Race and the Presidential Election: A Discussion with Tricia Rose and James Morone

Race and the Presidential Election: A Discussion with Tricia Rose and James Morone


[MUSIC PLAYING] Good afternoon, everybody. Thanks so much for coming today. I’m Ed Steinfeld. I’m the Director of
the Watson Institute and it’s a great honor
and privilege for me to introduce this Taubman
Center for American Politics and Policy event, dialogue,
discussion on race in the presidential election. Of course, in some ways
more appropriate for Jim Morone to be standing
here and introducing because he is the
Director of the Taubman Center within Watson. But because Jim is going to be
a key player in the dialogue, I’m going to introduce. Let me just say just a couple of
things by way of introduction. The first is look, I
don’t need to underscore the importance of this
topic in American politics and in politics globally,
but at the same time, there’s been so much heat and so
much hyperbole surrounding it. There’s so much heat and
so little light, I think, in the public discourse. And therefore it
means so much to me personally that we have
these kinds of discussions, not just among those
scholars who are leading it, but among you all. There really is thoughtful
discussion and lots of real experience brought
to that discussion. So thank you all for
participating in that. I think fundamentally,
that’s the Watson mission, to try to encourage this
kind of scholarly dialogue, public dialogue. It’s the Taubman mission. It’s CSREA mission, and
that gets to a second point. Nobody owns these
issues in any way. These are issues for
society, issues globally. And to the extent within
Brown, across our community, we engage one another,
share knowledge across different institutes,
different portions of the community of population. Again, I think
mission accomplished. So the fact that CSREA, Taubman,
Watson, that we’re all in it in some way, searching for
light in all that heat, again, makes me feel happy in
a time that’s not always such a great time. And again, I’m grateful
to you all for doing that. And then last but
by no means least, just a little bit of a
plug for at least some of the things going on at
Watson, some of which extend outward. But we have a range
of programming surrounding the election. We have– just go to our
website or #watsonelection 2016. You’ll see a lot of
stuff, a number of series. I won’t go through them all,
but every other Tuesday, we have a series
primarily for students, but people are
welcome to attend. We had one this past Tuesday,
the next one on September 27th. We have a set of discussions,
first one on September 23rd, led by David Corn. He’s the Washington bureau
chief of Mother Jones. And we have a series of
panels on race, partisanship, and policy that will be here. We have one on the 22nd
and one in October 6th, so lots of things going on. Let me just very quickly
introduce our discussions today. So you know both
individuals, but let me just say Tricia Rose is
the Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies and
Associate Dean of Faculty for Special Initiatives here at
Brown, a Professor of Africana Studies and of course,
the Director of CSREA. Tricia specializes
in 20th century African American culture and
politics, social thought, popular culture,
and gender issues. You’re all familiar
with her works, Black Noise, Longing to
Tell, and many others. Thank you so much, Tricia,
for coming here today in what’s an incredibly
busy time for you. And of course Jim Morone,
who’s the John Hazen White Professor of Public Policy,
Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies,
and, as I noted, the Director of the Taubman
Center for American Politics and Policy here at Watson. Jim, too, I’m sure you’re
familiar with his many books, The Democratic Wish,
Hellfire Nation, many others. Just phenomenal scholars. I am going to leave
it to Jim and Tricia to begin the dialogue
and then we’re going to open it up to you all. Thanks. Thank you, Ed. Thanks, Ed. And thank you all for coming. It’s just a pleasure. It’s always a pleasure to
be on a podium with Tricia. Here’s how we’re going to do
it, where I’m going to give you some historical grounding. I don’t– [LAUGHTER] That is apparently not allowed. You were saying heat
and light, right? Yeah, no light, no heat. So let me do a very quick
historical grounding while the light
remains and then I am going to interview,
briefly, Tricia and ask her a few questions. All right, you guys are
leaning on the light. That’s what’s happening. Or maybe something more
complicated’s happening. I know. The polls are tightening. I’m not leaning on the wall. Ah. So and then we want
to turn it over to you and just talk about
your questions and engage in a
broader dialogue. You all opinions on this topic. But first, let’s do
some historical framing of this whole business. There’s a sense–
almost everybody has a sense that something’s
new about this campaign, that what’s going on in
terms of racial dialogue, in terms of talking
about Muslims, in terms of how the crowds meet
Donald Trump– something’s new. But if you stop and think about
what it’s a little puzzling, that in terms of
nativism, the things that were said a century
ago make anything being said now pale in comparison. If you think about the
Chinese Exclusion Act, for example, or the Know-Nothing
Party, very nasty dialogues. And after all, we
had a party that first was organized to support
slavery and and then organized to permit Jim Crow
and segregation. So racism isn’t new. Nativism isn’t new. But something is new and I
want to point to exactly what I think that is. So here’s the historical
pattern that I see as parties
developed vis-a-vis these whole set
of racial issues. And if you’ll forgive
me– and I promise to do this very
lightly– let me go back to the very first
contested election. I know, you thought
you were coming to hear about Donald
Trump, and here I am talking about John Adams–
just for a second though. So the very first
contested election is the election of
1800 and that election features some very interesting
stuff on this dimension. John Adams is running
for re-election. He took over after Washington. He’s a Federalist. And one of them
main achievements, if I can put it that way, in
his presidency is the Alien Act. You see, the
Federalists were very worried about these foreigners
coming into the country and they wanted to
make sure they didn’t become naturalized Americans. The Alien Act says,
14 years before you can become an American, the
most stringent restrictions we’ve ever had are foreigners
because these foreigners were coming from France. And you know, they had
this revolution in France and they’re afraid they’d
bring these ideas to America. They come from Ireland and
the Irish aren’t really quite up to American
Republican standards, so Federalists
looked down on them. So they are all about keeping
foreigners out of the country. The Democratic Republicans,
Jefferson’s party, are outraged. They think foreigners, like
the Irish and the French, ought to vote immediately. Maybe make them wait a year,
but they’re very tender. Their idea of
building a coalition is engaging as many
foreigners as they can. Jefferson wins the election
thanks to the Three-Fifths rule, making him
the quote, unquote, “first negro president.” Adams would have won,
but since the states that had slaves– that
had a lot of slaves– got a lot more
electoral college votes, Jefferson wins the election. You see, his party, while
very friendly to immigrants, is very supportive of keeping
African Americans in chains, even where black men are
free– not women yet– where black men are free. They don’t want them voting. Federalists permit free black
men to vote in New Hampshire, in Massachusetts, in New
York, and in a couple of other states, not the
Democratic Republicans though. Note the pattern–
one party reaching out to one liminal, one marginal
group, the immigrants, the other party reaching
out to African Americans, the free African Americans. And when they suddenly
realize they’re never going to get elected–
the Federalists, that is. If we permit slavery, they
become the anti-slavery party, indeed. The next 36 years see 32
men in the White House who own slaves, that that slave
vote– that three-fifth vote, cast by white people who own
slaves– that 3/5 vote puts the slave power into place. And here’s the pattern. The two parties split on which
groups on the margins of power they want to bring in, and
that becomes the pattern through American history. It’s not that there
isn’t lots of racism. It’s not that there
isn’t a lot of nativism. It’s that as far as I can see–
I’m writing a book on this and two years from now, I’ll
be a little bit more literate on it– but as far
as I can see now, the two parties constantly split
on who they wanted to bring in, that is, until now. What’s happened now I
think is unprecedented. There’s variations. I mean the Democratic Party
once split between the most segregationists and the
least segregationists– the civil rights movement– but
again, the kind of splitting. Now we have one party that
