Several Cornell professors and students tell different stories of the roots and implications of Trump’s rise through GOP ranks. Their analysis diverges on whether the candidate has corrupted the Republican party or merely carried conservatives’ policy and rhetoric to their logical conclusions.
In some ways, the Cornell Republicans have been examples of this movement: the group broke party lines to endorse Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson over the Republican nominee on Sep. 4. Almost immediately after this decision, the New York Federation of College Republicans revoked the chapter’s credentials, chastising the organization for supporting another party’s candidate.
Tomorrow, millions of Americans will vote. A significant number of Cornellians are casting absentee ballots for their home state (and for those who haven’t yet, this is a gentle reminder to get those in soon), but students registered in Ithaca will vote in a congressional election that has become as contentious as the Clinton-Trump face-off. Democratic challenger Navy Captain John Plumb is vying with incumbent Congressman Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) to represent New York’s 23rd congressional district in the House of Representatives. Although the vitriol hurled by both campaigns is alarming, Plumb has proven the stronger contender with a platform that would actually support New York residents. One of the first congressmen to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump, Reed has continually supported misguided, if not dangerous, policies.
Clinton and Trump spend their last few days of the race campaigning in swing states, and Melania Trump announced her vow to fight cyberbullying if she becomes first lady. In a panel on campus, faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences discussed the impact of the 2016 election on the future of American politics. With just two days remaining before the general election, check out the last episode of Election Watch, written and edited by Anna Kook.
Donald Trump outrageously exhibits his authoritarianism, sexism and racism. His demagogic propositions and his style have a fascistic taste, but fascism is not reducible to the personality of a leader and behind him there is no fascist movement. Trump is a deplorable TV star, much more reminiscent of Berlusconi than Mussolini. His pretention to oppose the establishment is even more paradoxical because he is the nominee of the GOP, a historical pillar of the establishment itself. Trump’s “program” eclectically merges protectionism and neoliberalism.
His data shows that the Republican party’s presence on campus has been steadily decreasing — in the last 20 years, the total number of votes for Republican candidates equaled the number of votes President Barack Obama received in 2012.
I’ve been asked to comment on the role of law-related issues in the election, specifically a Supreme Court vacancy and allegations of illegal conduct against each candidate. A Supreme Court vacancy is a pretty perfect ideological issue. This election, however, has not been as ideological as might have been predicted two years ago. We have two big government candidates, though they differ in how to use that big government. So it’s not surprising that Supreme Court nominations have not been the central issue.
So genuine was elite surprise in the fall of 2015 that responses were at first preoccupied with the choice of words to describe the Democratic challenger and the ascendant Republican candidate. Sanders was an old fashioned socialist who’d sneaked into the Senate Democratic caucus, somewhat reminiscent of Huey Long or Eugene Debs. Trump was harder to label, but the favorites were (and still are) demagogue, racist, fascist. Party elites and intellectuals were determined to delegitimate both outsiders. Despite their best efforts, Trump is now the Republican candidate for president and though Sanders was crushed by the Democratic machine, his devoted and angry followers are essential to Hillary Clinton’s victory.