As the dust settles after the 2016 presidential election, experts in the Robertson School of Government (RSG) shared their perspectives of its outcome. Four professors presented their opinions on President-elect Donald Trump’s impact on the federal court system, the role women played in electing him, and his administration’s impact on the military. A crowded room of students eagerly digested their research and predictions.
Representing Trump’s potential influence on the courts was Tessa Dysart, assistant professor in the School of Law. She discussed the importance of this issue for voters who desire a conservative Supreme Court, and clarified the president’s role in selecting judges for lower courts which are also shaped politically according to the executive branch’s agenda.
Dr. Mary Manjikian, RSG associate dean and associate professor, discussed the role women played in the election. She explained that Clinton’s pandering to the female vote ignored the fact that women voters also consider other elements of their identities when selecting a candidate.
Joseph Saur, principal lecturer in the college of Arts & Sciences, shared his perspective on technology and the electoral process. Admiral Larry Baucom, RSG adjunct professor, examined the possible opportunities for the military under a Trump administration.
Baucom teaches classes in crisis and disaster consequence management and national security affairs. Although the military’s budget has stayed relatively the same over the past several years, the percentage of America’s gross domestic product allocated to military has been cut in half since 2011. He sees Trump’s promise to build the military a needed venture, but cautions it will not be easy.
“A President Trump is going to deal with reality,” said Baucom. “You can promise all you want as a candidate, which he has. He says he’s going to rebuild the military, and that’s great to say, and everyone rallies around behind that, however a President Trump has to deal with the reality of discretionary spending, as well as trying to attack the deficit, and then the national debt.”
Interest payments on America’s national debt is approaching $500 billion within the next few years, a number close to military expenditures. Baucom says this calls for finding efficiencies, a challenge both Trump and graduates of the Robertson School of Government are willing and able to solve.
“You can look forward to the military being a great line of work,” said Baucom. “There are going to be opportunities for graduates of this school to find positions in public administration and the defense industry to be able to contribute to this, help drive the efficiencies we need, and help lead the defense establishment where it needs to go.”
RSG’s professors are equipping their students to lead in this capacity. Many come from a legacy of military service and offer a first-hand experience on military-related topics.