is built on the white vote, the Republican Party. If you look from Ronald Reagan
to Romney, what you’ll find is the Republican vote
is, on average, 88% white and it doesn’t vary very much. It is a white person’s party. We’ve not had that kind of
party without either immigrants or African Americans
in that party. And it developed slowly. 1972, the South flips
and whites start moving towards the
Republican Party and African Americans
really exit the party. It becomes the white
person’s party. And then the
immigrant vote really crystallizes in the 1990s. Immigrants were
all over the place, depending on country of origin
and political attitudes. People who came from Vietnam
tended to be Republican. People from Korea, likewise. On the other hand,
if you’re from India, if you’re from China, you
tend to be a Democrat. That’s how the
demographics– all over. By the 1990s, the Republicans
come to power in Congress and take a very strong
anti-immigration line. Pete Wilson runs
for the president from the governorship
of California, very strong anti-immigrant. And quite suddenly
by the mid 1990s, you have a party that’s been
the white person’s party, that’s driven– by their policies,
by their rhetoric– everybody else out of their party. So here we have a party,
the Republican Party, that we can characterize, and
I think in unprecedented terms, as the white person’s party. And the Democrats–
people who code themselves as non-white
over this time drift to the Democratic Party. The average Democratic
vote in the same period, Reagan to Romney, is
39% of the white vote, exactly what Barack Obama got. The result, incidentally, was
the worst electoral college run in American history. The Democrats could
count on no state. It turned out in 1980,
’84, ’88, 39% of white vote wasn’t going to get you elected. But the American demographics
changed, and slowly but surely, the party
that became home to voters who didn’t
code themselves as white started to do better. And this happens in two
steps, very interesting steps. First, it’s a party
where African Americans and immigrants come
and get nothing. Katherine Tate, our
colleague, talks about the black vote as captive
of the Democratic party. They had nowhere else to go. The Democrats gave them nothing. Paul Frymer talks about
a vote that no one wants. The Democrats need
them, but they want to pretend that
they’re not in the party because it’s only going
to suppress their turnout. It’s only going to
suppress the vote they get from the white vote. And then demographic
changes drive things. Politics change. And what happens is
the Democratic Party begins to embrace, in its
own clumsy way, voters who do not code themselves white. In 2012, the
Democratic caucus– I’m sorry, 2011– becomes the first
caucus in American history in Congress, in the House, to
be minority white male, 49% white male. Katherine Tate writes
another book and she says, competence– now the
African American agenda looks a lot like the
Democratic Party agenda. The two things come together. So what we’ve got
now is a party where people who don’t code
themselves white on census forms moving powerfully
to the Democratic Party across all sectors,
across all groups, and people who see themselves as
white in the Republican Party. Now all this sort of
went under the table. Everybody knew about it. Political scientists
wrote about it. We didn’t talk about it. It wasn’t really polite. See, what we really said
we were talking about was size of government. Republicans are
against government and Democrats would
say, well, when they’re saying they’re against
government or food stamps or all that
stuff, they’re really saying they
don’t like black people. But the Republicans said,
what are you talking about? We’re talking about liberty. It’s crazy. And so there was
this kind of dance. And then along
comes Donald Trump, rips the cloth off, and
calls out to everybody, I know who’s in
this party, so I’m going to call out
and embrace you. He throws aside all the
other Republican stuff. Small government, forget it. Privatizing Medicare, forget it. All that stuff, never mind. Being tough on Putin, forget it. But hey, if you’re a little
worried about non-white people, come to me. And so the Republicans are
in this terrible agony. They have long prided–
the Paul Ryans of the party are sort of proud of the
arguments they’ve been making. And here comes someone
along who sort of suggests what the Democrats
have been saying might might be just right. If you go– if you
haven’t listened, you have to listen to Trump
talking about Judge Gonzalo Curiel. So everybody says, well,
he blamed the judge on not being sympathetic
because he was Mexican. But if you listen
to the actual rally, it’s not the way it went. He goes, there’s this judge. His name is Gonzalo
and everybody’s booing and hissing and yelling. So it comes out of
this deep animosity. So what we’ve
politely ignored now has become acute
right on the surface. Qunnipiac does a poll,
is Trump a bigot? 72% of non-whites say, oh yeah. 59% of the electorate
says, oh yes, including Paul Ryan, who
says, textbook case of racism. But only 29% of
Republicans think that he’s a textbook
bigot, which is to say now we’ve come to a
case where the parties are just saying really different
things about both race and immigration,
whether it’s Muslims, whether it’s Latino Americans,
whether it’s African Americans. For Trump, as far as
political scientists can see, the best predictor
of support for Trump is agreeing with
the statement, I’m worried what will happen
if the United States– when the United States–
becomes majority minority. Because the last piece of this
is that millennials become majority minority– I’m sorry. People under 21 become majority
minority in three years and the whole population in
somewhere around the year 2043 and the voting population
some years after that. So this huge sea
change we have not begun to get our
minds around and one question Trump provokes is,
is this a reaction to that? Because lots of things are going
to change in American politics in the intermediate run. Now Hillary has the problem. She wins if she rouses
Obama’s coalition. That is, if the people
who vote for Obama come out in great
numbers, she wins. But she’s a bit
maladroit as a spokesman, as a statesman of
the kind of party I’ve just described,
this party that looks very much like what Jesse
Jackson once called a rainbow coalition. So in short, what’s
new under the sun, I think unprecedented
in American history, is first a racial sort that
developed over a generation. People who code themselves
white in one party. People who code themselves
non-white is another party. And then suddenly it
all coming to a point where the candidate who
acknowledges that and sort of strips away everything
that the party has been standing for making
a very pointed election. And now– if you read today’s
newspaper of this week’s newspaper– that the
election is very close, a sort of an agonizing
time for people who really care about
race inclusiveness and American electoral politics. So with that as background,
and before we turn to you, let me interview Trish. I’m going to ask
her three questions. So the first question
is– so I’ve just given you my lead–
what’s your lead on this race and this election? OK well first, thank you
very much for having me. I love coming to Watson. It’s always a
spirited discussion and we always have
a very good time. I don’t know why,
but it’s great. We always just– we
just get on well, even when we don’t quite frame
things exactly the same way. And I always learn from you. I guess the first
thing before I give the lead– I’ll give
my lead, and then I’m going to use my answer to that
question to sort of identify a few things that
you said that I might want to put some parallel
sort of argument alongside. Which is a nice way
of saying disagree. Well actually it’s
not totally disagree. It’s really a
different emphasis. And you’ll see what I mean when
I give the broader argument. I think we can’t
adequately understand the racial dimensions
of this election if we don’t really understand
the evolution of white racism as an ideology– not as
a personal belief system, but as an ideology– that has
a long history, uninterrupted. So if we start with the other
framing questions– which are important– we lose sight
of the everyday practice. So Trump is, for me, a Rorschach
test for an everyday populace and its understanding
of race in America. It’s not the other way around. It’s not that he sort
of becomes the figure. He really helps
us see something. Really, when I say
ourselves, I don’t really mean literally ourselves,
but ourselves, in some ways, as a nation. And I’m not surprised
by him at all. I don’t think he’s
shocking at all. I think he’s a logical
conclusion of the very same 40 years that you describe. And if we look at this from
an African American historical perspective, what we get
40 to 50, 55 years ago is the most significant
intervention in the attempt to dismantle state and
federal government required white supremacy, right,
in the US history. You have the civil
rights movement as the biggest intervention
