Conversations with History: Politics and American Political Ideals with Rogers M. Smith



this program is a presentation of uctv for educational and non-commercial use only welcome to a conversation with history I'm Harry Chrysler of the Institute of International Studies our guest is Professor Rogers and Smith who is the Christopher H Brown distinguished professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania he's the author of numerous books including still a house divided race and politics in Obama's America and civic ideals conflicting visions of citizenship in US history professor Smith is the Jefferson lecturer on the Berkeley campus this spring professor Smith welcome to Berkeley delighted to be with you and looking back how did your parents shape you're thinking about the world was there a lot of discussion about politics and current events around the dinner table yes for reasons I don't fully understand what in that until I came along nobody had pursued a career that had that much to do with politics directly I come from a family of businessman teachers and ministers but the my brothers my parents and I always talked about politics as long as I can remember and also living in a state capital I got involved in politics at a very early age what sorts of politics just state politics or civil rights or both really when I was 13 my brother and I got friends together and went down to the local teenage republican club and got ourselves elected he was president and I was vice president he lost interest but I continued with the teenage republicans eventually becoming state chairman of the Illinois teenage Republican Federation at the same time I considered myself from Springfield an Abraham Lincoln Republican who was sympathetic to civil rights and I did participate in some of the civil rights activities of the 1960s in Illinois and these two things eventually proved in tension with each other because the story of the Republican Party in the 1960s is that it turned away from its heritage of being a party of strong national government election on behalf of civil rights to embrace of more state rights views and a lot of opposition to civil rights initiatives and as that went on the more I worked in Republican Party politics in the late 60s the more I realized that my politics didn't fit with the way the party was going and I moved in different political directions where did you do your undergraduate work I went to james madison college at michigan state university and that was a choice reflected by these experiences i like to say that i was chairman for teens for nixon in the state of illinois in 1968 and in the next few years i came to question whether i had an adequate understanding of politics and james madison college was a program set up in the middle 1960s that was a small residential college within a state university with faculty hired primarily as teachers and primarily concerned with political philosophy and history and I felt I needed to find an atmosphere where I had a lot of freedom to think about big questions of basic political principle and purpose because I was questioning everything I grown up believing in and had worked actively on in my teen years and I saw in that in a place where I could do that and it was a very formative for me I realized that for better or worse I had a greater passion for studying thinking and writing about politics than doing politics and so I became a professor as a result of having gone there yes so so it sounds like that that you you were living a life between theory and practice or at least you were practicing it and that that really pushed you to see the importance of thinking about it yes practice drove me to theory absolutely right and where did you do your graduate work Harvard University and who were your mentors there and then what did you do your dissertation on my mentor was Judith's klar my thesis supervisor who was a political theorist originally from Latvia who had fled both Stalinist and Hitler's tyranny in Europe and went on to be educated first in Canada and then at Harvard herself and who even though she was a great expert on the Grand European thinkers her interests were turning increasingly toward american political thought because she felt that it represented a body of a reflection on trying to operate institutions of self-governance that was the most extensive that we had in the world and my interests were to try to explore what were the sources of what I saw is wrong in American politics and what might be better directions and so she was a great person for me to work with and she was a just marvelous teacher in thesis supervisor and became a great friend I wrote my dissertation on it was called liberalism and American constitutional law also my first book because I is concerned that a lot of the discussion of constitutional issues didn't grasp the contestation and transformations in american political thought broader American political principles over time and I wanted to show how constitutional development had been shaped by problems in the prevailing principles of public philosophy with which nation had began and how constitutional doctrines often reflected very different visions that had come to the fort subsequently and as I worked on it I also felt well now I know out of these different traditions that have shaped America which way I want to go and so the last part of the dissertation and book argue more normatively for a certain understanding of American constitutionalism in the directions in which it should go I don't agree with everything I wrote then but it did help resolve some of these really painful uncertainties that I'd form through my teen years and gave me a sense of what I was four and you gravitated toward subjects of constitutional law citizenship and political identity and then oh and then continuing the interest in the problem of race in American politics yes that was in many ways unanticipated I see myself now as a person whose scholarship has primarily been devoted to the question of how politics crafts political identities and statuses of different kinds including racial and citizenship statuses but that wasn't the way I thought of my work when I was in graduate school and in the first part of my career instead I turned to the study of citizenship after I completed my first book because there was a debate raging then amongst historians and political theorists about whether America had originally been are devoted to what we're seeing as liberal conceptions of citizenship the state exists primarily to protect individual private pursuits economic pursuits religious pursuits etc or whether Americans had a more Republican conception of active civic service to the common good and I thought if you looked at the history of citizenship laws carefully you might be able to get a picture of how these different ideals manifested themselves and which were more predominant in different periods but when I began looking at American citizenship laws I found things that my education had not prepared me for although my life experiences both in Illinois and South Carolina had prepared me for it and that was that American citizenship laws historically were explicitly structured as systems of racial and gender hierarchy through most of US history at that time for about eighty percent of US history most of the world's population regardless of how liberal or republican their political beliefs were they were ineligible for US citizenship because of their race and an eligible for full citizenship because of gender and that elaboration of racial gender to some degree religious conceptions of American civic identity I felt was not adequately captured in the scholarship and teaching I'd been exposed to and so it became my concern to offer a different understanding of American political culture in American political development that showed that these were central contributing features of American life to analyze why and analyze where we might go and that did turn me into a scholar of race in America as well as a scholar of the construction of political identities more broadly but before we talk some more about this intellectual journey and look at a couple of your books let's talk a little about doing political science and in relating that to how your journey has developed what what are the the the quality of character and the the skills that have to be developed to to do political theory the I think that you need a sort of driving concern with big political questions in terms of character you have to have the confidence to do justice to your own perspective that is to say you're not going to be able to contribute to these issues unless you're honest with yourself about what you think is important that isn't being captured in existing perspectives if you simply try to follow what other people are saying you're not going to have anything distinctive to contribute to it but I also think that scholarship and political theory scholarship in general the highest responsibility is intellectual honesty and it can be particularly challenging in political theory because if you care about big questions and you care about the distinctive things you have to say about them there is great pressure to do scholarship that serves your normative agenda and you have to earn that you have to earn that by being tremendously conscientious about paying attention to all the arguments and evidence that speak against what you think you want to say I think some of my readers wish I were less attentive to mountains of evidence in some of my work than I am particularly in my very long book civic ideals but I feel that's part of the responsibility of the scholar now now is it would seem that history is important for someone doing the kind of war you're doing but because talk a little about that because one of the the traps of political science is to become so theoretical and so self-consciously imitative of science that that they they lose sight of real events and both in the past and the present yes one thing that my thesis supervisor judicial are surprised me about early in my time working with her is that she said you have a good sense of history and