The U.S. Presidential Elections: What Does the Future Hold?
After the unexpected results of the US Presidential Elections and Donald Trump’s victory at the polls, many people around the world wondered what the future holds. The AUBG Student Government, Political Science Club, and Economics Club organized a round-table discussion where students and faculty expressed their views on how politics is going to change. The event took place at the Aspire Center in two panels: a political panel on Tuesday, Nov. 15, and an economic panel on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
At the political panel, the participants discussed the domestic politics of the US, the US-Russia-China relations, and the relations between the US and Europe. The professors from the Politics and European Studies Department who took part in the panel were Politics and European Studies professors Robert Phillips, Ivelin Sardamov, Roxana Mihaila, Ilya Levine, Ronald Harvey, Jean Crombois and Provost Emilia Zankina.
“It was a great opportunity to get together with professors and share our opinions and worries as equals and bring inter-departmental POS and EUR perspectives into the discussion”, Yelizaveta Glybchenko, a participant in the discussion and a third-year student, said.
Regarding the domestic politics of the US, Phillips said that the people who President-elect Trump is going to appoint are “really important” for the way policies are going to be implemented. According to him, Mr. Trump does not have “the slightest clue” how a transition between two governments takes place.
According to Harvey, Mr. Trump “backtracked” on many of the promises he made during his campaign.
“It is going to be interesting to see his electorate’s reactions when he doesn’t do what he said,” Harvey said.
Levine added that Trump is in a favorable position to take only “half measures” on the promises he made during his campaign due to his supporters’ admiration.
On the topic of US-Russia-China relations, Phillips said that the relations with China will be more interesting to follow than those with Russia as the two countries are “more prone to conflict.” In case of a conflict between the US and China, the professor said that it is unpredictable whether Russia will join forces with China or support the US.
As for the US-EU relations, Crombois said that the elections served as a “wake-up call” for the Europeans due to Trump’s intention to limit the US’s involvement in NATO.
Professor Mihaila raised the concern about the increasing influence of populist leaders in Europe and how Trump’s election as president will influence the European elections next year. She pointed France’s National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who is running for President in the French 2017 presidential elections and Britain’s Independence Party leader Nigel Farage,who served as “an unofficial ambassador” to the US.
During the discussion about the US-China relations, Phillips said that there is either going to be some kind of rapprochement between the two countries or a “test run” that is going to determine the new rising hegemon.
At the economic panel, participants discussed US trade agreements and fiscal policy. Prof. Sullivan and Prof. Nilsen from the Economics Department took part in the discussion.
Sullivan expressed his doubts about a potential repudiation of existing trade agreements.
“My best guess is that there will be no vocal support and the question will be put on the back burner,” Sullivan said.
On the question of fiscal policy, Nilsen said that the new president might introduce a new tax plan amounting to $2.6 trillion, which is going to add to the current debt. He added that the new government might introduce trade reforms and energy policy reforms to “fill the hole.”
According to second-year student Ralitsa Penkova, the round table was “very well-organized.” However, she said she would have liked the discussion to involve more controversial aspects of the Trump presidency.
“The economic panel was too light with most participants saying that we don’t know what will happen instead of discussing what could happen and which of Trump’s economic policies are possible or not, and why,” Penkova added.