By the reckoning of Dr. Travis Braidwood, the 2016 primaries have been more than noisy.
Referencing a Feb. 15-17 poll from Fox News on Republican presidential candidates, he explained, “What I wanted to show you…is this bizarre situation that we have…normally by now, we know who’s going to win.”
As part of a lecture from the International Affairs Group on Feb. 26, together with fellow political science professor Dr. Richard Hartwig, Braidwood acknowledged that the Republican side of the race has actually been a tug-of-war between three candidates—Trump, Cruz and Rubio. Trump’s foothold over his opponents, Braidwood explained, can be traced to something Cruz and Rubio hold in common: “they’re fighting for the same voters.”
Indecision between Cruz and Rubio, according to Braidwood, brings about an awkward scenario.“So we have this bizarre situation where instead of having one candidate clearly emerge,” an interloper can act as a “splinter.” That shaft among voters and polls is the New York businessman turned reality TV star.
Regarding the wrestling between Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Braidwood acknowledged that, “It seems pretty likely that barring some sort of catastrophe in the Clinton camp, that she’s going to emerge (the winner).”
Following his analysis of both parties, Braidwood offered matchups of the possible presidential nominees. According to these predictions, a race in which Clinton faced either Trump or Cruz would likely lean her into victory. The exception to a Clinton triumph would be in Rubio, here projected to best her in the presidential election.
However, a twist in the Democratic ticket admits different results: Sanders, if set against any of the top three Republicans, would likely nab the presidency.
Once Braidwood repacked this data, Hartwig pressed the discussion forward into international views on the American race thus far.
Addressing the students present, he noted, “You are very young from my perspective. This [the primaries] may seem normal to you. This is not normal.” Hartwig went on to describe 2016’s election as sowing “a bizarre situation,” the like of which he cannot recall.
Hartwig’s talk on other nations’ pronouncements of the U.S. elections latched onto a name plastered across American media: Trump.
Referencing a Jan. 29 article from The Daily Beast, “The World Really Hates Donald Trump,” Hartwig produced excerpts from the piece, listing the negative impressions that Trump has left on nations ranging from Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
“My role as a professor is not to tell people how to vote,” Hartwig noted. However, he added that in his opinion, an individual who has never been in any type of elected office should not seek the presidency.
On this point, a counter was offered by Dr. Jeff Glick, assistant professor of philosophy, who noted, “I’m not advocating the candidate, but the American people have thought at times” that one could run for president without prior experience in office.
Naming former presidents Ulysses Grant and Dwight Eisenhower as examples, he explained, “I wanted to challenge one of the criticisms that you said against Trump, not because I want to defend Trump, but because I wanted to challenge the criticism.”
The idea that previous experience in office might not be necessary to serve as commander in chief did not originate with Trump; it is not unheard of for a candidate with slim experience in government to be selected by voters based on other their possessing other strengths.
Much of the remainder of the conversation centered on the businessman, as Hartwig maintained that an issue with Trump’s candidacy is his lack of a track record in policy.
“If they don’t have any experience, how do you know what they’re going to do, how do you hold them accountable?” he asked.
However, as Braidwood later contributed, “We forget there’s more than one branch [of government], not just executive.” Trump, or any other nominee, Braidwood reminded the audience, “will still be constrained by Congress.”
The next lecture from the International Affairs Group will feature Dr. Mario Carranza of the Political Science Department as presenter.
Follow Kaitlin Ruiz on Twitter: @kaitlinruiz95