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improve the festival in the future. all of the books are available. any book signing sessions will be in the lobby as well. two political experts discuss different factors of the u.s. presidency. stephen farnsworth. as a professor of political science and international affairs at the university of mary washington where he directs the center for leadership in media studies. he is the author or co-author of the six books a recipient of the state council of higher education for virginia's outstanding faculty award for 2017 and a canada u.s. scholar. in his book presidential communication and character the white house news management he details the evolution of a white house news management over the last 20 years alongside the evolution of america video. in his book stand up.
how america became ungovernable. he takes readers into the american voting booth. of several hard-fought elections to discuss how they decide and why white their decisions seem sometimes unpractical. he was the cable news network senior political analyst from 1990 to 2009. he has been labeled the nation's election meister by the washington times in the aristotle of american politics by the boston globe. he was a member of the cnn political team that won an emmy for the 2016 election coverage. please help me welcome stephen farnsworth.
cnf is my book. i think i got them confused. >> thank you so much. i taught for a few years at george mason. i look for to another conversation on this campus. the argument that i make is that the first four presidents developed a different approach to selling themselves in the policies through the mass media. one of the most important presidential roles in my view is us marketing of the president. in order to convince congress in the public oftentimes skeptical congresses. is necessary for president to promote themselves in a way that might be unseemly to an earlier age. but in our media environment it simply doesn't stop.
what is striking about these for most recent presidents all of them use a very different strategies in terms of using the media to cultivate that positive opinion of themselves. the one thing they did have in common is that they all focused a great deal on character and how they could connect with ordinary citizens in this mechanism and i would argue that the social media environment is really very tailored to that. snippet of who you are as a person and realistic person can go a long ways when people are not really interested or that informed about the specifics of the affordable care act or balanced budget acts or the difficulties of working through the middle east. all of which turned out to be pretty complicated once you are in office.
the largely unified executive branch makes presidents very capable of dominating the discourse whenever they choose to do so. when you think about what is newsworthy. the white house is newsworthy. the challenge i think terms of presidential communication what he did was to feel our pain and really connect with us. when you look back at the tapes of the presidential debates. in particular to the way he have to be in richmond. we had one of the three presidential debates in this year. forever he understood our pain.
and that was a way to really move beyond the question of the clinton as less than exemplary in the moral venue. social media was perfect for that. bill clinton was a virtuoso of talking about how he could connect with people. and that was his real skill as a politician. another immediate change over the last 20 years has been the rise of fox news. it is it's very will tailored to the rise of george w. bush in the marketing of george w bush in terms of his pushing -- personality and character. what he ended up being as president it wasn't what he head in mind when he was elected in 2000.
we look at how little coverage there is in presidential election cycle after cycle. but there is an increasing focus on character in comedic action. it worked will to use a fox news as a vehicle for generating the image of his toughness. with respect to barack obama. yet a very different strategy in this conversation and this book. you could think of bill clinton and george w. bush for the differences in politics as being people who really believed that the best strategy for presidential communication is to be the sun king the old saying that the bride at every wedding corpse at every funeral. they did so with great
opportunity and great aggressiveness. in some ways he was a more different president than these two. he didn't really try to dominate every news cycle. he did not insist that his emperor in many ways the obama approach was more about presenting an image of the congress doing a lot of the heavy lifting. that was a visible place where that was happening. in the character of course was this story. when you think about the difficulties in his childhood. and how he rises about that. how he deals with an increasingly diverse america. as the perfect personification of a better america. by culture and class in recent.
