Yahoo conference focuses on impact of technology

November 18, 2015 2:00 PM


The Yahoo Conference on Technology and Politics last Thursday brought some big names like Sen. Rand Paul, “Orange is the New Black” actress Diane Guerrero, and David Pogue, the Vice President of Yahoo Tech, to Parents Hall.

“As a journalism student, it was very exciting to be around these big media names,” first-year Andy Orton said. “It gave me a chance to learn from experts who are very successful in their fields.”

The conference focused on the impact that technology has on politics.

YAHOO NEWS chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, left, hosts panel “Beyond the firewall: How real is the cyber threat?” in Parents Hall on Thursday. PHOTO BY CASSANDRA BAUER | PHOTO EDITOR

YAHOO NEWS chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, left, hosts panel “Beyond the firewall: How real is the cyber threat?” in Parents Hall on Thursday.

In the last session, Morgan DeBaun, CEO and founder of Blavity, Jamal Simmons, co-founder and CEO of CRVIII, Inc., and Guerrero discussed how race and technology have started to play a bigger part in politics .

“This was a good opportunity because you don’t get many chances to meet executive producers and various celebrities,” Orton said. “It was important to hear their point of view on political topics and their experiences with being minorities.”

Besides providing opportunities to students, the conference was informative and brought national attention to Drake.

Associate professor of Politics Rachel Paine Caufield played a role in getting the conference here and said Yahoo News had nothing but praise.

Yahoo took over the Olmsted Center Thursday for a conference on technology and politics. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

Yahoo took over the Olmsted Center Thursday for a conference on technology and politics. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

“They loved working with students and students loved working with them,” Caufield said.

The conference gave students an opportunity to meet leaders in the technology and politics field not only at the conference, but outside as well.

“They brought their talent into the classrooms. A number of their top talent was having dinner with students at Hubbell and going to classes, which is an amazing opportunity,” Caufield said.

If you missed it, the sessions from the conference are online at

Sanders supporters display passion on debate night

1:00 PM


With a crowd upwards of 100 people at any given time, the Bernie Sanders Tailgate and Watch Party was one of the more lively places to be on debate night.

“(Events like this) are important because they really know how to engage. People who believe certain things can go conglomerate with other people who … have similar values,” first-year Derek Mattson said.

The Tailgate was held in the US Bank parking lot with Jethro’s BBQ provided. And although some students came for the free food, there were more important things going on than pulled pork sandwiches.


Hillary appearance draws students to attend watch party

12:00 PM


November 14 was not a typical Saturday night for college students at Drake University. Hundreds of people, including community members, filtered through security beginning at around 6:30 p.m. for a seat close to the projector screen hanging from the ceiling of Parent’s Hall in upper Olmsted to watch the second DNC debate live from Drake’s Sheslow Auditorium.

After the debate, Hillary Clinton was expected to make an appearance and speak with her supporters, which served as a substantial draw for students and Des Moines residents alike.

Lindsey Gilberg, first-year actuarial science major from Saint Paul, Minnesota, joined her friends at the Hillary watch party despite identifying as a Republican.


Senate coordinates nonpartisan debate party

11:00 AM


Like most of campus, Harvey Ingham room 135 was filled with students eagerly watching the Democratic debate happening on Saturday night.

Unlike the rest of campus, the Student Senate DNC debate watch party partnered with Sidewire, a political news app, to provide insights into the debate along with free water bottles and koozies. Student Senate also provided popcorn, gummy bears, pretzels and lemonade throughout the night.

STUDENTS watched the debate from Harvey Ingham at the senate watch party, which was nonpartisan. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

STUDENTS watched the debate from Harvey Ingham at the senate watch party, which was nonpartisan. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

The other unique feature of this watch party was that no candidate sponsored the event. Because of this, students who were undecided on a candidate or who were generally nonpartisan were more likely to show up to this event.

Which means when the candidates were introduced, it was Student Body President Kevin Maisto’s cameo appearance that received the most applause.

Campus Advancement Senator Olivia O’Hea said that the goal was to give students a chance to see some experts’ thoughts during political season in Iowa. Because O’Hea grew up outside of Iowa, she believes that students don’t recognize the importance that Iowa has on the political season.

In coordinating with Sidewire, O’Hea transfers this thought to the news app that is now available for free.

“The app features news that is Iowa-focused and filters the news that way,” O’Hea said.

