AUGUSTA — Sandy Maisel said that while his counterpart Sunday afternoon didn’t share his political philosophy, both he and Mark Brewer agree about the importance of government.

The two political scholars and analysts spoke Sunday afternoon during the “Elections 2016 — Significance for Maine’s People” forum at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Organizer Chuck Acker said he wanted Maisel and Brewer to look beyond the rhetoric and tell the more than 100 people in attendance about the implications of this election for Maine.

Maisel, a government professor at Colby College and former Congressional candidate, said he doesn’t think the people of Maine understand the impact this election would have on them.

“The issues and how they are going to affect the everyday citizen have rarely been discussed,” Maisel said. “We wanted to talk about the platforms and not about the candidates, because whether you like him or not, Mr. Trump has taken the air out of the election because all people talk about are things that he says.

“Those aren’t the most important issues,” Maisel said.

The Colby professor spoke for nearly 25 minutes about the Democratic platform both nationally and in Maine. He told the engaged audience that when looking at any platform, it’s important to distinguish what’s different from years past and what’s the same.

For Maine’s senior population, Maisel thinks “health care is a really serious issue, and there is no real plan by (Donald) Trump,” while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “has a list of priorities that have been laid out pretty clearly.”

Maisel noted the emphasis on bolstering the economy and the expansion of MaineCare eligibility as key components of the Maine Democratic platform along with a continued focus on environmental protection.

Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine who credits Maisel as the reason he came to Maine from upstate New York, said he always implores his students to read both major-party platforms before coming to a conclusion on who to vote for on Election Day.

“It tells you what the party stands for and what they’ll do if their candidate wins on Election Day and assumes governmental power,” Brewer said. “The platform isn’t all that different from other recent platforms.”

Brewer highlighted the Republican platform’s view that the American family should include a mother and a father, how the public school system has failed and continues to fail and how the party still isn’t sold on climate change.

The part about climate change was “striking” to Brewer, and he wondered if a less than 100 percent belief in climate change and the human race’s contribution to it would be a part of the 2020 GOP platform.

After both men delivered remarks on their party’s platform, there was a short break before a question-and-answer period. During the break, many people were talking in the lobby about the differences in the platforms and how they don’t see much about actual policy when they watch television.

“There was more talk about actual issues this afternoon than in a week watching CNN or any of the other cable news networks,” said Laurence Alexander, who came from Waterville with his wife, Mary. “It was nice to hear both sides presented so eloquently and without the rhetoric or hyperbole you see on TV.”

The forum was the first of four this academic year. The Senior College will host its next forum on climate change on Oct. 30.

Maisel and Brewer didn’t spend too much time talking about either Clinton or Trump, which was a welcome change for many of the people attending the forum.

“It was a nice break from listening to the candidates or the pundits,” Alexander said. “It was refreshing, and there are so many important things with this election that I hope people heard and understood everything.”

“I think people in Maine should worry about (Trump’s) ability to handle international crisis. I don’t think Secretary Clinton has been right all the time, but she has had the opportunity to talk to world leaders.”

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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