in the ability for laws to require the
fundamental sustained discrimination and
marginalization of an entire population. It’s at that moment that
this racial transformation has to take place in sort
of both liberal white consciousness and subsequently
conservative white consciousness, which is
what you’re outlining. The lead for me is that
we– when I say we here, I’m meaning let’s
just take a sort of typical brown liberal
stance for the moment, not impugning
anyone else’s views, but just for the
sake of argument– that we have been woefully
silly and we drank the Kool-Aid about colorblindness. We thought many of us–
not me– but many of us thought that colorblindness
was some liberal, productive, anti-racist practice that would
get us somewhere productive, when in fact, it
was mostly the cover for this conservative
movement, ultimately. And I know that’s a little bit,
you know, sharp as an argument, but there’s no possible
way that colorblindness, as it has evolved, can address
the profound structural conditions that are both
happening in communities of color, but also
to working class whites and the use of
resentment strategies– clear racial
resentment strategies– among many Republicans,
including many Democrats to retain access to a white
working class voter base. So race is actually the
most powerful vehicle in most of the elections
since Ronald Reagan to sustain a sense of
investment in the voting population among whites. So to me, the lead is that
we’ve been looking for racism– and scholars who work
on colorblindness have been making this
argument for a long time and I can talk about who. But we’ve been looking for
Bull Connors as the problem while a whole other
very sort of socially accepting looking
smiling discrimination soft structural racism through
a soft sort of cultural embrace, but a very strong
political rejection of any kind of egalitarian
outcome-based policies– like affirmative action, busing,
just to give you a couple. So we’ve been looking for
Bull Connor– segregation now, always, we’ll
fight to the death– when what we really have is a
much more soft social framework for very similar
political ideals. So colorblindness to
me is an important part of trying to understand
how this happens. I do not see buy the
Paul Ryan argument that he loves his
arguments and thinks this is a kind of decline of
the intellectual trajectory, although it is a decline of
the intellectual trajectory. But I don’t think
that’s really what’s going on because
many scholars who’ve been studying this
racial dynamic, not just in national
elections, but all the way through the sort of
practices of racial ideas, talk about a combination– and
actually, it’s quite a debate– but between a kind of
real embrace of what’s called reactionary
colorblindness, which is considered the more right
wing version of colorblindness, versus strategic
racism, which is the stoking of
racial resentment, using of the so-called
southern strategy to provoke intentionally and
garner votes intentionally across time. Now so the question is it
a genuine policy or is it really just designed to
capture a given vote? That’s an interesting
question about Donald Trump. He’s very compelling. He looks like he’d be
a reactionary racist in many ways, but if you
look at his whole trajectory, it’s much more like a kind
of liberal colorblindness that someone finally told
him where the numbers were. And because he
ultimately is a stage man who wants to
win at all costs, he doesn’t really
care what he’s going to say is what it
looks like to me, whatever the numbers reveal. Now my argument would be that
it doesn’t actually matter what’s going on in his heart. I don’t frankly care
about that and I can’t get involved in that game. All I can get involved in is
what it’s stoking in people. This is, again, why I think
he’s a Rorschach test. He tells us much more
about ourselves as a nation and what we deny about our
actual significant investment in these ideas. This is very common on campuses
and other general liberal-ish organizations and institutions
that sort of thing that there’s this strange
alien group of people they’ve never seen before who
have these values that they don’t share. It’s like what are
we going to do? Do you know anyone like this? Where can they be? Well, they’re basically
half of white people. If we were to just cut
down the room in half, it’d be like half
the people– a little less than half the
people– in the room. That’s a lot of people. The denial about that
is stunning to me. Now people of color– its’
been my experience, certainly the studies and the numbers and
then everyday conversation– are not in any way
shocked by that. They’re just depressed,
frustrated, worried, but not shocked. Again, it’s not
that I’m claiming that people are aggressively
racist and hate-filled. And I say that because the
Perception Institute, which does social science and
social research on perception and bias, did a study
and asked to figure out what level of worry
and anxiety people had about being called a racist. And overall, whites
scored at this level, which is to say that they
would almost equally want to be called a pedophile
than they would want to be called a racist. That’s a lot of anxiety,
because I thought to myself, pedophiles are definitely
worse than racists, I mean, even to me
and I study racism. I’d still be like, I’d rather
be a racist than a pedophile. But the fact that we’re
having– I mean, really, it’s like today, if you
gave me a choice, I think I’d go for racist. But that’s kind of stunning. So the anxiety
about that, I think, has really prevented us from
doing a kind of full air examination of what’s
really been going on with the sort of operations
of color, particularly colorblind racism,
the move from a kind of radical colorblindness,
which the civil rights movement deployed specifically
to end Jim Crow segregation, into a reactionary
kind of color blindness that drove Ronald Reagan–
well, started with Nixon– but drove Ronald Reagan and
drove every other liberal and the conservative
political party gesture for the last 40 years. So the lead to me is our deep
denial about racial ideology and the sort of legacies of
it, that we have a fantasy kind of about where we are. I just have one more thing about
the millennials and the idea that they’re going to be in
a kind of new racial milieu. And there are many
multi-racial democracies where there’s a color
and racial caste system, so I’m not in any way compelled
that just because there are going to be lots
of people of color– there were lots of people
of color in the South. South was mostly
black during slavery. Having a lot of people
doesn’t guarantee anything. So I would be very careful
because other studies do show that these
sort of racial values transcend generation. And it’s not unlike
unlikely that those values get heightened over
time when investments like housing, schools,
property become very important. And the kind of freewheeling
youthful perspective is behind us. Great I will say, I think
millennials are different. And if you look over time, just
looking at the Pew surveys, there are striking
characteristics, but it gets us a
little off topic. Right. But on the question– But over time there too. It’s a more diverse and
their public opinions are really different. But you’re right,
that doesn’t lead to any kind of
demographic destiny that interacts with
lots [? of groups. ?] Yeah well and I guess the
question’s going to be, how are they going to vote
and how are they going to be polled when they’re 40? I mean, the question
isn’t– I mean so we’ll see. We’ll see. Well we’ll be seeing– Yeah. You’ll be seeing. So question number two,
and that is, directly out of what you’ve said,
Trump is sometimes seen, like so many
movements around the world, as a reflection of
economic anxiety. No one else is talking about
this stuff– Sanders, yes but very few other politicians. He brings it up and
then as you said, he’s also talking frankly,
calling out white supremacy in a way it hasn’t been
called on to the stage for a long time,
though it was there. How do you sort out
how much is race and how much is
economic anxiety? Boy, I wish I knew the answer
to that, I mean as in literally. But I can sort of speculate. I’m not sure these
things can really be separated because I
think they inform each other significantly for everybody. But I think the power
of racial dog whistling has really been underestimated. There’s a great book on
it by Ian Haney Lopez, a legal scholar at
Berkeley and it’s called Dog Whistle Politics. But it really helps
historically articulate the trajectory of the use
of racialized dog whistles to create what
leftists would argue is kind of an unproductive
alliance between working class whites who are not
being advantaged by Republican policy, but
a kind of racial advantage that that alliance created, even
if the economic disadvantages were quite extreme. Some people think that after
’08 and the collapse that the fragility– the accumulated
fragility of the white working class and the white
middle classes– basically reached a tipping
point and that tipping point in terms of there being