The app also features “experts,” where a few Drake University professors are found with their opinions on current events.

Craig Robinson, the founder and a blogger of The Iowa Republican, a website that discusses Republican candidates and current events, was at the watch party and answered questions students had about the debate throughout the night.

Robinson said he jumped at the chance to watch the Democratic debate with Drake students.

“I typically like watching debates alone, especially Republican debates,” Robinson said. “This is a little more relaxed; I’m able to take it in.”

While Robinson knew he would be taking questions from students during the debate, he did not anticipate them being as tough as they were.

“Those questions were tougher than some of the radio or TV interviews I’ve done,” Robinson said. “That one about foreign policy threw me off.”

Although the questions were challenging, Robinson appreciated the discussion happening among students.

“There are a lot of policies being discussed right now that young people are engaged in,” Robinson said. “It’s really encouraging … It impacts all of us on a personal level.”

Robinson was pleased with the turnout of the event and was envious that he wasn’t able to participate in activities like this while he was in college.

First-year senator Cecilia Bernard contributed to the event by setting up, tearing down and taking tickets throughout the night. She was pleased with the amount of students that came and was excited about the activity happening around campus.

“It’s been fun to see the whole room packed,” Bernard said. “We’re so lucky to have events like this, have presidential candidates so close to where we are.”

In terms of having the debate at Drake, Bernard showed her excitement for the recognition Drake has received.

“I kept having to remind myself that the candidates were on this campus,” Bernard said. “Like, I’ve been in Sheslow before. They’re so close in proximity to where I am.”

Students see debate from the inside

10:00 AM


After a week of blocked streets, pictures by the Twitter hashtag #DemDebate sculpture and random unidentifiable men at the dinning halls, the hype from the Democratic debate ends.

But not without many lasting impressions, especially by the students given the opportunity to sit in the debate hall.


‘We have nothing to lose but our chains’

8:00 AM


“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

It is our duty to win.

We must love and support each other.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.”


Who won Saturday’s Democratic debate?

November 15, 2015 1:14 PM


Who won the Drake debate?

The short answer is: not Clinton. The other two candidates had their ups and downs, but they came prepared to hit Hillary Clinton hard, and they did just that.

In the beginning, Bernie Sanders appeared weaker. He took the opening question about the events in Paris and sidestepped it to go back to his economic agenda, which was the original focus of the debate before the terrorist attack. Sanders showed weakness throughout the foreign policy segment that focused heavily on ISIS.

However, both Sanders and Martin O’Malley were able to critique Clinton for her vote to invade Iraq which Sanders described as “disastrous” and a historic blunder which has led to contemporary instability in the region. O’Malley and all of the candidates agreed that the sources of conflict were numerous and nuanced. All of the candidates also agreed that they needed a coalition of Muslim countries to act against ISIS, but that Islam should not be painted with a broad brush as extremist terrorists. In sum, there were actually few policy discrepancies except for Clinton’s more hawkish suggestion of enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria.

O’Malley, at one point, was able to criticize the other two for referring to veterans as “boots on the ground,” because he wants to remember the human cost of war, as Sanders later brought up when talking about his work on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the half a million veterans suffering from PTSD or brain injury.

Although in the last debate Sanders was unwilling to criticize his rivals, this time he brought up what he characterized as “disagreements.” The biggest discrepancy, and a winning argument for Sanders, was campaign finance reform. O’Malley has a Super PAC, but has, so far, been able to raise very little money. Sanders has no Super PAC and touted this above Clinton. Only 13 percent of Clinton’s campaign contributions are in amounts below $200, whereas Sanders has 77 percent of donations below $200. None of Sanders’ donations exceed $2,700, but 27 percent of Clinton’s donations exceed $2,700.

This argument has given Sanders the moral high ground amongst Democratic voters who want to see systemic changes addressed. When confronted on the issue, Clinton said that 60 percent of her donors were women and also referenced having to represent Wall Street on September 11th. Her use of 9/11 was  later brought up by Nancy Cordes in the form of a tweet that had been sent out on the issue, reading “I’ve never seen a candidate invoke 9/11 to justify millions of Wall Street donations until now.” Clinton’s response failed to address campaign finance and merely reiterated that she has received many donations.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a surrogate of Clinton’s in the spin room after the debate, told the Times-Delphic “I think she made a very good point on that, that if donations are received, it is not a definition of her character or her willingness to yield to her own values or her conscience, just because a particular interest group gave money.”

