On Wednesday, April 27, YTN Belgrade Chapter organized a debate on the current U.S. Presidential Elections, at the Center for U.S. Studies of the Faculty of Political Sciences (FPS). The aim of the event “2016 U.S. Presidential Elections: Beyond the Headlines” was to offer a deeper analysis on motivations that form American votes. With this in mind, the esteemed and award-wining panelists Colin Woodard, writer, and journalist for the Portland Press Herald and Sewell Chan, international news editor for the New York Times in London, opened the debate about the implications of various different factors and possible future outcomes of the ongoing presidential race. The discussion was moderated by Stevan Nedeljkovic, YTN member and Director of the Center for Social Dialogue and Regional Initiatives, as a part of the on-going project on the American presidential elections, supported by BTD and the U.S. Embassy in Serbia. They enjoyed an open and rich talk about the implications of various factors and possible future outcomes of the ongoing presidential race to over 40 YTN members, Serbian students of the FPS, as well as American exchange students from Clemson University, South Carolina.
Mr. Woodard and Mr. Chan offered very interesting and complementary views on the election preferences of U.S. citizens and how they are being shaped. Mr. Woodard underlined the influence of the US colonial history on political outcomes and choices today, claiming that ever since the time of first American settlers, the dominant issue in the U.S. public discourse has been freedom and its meaning. Matching that, Sewell argued that the socio-economic dimension has major impact on the voter’s preferences. As he noted, the U.S. is still struggling with the effects of the 2007 economic crisis, and what people desire the most is quick and effective fix for their issues. The topic has opened an interesting debate among YTN members and the students, so the event ended with many interesting questions. Special interest of the members was the place of Western Balkans in U.S. foreign policy after the elections, on which both panelists agreed that no matter the election’s outcome, Balkans can count on the further U.S. support to the EU accession process.