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Transatlantic Relations Initiative: Launch of “The Observatory on US Hispanic Politics” with Chair Daniel Ureña and Speaker Sean Trende

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December 13th, 2018 – IE School of Global & Public Affairs presented its new The Observatory on US Hispanic Politics, part of the Transatlantic Relations InitiativeThe Hispanic Council‘s Present Daniel Ureña is also the Chair for the Initiative and hosted the event. This new Observatory embraces the interest and puts emphasis on the analysis and research of political participation initiatives by Hispanics in the United States.

Guest speaker Sean Trende, senior analyst at RealClear Politics gave insights throughout the hour-long launch. He presented his analysis on “Understanding the 2018 Mid-term elections: What they tell us about the Past and what they mean for the Future”, Mr. Trende analyzed the results of the last mid-term elections held in the United States.

Mr. Trende presented the political framework of the US. The presence of a bigger number of Democrats in large urban areas, colleges towns, and Native American reserves, already establishes a polarization throughout the country. This polarization is not unique, the necessity to attend to location (urban vs rural), gender (male and female), age, race, level of education and income made the predictions of the analysts quite difficult. As Mr. Trende presented, the probability of Trump winning Mrs. Clinton in 2017 Presidential elections was calculated to be 17%. In spite of that, most of US citizens from various backgrounds already predicted Mrs. Clinton’s victory, even if it did not happen. This was a clear example of the necessity of attending not only to one factor but to a set of them.

The senior analyst presented several graphs where the loosing of seats by President’s party during the mid-term elections was represented. President’s party tended to lose their hegemony after two years. Trump would not be an exception.

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There was an important fact American politicians and researchers need to pay attention to.  Mr Trendre stated: We are moving from politics of class to politics of identity”. This phenomenon can explain quite okay what ha.d happened in the past mid-term elections.

Democrats, represent a bigger diversity in their voters than Republicans. These change from politics of class to politics of identity does not only put in danger the unity of the Democratic party, but also a change of winning the Presidential elections in 2020. Bernie Sanders represented, as several authors consider, a more populist candidate than its party members. However, Mr. Trende doubted about the potential due to Mr. Sander’s profile: urban white old man. This is quite important, as we mentioned before since the main Democrat voter is female, young and from minority groups.

“It would not be a surprise if Trump is re-elected”, Mr. Trende said. Taking advantage of his previous analysis, the senior analyst showed Reagan’s, Clinton’s and Obama’s re-election, even if their parties had bad results in the first mid-terms under their ruling. Moreover, US’ political history showed that almost every president was re-elected except for three occasions (Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush).

The approval rate for Trump’s administration represents a unique experience under Presidential approval rates. Trump managed to keep its’ approval rate around 44% after almost two years since he took the office. All the previous Presidents experienced ups and downs in their approval rates. However, as we mentioned, Mr. Trump kept stable. Mr. Trende considers that, if Mr. Trump is able to “stop tweeting everything at 2 am”, his approval rate will increase, making his re-election quite possible. The economic growth of the US under Trump’s administration will be one of the major facts, the Republican can use in his favor. It is also important to take into account, that Mr. Trump is no longer a candidate, he is already a President. US voters will vote for him after his experience in the Oval office vs a Democrat candidate that may not have been in any of the  previous Democrat government.

Since this was a quite interesting aspect of nowadays US’ politics. Mr. Trende responded questions regarding the chances of Democrats of taking back the Oval Office as well as the importance the swing states will play in the next Presidential elections. The large division of the Democrats and the lack of a clear and strong Presidential candidate will constitute a challenge that the Democrats will need to face if they want the office back. The battle under the politics of identity just began.

About the authorAsier Martinez Fernandez is a Master’s of International Relations Alumni from IE School of Global and Public Affairs. After doing a Bachelor in History at the University of Santiago de Compostela. He can be found on LinkedIn.