she didn't issue a lot of compliments and also I didn't think I had a particularly good sense of history and I came to realize that what she meant is that I have always thought and continue to feel that it is at best to question whether we should understand political science as seeking relatively timeless patterns of regular behavior in the way that some understandings of the Natural Sciences understand their gold to be it is a question whether human political behavior is captured by the same fundamental regularities in all times at places at least regularities that are not at such a high level of abstraction that they don't illuminate very much the only way you can consider whether that's true or not true is to do a more historical political science that looks at politics over time and ask the questions are we really finding similar patterns or their fundamental transformations that make politics in one period very different than another in a paper that you did for the I think the social science research count so you talked about what you saw is that the tensions within the disciplines and one of those tensions was on the one hand political science seeing its mission in its history as being one of educating people for democracy in public affairs but then on the other hand kind of a search for scientific truth talk a little about that tension and how it can be transcended in a way to do both they're really a couple of tensions in terms of the intellectual mission of political science from its origins in the Progressive Era its leaders always said we're simply trying to find the truth about the scientific truth about politics let the chips fall where they may and also we're serving American democracy well it's possible that the scientific truth about politics might discredit American democracy in some ways so there is a potential tension there one way that the discipline resolved it is to say that well we're not only seeking scientific truth about politics we are through our teaching disseminating greater political understanding and that greater understanding is bound to help American democracy even if some of our particular findings are disturbing for faith and American democracy but it is a reality of especially the last quarter century that the evolution of the modern American research university has meant that scholars are becoming more and more segregated into those who do lots of research and very little teaching and those who do lots and lots of teaching and have very little opportunity for research and I think that this is a damaging trend I think that the public support for our work comes more for our teaching than our research and that we do both our research and teaching better if we are doing both and that done properly teaching about politics helps resolve the teaching the tension between seeking scientific truth and serving American democracy because it is one of the good things about the American public in my view that they want teaching that helps develop understanding of a certain amount of political knowledge and also critical skills critical reflective skills particularly at this moment in American politics most people don't think everything is great and they want their kids to develop skills in critical thinking that can help come up with new answers help them adapt with changes over time so I don't think that there needs to be such attention between the research and teaching mission or between finding truth and making a public contribution but right now I think we are experiencing difficulties in political science because these tensions are pulling us in different directions instead of working together productively when you were talking earlier about your intellectual journey you you brought us to the to the point at which you dealt with this problem which you cover in your book civic ideals and let's use that as a case study in the way a political scientist / theorists works interestingly enough that the theory there which we'll talk about in a minute which you touched on really derives from really looking at the history of American laws on citizenship where you were working on one problem and then you discovered something else so it's really a it can give us insight into sort of creativity basically to tell us about that journey well fundamentally I was looking for whether American leaders thought of citizenship more as a matter of individual rights of private pursuits or active public services i said and i came across speeches like stephen douglas saying i believe this nation was made by the white man for the white man and that it should always be governed by the white man and not by blacks or Indians or Asians or any other inferior race this is what he said openly because it was the politically popular thing to say and at that point I faced a choice of either not paying attention to the prevalence of this sort of discourse in American elections in American legislators and by American courts through at least the first two thirds of our history and instead focusing on the kind of themes that the scholarship was already featuring or else I had to engage in some rethinking about well why did we have this discourse in a country that did have commitments to democracy and human rights why was it so politically powerful and what were the forces contesting it as well as contributing to it and so then I had a whole new scholarly agenda and and in and what you were discovering I guess seemed to if not contradict then well shall we say help us understand theoretical ideas about America the war on the table for example Louis hearts so you were with this data coming to a realization that well they're things not being addressed by the the prevalent notions of what we are about as a as a people right Louis hearts who also grew up in a different part the Midwest bows from an immigrant family he was in 1950s especially in the days of McCarthy preoccupied by the question of why Americans seem so hostile to socialist alternatives and a lot of scholars understandably in the cold war years the question of socialism capitalism was central to them and therefore they tended to see it as central to American political culture and they interpreted American political development fundamentally around the question of why no socialism those perspectives kept issues of civil rights at the margins at most presented in terms of well were there leftovers of pre capitalist systems that meant that some people resisted embracing equal rights or is it fundamentally as communist said in the mid 20th century American capitalism that is responsible for racial inequalities they had trouble making both those arguments work and so mostly they kept these issues to the margins and that's why the discipline political science had little to say about the rise of the modern civil rights movement now that began to change in the late 60s and 1970s you couldn't ignore the importance of civil rights struggles in American politics anymore and the scholarship began to change but when I was first writing on these themes in the 1980s there was still a dominant scholarly concern to see how can we encompass these struggles over race without changing our dominant pictures and models too much and I was pushing for more substantial change there was a lot of resistance most of my early articles were rejected by journals in the discipline and I didn't have tenure so that was very disturbing but I persist so so that that really what in this evidence that this gold mine of evidence that opened up for you you you you really found again and again the exceptions to what we perceived as the general rule about who we were exactly the the more I looked I found that in area after area of the law in area after area of political discourse there was plenty of talk about individual rights there was plenty of talk about Republican self-governance but there was also plenty of talk about race gender about America's a Christian nation etc and so that what was presented in the models on which I had been educated as marginal instead appeared to be have a much more central place in the overall frame not the only things going on but equally as important as many of the other things that had been stressed and so then the challenge became to see how all those things fit together I want to note though that even though the fact that people weren't buying my argument meant that I just kept piling up more and more evidence and finding more and more evidence and so I thought I could say this isn't the exception this is a central dimension of American experience this is a these are robust American traditions I found lots of evidence and that was ultimately important it was actually only when I went back through the texts of Louis hearts the text of Tocqueville that he built on gunnar myrdal and other influential writers and said look here are particulars of their accounts that just aren't persuasive because they haven't paid enough attention or they have made unpersuasive arguments about race and gender etc it's only when I not only provided the evidence but also directly criticized the iconic models that political scientists began to pay attention so so what what you were seeing was that the kind of when when the tire hits the road when the ideals have to be addressed by in in real political time with realities on the ground that it's still about building coalitions and that leaders often adjust to vested interests in areas like citizenship that lead them to draw lines that demonstrate that our perfect ideals are not realized in fact for some people yes actually my position is more radical than that okay you're right it's about building coalitions but it's not that the leaders have high ideals but to build coalitions they have to make concessions with some people whose ideals they don't like it is rather that we have had more ideals contending to govern America than we like to acknowledge Stephen Douglas in running against Abraham Lincoln Andrew Jackson in getting rid of the Indians woodrow wilson in segregating the federal civil service they were not making concessions to those who had nasty beliefs that they didn't accept they believed America was supposed