tv Future of American Political Parties CSPAN August 12, 2017 12:22pm-1:40pm EDT
it is absolutely everywhere. it is in our smallest communities, our cities, are most affluent suburbs. >> and on friday, conversation with supreme court justice elena kagan. >> you said at the varied beginning of our conversation, we are not appear democracy. we are a constitutional democracy, and that means the judiciary has an important relate to play in policing the boundaries of all the other branches. and that can make the judiciary an unpopular set -- unpopular set of people when they say to a governor or president, no, you cannot do that because it is just not within your constitutional powers. >> watch next week at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org. listen using the free c-span radio app idem. -- radio lab. >> up next, a conversation about
the future of political parties. we will hear from townhall.com's guy benson and other commentators. [applause] host i am supposed to remind you : again to turn off your cell phones. i want to introduce each panelist. .nd this is a fabulous panel you guys are so lucky. such a wide range of political, experience, and writing, an office, and investors, and investigative journalists. i will just go through a little bio on each of the panelists and then we will get started. i will start with joe sexton on the very end, a senior editor at
"republican new york city," an independent nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. the organization has won three: -- the organization has won three pulitzer prizes. i think they just want another one. 2013, heore joining in worked for 25 years as a reporter and editor of the vehicle the new york times." he has served as a metropolitan editor at the times from 2006-2011. his staff won two pulitzer 2013. from 2011 to and joe served as the paper's sports editor, oversaw snowfall and multimedia creation that earned john brantz the pulitzer prize. ano, joe was editor on unbelievable story of rape, which won the 2013 pulitzer, that it is scheduled
to be a television series on netflix. as a reporter, he covered sports, politics, crime and the historic overhaul of the welfare legislation in the country. he has worked on the best american sports writing of 1992, so joe has done it all as an investigative reporter. benson, who is right next to me here, is a political editor of townhall.com. a fox news contributor and co-author of "end of discussion" published by random house in 2015. he is a familiar voice on the nationally syndicated to view it show, which he regularly guest hosts. and having anchored the guy benson show from february 2008 until september 2015, he was named under -- he was named one of the top 30 under 30 conservatives in america by red alert politics in 2013.
and he was named to the 30 under 30 in 2015. so, we are mari lucky to have -- we are very lucky to have guy here. we have vicki huddleston, who i think it was last year she was also here. she led, vicki, she has been an ambassador throughout africa and led the american diplomatic missions in ethiopia and cuba. i believe she has a new book on cuba. was a senior advisor to the secretary of defense in the u.s. military command for africa. managed a u.s. agency for international development project in haiti. she was the deputy assistant of state for africa. she was acting ambassador to --iopia, ambassador to molly mali and madagascar. she managed american policy toward cuba as the court nader of cuban affairs and washington
d.c. after leaving the state department she became a visiting , fellow at the brookings institute where she co-led a project on u.s.-cuba relations. she is currently writing in my more on cuba "the long struggle to overturn castro's revolution." obviously, very lucky to have ambassador here. finally, stephen hayward. he is currently a senior resident scholar at the institute of governmental studies at the university of california berkeley, and a visiting lecturer at both hall law school. he was previously in the ronald reagan distinguished professor at pepperdine graduate school for public policy. two wonderful books on ronald reagan. inauguralo a visiting scholar and conservative and policy of the university of colorado boulder in 2013-2014. and stephen writes frequently for "the new york times,"" the washington post,"" wall street
journal," "national review," "weekly standard," "from a review of books," and other publications. he is the author of six books, one on churchill, and chronicle on reagan which i only mentioned. and he writes for "forbes." one of the nations most read websites. these give a round of applause for our panelists. [applause] dave: the way that we usually do this here is explain the format, um, each panel member will have 10 to 15 minutes to make a statement about the topic. statements, the panelists will respond to questions from the audience. i guess i could ask a question, i do not know if i will. or other panelists. the panelists, as i said, have
10 to 15 minutes. and then afterwards, when all the panelists are done, we will my the audience up, and you can ask questions for the remaining portion of the panel. ok?but the mar so i think we will start here , with, we will start with joseph sexton. joe: ok, that is your first bit of bad luck. i do not have a lot to say. and what little i do is probably profane, so you are fairly warned anyway. um, i am actually spectacularly unprepared, so i will get it out of the way for our much more esteemed columnists, panelists. but i thought, you know, one thing i do do well, or reasonably well, is play the role of provocateur. so i thought it would come at it that i will not
talk at all about the two political parties or the idea of another, or -- because america seems to face a much more essential, civic question about his political life. which, if we cannot answer better than we have to date , makes the discussion of ,olitical parties one, 2, 3 100, not for me terribly relevant. and that is, folks in america don't vote. you know? and if we do not vote and you know, then the question of whether the two-party system has come to an end feels, um, less significant, almost irrelevant. and so, i could go through some of the numbers, but you probably know them.
you have probably heard them in your civics classes or politics classes. but of the top 35, you know, developed countries in the world, with reasonably robust democracies, we come in 31st in terms of the percentage of dogible voters that actually go not vote. 31st. that is sad. and you know, we spend a lot of time, most recently in the last fevered 18 months talking about america, and what is america, and what do they want? and we have elected the .entleman we have elected cap the government voted for. but a tremendous amount of the country sat it out.
