November 9, 2016Stanford experts discuss the deep political divide in the U.S. and what it may mean for the country’s future Historic presidential election reveals a country and its electoral system in turmoil, Stanford experts say.
By Alex Shashkevich
Most political scientists and experts agree that the 2016 presidential election stands out for an unprecedented level of discord in the country’s political sphere.
Stanford experts see the 2016 election revealing deep discords and a party system in flux. (Image credit: kbeis / Getty Images)
“It’s a very, very significant and historic development, which not only suggests that our party system is in flux, but also that there is deep turbulence in the electorate,” said political science and sociology Professor Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton for president is the first time since 1940 that a major political party’s candidate had previously held no elected office or high-ranking governmental position.
Trump “changed the rules of political discourse and political campaigning,” said law Professor Nathaniel Persily. “He broke the mold as to what a viable candidacy entails.”
While Trump won the election, the American public expressed a record level of displeasure with both major party presidential candidates.
“There has never been a presidential election where you had such a high negative rating for both presidential candidates and where each candidate was distrusted by such high majorities of Americans,” Diamond said.
Diamond added that he couldn’t recall an election when “such a large swath of the intellectual and policy establishment explicitly rejected and denounced the candidacy of their party’s nominee,” noting that many members of the Republican leadership were critical of Donald Trump and his campaign.
The tone of the race for president also reached previously unseen levels of nastiness, …