Skip to main content

tv   Anne Nelson Shadow Network  CSPAN  October 20, 2019 4:05am-5:06am EDT

4:05 am
starting now look at conservative politics and the history of the council for national policy with journalist ann nelson. >> i'm president of the madison institute. i would like to welcome you to this event featuring ann nelson and her new book "shadow network". ann nelson is a native of
4:06 am
oklahoma, an award-winning journalist and the author of multiple books, this being the most recent. for two decades in the school of journalism, more recently in the school of international and public affairs. before we begin, let me thank the madison public library, madison public library foundation. all the sponsors who contributed to making this a successful event and the director of the book festival who organized this celebration of books and authors over the four day weekend. on behalf of the madison institute i want to thank the w foundation, charitable arm of the capital times and many individual donors of madison institute who help our efforts to support and illuminate
4:07 am
issues of public policy. ann nelson will cast light on how the council for international policy which was created in 1981 is worked for four decades to channel money and people to influence the outcome of our elections and public policy. the book is been praised by a number of individuals including nancy mclean who wrote the book democracy in chains. she writes that "shadow network" is a riveting story about an with startling revelations including ties to because brothers and the takeover of media outlets in parts of the country that have outside influence in the electoral college and the united states senate so please join me in welcoming ann nelson.
4:08 am
[applause] >> thank you, fred, and thank you wisconsin book festival. it is exciting to be here especially since wisconsin plays a part in my story. i'm here to talk about my book "shadow network" it is the explanation of the puzzle that began on the evening of november 8, 2016, but in other ways the puzzle began a long time before that. i was sitting in front of my television like many other americans and looking at my phone to see the new york times predicting hillary clinton had an 85% chance of a victory at the time the polls closed and she had been endorsed by 57 of the hundred largest newspapers in the united states compared to two that endorsed her opponent.
4:09 am
people i knew, myself included, believed we understood the situation and the coverage made coherent and clinton's positions on social issues corresponded to the majority of public opinion, positions on questions like her pro-choice position, civil rights for the lgbt population, gun-control. here she has majority public opinion, newspapers of america behind her, the analysis of the new york times and yet the november surprise, she won the popular vote by 3 million but she lost the electoral college by 80,000 votes in three state, pennsylvania, michigan, and wisconsin. less than 1% in each case. michigan and wisconsin had been traditionally democratic states that the party had more or less taken for granted and inks went
4:10 am
the other direction. my background in journalism and human rights documentation meant the first thing i wanted to do was try to figure out why and to do it through research so i began to investigate how this happened especially with a candidate with as many liabilities as donald trump. i don't need to go into those here. they were adequately documented. a few years and thousand footnotes later here we are, you don't have to read the footnotes but they are there if you want to see where i find every assertion i make. i had something of an advantage. i was born and raised in oklahoma and to my knowledge i was the first female from oklahoma high school to graduate from yale college. a low bar but i will take it. over the past decades i shuttled back and forth from new york city where i lived and taught at colombia and oklahoma to visit friends and family.
4:11 am
part of the story unfolded there. oklahomans like wisconsin spend a lot of time in the car and a lot of time in the car means a lot of time with the radio on. when i began this investigation i stopped listening to npr and started listening to fundamentalist radio stations. i heard a lot of political coverage and it went like this. hillary clinton is a demon. data o'rourke is the son of satan. this was on the news broadcasts which was factually difficult to demonstrate. that i started mapping out radio networks across the country and found that they represented hundreds of stations more or less concentrated in swing states where in many places they outnumbered npr stations, news coverage for example and in many cases had stronger signals. in a place like oklahoma if you
4:12 am
go from town to town and always picking up one of the signals as you drive from one place to another, it fades in and fades out, i learned the three of these networks representing hundreds of stations were run by members of a shadowy group called the council for national policy and before i begin this research i haven't heard of it so i started digging into it and i learned leadership included the devosd family from michigan. and mysteriously after the election, betsy becomes actively defunding public schools was another was kellyanne conway and another was steve bannon. it looked like right material for research. the president of the council
4:13 am
for national policy, tony perkins, was a fellow oklahoman and i had been listening to him on the radio. he had written major chunks of the republican party platform. a southern baptist minister from oklahoma who ran the family research council. this wasn't exactly processing and the chunks of platform he wrote encouraged transsexual members of the military even though the pentagon opposed it. other issues they were promoting was conversion therapy for homosexuals which is regarded as counterproductive and damaging by the american medical association so tony perkins became one of donald trump's spiritual advisers and his evangelical advisory council was dominated by fundamentalist members of the council for national policy. obama had a spiritual advisory council he was supposed to
4:14 am
