as an intern, agrees.

“I think that it’s really important because of how divisive our current political climate is,” said Bowen. “It’s really rare to get two successful political analysts and political strategists with significantly opposing views, working together and creating a piece of commentary together.”

Regardless of who you are and what your views are, there’s always going to be someone who has the opposite views as you, and nothing’s going to happen in this country unless you understand what the other person is thinking.”

While the main event will be held at the Coliseum, students will get a chance to speak directly to Rove and Axelrod at a Q&A session held on campus.

“(The Q&A is) a super intimate environment with the speaker, and they can ask personal questions,” said Collins. “I find those to be way more interesting.”

The Q&A is open to all students and will be held in the West Gallery at 4 p.m. on the day of the event. Tickets for the evening event will be given out at the information desk in Founders Hall. Students who would like to attend should check the Guilford Buzz for times when tickets will be distributed.