his vehicle for using this was particularly the social media outlets like youtube in particular. one of the great media moments was when he appeared between two firms. the enrollment deadline is coming along shortly. what he understood about the change in the media environment was that you have to meet people where they are. and as it's become so diverse. as become essential to think about going to those media outlets where others are. the stars interviewed barack obama. it wasn't the same sort of traditional media full court press that you saw back in the
days where television was more dominant but it was i think a very effective and realistic adjustment to how to mac this -- maximize your facility. we will turn briefly to trump and then i will turn it over to my fellow panelists. he is the voice of twitter. it will be an open question what it looks like after donald trump. we can imagine that the ideal president of the twitter age. the idea policy being complicated is not something that really works will for twitter. that is a great vehicle for generating agreements above all. what twitter is great about. is when people are angry and
took me to an half hours on the metro to get here today. maybe that's what we all use it for. at least part of the time. the reality is that this is an opportunity for donald trump to really speak to the issues that really motivate his presidency in his campaign. they really speak to a lot of americans who are very angry. they are worried that tomorrow might not be as good for their children as today was for them. they worry about the opportunities of how america that they understood and that they believed in is changing in ways they may not find all that recognizable. it may be a focus of anxiety for some. it is a vehicle of grievance.
and well -- and really. if you think about what he's able to do. he's so effective at managing that kind of anger. and while he would not be very good at a town meeting where he has questions from ordinary citizens and spoke about how to deal with policy. he struggles with the very carefully staged managed events. or even the extent to which he understands what's going on with respect to the crisis in saudi arabia at the moment. as a level of sophistication that we are used to from presidents.
it's not surprising that he may be needing a bit of a lesson plan for some of these issues. but that matters litter -- little on twitter. it is a great vehicle for trump. in a great one for channeling anger. not necessarily a place you can go to get a really effective policy discussion in fact it seems like every conversation on twitter that goes twitter that goes through more than four or five interactions ends up with something insulting someone personally. we can hope for better. will leave that for the question and answer. i'm glad to talk to about it in a moment.
with respect to whether he is the shape of things to come. now we imagine that a lot of celebrities would like to run for president. who knows who we might see celebrity politics that comes to pat in the future. what donald trump is is kind of like the lebron james of twitter. i don't know that work were to see a lot of people who can re-create this i think when you see the democratic presidential candidates. they are already jockeying for position. none of them seem as good as trump does. i don't know that he will be a two-term president. i do think there is one thing to remember for the future what we want in american politics consistently has been what we don't have when you have somebody who have a lot of experience like obama who
understood policy. maybe even condescending. for others, the vehicle of a trump the anger, the resentment and the channeling of the color values even from a goldplated mansion in new york city. these sorts of things do not give us a pattern for the future. it gives us something not to like for the next election. they are all reactions to the presidents before them. my guess is that the next president will not be a mini trump but rather the end trump in the same way that trump was the on obama. thank you. [applause].
a lot of my thunder is the weight you've got it gotten from one president to the next. it was the obama. when you think about the next presidential election think about who is going to be the i'm going to be the democratic trump. he doesn't know very much. but is very angry and he said he is the only democrat around who can take on trump. in more than 50 years american politics has gone from camelot to game of thrones. my book which i have a right here is standoff. it was published in the spring. it describes how that happens.
you have to know that we have a constitution that enables gridlock if you have different parties competing in each of them and a certain base. they can be entrenched in different brands of government. how does it work too well right now. and now republicans controlled the supreme court and most state governments. but what he is discovering is that even at the republican party controls congress he can't get everything he wants out of congress. it's gonna take a big struggle even with the republican congress and that much might not last much longer. the constitution created a system of limited government. because the authors did not trust the strong government. they made sure that presidential power would be
limited and checked by other branches. trump doesn't like that. you would love to fire congress. we had two political movements in this country what i call the new america on the left in the old america on the right. what's important is we have different values and interests are what they are supposed to be about. values can't. and what has emerged in our politics is a divergence of values which i trace back to warehouse the 1960s. values were attached to people's identity. as a major theme of my book. i talked about the fact that there was a book written right after the 202004 election.
