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Professor Christopher Achen (Princeton University) delivered the Hibbert Roberts Lecture entitled “Identities and Trump Ideologies: The 2016 Presidential Election” in the evening of November 1st. The Hibbert Roberts an annual public policy lecture hosted by the Department of Politics and Government and named in honor of Professor Hibbert Roberts, who led the Department for 22 years – from 1969 to 1992.
Professor Achen’s lecture addressed the question of how Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Achen explained that while considerable attention has been given to the appeal of the issues of his campaign and to the stagnant incomes of white people without a college degree, those factors turn out to be much less consequential than most media reports have suggested. Achen explained that deeper and broader forces were at work in the election, and his lecture set them out with evidence from the voter surveys done at the time. The lecture concluded with a discussion of how Trump’s election demonstrates that democracy does not work in the way we usually imagine.

In addition to this public lecture, Professor Achen also presented a lunch talk titled “Age, not Social Class: Turnout Dropoff in the U.S. and Taiwan” to faculty and graduate students in the department on November 1st. He also met with the American Politics faculty in the department.

Achen is a professor in the Politics Department at Princeton University, where he holds the Roger Williams Straus Chair of Social Sciences. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1995. Professor Achen has served on the top social science board at the National Science Foundation, and he was the chair of the national Council for the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) from 2013-2015, which is the global leading institution in advancing social and behavioral research. His primary research interests are public opinion, elections, and the realities of democratic politics, along with the statistical challenges that arise from those fields. He is the author, coauthor, or co-editor of six books, including Democracy for Realists (with Larry Bartels), published by Princeton University Press in 2016, and The Taiwan Voter (with T.Y. Wang), published by the University of Michigan Press in 2017.