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The road to polarization


Ezra Klein joins Matt to discuss his forthcoming book; Why We're Polarized.


Ezra Klein, (@ezraklein) Co-founder and Editor-at-Large, Vox


Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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to apply now at Womply COM box and see if you qualify for a ppp loan, that's won. P l, why dot com, Slash, Veo Ex wife is not a lender terms and programme rules apply. We listeners obviously need no introduction to ES recline, but these episodes need introductions anyway, so Ezra, CO, founder of VOX Co, founder of the weeds podcast and the author of a great book that is called Why do all right? I've really excited? I was excited you see this, but come out because, frankly, as we been working on it on and off for many many years and is really great book now that it's out, I think we have great conversation about liked what it really means, what polarization means? What significance is at what, if anything, do about it? So
and if you like, weeds, you're gonna, why hello welcome turn of that sort of the weeds bucks media podcast network? I met with glaziers up my guest. Today is renowned author, a box dot com coat under editor at large host of the Israel. I show he is as reclined himself he's got a great new bug out out in a couple days. It is or why we are polarized and it is about polarisation and why we are it. So as a welcome welcome today, if I mean this is like you know, a really basic question, but the book is called. Why were polarized by night before you can understand why, polarized like what I believe to you like for your purposes like what does that mean that there were polarized, because it is, it is a way,
They gets kind of thrown around a lot and I think could mean a few different kinds of things like what is the phenomenon you're trying to explain? I'm actually glad you us, because a lot of the pig ends up having to disentangle different ideas of polarisation, so just polarization itself is think polarization as something clustering around two poles, the more it is clustered around two poles iterative murmur each other more polarized. It is I'm. So if you think about like two magnets on a table, I, if there's a lot of metal filings as a kind of scattered between them. It's not very polarized. U turn up the power, the magnets so that all the metal filings are around one or the other. It is perfectly polarized per David's, it's half, so that's polarization that site and in its different I want to know
I mean like extremism or disagreement. We can get into all this, but polarization is often used as a synonym for those terms, but it very much isn't: we've had long periods in this country where we were not very polarized politically, but the level of disagreement was incredibly intense. You had violence in the streets, urban riots, but yet our political parties were not that polarized, which is to say that those disagreements were not sorted into the two poles. Okay, so that's one thing. The next thing is that when you're talking about political polarization, you can be talking about in different dimensions at a different levels. So one question you could have: is policy polarization right? Do people support or oppose universal health care? How do they feel about marijuana legalization? Should we go to war in Iraq or Afghanistan? Another thing that political scientist talk about and in some way seems to be more typical vote were seeing right now is, was called effective polarization. How do you feel about your party and the
so you can have a situation where effective polarization is going way high. So I really hate the other party early, fear them, but policy polarization is still pretty much in an interesting way. Damage is a very good example himself. Personally, certainly twenty sixteen of effective polarization, here's a guy. He is kind of sing out also to different policy ideas, some of them at least from what he says is not obviously how governed or even a bit liberal. He like Social security thinks parenthood does a good job wants to raise. Taxes on people like himself thinks Iraq. War was, idea so by the typical stems of american politics. He's not that policy polarized again in what he sang, but he hates the Democratic Party wants to lock Hillary Clinton in jail I think the other side, you know maybe belongs in jail, is rigging. The election against him is trying to destroy. America has ruined this country forever. That's a very high level of effective polarization
I'm on the mass level right, a things more sphere INA is I've been last hold out like polarization sceptics at endured. So this is a sorting sorting, Bristol zation right, question Yonah means towards it, but it's one of the ways you would make that point is you can look at a lot of policy issues? Widening can say, like eighty percent of people reject the idea that there should be taxpayer funding for abortion, and eighty percent of people reject the idea that abortion we banned, unlike actually America's, not that polarized right, like there's a vital Center of opinion. There are lots of eighty two, the issue is like we're all happy, lucky get along and I refer to the point of the book and we parted. I think that pop become with that worldviews like this, obviously not like anyone's actual experience of the year our system, so a couple things yourself. Yes, so you should end this well, so there's a debate in political science. It understood is the more sphere universes algebra, its debate,
and I have spent a lot of time in this debate- that I don't think it is actually very meaningful debate. But but but let me say what did it so? What fearing argues is that, as you said, there is a lot? There is a certain amount of elite level polarization. So it is the case it. You know how Speaker Kevin Mccarthy. And I'm sorry house, minority leader, can Mccarthy and how Speaker Nancy Policy are very different from each other in terms of what they believe, but he would argue that that is not the thought not really happening in the country. The country's views on things are mixed in and muddle than but what he would say and what everybody is saying is it there's been more sorting and particularly level sorting, so you can in this way. So imagine you have a hundred people in the country and you're. Looking at the question of cannabis policy right Should we legalise marijuana or should we keep it criminalized and lets that the way it shakes out is forty people want to legalise it. Forty people want to criminalize it, and twenty people don't know now you could have that right.
Only sorted into the two parties in sort of like situation, a so that I'm democratic Party, some legalizing criminalized, sodas republican Party and then in situation be that perfectly sorts by party said? I you have like all Billy glaciers and Democratic Party, all the criminalization Republican Party and the undecided Sir Tenant ten, and so what a lot of what some political scientist would say is that isn't polarization? That's sorting the underlying structure of opinion? hasn't changed at all. Nobody is changed her mind on anything. What has happened is it they ve sorted into two parties. Versus a situation where? What happens is that you move from having twenty people decided to nobody undecided those people all attach to legalization criminals, criminalization? And now we have more polarization. The underlying idea supposed. I sighed
people in this debate who say sorting is just a sub category of polarization and like this is not a meaningful distinction and then I think the place where the rubber really hit the road on this, which you gesture to which is really important, is that I think one thing leads the other thing, because we have a huge amount of evidence of people in the electorate, take their cues from the parties. They trust I'm. So you know you're a democratic somebody. At least he doesn't like Republicans, and then the Democrats begin talking about. You know better care for all or they begin. Same trade deals are good or bad. This is point not something oftentimes it. You ve spent like a ton of time yourself trying to figure out, but are you you take a cue, and so, if what you have is sorting by party soon enough you're going to polarize people on people on the issues to marijuana being a good example, people moved bit I'm marijuana legalization not because sat around reading more climate papers about marijuana legalization, but because the parties have changed what their hearing from people changes and so.
When you have that elite level sorting. You also end up changing people's underlying views and creating more of this policy pillars and all parties in an ideological identity is right to these sort of higher order. Constructs So when you have the sorting on the individual issue topics you create the polarization on the high order, Consequently, I mean it's: it's not really meaningful to say they like well the ignored, like the larger structure of american political debate and like just talked about one thing. You don't you know we wouldn't be, because I believe that this is how politics works rise. I give to vote for candidates right. You have two affiliate and the and the the the parties brands and the
become more distinct, trying at an end more and thus more poem. So this is the big picture, so were a few things here. One is that the book is fundamentally arguing that identity, political identity is the primary locusts and driver polarization, that's a little bit more associated with effective dimension, but it ends up driving both, and so what is happening is that over the past fifty or sixty years you had the two parties which contain the same names. Republican Democrat that they did, then they have sorted tremendously in terms of the identity groups in them. So if you go back to fifty years ago and you look at the demographics blood between the two parties. You actually will find that they weren't that different on any dimension. Lily enemies in the book of scientists has very good researcher, so they didn't have they weren't hugely difference in terms of racial representation in terms of their ideological representation, note a lot of liberal republicans, you'd alot, a very conservative Democrat
SO ways whereby the subway. What are we talking so talking here artistic, if that's call this the OECD or we have very good data. Let's call the sick, the fifties to seventy's, but it seems to be going on quite a bit before that. I have a lot of quotes and some analysis for mutual friend submergence filled. His Emerson builds book. The polar, as was which has great about you, you have a huge amount of debate happening in midcentury american politics in which you will have people like Richard Nixon or Robert Kennedy or Thomas Dewey, saying: look there, these people who want the Republican Endemic parties to represent conservative and liberal ideas and identities, but that would be bad because there's already so much division in this country that, if you split the parties by ideology too like well, then it'll get really bad and there's this great Thomas Bora, Senator Thomas for a quote from, I think, the twenty thirties saying you know, any man who wins republican primary is republican, does matter what he believes, he's republican, and so We know that in this period the parties are similar.