be a presbyterian himself. it was fundamentalists, evangelical, very unidirectional. with the help of some intrepid research assistants from the university of southern california and harvard i continued to connect these dots. i started with a deep history of the movement beginning in the segregationist south. this is where i was a child in the 1960s going to segregated schools in oklahoma and i found the backlash to the civil rights movement in the south and the southwest was an
4:15 am
integral part of this movement that combined with industries, you had the oil industry wanting to maximize profits and the social issues and economic issues joined forces in this movement. the cnp was founded in 1981 in the wake of reagan's election and he held himself up as a kind of religious theme to the presidency. he didn't always satisfy his fundamentalist supporters because he did appoint some moderates to his cabinet and was more interested in promoting his economic policies than he was pushing social issues so the council for national policy and affiliated organizations had a kind of complicated dance with the republican party for the next 20 years where they would lend their support to candidates who promised to support them, with all the experienced disappointment when republicans made alliances with moderate republicans and even democrats
4:16 am
across the aisle. they knew they had a minority in the population and they understood their advantages way in the senate and alexa oral college, and rural regions of other states. it is quite sophisticated, and focus on the popular vote and national news media. they understood in the intellectual system the popular vote is irrelevant. the electoral college calls the shots. if they could win the electoral college by any means they would occupy the administration. one of the mottos is god doesn't need a majority.
4:17 am
they proceeded with this but in order to execute their plans they needed money, media, and ground troops. the money poured in from the devos family, from oil barons from texas and louisiana and oklahoma and they were interested in fighting environmental regulations that were being instituted, they regarded richard nixon as something of a trader because he established the environmental protection agency during his administration and they are posted and sought to abolish it all together. there media came through fundamentalist broadcasting and it wasn't only radio networks but television network such as christian broadcasting network and the trinity broadcasting network and this occurred over appear go of american history
4:18 am
when you had various broadcasting regulations that were changing. there had been a fairness doctrine that required equal time for opposing parties on issues and candidates, that was dropped so these broadcasters were able legally to broadcast uncontested arguments in favor of one body of the political movement over another and the radio stations proliferated. you had new technologies that facilitated this. the advent of cable television. at one point you had 80% of american households tuned to network news at the dinner hour, some people in this room can remember the broadcast of uncle walter, mister cronkite who told us all in a very reassuring way what had been professionally reported in the world and how we might respond to it. that changed with the advent of
4:19 am
cable networks and dropping of the fairness doctrine you had a proliferation of cable channels that were representing opinion overreporting and representing contention and shouting matches over fact-finding and you had a loss of this broadcast news culture in much of the public and it was replaced by people not really exercising professional allegiance to facts. all of this served the purpose of a movement that wanted to downplay fact in favor of their ideology. the ground troops came through membership organizations and as i look through the roster of the council for national policy i found the head of the national rifle association as one of their most active members, the head of the antiabortion organization, the susan b anthony list.
4:20 am
this is an interesting organization. it had been founded in response to emily's list which sought to raise money for female candidates of all kinds. this organization, the susan b anthony list, claimed to represent the position of susan b anthony in opposing abortion. the susan b anthony scholars say this is fabricated. the quote they are using in their defense is not legitimate but they are using her name nonetheless and organizing women who go door-to-door, make phone calls and get engaged in political activity when operating like the nra under tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization. another head of an organization who belongs to the council for national policy is the head of the tea party patriots. here you have a network of
4:21 am
donors who can write checks in 6 and 7 figures and operate as a consortium and fund each other's organization in a circular manner. you have a network of media that started with radio and expands to television broadcasting and you are talking massive audiences. i didn't watch the fundamentalist television broadcasters very much before i started this project but i learned they could command 100 million viewers. you have a sizable contingent of people getting a 1-sided representation of our political life. then you have these organizations branching out. one of the largest of these whose owners in the lesion of the council for national policy, the salem media network, salem is a massive
4:22 am
media organization in the united states. it has many radio stations in critical areas but also has a large number of online platforms, has a book publishing company where best-selling books are published. it is multi platform and has an extremely large reach which is, i would just largely invisible to the listenership of national public radio. over the past 20 years these organizations have benefited from what i call a colony collapse of american professional journalism. what you had in the last 20 years is a number of newspapers, large number of newspapers that have closed especially in the middle of the united states, tens of thousands of american journalists who devoted their careers to learning figures fast paced reporting thrown out
