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Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

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Video: Campaign '08: The Aftermath


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Scholars of politics and public affairs examine the results of the 2008 presidential election in a roundtable discussion at Princeton Nov. 5. Watch the full panel on WebMedia.


Video Closed Captions

Valerie Smith:
Welcome to "Campaign '08: The Aftermath."

[ Audience clapping ]

Eddie Glaude Jr.:
Let's try to make sense of what happened last night.

Cornel West:
We've got to begin with the tears signifying memories, the great suffering,

Cornel West:
not just of black people but of human beings; signifying hopes for a better future,

Cornel West:
the age of Reagan which has now come to an end.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
It has been a redemptive story.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
It has been a story that has on the one hand showcased our deepest failings as a nation

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
by reminding us of our history; of our legacy of slavery;

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
of our legacy of discrimination; and not just our legacy.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
Racism is still here and we saw it in various parts of the election

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
so on the one hand we were not the great America where everything was perfect; we were an America

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
where our divisions, our injustices, our failings, were very much on display and

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
yet at the same time we were actually able to transcend them.

Eddie Glaude Jr.:
There's a sense in which the nation has been absolved of something,

Eddie Glaude Jr.:
that we've gone through this ritual of racial expiation

Eddie Glaude Jr.:
and that we've exorcised the demons of our past.

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
We have seen reported in the media and rightly so a kind of triumphant narrative around race

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
in particular, and I mean yesterday and today--

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
a narrative that goes from slavery to the "I Have a Dream" speech to Barack Obama.

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
It's one in which the present is uncomplicatedly related to the past.

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
A steady forward progressive movement.

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
Again I return to reconstruction which reminds us

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
that we can't afford to think in such easy terms.

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
So how will Obama's victory affect the national discourse on race?

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
And is there a place to talk about poverty, the needs and sufferings of poor people?

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
I heard too little about that in this campaign and even talking about the economic fairness

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
for the middle class which is what we're supposed to be all about,

Farah Jasmine Griffin:
led to charges of socialism and Marxism.

Julian Zelizer:
Barack Obama is coming in a terrible time.

Julian Zelizer:
You know we have huge financial obligation now because of the bailout;

Julian Zelizer:
we have a crisis which is pretty unstable in foreign policy.

Julian Zelizer:
The problem and then this issue is we could have ended the narrative with Katrina instead

Julian Zelizer:
of Barack Obama and then it would be totally different how we talk about race in America;

Julian Zelizer:
and I think one of the questions in terms of what's the substance will he try

Julian Zelizer:
to move the Democrats to deal with questions of the urban crisis that we face?

Julian Zelizer:
Katrina was much more than a hurricane.

Julian Zelizer:
It was decades of policy and I don't know.

Julian Zelizer:
Many Democrats in Congress are not going to want to go there.

Julian Zelizer:
Democrats now have the problem of united government -- it's not just the benefit.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
Here's what I think we could expect if everything goes

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
as wonderfully as the campaign has gone.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
If Barack Obama proves to be the kind of president

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
that he has been a campaigner and a transformative figure.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
He gets the changes in the world more

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
than any leader we have had since the end of the Cold War.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
For this generation and for the 21st century, the world starts from connection.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
It's not about separate nations that bump into each other and compete for power.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
In his administration, he's going to have to figure out how we can reposition ourselves not

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
at the top of the world; we've got many other powers, we've got work to do at home--

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
but at the center-- at the center of a web of connections and how we use those connections.

Anne-Marie Slaughter:
Not to proclaim ourselves the best but to lead in solving common problems.

Eddie Glaude, Jr.:
And I think that was captured in that wonderful phrase,

Eddie Glaude, Jr.:
"this victory is not the change we seek, but a chance to make change," and that depends on us.

[ Audience clapping ]

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