Last Thursday, PolSoc were very pleased to welcome Dr Jon Herbert from Keele University, and our own Professor John Dumbrell for our second speaker event, ‘The Future of the US Democrats’. The event was in a spacious chemistry lecture theatre, and this week was in the format of a discussion, in which Dr Herbert and Professor Dumbrell were invited to discuss 5 questions posed by PolSoc on the topic.
- To what extent did the results represent a referendum on Obama’s presidency?
Prof. Dumbrell suggested that the results did not display a hugely uneven split, and that the Democrats’ popularity was not too outweighed. Dr. Herbert then replied with the suggestion that the Democrats’ popularity varied from state to state, depending on the effect of factors such as immigration and healthcare in each individual state.
- What do midterms mean for the rest of Obama’s term as President?
Prof. Dumbrell and Dr Herbert implied that both the Republicans and Democrats would attempt to change their image. Instead of radical policies from the Republicans, and the aim of undercutting the rivals, both parties will try to improve their own party, and in that way undermine the opposition. Dr Herbert added that the Republicans would be in danger of tearing themselves to pieces, with many very conservative and thus radical members elected.
3 What are the significant policy areas that are likely to cause tension over the next two years?
Prof Dumbrell was adamant that with Obama thinking about his legacy, he is most likely to focus on his foreign policy. Dr Herbert suggested that Obama would pick up on issues such as healthcare, immigration and economy, as it would benefit him to be seen to be taking action in these areas.
- To what extent to the results show an increasingly unbalanced US between North and South?
Both Prof Dumbrell and Dr Herbert agreed that the division between the north and south had always been profound, and that now the south was resolutely Republican. Dr Herbert implied that this was due to low wages since the recession, and also a spilt between rural and urban areas regarding economy.
- How has this changed the playing field for the 2016 Presidential election?
Prof Dumbrell proposed that the election will have a larger turn out than in 2014, and hinted at the controversial thesis of the ‘emerging Democratic society’, which suggests that the Democrats will most likely take the lead in future. Dr Herbert commented on the fact that Obama offered something “fresh” and more diverse, whilst the choice of Hilary Clinton would potentially be falling back a generation. He also observed that the potential of the growing Hispanic vote would be a large factor in the next election.
We hope that all of those who attended enjoyed the evening, and please note our next speaker event is Thursday 25th November.
Our next social is Thursday 20th November at Whisky River (see Facebook group for details and event).