Opinion

Personal views from University of Bath researchers on the news of the day

US Elections 2016

  

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As the US takes a new direction with the election of Donald Trump as its next president, University of Bath researchers from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies and Institute for Policy Research are on hand to provide expert analysis and commentary.

For media interested in finding out more about researchers available see our US election experts list and contact our press office on 01225 386319. Get a flavour below of what our experts have to say about Donald Trump's surprise win over the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The race for the White House enters its final day. (Image courtesy of skeeze / 10207 images)

The race for the White House enters its final day. (Image courtesy of skeeze / 10207 images)

Professor Nick Pearce, Director of the Institute for Policy Research, says:

Once again, mainstream progressive politics has been found wanting. Trump gave voice to deep wellsprings of racism in American society, and now stands as a global figurehead for nativist, far fight movements.

The European Union will now face massive challenges: defending its Eastern borders against an emboldened Putin; defending an embattled global economic order against rampant protectionism; and defending itself against resurgent fascism and the break-up of its historical project.

Read Nick Pearce's blog, 'A World Collapsing'


Professor David Galbreath, Professor of International Security, says Donald Trump's win will change American defence policy and relations with other members of NATO.

Watch his commentary on US defence policy, NATO and Russia

Professor Galbreath is an American, from Tennessee, who has lived and worked in the UK for the last 17 years. What are his thoughts on the future of the so-called special relationship between the US and Britain?

Watch his commentary on the special relationship and Brexit


Professor Charlie Lees, Professor of Politics. says:

(1)  The American electorate has deliberately given the Washington elite a collective slap in the face.

(2)  Like Brexit, Trump’s election is a cry of rage from voters who have seen their way of life under attack in recent decades. The difference is that, whereas Brexit will transform the UK, a Trump Presidency could transform the whole world.

(3)  The election of Donald Trump brings to an end the world that emerged with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. All of our assumptions about the benefits of free trade, the resilience of the Western alliance, and in particular the future of NATO, have been shattered. America has turned its back on the world and we will all be poorer for it.

(4)  The current tide of angry nationalism in Western democracies has been turbocharged by Donald Trump’s victory. You only have to look at who has welcomed the result around the globe to know that we are at the start of a dangerous period in world politics.

(5)  In the sort term, a Trump victory will make Theresa May’s job of delivering Brexit easier. In the long term it leaves the UK even more isolated than it was before.


Professor Bill Durodie, Chair of International Relations, says:

Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential election is a victory for the anti-politics of our times. It ought not to have been completely unexpected as the Republican and Democratic parties he sidelined on his way to the White House have been devoid of political principles for over a generation. The moment should wake up all those who prioritise pragmatism and process management over the need for vision and values.

Hillary Clinton certainly eased his way by fighting a campaign bereft of ideas and appealing initially to the mere biological fact that she was born a woman. When push came to shove she descended to Trump’s level, focusing on his personality flaws rather than policies, and labelling his supporters deplorable. Her emails exposed her to be not so much a security risk as someone lacking direction and convictions of her own.

The period ahead will be uncertain and turbulent for all. But it will also offer an opportunity, for those savvy enough to seize it, to re-inject some principles into an otherwise dead body politic, paralysed by the technocracy so many resented and sensed themselves alienated from. Trump is the beneficiary of this mood rather than the driver of it and further afield real progress will require engaging those who voted.

For now it behoves us to respect the democratically endorsed wishes of 120 million Americans rather than to question democracy itself - an outlook that is far worse than anything Donald Trump is held capable of doing and that is part of the reason so many voted for him in the first place.'


Dr Matthew Alford, Teaching Fellow in Politics, says:

The seemingly inevitable prospect of a Clinton victory weighed heavily on me overnight:  a candidate already so bathed in blood she would surely have rushed to open up the taps, with severe consequences for Syria, Russia, and to ourselves. In a political system where the Head of State is particularly unrestrained in foreign affairs, what he or she wants to destroy should be the central concern.

Come morning, the imperative is quite different.  We must encourage the incoming Trump administration to solidify, appreciate and formalise the inconsistent but positive commitments the President-elect has made during his campaign:  no first use of nuclear weapons; minimal military intervention overseas, and a better relationship with the rest of the world - especially Moscow. In such points, there are seeds of hope, even optimism.  For now.


Dr Bruce Morley, Lecturer in Economics

Although after the announcement of the Trump victory there was a fall in the financial markets, with the FTSE 100 index down about 2%, since then UK markets have gradually recovered. In addition the dollar has moved very little against the main currencies such as the pound. Although the main impact will be on the US markets, the performance of the UK market suggests it shouldn’t be too volatile.

The main economic uncertainty relating to the financial markets is future US trade policy, with Donald Trump suggesting some forms of trade restrictions with countries that run large trade surpluses with the US. However the detail of this policy is not yet known and whether it would pass through Congress or the Senate is also questionable despite the Republicans winning both houses.


Media interviews

Dr David Moon explained to BBC Somerset how Donald Trump won a clear victory despite a knife-edge result in the popular vote.

Listen to the interview

Dr Benjamin Bowman, whose family comes from Ohio, joined BBC Radio Bristol's John Darvall on his mid-morning programme to weigh up the outcome.

Listen to the interview 

Professor Bill Durodie gave his views of the election outcome and its implications to Ben McGrail on BBC Somerset.

Listen to the interview


Before the votes were cast, Bill Durodie and Charlie Lees offered their insight into America's choice.

Explaining the appeal of Donald Trump - Bill Durodie

 

For more videos from Bill on other aspects of the campaign, see https://vimeo.com/190537834 and https://vimeo.com/190537833.

The EU response to the US elections - Charlie Lees

For more videos from Charlie on other aspects of the campaign see https://vimeo.com/190688019 and https://vimeo.com/190687676 .

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