However, Sanders characterized Clinton’s response as “not good enough.” He added, that special interests “expect to get something, everybody knows that.”

O’Malley joined in at times to show that Clinton was not leading by her conscience but instead “leading by polls.” He pointed out numerous flip-flops and did a solid job of demonstrating his own successes. O’Malley and his surrogates have taken to an “actions over words” mantra that they hope will show he is a contender. Drake University student Kenia Calderon represented O’Malley in the spin room and said “he has the actions to back his statements up.”

Throughout the debate, O’Malley made a strong display of his record in Maryland of “raised sales tax by a penny and made our public schools the best public schools in America,” raising the minimum wage so “the more they spend, the more our economy grows,” and enacting gun control. He also argued against “polarizing figures from our past” at the national level. O’Malley also pointed out Clinton’s connections to Wall Street and the nefarious effect that could have on her ability to lead when asked about his own finance reform agenda.

However, by the end of the debate, Sanders was able to tie healthcare and other issues back to campaign finance reform fairly successfully. When asked about how he would add regulations to the prescription drug industry when they are a one trillion dollar industry, Sanders said the first step is to ensure that they cannot control members of Congress through campaign contributions.

Symone Sanders, a surrogate for Senator Sanders in the spin room, told the Times-Delphic “Bernie Sanders knows that we live in a rigged economy, and this economy is kept in place by a corrupt finance system.”

“Bernie Sanders is leading from the front on this issue by not participating in this system,” Sanders said.

That seemed to be the winning issue for Sanders. The item that Clinton could not successfully repel turned out to be campaign finance reform. Her mentions of female donors or 9/11 seemed to distract from the matter at hand and did not provide her with the ability to hold back her opponents.

On the other hand, Sanders failed almost completely with foreign policy by refusing to address it from the beginning and then not diving into great detail throughout the foreign policy debate. Sanders was corrected at one point by Clinton about the involvement of Jordan against ISIS, and his only area of military expertise seemed to be veterans’ affairs.

O’Malley succeeded in showing competent responses and providing examples of success from his time as governor of Maryland. He stumbled in his speech at times, but O’Malley seems to have found a better strategy by attacking the words of Washington politicians and contrasting them with his actions as a governor of Maryland. The winnowing of the Democratic nomination to three contenders allowed him the attention he needed.

Clinton had a lot of success leading up to the second Democratic debate by showing a strong performance in the first debate with no attacks from Bernie Sanders, maintaining composure for the 11 hour Benghazi hearing, and demonstrating hegemony through Biden’s refusal to run, but this debate showed that there are discussions and debates still necessary in the Democratic Party. Expect the largest surge for O’Malley, because he had such little support to start with, but also expect Sanders campaign finance agenda to move him upward in the polls even as his foreign policy was lackluster.

The #DemDebate Recap: What you need to know

1:33 AM


Students file into the Student Senate watch party in Harvey Ingham hall to view Saturday's Democratic debate. The watch party was one of several throughout Des Moines. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

Students file into the Student Senate watch party in Harvey Ingham hall to view Saturday’s Democratic debate. The watch party was one of several throughout Des Moines. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

The terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night were a somber backdrop to Saturday’s Democratic debate. But by the end of the night, the debate turned into politics as usual, as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley grappled for position in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Candidates observed a moment of silence for Paris before questions opened up at the Democratic debate that took place at Drake University Saturday night. The first half hour focused heavily on foreign policy and national security in light of yesterday’s attacks before moving on to cover economic issues, immigration, and, yet again, Hillary’s emails.

Moderator John Dickerson of CBS began the debate by inviting the candidates to share their thoughts on the Paris attacks and introduce themselves. Sen. Sanders started it off by expressing shock at the events and condemning ISIS. He then launched into economics, denounced our financial system and said his campaign is one of “political revolution.” Sec. Clinton offered her prayers to France and wanted to bring the world together to root out “radical jihadism.” She expressed a desire to better coordinate efforts against terrorism. Gov. O’Malley also shared sentiments of prayer and called for collaboration between nations on this issue. He emphasized that this “new kind of threat” requires “new approaches.”

O’Malley and Clinton disagreed on how the U.S. should be involved in the fight against ISIS. Clinton said that the US will support those fighting ISIS and should provide leadership and intelligence. O’Malley contested her on her point that “this is not America’s fight,” saying that it is America’s fight but should not be solely ours. He again stressed the importance of collaboration.

