Understanding Trump

As part of an initiative of Trinity Grammar School, Kew’s Library in Term 2, 2016, I delivered a ‘T Talk’ entitled, UNDERSTANDING TRUMP. Modelled on the well-established format of the TED Talks, I delivered a presentation to staff and students on the unique candidacy of Donald Trump’s.

In sharing my passion for American Politics, I sought to explain how the political system, Barack Obama’s presidency and the psyche of the average American voter have combined to transform a reality TV show host into a would-be President of the United States.

My sincere thanks to Dr. Curtis Watson, Director of the Tudor Centre for Contemporary Learning at Trinity Grammar School, Kew, for the opportunity to share my passion for American politics and its influence upon our lives among hundreds of fellow staff and students.

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The Melbourne Globalist – The 2014 Midterm Drubbing – Where does America go from here?

President Obama meets with congressional leaders in Washington

Whilst there will be much debate about the true meaning of the Barack Obama Presidency, one thing that can’t be questioned is the decisive nature of the American voting electorate. Despite winning two resounding Presidential Elections in 2008 and 2012, President Obama has overseen some of the most emphatic losses in Midterm Electoral history. With the 2014 Midterms, Republicans netted 8 more seats in the Senate (to reclaim the majority for the first time since 2006), 12 seats in the House of Representatives (to take their majority to approximately 36; their largest majority since 1929), 3 governorships and countless state legislatures.

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The Melbourne Globalist – One Year On and Three Years Out: American Politics in 2013

Obama - Shutdown

As the academic semester came to a close, I sat down with the University of Melbourne’s Dr. Timothy Lynch, one of the foremost experts on American politics on the Australian academic scene. Currently the Director of the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, at The Faculty of Arts, Dr. Lynch teaches a variety of subjects on American politics and contributes to a variety television and print media with expert commentary.

Over the course of a half-hour interview we discussed a variety of issues that reflected upon the current state of affairs in Washington, the fracas that was the Government Shutdown, President Obama’s increasingly challenging second term and concluded with us casting our eye to 2016 and who may contend for the White House.

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The Melbourne Globalist – On the Precipice: Congress’ Dance with Default

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As President Barack Obama struggles to build consensus in Congress for a resolution authorising a military strike on Syria and Bashar al-Assad’s regime, he must simultaneously brave himself for a new round of fights with Congress over raising the debt ceiling. This ongoing battle, which has permeated Obama’s first term and a half, will surely last the remainder of the President’s second term. Key to any successful increase to the debt ceiling – the legislative cap on the amount of national debt that can be issued by the U.S. Treasury – is House Speaker John Boehner, who has been beleaguered by internal divisions amongst his colleagues over strategy and policy as they seek to engage the President to further curb the ballooning budget deficit.

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The Melbourne Globalist – Economics, Nations, Cities and Academics: Interview with Dr H.W. Brock

The Melbourne Globalist and Dr H Woody Brock

Whilst Australia was still in the throes of post-election analysis and commentary, The Melbourne Globalist met with respected economist, author and commentator, Dr. H. Woody Brock. A Harvard and Princeton educated economist, founder of Strategic Economic Decisions and acclaimed author of ‘American Gridlock: Why the Right and Left Are Both Wrong – Commonsense 101 Solutions to the Economic Crises’, Dr. Brock spoke on myriad issues, from good and bad debt, the ‘fairness’ of wealth distribution, and the state of academia.

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ESSA – Permanent Crises, Bitter Politics and Weak Policy – The New Reality of US Budgets

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When President Barack Obama came into office in 2009, it was under a wave of optimism and hope for a more conciliatory, robust and bipartisan policymaking process between Democrats and Republicans. The country was in crisis at the time of Obama’s election, and there was the expectation that out of such a situation would come genuine compromise on both sides of the political aisle for the long-term national interest. What we observe in mid-2013 however is a policymaking process frozen from gridlock across many dimensions, none more reflective of this new confrontational reality than the development of fiscal policy.

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ESSA – The US Budget – Petty Politics Equals Poor Policy

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Throughout the hoopla of the Leadership Spill that wasn’t I was struck by how parlous politics in Australia had become. Then I wandered over to one of my regularly-read blogs, the ever-engaging Ezra Klein on The Washington Post, who highlighted the endemic nature of intransigence in the budget-making process in the US. His broad contention, reinforced by the likes of Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine, is that no matter what President Obama offers in terms of compromise on the budget, it will be met by the same obstinate response from Congressional Republicans to demand more concessions on spending in exchange for any further increases in tax revenue.

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