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Cover Story


Clement: Clearly, Bernie Sanders had a constituency that was much more intense about the issues he espoused than Hill- ary Clinton did, and I don’t see how the Democratic Party can now ignore that … What are the Republicans going to do with this outraged constituency of Donald Trump, who obviously spoke for so many people? ... I don’t think we’re going to see any wall built. I don’t think we’re going to see a number of the things that were promised [by Trump] and that is going to intensify the anger … I think it will be very interesting to see how both parties, the establishment on the Republican side and the Democrats, figure out what to do in trying to solve that very intense issue.


Schapiro: Well, I’m angry. I’m angry because I’m legacy media, and you all don’t pay attention to us anymore, and Donald Trump appreciates this. This is an evolving trend in politics and the media. No longer is it a reporter for the Times-Dispatch, it’s that personality with a particular newspaper. It’s all about the individual brand, and that individual brand was something that Trump had cer- tainly well established as a businessman and as an entertainment figure. I think it also allowed him to very crisply reach into that pool of anger but more importantly for those who were feeling pain to connect with him.


VB: Did the hacked WikiLeaks emails play much of a role in this election?


Saxman: Huge. VB: And why?


Dendy: It was just constant. It wasn’t just WikiLeaks. It was Comey. It was the emails. There was just a constant flow of this information that overall had a huge impact.


Clement: It was a constant drumbeat. It just never went away. Never got beyond it.


Saxman: There were a couple [of leaked emails] in there that just infuri- ated, I think, certain segments of the electorate, especially members of the Catholic Church [because of criticism of


32 JANUARY 2017


the church by some campaign officials] … That was catastrophic for [Hillary Clinton] in some of those Rust Belt areas, which are also predominantly Catholic.


Dendy: While that’s true, I don’t think we ought to let it go without saying how horrible it was that [the hacking] was done. I’ve been in politics for 40 years, and I don’t think there’s anybody that I know of, if you took all of their emails, today would be in good shape. That was a huge crime. That was private information.


VB: Now that he’s won, he has to lead. How will Trump deal with the after effects of such a rancorous campaign in which he insulted women, Muslims, a decorated war veteran and, of course, many of the people in his own party? Is it going to be a quick kiss and makeup?


Clement: I’ve got to think we’ll see a different Donald Trump. Surely, he will rise to the occasion.


Schapiro: I don’t think that one can underestimate the aftershocks of this continuing divi- sion within the Republican Party. I mean Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, is the embodiment of the Republican establishment, for lack of a bet- ter description. Certainly, he will bring to this pro-


cess a measure of institutional knowledge, a certain intimacy with governing and governance that will clearly be lacking initially in the Trump White House. This would seem to be an opportunity … for the Trump movement to graft itself to these comparatively speaking “grownups” on Capitol Hill. A lot of what Trump has talked about doing [would be] by execu- tive fiat. This is the same [approach] we complained about with Barack Obama, the sweeping use of executive authority. I think there is an opportunity for the new president to learn about how our system works. Whether there can be a level of trust and some comfort between the


Republicans on the hill and the Trumpi- ans at the bottom of Pennsylvania Avenue, that remains to be seen.


Saxman: I think the challenge for Trump going forward as he pivots toward being president in government is still maintaining a level of his instinctive behavior that got him there. That authen- ticity still has to resonate in himself and with his supporters. That’s where a lot of politicians get off the rail: They become inauthentic. I think Tim Kaine is one of the most authentic people in politics ever, and it serves him well. Whether Trump can strike that balance is, I think, the real question for him.


VB: Well, this is a good segue because we did want to talk about Tim Kaine, and where does Clinton’s defeat leave him? Editor’s note: After this roundtable discussion was held, Kaine said he will not run for president or vice president in 2020.


Schapiro: In deep kimchi. He’s going to have to defend [his Senate seat] in 2018. That’s an off year. I’m sure many of you remember that the supposedly unbeatable Mark Warner came close to being beaten for a second [Senate] term in an off year. So Kaine, having been elected to the Sen- ate under ideal conditions, in a presidential year [2012] in which he ran ahead of Barack Obama in Virginia, is now looking at the most perilous conditions under which he’ll have to defend that Senate seat.


Dendy: I really think he comes out of the race relatively strong. You don’t hear a lot of negative comments about him. I think he ran a strong campaign, and if you look around the country at other candidates who’ve been on national tickets, even George McGovern got re- elected in South Dakota in the next cycle [after being defeated for the presidency in 1972]. I think,


in some ways, he probably enhanced his brand. Another thing about the 2018


Photos by Rick DeBerry


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