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On the Election with Professor Adam Silver


Photo credit: Emma Graney ’19

Professor Adam Silver from the Political Science Department offered insight to the 2016 Presidential Election.

Silver believes that there are various factors that make this year’s election unlike past ones.  He remarked on how from the start of the election, before the primaries, the “two parties are dealing with very strong members of their community who are unhappy with the status quo.”  He gave the example of Bernie Sanders having such a strong pull despite running as an independent with a focus on democratic socialism.

Silver also commented on Republican candidate Donald Trump’s unorthodox campaign strategies.  Silver said Trump’s policies are “more difficult to discern” and play largely on “cultural concerns.”  Trump did not raise a lot of money for his campaign in comparison to Hilary Clinton, which also goes against “traditional campaign practices.”

Another notable difference in this presidential race according to Silver is the “negative rhetoric on either side.”  Although admitting to not being an expert on the subject, Silver shared his thoughts on the effects social media has had on this year’s election.

He noted that many journalists are being targeted by Trump supporters. In particular, Jewish writers, such as the Atlantic journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, are being attacked with anti-Semitic comments.  Silver also commented on how the apparent “Twitter Wars” happening across the country also occur within the Emmanuel community, which is an ongoing occurrence he discussed with one of his students.

Silver believes this “heightened lack of incivility” is not an entirely new development.  He discussed how throughout history, there were always new mediums to criticize others. He gave the example of spouses of nineteenth century presidential candidates being attacked as a means for criticism.

Silver believes that people’s desire to critique has always been there, but that social media “amps it up” and “allows it to be more instantaneous and with less forethought.”

“It will be interesting to see if this actually happens in the election,” Silver said in regards to Trump’s potential mobilization of voters.

Silver explained how many people are turned off by the negativity involved in both campaigns. While some voters claim clear support for a single candidate, others feel that neither candidate would make for a strong leader.

Silver believes that voter turnout may also be influenced by the Trump campaign’s failure in establishing a “ground game,” which focuses on getting people to the polls.  Silver remarked on how the Clinton campaign does not “take anything for granted.”

Silver believes that elections are won or lost based on the campaign’s ability to get people to vote on Election Day.

Silver said that although the polls suggest Clinton will be victorious, it is still impossible to know for sure who will be named America’s next president. Despite Clinton’s ability to stay on topic as well as having an organized campaign, this election has been “all about Trump.”

Silver believes Trump appears to enjoy the attention, but a candidate with “low emotional intelligence and a lack of discipline” will have “no one to blame but himself” should he lose.

“This is a candidate who is so unscripted that it’s detrimental to his campaign, and it gets in the way of his message,” said Silver.

Haley Biermann ’19 is a Staff Writer for The Hub. She can be contacted at

Posted by on November 2, 2016. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.