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The US Presidential Election: social media, populism and big money

The BBC's Jon Sopel and Channel 5's Andy Bell took part in a US Politics event at St Benedict's, organised and led by A level Politics students Evan Hobson and Finlay Healy. 

St Benedict's Sixth Form led US Politics Evening
Jon Sopel, interviewed by Finlay and Evan

Given the current volatile and fast-moving political situation on both sides of the Atlantic, it was something of a coup to get two high-powered political journalists  - the BBC's North America editor, Jon Sopel (via Skype) and Channel 5's Political Editor, Andy Bell  - to attend. Both gave insightful responses to the four main questions put to them by Evan and Finlay: What are the major differences between US and UK politics? Is Trump on the road to a 2020 victory? What is fuelling the rise of populism? What is the impact of social media on election campaigns?

St Benedict's Sixth Form led US Politics Evening
Channel 5's Political Editor, Andy Bell

Digital artwork by Nicola Buttigieg (cousin of Democrat candidate Pete Buttigieg) provided a useful case study for this last question, in the form of her mosaic composed of 1000s of images submitted via Twitter. A US election campaign intern also talked about how she uses social media to draw together and connect followers, before a lively question-and-answer session drew the event to a close.

St Benedict's Sixth Form led US Politics Evening
An example of how social media is used in campaigning
St Benedict's Sixth Form led US Politics Evening
Finlay, Evan, Andy Bell, Nicola Buttigieg and campaign intern, Elise Bargman
St Benedict's Sixth Form led US Politics Evening
Andy Bell, Finlay, Evan, Nicola Buttigieg, the Headmaster, Don Bishop (Dean for Admissions, Notre Dame University, Chicago), and Elise Bargman

 

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