significant drug problems in outer Rust Belt suburbs
and rural areas, things, the sort of drugs and crime
problems that they had been led to believe to dog whistle
politics that this was some specifically black cultural
problem that was over there. And that the inability
to sort of do that, to see up
front the devastation of the upward escalation
of wealth concentration brought to the fore an
economic fragility that was there, but really enhanced it. But it is completely racialized. It has to be understood
as a completely racialized escalation. Otherwise, look at the
alliances we would have. Right? If it were not a racialized
conception of one’s class position, then it would
be, we’re all broke. We’re all being mistreated. We all need affordable housing. We all need health benefits. We all need good jobs. We all work hard. And we’re all vulnerable to
certain types of drug addiction and we all need
rehabilitation over prison. There would be–
there’d be so much symmetry because race
and sort of whiteness as a source of nativist
control of the state would not be
interfering with that. So that’s to me why
they’re really intertwined. What you say, before we
get to the third question. My favorite seminar
about politics is at the Lempster Garage. Lempster, New Hampshire, a
bunch of guys, they sit around. They change the oil in my
truck because I’m useless. I don’t even know
where the oil is. And they talk and so I sit
around and listen to them talk. And they go back and forth, a in
effect, reflecting your answer. And half the time, they
are incredibly racist. They’re hurting. They’re not making
any money at all and they blame those people. And they’re very explicit
about what people we’re talking about. They’re lazy. All our money goes to taxes. All the taxes goes
to those people. It’s really a little
uncomfortable. And as the conversation
progresses, they then get pissed
off at elites. You know, the system is rigged. And then they sound just
like Bernie Sanders. They go back and forth between
sort of outright white racism as an explanation for
why they’re doing badly, and then economic populism
as an explanation for why they’re doing badly. And I keep wanting to
say, well stay over there, and we’ll have that coalition
you’ve just described. But it’s always
slipping back and forth. And what’s so interesting
about the Trump phenomenon is he’s really
explaining, you’re hurting. This is why. These people are why. And there’s so little
explanation on the other side. Sanders did make a run at that. But it’s interesting
how the same people– they’re willing to accept
either explanation, but it has to be
articulated clearly. And whether that
coalition can happen is an old one that
the progressives have tried to put together for
generations, for centuries, is one of the great
questions of our politics. One last question
then we’ll turn it to you guys for
questions or whatever you’d like to think about. And that’s let’s go to the
Democrats for a second. Clinton beats Sanders and
by my reading at least, she beats Bernie because
Bernie was not capable, was not able to
mobilize the black vote. White millennials, no problem. Black vote, particularly
in the South, particularly for people above 35
went very strongly for Hillary and that was key. I mean, she couldn’t
have defeated him, I don’t believe without that. So do you agree
with that analysis? And if so, why? Why was Bernie– had so
much trouble, apparently, talking to older black voters? Well I mean I think the
dust on that hasn’t settled. It’s going to be
interesting to see more in-depth
ethnographic analysis and surveys might help. But it seems to me
that Bernie thought that he could run a progressive
campaign without talking about race. Black Lives Matter
publicly embarrassed him, put him completely on blast
and he didn’t have an answer. He wasn’t ready to
talk about race. That’s insane. It’s an insane thing. I mean, if a middle of
the road Clinton figure can out-race you, you’ve
not been paying attention. I mean he wasn’t running
against Malcolm X. He’s running against Hillary Clinton. He should have been
ready to talk– I mean, Black Lives Matter was already
a deeply ongoing phenomenon. It was a highly connected
to questions of economics and policy and race. And it’s a multi-racial
movement led primarily by African Americans and
people of African descent, but there’s enough of
a Venn diagram overlap that he should have been ready. So the fact that
he was that unready and once– to me, he
actually– had he started out not just speaking only to a kind
of white left of that assumes that class-based
analysis can happen without a race-based analysis–
and that’s still an insane argument that we’re
still fighting– but if he had not made
that initial move, I don’t think this gap
would have been so profound for young African Americans
and young black voters. I think– this is absolute–
that’s not speculation, because that, I’ve
read a lot about. But this next comment’s
complete random speculation, so I’ll own it. But I think that Hillary’s
working for Obama. I think the sort of extension
of the Obama legacy for lots of African Americans
over 35 is extremely important in their mind. They think that somehow she’ll
sort of continue that legacy. And the devastation of
the Clinton White House hasn’t really been
at the forefront of the national
political conversation until the young people
started attacking Hillary for the sort
of prison policies that were instrumental. And that, I think– the
lack of sort of knowledge about that I think really
contributes to an illusion that Clinton was the other
first black president. I didn’t know we
had one before that. I’m really going to
have to look that up. So I think that–
definitely going to have to get your notes on that one. We have three first
black presidents. It’s pretty interesting and
none of them are actually black. That’s good. Well Obama maybe can slip in. Yeah, he’s black. He can slip in. But that’s been interesting. That’s been interesting
politically. I mean, how there was anxiety
about well first of all, he’s Muslim according to– Non-American. –40% of white voters
on the Trump side still think he’s Muslim. So this is really– I
mean, I was making a joke by having none of them be black. But my point is that I
think Hillary’s relationship to Bill and to Obama I
think make that generation gap the most significant. I think that’s exactly right. And one thing you’re saying
and we’re saying I think is that both parties
are struggling with the question of race. Neither one of
them has it right. Trump saying to the
Republicans, do you guys believe anything or are you
just fearful about race? Calling out white nationalism,
and once it’s out, it’s not it’s not
easy to put back. And the Democrats,
where’s the party and how do we speak about the
issues that are really burning the country, the
racial issues that burn the country
as you just say. No pun intended on burning. Let’s get you guys
a chance to ask questions to take the
conversation in different ways. Still, you obviously, as you
can see, we could go on forever. And if you don’t jump in
with a question, we will. But Harry, let’s start with you. First thank you for the talk. I have a question
for Professor Rose. Do you see that the changing
demographics in the US won’t necessarily create the
change in power for the power structure? Do you see the US turning
into a sort of South Africa on the back of that? I don’t think it’s impossible. That’s a double negative way
of saying it’s not impossible. I mean, again, I think
we truly underestimate the power of sort
of racist ideology to morph and transform
itself, right? Most people are
highly unaware of how complicit they’ve been
using liberal colorblindness in the face of intense and
significant structural racism. When we look back
on this period, we’re going to wonder
really how that happened, more seriously than we do. Now does that mean I think
it’s absolutely automatic or that it’s likely? No, I don’t think that. But I think there’s an illusion
that because we have escaped a biological sense of
hierarchy that the depths of a kind of rage and a
cultural hierarchy of values, of dysfunctional versus
highly functional– you know, all the ways cultural
racism works– to be a powerful cover
for resource allocation because this is a lot
of material benefit to this racial structure. That kind of thing
doesn’t just go away. If it could be– if at the
end of the civil rights movement– end meaning
the mid ’70s– to now could produce this
kind of transformation, why wouldn’t we think
that such a transformation could continue even with
white numbers diminishing? I mean I just, again, I think
it’s a live possibility, for sure. And let me just jump
in and add to that. One of the things Tricia implied
but didn’t say explicitly was exactly how the ’60s
changed American society, that by ’68 or ’72, depending
where you draw the line, you have a flight
from the city and extraordinary re-segregation
by what suburb you go to. I mean, you tell me what suburb
someone lives in in the Atlanta area and I will
tell you their race and I’ll be pretty close