In terms of their representation of Christians, of of african Americans, but also not that differ it illogically? And so what happens as you have? The posts of Rights ACT era and the Dixie Crab Democratic Part wing of a party dies like literally like it's a generation or replacement, is that you no longer have this big. Can block of conservative southern Democrats like messing up the party polarization system, they eventually become Republicans and other public in party its conservative and is a home for, but basically like white resentment politics and the Democratic Party is liberal and is a home for like the politics of diversity or what run brown city lexical coalitions of restoration verses. This other one sentence attendance then either kicks off this like fly, we'll sorting mechanism where now it's like the damn
Not a party is almost half non white. Their public parties, overwhelmingly white, the single largest religious group and Democratic Party, is religiously unofficially, did the nuns, the obviously their public parties, overwhelmingly christian? We're gonna parties, overwhelmingly urban, there's no place in this country. That is denser than nine hundred people per square mile. That is republican. If you go back in american history density did not use to predict what party voted for psychologically. We have all these psychological ways of sorting people that didn't used to serve people very effectively by party. Now it does liberal there's, no, no one in Congress, which did not use to be true. There's no Democrat in Congress, more conservative than any Republican. What you said a lot of Democrats, more conservative
republican, strong Thurman with second most conservative senator at one point, and he was a democrat at that time, and so we have, as is like era of identity, stacking, so veto people's ideological, religious, geographic, cultural, racial, psychological, etc. Identities are all stacking instead of putting them in different directions, and that makes the differences between the two parties, the both demographic and the agenda oriented and the fear people have of the other party negative polarization much much much stronger, unlike that, kicks off and and crises feedback loops with his duties. But that's it in the fundamental story of what were in today. People are much more decided because he differences are much bigger and pushes people decide more, which makes a difference is bigger and so on and so forth. So one thing that I find a son
the let off vexing in this mass is that you know you really sort of q into that. The kind of mass psychology aspects, some of these things and the identity focus drivers of of polarisation and end the sort of sorting process, but something that you know I observe data day, ignoring regular people's views and just talk. To politicians and washed insiders. Is there there's any credible amount of like policy content to partisan conflict in the United States and, like incredible stubbornness like on the elite level, right about like small detail, of things like Republicans like they really want to win. They think the left dislike here to destroy the country. You know all the effective polarization. Staff, but they are totally not going to
is the minimum wage twelve dollars an hour just because that Poles well, and it would help them when elections right like they have this very unpopular position on the minimum wage that, like they think, is right right, like they have read some studies, the tell them. This is bad and they are proud to. Like stand by these principles right- that, like minimum wages, bad that tax cuts for the richer good fella, they know or not, electoral winners, but that they think, like our are the right thing to do. And then they fight for the. And that's also, polarization, but it seems totally different and in some ways like the opposite from the sort of like mass psychology, things you're, talkin,
Maybe I see that this is pretty well explained by the mass. I called you things, but so you're you're right. I think a couple things are happening care one. Is that parties for bunch of different reasons. We can talk about a gun and weaker and parties with their sort of thirst for power or the players. Who do something like that? There is evidence friend, since it in contested primaries, parties tried it even non even in non did of seeds, parties try to support more moderate candidates, both republican and democratic parties, because they think they're, gonna, win and so parties actually wanting you will see. Is it a lot of people whose scan is moderate in these studies? Have very good cordon quote extreme opinions there just very uncertain Scylla believe like yeah like we should not let we should deport all immigrants and legalised marijuana arrayed and in the parties? Those two ideas? Don't go together, but for just like a person looking at the world, they beg why not right by not believe both those things are like their fully pro life, but all want Canadians stalled. A single pair healthcare
when did you get like a low consistency? School get a low consistency, score, which tracks is moderate, even though it isn't parties. Often people were connected to parties often have like again like what we call more moderate views, but because a parties is imposing some of this sum is like we need to win. We can't like, like rush all the way off a cliff, a partisan, not weaker in this regard, but so this is actually really interesting. Study on its buckled, open verse, closed by Chris Federico and CO authors whose names them I'm not remembering at the moment and what they do. A lot of this psychological stir sharing of the electorate and the thing they find. Nothing so interesting is that among people who are not that engaged in politics who dont like politics out much, you don't know that much about it and you dont participate that often material, like their sense of how politicians or political parties will affect them, drives their voting rights like the quest,
as I am. I uninsurable that maybe I wanna support somebody. Who's gonna get me health insurance, but the more people get invested in politics. The more their political behaviour is driven by self expression, so it's not tracking, like I dont have insurance and needed. It's tracking. I am somebody who like believes and wants to project about self in the world that other people should have health insurance. I am somebody who believes It is bad for the government to reach in and hell heroic small business owners, how much have to pay people, so, whatever maybe like the power structure about that right. The question of like what is easy, Wait a win, an election, the people who are most engaged in politics of the peoples whose identities are most tied up in their political opinions and so tilling violate that identity Take make some point about how to compromise, like maybe you'll, do it if you really have to, but it's actually the opposite of. Why are there that that I think that to get you really helpful thing to think about. When you see the way, people are arguing about things on twitter, the higher
you go in political engagement, the more what you're doing is projecting the identity out into the world and the less likely you are to be connected to make your literal material resources needs. You often are arguing for other people's resource needs me and you are arguing for what you think is the good thing about the world. But it's it's. It's thought bound it as much by direct resource consent. Patients. When it's it's us with its position, taking rather than position taken so there's a whole social psychology dimension of our party's practically at that level. In winter dogma, people to see very much those with social networks and groups, and often people doing, groups is trying to say that I am the person who is like most like. I am the most grouping of his These people are like I'm the person who you like. You can really trust like. I really believe this stuff, and there's a lot of social sanction on violating what the group believes even to win. You know like we are both.