Dickerson then turned to Sanders and asked if he still believed climate change was the biggest threat to national security, a comment made in a previous debate. Sanders concurred, saying that terrorism and environmental insecurity are intertwined. He then said that the US invasion of Iraq led to current instability, calling it one of the “worst foreign policy blunders” in recent history.

Clinton’s rebuttal in defense of her vote for the invasion implored a look at the historical context surrounding the events. She agreed that it was a mistake, however. O’Malley jumped in and said that he advocates a policy that would closely examine the repercussions of, for example, toppling a dictator.

O’Malley fielded further questions challenging his lack of foreign policy experience and Clinton faced questioning about her use of the term “radical jihadism,” which sparked a controversy over terminology in which candidates generally agreed that the term used wasn’t what was important to the issue at hand.

The conversation turned to refugees. All of the candidates agreed that we should be helping refugees, although there was some disagreement on specifics. Sanders kept his stance vague and called for reform in military spending. O’Malley went back and forth with Dickerson over exact numbers, of which he would not give a value. Clinton said that if we take a higher number of refugees, we should intensify screening procedures.

Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign-sponsored watch party shortly after Saturday's debate. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign-sponsored watch party shortly after Saturday’s debate. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

Economic issues came up next. Clinton and Sanders both criticized the pharmaceutical industry. and supported lowering healthcare costs. Clinton advocated giving Medicare negotiating power in drug prices. Sanders placed a heavy focus on income inequality and pushed higher taxes for the wealthy, although he would not specify an amount.

O’Malley elucidated longest on immigration, garnering applause for calling Donald Trump an “immigrant-bashing carnival barker.” He backed opening up a path to citizenship for the undocumented to stop these immigrants from living in a “shadow economy.”

Candidates agreed that the minimum wage should be raised, but disagreed on how much. Sanders urged for $15/hour despite admitting that it might lead to some loss of jobs. Clinton took up the lowest amount of the three contenders and said $12/hour but flexible by city. O’Malley pointed out his past successes, as his home state of Maryland was the first to implement a minimum wage of $10.10.

The debated heated up when Clinton was questioned about her ties to Wall Street. Sanders called her answer “not good enough” and O’Malley said “I won’t be taking my orders from Wall Street.” Clinton took further heat when she referenced the 9/11 attacks while defending her Wall Street connections. Twitter immediately picked up on the statement and it became a flashpoint on social media.

Clinton called for universal background checks and tougher restrictions on sellers during the gun control segment. Sanders blamed losing a past election on his anti-assault weapon stance. O’Malley accused Clinton of inconsistency, saying she’s been on “three sides” of the gun control debate.

The candidates also discussed racial inequality and education briefly towards the end of the two-hour segment, but any time spent on these issues was likely edged out by the heavy focus on foreign policy.

And yes, Clinton agreed that she’s tired of talking about the emails.

VIDEO: Democratic debate recap

November 14, 2015 11:32 PM

Political columnist John Wingert recaps the big moments from Saturday’s Democratic debate at Drake University.

Live Blog: Democratic debate at Drake University

3:10 PM

Follow along with Times-Delphic editors and reporters as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley take the stage in Sheslow Auditorium for the second Democratic debate of the election cycle.

The debate will begin at 8 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on CBS. Viewers are encouraged to tweet their reactions using the hashtag #DemDebate.

Caucus Roundup: Donald Trump and the global populist movement

November 13, 2015 12:00 PM


In one of his first weeks as host of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert played a game with his guest, Donald Trump, trying to pinpoint which of a list of ridiculous quotes Trump had said and which ones Stephen Colbert’s conservative character had said.

Complaints about sending billions to “Bongo Bongo Land,” saying opponents “have the charisma of a damp rag,” and asserting that “politics needs a bit of spicing up” are the sort of over-the-top Trumpian quotes that the United States has come to expect. The only problem is that Donald Trump did not say them. These quotes were all from Nigel Farage and the United Kingdom Independence Party.

As much as the United States has been reeling from Trump’s nativist, anti-globalization, populist message, these sorts of ideas have crystallized into political parties and movements throughout many other Western democracies.

Germany, for example, has the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands or the National Democratic Party of Germany. It has been the progenitor of such assertions as “due to the continued mass immigration and extraordinarily rising high birth rates especially of non-European populations, illegal foreigners living in Germany further burden the budget.”

