A Second Term for Trump? – The Sunday Times Debate – Cheltenham Literature Festival REVIEW

This isn’t a completely new event to me. As the panel stepped onto the stage I remembered that I had attended The Sunday Times Trump Debate last year called 260 days of Trump. This allowed for easy comparison and how things had changed one year on.

The panel was made up of a favourite broadcaster of mine Jon Sopel who is the BBC North America correspondent, brilliantly insightful Ellen Barry who is the Chief of International correspondence at the New York Times and finally Sunday Times Columnist and Chief Political Reporter for Sky, Adam Boulton. Sarah Baxter, the deputy editor of The Sunday Times lead the event.

They began by saying whether they think Trump will win a second term in as few words as possible. This turned out to be fascinating in itself as Jon thought yes, Ellen said no and Adam was a maybe.

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Image: Gage Skidmore

Jon Sopel kicked off the discussion by backing up his thoughts that Trump WILL get a second term by explaining that Trump had delivered everything he promised. The stock market is at a record high, unemployment is at a record low and there was good communication with Korea. There is no remorse from those supporters that won him the presidency, so what is to say they won’t do it again. As Jon said, “Nothing is touching him, he is covered in teflon and fake tan.”

Ellen disagrees, she believes that turn out brought him in and turn out will shut him out. Adam opted for a maybe. By that Adam meant that he could be elected and dispensed with soon after.

As a panel they wanted to deliver some warmly welcomed home truths. He is breaking records in unpopularity, he is constantly striving to be the centre attention and is only happy when he is there. “When he loses he wins and when he wins he wins,” said Jon. Surely this makes him, by definition, a brilliant politician?

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The section of the conversation I was most interested in was about how he has managed to manipulate the media. He’s made them the enemy to the people with his “fake news” and manipulation of the facts. It may have been a boom for journalism as these stories which people are so drawn to because of Trump’s personality and behaviour can be monetised. It’s also meant so many more people have been engaged in a way they haven’t been before.

It was fascinating to get an overview on Trump and the situation over in the states at the moment because each story that is published is focused on a specific area or event so it’s refreshing and helpful to be able to step back and look at things with no distractions or focuses.

I learnt more about how it’s really quite a good time for the American economy, I learnt the depths and details within the infinite PR power Trump can harness with his Twitter followers and I learnt that Jon Sopel does a cracking Trump impersonation!

If I am to give my two cents about the situation. I think he will be re-elected. I am not going to get any deeper on my views on this but I will say this… In the last 90 years only two American presidents have tried to get reelected and failed, and I don’t think Trump will be the third.

 

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