The 2016 American Presidential election race has been unexpectedly contested on both sides of the aisle, from Bernie Sanders’ serious primary challenge to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, to Donald Trump’s steady onslaught through the Republican primary which left all of his opponents behind. The Republican and Democratic Conventions reflected this unusual race. The SFS community was represented at both conventions, including a Georgetown student delegation sponsored at each convention by the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service. Alumni of SFS were at the conventions in multiple capacities from commenting for the media to speaking on-stage.
Republican National Convention
Many mainstream Republicans, including foreign policy experts, feel unrepresented in this election cycle. As Republicans, they do not identify with Hillary Clinton. But Donald Trump is so far removed from traditional Republican principals in policy, experience, judgment, and temperament that, for many, supporting him is simply beyond the pale. With an exception or two, the foreign policy portion of the 2016 Republican Platform was quite good, but it is unclear whether it actually represents the candidate’s views. Indeed, Trump has made several statements at direct odds with its key planks.–Dr. Matthew Kroenig is an Associate Professor of Government and Foreign Service, International Relations Field Chair in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council.
Grace Palmer (SFS’20) served as a Page at the Republican National Convention. ABC News spoke with Grace about her experience.
The RNC painted a realistic portrayal of the challenges we face and solutions to these problems,” she said. “With wages and economic growth stagnant and ISIS committing atrocities worldwide, the RNC gave voice to Americans’ concerns while also proposing the vision of a strong, united country to counteract these problems.
–Kayleigh McEnany (SFS’10) is a political commentator for CNN. For more on her career and insights on the Republican National Convention, click here.
SFS Students Attend Political Conventions With GU Politics
“One of my favorite moments of the [Republican] convention was when Ted Cruz told the audience to ‘vote your conscience,’” Reed Howard (SFS’17) recalls, “The stadium erupted in both cheers and boos; it was a clear display that not only has Trump failed to unite the party around him, but that there are folks in the party who actively oppose him.”
Reed Howard is a senior in the SFS and was a member of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service delegation at the Republican Convention.
Sahil Nair (SFS’19) remembers the DNC convention floor as “a charged-up space, full of passion and pride.” He was inspired by listening to an array of wonderful speakers, including President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. In his speech beginning, “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” President Bill Clinton completely captivated Nair. “Bill wove the purpose of Hillary’s life into the story of their marriage, and sold the entire convention on the person that Hillary is. What a legend.”
Sahil Nair (SFS’19) is a sophomore in the SFS and was a Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service Ambassador to the DNC. To read more about the experiences from the SFS students who attended both conventions, click here.
Democratic National Convention
Bill Clinton (SFS’68) was elected President of the United States in 1991 and served two terms from 1992-2000.
The first-gentleman hopeful said, “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together.” Muslim Americans heard Bill Clinton announce a loyalty test for those who want to remain in the land of the free. We heard him say we are only allowed to stay if we somehow prove that we love America and proclaim that we hate terrorism, as if that is not the natural state of who we are. We heard him separate the Muslim community from him and other Americans (the “us”), as if we are a foreign entity that should be welcomed on certain conditions. And we heard him tell us to “stay here,” as if we had any intention of leaving or anywhere else to go.
Tuqa Nusairat (MSFS’09) is an Associate Director at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. To read more of her commentary in Foreign Policy about Bill Clinton’s DNC speech, click here.
SFS Professor Madeleine Albright served as the Secretary of State (1997-2001) during President Bill Clinton’s Administration. She was the first female to serve in this position.
General John R. Allen (SSP’83) is a retired United States Marine Corps four-star General, and past Deputy Commander of U.S. Central Command, prior to serving as Commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan.
Stephanie Murphy (MSFS’04) is a Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District in Florida.