they used to be a hotbed of economic populism. she wants said. farmers should raise less corn and more help. if it is mostly the state of poor white voters. working-class white voters. and that point is they have very conservative values. they tend to be deeply religious there are a lot of fundamentalists there. in the other direction. the jewish voters have conservative interests and liberal values. their interest whether by economics tend to lead them to vote republican. when there is a conflict between interests and values people vote their values. about 70% of jewish voters in 2016 long before donald
trump. he did not create it. he saw as an opportunity and like a good businessman which he is. he took the opportunity. he got elected by exploiting the nation's division with a little help of course from the kremlin. he does not come out of the conservative movement. he used conservatives to legitimize his rise to power but they were using him too. he was persistent in the white house. and sign whatever legislation they came up with and then keep his mouth shut. the problem is that he won't keep his mouth shut. is this the most divided we have ever been as a country and i said you know young man. we did once have a civil war.
three quarters of a million of americans died in the civil war. i don't think or anything close to that now. i would venture to say that this is the most divided the country has been since the civil war. in fact there was a recent poll. a third of americans think we are headed for a second civil war. the difference between the political parties historically has been mostly about wealth and economics. democrats were the party of scrabble working people. what they call in the british labour party. and republicans were the party of the wealthy elite. now at the big difference is education. democrats are the party of the educated elite barack obama the prince of education the republicans are the party of wealth. mitt romney the prince of wealth. to completing elites.
the republican party of course has not been trump if i'd they are intensely loyal to president trump. the racial backlash. the values of the educated elite. mister trump of queens and midtown manhattan does extremely well in rural america. as best estates in 2016 were west virginia and wyoming. those were his best estates. they used to be the party of organized labor. and now they are the party of the university. virginia was the most republican state in the south. from 1952 until 2004 virginia voted republican for president
in 13 out of 14 presidential elections all except 1964. virginia has voted a straight democratic for the last three elections. virginia is really two thirds southern and one third new jersey. welcome to new jersey. these changes really started in the 1960s. that's when we have our own cultural revolution. i remember when they visited washington and i pointed out when i was covering his visit to washington in the 1960s china experienced one of the great tragedies of human history. what is interesting is they got over it. i had been to beijing and they have restaurants in beijing where they have a reenactors who dress like red guards. for them, they reenact it like we do the civil war.
is something that happened a long time ago. here in the united states the differences we have a cultural resolution that said well, we can get over it. bill clinton said if you look back on the 1960s and you think they did more good than harm you are a democrat. if you look back and think they did more harm than good, they are a republican. american voters today are increasingly divided by education white voters without college degrees. they actually had been not been voting democratic obama alienated them. trump is driving while educated voters out of the republican party.
you can see it happening right now. the rule in american politics is this. the wealthier you are the more likely you are to vote republican. the better educated you are in the more likely you are to vote democratic. what if you are wealthy and well-educated. >> then you have to use that sociological term. you're pulled in different directions. if you vote your cultural values you will vote democratic. that's what we find in the affluent suburbs like fairfax county. trump has increased in intensified that educational difference people who finished college like him.
particularly men. color collingwood --dash college graduates can't stand him. i remember when he won the nevada caucuses. he went before the cameras on the night of the caucus and said i did very well with the poorly educated. he's an outsider as steve said. he has no experience in the military or in politics at all. only president we've ever had with no governmental experience. that's because of historic tendency in the united states. they like the idea of outsiders in office. i write a whole chapter in my book about what was behind the ross perot movement. very similar to what was behind the donald trump movement. he have a central faith in one
central belief. and that was that politics and this is shared by most americans. the belief is that politics is the enemy of problem solving. why can't we deal with climate change. because politics gets in the way. why can't can we do something about the national debt. we could but politics gets in the way. that is a core element of american populism. i'm often asked by someone in the audience i think we should run government like a business as we all know there is no politics in business there is an answer to that and i will share with you. remember this business is not a democracy. that's why we can't run government like a business. it would look like government.