to be a white man's nation that was part of their civic ideals and it is true that because so many Americans have been invested in these ideals of America that in building coalitions you have to take them into account and even politicians who don't embrace them fully like Lincoln himself his speeches make concessions to the white supremacist notions of his day nonetheless the reason that those concessions are necessary are in part because lots of America leaders as well as other Americans actually believe in these racial gender religious hierarchical notions of American identity well historically historically but it sounds very relevant for our times and we'll get to that in a moment in your other work you have a book on where you're looking at nation building on people hood i think you call it what the exact title of the stories of people hood encompass nations and other forms of political community and and and what would your arguing there's i understand it is that that leaders talk to people with narratives that help to build a sense of political community and the leaders both helped shape that community but they have to find that community the community has to be there is it does that it does that is that a fair rendering help me help me understand that as close i think finding goes too far to imply that the community is somehow already really there the in an effort to understand the construction of american civic identity in civic ideals i had to think more generally about well what are the processes through which census of common political identity come to be and i endorsed the view now that's widespread i think rightly in modern social sciences and humanities that there is no political community that is simply there that is simply natural and there is no political community that is uncontested in the sense that those who are members of what are recognized as existing political communities also are products of historical experiences that mean that they have a sense of multiple potential identities and allegiances and they're always people willing to try and mobilize them in a different direction than the community commitments they already have so the argument of that book is that more than political scientists have recognized it is a central continuing task of political leaders always to tell stories that help inspire people to think they should embrace the sense of political community and the leadership that those leaders are putting forward now they can't succeed if they don't tell stories that resonate with people so they do have to build on the pre-existing sense of identity the preexisting economic interest the preexisting ideologies or face that people have they have to build those drawn those elements and put them into a story that can persuade people to embrace that political community in effect to be part of a coalition to sustain it and of course they want that coalition to be one that not only embraces the political community but embraces those leaders as the people who should be in charge of it it would seem useful at this point to maybe compare some of our leaders and let's talk a little about Lincoln at first because he clearly in over taught at the time of his career in dealing with slavery really came up with a new definition of the community yes Lincoln redefined the Americans story as one in which the American people had created themselves as a people dedicated to realizing the principles of the Declaration of Independence it's not that that was never suggested before but Lincoln is the one who made that central to the American understanding the Declaration of Independence in the eyes of the courts does not really have any specific legal force it's the Constitution that's authoritative but Lincoln said we should interpret the Constitution as a set of structures designed to help us over time gressive Lee realized the purposes of the Declaration of Independence his own understanding of those purposes evolved when he first articulated this view in 1854 he said and the principles of the Declaration of Independence mean government by the consent of the governed that was the sheet anchor of American republicanism well that was a problematic position for him because it appeared to imply that african-americans who were governed should be enfranchised and he wasn't prepared to push for that either politically or personally it would have been disastrous I don't think at that point in his life he was prepared to embrace it so he reinterpreted his story to say we are dedicated to realizing the principles of the Declaration of Independence and those principles are that everybody should enjoy the basic rights of life liberty and free labor the right to the fruit of your own labor that meant slavery was against the principles of declaration of independence it did not clearly require enfranchisement and equal citizenship but he understood the Constitution and the American people as devoted to historic quest over time to realize the principles of declaration independence more fully for Americans and ultimately for all the world he said and I think that that story he sort of perfected it in his own mind as he went along and he eventually concluded it did mean you had to support black enfranchisement amongst other things it he also the example and the very difficult but ultimately successful transformations that his administration wrought in America through the civil war that made this story that we are the people of the Declaration of Independence seeking to fulfill it a much more central story in American political experience and development than it was before Reagan let's look at Reagan because because reagan in retrospect it's very clear that that he took the American narrative to a new place that that in a way harken back to sort of liberal notions of the the individual freed from the constraints of the state but but able to participate in the market it helped me with that in other words what what what was that his contribution what else was he saying you're absolutely right that that was the kind of story he told but there is a fascinating development that I think contributed to Reagan's political success from the time he began speaking out politically he was primarily anti-communism pro free enterprise at home but that took him so far when the various conservative groups began forming coalition's and holding meetings in the 1970s he began regularly giving annual speeches to the conservative convention and beginning in the early 1970s he hit on a new way of putting his story that became more and more dominant in his rhetoric over time and that is he seized on the story of john winthrop on the Arabella giving a sermon which said that the new Puritan colony would be as a city on a hill and from then on Reagan told the story of America's anti-communist free enterprise system as the story of a nation that had a kind of providential mission to be the light of Liberty to the world and this meant that by 1980 Reagan was able to add to the economic conservatives the emerging religious right movement in American politics as part of a common coalition that along with military conservatives proved broad enough to become predominant in American politics over the next generation and it's America as a city on a hill but a city on a hill devoted to free enterprise and personal liberty that's the Reagan story so so interestingly enough in in a funny kind of way our leaders part of their task is to be a storyteller that picks up strands of stories that are have already been told but constantly reorganizing them or adding new elements to essentially then have the coalition to actually get elected and then run the government that's exactly right the one further stage is that while you need to build a broad enough coalition to govern to get power and govern number one even though you might want a really broad coalition you can't include everybody because some of your core constituents don't want the agenda of other people to be part of your agenda so you you have to make some choices that also means that when you do come to power they're still going to be rival powers you don't have total power and so it shouldn't be understood that the story you use to build the coalition and to guide your policies simply gets implemented in pure form in your policies and institutional innovations they're always compromises and those compromises become the overall structure of governance of policies and institutions and then those have consequences changing life in ways that shape what new coalition's are formed and what new stories are told so so basically you have to be an acrobat on a high wire combining you know having in the one hand the narrative but on the other hand making real policies that that may impart being consistent to due to the other part of your act now one of Ronald Reagan's political skills not adequately recognized I think not even fully self-consciously acknowledged by himself was that as an old actor who knew he didn't want to lose his audience although he had a very strong story a very strong political ideology and tried hard to remain true to it if you look at his actual governance you'll see he made departures and accommodations to avoid alienating people too much over and over again that's something that some of the those who look to him today have lost sight of they treat him as more pure ideologue than he was in practice Obama how does he fit into this story of the leaders who have narratives to win the vote Obama is probably more conscious of the tasks of political storytelling than most leaders and he has he launched himself in the national prominence with his 2000 for speech which was designed to merge his personal story with his version of the national story and his story is that the Americas special feature and special mission is e pluribus unum out of many one that we find ways to achieve common agreements and pursue common goals without a facing our diversity he presented himself I'm had one of the most diverse backgrounds imaginable but I'm wholly committed to America my very diverse family we find ways to love and work together and help each other all Americans can do that