Bring the democratic primary right now, and people really do not like on twitter. The arguments that you might need to support- something you think is worse because it might be more likely to win and part of that is it on Twitter, which has incredibly intense, grew political dynamics to be somebody's saying that, like it makes a kind of dis loyal to the things actually bind. The group together, which is not always conceptually a thirst for power, but a desire to change the world across these like value oriented lines of let's I take a break for four adds: didn't pursuit of material gain, and I want to talk about the sort of paradoxes weakening of the parties. Everything you don't rush hours in the day to get everything done, it might be because you're missing out on three of them. Where does
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employed workers may qualify for up to fifty thousand dollars in one hundred percent forgivable loans. You might be one of those millions as the leader, ppp allowance. Wobbly can help you find out. They ve helped over three hundred thou, in small businesses across Amerika, get a ppp loan funds or limit so apply now wildly dot com, Slash box and see if you qualify for a ppp loan that W o m p l, why dot com, Slash Veo, acts wobbly not a lender terms and programme rules apply. So this is, I think, one of the things that would really like. Surprise a political scientist like zoomed forward in time from the nineteen seventy is or nineteen eighties is that politics has become more ideological and more polarized, but the political parties as institutions seem to keep getting weaker and dealers
generalised and then some level like that doesn't seem to make sense right like if the parties are more organised and more ideological and people are more sorted into them and their social bases are more distinct, like, I think part of the thought. Of the sort of progenitors of polarisation was that we should have liked strong. European style political party, with real discipline, rather than these, like Midcentury, like who's to say? What's non things are, but actually I mean, as you said, right leg. A very important part of contemporary american politics is that the the parties Qua parties have become weaker. Gonna wanna, give credit here that the best line on this is Julia. Sorry, whose Marquette University the scientists and she wrote action a box article originally did the central fact of american politics in this era. Is it parties are weak and partisanship is strong?
and these are arguably both factors in polarization but but but let's take them in turn, so parties are weak. I think the simplest way to think about this is look at primaries. Fifty sixty years ago, Donald Trump has no chance of winning a political primary, nor Bernie Sanders because, in order to win a primary, what you need to do is wind convention delegates in this horse. Eating scenario, and the parties have tremendous control over that right. These, the delegates are basically big. You know in said, a machine like structures and like they are released by party bosses, and so the question of who can we primaries, not of who can become the not many is not necessarily like who can excite new voters in New Hampshire. It's who can win over these long time, party, stalwarts end and did not really that has its good sides. It has its bad sides board, it does fundamentally is
keeps outsiders out. It gives parties a lot of control over the agenda and it creates an incentive system for being kind of like a good party soldier. If you one ever become a presidential nominee, I'm so one argument and didn't Zubaydah Levinsky argue this in how democracies Dinah things. A good point is that Donald Trump and the things he's playing with her, not new. We ve, always hedge demagogic, show men who reno probably could win twenty Thirty per cent of of the vote, I'm in a primary yenoki Long, Henry Ford, Father, Conklin, Leslie Coglan. Somebody recently told me hey occupants
yeah, but they could have never gotten anywhere in a party conventions or didn't didn't really makes sense for them to try on. But now the parties have lost a huge amount of control over their primaries and they really lost control over everything, so they lost control in general. Just media gatekeepers are weaker so when the media had a lotta gatekeepers, unlike bill, Bradley spent a lot of time hanging out with John F Kennedy when you needed to get covered on view. One of the three nightly newscasts year long relationships with producers, and you know like how they did their reporting and who the party was telling them really matter like that that they had a lot of control over information. I'm. Similarly, when parties a lot more control over money and fundraising that also help them decide who is going to be heard in like what ideas were going to be? Showing parties have lost control over
all of this and it a lot on other things going on. They just lost legitimacy. I I mean the idea that I think is very telling that, after twenty sixteen, when Donald Trump Bull, Russia's his way into their public nomination and Democrats will look at that with horror that you can imagine that making Democrats say. Oh thank God. Democrats have super delegates and maybe we should even make us stronger, because you definitely wants a party elites around to say no, if some like lunatic wins the primary on, but instead we Democrats do and partners of the Bernie Sanders. Experience is a weakened super delicate, so they say: soup analogous can now only vote in the case of a contested convention only on the second ballot and thereafter so that what you're saying there is it. Parties had become too illegitimate to exert direct control over primaries at all, so parties rollout weaker and then for all these polarization reasons I mentioning partisanship
stronger, and I think this is a confusing idea to people could be more independence and ever and so on, but a really useful fact about independence now is it. People were independent, are as reliable in their boat choice as strong partisans were in the nineteen seventies arms, a strong presence in the nineteen seventy, four more or less or as likely to vote for the their party as people who call themselves independence are today and in the recent is not that, like anybody's lying. The reason is that the parties are super different today swimming in the seventh easy. You may well be of liberal who likes Democrats, but maybe you're in a place like George Omni is running for governor in Michigan and, like he's a liberal candidate, he has a liberal, gender race and other issues, and so you see
for him or your conservative in the south, and so maybe you are voting for a publican for president, but the Democrats in this house were conservative, so you are voting for them that stops, and so now it's very very clear, even people who don't have super strong political opinions which side who political divide they fall on aid at West aid in the book. Is it It's a lot easier to tell the difference between docking an elephant and adopting a mule, and so you can go back and american politics I definitely would not tell the difference between the back and you can go back in american politics and it's like Barry Goldwater's, a choice, not an echo convention speech is all about this, like this idea that Republicans are running these echo candidates and he'll be a sharp choice. So that's what makes
citizenship stronger, not even the people like their their own party necessarily but negative partisanship is super strong. Now they they don't have to like their party to fear the other party for being either demographically radiological different than they are, and so, when you put this together, parties lose control of who they nominate, but partisans are very reliable who they vote for it's a pretty serious problem, or at least like opening in the vulnerability in the system that gets you. Somebody like Donald Trump. If you can win a party primary, you basically see get within spitting distance of winning the presidency right, almost no matter who you are and noisy. Who is president way, and so you you should have briefly alluded to to
demographic threat which you know plays. I think that a significant role in your in your book in and also in some other things that you did you ve written over the years- and this is a kind of you- know a salient thing in that in the end, the Trump era, I think, buddy a its again it's on when, when the Eu Regional, a polarisation kind of movement started happening, I don't think was at all obvious that it was gonna play out in this kind of way, Shaw and demographic way. Everything is one reason why polarized politics has turned out to be, I think, probably a little bit uglier than like the abso report writers. What we're hoping for instead of like a high minded debate about ideological visions for the country. We have like at least to a certain level of alike, alarmist bracelet,
or an what what what what happened? The assumed. As you say, there is a famous report, the Macbook Science Association releases, nineteen, fifty the APS report, and it it says the prominent in politics is the parties in our poorest enough that it's very hard that, though the most important decision, voters makers, which party to support, but a voter in like Alabama supporting the Democratic Party, is not getting their choice. Honoured, given what the national democratic parties do. And so we need these ports parties. But the idea that is it'll have these very clear agendas and people argue about the role of taxes in society that as of now
but that that's one of the things that happens, but maybe not the primary one. A context of american politics right now. That I think is very important- is worth living in this age of very, very, very rapid demographic change in very fundamental way, so America's becoming did the way to Margarets put it a majority minority nation. So we are in twenty forty or something expected to pass a point where you have up a plurality of the country is non white according to the senses, and- and people argue about this sum- maybe people who are not static, none, yet hispanic Hispanics right now will begin to self identity as white things could interrupt this, but nevertheless the amount of demographic changes fast and people think it is even faster than that. If you pull people, they think we're already majority minority nation. The same thing is happening basically on religion. We are very rapidly becoming a post christian nation, not in the sense that Christians are not the plurality. But if you look,
numbers in among seniors, I think it. A seventy percent of seniors are white and christian, and among the young people, people under twenty nine, its three and ten others are very, very the fastest rising. Our religious group of people do not have religious affiliation at all, so this a real feeling. Any can hear this if you listen to like William BAR giving speeches about her religion is under attack, attorney generally bar, but be not rod. Rare and others very much make this argument. That, that that sort of assault on religion is is dominant and a dominant force in our politics right now of the share of the country that is, foreign born, has risen from about four percent in the making seventies. It's about fourteen to fifteen percent now, and that's not a record yet, but it won't according the trends will soon become a record and so were living this era, where the countries becoming a lot browner a lot less christian. And a law and to some degree unless native born and people really feel that
They don't know they don't feel like they read census reports, a field because they look on television, and all of a sudden, their lot of non white faces in Lahti Debates in the media about representation. They you know, they look on television and we ve gone from in fifteen years. Gay marriage was like an impossibility and a lot of people's minds to another lot of like boat, like a lot of television, shows, make a point of of showing gay characters and now trans characters positively, and the Supreme Court said that there's a right. The gay marriage in the constitution, you have to press one for English and lots of places who people feel this and there's a lot, a study showing that practically when, when people feel they are losing demographic majorities, they become very conservative. They become conservative both on like that issue and even on other issues. They support the Republican Party and higher numbers and so to the extent that people feel that white people particularly feel their lives.