Germany has had its share of problems with nationalists. The NDP alone has led protests against refugee houses this year in the wake of continued refugee immigration from the Arab world. They have also continued to say things like, “even now, foreigners are . . . committing felonies such as murder, manslaughter, and rape. The unstoppable Islamization makes this development more explosive.” In response to continuing problems with the NDP, many have tried to get the party banned on constitutional grounds, but it is a very difficult proposal that must be brought before 16 justices in Germany’s highest court.

The National Democratic Party is primarily concerned, first and foremost, with the “survival and continued existence of the German people.” The main way it sees of preserving this national identity is by expelling or prohibiting entry to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. However, it is also important to remember that the NDP wants to strengthen many social welfare programs. They also support more protectionist trade policies to shield Germany from cheaper products that are imported from other countries.

The NDP has been able to gain representation in the provinces of Germany, especially in the northeast, and even in the European Parliament as representatives of Germany at the supranational level. In 1998, the National Democratic Party of Germany only got about 45,000 votes, but in Germany’s most recent national election in 2013, they received over 630,000 votes.

These economic policies combined with strong nativist, anti-immigration tendencies resist a standard right to left dynamic. Instead, most people have labeled these movements as populist. Populism is some sort of movement away from control by elites and instead toward the control of rural, small-town, wholesome peoples that represent their specific country. Populism also tends to support government intervention in some capacity to support specific industries and shield the country from invasive cultural or social values. They are also generally reactions to technological or cultural change.

However, Germany is not the only country in Europe to witness these sorts of populist, traditionalist backlashes. France has similarly experienced a populist movement with strong nativist twinges in its political system. This movement has been represented by the National Front, a party that supports solidarity amongst the “French civilization,” an expansion of social security and healthcare programs, as well as withdrawal from the European Union to foster protectionist policies for French businesses. Their manifesto argues that “ghettos, ethnic conflicts, community demands and politico-religious provocations are the direct consequences of mass immigration which is undermining our national identity and brings with it an increasingly apparent Islamization.”

In France, the National Front has gained representation in both the National Assembly and Senate. Twenty-three of the 74 representatives France sends to the European Parliament, about a third, are members of the National Front. Thousands of regional, general, and municipal council members are also members of France’s National Front party. In 2007, the National Front garnered a little over a million votes, but in their most recent election in 2012, the National Front received over three and a half million votes.

Another, though more tenuous, member of the European Union, Greece, has also seen this same sort of emergence of nationalist populism. The Golden Dawn party in Greece has tried to renew concerns of nationalism, nativism, and anti-globalization ideology. Sporting a jaunty new re-design of the swastika, the Golden Dawn professes, that “nationalism is the only absolute and true revolution because it seeks the birth of new ethical, spiritual, social and mental values.” It also argues that people should fight “exploitative wealth, either local or internationalist.” The Golden Dawn also remains strongly opposed “against the population distortion, because of the millions of illegal immigrants, and the dissolution of the Greek society.”

Like the National Democratic Party and the National Front, this nationalism and economic redistribution for the wholesome and worthy in a country has led the Golden Dawn to some notable successes. They currently have dozens of members in the national parliament and even more at the local level. They also comprise a seventh of Greece’s representation in the European Union’s European Parliament. Additionally, in 2009, the Golden Dawn received only about 20,000 votes and could not gain any representation, but by the most recent of Greece’s many emergency elections in 2015, the Golden Dawn had received almost 380,000 votes.

By now, some patterns should begin to emerge. These parties all share strong anti-immigrant stances and argue for the preservation of their country against foreign intrusions. This nativism does not just apply to wanting to keep out immigrants; it also means that they want to protect native industries by severing trade agreements and raising tariffs against foreign imports. Populist movements like the Golden Dawn, National Front, and NDP also want to strengthen government assistance and social welfare.

All across the Western world, these populist, nativist, anti-globalization movements are springing forth in response to the advancement and change of the new millennium.

Along with the aforementioned parties, are Jobbik in Hungary which desires what they see as the re-establishment of Hungarian nationalism against Gypsy, socialist, and capitalist incursions. There is also the Freedom Party of Austria which wants to “promptly stop immigration and protection [for refugees] instead of providing doors for all.” The Danish People’s Party argues, “Denmark is not a country of immigration and has never been. We will not accept a multi-ethnic transformation of country.” The Polish Law and Justice Party places a strong emphasis on the “Polish family” and rejecting “cultural unification.”

