CNN Analyst Ana Navarro talks political polarization, President Donald Trump

0
535
Navarro was selected to speak as the College’s 2019 Hunter B. Andrews Fellow in American Politics. COURTESY PHOTO / WM.EDU

Feb. 25, Republican strategist and CNN political analyst Ana Navarro arrived on campus to give a public talk in commemoration of 100 years of coeducation at the College of William and Mary. Navarro was selected to speak as the College’s 2019 Hunter B. Andrews Fellow in American Politics.

The event focused on contemporary societal issues, including political party polarization and the 2020 presidential election.

Associate professor of English and American Studies Elizabeth Losh served as the moderator and opened the talk with a discussion about handling political disagreements. Losh asked Navarro about how she approaches exposure to political ideologies that contradict her own.

“Look, it is okay to be exposed to ideas that don’t parallel with what you believe in or with what your values are, just as long as you don’t change,” Navarro said. “I think one of the most important things in life is knowing what your values and your principles are.”

According to Navarro, she has stood her ground over the years, leaving all but one of her beliefs uncompromised: gun policy. Navarro formerly believed that she had no say in the gun issue due to a lack of understanding on the subject. However, after her cousin’s son was shot and killed in the Pulse Nightclub shooting June 12, 2016, Navarro became much more vocal in the gun debate.

“How much closer does it have to get for it to be my issue,” Navarro said. “I have got to think that people of good faith and good conscience can come together to find some pragmatic solution where there can be a respect for the second amendment and at the same time a respect for life.”

Following the gun policy conversation, Losh asked Navarro what she thinks about her own complex intersectionality — a woman, Latina and Republican.

“I think it’s a little disappointing, but I don’t think about it much. I just am,” Navarro said.  “I’m not much of a navel gazer,” she joked, “I wish I had a little more time to reflect on it, but I don’t.”

Navarro attended school at the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, a college preparatory school for girls in Miami, Florida. At Sacred Heart, Navarro said she was expected to be well-informed and opinionated in her thoughts, as well as vocal and affirmative in her actions.

“There was no ceiling we couldn’t break,” Navarro said. “We didn’t know there was a ceiling, much less that we had to break it.”

“There was no ceiling we couldn’t break,” Navarro said. “We didn’t know there was a ceiling, much less that we had to break it.”

Navarro said she suspects her honesty is the main reason behind the recent influx of attention she has received from the media. She said she believes that her intersectionality frees her to express her own opinion instead of regurgitating what politicians have said.

Losh then focused the talk on the 2016 Presidential election and President Donald Trump’s current administration.

Navarro said that she found the 2016 election and recent comments made by Trump to be personal and offensive because of her identity as a Latina-American and as an older sibling to her disabled brother.

When asked who she will support in the 2020 election, Navarro jokingly told the crowd that she would support “just about anyone with some kind of morals.”

After the moderated conversation Navarro received questions from the audience about future elections, polarization and how-to best address conflict in Venezuela.

Regarding polarized political parties, Navarro said that any effective change must be instigated by the parties themselves.

“It’s very hard to change people’s minds, it has to come from with within,” Navarro said. “We’ve got to learn to accept. No matter how many facts, science or statistics you throw at somebody, if they don’t believe there is climate change, they will never believe there is climate change.”

“It’s very hard to change people’s minds, it has to come from with within,” Navarro said. “We’ve got to learn to accept. No matter how many facts, science or statistics you throw at somebody, if they don’t believe there is climate change, they will never believe there is climate change.”

According to Navarro, when Trump leaves office the parties could form a closer allegiance and create a more cohesive society.

The topic of conversation then moved on to discuss the recent crisis in Venezuela. Navarro has been vocal about the poverty and starvation seen throughout Venezuela.

“I am against military intervention in Venezuela, I think we are way past the era in geopolitics and American politics where external intervention should be the answer,” Navarro said, “I think it needs to come from within, and it is coming from within.”

Navarro said she believes that the conflict now lies in the hands of the Venezuelan people and that it is no longer an issue Americans can involve themselves in. While she believes we can do our best to assist in Venezuela in foreign aid, the fight is no longer ours.

Navarro concluded her public talk by thanking President Rowe for the opportunity to speak as well as wishing students the best in establishing and maintaining their own opinions.

Brooke Miller ’20 took particular note of Navarro’s discussion about party polarization.

“To hear someone from the GOP talk about politics of acceptance and politics of diversity was exceptional,” Miller said. “Overall, I thought the talk was really funny and interesting.”

Multiple students found it especially compelling that Navarro was so open to publicly renouncing Trump’s policies.

“I thought it was really clever, at Trump’s expense” Sloop said, “but she also underscored how much of a powerhouse he has become over the course of his presidency.”