in his speech in Cairo to the Muslim world early in his term he did an interesting variation of Lincoln who'd said in the Gettysburg Address that this nation was conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal Obama said this nation was founded on the principle that all people are equal and dedicated to e pluribus unum to achieving unity despite diversity and Obama's story which was inspiring during the campaign in a nation that felt deeply divided and polarized was that he was the guy that could get people of very different views to come together find common ground help solve common problems and move forward and he always says for those who refuse to do this that's not who we are as Americans he makes this the American story we overcome differences eep lorvis unum now his problem today is a very different one so let's look at the elements of the American gridlock paralysis fragmentation whatever you want to call it that exists in and we have to identify two central problems one is as a result of the Reagan Revolution the the stark inequality that has emerged I mean that's clear to everybody except certain factions obviously the threat that that poses and then the second is America's relative decline in the world so so as somebody who studied narratives and also looked at the way our ideals aren't totally realized because some of the vested interests and the way they work their way through legislation and other mean what would talk a little about that problem and what those two problems and how that what they pose for the American narrative and for political leadership because President Obama seems to be having a lot of trouble yes well on the first point it's just empirically undeniable that American economic inequalities have expanded to the greatest extent that we've known in our history since the late 19th century and maybe through the 1920s there was a diminishing of inequality from the New Deal through the Great Society on up to Reagan there's been a great expansion ever since we are profoundly divided about what to do about that people at the upper end I think there's nothing wrong with that it's consistent with economic growth for all a lot of people don't feel they're sharing in that economic growth it has proven that Obama's efforts to achieve e pluribus unum by brokering compromises on economic policies he just hasn't succeeded and so there is a question now of whether we need a politics that rather than simply seeking unity through compromise does mobilize part of the population to get predominant power on the part of one set of policies and solutions in order to break gridlock and part of Obama's challenge at this moment is whether he can mobilize broader support instead of just being the leader of reasonable compromise as the in the way that he has always tried to be these issues do connect with America's relative decline in the world it's still the world's largest economy it's still by far the world's overwhelmingly powerful military nation but it is true that the growth of American inequality has been achieved through the expansion of our financial sector and the relocation of most of our manufacturing overseas to other countries who are now out producing us and whose economies are proving better founded for growth than this I think unduly finance centered economy that we have developed so that is contributed to our national decline and this proposes this poses tremendous problems for Obama who already has attention in that his American story of a pluribus unum points to all of us embracing American identity but what does that mean when you deal in international affairs in which everyone doesn't accept that what's good for America is the common good well his answer has been to say well actually e pluribus unum is my global philosophy too and I'm going to work multilaterally and consensually and achieve compromises that are good for other countries but in a period of perceived American relative decline then for a lot of the Americans where he said I was going to bring you together and benefit America he can be seen as selling out America to all these other countries not standing up for it enough it was helpful to him in this regard that he did succeed in commanding the operation that killed Osama bin Laden and that showed you know America was still tough and effective in the world but that's not nearly enough to satisfy his critics who say oh you always goes around apologizing for America he's to multilateral as he's not standing up for us enough and I think that American interests are served by multilateral policies in many respects but the political challenge of having a story that persuades the American people that their interests are best served by those policies that is a very daunting challenge and I don't think anyone is meeting it right now and and is is part of the problem here that he's losing the coalition or finding the coalition or creating the coalition that would that would tie him to a narrative that would then resonate with the people is that what does that sort of flow from your other argument yes his coalition is both losing people and people that are still going to vote their vote for him now they're saying they're going to hold their noses and vote for the him and they may not turn out you know they're not going to vote for his opponent but they're not going to turn out it is fundamentally the failure to reach agreement on economic policies that could produce substantial job growth now I think Obama can truthfully claim that he may have averted a depression his predecessor saw job loss he has seen some job growth but it's very limited job growth and with wages stagnant or declining for many Americans and that failure to achieve economic success has made many independents give up on him and it is demoralizing for many in his base and so his coalition is vulnerable Republicans face the task of building an opposing coalition and that is daunting for them too but Obama has problems your new book still a house divided race and politics and Obama's America with Desmond written with Desmond s King really is it is interesting at two levels one it's it's telling us why the problem of race and doors but it's tying that to where our political system is and it's really a dark picture of a system that is polarized talk about that because what it's suggesting more broadly is the state of that system means that you're not going to get the kind of compromises and working solutions to this problem we always confront of making our ideals real yes there are unhappy ironies in abundance here argument is that American politics has always generated some central battleground racial issues slavery then after it was ended eventually the new issue emerged Jim Crow segregation and after it was ended eventually new issues emerged in the modern era the modern issues are whether racial policies should include race targeted and race conscious measures in which you decide policies on the basis of whether they will reduce racial inequalities or not or whether it's better to have colorblind policies rather than inflaming census of racial identity and difference that's the modern debate the first irony is that through much of American history the two political parties were divided internally over slavery over Jim Crow and so they sought not to contest over those policies but really to keep them off the agenda or to compromise them because they didn't want to be torn apart internally over what to do about slavery or Jim Crow their tendency not to address those issues meant that those inexcusable American institutions endured far longer than they should the distinctive feature of the modern era is that today the racial policy coalition's for race conscious or race or color blind policies they are almost fully identified with the two major parties the Democratic platform since 1972 have always called for some forms of affirmative action Republican platforms always denounce quotas and call for colorblind policies so now the parties are more sharply opposed over racial policy issues and that contributes to the more general polarization of American politics it also contributes to a couple of things the the party's increasingly have not argued about racial policy issues much at all even though they still have their official positions because the Democrats know their positions are less popular with the predominantly quite American electorate and so they don't emphasize them because they're not emphasizing them the Republicans don't have them to attack so for different reasons than in the past we have the parties avoiding actually talking about racial policy issues very much even Obama himself in his celebrated national constitution center speech on race during the campaign after the Reverend Wright controversy he talked about racial feelings but not about racial policies and it's also true that because we don't talk about racial policies we don't seek to achieve what we think are a range of reasonable compromises between more race conscious and colorblind measures again the irony is it was wrong to see compromise over slavery it was wrong to see compromise over Jim Crow segregation we think it's right to seek compromise over how race conscious or colorblind our policies should be we should choose what policies will be most effective both in reducing racial gaps and benefiting all Americans and some of those will be fully colorblind some might be colorblind policies but chosen for their good racial consequences there's lots of room for compromise we have our first black president who's devoted to compromise but the system is incapable of achieving compromise because we don't talk about racial racial policy issues at all and when we do it's in tired repeats of these two sharply polarized positions that have come to structure modern debate so bringing your your focus on political theory in understanding American ideals but also grounded in a sense of coalition's and the actual working out of politics is there is there a path that you see to get the u.s. out of its predicament if I had a path that I was really confident would get us out of our predicament I would probably not be having