Photo by Sarah Olson, The Observer
While the polarizing rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election is seen as unique to certain American candidates, Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, said this rhetoric is not limited to America but rather mirrors a growing international rhetoric of extremist views. Baker spoke on the similarities between current American and European views in a lecture Monday night titled “2016 Presidential Election: A Global Perspective.”
The lecture, which was held through the Eugene Clark Distinguished Lecture Series and the Mendoza College of Business, was held in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium.
Baker said he has covered more than six presidential elections in his career and noted this year’s is different.
“I cannot recall a more extraordinary election then the one we are having now,” he said. “However, it’s not just happening here — we are seeing extraordinary events elsewhere in the world, and they have remarkable things in common.”
Parties espousing extreme views are gaining popularity in established Western democracies, primarily because of economic dissatisfaction, Baker said. In recent elections in Germany, the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland, which was created only three years ago, secured 25 percent of the vote in some states, Baker said.
Baker said the Wall Street Journal’s polls have demonstrated American dissatisfaction with the direction of the country.