Journalism professor gives talk on politics following election

JT Lindsey

UT students wondering what the future holds following the election of Donald Trump attended a talk by journalism professor Robert Jensen Thursday night at the University Teaching Center, where he argued Trump’s election is not a fundamental change, but rather a continuation of trends that have long been present in American politics.

The Undergraduate Business Council organized “When the Circus Leaves Town: A Talk By Robert Jensen” to give the journalism professor the chance to answer those questions.

Jensen said nationalist, economic and technological fundamentalism is dangerous regardless of which party holds the White House.

“The modern political order, made up of the Republican and Democratic parties, is defined by these three fundamentalisms,” Jensen said. “To be considered a serious political candidate in this country is to be required to sign on to this belief system I’m talking about.”

Jensen gave a talk for UBC last year and business freshman Kiyahn Ebrahimi-Navissi said the group was eager to hear from the professor again, due to his unique perspectives and insight.

“Throughout his career as a journalist he’s had a lot of strong opinions on a lot of political views,” Ebrahimi-Navissi said. “We wanted to get a conversation started.”

Jensen said while there are common themes exhibited by every party or candidate, 2016 showed the different ways in which parties exploit those fundamentalisms. 

“I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton, I don’t think it’s a controversial statement to say that the Trump campaign relied upon white racial resentment.” Jensen said, “That was a campaign technique of one, not both.”

Jensen said he couldn’t focus solely on the election, due to his inability to process the results. 

“Many of you came tonight to talk about what just happened,” Jensen said. “I’m still working through the intellectual analysis of what happened, but also how to feel.”

Business honors sophomore Andrew Jones said he enjoyed the talk because he agreed with Jensen’s assertion that an economy could balance business and humanitarian concerns. 

“As business students, we come to UT, and this is the way I tell people morally how I feel about being a business student,” Jones said, “I’m learning how to work in a capitalist system and to help it move more towards the middle.”