Dr.Christopher Metzler has made it his business to be very well educated and informed. As a legal scholar, CEO, strategist, and crisis manager he needs to be. His insightful commentary is sought after by leading news agencies, and organizations around the globe rely heavily on his strategic advice.
Dr.Metzler has his sights set on having his own multi-platform television program where he will talk about the intersection between law, politics, sports, and pop culture. He wants to create an environment for people to have constructive conversations and where substantive changes can be made.
Where are you from?
Dr.Metzler: I am originally from Grenada in the West Indies. Currently, I live between Florida, D.C., and L.A.
Who do you go to for advice?
Dr.Metzler: My mom and my dad.
When did US politics first peak your interest?
Dr.Metzler: The US politics first peaked my interest under the Reagan administration when he invaded Grenada. I was one of the diplomats at a very young age responsible for making sure that the island continued its success after the invasion.
Where did you obtain your extensive education in politics?
Dr.Metzler: I studied at Columbia University, Oxford University, and The University of Aberdeen all in the areas of politics, law, and international policy. I also taught at Georgetown University and Cornell Universities.
What is something in your political career that you did not foresee ever happening but has?
Dr.Metzler: The election of Donald Trump.
What is something that you have been completely wrong about?
Dr.Metzler: I was completely wrong about the fact that Hillary Clinton may have been a good candidate. She turned out to be a disaster.
What does it mean to be conservative in today’s world?
Dr.Metzler: Today’s Conservative believes in lower taxes, common-sense regulation, limited government, rule of law, and economic freedom. You can see our mark, too, in education, in healthcare and welfare, in our defense and foreign policies, and in the culture and communities of our great nation. We believe in limited government, individual freedom, traditional values, and national security. Too many simply don’t know that liberal policy threatens the very ideals they treasure – or that conservative policy upholds them. Conservative policies help kids get a great education. And parents find meaningful work. They help families live in peace. And communities be safe and secure.
Do you believe that President Trump accurately represents the republican party principles and values?
Dr.Metzler: Like many other party leaders, Donald Trump faces challenges to whether or not he is a Republican. As President Clinton has said, “it depends on what the meaning of is is.” Donald Trump has never been a part of the Republican establishment and has been a Democrat in the past. Is he a Republican in the traditional sense? No. In fact, many of his supporters are shocked by his decision to sign an omnibus spending bill that plunges America further into debt. However, he was elected by the Republican base who are largely anti-establishment. So, in this sense, he is a Republican.
How do you think social media has affected American politics?
Dr.Metzler: Dramatically. People get their news increasingly from social media rather than legacy media. There is good, there is bad, there is indifferent relative to that.
Would you say that Donald Trump’s use of Twitter has made a mockery of the Presidential office?
Dr.Metzler: I don’t think that the President’s use of Twitter has made a mockery of the Presidential office. I do think in fact, however, that the legacy media, your traditional CNN, MSNBC, et cetera fell right down the rabbit hole. As a result of that they followed every tweet and now they’re regretting it.
If we were to hit pause now and judge the president based on everything to date, where would he fall in the spectrum of past presidents?
Dr.Metzler: I think he will fall as the most unconventional president ever. I think he’s made some significant contributions, particularly, to the issue of the economy. I think the other thing that people are forgetting because they’re so distracted, is the impact that he’s having on the courts of the United States. The lower federal courts, the appellate courts, the trial courts, will increasingly become more conservative for decades to come. It looks like, that in fact, Justice Kennedy may retire giving the president the opportunity to put yet another conservative on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Do you think the recent uprising of young people around political issues will have a dramatic effect on the next election cycle?
Dr.Metzler: Yes. I think young people will have a dramatic effect on the next election cycle. My advice, however, is going to be the ability to stay the course and the ability not to be used by the media for its own agenda. They have to stand strong, they have to really know what their convictions are and they have to make those convictions to work.
Do you think that they have a real understanding of the big picture?
Dr.Metzler: I think what has to happen is that they have to really understand the current perspectives, the current agendas, and they also need to understand the politics of how government works. Decisions in terms of change are not simply made on what’s taught in History or in Civics class. It is based on politics, and so, what young people have to understand is the reality of politics.
