On Friday, panelists gathered in the Oak Room of South Dining Hall to discuss the future of liberalism, as well as the future of democracy, in an event sponsored by the Potenziani Program in Constitutional Studies, the Constitutional studies minor, the department of Africana studies, and the Notre Dame College Democrats. The panelists included Tim Roemer, former Indiana congressman and former U.S. ambassador to India, Rogers Smith, professor of political science and associate dean for social sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dianne Pinderhughes, chair of Africana studies and professor of political science at Notre Dame.Roemer said American democracy has been in crisis for the past 15 to 20 years because of low government approval ratings, increasing polarization and flaws in the U.S. democracy.“In the last election, 70 percent of the American people thought the country was going in the wrong direction,” Roemer said.“Congressional approval ratings are in the teens, some in the single digits.“Imagine that — 8, 9, 10 percent approval rating. You’re in company with the leader of North Korea and cockroaches when you are at 9 or 10 or 11 percent popularity.”According to Roemer, divides along partisan, socioeconomic and geographical lines have also contributed to a crisis in U.S. democracy. Roemer said Democrats need to imitate Robert Kennedy and unite diverse groups in the working class.“We need to get back to that time of inclusive messaging,” he said of Kennedy.Roemer said he also was concerned about American democracy because the Economist Intelligence Unit “downgraded” the U.S. from its status as a full democracy to that of a flawed democracy.“We are now with Estonia, Chile, South Korea,” he said. “We are not that beacon to the rest of the world for what they all want to be like. So we have work to do.”Smith said liberals must respond to President Donald Trump’s nationalism with their own narrative about American identity.“…[In] this historical moment, and perhaps for decades to come, I think it is still necessary for those who seek to win authority to shape national policies in progressive directions, to build coalitions on shared accounts of national identities and purposes, what I call national stories of peoplehood,” he said.Smith said liberals should try to emulate the abolitionist movement of the Civil War era.“My argument today is that if liberalism is to have a future in the age of Trump, liberals and progressives must explicitly advance a rival vision of American national identity, one first set forth by the antebellum, anti-slavery Constitutionalists,” he said. “This rival vision argues that the nation’s first obligation is to its citizens, but it also insists that the nation exists in order to serve a still higher purpose: the gradual securing over time of the basic rights of the Declaration of Independence for all people, of all colors, everywhere.”Pinderhughes discussed the effects of Trump’s policies on American democracy and African Americans’ relation to liberalism.She said African Americans occupy a “distinctive space” in American politics, with the majority voting for Democratic candidates — though African Americans also critique liberalism.“The fact is, whether political activists, academics or the man in the street, many African Americans point to the presence of racist politics and policies that did not very sufficiently [work] to make a change in their lives, even when the president is a Democrat or the governor is a Democrat,” she said.Pinderhughes said Trump disregards the “rule of law” – laws and policies designed to check the president’s arbitrary power — and will have a long-term impact on American democracy and civil rights. According to Pinderhughes, ignoring the rule of law undercuts the efforts African Americans have made to have their civil and political rights recognized.“If there’s no rule of law for some people, there’s no rule of law for anyone,” she said. “That includes African Americans. So, the assumptions that people have been operating under are being challenged.”Tags: Africana Studies, Donald Trump, Future of liberalism, liberalism, political science
The €2.6bn pension fund of Dutch technical research institute TNO has appointed Kempen Capital Management as fiduciary manager for its portfolio of international non-listed property. In addition, Kempen will act as its strategic adviser, selecting new investments for the €102m portfolio.Hans de Ruiter, CIO at the TNO scheme, said: “During an extensive selection among local and international players, Kempen’s service provision has come out as best.”Robert-Jan Tel, director of non-listed real estate at Kempen, noted significant demand from institutional investors for independent expertise in the asset class. Last June, the €3bn industry-wide pension fund for the grocery sector (Levensmiddelen) appointed Kempen to monitor its non-listed property holdings of approximately €200m.Levensmiddelen had already appointed Kempen as its fiduciary manager in 2011.At the time, Jan Kat, chairman of the scheme’s investment committee, said: “Kempen understands the position of Dutch pensions funds very well, and also has property expertise.”Kempen does not manage a non-listed real estate portfolio and, in its opinion, can therefore provide independent advice.The Amsterdam-based asset manager recently introduced integral strategic advice for pension funds’ entire property holdings, across sectors and regions, as well as the selection of funds and managers.Its proposition also included extensive monitoring of all non-listed property investments, with a quarterly “active dialogue” with the managers and a monitoring report for the client.Kempen said it would also act as a go-between for the fund manager and carry out legal actions as well as investment administration.According to the asset manager, the new service will give more control to pension funds’ boards and offer a countervailing power against portfolio managers.Currently, Kempen Capital Management monitors €850m of property investments for eight Dutch pension funds.