how is that possible? how is that defensible? so, i put it out there in part because i think money know if you kids are thinking about whetherg question about we can create another political party, or how might that happened? you know? what little i know about politics suggests that is a daunting sort of notion. the amount of money involved in politics is so extraordinary. in the interest, so entrenched -- and the interest, so entrenched. you might think, wow, way better great another political party. that is fanciful, that is crazy. so i think you might better , grasp a more concrete idea, like what can we actually do to improve things? what can we actually do to make the notion of another political party, a multiple new political parties, you know, practical? and that is get people to vote.
get yourselves registered to vote. participant, leaving aside parties republican or democratic , or whatever, help other people registered to vote and work to , get them to exercise that right. i mean, that to me feels like something that kids could do, energetic, committed kids could see done, and feel like you have a real impact. and you know, what is remarkable to me, and sorry if i sound downbeat, but i need to double miss whichdispirited is there is -- to limit people to vote further. so people have self-limited hemselves from voting, right? even out of a lack of interest,
lack of knowledge, an and ability to get to the polls, whatever accounts for our miserable record in voter participation. but now, there is actually interest in limiting that further. and you can see it manifest in a variety of forms, in a number of different states. and you know, i do not think the facts are in dispute. there was a ruling justice week in texas about the texas voter id law. , several years ago, adopted what many regarded as a burrito -- as a very restrictive voter id law that you would have to produce if you intended to vote a form of identification that fell into certain categories. when people filed suit
saying it would discriminate against people of color, and low income people in parts of the state. a federal judge heard the case, and the u.s. department of justice joined with the plaintiffs. the federal judge held that that law was intentionally discriminatory. and that its impact was discriminatory. and litigation went on. it went to a court of appeals, court of appeals upheld part of the ruling, and sent the rest of the case back to the district court judge to litigate further on the question of intentionality. and she ruled this week that indeed that is for finding, that this law was intentionally conceived to limit people's ability to vote. interestingly, the department of justice, which had spent years
working on behalf of the plaintiffs, changed sides. they decided that it was actually going to sit that litigation out due to the change in administration. not -- we don't need to make this partisan. we do not need to make this en out ofly bogeym republicans and democrats. but in a country with a demonstrated ability to get respectable numbers of people to exercise one of the fundamental rights that our country was created to both conceive and bestow on us, that there are any efforts to further limit how seemseople get to vote, quite frankly obscene to me.
,so any notion that the two-party system is dead, maybe there will be heard parties or additional parties, again, i put before you in an act of intentional provocation, and without having dropped an bomb, it doesn't much matter if people don't vote. you guys can affect that. do not let yourselves become one of the people empowered and authorized to vote who chooses not to. i know you're all sitting there and saying, that is not me. i will vote. how hard is that? you will be shocked in a couple of years when you are of voting age, how many of you don't. you can control that.
you can't necessarily create a new party or whatever, although, god bless you for trying if you do. but you can certainly control that. don't give it away. thanks. [applause] dave: thank you, joe. guy? guy: hey, guys. thanks for having me. i think it will be a little bit more on topic although i think that was correct, everybody should vote. get involved. the bottom-line of what joe said, i heartily endorse, although some of the points he made, i think i may dispute when we talk amongst ourselves. is the power of the major parties waning or is that sort of a fever dream or hope or aspiration? i would start with at least one anecdotal piece of evidence that may be at least of the party
elites and establishments are losing some of their grip on how their own parties are run. i think if you look back at the last election, on both sides of the aisle, right? if you talk with the people that run the republican party before the whole process started, they would have told you and bet all of their money, there is no chance that somebody like donald trump could do well, let alone win the nomination that is inconceivable and crazy. and that turned out to be "fake news." as he might call it. inald trump won 41 contests the republican primary. he won 45% of the popular vote in the republican primary in a field.owded and of course, he became the nominee. if you are a republican party
elite watching this unfold, there are steps along the way where you are certain that it must be finally over for him. right? an early one being when he took a shot at john mccain. i prefer soldiers that are not captured. here we go, he is done. nope, he was just getting started as it turned out. then all the little nicknames like, are we in kindergarten? little marco, sweats a lot. like really? this is a presidential campaign? lying ted. many people say his father killed kennedy, not my words. that is a real thing that happened, by the way. he did say that. [laughter] jeb, so low energy. so sad, believe me. believe me. [laughter] guy: ok, there is no way he will get to a general election and if heated it what will he come up , with? crooked hillary. so crooked. [applause] [laughter] guy: and now, he is president. that is a real thing happening in real life. and again, if the party elite
had any say over that, and they try to cover it would have happened. jeb bush had $100 million in the bank, anti-won four -- in the bank and he won four delegates. donald trump spent almost nothing and he got a letterpress and he won. and on the democratic side, same deal but in a different way. , you had hillary clinton who was sort of the heir apparent. and she and a sort of those at the top of her party sort of felt like she was entitled to this. like she had a great sense of entitlement and superiority, almost like she went to fairfield -- almost like she went to fairview high school or something. [laughter] guy: that is a joke, in case anybody is recording this. i am sure there are wonderful people over there. she is like, ok, this is mine. everybody get out of the way. who are these people that the former governor of maryland -- who are these people? the former governor of maryland,
