Ahead of the Republican and Democrat Party conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia later this month, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted a discussion event at Facebook in Berlin on July 7. H.E. Ambassador John Emerson, U.S. ambassador to Germany, opened the lunch discussion with his welcoming remarks. The panel, featuring Sarah Leonard, senior editor, The Nation, and Reihan Salam, executive editor, National Review, presented both liberal and conservative perspectives on the 2016 U.S. elections. Sudha David-Wilp, deputy director of GMF's Berlin office and senior transatlantic fellow, moderated the panel and Q&A session with guests from both the public and private sector.
In his opening statement, Ambassador Emerson mentioned the fluctuation during the long U.S. election cycle as well as the necessity of mainstream politics contending with the underlying trends which have developed over the course of the primaries seasons regardless of the November 8th elections result. The panel discussion focused considerable attention on the development and (dis)organization of the Republican and Democrat parties, particularly on the conservative element within the GOP and Senator Sander’s role within the Democrat primaries, as well as the changing demographics within the United States. The audience asked questions on potential VP running mates and the challenges for each candidate during the presidential debates in the fall. While neither Leonard nor Salam named a specific vice presidential nominee, Leonard favored a centrist for Hillary Clinton, citing that Elizabeth Warren would be a greater asset for the Democrats in the Senate. From the conservative perspective, Salam emphasized that Donald Trump will need a running mate that is very loyal to him, an important point given the apparent disunity on the Republican nominee within the party. Other domestic policy topics included the immigration debate, the effect of gerrymandering on primaries and elections, and the question of future bipartisanship in Washington, D.C.
GMF would like to thank the U.S. Embassy in Berlin for its support of this project.
Photo credit: Mark Stroud