Demographic majority. They had that is going to create a sort of racial opponent, cedar rationalize conservatism, which in particular Donald Trump jumped up and took advantage of. But this is something happening I always get support say on both sides of the divide and the Democratic Party, and you ve read about this in the great awakening, which I quote in the book, the democratic parties were very far left very quickly on race, on immigration to some degree even on religion, and the kinds of Kant
it promotes, though the things it demands of candidates are very, very different. I mean, if you listen, a Bernie Sanders on immigration now versus fifteen years ago. It's very hard to do to connect us to candidates Brok Obama in his re election campaign, when a smaller percentage of the white vote, the Michael Dukakis did and nineteen eighty, but he was able to win, and so there, like really is a dimension with the democratic parties, become this much this party. That is much more sensitive to the concerns of of non white voters and represents a much both symbolically in terms of who it lacks a visually end in its policy agenda and that's created a sort of like equal opposite counter reaction on the right. So the predicted, the most important from polarization we face now is polarization over. How do you feel about the browning of a marriage?
dollar job is not a candidate when he ran and twenty sixteen who ran on like an incredibly clear view of limited government he's a candidate who ran on the idea. That was bad and semi brown people coming into the country, and it turns out. That is what the Republican Party wanted a candidate to represent I'd itself. Sunbathing is interesting when you said Democrats have become more attuned to the sort of concerns and and desires of of non white people, which I think is certainly true, but another thing that happened when in this is a real sorting dynamic, like as Democrats, got more attuned to the concerns of back and let you know, people the white people who remained Democrats became incredibly attuned to in some ways like overshooting like actual african American and let you know, opinion
is it becomes people who are illogically, invested in a diversity, vision of Amerika and waited not to say that, like african magazine Letty knows are opposed to, but they have a non white people have a practical concern for like their own personal interests. In non discrimination, not necessarily like a high ordered, like woke view of of the world. Where is like the white Democrat were left, as there are fewer alone. Have this like very? This is why the immigration rhetoric in particular has has shifted so much right. It's a real, like a positive good, the fury of diversity not like we have to tolerate difference or we shouldn't be assholes to minority groups, but that, like this, is better that this is the real America that there has to be a black marvels.
For here. You know that yeah did like that like this is unimportant thing that in turn makes Republicans look Democrats and be like what the heck is happening here like I used to think that not being racist meant anybody can use the water found, but, like now I'm told means like I have all kinds of demands about cultural products and how they look and how everything is, and I have to rethink the role of Columbus Day and the holiday schedule, because it's been a real changing of like what antiracism is Certainly I go back and I show that you have you look at Bill Clinton. Ninety six democratic party platform. You look at the immigration portion about it reads like Donald Trump. Today, rats been very, very fast change, so there, but there's a bunch superintending stuff here, but one thing that I want to note on it is that something I found really interesting. I think I have some internal agitator around the psychological like the political side,
literature because in some ways I think that the measurements are very crude and sign some We are concerned about relying on them too much and on the other hand, I think what is being picked up is really important and in some ways like price stronger than the measurements, are even able to capture. But one interesting thing in that literature is When you look at the way the the electorate has sorted by psychology, so their allotted different ways, people group people psychologically. Let us say that the big thing it tends to be measuring is how much do how much are you open versus closed? How much are you high and openness to experience? You look. It change as sort of a positive versus high you height of recent. How much are you low on that at high conscientiousness? Any prefer tradition, you like the way things were you change makes you feel nervous, I'm in
so that is now an incredibly powerful sorting mechanism in the white electorate. So the Democratic Party has a white electorate that is extremely pro change and one of the ways that's coming out is like extremely pro diversity, and the Republican Party has a much more closer, Now wait electorate that does not really sort the non white electorate. Imperatively, doesn't sort african Americans on these measures, African Americans are often I'm quite low in openness to experience and and high conscientiousness. Or you know the way, I'm more, covering tenant and Weiler put it. They, this fix versus fluid measure and african american voters are often much more fixed, much more traditionalist, but they're. All Democrats, because the Republican Party has been very hostile to them that actually creates very different dynamics and the Democratic Party, and it's why you have candidates like Joe Biden, who are often pretty strong, because they're trying to put together a cold
seven of these very change, oriented white liberals and these much more traditionalist like South Carolina in african church going African Americans where's Republican Party can just go deep on more of one and of person. What, if you, if you look at it, binds voter support. Writing is a fascinating thing right, but like the two big predictors of supporting Joe Biden, R R, U African American, which makes it much more likely to back Joe Biden and are you huh? well to african Americans, which also makes it much more likely divided, show that last private superannuated, because he appeals to the it's become eccentric, but like low openness Democrats, the rights which is a The vast majority of low openness, white people have just become republican, and but there are some kicking around there in the firefighters Union, whatever else they like Joe Biden, but also african Americans, regardless of personality characteristics, are disposition just like look around and there like for public.
