BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — It might seem a ways off, but the next U.S. presidential election is not even 19 months away. On Monday at South Dakota State University, the Daschle Dialogues lecture series featured Pulitizer Prize-winning presidential historian and best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Beforehand, KELOLAND News had the chance to ask questions of both her and Tom Daschle, former Democratic U.S. senator from South Dakota. The Daschle Dialogues come from his Congressional Research Study located at his alma mater SDSU.
“The Daschle Dialogue is really just an opportunity for South Dakotans to learn from our leaders and others who can give us some insight into the circumstances we’re facing today, an appreciation of history, appreciation of the challenges we’re facing in our country,” Daschle said.
Before the event bearing his name, the former Democratic majority and minority leader sang Goodwin’s praises.
“I couldn’t pick somebody for whom I have greater admiration as a writer, as an historian, as an author,” Daschle said. “She is just an extraordinary writer with an enormous capacity to give us a better understanding of some of the great presidents.”
Goodwin highlights a section of American history that reminds her of the present.
“The echo in history that I think is most like the time we’re in now is the turn of the 20th century,” Goodwin said. “Because the industrial revolution had shaken up the economy much as the tech revolution and globalization had done. It was the first time that you had a gap between the rich and the poor. There was a sense among the working class that they weren’t, their concerns weren’t being met by the people in power. People in the rural areas felt cut off from the people in the cities.”
Goodwin looked back on history when speaking about today.
“Teddy Roosevelt warned that democracy would founder if people in different regions and races and religions thought of themselves as the other, rather than as common American citizens, so I think the most important thing is to remember that common American citizenry right now, and with that we can do anything, but without that it’s really hard,” Goodwin said.