who cares about him. guy from rhode island, forget that. and there was a sort of frumpy, thick accented, like, old guy from vermont. who was just like, nope. let's do this. and there was a real sense of anger. i have a lot of friends that were democratic establishment people who were very upset with bernie sanders for having the temerity to challenge hillary clinton and do it pretty seriously. wonwouldn't you know it, he 13 million votes 23 contests, , 43% of the popular vote in the democratic nominating process. he did not win, but if the people who control the democratic party had had their way, they would've cleared the field completely for hillary, and it would've been a complete joke of the primary. and there would have not been any resistance and it she would've been gearing up for a general election basically from word one. and instead, she had quite a
fight on her hands. so those are some pieces of , evidence that may be the bosses are not quite in control as much as they used to be. that being said, i think it is important to have a reality check. the party's not over, the two major parties are the only show in town for the most part still, and it will probably be the case for quite some time. and here is the stark reality, on november 8 of last year, the american people voted. we all know what happened. one thing we look at the exit polling data, which is a vast amount of information collected all across the country, it is sort of shocking. you have hillary clinton and donald trump, two of the least popular people ever to seek the presidency, running against each other, and they both had majority disapproval among the electorate. hillary clinton had 55% disapproval. donald trump 60%. that is the guy that won.
and she is the woman who won the popular vote. so these incredibly unpopular , figures, sort of like they needed each other, they are trying to out awful each other, which they did throughout the process. it was sort of impresses to watch. but also stomach turning. nevertheless despite the fact , the american people really solidly had negative views of both human beings, they combined to win 94% of the popular vote. because they were at the head of the two major parties, one was going to win, and those are the options. that is reality. the other thing i would point out on the power of political parties, and the increasing sort of polarization of the parties, where they are walking much more ideologically in lockstep than they used to. there used to be weird coalitions of moderates, conservative democrats with liberal republicans and there is
a little bit less predictable on how someone would vote based on their party affiliation. that is really not true anymore. if you look at just a huge fight they had in washington over the supreme court nomination of neil gorsuch, who is a boulder native actually, you look at his final vote tally, he got all republicans to vote for him, and only three democrats. which is historically extraordinary. they attempted a filibuster, an -- which is a president. and there was a lot of partisan infighting. i would be happy to get into the details if you want to hear more about that. i know all of it, because that is part of my job. but going back not that long ago, you had antonin scalia, whose seat was open. scalia, very conservative and he was unanimously confirmed in the senate. ruth bader ginsburg, hard-core lefty, she was confirmed 96-3.
those days are long gone because the partisanship of these battles have become more pitched and zero-sum. ok, so the last thing i will point out is, some people say if only we had a system like another country. like a parliament tree system like they have in great britain or canada. in order to adopt a different process, that would take massive constitutional changes. i do not think it is realistic. one thing that i do think we should at least take a look at is the system of voting that they have in australia. i have a cousin who works in conservative politics in austria, and i visited him a couple years ago, and they were in the middle of an election campaign. if you think we have tough ads here, attack ads, some of those in australia were brutal. i was like, oh man.
anyway, the way they do it is, they have what is called "linked voting." -- ranked voting. the more i thought about it, the more i liked it. i want you to mull it over. the way it would work, or at least the way it works here, you have four or five people running for any given office, so we will say it is the president. so, the person you really like the most, let's say you are a liberal. maybe we have a few of them in the room. [laughter] guy: and let's say you are not a big fan of hillary clinton at all. you wish bernie had won. jill stein, maybe she is a little nuts, but she is closer to me than hillary. she is too corporate. i wish i could vote for her. but if i vote for jill stein i am throwing away my vote. maybe helping donald trump in a perverse way because you take a vote away from hillary. and the same could be said of gary johnson, the libertarian, your biggest issue is limiting the government or lower spending
or something like that. [indiscernible] guy: that is a different issue. [laughter] guy: it is one of them. but if you are a johnson person, and thinking about voting for him, but ultimately don't want hillary to win, maybe you suck it up and vote for donald trump because you do not want to deny him a vote. people make these cancellations collations all the time and they pick the lesser of two evils in their mind. i think in 2016, people really thought they were two evils, literally. what they do in australia is they have all four names, you rank them by preference. you say, ok jill stein one, hillary two, johnson three, donald trump four as an example. all the votes get put into the pot. they tabulate them and if nobody has a majority of first place votes, they take the last-place person out of the running, and
it is down to three, and they recount again. and if nobody has the top vote majority, they of the many the may eliminate the next person until they finally get one person left with all of the rankings evened out who has the majority. and that way, you can vote in good conscience for the person who represent you best without the fear that you would in some weird way end up helping the person you want the least to win. you can vote for gary johnson or whoever. and then if you are a conservative, maybe have trump second and hillary third or last about the risk of helping in this where system that we have come hillary clinton. i think that would be a worthwhile pursuit for the united states to think about. maybe states can adopt it. local municipalities can adopt it. an opportunityle to really vote their conscience, and then sort of have a backup plan that doesn't allow the greater evil, so to speak to , prevail. something to think about. looking forward to your questions.