No and my reason, Brok obama- was an unstoppable democratic juggernaut was it he put together the coalition of African Americans of all kinds of types and then white. Liberals, re high openness, liberals and like that, if you can put that together, that's very rare, but so it's that kind volitional candidate who, who is favourably democratic side, but the other thing I was going to say and in terms of this looks at a great awakening among white liberals is. It also goes back to to some of that other research that, as you become more politically engaged, what you're doing is expressing identity through politics and the way you express now a democratic identity compared to at some other points in the democratic party. Earl is one of the key ways. Is you express a real appreciation
for diversity racially sexually in it and so on, and in any really express optimism about that. You understand racism as a systemic problem that is still holding African Americans back today. I don't have all these numbers in my head, but there on the book, but you can look. These pupils had been pretty steady from ninety four calling going to now and then I'm running republican parties, not that split on the lobbies- racial identity, questions in any for re, like wire african Americans, having trouble getting had an American cited today and now it's may be, sixty point divisions and there really really big and there really big in part, because what it means to be a Democrat has changed, and you know- and I think an interesting thing is you see how that affects. Even democrats of of an older
cast here so Bernie Sanders has traditionally been a Democrat who nodded. I could actually to be her specific he's been an independent, so democratic social from Vermont who wants to restore this old class based idea of the democratic identity right. He speaks very highly of empty, are: who was, I think, not that racially woke, but but but was very populist, and the thing that has happened after he lost in two thousand and sixteen to Hell, recurrent in who ran well to his left on race and gender is, has become much more tuned to those issues and has moved quite a bit to the left on those issues. So were centres used to be a candidate who is trying to replace idea of democratic identity, where you know you should issue should understand that is like you dislike millionaires billion us, unlike you believe, in utero, in in single
Healthcare he's now serve also making these arguments about the five kinds of violence done turn to non white people in this country and he supported decriminalizing unauthorized migration and has become much more of a woke Democrat in this way. Even if I am, I think, a lot of people, including myself, don't ass. I think that's where his God has long been so this changes they'll the low of conflict between the parties and is used by the way on the right to the after twenty twelve and Republicans lose two Barack Obama. They, the Republicans, have, as you know, post twenty top autopsy led by the Aral Sea and one I think the autopsy primarily says is. We have to become friendlier both in our policy and in our symbolic compartment to non white people. We need to elevate more now
white Voices and our leadership. We need to support compress immigration reform. Sean Hannity tries to back marker Rubio, whose part of the gang of aid and the set had doing immigration reform and dominant. Just like eviscerate that and you turn the Fox NEWS now and tougher Karlsson is warning about the brown hordes coming over the coming over the border, and so the the kind of collision is becoming very central to politics, and once you combine that with political identity, is you get a very sort of white real concern of identity and more racially diverse, liberal identity, and you stack goes on top of each other. That is a very powerful pairing of conflict. I'm glad you mentioned Tucker Carson, specifically because I think he's a great example of how large this topic looms on both sides, the aisle and people's view of things, because, if you, if you study or Fox news hosts as
I do. I would say that involves like concrete policy issues right. You wouldn't say that Tucker is the most modern, thus of them that he is very critical of the role of hedge funds and financial capitalism. He is not just like skeptical of military adventurism, but but actually incorporates a more sophisticated critique of NEO conservative farm policy, not just aversion to american Casualties doesn't like that. At the same time, he is by far the one who is expresses the most alarm about like woke
real politics like Elmer famously was he did a segment like mocking the idea that diversity is our strength like to him is outrageous that liberals would go around saying that and then to liberals. It was outrageous that he would do a segment like that and he is the most anathematised. Among left wing people of the Fox hosts right likes, people will say like Glenn Greenwald goes on. Tucker Carlson show as if, like that, just like without saying anything further, it's like obviously discredit it right because, like that's the most unthinkable person that somebody could consult with, and it's because like both to Carlson and to the people on the other side, this is so much more profound and important than like a little thing like the structure of the economy or the nature of American
policy because it speaks to identity right. It expresses like like who am I and what is America right whereas like, Some bill about hedge funds, like maybe manners you know, if you this, might be billions of dollars at stake. But you didn't say anything about me. I think I would still say pry Hannity his mouth is the most in Athens anathematised of animals in part because he is so boot licking but the central identity leader for, but but your point is very well taken- I would say, is going on with Karlsson, who has had a lot of different views- american politics over the years used to be as they weren't, libertarian conservative by that he sort of looked at I'm not going to characterize whether or not his conversion is sincere cynical. I don't even know how people that stuff, you can't see that stuff from the outside, but he is representing the thing Donald Trump promised to represent in two thousand and sixteen and then didn't what Donald Trump did in two thousand and sixteen is. He ran in the republican primary
and what he said was the thing we really need to be arguing about is not taxes or cutting medical are going to war in Iraq. The thing we need to be stopping is Browning of America, this taking of your traditional America away from you, and that is what concerns us should be about. Its with republican Party should be about, and enough of these fools who can give up on immigration and, like you know, make its no use your present too for English and to have it like that was That was the problem now. Donald Trump does not care about a lot of things, and so what he ends up doing is it gets into office. He continues moralist to play. This role is twitter. Feed just yesterday was treating, but how he's like the true protector of pre existing conditions in this country and maybe even thinks that is true about himself, although we again who knows, but he ends up more or less taking whatever the Republicans a Congress want to send him, so he really collapses in terms
this effort to create a sort of populist but more white, nationalist or bubblegum party. I'm an Tucker Karlsson, who is more rigorous thinker than Donald Trump, unlike saw what was going on here, pixies up and emphasizes it and really keeps pushing on this idea, though, the Republican Party should be about what the right should be about is protecting you from like the people coming in over the border and like the woke people inside the country trend, a change, american mores and traditions and culture, and it should in order to build the coalition capable of resisting this existential threat, to what America ease and represents an and can become in the world, and it should do what you're saying actually earlier it should come. Relies on things like immigration and taxing hedge funders and protecting Medicare, Anne and so on, and so forth. Xyz. It lets together breakin that, then I want to ask you, as can the hard questions.
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Why were polarize and then there's like happy chill? A reviewer said that the book develops. The enough the logic of a nightmare which I like this are, as I said to me like, I may do think it's it's it's worth emphasising that, like this is our hour. A friend Samaras involves buck as it is a great history of this this process, but like people wanted to make american politics more polarized and the there were people on the other side, but like there was a pro polarization view for a long time and I think your view, though, is that this is not a great where we have landed. I I in my view, more subtle than that. I do not think polarization itself should be understood as a problem. I think
probably the deep polarized America, the mid twentyth century should be seen as the aberration. What is distinct about the american system of governance? Is it in order for it to function given that of its preference for divided government? Given the number veto points, things like the Senate filibuster, the way we ve cut congressional districts, electoral college, all two things going on in America. Given the way the system is structured, it just is not the case here. But when you win an election, what you win is a governing majority. Often you election and you don't want any capacity to govern whatsoever right. You have brought Obama's president in which Mcconnell Majority leader and nobody can decide what to do about the Supreme Court vacancy. And so polarization can be a neutral thing and he's a can actually a good thing. One reason we were be polarized in the twentieth century is that the two parties have basically made a tacit agreement to not push for
on civil rights and anti lynching and voting rights laws, and so like that Canada, leg, golden age of Cross party cooperation is built on the horrifying boneyard of southern racism pillars she. The alternate polarization is often suppression of disagreement, and so that can be quite bad, but
we are in this era, where what polarization is also doing is one ratcheting up the intensity of disagreements that you know otherwise should be reasonably solvable and two is making it basically impossible to govern, and so I tell some length like the Mitch Montcalm America, Ireland story and make the argument that I think a lot of liberals will not like that. What Ms Mcdonald did was a pretty rational thing within the structures and incentives of american politics like it used to be a Supreme court nominees were pretty ideologically unpredictable. That is not true anymore. It is arguably one the most important ideological boats, anybody cakes in Congress and so having an ecological litmus test for your Supreme Court nominees. It's like not crazy. The problem is the: U S. Structure has no answer for how to resolve the dispute like that and you can