Now, I’ve heard a number of young people say, “We will simply upend politics.” Fine. Sounds good from a theoretical standpoint but as a person who is deeply involved in politics, you have to really understand relationships. You have to understand the rules. That will never change. Part of the problem that the President has had is that he wants to change Washington. Washington will change him before Washington is changed.
Do you believe Donald Trump could be reelected for a second term?
Dr.Metzler: Currently, there is no reason to believe that Donald Trump will not be reelected for a second term. His base remains mostly intact and Democrats have given no reason not to re-elect him. The economy is strong, unemployment is low, the stock market is doing well, and he is remaking the judiciary with many more conservative justices. In fact, he may have the opportunity to appoint at least two more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, there are complicating factors that may change his chances. If the Democrats take control of the House in 2018, he would almost certainly face impeachment. There is an ongoing probe by the Special Counsel that could lead to legal jeopardy and the legal cases in which he may be deposed could cause further damage.
There’s a lot of talks of celebrity candidates running for president. If there was a celebrity to run, who do you think has the best chance?
Dr.Metzler: I am team Dwayne Johnson all the way.
Do you have a personal favorite career moment to date?
Dr.Metzler: My favorite career moment to date was teaching at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and also in New York City. Very refreshing.
What do you see for the future of your career?
Dr.Metzler: I see the ability very soon to have a television show using multi-platforms in which I talk about the intersection between law, politics, sports, and pop culture. Really, an opportunity for people to have conversations without shouting each other down and to make substantive changes. I think it’s so important for people to go beyond their talking points. The problem I have with American politics is it’s all talking points and that’s a shame.
Would you ever run for an office?
Dr.Metzler: I will never ever run for an office. I am the person who sits in the background and provides people strategic advice. The problem with running for office is nothing gets done. As a politician, when you become elected, you then start running for your next election. I don’t have time for that, I have no desire for that at all.
What do you feel is the best way to unite the American people?
Dr.Metzler: To unite the American people, I think we need to really look at where we’ve been in the past, where we are currently, and to respect everybody’s opinions. We won’t all necessarily agree on every issue. However, we do need to respect each other and each other’s views. That’s the single uniting force, respect.
How will the recent controversy around gun control effect the future of the second amendment?
Dr.Metzler: Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the recent student uprising will not lead to a repeal of the 2nd amendment. Under currently prevailing constitutional doctrine, it is literally impossible for any congressional or state legislative majority to ban guns. People who favor moderate gun control measures but worry about more draconian steps can vote for politicians who favor moderate gun control measures secure in the knowledge that draconian stuff is off the table. By contrast, talking about Second Amendment repeal accomplishes the reverse — raising the suspicion that Congress is poised to pass something far more extreme than actually has any support on Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, the fact remains that the path to passing any sort of meaningful change remains hard. Traditionally, the gun issue has been highly asymmetrical, with the pro-regulation majority fairly disengaged on the topic and the anti-regulation minority holding very intense preferences. This, rather than any Supreme Court ruling, has been the proximate political barrier to regulating guns.
What do you believe is the best solution for the gun violence situation in America?
Dr.Metzler: Innovative approaches across the country include Virginia’s threat assessment program, which was mandated statewide in 2013 to proactively resolve student threats before violent acts occur. Threat assessment programs aim to keep schools safe while addressing underlying issues and helping troubled students. In Utah, a state-wide crisis tip line that’s accessible through an app provides students access to crisis counselors and a confidential means of reporting bullying, violence, and threats. Across the country, educational experts are encouraging schools to teach social and emotional skills and provide access to in-school counseling and support.
If you could send any message to young voters, what would you say?
Dr.Metzler: To young voters I say stay the course. The best way to impact policy is to first understand the issues. Protests are a great place to start but protest without sustained action equals no change. Consider all voices and do not repeat the mistake of being single issue focus. Do not think that it’s all about you and get caught up in the power trap that has gotten much of America where it is today. Resist dogged ideology and focus on values.
Is there anything else that we didn’t touch on that you would like to go on record about?
Dr.Metzler: Yes there is. I fundamentally believe that the state of America is strong. I think it requires, however, that people in the US be actively engaged in this process and actively educated about the process rather than simply being bystanders. I hear a lot about people saying throw the bums out, just not my bum because my bum is a great bum. I think that’s a major part of the problem.
Keep up with Dr.Metzler @drchrismetzler