thanks guys. [applause] dave: thank you. vicki: hi, everybody. thank you very much for inviting me back. , anddelighted to be here as some of you might remember, i am an alum of the university of colorado, so go buffs! and i hope some of you will go up the hill to the university up there, it is a really great school. i wonder if i can begin by asking you all a couple of questions and then i will tell you what i think. and i have to point out, that the people on either side of me are experts in political parties and in american politics. i am not. i am a career civil servant. and we can have our political parties, but we serve whoever is
the president and the party in power. so, my colleagues are more knowledgeable, but so far, they have not been as angry as i am. you, i ami hear from going to tell you what i think as a retired career civil servant of our great country. so first, when i was your age, when i was in high school, i might have been a republican because my parents were republicans. but i don't think i was really interested in any serious way, , and i did not identify seriously with any party. so, how many of you identified with the party during the last election?
so, is that a lot or a few do you think? dave: more than expected. vicki: more than you would expect. so, you know what -- yes, definitely a minority. thank you. that is worrisome. we just listened to what joe had to say which is if you don't participate, it could have a huge impact. which political party in power now determines, you know, everything from the contents of your school lunch to whether your parks are well preserved in colorado? or whether there is a peace corps if you're interested in joining it? everything in your life, even now when you are still in high school, your health care, the quality of your education, is to some degree, how many taxes your
parents pay, is going to be determined by the party in power. so, it is really hugely important. second question -- how many of candidates?e two we just heard from guy, you know, most americans did not like any candidate. what did you think? like or not? well, ok. did you like any of the candidates? [laughter] vicki: wow! that is really bad. [laughter] did you dislike the candidates? ok, that is considerably more. so, my premise is that the system is broken. becauseink it is broken
there is not great enough participation. withe are not identifying either party for either candidate. people are opting out because they are disgusted. wonder if that is how you are i feel about it, then whatever we get, we kind of deserve. you know, if you need health trump,nd you voted for you know, you might not have health care. it is really -- it really, really makes a huge difference, but why i say the system is broken is exactly for the reasons that guy said. he told you that there are two candidates that the public did not like. you just told me the same thing, and yet, the parties put them
up. hillary was eminently qualified. and as a woman, i was delighted to see a woman, but it is true, she has been around too long. she had a party machine behind her. the publicity thing, she was crooked, was bad publicity. so, the democrats put up a bad bill clintonause still controls the party. and the republicans i think it worse. they didn't even put up someone who was part of their political party. they put up a billionaire businessman who doesn't pay taxes,or releases his who knows nothing about international policy, and as by familiesimself so they look like some small,
country dictatorship run it by a longtime autocrat. so, how did we get here? is it the fault of the party? is it the fault of the republicans? with a cannot come up candidate who really was competent, is it the fault of the democrats that they should've known better? -- come up with a candidate [laughter] vicki: i saw that. that would be more obviously,ive, and it is the fault of both parties. both parties are absolutely responsible for the mess we are in. but, guess what? in four years, most of you will be out of high school.
some of you will be at work. some of you will be at college. not long from there, you will be voting, have jobs, and onto your careers. and it will be you who will be deciding, but you will have to clean up a pretty big mess. sorry that we have given you a pretty big mess. but i hope you do a lot better than we have done. thank you. [applause] >> so i get the cleanup spot. this is ironic and highly amusing to me. i was certain starting out that i would be picking fights mainly and joke, but i have to pick a fight with guy. that is a horrible idea.
hugh, did you know that your guy -- that would be the last nail in the coffin i think. i have to throw down on that with you. guy: that is fine. a few observations about parties. parties are unpopular with young people. i saw more hands than i would expected. political parties are almost as unpopular as united airlines. [laughter] right. and out in california where i partieseryone looks at and say, i don't want to be a member of a political party, but in california, independent voters declined to --
over 50% outnumbering parties together. california is now a one-party state. california publican party meets -- the california republican party without a phone booth in newport beach. now, i think the decline of the popularity of political parties decline of public confidence in government itself, but to me, the most salient public survey number of the last two generations is this one that starts in the late 1950's. they have been asking every year , do you have confidence that the federal government will do the right thing most of the time, all the time? 1950'smber in the late was close to 80%. lately, it has picked up a little bit to 50%. and if you look at the trend line for that full question from 1962 to now, it was a ski slope
in the rockies with one exception, it picked back up during the reagan and ministry. ire he is right about this -- am just kidding. he made a important point. political parties is to be very heterogeneous. to -- ifknow if they they teach you about new deal politics from the late 60's and 70's. depending on how they teach it, it is something that helps students do not believe me. they point out that the democratic party was ethnic, southern segregationists, northern catholics. it made absolutely no sense on paper. it only made sense on election
day went they turned out in majorities. you have the back room deals about legislation. you have a naming process in those groups. i think we should bring back the inke told rooms and then colorado you have the best smoke filled room. [laughter] homogeneous ideologically. a couple more things about this. i think the parties -- even though they are more fixed -- southern conservatives and more than liberal republicans. that is now gone. there is a great more heterogeneity in the republican faction. repealing and replacing obamacare, -- democratic party sit back and laugh.