it would be very inefficient. the book talks about how the new america emerge in it first became political in the 1960s. they emerged as a political force. educated professionals who never thought they have any real role in the american ruling class and one group that they don't like to talk about but they are growing the unchurched the unchurched this was founded by people who are looking for freedom of religion. they say i'm not affiliated with any of those things. have no religious affiliation. that number has been growing. it was about 7% in the
1960s. they are all solidly democratic. a lot of them are very young. all of those groups that i just mentioned are growing in size except two. latinos, asian americans. they are becoming a larger force. i remember in 1984 we ask people and an exit pulled nationwide a few years later we ask the same question and 5% of voters said yes. i don't there was a southern -- a sudden sexual conversion but they had been there had been more comfortable coming out of the closet.
and democrats expect that they will be saved by this emergence of the new america which could happen except for one problem. demographics is long. politics is short. it's going to occur in this country but it's gonna take ten or 20 years maybe longer for these groups to come into prominence. he has some foreign policy crisis. and everything changes in politics overnight. there were a number of people at this meeting. they represent groups that were growing in size and influence. i think that is wonderful news but i have a problem. to make what you're gonna talk about is gonna take ten years. after when right now. remember this he followed four
presidents in a row. two republicans and to a democrats who promised to bring the country together. the first president bush was kinder and gentler. george w. bush called himself a uniter not a divider. and ended up tearing the country apart over the war in iraq. and barack obama became permanent and 2004. when he said there is no liberal america and conservative america there is only the united states of america. there is a liberal america in a conservative america. two republicans, two democrats. they promise to be healers. they all failed. trump is different. he never for one minute
promised to be a healer. he figured out a way to turn the bitter division of the country into a political asset. and like a shrewd businessman. the bitter division of american politics created an opportunity for him that was right for exploitation. he ran as a divider he got as elected as a divider. in the end in politics you have to have a base. they are with you and you are wrong. sooner or later you will be wrong. bill clinton had a very powerful base that remained with him during the monica lewinsky scandal. 2018 this year is going to be a battle of the bases the trump base versus a democratic liberal debate. each of those it rages the other.
but unfortunately for democrats tends to be more reliable for voters than the liberal democratic and base which includes a lot of minorities immigrants and young people who don't have much of a habit of voting and midterm elections. it's bound to be negative and divisive and makes a governing difficult because after the election the parties can't come together and compromise if a different fundamental value they can easily be compromised. each party regards its opponents as illegitimate the winning party seizes victory however narrow as a mandate to destroy whatever the other party has achieved. for trump that means eradicating all traces of barack obama's presidency including health care reform. if they ever succeed in
building at least some of his promise while on the mexican border the democratic candidates i can assure you it will race to the wall. they will be the first to see and before his or her supporters and say mister president. tear down this wall. we will end up with cycles of lunging political revenge first one party and then the other. aiming to do everything its opponent did it was a thinly disguised attack by president trump on his predecessor. barack obama. it obviously wasn't great under barack obama. i hope and inspiration that was the political style of both barack obama and ronald reagan. they both sold hope and inspiration. they are going to be very rare. as long as donald trump is president. a final word what well save us and what can save the country
unfortunately this has happened repeatedly we need a crisis. >> we do work very well when there is a crisis. a depression, a war. americans come together in the divisions are for a moment cast aside. when there is a huge urgency in public opinion to solve a problem the country can function. the government can function quite admirably. for one year a majority of democrats favored and supported president bush. a charismatic leader can help do it. that was supposed to be president obama. our constitutional system of weak government actually provides an answer to saving america from this bitter division.
