The Department of Politics and Government organized a panel on the Republican primaries, particularly the rise of the billionaire businessman Donald Trump as the front runner, on Thursday, March 17.
The panel was titled, “Explaining the Trump Candidacy: What the Republican Primary Tells Us.” Attended by a standing-room-only audience of faculty, students, and community members, the panel explored the causes and impacts of Trump’s candidacy on the Republican Party and the country. Professors Carl Palmer, Kerri Milita and LJ Ziggerell spoke at the session moderated by Professor Meghan Leonard.
The panelists described the campaign of Donald Trump as atypical but concluded that it does not indicate a change in the American politics. Zigerell ascribed Trump’s rise to his celebrity status, more media access, and his independence from donors. Palmer cited a large field of candidates and the failure of the party to coalesce behind one candidate for the current situation within the party. Milita commented that Trump’s candidacy is a “blip” before the country returns to “politics-as-usual.”
In response to questions, panelists underscored that while anger and frustration is propelling Trump to the top of Republican candidate list, his rhetoric is also making many concerned and offended.