Date: 25 Oct 2016, 16:30 - 19:00
Host: Crowne Plaza, Ørestads Boulevard 114-118, 2300 København
Hope you didn’t miss this exciting pre-election discussion with US Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford and Erkan Özden, TV-host and Journalist at DR
DABF members were invited to take part in this event organized by Discover America Denmark at the Crowne Plaza in Copenhagen.
The US presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most thrilling, debatable and dramatic campaigns in years. The battleground is everywhere and the race to the Oval Office is far from decided.
Participants were treated to a fascinating interactive discussion, first with US Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford, moderated by journalist Erkan Özden, and following a break with sandwiches offered by partner Scandinavian Airlines, an in-depth session with Erkan Özden himself.
The Ambassador helped clarify what’s going on in American society, including the surprising impact of Bernie Sanders, the rise of anti-establishment, anti-institutional thinking, and the impact that has had on the Hillary campaign. He made parallels of these political trends with 4 key Danish parties – 2 on the right and 2 on the left, as well as with global trends. He discussed in depth the factors that seem to be making Hillary so unpopular, and suggested that one way her campaign could have more impact might be to get back to the fact that she would be the first woman president, and to try to drive emotional connection to her by targetting the segment “parents of girls” who want them to succeed.
During the Q&A he expressed the hope that all this discussion would pave the way for a more constructive global dialogue. He also expressed the idea that gridlock in the US government MIGHT be the best thing for the world at this point in time. Although the long time it takes to get decisions through the American “checks and balances” system is frustrating, the world today could benefit from a slow, steady pace of change, and political stability in the US. Uncertainty is not the way to go. On the excellent audience question of how to re-unite this divided America, he answered that although this period in US history seems to come with terrible cultural challenges, Americans have survived civil war, slavery, Vietnam war, presidential assassinations and resignations, and much more, and he believes that the US can also pull together to get through this period.
The break was followed by an excellent interactive discussion with Erkan Özden, who, with the use of video clips, photos, and maps of the US political landscape, brought us deep into America to help us understand how key parts of the population are thinking about this election. He covered Bernie Sanders and his mobilization of young voters, the background for Trump’s image from his business and TV escapades, gave us a good “view from trailer-park America” where people are feeling let down by the system, explained the division among the Republican party, as well as the Electoral College system, swing states, and the need to win the battleground states of Florida and Ohio. Last but not least he gave a quick overview of where Hillary and Trump actually stand on many of the key issues – important facts which are being buried in the tangle of tweets and other information flowing around the personalities in this election.
All in all a very fascinating evening – we all came away a bit more enlightened about what’s driving America before this historic election!
17:00 The Ambassador’s view on the election
17:30 Q&A w/ Erkan Özden
17:45 SAS & BC Hospitality Group
18:00 Light dinner & beverages
18:15 Erkan Özden speaks about the election