On November 23, presidential politics experts Professor Paul S. Rundquist from Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg and American Space Leipzig Director, Professor Crister S. Garrett, invited to a panel discussion under the title: “Presidential Election – Where do we go from here?”. About 60 people attended the 2-hour, live-streamed event.
Professor Rundquist and Professor Garret started off the event, each presenting their observations of the election results. Professor Rundquist stated that Hillary Clinton lost the election because she lost sight of key voter groups. Based on exit polling data, he said, white women, black men, and millennials are groups that did not turn out in numbers that had been expected by the Clinton team. Furthermore, he mentioned as the most confusing statistic that families with an income of under $50,000 a year voted for Clinton, while moderately successful families (income of $50,000 and above) voted for Trump. Professor Rundquist described this as counterintuitive.
Professor Garrett emphasized on the manifold causes and complexities of the election results, and identifies three main clusters: political real estate, reality TV, and “risk vs. change.” Professor Garrett explained that Trump saw the political real estate of the United States in a way very few others did. While Hillary Clinton expected the ‘blue wall’ to be secure, Donald Trump saw a fragile working class America. Additionally, Trump reached voters with his over the top and dramatic reality TV language. This language developed as a form of pop culture emerging from working class English TV. Trump speaks the language of working class and minority neighborhoods.Professor Garrett explained that this will have larger implications for the future of the Democratic party. Eventually, Professor Garrett demonstrated that two thirds of Americans do not think Donald Trump is fit for the presidential office. However, while Hillary Clinton represents the status quo, Donald Trump is risky but means change and Americans are desperate for change.
After initial statements, Professor Rundquist and Professor Garrett discussed their points, sharing personal experiences, anecdotes, and political insights. They talked about the role and influence of social media changing America’s political vocabulary and strategy. Furthermore, they discussed the future in the White House and historic examples that are similar to what happened this election.