On September 13, foreign policy expert and founding editor of The National Interest, Adam Garfinkle gave a talk on the political dynamics and prospects of the presidential election 2016. 21 guests joined and engaged in a vivid discussion with Dr. Garfinkle about the history of American presidential elections, recent developments in American politics, and possible outcomes in November 2016.

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Dr. Garfinkle sought to analyze the current state of presidential politics by following recent developments in the American and global economy and its sociological ramifications. He described the election cycle as an exceptionally populist one in which voices like Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the right have a great appeal to voters. Dr. Garfinkle saw two main factors that triggered this populist moment. A mushrooming trade deficit with China after its entry into the WTO and the crash of the US housing market. Trump’s and Sanders’s populism, he explained, found fertile soil in this socioeconomic situation.

Dr. Garfinkle was cautious about predicting the outcome of the election. Standard polls, he thinks, cannot properly capture the populist mood and are thus not representative. Like Brexit, the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election could be a big surprise.