to right most of the time. So that we’ve had this
massive re-segregation. So when you say, could we
sometimes become South Africa? I would say, to use a term Trish
was using, a very soft racism. We are not going to have
cops beating people up, like you can’t run for office. We’ll just separate ourselves. And we’ll have some
neighborhoods really wealthy with wonderful services,
and some won’t. And we will blame
the poor people who will happen not to
have lots of services for not succeeding– Actually– –in the neighborhoods
with great schools. –not will. All of what you just
described is reality. You stepped on my punch line. Exactly. Exactly. I’m like– sorry. That’s something that
came out of the effort to integrate our society. We segregate our society
and lest everybody else start feeling smug– I mean,
I look at the Brexit vote– not to pick on you Harry. But I look at the Brexit
vote and there are lots of societies segregate. I mean, you tell
me where you live. I’ll tell you how you
voted on Brexit, right? So there’s lots of societies
segregating by wealth in very dramatic ways. It just happens
that our segregation has this extra component to
it that goes back 350 years. Should I– Yes, keep going. OK. Yes. Hi. So thank you for your talk. You mentioned about
the racial resentment that was being fueled so
that basically a lot of party leaders were stoking
in blue collar whites. And so I was
wondering so would you see a racial resentment
like the only immediate way to court poor whites? And also, is like
the blue collar white society intrinsically
racist just as a community, or is the racism in
blue collar whites actually instilled in them
by the elites in order to get their votes? What a great question. Yeah, well there’s
a couple in there. What was the first one? I got the second one is about
are blue collar whites racist. What’s the first one again? I’m sorry. The first one is– Stoking racial resentment. –yeah, so like is that the only
way to immediately court them, their votes. OK, thank you. I’m sorry. The second part was also so
good that I then repressed and forgot the first part. I think it’s the most effective. And I think that’s the
question for people who think they’re outside of
the racial resentment loop. The question is why
is that so compelling? It’s immediate, all the
things that your mechanics are able to conjure up and
to flip back and forth and the way they’re tethered. Because the illusion is
that all of these people of color– particularly
black people, mind you, because this
isn’t an equal opportunity lender around who’s so-called
spending all the taxes– that the idea that it
is a loss of resources and it’s being given
to those who are takers is a racist ideology
that is completely tethered to the
economic argument. So they’re not one and then
it’s explained separately. They’re actually
wound up together. So I think it’s
the most effective. In order for it to become
less effective, you know, this is a big debate. Some people have said
continue with colorblindness. Some scholars have
argued you just stay with colorblindness and
eventually things will change and they’ll see that
this racism doesn’t work. Others say, like Lani
Guinier and others say, no, that’s
not going to work. We have to actually make
people aware of this kind of racial resentment
and transform whiteness because it’s an
identity that’s as mobile as any other identity. It’s not a biological category. It’s a social construction with
significant material values and investments. And once you have
that framework, you can have anti-racist
consciousness among all groups of people. That has to be developed. It’s kind of a political race
argument, the idea that you link your fate with people not
based on what they look like, but based on what
values you share and what connections you make. So that answers your second
question, which of course I don’t think anybody’s
intrinsically– I don’t even know what that would mean. For me– you don’t
mean biologically. No but it’s like a
communal kind of thing where around the world, there’s
like an intrinsic xenophobia, especially when there has been
a community of single race or single like kind of
community and there’s like a new influx
of other people. There has been– almost
every single case, we’ve seen a lot of
xenophobia in the beginning. Well we never really
had that history. First of all, we stole the
land from Native Americans. So we already when we got here–
when we– I feel like Tonto, like what do you mean we? But when whites got here,
they were never alone, OK? And enslavement and then
of course the Chinese and any number of
other immigrants that were manipulated
as laborers to serve the
building of an empire means that whiteness was always
in the framework and contrast and contradiction to
other racial groups. The whole logic is
constantly interrelated. So there really is never
a we’re all alone and oh my gosh, who came here? It gets complicated by each
generation of new Americans. Right, it definitely changes. Frederick Douglass
writes, as he’s a slave, his owner rents him out
to be a shipbuilder. He’s a very talented man. And the white workers are– and
this is the 1830s, mind you, so we’re going way
back– white workers are delighted to have him. They get along. It’s all fun. They like the guy
and he likes them. And then a couple
of free whites– this is in his autobiography. Then a couple of free
blacks come and get hired on and the white workers
throw down their hammers and threaten the black people
and then walk off the job. They will not work. They’re happy to
work with a slave. Why? Yeah. That’s such a great– sorry–
I have an answer, but go ahead. Finish. So I’ll give you my
answer and then we’ll hear the penetrating answer, but
it’s the status anxiety, right? So you build a democracy and
you tell the poor whites, well, you’re above
the slaves so you vote with the sort of
owners, with the ruling class because hey, you’ve
got a stake in this order, even though it’s
not a money stake. Tocqueville talks about this. Well the status anxiety in
the free states is awful. So I’m above a slave. I don’t mind working next to
him, but when he’s my equal, he might even make
more money than me. I can’t have that
because it breaks this incredible hierarchy. So I bring this up not to
make you all pessimistic, because I’m actually really
optimistic about the future of America, but to say
we’re dealing with– and this is something
Tricia has said repeatedly in various ways– we’re
dealing with something that goes all the way
back and goes very deep. So of course a politician sees
this crack cocaine of racism. It’s the easy way and
it goes so far back that here, have some of this. Oh boy, implicitly, explicitly,
it’s very powerful stuff. Is it inevitable? I don’t think it’s
inevitable, but it’s very strong and very easy. Yeah. Thanks. That’s great. I love this example
because I want to push it even a
little bit further and say that it’s not just
working class whites who have a higher status than the
enslaved in that story that matter. But that happens all the
way up the class food chain, that even wealthy whites have
a very similar understanding because white identity
is about not being black at some fundamental level
and being in a higher status. It is not separate from that. And some people
have written– and I don’t know if it’s legitimate
because, again, your field is this kind of political polling–
but that Obama as president unleashed in the unconscious
a kind of anxiety about whiteness as
a privileged state, that nothing else could do. Doesn’t matter how much
he ignored black people or told them to put
their slippers on or told them to take
their slippers off or whatever it was he
was chiding people to do. It doesn’t matter how much
he didn’t sort of comport with a left position, that
just the sheer fact of him being there– and it’s
not just the highly right wing, resentful
constituency that he provoked. It’s an overall provocation. So I think I don’t want to
beat up on the working man here because I don’t think
he or she is alone in that. Even a multi-millionaire,
billionaire is running with
just this argument. Let’s go to you. Yeah. We’ll get to the
back in a moment. Yeah. Living in a city
that was 75% Mexican and being Nigerian
and Mexican myself, when there was a Trump
rally outside of my city, the Trump supporters tried
to run over Mexican people, and so I’ve seen it all. But really I’ve noticed that
with the xenophobia, racism, and sort of religious
bigotry that’s happening– not only here, but
in other places like France banning the burqa and
Britain with the Brexit vote, as you mentioned– I’m just
really trying to figure out, is what’s happening
in the United States decisively different from
in those other countries? I mean, at least in my
opinion, I just feel that Trump is just
stopping the dog whistling and just doing
things explicitly, which is a shock
to most people who maybe believe the same
ideas, but just use this colorblind ideology
to just hide it. Just saying it is what’s
wrong, but I don’t know. I just wanted to hear. Yeah, I mean here we
are at the Watson Center and it is striking that there’s