intellectual terms, currently, the republican party resembles the new deal coalition. you have evangelicals, the chamber of commerce types, libertarians, foreign-policy hawks come up big disagreements on regular things, but they line up on election day pretty well. one other thing. my want to weigh in on this. at berkeley, the older of the ulder of theol pacific coast. studentsoing over with reactionaryt, a document. did not want safe spaces, did not want administrators setting up new programs for them. they wanted the administered is to go away. they wanted to grow up and have sex without lawyers present.
i still know him a little in california in the legislature. he said political parties are a mess. therepublicans have northern liberals. i wish there with clarity to where the parties stand. i thought "problems solved." most political scientists now say this is terrible that the parties are so ideological and polarized. make two more propositions and then stop. an awful lot of our well-meaning reforms in the last 50 years have been treated to the weakening of parties. if you have a smoke-filled room, trump could not have gotten nominated. hillary would have gotten nominated, but not trump. that is true going back to 1980. the republican establishment was dead set against ronald reagan, something that has disappeared in the mist now.
the democratic party would never have nominated george mcgovern in 1972, right? that is a fascinating story. campaign-finance reform. we are worried about corruption, especially coming out of watergate, and we passed, you know, very elaborate campaign finance regulations. code of regulations. nowadays, to participate in politics on the federal level is almost as confiscated as doing your taxes. you need a lawyer. to make a long story short, an awful lot of regulations weaken political party organizations and have amplified the independent character -- you know, sort of the -- people who call themselves republicans or democrats but are increasingly independent actors. abilityhave much less to assert discipline on their own candidates. it has empowered special interest groups to have a much more important role.
there is a lot of campaign activities outsourced to the groups. if you are a candidate, you lose control of your own message in the campaign because one of the rules is you cannot coordinate between the candidate and an independent expenditure group. you cannot control what they are saying. it might not be what you want. it is illegal to call them up and say "do not run that add or please run a different ad." we have weaken the parties -- weakened parties. i like the idea of bringing back stronger parties, smoke-filled ioms, making it possible -- will give you one recommendation and then i'll stop. people ask me what good biographies to read. i have a long list of them. one that is germane to this problem is the volume of robert caro on lyndon johnson as senate
majority leader in the late 1950's. the biography is going to be six volumes when it is done. it is an ordinary piece of work. but reading how masterful johnson was in the senate in the late 1950's is to recognize the smallness of senate majority -minority leaders in the last 20 years. part of the reason he was able to be so effective, get a lot of things done, a lot of things cross party, you still had smoke-filled rooms, you could still do earmarks, which everyone hates these days. nowadays, if you reincarnated lyndon johnson today and made him senate majority leader today, he would not be able to be as effective as he's was. , an example of what politics used to be like and one of the causes of the decline of political parties. i think stronger political like your union membership, your bowling club,
your rotary club. today, you do not think of them in the collection of things. if you could bring that back, you could get people to vote more and take a lot of things better. [applause] so i guess at this time -- is there anything the panel wants to ask each other? anything you want to add before we open it up? iswhat i find disturbing now twice, the people have voted -- the majority of people have voted for a candidate that did not become president of the united states. and of course, this is part of our constitution to have the electoral college, but if you look at the way it is set up, which presumably, it was set up to ensure that a really bad person that did not know anything about governing wasn't
elected -- [laughter] i didn't say any names. forward when the aerican people cannot elect person of their choice because the person is determined by the electoral college? >> a couple things. americans did not vote for hillary clinton. a plurality did you read no one won a majority. -- a plurality did. no one won a majority. if we want to focus on the popular vote metric, which i think is interesting on some level, but it was not the goal. the goal from the very beginning, the rules everyone agreed on ahead of time was to try to win the electoral college, which is why both campaigns focused on the states they did instead of trying to
run up the numbers in various places to win the popular vote. if they had set out from the beginning to win the popular vote, the whole campaign looks totally different. i have had conservatives to say that if you add up hillary clinton and jill stein popular vote and you add up trump, and mcmullen and gary johnson -- again, i don't think that is that clean. reform electoral college is something of a hot topic. there is ways to do it without changing the constitution. there is a compact of states where they would allocate their electors based on popular vote winner nationally. they are not quite where they need to get to yet, but that is an interesting point. i want to respond to something you said that i think it is interesting in making the plea for people to vote and get involved. you are saying the party that is in power in washington really controls everything, and so many crucial things in your life, and therefore, you really ought to pay attention and get involved and care.
