School of Social Sciences panel discuss presidential election results

January 13, 2017


John Stack
Staff Reporter | jes062@latech.edu


The morning after the Nov. 8 presidential election, many of the School of Social Sciences faculty members were discussing amongst themselves how wrong they were on their predictions, and how they owed an explanation to the student body. A post hoc roundtable of Tech academia was convoked Dec. 7 in Wyly Auditorium by Dr. Bob Whitaker, a visiting assistant professor, to address what had just happened. He hoped that the students would leave with a deeper understanding of the election, the results, and how the effects of such will affect their lives.


“The forecast the day before the election had Clinton at 45.5 percent of the poll and Trump at 42.2 percent,” said Dr. Jason Pigg, a professor of political science. “The actual election day had Clinton at 48.2 percent and Trump at 46.2 percent. Clinton had the victory, supposedly. We really don’t know what happened.”


Pigg later stated that while parties are weak, partisanship is strong. Ninety percent of Republicans voted for Trump.


Others thought that this was really just the culmination of the concatenation of events and that this outcome was a series of ‘ifs’ that lead to the Republican president-elect.


“Ultimately, Trump is a businessman,” said Amanda Sanford, an assistant professor of political science. “He is going to do what is yields the best results for the business he has been elected to run.”


She said he is going to want the business to prosper, and once the hyperbole and Machiavellian tactics have been gleaned through, that will be the overall result.


Others were not so optimistic of Trump’s ulterior motives.


“The election of Donald Trump represents a betrayal of the Renaissance, of the Scientific Revolution, of the Enlightenment, of the Springtime of Nations, and of the United Nations―that is, of all that has driven the West since the Black Death,” said Dan Sportiello, who teaches philosophy. “For this election represents a betrayal of our commitments to democracy, human rights, and international cooperation in short, of our commitment to human liberation.”


Students said they were pleased with the event that gave more information to the attendees.


“It’s really important that Tech offers this opportunity to students,” said Isabela Palmieri, a junior journalism major with a political science minor. “It is great that the professors took the time to explain to the students what had just happened, to inform them of how this event is bound to affect their lives.”


She said at this point in students’ lives, the best action that most students can take is to be informed of the ramifications of their actions, however innocuous and trivial they might seem.


That, though, is the efficacy that Whitaker said he hoped for.


A link has been posted for those who would like to view the roundtable in its entirety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjixkPt9lvI. Or, if anyone has ideas of topics for future meetings, contact either Dr. Whitaker or Dr. Sportiello via email at these respective addresses: whitaker@latech.edu and dsportie@latech.edu.


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