Dr. Polet’s take on “Trump and the Future of American Democracy”

On Thursday, Nov. 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., the concert hall of the the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts was packed tight with students and community members to observe the Russell Kirk Center and the Hope College Department of Political Science co-sponsored the event: “Trump and the Future of American Democracy.”

Popular New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, along with award-winning author and former New York Times Book Review editor, Sam Tanenhaus, and Emory University professor Mark Bauerlein had a bipartisan conversation filled with insight and humor. The questions were mediated by Dr. Jeffrey Polet of the Hope Department of Political Science.

In a recent interview, Dr. Jeffrey Polet of the Hope Department of Political Science, who helped bring the event together, explained that his motivation stemmed from bringing a group of smart people together to analytically debate a frequently discussed point of conversation, promoting civil discourse, creating a more accurate definition of “conservatives” for the campus’ experience and inspiring similar future events.

Polet went on to explain that he mostly took away the idea that “Trump challenges all our preconceptions about the presidency and what a President should be.” He went on to praise panelist Ross Douthat for his analysis on Trump’s presidency as emblematic of the failure of American elites, saying it was “spot-on.”

Polet explained that he had more questions to ask and was surprised by how quickly the time went. He added that it would have been particularly interesting to analyze the “Trump candidacy as a rejection of the ‘global order’ school of thought and what that suggests about the unique role America plays in the world, as well as a return to some seriously important political questions concerning scale, law and unity.” He suggested that debate surrounding Trump and the “global order” is often weak and lacks the idea that Trump is a part of a larger political movement that reiterates a nation-state identity rather than a rejection of order. Polet and the panelists spoke with a passion that will inspire future events.

Sophia Vander Kooy ('20) is a political science and international studies major with an unofficial passion for taking creative writing classes. She was the Production Manager at the Anchor during the spring semester of 2020, and previously served as the Editor-in-Chief. She is also a member of the Women's Track and Cross Country teams at Hope, the STEP Community Outreach Student Director and the Co-President of Hope Yoga. Sophia loves writing, being outside, cooking, running and connecting with all kinds of people. She has found the space to be herself at The Anchor and knows that she is not alone in that.

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