this conversation but would be in Washington trying to persuade people I don't think i have all the answers again my life experience has been that when i think i do have all the answers i better rethink i will say this that it is important to understand that both the modern racial policy coalition's the color blind folks and the race conscious race targeted folks see themselves as the true heirs of the modern civil rights movement they don't attack it they celebrate it as part of the American story the colorblind people quote Martin Luther King's saying that we should judge people not on the color of their skin but the content of their character the race conscious people quote Martin Luther King in the same speech as saying america owes a promissory note to those it has mistreated and so it has responsibilities to assist them and the fact that we have now a nation that through much of our history had politicians that openly spoke of racial white supremacy is an American ideal the fact that we now embrace with different interpretations the civil rights movement the end of segregation the battle for racial equality as a central element of our American story across the spectrum this is something we should be able to build on to say look we share commitments to finding ways to assist everyone while reducing racial equality that is a central part of the American story as we've decided to develop it over time and I think that if we have political leaders who have the courage and also the wisdom to see the opportunity in emphasizing these elements of the American story we have the potential to go forward but it means they need to talk about racial policies and right now none of them think it's safe to do that well on that note professor Smith I want to thank you for taking the time to be here today I've enjoyed it thank you and thank you very much for joining us this conversation with history

Richard Ford Interview: Politicians are Liars



I mean politicians in the United States speak the way they do because they're liars then they're trying to obscure the truth and in so doing trying to xq obscure themselves from any responsibility that the public might hold them to which would cause the public not to elect them but underlying all that is the notion that you get the politics that you deserve and then when we get the politicians of the sort that we have in the United States because we deserve them because we make them that way because we are hypocrites because we are ourselves liars and so we asked them to lie to us so that we will be happily lied to so it's not it's not the politicians fault alone it's the fault of it's the fault of the polity out of which those politicians emerge I'm interested in that because a lot of it's funny it's funny because it's so at variance from the truth you know when the truth is one thing and the utterance is another thing then you have the basis for comedy of irony and so for me that's an interesting thing to show in a book but I but I don't show it in in any way but a caustic way and I do i do write about politics I mostly read by politics for newspapers in Europe in America people who do what I do namely write novels are so basically irrelevant and thought to be untutored in the ways of policy politics then nobody asks us to write anything nobody cares what we think about that in a way that's freeing but in another way it's dismaying because in fact we do know something about it you

How The Government Shutdown Hurt Millions Of People On Food Stamps (HBO)



the government shutdown may be inconveniencing fliers and people filing tax returns but for people who rely on government assistance to get by like the more than 40 million who received food stamps it's much more than an annoyance snap recipients just got their benefits for February but they have no guarantee that any more money will be coming at the shutdown continues Nataly Tejada is a single mother of three children she works full-time at a rehabilitation center for people with disabilities and helps deliver food at her ons Dominican restaurant to make a little extra money on the side each month she earns about $2,400 before taxes Jaden where's your coat you're not going out there without a goal at the end of each month how close to your income and expenses end up being you know I live paycheck to paycheck I tried many times to save money and it's hard I usually don't ever get what I want I just go buy what I need what do you guys want me to cook for dinner did you made that you watch her lip she relies on five hundred and forty seven dollars and SNAP benefits every month to stay afloat every Gatorade you know you need to cut down on all that can you get a milk Jaden normally Natalie SNAP benefits come in the eighth of the month but like tens of millions of Americans she just got her February benefits three weeks early and she has no idea when or if the next payment is coming usually when I received my benefits I do like a large food shopping that would last me about a week or they gonna have yeah usually in the last week or second to last week I have to use my own money what have you been told about what's gonna happen with the food stamp program I don't really know what to expect but when I call to find out what how much I have in my car and it tells you that your next benefit you won't have anything what does it say it says your next benefit is zero dollars state and federal officials told us they don't have any information to share about what will happen in March but the USDA doesn't have enough reserves to cover the program if the shutdown lasts that long in Massachusetts explaining the situation to recipients often falls on state-funded outreach programs like project bread we can connect callers with information on a variety of food resources such as the SNAP program which is also known as food stamps Cara burns runs their hotline the hotline is kind of there to make sure they understand the reason for why they got their benefits early and to also let them know that it's now time for you to kind of budget out that money because you may not get anything for the month of March I've never experienced anything like this I mean there have been you know other things that have happened throughout the years that may have effect that people you know that are enrolled in snap but never to this extent what's different about this time is not having any answers I try not to think past the end of February I know it's really hard to hear that but I get emotional thinking about the number of families that are going to be affected by not having any benefits you

American Politics 2/2 – Party Politics



alright let's take a quick look at Party politics in America first thing you need to know is the two-party system there are two major parties in the United States the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and when you talked about the people within them you call them Democrats or Republicans then the elephant is basically the logo for the Republican Party and the donkey was previously used in actually still used sometimes for the Democratic Party even though their formal logo today has only this D in it the GOP is another more informal name for the Republican Party it stands for Grand Old Party but it's formally called the Republican Party every election in America is basically a contest between candidates from the Democratic Party and a candidate from the Democratic Party and one candidate from the Republican Party and here you see some colors by the way the color codings here in this system blue is the color of the Democrats and red is the color of the Republicans but first a candidate must defeat another of the same party in a primary election in other words he if you want to you know run for office for on this party ticket you must first perhaps defeat someone else who wants to do it at the same time for the same party and that's called a primary election so everything is various contests based here and very is typical of American individualism really and in prime elections very typical that only party members can vote but it varies so so all of these these congressmen and these centers not necessarily all but a lot of them first had to defeat an opponent from within the same party as him and then defeat the Republican or Democratic the opposite opponent from the opposite party the parties don't have strict leadership and what I mean by that is to tell you that in most of the world parties have a leader and that leader is really the leader that leader had will will lead the party and take major positions in government but these parties do not and and what I just told you about having primary elections and having to run against people in your own party that's strange in most countries where they have a party hierarchy and a leadership that basically that's candidates itself and chooses who runs against who from another party so in other words Barack Obama has never been the leader and is not the leader of the Democratic Party and this other person is that this is Mitt Romney who was the presidential candidate for the Republicans in 2012 he lost of course it was obama's reelection and here are some logos by the way this is this is kind of Obama's logo from his presidential race and this was the Romney's were logo Mitt Romney's logo the third party candidates can run for office and often have no party but this they still they're still often called third party candidates meaning they're not affiliated with the these two other ones if they have no party they're called independence and this map this shows you from probably the 2012 senatorial election the Senate seats that were elected then it's not all of them because they have six-year terms but these the ones that are not either blue or red these are independents and those are the two gray ones here so two senators from 2012 did not belong to any political party called independence and the US has a two-party system by the way by practice not by law and this is from the 1912 election presidential election where the Theodore Roosevelt of former president ran on a third party ticket with his own party and came in second so there's nothing against other