How Donald Trump gave my students an unforgettable lesson in politics

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Trump’s ascendancy to President-elect was a fantastic political lesson.

But not in the way you might expect.

As the US  election unfolded, I was teaching a bunch of Year 9 students, all of whom were glued to their laptops watching the live feed. They should have been working on their assignments, but the election was far more interesting.

We watched as a tsunami of Republican red gobbled up the country.

As the disaster for Hillary Clinton unfolded, the students excitedly engaged in a running commentary: “Trump’s won Texas,”  followed by, “Hillary’s held onto Washington,” and then, “California will get her over the line,’ but, “Florida is Republican – no, it’s swung back to Democrats”, and finally, despairingly, “Trump’s won Florida, it’s all over now.”

It was fascinating listening to these 15-year-olds discuss the election. When I was at school the US presidential race was far away and of little interest. All I recall of Reagan entering the White House was that the media said he was once a B Grade actor. But at least Reagan had some political experience as former Governor of California.

Then there was George W. Bush, a C grade student with an A in stupidity.

But all these Republican candidates pale in comparison to Donald Trump. He turned the US election into popular entertainment and motivated high school students to debate the policies and implications of his presidency.

For this alone, Trump performed a miracle.

When he finishes with the White House, Trump should teach politics because at least he makes it interesting.

 

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About the author

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.



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