Election 2016

Donald Trump and the Haunting of the Aspen Ideas Festival

By MARK SEAL | JULY 1, 2016 5:00 PM | Photo-Illustration by Ben Park; By Pete Saloutos/Blend Images/Getty Images (Mountains); From Images-USA/Alamy (Helicopter).

"In rough outline, the 12th annual Aspen Ideas Festival, that massive gathering of intellectual thought on the sprawling campus of the Aspen Institute in its namesake Colorado ski town, looked much like it does each year: 3,000 participants, 350 presenters, the world’s brightest minds expounding on every conceivable topic over seven idyllic days that encompasses 200 seminars and events.

But this year the subject that hogged the most political attention was a man who wasn’t there: Donald Trump, whose existence hung over the high-minded mountain conclave like a ghost—and not a benevolent one.

“I’ve been losing sleep,” Walter Isaacson, C.E.O. of the Aspen Institute, said while being interviewed onstage at a kickoff event on June 20. He wouldn’t say what was keeping him up nights, since the Institute is famously non-partisan while creating a setting “where people of many political stripes and convictions can come together to listen to each other as they can nowhere else,” according to the mission of the Institute, founded in Aspen in 1949. But in his opening speech, Isaacson seemed to address the turmoil, saying that at the end of the age of globalization, amid the rise of nationalism and nativism, when our nation’s pillars have been shaken to their core, we must have a rebirth to ensure that every American feels a part of the new and rapidly changing economy." -- Mark Seal, Vanity Fair

Read the full story HERE.