it was designed in the 18 18th century to protect america from a tyrant the people who wrote the constitution have fought that resolution. my view is our constitution in its genius can also protect us from a make a romania act. we will take questions. please let us know which one of us you want to ask the question of or both of us. why don't i start with the fellow appear. my name is arnold. i had been a journalist for 40 or 50 years myself. what do you make of the fact
that in the past seven presidential elections the democrats have outvoted the republicans all but one. what you make of that. i think it speaks to a lot of the frustration that you see among democrats today as they feel like the system is not fair the electoral college now twice recently in the last several elections has favored a republican even though the popular vote favored a democrat. the gap in the last election was 3 million. i think that this is really leading to this argument that my colleague on the panel makes. that america is getting more and more ungoverned because there is so much anger and energy that is really pulling us apart and even the
electoral system. not just anger with the politicians is now intensifying. i think that's a very serious problem. i think the small states liked getting disproportionate influence. but the gaps may very will be larger as bigger seats get less of an opportunity. as bigger seats get less of an opportunity. and think it's very hard to pass. even after 2000 and the only one that proposed changing that article. was a senator from new senator from new york state called hillary clinton. the electoral college what it really advantages it is battleground states. they campaign it takes place in states that arse swing states. nobody goes to california or texas in the presidential election.
or they can be very small like new hampshire. i don't see a particular change. i do know that after the 2000 election there was some disappointment. and anger about the electoral college. it is the core of the problem. and without changing that you will not really get anywhere. hold on a second for the microphone. my question is for professor burns worth. i notice you mentioned that he got election in large part of the and made the argument that it wasn't exactly inequality but racism that led to his
victory. i was wondering do you think racism played a role in getting trump elected why or why not? >> i asked actually think it did. to the extent that he wasn't nationally known before he became the kid for president. one of the key factors was the birth of movement. the argument was that he did not have an american birth certificate but part of the head to do with that he is not one of us. it resonated with a lot of people. throughout the social media environment. and without the republican primary process. one of the dynamics is not inequality. also a concern that other people are getting a better shake from america than you are. and the level of resentment i think is one of the things that trump was able to play
like a virtuoso. that explains why the popular vote deficit that he have nationally mattered less than 80,000 vote margin that he have in those industrial states. it really was a ground zero for that issue of racial divisions that division that you're raising in the question. let's go the other student in the front. i'm a student here at george mason university. being in the united states as we have semi- different cultures and academic standards statues. and having a trump who one the
brush about. but also appealing for somebody from west virginia even though he didn't win new york or california. still appealing to those conservative voters from states like that. >> i think what were talking about here is a change in terms of optimism. for the longest time if you look across most presidents had been successful they've have this vision of a better america usually when a person says that the president is better than the future that doesn't really work as an election strategy and it kind of message that he offered was really kind of a challenge i think for americans to adopt
in many ways there are people who are where trump aware trump is on this point. the challenge of how to be optimistic in a time with divided government the challenge of how to be optimistic where were more more people are looking at pension plans that they have not invested well in. the way in which more and more jobs are being turned offs sure. when you add up all of these things you can understand why trump is president. there was a sense that optimism was misplaced and those were the places where he did well. it's a great challenge for a politician who wants to be optimistic in a way that reagan was in 1980. nuts can be a great challenge. i imagine there are democrats who are up to the task because
that is one of the strategies that we both talk about in our work. maybe there would be a way to turn that around. at the moment i don't have a great deal of assurance about how that might take place. >> for clarity i'm asking more how does a president in general appeal to some different variety of voters. >> our parties our coalition. you have to agree on one thing. you can be very different and everything else but you have to agree on one thing. although nowadays you can be a racist but essentially if you think donald trump or hillary clinton should be president you are one of us. and that's all work and ask. movements are different.
in the movement you're supposed agree on everything. in the republican party has been more and more of a movement in recent years. and they're showing some interest in becoming a movement. when some smart guy from ohio came up with a list of ten positions and in order to be the official candidate you have to a great with at least eight of these ten positions. i have to do with pending social security and medicare. and just doing something about the national debt. until someone pointed out that ronald reagan would not had qualified. that is a movement. the best example of a movement i know. they said you have to agree with us on everything or we will throw you out of the movement.
they did with a lot of republicans. our parties our coalition's. they are supposed to be diverse his movement is really closer. his people are supposed to agree on everything. protectionism which is not part of the conservative tradition. that's what why he is a different kind of president than any president of either party in recent years. see mike thank you so much to our speakers. [inaudible conversations]
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