Chuck Todd Discusses the Rise of Presidential Candidates at Schooler Lecture

March 16, 2016

Chuck Todd, NBC News political director and host of “Meet the Press” and “MTP Daily,” spoke at the University of Mount Union’s Schooler lecture this past Thursday, March 10.

Todd stood behind a podium and faced the hundreds of Mount Union students, faculty, staff and community members with both confidence and excitement.

Chuck Todd

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from politicians, it’s to pander,” he smiled. “So go Raiders.”

The audience laughed and broke out into applause. Todd was still smiling as he explained he would be reading a quote from an interview he did with presidential candidate, Donald Trump. In the interview, Todd asked Trump to clarify a statement he made in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, in which Trump publicly supported an American invasion of Iraq.

"Well, what I mean by that is it almost shouldn't have been done," Trump said. "And, you know, I really don't even know what it means, because that was a long time ago, and who knows what was in my head.”

Todd is known for breaking down barriers and getting candidates off their talking points. As the laughter from Trump’s response died down, Todd took on a more serious tone.

“How did we get to this place?” He asked.

There are a few reasons, Todd explained, for not only an election featuring a radical Donald Trump, but also a radical Bernie Sanders. America has two candidates on extremely opposite sides of the spectrum, and both are succeeding. 

“One reason is the economic anxiety that’s out there. We’re transitioning from [the age of] industrialization to,” Todd gestured forward. “Whatever this is or will be.”

Audience members nod, some whisper ideas of what “this” is; the technology age, the social media age or even the digital age.

“And do you think you’re children will be better off than you?” Todd continued. “For the last four years, 60 percent of Americans said no. This anxiety and fear feeds the rise of Donald Trump.”

And, Todd pointed out, the rise of other radical candidates, such as Bernie Sanders.

“I’ve met so many people who want Bernie, but their second choice is Trump,” Todd stated. “The political infrastructure of this country is broken. Now, the only way to win [elections] is by sticking to your guns - our system punishes compromise.”

Some audience members nodded in agreement - others looked disappointed or even scared.

“We don’t have the best and the brightest running in politics anymore,” Todd explained. “We need to figure out how to renew interest in public service.”

Todd looked out at the crowd before making his final statements. “To the many intellectuals studying here at Mount Union, think about public service. We desperately need it,” He said and smiled again. “And go Raiders.”

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