imagine it you had strong Supreme Court over time is no party will out will ever clear an opposite parties, presidential nomination to the Supreme Court, and so polarization can be fine if you can govern amidst polarization. What we have is a system where you can not govern its polarization, but we have a lot of polarisation and so that's the problem and you can imagine trying to solve at either the way I think most people washing and think about it, which is well. Let us not be polarized any more, but I don't think it's going. Happen, so you can also imagine solving it according court solving it by making majority Harry and governance easier to do. That is also hard because some recent polarization mix anything hard to do. It also makes it hard to restructure the entire american political system, but there you go so what George hearing governance Right Emmy can it can mean different things, but I mean
one question you might have about that is likely to give in this effective polarization, given the level of negative partisanship and sort of fear Heidi, that you know creating a more like one and done kind of politics like they have in the UK. Look isn't that going to make everything like even worse like I will be completely intolerable to lose an election in in a clear majority, chariot and system, and particularly given that you know all elections are close. They turn out like weird stuff, like ie. Isn't that gonna like like raise the stakes too, like completely sustainable boil, and they one thing right now is you can at least tell people like actually issue. Maybe like calmed down a little bit like there's a lot of constraints on what President's can actually do
as long as we like dont have. The cameras on members of Congress can sometimes like cut deals and and pass compromise bills and like shouldn't, we like, like ie couldn't this mad estonian system be like the one thing calling us together is a success, Yes, and the answer to that is now for a bunch of reasons, but one is that it, I think, is good reason to believe- and I have like a lot of political signs in their from principally in others about this- that actually one of the most kind of toxic situation system can be in is a space of incredibly close competition for power were at all times. Either party thinks it s one election away from from either losing are winning back in a majority control
and at the same time you can't do anything with it. So the american people can judge that. Oh yeah, like I, really love this single pair system, the Democrats past, or I really think the way you know Republicans governed is great cause. I'm gonna pay taxes anymore, so you're not answering any the problems, you not giving people a clear record of governance to judge you on and may be changed their opinions on you just in this kind of position of constant super high stakes, gridlock and at an inn, that's a pretty difficult place to be, and so one thing what that one way to think about this may be is that, I think is a really bad contributor to are toxic politics is the Republican Party due to the way America filters. Political power through geography has gotten into a situation working consistently win electoral power without winning a majority in elections, and that is primarily because it able their publican parties over represented in
more rural areas that are disproportionate, powerful in elections, but highly represent older white voters, who are much more conservative, and so If you imagine american politics as more majority system, where, like reaction to win to votes votes to win, you have assessed, situation where, if nothing else has changed, Republicans would have lost six of the last seven presidential elections. Mitch Mcconnell would not currently be the Senate Majority Leader and Republicans would not in fact, have control the Supreme Court. That is not the way that would have gone. What would have happened? Is it because country country's diversifying and because Republicans cannot win without appealing to that more diverse America, they would have moderated moderated themselves on and and
Eve also religious conflict in order to be a more inclusive party- and you see this in some other places right. The two most popular governess in the country are republican governors in Maryland, and Massachusetts who govern in a sort of modern republican wave is a very old tradition of that. So, among other things, I think that this issue is quite badly distorted by the way that it, it re filters itself across geography. Is it the deep in these conflicts? Then? The second thing I say even putting that aside as well wooden worse if the parties could come in and just do whatever they wanted, because then, like people look at that and really hate it. I just think the incentives of the american people looking at a governing coalition and saying I like what they did or I don't like what they did. That would actually, I think, can it's more people to move in and make the sort of what it means for me, question a lot clearer.
Then the system where you have to be a congressional porter to figure out the unclear lines of accountability on why nobody solving any problem. So you know Donald Trump come in and is done everything Donald Trump wanted to do, or Barack Obama had and had done, everything Brok, Obama wanted to do or Bernie Sanders could come in and thick do the whole democratic social agenda. People could then like look around and say, You like that or I hate it. What ends up happening is our comes in and they passed like somewhere between six percent and twenty percent of their actual DA and complain the other side, is keeping them from getting anything done, and it is you're just constantly in this, like people's problems are being sought it's our care exactly who to blame and see just fall back on this group competition. Yeah. Why me clear, I agree with you. I just otherwise might respond on, and I don't want you say you were too polite to play tat opened. I actually think that thing where the these sort of frustration of governance capacity actually really encourage.
Is you listen you you said earlier right but like it encourages people to think of politics and symbolic rather than practical terms, because it's actually difficult relic. We we sit here rattling. We're like a whole team of professional political journalists and Wilson was be like a good idea for an article to try to figure out like what's actually at stake in this, and you gonna like work really hard at regular. Genuinely not like obvious right and- and you can figure it out, but it's it's a challenge tat brought me. You just did this great case for Bernie Sanders peace, but I mean the way you build the case the reality of american politics is that it is just not the case, the case or Bernie Sanders as he will passes agenda the russian Bernie Sanders is that he will include leftist political activists in the political system and how,
like a pretty savvy legislator, who has a lot of experience and he's probably reasonably electoral electable, almost constant in Michigan, but I think the case for Bernie Sanders or the case against him should be that you like his agenda or you don't and the failure of american politics. It like you just can't have that argument, wait one in particular aegis. It would encourage people to align themselves with politicians more on the basis of what they think the consequences of people with those ideas being an office are just because would be easier to like connect causing a fuss exactly where's like right. Now, it's very murky right, like you, might really really really want, like the government to provide more childcare assistance and like I guess I can tell you that I think Elizabeth Warren has prioritize that higher than other candidates. So maybe you should vote for her, but my level of confidence in that forecast is like pretty
oh cause, like this eighty billion other considerations where she just be like. Ok, who who like gives you warm feels like you, can figure that out. You know like in a pretty straightforward way, but the mania for of polarization right. You were talking about magnets in and you know what little led particles I took an optics class in college. I think about light. It implies equivalence right, yes, but I feel that what you are saying is that there is important a symmetry. Yes in the in the system that, like slightly breaks the matter, this is a form of a chapter in the book. It's the penultimate chapter and I think people at this was a chapter I actually feel like. I had to do work that I didn't expect, because it turns out that underpin good books, making the case at their ease asymmetric polarization that the Republican Party become some very different with a democratic party norm, quarantine and humanity. Buckled is even worse,
and it looks. But when I began looking into the arguments for why that is, I found it pretty wanting that that that the fact of it was well proven, but the causal story was quite weak It is this divergence. I well knew Gingrich remaining gambling openly satisfying. Why did New Gingrich become the speaker right? Why? Why did Republicans drive out to how speakers in just a couple of years, whereas House Democrats today are led by the exact same leadership team as in two thousand and six, that's interesting? Why did Republicans nominate Donald Trump on this? This super weird disruptive, Lincoln agnostic force in twenty sixteen and Democrats nominated hook and what is happening here, and so the thing that I think is really important to recognise as on on a couple levels, something that looks from afar, like symmetry they cemetery. So we often will say something like a wolf. The democratic party is a coalition of like widen
might vote like it's a multi racial coalition and the Republican Party is more homogenous coalition, say MR religions, histrionic up other things. Like when you say that that sound a similar right, multiracial verses man, ok, fine, but it actually not. Same at all the what it says over and over and over again is a democratic party. Is a coalition of a lot of different kinds of groups who have different incentives, different outlooks, different needs and in order to try to win- as a Democrat, you first need to win over a critical mass of those groups need to win, like potentially liberal whites in Hampshire in Iowa and the traditional African Americans in South Carolina, but then to in power as a Democrat because of the structure of the Senate because of the structure of the
twelve college. You need to win centre right voters to so the Democratic Party and selecting for much more coalitions. Politicians. The republican Party is a much more homogenous coalition and that incentivize his liquor instead of a broad strategy, a going deep strategy and a real irony of politics is it with that makes people say, he's a democratic party place, identity, politics, republican Party doesn't and what it actually means the Democratic Party, because our allotted for identity groups in it, no one is that dominant. So you can see the fact that compromises were being made between them. The Republican Party has one dominant identity group. It is white Christians and so like much less compromise like fund, fundamentally than to being a compromise, a collision between way Christians in corporate executives.
