A group of academics, journalists, and campaign strategists gathered at Emerson College the evening after Republican Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the nation in an upset to try to understand what happened.
The panelists at the post-mortem hosted by the Communication Studies Department and held Wednesday, November 9, in the Bright Family Screening Room, varied in political stripe, but all had similar ideas and thoughts on what went on in Tuesday’s presidential election Tuesday night.
None of them had believed before Tuesday night that Donald Trump would win. Yet here they were, the day after, with a Trump victory, and no definite answers how it happened.
The discussion began with six Nepali journalists who had come to Emerson for three weeks to observe the presidential election. During their time here, they attended rallies in New Hampshire, and visited Washington D.C. and Virginia. They spent election night in New York City, where both candidates awaited the results.
At the panel, they each took turns getting up and sharing their views on the election process, how it worked, what it looked like, and how it compared to what they had in Nepal.
“If Hillary Clinton had won… it could have been an example for the whole world,” said Sunita Pahari, an assistant reporter at Ujyaalo Online. Pahari was not the only Nepali journalist that brought up the issue of gender in the election.
“I used to think the U.S had equal rights between men and women, but when I got here the election was [divided] between gender,” said Nabin Khatiwada, a reporter at My Republica.
A series of six panelists from various backgrounds offered their theories of what happened. The panel was made up of photojournalist David Burnett and Democratic political strategist Iris Burnett ’68; Communication Studies Chair Gregory Payne; Enric Ordeix, a visiting professor from Blanquerna University in Barcelona; Gloria Boone, a professor of advertising, public relations, and digital media at Suffolk University; and GOP consultant Kat Grosso ‘05.
Grosso said she started out the night believing that Hillary Clinton had a 70 percent chance of winning. She said she didn’t vote for Trump, and while she wasn’t thrilled with Clinton potentially winning, she was accepting of it.
But after Trump won, she said she felt uneasy, something that hadn’t happened to the Republican when Democrats had won in the past.
“The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t,” she said of her feelings about Trump’s victory.
Boone said she believed there was not one singular reason Trump won, but attributed part of it to the simple fact that “Democrats simply did not have enough people come to the polls.”
She said she also believes that more rural areas of the country were going for Trump, and the polls weren’t taking that into account.
The calm discussion inside the Paramount Center was in stark contrast to the anti-Trump protests taking place at the nearby Boston Common. There, chants of “Not my president” could be heard, echoing the frustration of many younger voters who feel Trump will simply fail to represent a large portion of the country.