a number of phenomenon that seem to be going
on internationally. And one is the loss
of a sense of mastery over your own country. I think legislatures
everywhere seem rocky, whether it’s Parliament
losing to the EU, whether it’s our
own legislature now that it has a lot of people
of color in it seeming to be in complete gridlock. And so even apart from
all the racial business, people feel a loss of
the old national sense of control, and for
many people, a sense that they’ve been left behind. I mean we’ve talked about this
a number of different ways, but in the United
States, the chance of moving up one quintile
in the economic hierarchy is much lower. It’s a third of what it
is in Canada or Denmark. It’s three times as
likely that you move up one quintile in those countries,
twice as likely in Germany, and so forth. So somehow, all
these countries have to explain what it is that’s
gone wrong in their lives. And in France, I think Marine
Le Pen comes forward and says, here’s what’s gone wrong. In England, Boris Johnson, god
help him, comes along and says, here’s what’s gone wrong. Let’s leave Europe. And in the United
States– and lots of other white national
movements across Europe– and in the United
States, there’s this pre-developed
way of talking. We’ve got 350 years of talking
this way, so it’s worn smooth. You people are hurting. You people who have been
a generation ago feeling pretty good– or
two generations ago, feeling pretty good about
upward mobility for good reason. That mobility is gone. Who do we blame? And I think the Trump
supporters at the rally running over people who
look different is just a classic way of blaming
for their own difficulties. So that’s what seems
to me common among all the different eruptions. You know, the one
other thing I would add to that is a broader sort
of economic framework, which is the international
scope of neoliberalism. I mean, the control of national
economies, the economic control by global national,
international corporations is really significant. And the gutting
of public services and the redistribution of
wealth out of the public sphere into various kinds of
private coffers, I think, has created a tremendous
level of crisis of government and a real sense
among people that they can’t trust their government
to represent them, race notwithstanding. I mean, in other words,
it’s simultaneous. But I think the book the
broader theme I would also answer your question
with is a rage and worry and terror about
neoliberalism and its effects. Let’s go to Michael. From the back. Yeah. So your discussion prompts
us to think about it’s not just only about the
specific issue, but also the institutions
that are supposed to be related to the election. I’m thinking most
obviously about the way in which the journalist
community is having to rethink their role
in the sense of trying to be nonpartisan. We might also think about
the university as a place– especially if you’re a public
university, like my alma mater, University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill– as being a nonpartisan place. But in a certain sense,
your discussion here, and I think the
implications of it, pull the mask off
of that as well. In other words, how
would you recommend to the journalistic
community, or how would you recommend to
universities how to talk about race in this election? Not as we are neutral,
not as we are nonpartisan, because if anyone
listened to you, I think they could tell where
your partisan sympathies sit. But clearly your commitment
to truthfulness, clearly your commitment to social
science and humanities is evident, but that
doesn’t sit easily with an ideology
of nonpartisanship for institutions that are
supposed to be beyond politics. So how would you reframe what
it is that you are doing, and what it is that
journalists should be doing when they are caught
by saying, ah, you are having a liberal bias. Ah, you are having a
anti-Trump irrational reaction. Well I’ll jump in on that. I just came back from the
political science convention and people who study
American politics are agonizing about this. We’re meant to be neutral
between parties, certainly. And if one party is calling
out racism and one party really behaving in difficult ways. You can see this
over eight years. You know my dad was a
rock-ribbed Republican, so I have some
tenderness for that, but it’s really very
difficult to continue to be neutral when you
see this kind of behavior in the electorate. And people are all
trying to figure it out. And my answer is to go
and try to understand. I mean, what we’re
talking about now. Go deeper and try to understand
what are the patterns here that are playing themselves out? What are the dynamics? And don’t try what
the media does. Don’t try to say,
well on the one hand, on the other hand,
the false equivalence. Most people believe
sugar will make you fat, but there’s three studies,
so we’ll treat them each as– some people believe
the earth is warming, but there’s some other
studies over here. This false equivalence
is something that the media has been taught,
just as we’ve been taught. But there are
realities, and I think our job is to sort of explore,
as we’re trying to do here. History is a huge solvent for
sort of if I may use the term bullshit. A very scholarly term. But I don’t mean to
minimize the problem that you’re pointing to. I mean, we spent a lot of
time talking about how do you analyze things as they are
when things seem so ahistorical and out of kilter. I’m trying to put
this delicately, now I might put it badly. But it’s a real
problem and I think that the attitude of the
false equivalance– I’ve got one side, I’ve got
to do the other side– has done a lot of damaging work. And of course how
sick is everybody here about hearing about this? The horse race phenomenon. I mean all the news
now is not about what are these people saying? It’s, oh my god,
Trump’s coming back. You can see this coming. You know, Hillary’s way ahead. Oh no, Trump’s,
new polls, Trump. And 90% of the
conversation right now is about that,
except for the 8% that’s about health and whether
Hillary was really wrong to do what every president has done. She’s finally acting
presidential and hides her health concerns to
show that she’s a woman but she’s still tough. But all the things
we’re talking about, funny how they’ve slipped away
because the press is really uncomfortable with
your question, so much but better to talk
about a horse race and Hillary’s health. I want to hear
Amanda, but I just want to say two
very quick things. One is if you study the
history of Western academic institutions, they’ve never
really been in that business in the first place, fully. There’s always been an
ideological dimension to all research and scholarship. There’d be no study
of black people in any of these institutions were
it not for, literally, the civil rights movement. So let’s just have a true–
and women’s scholarship, people of color, broadly
speaking, history from below, all interventions in
the last 40 to 50 years, and social movement based. So that’s not to say good
research didn’t come out. It’s just to say that it was
basically a white male domain. And if we’re not going
to be honest about that, then we can’t then sort of
bemoan this kind of, oh well, what are we going to do? So that’s one thing. The second thing is if
you study ideology at all, you know everyone’s got one. So even so-called objective
empirical work has it too and there’s enough
research on that. But journalists are
in a different boat, but they should have some
relationship to the truth. I mean there is, a least
by some general sense, and I think that it’s a
market agenda really more than anything. It’s a major corporate
market agenda more than anything else,
that’s driving that. Yeah. Thank you. So we tend to think
of racial resentment as sort of a right
wing phenomenon, but I was really interested in
the sort of Berniebro moment, where we were told that
basically if black people knew what was good for
them, then we’d be– Get on board. –on with the revolution, right? And so I’m wondering what that
moment and the idea that sort of black people owed Bernie
Sanders a vote, which I think might have damaged his
chances more than anything he could have ever done because
it’s frankly insulting, right? So how did that moment– how
was that a teachable moment about sort of race and
the left and the feeling that the left is the vanguard of
racial progressivism, but still has some bones to pick
within its own politics? I think that’s a
great analysis and I think it’s, again, it’s why I
made the case that this isn’t just about Trump
and that it’s really about a deep soul
searching that needs to go on about these sort of
lack of awareness of whiteness as an ideological construction. And when it goes
unexamined, you get lots of seemingly
contradictory outcomes. The black left has been telling
the white left for at least 40 years– I mean, again,
I don’t study all periods in human history,
but I know for sure, 40 to 50 years–
there is no class without a racial conversation. You can’t not have
