A Conversation with Governor Michael Dukakis

  • Michael Dukakis at CSUN

    Michael Dukakis explores the current political landscape during his lecture. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • Michael Dukakis speaking at CSUN.

    Dukakis speaking to students, professors and CSUN community members. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis shared memories from his presidential campaign and explored the current political landscape during a lecture on Feb. 23 at California State University, Northridge.

Drawing on his own campaign experience, Dukakis said he believes the future is unclear for the 2016 presidential candidates.

In the beginning of the 1988 presidential campaign, Dukakis was at one percent in the polls and virtually unknown, but he went on to win the Democratic nomination. His biggest takeaway was that running for president is not for the weak or unprepared.

“All of us were pretty serious about what we were doing, and there were no [Donald] Trumps in the field at that time,” said Dukakis, who ultimately lost the 1988 election to George H.W. Bush. “This is the most open political system in the world. You don’t need a ticket for admission.”

He didn’t make it to the White House, but Dukakis said he does not regret going into politics because it gave him an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of citizens.

Guests at the CSUN event included students, professors and members of the community. Dukakis encourages students to actively get involved in politics and public service. He is a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University and a visiting professor in the School or Public Affairs at UCLA. Dukakis’ speech at CSUN was presented by the Department of Political Science.

“I tell my students that getting deeply and actively involved in the politics and public service of their community is not only the single most important thing they can do, it can be a source of great personal fulfillment,” Dukakis said.

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