u.s. politics | November 10, 2016

Trump Won. What’s Next? Lavin Speakers Help Us Understand the Election

Donald Trump has led the Republican Party to unexpected success—baffling pollsters across the world and driving people of all political persuasions to seek out expert opinion. What does a Trump victory mean for international relations and global health? How will it alter world and domestic economies? What will it mean for immigration, women’s health, or the environment?

You deserve informed opinion. So, for your next keynote or conference, invite one of Lavin’s exclusive speakers—political analysts, journalists, comedians, cultural critics, and authors—to help your team navigate turbulent economic change and adapt to radical political transformation. Below, we’ve gathered writing from George Packer, James Fallows, Wajahat Ali, Negin Farsad, and John Ibbitson in the immediate aftermath of this week’s historical event.


“We live as tribes”: George Packer in The New Yorker and The New York Times 


As one of our best journalists, George Packer offers up indispensible and often paradigmatic takes on American politics. It’s no wonder, then, that The New York Times has listed his National Book Award-winning and bestselling treatise The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America as a key book you need to read to understand Trump’s win. “It’s possible that the book that best explains the American that elected Donald J. Trump appeared more than three years ago,” writes The Times. “Packer took a wide-angled look at this country’s institutions and mores and was appalled by what he found.”


In a similar vein, last month The New Yorker published Packer’s essay “Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt.” This long-form article outlines, with Packer’s signature style, how the Democratic party lost the faith and endorsement of the white working class (and how the Republicans “exploited it”). A must-read for anyone seeking to comprehend the political and cultural forces making America what it is. Packer writes:

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More and more, we live as tribes. It’s easier and more satisfying to hunker down with your cohort on social media than to take up Obama’s challenge and get in someone else’s head. What’s striking is the widespread feeling that liberal values are no longer even valuable—a feeling shared by many people who think of themselves as liberals.


“Entertainment is always going to be more interesting than news”: James Fallows on NPR 


Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows has followed this campaign like few other journalists. With his “Daily Trump” blog, which recorded the myriad ways Trump broke with all convention, to his American Futures project, in which he toured small towns and cities across the country to report on our renaissance of innovation, Fallows is a reliable pulse-point for informed opinion, nation-wide. Yesterday, he took to NPR’s Fresh Air to speak with Terry Gross on “How Trump Broke Campaign Norms But Still Won the Election.”  Throughout the forty-minute interview, Fallows reflects on the many contradictions—things are terrible nationally, but things are getting much better locally!—he learned from talking to ordinary Americans. And, of course, he spoke on the unique nature of this election, and how it stumped even the most informed pollsters:

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“All of the normal indicators by which we have some sense of how things are going to go—the exit polls and the tracking polls and the demographic analysis and all those things—none of those seem to give a correct event … So I think everybody learned just an operational sense that we were operating in the dark in terms of knowledge of modern elections. And on the larger cultural sense, the fact that the American electorate chose—through the Electoral College, apparently not through the popular plurality—somebody who was unlike anybody else who had reached this point in political consideration?  That also will give us things to learn about our government, our people, our system and things we’ll be talking about for quite awhile.”


None of us are going anywhere—yet”: Wajahat Ali in The New York Times and The Huffington Post


Playwright, journalist, and social entrepreneurship incubator Wajahat Ali turned to two outlets in the early hours after our stunning election results. The first was with The New York Times, for which he offered crucial insight into what it feels like to live as a “Muslim in Trump’s America.” The short article, which transforms into a letter addressed to the hypothetical Trump supporter, is a graceful and poignant appeal to empathy and collaboration. “Instead of being despondent,” Ali writes, “I am willing myself to be more passionate, energized and empowered for the sake of my children. That’s the one relief and cause of joy. We’re all still here. And none of us are going anywhere—yet.”


And, in this Huffington Post video, he again appeals to the better angels of our shared nature and shared values in order to rebuild in the wake of this divisive election. Watch Ali offer up a Muslim-American perspective on where we stand, and where we can go from here. 



“I’ve been sobbing all morning … and that’s the punch line!”: Negin Farsad on CBC Radio Q


The most insightful reactions don’t necessarily have to come from seasoned political correspondents. As is the case with Negin Farsad, comedy offers a different but no less important lens through which we can come to understand Trump’s rise to power. Talking with CBC’s Radio Q (and with Canadian comedians Tom Green and Mark Critch), the author of the recent book How to Make White People Laugh and the acclaimed documentary The Muslims Are Coming! had a less-than-comedic response to the shift in the States—but this merely underscores how her comedy is also the vehicle for serious and timely messages (and how comedy just might be the most effective way to deliver them).


Dubbed a “social-justice comedian,” Farsad works to dispel Islamophobia (and other forms of hatred and intolerance) with laughter. And as one of the few Iranian-American Muslim females to work in comedy and film, she’s an irreplaceable voice in today’s cultural landscape.

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“It’s good to be Canadian”: John Ibbitson in The Globe and Mail


Moving to Canada, Globe and Mail senior political correspondent John Ibbitson has already released three pieces for the newspaper: a video election postmortem, in which he admits that “It’s good to be Canadian” in light of the White House shuffle, and two articles: “Although Trump won the election, fears of an American decline are premature” and “Woe to us who belittled the clout of the white working class.” Each piece takes apart what we thought we knew about the political status quo, and tries to reimagine how the US and world community will move forward with such a drastic change. He writes:


“American elections are long nights. As the results rolled in Tuesday, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appeared to have a path to victory, but early Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump emerged the victor. The polarization of American politics may never have been this stark, with Republicans running up big gains in rural and blue-collar counties in battleground states, even as the Democrats did well in the cities. But with Mr. Trump winning, we need to remember something biggerAmerica is once again proving that it is a dynamic, contradictory, slightly crazy at times and perpetually surprising republic.”

Understanding how Canada and the United States will resume its close-knit relationship—over trade, cultural values, international agreements, and more—is of utmost important to Canadian companies and policy-makers. John Ibbitson is a voice Canadians turn to for comprehending the big picture; as former Washington bureau chief, his knowledge of US-Canadian relations is of vital import. Watch Ibbitson for more in the embedded video below:



To book keynote speakers George Packer, James Fallows, Wajahat Ali, Negin Farsad, or John Ibbitson for your next conference, contact The Lavin Agency, their exclusive representation.

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