political parties gaining ground it's just that it's very very difficult American liberalism and conservatism those are sort of the ideologies that you need to know about both parties have people who identify as liberal moderate or conservative although liberals are mostly associated with Democrats and conservatives with Republicans as these stats or will show typical liberal positions will include support for government spending for instance welfare regulation and being open to same-sex marriage and being pro-choice that's for the abortion issue being in favor of woman's right to choose to have an abortion whereas typical conservative positions would include being in favor of a favor of less government spending and in favor of deregulation and traditional marriage being not open to same-sex marriage and being pro-life you know being against abortion rights and being pro-gun rights just some a there are conservatives who don't have to agree with all of these positions it's just that these are all typical conservative positions some media personalities are famous exponents of liberalism about conservatism for instance Bill O'Reilly the man on the right here basically a news pundit from the network Fox News John Stewart had his at The Daily Show one conservative one liberal and many media people will identify as one or the other and maybe meet for debates like these two did American Party politics before 1900 just a very short very simplistic primer here political parties did not exist when the Constitution was written just so you know that they came later however George Washington Thomas Jefferson John Adams you know the first presidents they they still might might have identified as sort of having a position in a political position reminiscent of a political party even though political parties did exist and Federalists like George Washington although more so his vice president John Adams and that was one sort of faction and the other one was the Democratic Republicans strange name really given well we know which political party we have today but nevertheless Democratic Republicans represented by Thomas Jefferson the Federalists more in favor of the federal government and Democratic Republicans like Thomas Jefferson more in favor of states rights so Jeffersonian democracy is a word favoring agrarian populism meaning like for for the farmer and decentralization of power again like more states rights thinking Andrew Jackson who was once who also became a present founded the Democratic Party in 1828 which at that time favored less a fair liberalism less if it's a French term this is not like liberalism today this is has more in common with conservatism today leslie fair liberalism its economic liberalism it's being in favor of deregulation and free trade anyway this president had his face on the twenty dollar bill but again this is the man who founded the democratic party even though it has changed a lot the republican party was found in 1854 and its first president was abraham lincoln and this party was in favor of protectionism not less a fair liberalism not a free trade but protectionism and modernization more government spending in investment and also of course abolitionism being in against slavery for in favor of abolishing slavery which means sort of against some states rights because slavery used to be a states rights issue and since 1900 just a few things here the progressive era is what we call this period around 1900 1910 as about those years maybe to 1920 as well Theodore Roosevelt was Republican and Woodrow Wilson who was a Democrat they both supported regulation and social legislation meaning not not not really a welfare state yet but supporting some measures to help poor people you might say FDR Franklin Delano Roosevelt not related to a Theodore Roosevelt is famous for his New Deal coalition which was huge a coalition with the segregationist south the southern states were segregationist they meaning segregation between whites and blacks right until 1964 that's when the New Deal coalition broke away these the South more went to the Republicans instead of the Democrats the South had been democratic during you know the Civil War since Abraham Lincoln was a Republican we represented the Union at the northern states anyway moderate Republicans dominated the party the Republican Party in the interwar sorry the post-war years with Dwight David Eisenhower who was president former world war ii veteran and a Nelson Rockefeller who was a vice president to Richard Nixon Richard Nixon was himself vice president to Dwight David Eisenhower so these were moderate Republicans whereas you have some conservative candidates like Barry Goldwater who lost in 1964 to lyndon b johnson while ronald reagan also conservative won against Jimmy Jimmy Carter in 1980 you can tell by these electoral maps how Goldwater's lost was tremendous in 1964 Reagan's win was tremendous in 1980 the conservative wing has grown while the word liberal has become a pejorative meaning a sort of a dirty word that happened basically around 1990 you might say some examples of party politics here you need to know what a divided government is because keep in mind you could have a president of one party and a congress dominated by the other party and when you have that that means you have divided government if you are to have legislation passed it must be passed through what it's called bipartisanship that means both parties have to agree on something in order to pass it because Congress can what could want one thing in order to have a past president must agree and then you know sign it and obviously we have divided government under most of Barack Obama's tenure Republicans have controlled at least the House of Representatives most of the time and also the Senate for the latter latter years and the tea party movement is an example of party politics here Tea Party movement which came about after Obama won his first election represents the most conservative Republicans basically the most anti Obama Republicans at that time Bernie Sanders is a completely different figure who has been an independent politician basically the most successful independent in American political history he has called himself a Democratic Socialist which is really kind of a dirty word has been a dirty word for quite some time in America and but he has done it nonetheless and hey he has been a congressman and a senator and of course tried to run for president in 2016 it doesn't look like he'll win by the way it would probably be Hillary Clinton who was beating him in this Democratic primary possibly at least and and then she will go on to face the Republican candidate who was with who will would have won their primary some more examples here illegalized a marijuana and abortion and same-sex marriage and gun control these are very typical partisan issues where most Democrats and Republicans probably don't view it the same way or at least liberals and conservatives I should say take very different positions while something like capital punishment for instance is less of a partisan issue I would say but in it and either in any case most of these issues are very states rights sort of things so the state's issues and that's why you have many states where marijuana is not legalized and when you have states where it is and you have states that have banned the death penalty and other states that have not so it's kind of a state's issue the federal government generally doesn't deal with many of those things although the US Supreme Court can do and has done and for instance 2015 Supreme Court decided that same-sex marriage will be legal for all the states libertarians that's a different kind of party a libertarian party but this person that's wrong Paul who has tried to run for president several times on the Republican ticket is probably a few times on the libertarian party ticket as well libertarians are the ones that want both small government meaning less government spending and lower taxes and etc but also freedom of choice and therefore generally positive to stuff like abortion and same-sex marriage and Merah legalize marijuana therefore you know they're kind of conservative on one thing and liberal on the other anyway that's the libertarians and just a final thing here note that in America is kind of well known for its very very low voter turnout with less than sixty percent generally less than 60% of the popular voting population participating in presidential elections which are the most popular and less than forty in the midterm elections which are two years after the presidential election anyway thanks for watching hope you'll catch my other videos as well

Party Instability: Why American Politics Feels Broken



American politics feels more chaotic and unstable than ever our political parties have sorted into ideological opposites but there's a reason for all this turmoil America's political instability is occurring because of deep ongoing economic and demographic structural changes that are causing existing voting blocs to regroup and reconsider which issues motivate them and which party they support as a result control of the legislative and executive branches keeps shifting back and forth and notably these structural changes are affecting countries all over the world what is stable today isn't stable tomorrow and political parties have to adjust in order to find positions that win them a majority of voters luckily there's a reason to be hopeful this has happened before in our history for example in response to the Great Depression Democrats found a winning combination of issues with the New Deal they promised voters security from financial ruin made welfare a popular voting platform and as a result went on to control Congress for 60 years today political parties are struggling to find a winning combination of positions on the challenges that are causing people to change political allegiances including global trade immigration automation access to health care and inequality once one political party figures out a winning combination of policies that can consistently win them elections political stability will return you

🇺🇸 American Politics in the Trump Era | Fault Lines



