Vanessa Tyson, assistant professor of politics at Scripps College, participated in a panel discussion on the KPCC-FM (88.3) radio show, “Air Talk,” presented before an audience at Pomona College’s Rose Hills Theater and broadcast live on February 10. Tyson was one of four political science professors from The Claremont Colleges invited by AirTalk host Larry Mantle to comment on the winners and losers in this week’s New Hampshire primary and to predict what lies ahead on the campaign trail for candidates in the U.S. presidential election.
Tyson commented on the likeability of Ohio Governor John Kasich, who surged to a surprise second place in New Hampshire’s GOP primary, 20 percentage points behind frontrunner Donald Trump and five percentage points ahead of Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio. During the broadcast, Mantle announced the breaking news that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina had both ended their bids for the Republican presidential nomination.
“There’s a huge ‘anti-Trump’ contingent within the Republican party that’s going to say Kasich is a viable candidate now,” Tyson noted. “While Trump’s 35 percent is a demonstrable showing, there’s still 65 percent who didn’t vote for him.” She added that whether Kasich quickly builds a campaign war chest or not, a number of other factors in addition to anti-Trump sentiment could bode well for Kasich, including the shrinking field of candidates, the fact that he “plays well with others,” and his emergence as an establishment candidate to challenge Trump’s outsider, populist rhetoric.
The two-hour program also included brief student presentations on the relative merits of their favorite candidates. Scripps College mathematical economics major Mia Shackelford ’17 gave a compelling case for Hillary Clinton, earning her top audience votes among the student Democrats and Republicans from The Claremont Colleges who participated in the mock election. Shackelford argued that Clinton’s experience and policies “make more sense” than Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders’s proposals. “I see pragmatism in Hillary and values I believe in being carried out in a responsible way,” Shackelford said.
The program concluded with Claremont Colleges students debating which party is the best choice to lead the country, debating Democratic and Republican positions on such issues as immigration, climate change, the economy, and income inequality.