to my ears, as someone who supports smaller government as a limited government conservative, i think that is a great argument to try to reign in the power of washington, d.c., and not consolidate more power in washington, d.c. so if some people that you don't like happened to win some federal elections, they cannot come in and ruin your life. let us have the politicians at the state and local level ruin your life, because at least they are closer to you, more responsive in theory to you than people who fly off to washington and how to market in lockstep with whatever schumer and mitch mcconnell tell you to do. >> i am not necessarily -- i am for small government, madisonian government. i have always liked the electoral college as a madisonian device. if we denounced it, both campaigns would campaign very
differently. trump would have campaigned in california. republicans might have come up with a statewide candidate and telephone you. in california, we had to bring them across. -- two democrats. this election turned on all those voters in the swing states. michigan, wisconsin. what the electoral college does is it requires that the winner or loser take account of particular interest, even though it may be a minority interest. it is a counter-majority area and factor that i let -- an factorajoritari that i like. both parties are talking about it, and that is a good thing to take account of the interest. the population centers do not
dominate the countryside. just because you people live in -- few people live in wyoming doesn't mean their interest are not as legitimate as the people who live in brooklyn. there are several parts of the madisonian case. i have come around to the view that this is divine providence twice that the electoral college has saved us from al gore and hillary. i think it is an octave god. -- an act of god. [laughter] >> do we want to argue about her id -- voter id laws? steven: the system is working in a madisonian way. set federal marshals to arrest them. congress, -- i can't do trump like you. so: repeal and replace quickly, so quickly. it will be so easy, believe me. steven: and congress is acting like congress is supposed to. guy: and there is a
contradiction from some of our friends on the left to hate donald trump. on one hand, he is going to be a dictator, acting like an autocrat. on the other hand, they cannot get the votes in congress. pick one. he is able in a channel shop -- a bull in a china shop. there are plenty of legitimate things to be word about with the president. those are alarmist terms that undermines more faith in the system. vicki: two responses. the first response is your answer to this electoral college no, theis that candidates campaigned for an electoral college. it does not answer the question of let's change it so that people can vote for the candidate of their choice and see the candidate of their
choice elected. you mentioned how this might be reformed, but i think it is one of the most imperative things that we need to think about now. yes, to some that degree, domestically, trump has been trumped by the congress and his own party, but i can tell you, as a foreign-policy practitioner, the president has immense authority. for example, we responded to the gassing, the chemical attack in with on its own population missile strikes on airfields. i think it was a good response and a proportionate response, but that is a huge decision. but that is up to the president.
i have to give you credit. rightne, trump made the decision, at least in my view. i don't know how you think, but probably. there are other things that i do not know whether this president has the right advisors and the right temperament that he might decide he is set up with most -- fed up with north korea and their prerogative acts vis-a-vis testing missiles and decide that the best solution is a strike on missilerea's nuclear storage. and it is unlikely that this would be successful, and they would probably be enough around to drop a couple of missiles on south korea and japan, our close allies. i can give you examples of domestic policy being captured
by one party or the other. argue that aly gore lost the election because of a little child, elian gonzalez, found floating in the straits of florida because all the cuban-americans were so annoyed that he was sent home by bill clinton that they voted gore and for george bush. domestic politics from top to bottom have a huge impact on foreign policy. >> thank you. i'm going to open the floor to some questions from students. just to remind the students -- don't make a statement. just ask us a question. we want to hear what the panel has to say about it.
you are first. hi, so i think you all agree that the party system is not over. the democrats and republicans are going to stay. what do you think the two parties need to do in order to get back on track and adapt their parties to become more popular and more respected among the american population? i will talk about the republicans for a second because is hardrst of all, it to tell a party that is doing really well right now that it needs to change. right? the republicans control most of everything right now. the presidency, the house, the senate, and the majority of states, two thirds of governors, more than two thirds of state legislatures. a lot of that was a backlash to democratic control. let us do more change. andpendulum swung
eventually, it will swing again. maybe sooner rather than later. there are better principles i agree with in the republican or at least the conservative movement. i am not sure those are so much the same or ever have been. those are the reasons i tend to vote republican, but not always. moving forward, there are some issues that are difficult because i think if you look at younger voters, for example, and the coalition of folks who eventually are going to be the majority of the electorate, millennial's are the biggest generation in america right now, and the republican party is not super popular among millennial emirate? there is a -- millennials, right? the face of the party is going to have to change on a couple of issues, whether it is gay ofriage -- i think is one them. how do you make changes to appeal to a new group of voters moving forward that think very differently from their parents and grandparents without
alienating their parents and grandparents among whose votes you rely? that is one of the growing pains in the republican party that i am fascinated to see how they handle that. maybe not the next few years, but definitely over the next decade, decade and a half. the current iteration of the republican party i do not think would be a viable party in 20 years. it will have to change. the question is, how to you get from point a to point b without kissing off -- pissing off the people who vote for you now? democrats just lost to donald trump. i will let you figure out what changes you need to make on your side of the aisle, because clearly, things are not hunky-dory in democrat land either. has struck mehat for a long time that had afflicted both is what i regard as a precipitous decline in
political rhetoric. we live in the world of the soundbite. we called ronald reagan the great communicator. he was very persuasive. he worked hard on his speeches. you go back to other people like that, john f. kennedy, franklin roosevelt. he made arguments and he made persuasive way. sometimes, he had sharp elbows. it was appealing. that was why roosevelt was reagan's model rhetorically. modern media, twitter, not the best format or a political argument, as we know. sometimes, only half seriously, if i could do one reform it politiciansuired to write the run speeches. they all have speech witers, right?