4:23 am
of work. why? the first reason with technological change and when the ad revenues that used to go to newspapers and classifieds and display advertising migrated online and the advertising that used to support these reporters who were serving their community and serving in city hall and serving in the statehouse, serving in and investigating the role of money in politics, all of a sudden that function is gone and is replaced by useless click bait. that has been a major issue. we have lost one third of full-time statehouse reporters in this country. how are we ever supposed to know what our legislators are doing if no one is keeping an eye on them? you also have the disappearance of the audience for these newspapers so you have a less
4:24 am
informed electorate and more and more of your citizens some informed, misinformed and distant formed by the other media that arise to fill the vacuum. here you have this issue that allows the movement to make gradual progress and they refine their strategy over the years. they chose certain states. ohio was one bellwether state where there were a lot of experiments shall we say inactivating certain parts of the electorate and suppressing other parts of the electorate. going through the 1990s which i document thoroughly in the book you have critical elections affected by leading members of the council for national policy including kenneth blackwell, the secretary of state in ohio. at the same time he was
4:25 am
representing republican interests and there were some investigations into his activities that did not reflect on him well, but this all continued and they were making gradual progress until 2008. barack obama won the election and he won it in a landslide. there were many disturbing things to them about this. barack obama, the council for national policy's worst nightmare. leave aside his identity and look only at his policies. was representing women's rights, supporting marriage equality and advancing environmental regulations energetically and this was anathema but there was also a kind of insult to it because barack obama was a very modern candidate and had one of the
4:26 am
most advanced digital campaigns anyone had ever seen so he had a team of young technologists figuring out things about social media and they figured out how to energize certain portraits of the electorate through facebook and other social media feeds. they learned how to collect data on where the voters were, how they voted and if this was believed by many to have largely contributed to his history among other factors, the cnp and its allies went back to the drawing board. this time they had some new allies because among other people who were very disturbed by the obama victory were the koch brothers. the environmental regulations were not to their liking. their oil industries had been fined multiple times for degrading the environment in more ways than one can count.
4:27 am
oil pipe leakages, toxic residue. if you look at the art of the country i am from, oklahoma, texas, louisiana, you have cancer alley in louisiana, oil spills. there is a broad disregard for environmental safety and they have been fined, they have been taken to court, and they regard these actions to protect the public from environmental degradation as a means of hampering their profits. they also didn't like being outsmarted. democrats data operation appeared to have done that so at this point the carter brothers invest $50 million in a new data platform that is state-of-the-art called i 360 and it started gathering data
4:28 am
with the help of a company called cambridge analytic a. where the democrats have been focusing on where the voter lived, what party they were registered for, whether they had voted in the last election this data platform went all out. went after what you watched on netflix, what your cholesterol level is, what you owe on your mortgage and it compiled this and then made a system where it said into and answered to door-to-door canvassers so whereas democratic canvasser would knock on the door and now perhaps whether the person voted in the last election or not there canvassers can say i know you had a burden last year and you must be frightened about your right to keep a firearm. this was quite an innovation
4:29 am
and it was adopted and developed with more money and more independence than anything the democrats had. it was also authored on a subsidized basis to selected candidates. one of those who was one of the most advanced was ted cruz. one of the things people don't know about ted cruz, he comes from a very interesting family. his father was a pro-castro cuban revolutionary and mathematician until he got religion and became a dominion nest preacher. a computer scientist, one of the true innovators, digital campaign in front of the entire
4:30 am
field and he waited this with his own allegiance to fundamentalist christianity and the dominion nest string but he and his technologists worked to develop an apps with a company called you campaign and there was a harmony between the data platform and apps and the organization represented for national policy such as the national rifle association and the susan b anthony list and others so it was a very sophisticated approach and there was a chance to pioneer it in 2016 in the british campaign for brexit and what happened in this case was the apps was working with cambridge analytica and others to go to the bridge people and identify
4:31 am
the ones who did not live in the large sophisticated urban areas, people who felt left behind by the new britain and they told them several things, they told them after test marketing many messages one of them was belonging to the eu for tens of millions of turks to invade britain. and deprive them of their livelihoods and if they didn't go with the eu all of that money could be reinvested in national health and improve their national health service. neither of these things happened to be true, but through this method of identifying target voters, motivating them to go vote and energizing them with messages of these falsehoods they surprised everyone with the brexit vote and we see the united kingdom still struggling with the results day today.
