A group of Bedford School Government & Politics students
attended an interesting event on Monday 14 March themed on the US primary
election season.

Answering the question ‘How have Trump and Clinton become
‘likely nominees’ to be the next President’, Assistant Cultural Attaché at the
US Embassy in London, Mr Vince Murphy, shared with us a fascinating (and very
diplomatic) series of insights into the ongoing election race before inviting
discussion from the floor. Calvin Fang, Hugh Parfitt and Aleksandr Veshchugin
asked some challenging questions, namely on whether Trump might actually have a
positive impact on political participation in America, on how far either side
can be sure of attracting the votes of women and on how a Trump presidency
might affect the ‘special relationship’ with the UK, in the news this week
following President Obama’s comments on Libya and ongoing tension over his
potential intervention in the EU debate.

Mr Murphy analysed why so much headway has been made by
candidates from outside of the establishment and put Trump’s rise into
perspective with reference to populist movements from America’s past. He
considered how the meaning of the Constitution has changed along with
developments in US society (“We’re actually kind of proud of our Constitution.
We like to talk about it all the time!”), and assessed the current status of
the nominations system. The role of money was considered and the specific
electoral appeal and likely national performance of the current leading
candidates was speculated upon alongside an evaluation of why others have not
done so well.

Our students will have left the event enthused about the
election campaign and, with the forthcoming EU referendum on the horizon, it
continues to be a great time to study Government & Politics.


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