hi Donald John Trump do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute that I will faithfully execute it's been just over a year since Donald Trump won the u.s. presidential election and shook the country and its political system to the core between the unpredictable statements and tweets it's pretty hard to look away from the everyday chaos that dominates a news cycle but under the surface the turbulence Trump has brought to Washington has forced both Republicans and Democrats to question who they really are the best question you can ask about American politics is how parties define themselves do they define themselves as not the other guys or they do they define themselves as something pure and real these two political parties are intellectually exhausted and it's not clear what either of them stands for I think and I think most of the Brassell instinct that these parties are really uninspiring and unimpressive and we need to do some fundamental reworking of things in this country in this episode of fault lines we'll explore the way Donald Trump has impacted American politics and the fractures he's exposed in the country and his political parties with Donald Trump in power the Republican Party has full control of Washington in the White House and both chambers of Congress so the past few months since he took office should have been blissful but they have been and one day on Capitol Hill encapsulated that it should have been a good day as Trump prepared to visit with Republican senators to discuss the one issue they can all agree on tax cuts but before Trump even arrives a brewing feud with a prominent GOP senator who had recently said he wouldn't seek reelection took over look I think standing up in front of the American people and stating untruths that everybody knows to be untrue just attempted bullying that he does which everybody sees through just the dividing of our country you would think he would aspire to to be the President of the United States and act like a pros in the United States but you know that's just not gonna be the case apparently Trump came and went and afterwards Republican Senate leaders tried to protect unity and downplay the president's feud with their colleagues if there's anything that unifies Republicans it's tax reform we've been looking for the opportunity to do this literally for years we now have a president who will sign it who believes in what we're trying to do and we're gonna concentrate on what our agenda is and not any of these other distractions that you all may be interested but that appearance of calm and unity faded pretty quickly in less than an hour we just heard that Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is not seeking reelection he says he feels like he doesn't have a place in the Republican Party anymore why didn't you speak up what are we going to say mr. president I rise today to say enough flake gave an impassioned speech to explain his decision at its core it was a rejection of Trump and his brand of politics it must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret regret because of the state of our disunion regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics flake was facing re-election in 2018 but in the past year as he began to speak out against Trump he saw his approval ratings dry why did you decide to do this now after everything that's happened in the presidential campaign and in the months since the inauguration I'm not leaving the Senate I'm just not running again so I'll be here for 14 months it is easier to speak out if I could if I could run the kind of race I'd like to run and believe I could win a Republican primary I might go forward but but it's that fracture between establishment Republicans and those from the far-right branches of the party is also playing out in the state of Alabama where there's a high profile Senate race in the September primary election Republican voters here chose Roy Moore to be their nominee over an establishment candidate already serving in the US Senate this is a key race because losing here would endanger the Republicans thin majority in the Senate we're getting ready to welcome the Republican candidate for Senate without further ado let's give judge Roy Moore a warm AFR debut welcome you've probably already heard of Roy Moore because of a scandal that's overshadowed his campaign in November news broke of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s allegations he's denied but even before that Moore was a highly controversial candidate as he got the thumbs up from the president we came to hear him speak in late October when he was addressing the Alabama Federation of Republican Women there's a big battle going on in the Republican Party we've forgotten where we've come from and what we are about here a few headlines this from Washington Post Jeff Flake out Roy Moore in heaven help us well I hope heaven does help us more is a staunch evangelist and throughout his career as a state judge he stirred controversy by trying to inject religion into his courtroom the United States Supreme Court created out of thin air a right of marriage for two persons of the same gender as a judge he refused to enforce the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage it gives me a violating the rule of law not taking what is a violation of rule of law when we have a country thinking then whatever the Supreme Court comes out with in their eloquence is law that refusal to enforce the Supreme Court's ruling got him removed from the bench for a second time the first time was when he installed a giant monument to the 10 commandments in the government building and then refused to take it down I want to bring God back into government he's also said that a congressman shouldn't be sworn in because he's Muslim and he's rallying voters in one of the country's most divisive issues undocumented immigrants the Liberals holler and they're put these people on television that worked hard no doubt they did no doubt they're very sympathetic toward their position they were brought here as a children they've grown and grown up it's been years now and people want to sympathize with them but it resulted and has resulted in a permanent evil here's a guy who campaigned on getting kicked off of state courts not once but twice for what ethics you know people kicked him off argue for it for forcing his beliefs on the state he is so far to the right that I think he will be unique among Senate Republicans in a caucus that has moved to the right are we ready for Senator Moore [Applause] more maybe on the political fringe but in a lot of ways he fits the model Donald Trump built a firebrand candidate who wasn't backed by party leaders but in a field of establishment candidates Republican voters made him their nominee and both Moore and Trump have raised the question of what and who the Republican Party is now [Applause] [Applause] from this day forward a new vision will govern our land I don't think Republicans in Washington or Republican elites are I understand to this day why Trump succeeded this American carnage stops right here and stops right now we must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products stealing our companies and destroying our jobs protection will lead to great prosperity and strength what the president has revealed is that actually the Republican Party was probably always in terms of its voters and it's animating forces much more nationalistic than a lot of us believed or thought or considered it's not so much about free markets he's figured out a way to just like touch into that gut emotion that Republican voters want to hear they want to hear a president who hates Washington with every fiber of his being and who thinks that his voters are getting lost in the new global World Order it's time to expose the crooked media deceptions and yes by the way they are trying to take away our history and our heritage I don't Trevor Saul so if he's a real estate developer right he looks at a piece of property figures out well what's gonna be right in that piece of property he looked at the Republican Party he said this is an incredibly right-wing party this is a more right-wing party than its leadership understands and so what Donald Trump has done is to make himself the vehicle for that extreme right and anybody that thinks he's gonna break that or alter that he isn't going to that's the base but more importantly he's giving them what they want the impulses escape goat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful backward looking people in the case of the Republican Party those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful backward looking minority party the Republicans aren't fighting a civil war policy I think these senators recognize and Jeff Flake said as much the party that they represent is changing underneath their feet as we speak and they realize that you can't criticize Trump and all the things he stands for in all the positions he has they don't agree with and win a Republican primary Thank You mr. president I yield the floor it really is an identity crisis [Applause] to introduce to you as a Republicans trying to figure out what their party's turning into the Democratic Party is still coming to terms with its loss the forces at work in the 2016 election are still with us it was a perfect storm deep currents of anger and resentment flowing through our culture a political process and press that told voters my emails were the most important story but that doesn't explain what happened during the Democratic primaries when a self-described Democratic Socialist managed to seriously challenge the politician as established as Hillary Clinton but there's been a deep division in the Democratic Party that now goes back to 1968 and it's a huge scorching division that is very rarely discussed there's an establishment grouping that believes Democrats can never win unless they're just marginally better than Republicans right it's like a kinder gentler Republican Party then there's the so-called practical or compromising left Clinton had going into the 2016 race the establishment no question and a lot of the practical or compromising