the first time they saw the speeches when they opened the folder on the podium to give it, they do not take speechmaking as seriously as they used to. that is a formal thing. that is a big change in our politics that has had a big effect on the declining regard for said -- regard for citizens. i want to hear something that treats me like an adult. ando answer your question come back to the theme of my initial remarks, which is to try to convince you guys that you are invested with the ability to the wayu do not like the parties look, run for office. is aou know, there tendency in the country to sort of lament the state of affairs forfeit yourously
ability to actually change things. to answer your question most directly, what will the parties have to do in order to change to be better? don't worry about them. worry about yourselves. if you want to change the parties, you know, join them. run for office. run against them. create your own. you guys have the power to effect the change. do not ask the party to change themselves or itself. go ahead and do it yourself. >> by the way, i think that is such an important point. you guys might not like the politics of the tea party movement, but put that aside for a second. look what the tea party movement did. they looked at the election of democratic majorities, the democratic president and said
these guys do not do a good job for us. they do not represent us. .hey do not stand for a thing they are not serious about limited government or spending. look at bush era spending levels. it is time for us to reform this party from within, and we are going to challenge this sort of boring republican, like charlie crist in florida, who is now a democrat, and put up this young guy, marco rubio, who has more principled on these issues. there was a revolution within the party itself that has turned out to be sometimes a headache for leadership, but that really was a template for a lot of grassroots people feeling deeply satisfied with the state of their own party and deciding to get off their -- and do something about it. the republican party looks better for it. for better or worse, that is what we are talking about. vicki: that is probably what the
democrats should be doing. we have seen a little bit of it. the women's march all across the country and other marches and protests. i think if the democrats can figure out where to go from here, they might reform their party before the republicans because when you are in power, it is pretty hard to reform. >> let us get another question. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] hi, so my question has to do with how partisanship affects institutions in america. whether it be the united states senate voting to abolish the filibuster for supreme court byinations or comments made the president of the united states regarding his political views in front of -- i remember the cia. kind of alienating those who -- i mean, as a career, a public
you mentioned career public servants serve whoever their commander in chief is and they serve america, the american idea, and the american people. today, i see that partisanship ofd of can get in the way some of the principles that have been an american -- >> what is your question? >> i guess my question is, what do you guys think of that and partisanshipitio affects the ability of the american institution to work as the founders intended? steven: i can try to give you a political science answer, james madison's answer, which is -- put it this way. we do want to have majority ruled qualifications, but majorities that thing. that is why we have all the
deliberative structures of our constitution. parties organized interest. madison said we are going to have lots of interests. thaksin's is what he called them, but special interests is what he meant. -- factions is what he called them, but special interests is what he meant. partisanship does bring some clarity. it presents choices. bernie sanders may say "i want single-payer health care, higher list of things. a libertarian will say just the opposite. now, you vote. let's vote. office, then you are trying to implement a policy and you elected somebody -- barack obama is pretty liberal, ronald reagan pretty conservative. a reasonable partisanship filters through deliberation and willlly generates -- it make everybody happy all the time, of course, but at least it gives you a clear sense of a
legend the next election, when we shuffle the deck. elections every two years to take the temperature of the people. 10 was ation of 20 restraining order against obama. people didn't like obamacare. s fore you maybe two cheer partisanship. cheersouldn't give three is that it has gotten out of hand. vicki: i think we have to solve that problem. what we are talking about now -- it seems to me -- i see it happening more in this than any other. partisanship is replacing the national security interests of the united states. that is when partisanship really begins to hurt. the science says there is climate change. most states in the union, many moste major companies,
countries and leaders around the world, believe climate change is a serious problem that is going to affect your lives more than mine, but everybody's lives across the world, and yet, because the particular partisan group that happens to support president trump and his very conservative view on climate, they deny it. that is not in our national interest. i think this is a great question, and one that says we need leaders who put the national interests before that of a small minority that might help them get elected. [applause] wei do want to remind -- have only got about eight minutes left. i know we are not going to get everybody's questions in, but we will try to get as many as we can. >> just to complete the answer
-- let me see if i can take a stab at this. i am not a student of politics. when i was the metropolitan editor of the new york times, my first and happiest duty was to put somebody else in charge of our political coverage. but i would venture to say that you can look at the 2016 election as a sort of national exercise in anger. many of the people who voted voted in anger. many of the people who sat out sat out in anger. know, while i am sure you guys have grown weary of the people in your lives -- whether they be high school counselors or your parents or whatever instructing you on just how unconstructive anger is -- you know, i think, again, to try to