a racial discussion. So there’s not a chance
this is unfamiliar. So there’s a willfulness
to this refusal and it only works if
whiteness is invisible because it’s to say class is
raceless when it’s me, right, as a white person. When it’s you,
you bring in race. Leave race alone. We don’t need to talk about it. That’s a white argument. I mean, just to keep
it simple, right. That is amazing. I can’t imagine how we
could still be having it, but we seem to be having
a lot of conversations over and over, gender
conversations, et cetera. So to me, it is
insulting, no question. But if Jim’s right, that both
millennial politics are going to shift in some way
I’m assuming related to this racial
issue, and if it’s going to become more diverse,
the consequences of that will become too high. So either we’ll go
in the way Harry– I think Harry, is that
your name– was suggesting, potentially, in kind of
an apartheid hierarchy, or they’ll have to be a
radical transformation of what whiteness means on the ground. Can I just jump in to this? It’s a good question. And that is,
progressives have not been great on racial issues. They’re so focused
on good government. I’ve done a study of
prohibition and who’s for and against alcohol,
and it’s so interesting– this relevant to something
Tricia said a moment ago– it’s so interesting to
look pre-civil rights movement and post-civil
rights movement. Pre-civil rights
movement, it’s just assumed that sort
of black voters are unreliable on the
prohibition issue. And historians would just
assume that because that’s what was argued at the time. Post-civil right, people
said, wait a minute. Let’s interrogate
this a little bit. And it turns out
the real problem was black voters were swing
voters on the probation issue. They actually were making
up their minds differently and white populations
didn’t want that, which is just
another way of saying that progressives forget. They want good things,
but they forget the conversation is very
different in academia, in politics, if
there aren’t African Americans in the conversation. So that’s been part
of the problem. Like I’m suggesting things
that are good for you, but our conversation changes
when I’m making policy with you and not for you. And I think that really trips
progressives up all the time. We got the right policy. Come along. You’re crazy not to vote for me. No, let me talk
with you and let’s try to make politics together. That’s why we have a
diversity plan here, right? Because things change
when we’re analyzing things with lots
of different voices rather than just
the same old voices. Mm-hmm. Thank you. Your turn. Oh me? No, no. You pick whomever. You’re the hand picker. Let’s do this side of the room. So first you and
then [INAUDIBLE]. So I was wondering, you said
earlier something about– I don’t remember
how you said it– but now that Trump has sort
of pulled off the blinders, we can’t pretend, we
can’t use [INAUDIBLE]– Let me interrupt for a second. We’re going to go to
1:15, so if you’re trying to think, when
do I make a dash for it? Let’s go for 10 more minutes. You guys, there’s
lots of seats now. You’ll make us feel more at
home if you come forward. And then we’ll
just stop at 1:15. So now that we can
sort of no longer pretend this isn’t
about racism, I was wondering the
response from the liberals in the Democratic Party. First, what do you
think will happen? How do you think
they will respond? And then secondly, if you
could have them do anything, how would you prefer
for them to respond? Well you know Hillary has a
credibility problem for reasons that I both understand and
don’t quite understand, because I mean she’s certainly
no more or less reliable than most of the band of rag tag
politicians we’re stuck with. Because none of
them, I mean, Michael could see– I
guess he’s not here now– would see me as sort
of assuming I’m a Democrat, but most of them
irritate me as well. So I’m definitely an
almost equal opportunity disgruntled person, maybe
not quite equal opportunity, but pretty close. So Hillary is in a
particular problem. In other words, the
answer to your question about what she can do
or what should happen with the Democratic
Party is tailored around what she
can and can’t seem to be able to do and garner. So to me, what I would like
is not what would be prudent, right, in the short run. I think in the long
run, it’s sort of like, you got to pull
the Band-Aid off. It’s going to hurt like
heck, but we’re not going to heal this until we
pull this massive Band-Aid off. And that is constantly
stoking this anxiety of sort of abstract
liberalism that the illusion of an egalitarian
society on the ground has to be constantly reaffirmed,
which simply reproduces the gap between white privilege
and actually egalitarianism. So at some point that
has to be grappled with and we all have to
help figure out how to take care of each other in
that truth and move forward. Now when that’s going to happen? I don’t know. It’d be great. She’s not the one
to do that job. That’s just not her strong suit. She got caught up
in All Lives Matter and then have to go
back to figure out how to say all lives matter
and Black Lives Matter and green lives matter. I mean, she kind of got
like mixed up in that and she doesn’t have the– History. Yeah, she just doesn’t have
the right position for that. So yeah, I don’t
think she can do it, but I think this was
an interesting time because the question is what
to do with the swing voters? The Trump diehards
are Trump diehards. They’re not going to change. So if the Democrats are
responding to anyone, it’s what are swing
voters swinging about? I don’t understand it. I have liberal friends who
are like, I hate them both. I’m like, yeah, but they’re
vastly different kinds of hate objects. So what are you doing with
like– I don’t understand how you can be on the fence. So that’s to me– like if I
were in political science, I would really study that. What is that gap about in this
moment when they’re so clearly not really too much overlap? You know there’s a silliness
about or talk about election. You’re electing a coalition. You’re electing
a group of people who are going to be advisors,
who are going to be lobby-able, as Bernie said, and
somehow we always imagine it’s going to be
just the right person who’s going to change everything. Nonsense. I mean, the
Secretary of Labor is as important as anything else. There’s a new dialogue. There’s a new set
of constituencies. You’re voting for a
very elaborate package. And one thing that drives
me crazy about elections and the media– Michael’s
gone– the media is really complicit in this. But we all talk about this. We’ve been doing
this to some extent. You’re not voting
for one person. You’re voting for who that
person brings to power. But aren’t you really
voting for the party in a broader sense too? So then in that sense, it’s
a shifting group of people, but then it’s also the same cast
of characters on both sides, or similar casts, or no? I don’t think it– You really think each candidate
brings its own constellation? Yes. And I let me say that if
you had to pick one thing, you’d pick for the Democrats
to take the Senate, even more than the presidency. Hillary winning with
a Republican Senate is almost symbolic. We don’t have a
Supreme Court and we won’t have a Supreme
Court of eight people unless there’s a
Senate majority. We won’t even have a
Secretary of Labor. They’ve learned that
obstruction seems to work, so I would keep a very
close eye on the Senate. I’d maybe almost trade it off. Wouldn’t quite. Almost. Thank you. There’s more to
say and I think– but let’s go to
another question. Yeah. So you guys touched on a few
things that to me basically amount to sort of the
end of– increasingly, the end of sort of
any relationship to truth, especially
on the right. You mentioned 40%
of Trump voters are convinced that Obama
is a Muslim, something for which there is no
substantial evidence with which to support that. And it went up, one ought to
say, during his presidency among Republicans. Yeah. To me sort of as an
observer of politics, this seems to be sort of the
end game of this kind of what’s the matter with Kansas
brand of politics that you described,
where basically for years, Republicans have
been voting for bad policy but basically in exchange for
these sort of racial assurances of some kind, that basically
they’re voting for our people, even if then the economic
policies and things like that to come out of
those votes don’t add up. So I want to talk
about what do you think sort of the implication
of this election is insofar as that
relationship to truth? And especially
Trump in particular, we’ve watched just lie,
I mean just brazenly lie, say one thing and
then 12 hours later say, I never said that. And then they play a video
clip of him saying that. And he goes, well you’re just
blowing it out of proportion. It’s like, no you quite
literally contradict yourself on a daily basis. But now sort of
with that follow, right, the Republicans
are in this position now where they have to support
to some degree what the nominee is saying and doing. And that’s putting
