Campus News

The International Business of Politics

President Dr. Arthur Kirk walked up to the podium to introduce the high-profile keynote speaker. Overwhelmingly loud applause from the audience rang through the room as his first sentence barely escaped his lips.

“That’s the best response I’ve had for the shortest speech I’ve given,” Dr. Kirk joked as he proceeded to introduce the guest of honor.

The object of the audience’s admiration was the well-known political consultant, James Carville. Carville spoke on Wednesday, Feb. 19 as a part of the International Business Conference. Most recognized for his success as Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign manager, Carville is also a bestselling author, actor, and talk show host, among other accomplishments.

Carville lightened the mood with his explanation of the field of politics.

“Politics – ‘poly-‘ means ‘many’ and we know that ticks are bloodsucking animals, so there you go,” he joked.

Carville’s statement reflects the opinions that many have regarding the field of politics; the stereotypical politician is deceitful and greedy, no matter what political party they may be associated with, though over the past few years, the importance of political parties has grown. The division is so apparent that it has appeared to many that no decisions are being made in D.C., especially because of the now-Republican-dominated Congress.

“Politics has become so divided, it looks like they don’t talk to each other anymore,” said Carville.

Carville’s analysis of political division led to a discussion of one of the issues concerning many Americans as Barack Obama’s last term ends – what now? Rumors have been flying about the 2016 Presidential election – predicted candidates including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and a possible comeback for Mitt Romney – and as any true political consultant, Carville offered up his expert opinion.

“The way the Republicans pick their candidate- it always goes to the old white guy. From 1944, every cycle, the Republicans picked the obvious person,” said Carville. “It’s interesting this time because it’s not obvious.”

Seemingly, the upcoming Presidential election even has Carville stumped, but even so, he still has a strong inclination of which political party will dominate.

“The electoral college inherently favors the Democrats,” said Carville. “Since 1992, the Democrats have lost the popular vote once, in 2004.”

Not only does Carville stress the importance of political party affiliation while revealing the tricks of the trade, but he also emphasizes the importance of money. To run a political campaign, especially for the Presidency, a huge amount of money is necessary. For this reason, most politicians either have money themselves or receive generous donations from wealthy individuals or groups.

“Instinctively, we all know over a period of time that it’s corrosive that that few people give that much money to that endeavor,” said Carville.

With all of this political wisdom from years in the field, Carville is repeatedly asked the same question, which an audience member posed during the keynote address – is there a future for you running another presidential campaign?

“I haven’t done it since 1992,” Carville responded. “I’m going to be 72 years old on Election Day. I’m pretty sure I don’t know the Internet from the interstate.”

The 2016 Presidential campaigns will not be seeing much of Carville, although he remains involved in politics, appearing on radio shows and talk shows to give his professional opinion. Carville has additional reasons apart from his technological concerns, but with technology playing such an integral a role in communication, social media and the Internet are heavily relied upon in modern presidential campaigns. Although Carville has retired from campaigning, his passion for politics remains.

“Nobody had more fun doing what they do than James Carville,” said Carville.

With a tactful sign-off, “I’m honored to be a part of the Speaker Series, and I thank y’ all so much,” he stepped off the podium to shake hands with his adoring fans.

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