None of these parties are extreme outliers either. They have all done well enough to gain multiple representatives in their national parliament and at the European Parliament level. They are all now sizable political forces in their respective countries.

Now, this movement has crossed the Atlantic. Donald Trump has brought a unique mix of ideals. His comments about Mexican immigrants, building “the greatest wall you’ve ever seen,” and deporting 11 million individuals have become infamous and betray strong anti-immigration twinges in his rhetoric.

In spite of NAFTA and other free trade agreements, Donald Trump has proposed tariffs unheard of in modern times. One of his favorite, stump-speech stories is Ford Motors new plant in Mexico. Trump says, “every car, every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35 percent tax — OK?” Trump’s refusal to abide by free trade agreements would likely cause a trade war and untold repercussions in international relations, but it also betrays this strong populist bent in his rhetoric.

Trump also wants to bolster social welfare programs, despite the departure of this position from the conservative mainstream. He said, “every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that.”

Donald Trump also says he will bring “winning” back to the presidency. In his pseudo-patriotic style, Trump has consistently emphasized the fact that the American people are good, but we have the misfortune of idiotic leadership. Trump always maintains that the country has the potential to be great again if it returns to some societal roots.

Polls seem to show that this is exactly what people want. It is not misguided conservatives lured into a cult of personality that vote for Trump. His policy proposals, however nascent and unsupported, are what the people want to hear.

Before Trump ever formally entered the political scene, the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party was already leaning strongly toward populism. A Marist poll from 2011 found that 53% of people associating with the Tea Party wanted to raise taxes on those with incomes over $250,000 in an attempt to lower the national debt. The same poll also found that 70% of these supposedly stringent conservatives opposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

This idea of taxing the perceived paper-pushing elites to make room for benefits for the society at large has strong roots in populism. Donald Trump has said repeatedly, “The hedge fund people make a lot of money and they pay very little tax; I want to lower taxes for the middle class.” The same anger that fuels a populist outrage against leeches upon society, often personified in immigrants, produces the same suspicion of wealthy stock market nabobs who create money out of thin air in speculative markets without working to actually produce something.

America’s past can show us similar political movements. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a populist party formed in America. Calling itself the People’s Party, in 1892, it issued a call against “the two great classes—tramps and millionaires.” The party supported stronger support for agrarian communities and small towns. Although they had some concrete successes as a political party, they were more successful at influencing the other parties around them at the time. John Temple Graves, an editor for the Atlanta Constitution, wrote in 1896 that, “reforms for which the masses have been clamoring for years—whether it be silver or labor or income tax or popular rights or resistance to government by injunction—had never been written, and might never have been written, into a Democratic platform, until the Populist party, 1,800,000 strong, thundered in the ears of Democratic leaders.”

Donald Trump appeals to this ideal by saying that he will take back power from “special interests, lobbyists and donors.” At every turn, he re-emphasizes the need to turn government into an institution of “winners,” instead of allowing the so-called “losers” governing now to continue to lead Americans astray. He appeals to a select group whom he considers wholesome and good and promises them that the rich will pay more, their benefits will increase, the immigrants will disappear, and the good-natured, idyllic United States that they dream of will return.

In the meantime, Europeans look upon the Trump phenomenon with amusement and underlying concern. The German magazine, Der Spiegel, has called him an “idiot” and representative of “what is wrong with this [the American] system.” The French newspaper, Libération, called him an “American nightmare.” The British newspaper, The Observer, said Trump’s political ideas have “spewed from him like a ruptured sewer.”

Yet, all of these countries have had much more experience with populism at home. Although Donald Trump, in the words of French sociologist and author, Marie-Cécile Naves, is “someone who lets us feel a bit superior about being European,” the persistent laughter is nervous laughter. They may mock him in their publications, but it seems almost wholly due to a reflection of the anti-establishment, nationalist fervor which they know all too well.

Donald Trump may be a character without precedent in modern political memory, but throughout other Western democracies, the same sort of over-the-top, populist ideology asserts itself. In an era of rapid change, technologically and culturally, the backlash is being felt around the globe, and it is a backlash strong enough to bring the most resolute, political bodies to their knees. As much as we may want to, we should not laugh off everything that Donald Trump represents: a populist movement that is revivifying to unseat the most monolithic political traditions around the world.