It is like how the Republican Party functions and so I'd any politics rush huts Tonker in their bubbling party than the Democratic Party, but more visible and the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. I'm another thing here which, having a somewhat related, is it them credit party has remained very covered to mainstream? emotional ecosystems, so inviting you already have this- have this some like attachment to like the discourse of of the reason and the way he ought to neutral neutral our aid it out. I think the key thing so Democratic Party is very connected to the mainstream media, where the business model like that your times of C B. S news is that they are not part of the Democratic Party like it may be. They may lean liberal, practically culturally, but they want to and tag mystically report on Democrats. In the liberal movement and so like, if you talk to Burundi, Sandra supporters have been like the New York Times. Their public and parties abandoned all that and so use
these surveys and there have been dozens of them now about which media sources to two sides. Trust and Democrats trust a bunch of mainstream sources, but including some center right ones, like they trust the economists that they trust the Wall Street Journal and committed conservatives. They only trust right wing news sources and the academy is another version of this. Where Democrats Trust academia, which often does play a restraining role right. I mean, I think, a good example as away that global Denialism did take over the Republican Party, but some
Gm Odin Islas a GMO kind of fearmongering didn't take over that Democratic Party, because, even though that is pretty constant like you will hear that from sort of grassroots liberals, there's like this, this can prevailing forests from food scientists say it's not a problem and so like. When we launched box, we had a card stuck on Gmos, Barbara Plumber and was we there is no evidence like this- is something you should be afraid of, and so the republic, the Democratic Party, is constrained by institutions that have different incentives than it does from its more while flights of fancy, not all the time, and you can definitely unreasonably argued. Those constraints are weakening, but there are certainly there and away there not on the Republican saw any end. You see it in in scandal. Politics right in Europe,
Doesn't investigation- and it's like oh Donald Trump- is like an all this money from these guys and seems really bad trump can just be like a fuck you and then it just like it doesn't matter to Republicans what the New York Times says. So then the story just kind of goes away. Yet right, where's, democrat It's like individually democratic party politicians like Bernie Sanders, has a sort of distrustful, antagonistic relationship with the mainstream media. Hillary Clinton had our own sort of personal stuff going on, but like Democrats writ large healthy chunk of them like watch the CBS evening NEWS or read the New York Times or even read the Wall Street Journal, so there's an egg
story about you in the times you need to answer. It right minded like one of what her you know yourself as very important way, because you you need to apologize somehow and if the apology is not accepted by actors who stand outside the party structure, you are hurt, like your own supporters, will become demoralized by your failure to garner positive coverage in CNN and the times and the and the network news. So you have to be constantly doing that doing that work and worrying about how this gonna play. Has it gonna look? What's the appearance of of impropriety, and Republicans have to worry a lot about what Fox NEWS that yes and into the big picture I put this in the book is Democrats are restrained. Polarization among Democrats is, is happening and is clearly happening. I mean look at what is happening in the indian prime
but polarization and its effects on Democrats are restrained by the immune systems of democracy in diversity. The democratic party is more internally diverse in the Republican Party, more externally diverse in terms of who listens to than republican coalition, and then because of the Way, our record and put democracy works democratically to win over voters in like centre right places. The average state is to the right of the average voter by quite a bit the average congressional d. Is to the right of the average border and the average electoral college vote is to the right of the average motor and so Democrats have to like restrain themselves from kind of falling some of their flight
fancy in order to win over these center right voters, there's an intense dialogue among Democrats about how to win somewhat conservative, leaning like white wisconsinites, because they can't just rely on putting back together Hillary Clinton's three million popular majority from two thousand and sixteen, whereas the Republican Party, if it also had to do that, that would be a restraining force on it. Donald Trump is not a super high performing politician against the fundamentals. Donald Trump appears to do worse than another Republican would do given the economic fundamentals, given what else is going on he's a very strong politician inside the Republican Party? Obviously, but the only reason I if what had happened in two thousand and sixteen was Democrats had nominated. This now understood
quite weak candidate, Hillary Clinton and Republicans had nominated over the objections of many in the conservative movement. This loose thrice married, Dulche, Donald Trump, and then Donald Trump had lost the election by three million votes to Hillary Clinton. What there would be would be a massive backlash to the trumpet wind, of the Republican Party, because he has you be winnable election against Hillary Clinton. Like look, she was a terrible candidate, like we could have one and now Democrats have the Supreme Court, because we elected Donald Trump, instead of going with John K, sick or marker Rubio, or name your person, but instead, like they got this electoral college majority and so like the trumpets wing is ascendant. So, if Republicans did not how like, if the thing was actually democracy and Republicans did not have that protection, they would be trying to reform themselves when elections, and instead, there leaning deeper into this like White Ethno politics. So here's one thing that I worry about
right, which is that you know, as you said, the Democrats have the geography skewed against them. So here you can see that's unfair, but then you have to deal with it. So if you want to reform the system, you have to win first, but to the extent that people relate to politics in a less practical way. When you were saying like the most engaged, people have the least sort of like material connection to politics. I feel like it encourages Democrat sort of not quite elites but like hi hi engagement, people to just sort of be like fuck. This, like it's, it's not fair that I should have to cater to the voters in Montana or Wisconsin. So I dont want the funny thing about. That, though, is- and you have this great coining of the fallacy, for it is that people almost never admit that that is what they're doing right there:
He'll never hear anybody say on on either side, but on the democratic side is that, like I think, Bernie Sanders is the best candidate. But I also really think we need to win kind of like centrist voters in Michigan and Wisconsin and, like just take a look at the polls, Joe Biden does better against sounds like lots of port. Joe No, I prefer Bernie Sanders or screw it like. I think the risk of Bernie Sanders is worth a reward, or conversely, like I, don't hear people support Joe Biden or P booted edge like make the argument and perverse raid, I would like this or centrist candidate, but Lastly, when a populist moment, people want somebody who blocked the system. You know like let support the that the more intense can't, the more leftist candid in order to win it? So what people do as a sort of reason backwards from the candidate prefer into the politics they prefer people sort of it is just continuously the view that people left hold the
Bernie Sanders is going to a week in a multi racial working class coalition that what we shape american politics. It is continuously the view of buying and voters that you know just like look at the polls he's most flexible candidate Warren voters in Vienna in general. The chill do the best. So it's one of these weird thing things where, on the one hand, yeah like one version- that is people look at this and say I dont think I should have to compromise. So I won't, but actually in practice what happens is eight. They say that compromising is the problem and if everybody listen to me and not compromise, we would do better and that a very popular discourse on both the right and the left wing baby. Just one question about that ran his like: if Bernie Sanders becomes the nominee, Elizabeth Warren becomes the nominee and in that person runs and then the millions of new voters failed to materialise and they again when the popular vote
buy two or three year, maybe from four million but lose the electoral college. Like does that lead people to say, like ok, the math on this just doesn't work like it's unfair. You know that we lose with a popular majority but like we got to go do, something else order. People I don't know I mean we ve, not tory. We ve not talked about so the way some MRS changed even just technologically I mean twitter is a very it pushes for very and tag in his stick end like self righteous from politics. There is a means I have heard public assigned to say, and I think that the evidence, the example this people know is both Clinton, that there is a kind of pattern where political parties lose an election and others that much of it then they lose a second election and like the big they like after using obsolete, handed double down and after using a second election. They tend to moderate and so famously books. Then in ninety. Ninety two is a candidate who is Isabel, see candidate
new demographic free right. That was right, easier, three, and so there is an idea. You know if the Republican Party kind of followed this pattern that you know maybe they tried Donald Trump and got it out of their system. They would moderate in future I have no idea. I can predict that. I think that there are other forces in a lot of the book is about the sort of institutional feedback. Loops is kind of polarization set off in the media in the the way elections are contested. Persuadable persuadable have gone down down, seen seen a strong focus on base mobilizing candidates and messages on the way governance constructed constructed so reasons to think that the pushed it is keeping very poor. Raised in your political theorizing. Any are political activity is very strong in ways it even if public parties want get away from it in honour of the power to do. I just don't truly know the answer on that. I saw I get on to greater sundered democratization, move to majority rule helpful is: is there any any anything else that that you know can be can be done to fix? This is their things like
