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Politics professors speak on Trump presidency

By Samantha Lauring

Section: News, Top Stories

January 27, 2017

Around 60 people attended the “What to Expect from the Trump Presidency” panel discussion sponsored by the politics department last Wednesday. The panel included politics professors Robert Art, Shai Feldman, Lucy Goodhart, Jill Greenlee and Jeffrey Lenowitz.

“The new administration’s political philosophy and policy agenda for the most part remain unknown because Trump has a thin policy record and even more so because his administration includes politicians with contradictory views,” said Nathan Greess ’19, Senator-at-Large and Executive Board member of Brandeis Pro-Choice.

“Hearing predictions and analysis from foreign policy, economic and political science scholars helped clarify what pressing issues and questions deserve our focus as we begin to see the administration take shape,” he said.

Each panelist had the opportunity to speak for about five to 10 minutes at the start of the panel to share thoughts on what to expect over the next four years from the Trump administration. Prof. Goodhart, who studies comparative and international political economy, began the discussion by stating that Trump is unpredictable because he is an outsider to the political sphere. He is not an establishment politician, which could make it difficult for him to create a legislative agenda that requires many resources, noted Goodhart. Trump will most likely continue using Twitter to speak directly about policy to his supporters.

Trump ran on a platform of criticizing President Obama, stated Prof. Greenlee. Trump has issued several executive orders and memoranda over his first few days in office. Greenlee noted that President Obama issued fewer executive orders than many of his predecessors have issued. She discussed several of Trump’s executive orders, including ones that affect women’s reproductive rights. Reproductive rights will be dialed back, especially because the federal government will support states’ rights and their decisions on reproductive rights, said Greenlee.

Both Prof. Art and Prof. Feldman discussed foreign policy under Trump. “Trump likes chaos,” claimed Feldman. Republicans are scared of Trump because he didn’t just defeat the Democrats; he defeated the establishment Republicans as well. Republicans are scared Trump will go over their heads, stated Feldman.

Prof. Lenowitz focused on what people should do if they oppose the Trump presidency. He discussed the concept of civil disobedience and that protests do not always create change. He talked about what factors create change and stated that protests must be civilly disruptive to create electoral change. Lenowitz encouraged participants to get involved in local and state politics, as well as getting involved with grassroots movements that actually meet together.

“I thought it was a really interesting and informative talk, or as informative as it could be with the unpredictability of this administration,” noted Robert Singer ’19.

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