left I certainly understand the appeal of saying let's start all over let's start with you know single-payer okay what's the idealistic left of the Democratic Party you know Bernie Sanders proof it's huge [Applause] is the antidote to billionaire control over our political process is when working people in young people and seniors and people of all colors and religions come together [Applause] who knows when bernie sanders come along who a lot of ways was the antithesis of hillary probably some ways good am bad that he resonated more authenticity he had a much more forceful and inspiring platform when bolded unapologetic platform and that resonated with people Sanders seems to have revealed some of the inner desires residing within Democratic voters but the problem for party leaders is how to reconcile that in the Trump era President Trump were to stop tweeting and start leading we have seen no leadership from this president whether it's on tax reform whether it's on health care whether it's on North Korea all he does is tweet and make the problem worse Americans don't want that they definitely want to say they're not Trump but do they want to say also and we are something really different here's who we are and that's what the wrestling with do you just run against Trump or do you literally stake out a set of positions that offer you as a clear alternative not just a Trump but to the politics that gave you Trump and that's a much deeper much more fundamental thing they unveiled a message a couple months ago it was called I have to look it up because I can't even remember it it was so not memorable the better deal a better deal a better deal American families deserve a better deal our better deal has three goals more money in your pocket the party released an economic proposal that seemed to target people who voted for Trump particularly white working-class voters there are people are in our country who are getting screwed every single second minute and hour of the day the Democrats are obsessed with how do you appeal to them speak to their issues pull them back into the party fray helping people middle-class working-class of every region look rather than trying to excite their own base the Democrats seem to be widening their tent some say at the expense of their core values want us to do and that's what our party's focused on can you be a Democrat and the support of the Democratic Party of you're pro-life Lee of course earlier this year some party leaders said they would be open to supporting candidates who opposed abortion rights they're saying well some of these white working-class voters may actually not like choice issue so we shouldn't alienate them and so to certain for one for issue raises well what's the point of being a Democrat if the Democratic Party is still searching for itself in the age of Trump grassroots movements aligned with the party are clear about who the party should be we've been fighting for immigration reform we've been fighting for reproductive rights we've been turning out for criminal justice and we've been voting down ballot on issues we've got to make sure they represent our issues and if we are at those polls and in the streets and fighting for our rights then guess what the Democratic Party will have to catch up to us we went to Detroit where organizers of the women's march the large demonstrations after Trump's inauguration gathered people here seem to have a more crystallized view than Democratic Party leaders of how it should move forward and white hasn't so far the Democratic Party is – male – pale and too stale the conversation it's often reduced to this question of you know who is though how do we get the white working-class back as opposed to how do we build the kind of coalition that's multiracial that's really standing up for everybody that people are excited to be a part of let me just you know let me just tell you some Democrats can win in this country without Black Widow earlier this year dozens of black women including many of the women here wrote an open letter to the head of the Democratic National Committee saying the party was taking them for granted despite the fact that one of the party's most loyal voting blocs the reality is most of the party deals with what white men who sit in the room you're right and they decide what the message is who the messenger is how to deal with that message as women and as women of color we've got to inject energy into the Democratic Party if we're gonna win the Democratic Party needs to restructure and it needs to restructure from the ground up but it needs to reflect the diversity that's in this room have you talked to Democrats all often saying well one thing about us is that we're a motley bunch and that makes us a bit of a dysfunctional family you'll hear Democrats make that criticism of themselves the weakness of the Republican Party is that it doesn't have that diversity we're not gonna be able to get where we say we're going as Democratic activists try to make leaders embrace the party's diversity Republicans seem to have done the opposite what's not discussed at all is that Trump won the majority of non working-class white voters and so this is not just the white working-class problem this is a question of what is going off white voters was going on with racism in this country and why are all those other folks actually supporting him they're playing to the lowest common denominator within politics rather than summoning people to their highest and best selves hillarie clip disruption terrorism and weakness trump has undoubtedly appealed to a part of the Republican base by playing to and even perhaps bringing out fear and division particularly when it comes to race in that sense the country's polarization is reflected in the way both parties have responded to America's changing demographics the Republican elite they understand that by doubling down on tribalism they're forfeiting the future but from their point of view they're doing the rational thing because they throw away the Republican base of today in the hopes that ten to twenty years from now Asians and blacks and Hispanics may be more open to Republic voting Republican again they'll all be thrown out of office between our way to understand the Republican Party right now is this is a party that's just experienced shock you know but it isn't a shock where they were taken over per se by something different in reality they were taken over by their worst self it's a more word IRA if the party's lifeblood is now Trump in his base the Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is also part of its DNA in late October as the election got closer more visited Capitol Hill to meet his potential future colleagues and stood by his belief that a Muslim congressman should not be able to serve because of his religion and he also reiterated his views on religion and government despite all this he still had to support an even endorsement of senators here the day after his visit which is a week before allegations of sexual misconduct came out we tried to talk to Republicans senators about their support of more and if he represents what the party is now Roy Moore was on the hill last night what do you think about his candidacy I disagree with the number of the statements he's made there's never been a absolute purity test in terms to ask you about your endorsement of Roy Moore the Alabama Senate nominee are you worried about some of these extremists comments about this just call her press office I'm trying to get to a converse here but I mean this is a man who's called for keith ellison a member of congress to not serve because of his religious used as i concern you at all judge Roy Moore was on the hill yesterday are you concerned that someone like him could be your colleague in the Senate on the Republican side is called is llama false religion he's made other pretty radical comments he's not the first southern senator and he's not a senator yet but he's not the first senator to do that and not just the southern people have done some things like that when you get up here it tends to D radicalize you it tends to cause you to realize hey there are a lot of different viewpoints in this world and we we above all people should allow for the exchange of ideas even those that we don't agree I profess with the man that I I appreciate it guys good to see when the news did break of the allegations against Roy Moore party leaders quickly dropped their support for him Roy Moore should step aside the women who've come forward or entirely credible he's obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate but why did it take this for them to withdraw their support why did they support Moore before despite his controversial views that were already well-known in the end it may not matter because the heart of the party seems to be with more what you have to wonder is would Roy Moore have been able to become the Republican nominee and possibly a u.s. senator if Donald Trump had not taken over the party Moore's fate will be determined on December 12th when he'll face his Democratic opponents a civil rights attorney known for prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan it's a similar logic republican leaders used a year ago to support Trump the other side can't win no matter what party first as long as Trump is there and as long as they can see a route politically this is what the Republican Party is gonna be it is not going to change and you're gonna see people on the periphery say well I'm morally offended by this but by and large the story is not the the outliers who make the break the story is the overwhelming majority that go right where Trump stone together we will determine the course of America and the world for many many years to come this core concept that one party can win on on fear division another can win on hope these go to core emotions right one of the great tragedies of American politics is that we often think that the anger and the fear is what's authentic both parties do have an identity crisis right now if nothing else Trump has clarified the battle lines from this day forward it's going to be only America first America first you