CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICENov. 9, 2016Cornell professors comment on Trump’s presidency

Working-class Trump supporters need better jobs, unions’ help Ileen Devault, professor of labor History at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations who studies the history of the working class in America and author of "Sons and Daughters of Labor,” explains why a key to unifying the nation must involve elevating workers into a new economic world in which they can receive higher wages, more regular schedules and more dignity at their workplaces.

Biography: Devault says: “For working-class men whose relatively high-paying, often unionized, manufacturing jobs have disappeared from our economy, the future of the country looks bleak. But, what has been largely ignored is that white, high school-educated working-class people have turned up their noses at the available jobs in the growing sectors of the economy – the high-paying, high-tech jobs requiring post-secondary education.

“Part of unifying the country again must involve elevating farm workers, hospital janitors, childcare and fast-food workers into a new economic world in which these workers receive higher wages, more regular schedules and more dignity and voice at their workplaces.

“But even then, white working-class men will still need to be educated to understand that their interests are closely aligned with the interests of people of color, women and immigrants.

“In the middle of the 20th century, unions had the capability to provide this type of education to their members. Today, surviving unions need to work alongside worker centers and other new forms of worker organizations to begin a new sort of collective ‘consciousness raising’ for the American working class. We cannot give up on anyone, anywhere.”

Normalizing Trump’s victory will take some timeRichard Bensel, professor of government at Cornell University is an expert in American politics, parties and elections.

Biography: Bensel says:

“When the chances of a Trump victory last night turned from ‘a long shot’ into ‘more likely than not,’ Dow Jones financial futures indicated a more than 500 point loss on today’s opening market. When the market actually did open, however, traders were much more ambivalent and stock indices were only slightly down. Even more remarkably, bank and construction stocks were up sharply.

“As in finance, so in politics: normalizing Trump’s victory will take some time but the project has already begun. Let us hope that, in fact, it succeeds.”

Where will Trump lead Europe? Barry Strauss, professor of history at Cornell University and author of the book “The Death of Caesar”, says European leaders will have questions on the future of trade, military alliances and populism now that Trump is headed to the White House.

Biography: Strauss says:

“European leaders face the American election results with two questions: ‘What will this mean for my country?’ and, ‘What will it mean for my political future?’

“Make no mistake about it – Europeans want to do business with the United States, but they will seek to know if the rules have changed. They will want clarity, first of all, on future trade relations.

“NATO countries wonder what kind of ally America will be under Trump and where his expressed doubts about the alliance might lead. Migration and the instability in the Middle East loom large in European minds and leaders will seek to know American policy. Putin casts a shadow over Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, and there too, American policy is a question mark.

“Finally, populism and nationalism are as powerful forces in Europe as they are in the United States, so politicians wonder if Trump’s success will be repeated there.”

If fulfilled, Trump’s promises on trade, economics would be a shock Stephen Kyle, is an economist at the Dyson School of Applied Economics. He says Republicans now have the opportunity to enact things they have been threatening to do for a long time. Many of them, he says, would constitute negative shocks for the economy.Biography: Kyle says:

“If we take Trump at his word and combine that with the fact that Republicans will control all the branches of government, including the Supreme Court, there is no doubt that uncertainty will be greater than before.

“This isn’t a good thing for investment, markets, or the overall economy. Republicans have sworn to cut spending and with interest rates near zero already that means the capacity of the government to react to any negative events in the U.S. or world economies is very limited.

“If Trump gets his wish on withdrawing from free trade deals, that too will be a drag on the economy.

“Trump has sworn to deport undocumented workers. While just the threat is a problem, if there are actual moves to do this it will be bad for several sectors of the economy including agriculture and construction.

“Trump has said he will build a wall. Apart from the very irrelevance of this to actual immigration flows, it might provide a small boost to employment in the Southwest.”

An organized populace remains key to changeShannon Gleeson is professor of labor relations with the Institute of Social Sciences, and focuses on the experiences of immigrant workers and the work of advocacy organizations.

Biography: Gleeson says:

“While Trump is sure to continue to stoke racism and xenophobia, and move toward an even more restrictive approach, let us not forget that Democratic administrations have also been complicit. President Obama has deported the most immigrants in our country’s history, and our last major immigration reform was passed three decades ago under President Reagan.

“So just as hate and vitriol for immigrants and communities of color come into plain view, our task now is to support the remarkable mobilizations that have been building before and through the election.

“In two years, when one-third of the Senate and all of the House of Representatives comes before the American people in another election, and four years from now when other candidates stand to challenge Trump, we will need to hold all accountable. An organized populace remains key to change.”

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