them in a position to even exacerbate that
problem of just endorsing this set of views
and policy packages that just have no real
relationship to reality. So what do you
think, going forward, the implications
of that will be, whether or not Trump
manages to win the election? I think– this is a
very good question– we’d like to think
elections are about policy. We study policy and
we’ve got– and Hillary thinks the election is about
policy, putting these policy proposals forward. But they’re not about policy. I mean, you’re not
going to win Mississippi on the basis of policy. There’s sort of a cultural
brand, a kind of gut. And just watching
the states fall out, they’re falling out the
way they always fall out, completely regardless
of any policy proposals, and as you say, regardless
of even what people say, what the content
of their speech is. I’m a Republican. I’m a Democrat. I lean this way. I lean that way. It’s a form of
tribalism almost more than it is a debate
about policy, and that’s really hard for
those of us who study policy. We’d like to think it
is about what people the package of people put
together, but it’s not. It’s about what
tribe you belong to, and that would mean a very
different kind of speech. I think George Bush, W Bush,
really figured that out– talking about dog whistles. He figured that early on. Who’s your favorite philosopher? Jesus. Political philosopher, Jesus. It’s about my loyalty. I don’t need to tell
you what, you know– and when he– so I
think that’s, we just keep going further
down that line. It doesn’t matter what I say. It doesn’t matter
what my policies are. It’s my brand loyalty. And then the other thing
that– the other thing about this election,
which is remarkable, every rule of running
election, Donald Trump has just completely violated. You know you need
lots of ground troops. Hillary has 30
offices in Florida. Donald has one. Donald is leading the
polls now in Florida. Hillary raises hundreds
of millions of dollars. Donald doesn’t raise any. So what’s he doing? He is a master of the
media, and the media is a six hour news cycle. And his job is to dominate
the news cycle every six hours and that’s what he does. The media’s job is to sell
eyeballs and he’s got that. It doesn’t matter what he says. That’s not the media’s
job, but that’s what the media
thinks its job is. Insofar as the
media’s owned– this goes back to your
neoliberalism– insofar as the media isn’t
owned by investors– Bill, you’re turning us
off– I would say the media’s owned by people
who, it’s a capitalist thing. They deliver eyeballs
to advertisers and Donald Trump is brilliant. So I think what we’ll
have going forward is people who are media stars. And the whole apparatus of
running campaigns and arguing– this is really hard for
those of us who study this. We like to think it’s
an argument about ideas. And Donald Trump is saying,
all that stuff you guys always did, I’m not
going to raise any money and I might just win. Now the ideal is that
he loses by 10 points, the Democrats take the
Senate, and we go back to the way it was. But I think I’m getting
old and conservative. Yeah, well let me just
say one quick thing is that I think in addition to
everything that’s been said and your own analysis,
which I think was right on, is that there’s a crisis
of legitimation around most institutions, liberal
or conservative. And this idea that you can’t
trust where this information is coming from is partly about just
a tremendous corporate takeover of what were a much
smaller set of sometimes regional or local ideas that had
a tree you could trace, right? There’s really a
tremendous crisis. So people, they don’t
even want to get into the question of
truth because they think there’s so much manipulation. That’s not going to end well. I don’t see that ending well. But I do think it’s a
crisis of legitimation. OK this is always raises more
questions than it answers. We’ve got like two minutes. So why don’t we just ask
your questions in 15 seconds. We’re only going
to take questions. We’re not going to answer them. Go. So what you’re saying is because
the word racism is the worst thing ever and because
they don’t want to give up their money that they have, and
because 80% of the Republicans have power, it’s hopeless
until another 100 years. No. No. We weren’t going to
answer questions, but hey, we have
to take this one. We had to say no to that. No, I am not saying that, I just
think a lot of the realities, there’s no reality you can fix
if you’re not paying attention to it. Do I think ideas
are fixed in time? No, I wouldn’t be a
teacher if I thought that. But we have to take this kind of
emotional investment seriously. We can’t run from it. And I think in my
opinion, you rarely need 90% of any constituency. You need a talented,
creative small percentage who can make a massive difference. So to me, a lot can change. I feel absolutely confident. I think black social
movements on the ground are extremely savvy and a
lot can happen there too. Let me– I want to
answer this one too. I’m sorry. I was going to take a lot of
questions, I just can’t resist. And I want to talk about
millennials for a second because I think you are crucial. I want to say two things. First, take a look
at same sex marriage. Now the narrative is all,
public opinion changes, great. You know, 2000,
everybody’s against it. The lines cross in 2011, 2012,
just in time for the election, and now we’re sort of for it
because maybe people met people of the same sex or something. You know, that’s not
the way it happened. You look at the silent
generation, people over 65, they don’t change–
two to one, still against same sex marriage. You look at the boomers,
we didn’t change. The numbers went
up a little bit. What happened was
a new generation came online, a generation
that wants nothing to do with these bans
on same sex marriage. And as soon as they came online
in the polls, people under 35, the numbers started to go
because they’re 85% plus. Like, this is not
an issue for us. So what has been
portrayed as a change in American public opinion is
in fact a new generation coming and saying, wait, we don’t even
think this is an issue, not anybody changing their mind. Which is just to say, which
is to put it on you guys. It’s not 100% years. It’s what the millennial
generation does. I had a student who was
Dominican, wonderful student, and she came back from
St. Louis and said, wow, that’s a weird place. And I said, well, yeah, but why? What weirdness
did you see there? And she said, I went to a
Gap and I was buying jeans and I had too many. And a woman comes
up to me to tell me I’m taking too many into
the room and she pokes me. And she’s got blond hair
and she goes, what are you? She said, excuse me? She goes, what are you? What? And the woman says,
well you’re not white, but you’re not black. And Estelle looks
at her and goes, I’m not even in that game. What happens to this generation
of people whose parents were born abroad, maybe
they were born abroad, whether they decide
to get into that game. Tricia talked earlier
about race hierarchies. If the millennial
generation decides, we don’t like that
binary anymore, that will change America
in an extraordinary way in a generation. If this generation gives
into the old binary, you know, maybe it
will take 100 years. And so that’s a question
that– our generations are cast in stone, man. We’re not changing. We’re old. Speak for yourself. Oh yeah. I’m changing and younger
at the same time. We’re at a university
that keeps us young. But I think really you guys,
I mean, it’s your future. And we see this in a whole lot. When you pore over
public opinion data, you see it’s a pretty
amazing generation. It’s got a lot of
different opinions than older generations,
so I’m really optimistic about how
the next generation is going to deal with race. But I’m optimistic
about lots of things. You sure are. I don’t know how you
come up with that. It’s like I’m like, wow,
that makes me optimistic. But I mean I think
one thing I would add is that the gay rights movement
had a tremendous strategy around how to make same
sex marriage culturally acceptable before it was really
meant to be a political matter. And so there was a
very concerted effort to influence Hollywood and
TV executives to build shows in the ’90s and the early
aughts so that you would have a kind of cultural comfort
zone for young people to respond to the
generational change in the way that Jim just articulated. So this is why coordinated,
multifaceted social movements are crucial for change. It’s not just that
we’re not in that game. They didn’t just wake
up in the suburbs and not be in that game. They were actually raised in
a culturally different kind of context that
was strategically influenced, in part, by
that kind of movement. That’s all I would add. Activism matters, so we
go back to the beauty of studying public policy
and its importance. And activism, which
is not policy. I can’t think of a
better ending than that. Thank you, Jim so
much for inviting me. I appreciate it. That was great. [APPLAUSE]

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