encourage u.s. to have -- think the term of the day is agency -- in your own lives or whatever -- is to, you know, address the issue of a hyper partisan, overly angry political environment by being less so in your own lives. whether that be at home, at you know, we had the pleasure of meeting some of the young kids who organized this event prior to coming in here. a young woman was describing her choice of college. and one of the reasons she wanted to go was because it was a conservative school, or seen as a conservative school, and she wanted to expose yourself to that as a way of growing. and now, i look back -- i had a wise answer to that and
discouraged her from doing it. i now feel miserable about that. because i was encouraging the very kind of behavior that is really counterproductive. so she had the answer. she had the right instinct. the degree to which, again, you can just open yourselves, you know, whether at home or in class or on the street, you is theo an opposing view seeds of a way to reform our political discourse. >> part of it also has to do -- this is not something i always practice perfectly, but i try -- is in your lives -- some politicians are lost, gone, professional, and the winter change. but i think what our problems is we need to stop assuming the worst about each other and why we believe the things that we do. and if we can just maybe take a step back from that and have a conversation without assuming
motives or impugning motives, that would be really helpful. maybe someone who is against abortion believes that not because they hate women. maybe someone who supports black lives matter does that not because they hate cops. caricature and demonize people because it is easier, a lazy way to think. easy to dismiss them for fake reasons than to maybe think about the actual reasons. , like, encourage you to just in your individual lives, if you run across someone with a disagreement, let us have a 10 minute moratorium on questioning motives and name-calling and try to get to why you believe what you believe, and then we can go from there. it is a start. it is small, but it is a start. [applause] >> [indiscernible] rifts that have
been caused by the new administration in both parties, but especially in the republican party after the sale of trumpcare. is that going to affect in the future, i guess, the future of bipartisan relationships? and as they're ever going to be a time when we can return to administration such as the first clinton administration, the reagan administration, or even the johnson administration? >> yeah, i have been talking about that a lot, and i do not know. i do think we need it. one of my criticisms of obamacare was not so much on the policy grounds. i can do that. it was based on this historical fact that we do not make large policy changes in this country a must you have the consent -- unless you have the consent of the minority party. often times, that will include a lot of the votes of the minority
party. social security gets a lot of republican votes. civil rights act of 1954 gets more republican votes than democratic votes, which republicans seem not to know. medicare, medicaid, they get a lot of republican votes. wealth reform under clinton got more public and votes. -- got more republican votes. all the things you can mention. it did not start with obama. bush did this, too, with his medicare part d. very damaging procedure with a 3.5 hour vote in the middle of the night was something of a scandal. something resembled a parliamentary system. we are governing on a partyline basis. even if you do not agree with the policy, not enthusiastic about medicare, you consent to it and the public has to get behind it and support it. the numbers for obamacare -- five to six years now. the public support for it is top
50%. that is historically low for any policy like that. that means we have an unstable policy and how do we get back to the -- i don't know. i would like the tax reform of 1986. really fun. the lobbyists were all over to kill it. the lobbyists were all against it. the committee voted down on a friday afternoon and the lobbyists are literally whooping it up in the senate. we are done it is finished -- "we are done, it is finished." saturday morning, members of in, wrote a snuck new bill, voted on it monday morning before the lobbyists knew what was happening and screrwed them all. pat moynihan said it was the most -- i don't know if we can get t
back to something like that. it was only 30 years ago. that was my optimistic side. i think it might be possible. >> thank you. how we doing on time, guys? what do we have? one minute? [laughter] i before you get up and go, am sorry we did not get to everybody questions here, but i am glad you are lighting up. before you get up and go, i think you need a great round of applause for our panel. [applause] >> and -- hold on. i love wheno, panels come in here and talk to high school students as adults, not condescending. the panel did it. they were educating you. have a nice day. [applause] [chatter] >>
later today the net root conference in atlanta. a group of activists and organizers. today is the third and final day of the conference. at the closing session this afternoon the former vice president al gore is among the speakers. start at 4:30 p.m. eastern. we will have that life here on c-span. tomorrow on c-span stephen long the president of the senate leadership fund a super pac that works to elect republicans to the senate will be on newsmakers. 'tis a special primary election in alabama well voters can choose the republican nominee vacated i jeff sessions. newsmakers on c-span at 10:00 a.m. eastern area. sunday night on q and a.
>> the social and individual theynse to the issues that have is to lock us up and put us in cages. whoreat us as citizens other people do not respect. we are not whole citizens of the united states. >> a georgetown university professor takes a critical look at the u.s. criminal justice system and the impact on african american and in his book. >> there has never been a time where the community has been anywhere near good. for a long time if you are a black person and you needed to report a crime you were the victim and you would not be paid attention to. now this sense is that the inice are overwhelmingly african-american communities that have to protect those
communities rather than lock them up. >> on c-span q and a. >> actor and filmmaker rob reiner and a former speechwriter to george w. bush spoke last month at the politico on forum. they worked on the strategies to undermine american democracy and russian meddling in the election. monitoring the discussion. richard: those of you who are of my age -- and i see a couple out there -- rob: those of you out there who are of my age, and i see a couple of you out there, you will remember in the 1950's we were taught duck and cover drills to get under our desks in case of a nuclear attack. there was a lot of fear in the country. bomb shelters were being built around the country.