The Populist Earthquake of 2016 and its Aftershocks
Student Commons Room 2600
From start to finish, Campaign 2016 was a political earthquake. Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, author and director Hedrick Smith discusses how the surprise candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump tapped into the most dramatic populist rebellion in American politics since the election of Andrew Jackson in 1824 – populist masses challenging the establishment elite. The 2016 US Presidential election was not the typical polar clash of Left vs. Right, conservative vs. liberal, Republican Vs. Democrat. Both major parties were shaken by mutinies against “the power elite,” reflecting acute fault lines in American society. We have become a nation divided by money, power, and whom we trust. The question now is whether policies will be advanced to deliver on promises for a better deal for working middle-class Americans, or whether a polarized political system will do the opposite. — widen divisions in American society, increase economic inequalities and sharpen public demands for more basic reforms in our political system.