we in the media should do consumers of the media should do it to such things are right that either I read in the book in the concluding chopper that I'm more confident and diagnosis here than prescription I dont like concluding chapters in general, because I feel like hard. Social problems are hard to solve. So yeah. You can do a raft of things to democratize the country. You know all the way from you, no kind of imagining reconstructing a parliamentary form of government to the things that actually sort of proposer or like getting rid of the film stir moving to proportional representation and things like ivy voting. You not doing some kind of cabinet, violence or form is a bunch of stuff. That would be good thing. I save individually, though, which I do think is an action,
thing, and I am not saying that anybody individually doing this will fix american politics, but I think people should do it. Is that one of the very powerful forces in poorer as the system is a national issue of all politics? One of the very important cross cutting political identities was in a maybe your public enemy, your pumpkin from Oklahoma, ABC Democrat, but your Democrat from Virginia, and so when, like things are happening on the fourth Congress, the other party, my company and say yeah. Like look. I know that your party doesn't want you to vote for this, but if you do vote for it, we're gonna give you we're. Gonna fix this bridge in your district or or earmark many debility. This hospital, and I used to work on your sort of one of the last like good examples of this happening, and you see the way begins to fail as Ben Nelson cutting
and Obamacare Ben Nelson from Nebraska Kind of the holdout senator a Democrat. He wants to vote for the bill. It's not popular in his red home state, so he cuts this deal where the Obama invitation will make the Medicaid expansion free for Nebraska and it gets called the Cornhusker kickback and his own republican governor begins attacking him on it and ultimately, he votes for the bill. Without the deal so Nebraska gets a worse deal, an otherwise would have and Ben Nelson retires. So one of the things happening is that people have replaced what used to be quite strong state and local identities right that old adage. All politics is local, with nationalized political identities in part, because people now are connected to national political media. When I grew up, I mean you were and had kid, so you were like an at the centre of national media, read the New York Times in the living, but I got the allay times my family did. I listened to kiss your w that they allay and PR today, I'm sure like over the centre like the weeds and red than your comes online and and so
I do urge people for a bunch of different reasons too, and I know a bit against interest as one of the founders of ox but you basically red entirely national politics. I think about twisting that back a bit state and local stuff is really important. That did the questions and differences demands are different and getting in there, there's a lot more nourishing a form of political activity, your actually doing, organizing with real people. You can do a lot more to effect change here. City, council, member or state representative or state senator will probably meet with you and actually care about knowing who they are, where you have no effect tweeting things, Donald Trump,
or like get mad about Senate races, so like actually trying to reinvest in silica politics at both the good fur on political polarization, but is a much alike, I think, will be good for individual people. I think that kind of political organizing makes you feel good, whereas national politics and sitting around doing like twitter activism tends to make people feel quite bad. You I mean I I did gets it S. A really interesting, provocative point that comes at that at the end of your book, which is not just that you could consume different news, but they're like you could actually do something in local politics. You would have a lot more efficacy in a local issue rather than sort of shouting into the void, and I do think people find local politics can be as american politics has always been like. A divisive like people are arguing about things in sharp elbowed ways, but it doesn't track the same bundle of
should a level identities. It comes closer to being like people just have a disagreement, and even of what you want to do is be very involved in international politics. What national politicians really want from you is to be able to organise locally. And so just even getting that practice in and building those connections and understanding. What is going on in your local space is really important, not to recommend other books, because you should buy mine first, but he's a good new book on political hobbyist. I'm called from a political scientist same Iton Hersh, which I think is quite good on these issues, and you know I was hanging out for a story I M doing with the vizir group here in the Bay area called s ef I can be which are beyond it. Yes, in my back yard, weeds listeners will know about the Indies. But because a out and some of them at a planning meeting- and it was interesting to me how different it was too like be with a social group. People who you know
What they like it was fun for, like they were doing real, organizing and really trying to change an important issue in California. They they want to lobby for us, be fifty and involves different stuff, but they also like there not with each other, their argument, people in their community at an actual thing, in real life. So like a they sort of talk to each other, and I watch em like you, stand up and make a brave each other and then talk afterward and you could just see how much more nourishing a form of political engagement that was, and it also the very different views on on national politics. I mean something for them with it. Some of the political divisions nationally right which, as you know, a lot of them are understood, sort of corporations, verses, like ordinary people or Publicans versus Democrats. Here in San Francisco, that breaks down on quite a bit perfectly right. Housing politics like they're, looking at it and they say well, you know here it's not clear. Sometimes, corporations on both sides or planning issue, often times like the most progressive people, are doing the most keep like poor people from Heaven.
Fordable housing, so it scrambles your view of politics in ways that are, I think, pretty healthy, but even if it doesn't do that, I just get involve local he's, like just in an end support local political Johnson, like if all you have our subscriptions to national youth organisations. There's, probably some one covering you local area make that party or diet. You can do that. A big part of this I'd, a big part of the broad theory but entity that I build in the book in- and we ve only talked about a bit here, but I'd entities, work and strengthen under active and identities that are not activated there not reinforced, become dormant. They become weaker, eventually they dissolve, and so one of the things happening around national political identities and these stacked national political identities. What is functionally a massive conspiracy to constantly reinforced
right to constantly activate and reinforce them if you're, watching, MSNBC or CNN or you're on Twitter or your reading box or whatever? It is your constant getting this like national pug identity, pinged and strengthened. If you want to build other kind of put it by the entities, local political identities you have, intentionally do that you have to set up an information system is going to make. You feel that routinely people nobody's gonna, do it for you and the way it's happening in other places, but and if you think it's a healthier identity and rightly cigarettes a healthy as one of Europe's central political identities it's worth putting in putting in that work from the beginning, I can fantastic Azure Klein. The book is, why were polarized at, but before I let you go. I like ass people is, if there's anything, how there was left out that they you wish I asked you about that. We should have talked about here. Oh man, the problem of having written a book is, you know too much I think that we there's a lot in the book. We didn't talk it up at something, I think would be interesting if you want to talk about it. Is this a lot on them
yeah and media incentives in the book and like we operate within that, and I think it's it's I've been doing a lot of thinking about how how the media both been of Sundays, makes things better, but also, as I got, handmade into office polarization but, on the other hand like the incentive for the media and what people see and don't see like really pushes you in that direction and We say, like, I think, the media chapter, the book is complex and interesting, and people should take a look at it because Lee it's something that I'm thinking about for myself and and for vocs like how do you, if you think what is happy, and in the new cycle. Is it the way attention and controversy is directed, has itself become somewhat toxic than even doing good work? On top of that, new cycle can be giving attention to the wrong things, and I got a tricky piece about a piece of it all yeah me. That's it that's a great chapter. I mean it's something I say I think about
because I work in this field, but that also I've been, I hope, readers you don't think about, because you know we're all constrained by the objective incentives that we face. And, to some extent, that just stems from the technology and the paradigms that exist, but it does also stem from user behaviour that people can try to be more. You know conscientious about in inserted what what they do. That them's valves, because I feel like almost nobody in America like feels like the current information ecology that exists is like really really good, but like it doesn't change unless you to do something about it. That is a good place because they ok, so obviously one thing you should do is recommend the weeds. Two of your friends come to our Facebook group ass. You see what you think by address book. Why will polarized wasn't other votes
podcast and it's all great out there thanks so much Ezra thanks, Jeff Geld our producer and the we will be back on the.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-22.