Perspectives at PS21 on election night 2016

by Yuqiong Zheng and Chiara Hartmann

As the US election reaches its final stretch, members from global think tank “Project for the Study of the 21st Century” (PS21) and the “Young Professionals in Foreign Policy” (YPFP) network gather over drinks to discuss their views on the upcoming result.

 

The venue is intimate, in a modern apartment in NEO Bankside. Around 60 people from all over the world and an impressive variety of global institutions, government agencies, nonprofits, media groups, graduate programs, and corporations impatiently wait for the result to be announced on a big screen.

Experts in international affairs spoke about their thoughts on the elections and the candidates.

Peter Apps, Reuters global affairs columnist and founder of PS21 suggests “Here we are for the latest and hopefully not final US election… It has been a race to the bottom, it has been one hell of an election that shows that America is more polarized and divided than ever.”

Andrew Moran, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at London Metropolitan University mentions “Nothing is as bizarre as these elections. I never thought I’d see a candidate comparing the size of his penis with someone else (Marco Rubio), or a candidate who has stated he will never release his tax reviews. Never before had we seen something like this: the involvement of the FBI, Wikileaks, even the Russians… Some states such as Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan and Ohio will determine the outcome. The Supreme Court is an issue that may influence the American Political System for decades to come.”

Samir Puri, Lecturer in International Relations and War Studies at King’s College London suggests “The quality of this presidential debate has been toilet humour- something out of a South Park episode, and this is not good for the US’s global image.

On one side there is a business-like candidate who wants to make deals. On the other a former secretary of state who has done a good job as that and is often not credited for it. She would reflect most continuity after Obama’s foreign policy.”

Richard Murray, Lawyer at Campbell Johnston Clark mentioned that “It is regrettable that many members don’t know what candidates stand for and instead the focus has been on their personal lives, scandals and indiscretions. People don’t understand what the candidates will mean for the future and this brings a great deal of uncertainty, following years of instability.”

The elections seem to not only have a national impact but have generated international interest and comparisons between countries.

Giorgio Giuliani, Product Manager Freestak from Italy stated “This is a really important election compared to others. It’s on the same wave along with Beppe Grillo in Italy and Brexit in the UK.”

Nick Pacini, 4PS Marketing, from the UK says “Tonight the entire world is watching and waiting. There are so many implications, sociological, economic, good and bad. You could be disappointed or hopeful, and it will impact not only the US but the entire world.”

American citizens at the event also expressed their thoughts.

Akiva Gabriel Zamcheck, from New York University and temporarily in London states “This election is a nice piece of theatre and I acknowledge that folks in London must take it seriously in the aftermath of Brexit. But the fact is, Trump has never been anything more than a straw man used to empower the backwards neoliberal democratic party.”

Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal ball projections suggest Hillary will win. And with not a single Trump supporter at the venue, the general atmosphere at the PS21 and YPFP event favors this view: “I’d like for America to have its first woman president” said Dr. Moran. “I’m worried but I know Hillary will be winning. I can’t imagine what it will be like with Trump”, sighed Chiara Bovo, BNP Paribas. However, there is still time to go until the much anticipated result.

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