4:32 am
so they were very cheered by this laboratory experiment in their technology and turn to the us primaries. ted cruz -- a lot of these techniques in the iowa primary where he did very well, but over time he lost ground to an outsider, donald trump, who wrote on the bandwagon of his bizarre charisma and celebrity to win enough primaries to become the republican candidate. this caused a great crisis in this movement because many of the fundamentalist leaders said trump was not just there last choice out of 17 candidates, he wasn't even on the list. many of them like the southern baptists denounced him and published statements that they would never support him.
4:33 am
richard land, a member of the council for national policy who was very involved in the fundamentalist get out the vote effort was a true bellwether for the movement. however, they were faced with a moment i described in the book where they had to choose between getting behind trump and watching hillary clinton win the election and they made their choice. people often ask me regarding the book, how could the fundamentalists support someone like trump who is so different from them culturally and in terms of character and values. i read their books at great length and listened to their broadcasts so you may not have to.
4:34 am
what i found was they said donald trump may not be a man of god but he's an instrument of god. they call him osiris. .. marriott marquis hotel in new york in times where they called a thousand fundamentalist leaders to come here donald trump. the leading figures from the council for national policy including tony perkins and a number of other figures identified with them set up a
4:35 am
meeting where they would introduce trump to the fold as someone they could work with. and get buy-in from their community, which would, they hoped unlock the resources of the money, media and ground troops. trump appeared and he represented himself having been coached a bit as a member of their fold. and they all emerged several elements of a major deal had occurred. the first one was that members of the council for national policy, including tony perkins, would be writing portions of the republican national platform for the convention. that was agreed upon. that was going to focus on the social issues. they were largely going to concern women's and gender's rights. and that indeed occurred.
4:36 am
another element of the deal was the evangelical council began to be formed and it was dominated by members of the council for national policy. no other representations of american religious life or indeed the growing number of americans who do not have a religious affiliation. that was also agreed upon. finally, and perhaps most critically was the question of the federal judiciary. there is an agreement that trump would appoint federal judges to the supreme court, circuit courts and appeals courts from a list that these organizations had prepared. the list was drawn up by the federalist society, heritage foundation, national rifle association which became an arbitrary judicial nominations. and after the neil gorsuch nomination the white house
4:37 am
published a video of them meeting with trump in the white house to celebrate in his thanking them for their support in the process. the federal society, heritage foundation, and the nra all run by members of the council for national policy. let's think for a moment about our founding fathers. they instituted a system of checks and balances, as we all learned in high school civics courses. the administration and the legislative branch and judiciary are supposed to check excesses from each other. over time the federal court are appointed as lifetime appointments. but the idea is that they will balance each other out and serve the cause of moderation and will reflect the way that the public involves to represent the american people. what do they deal with? the federal courts deal with the social issues, such as
4:38 am
marriage equality, they deal with women's issues such as access to abortion and women's healthcare. they deal with issues around gerrymandering or not. they deal with voting laws. in the ways these are exercised in different states. they also deal with environmental regulations. these courts are a key to power and the republican congress had created a logjam of appointments for the obama administration, which resulted in a record number of appointments to be made under the next administration and those have gone on a pace. trump has appointed a record number of judges to federal judiciary spots. and they have already tipped one court, there are other courts being tipped from one persuasion to another.
4:39 am
this could have a lasting effect on our life as a nation. the other part of this is the level of qualification of these judges. the american bar association was asked by a republican president dwight eisenhower to create a rating system for judges qualification and they've done that for every president until now and a republican president has gotten higher ratings then a democrat. it's not a partisan exercise that's looking at their professional qualifications will stop trump has appointed a record number of judges who are deemed unqualified based on their ideological allegiance to this movement. as he agreed to do at the outset. after the meeting at the marriott marquis the whole movement turned on a dime, landed who had announced trump
4:40 am
and place it last on his list had ãbground troops went door-to-door the candidate that they had opposed had they now supported.the media turned around and supported trump and all of this went into overdrive. the democrats had me and canvassers too but the republicans had a strategic advantage which was that their data and apps were first of all networked across the country. state levels fed into the master and that was diffused to the candidates they supported across the country and they were also networked into campaigners who were not campaigning on behalf of the republican party. they were campaigning on behalf of the national rifle association, susan b anthony list and the other organizations. by the tens of thousands. that was involved in many
4:41 am
states. so the question going into 20/20 is whether this pattern will avail. i was able to follow the 2018 midterms very closely as i was writing the book. the democrats celebrated the fact that they won the house which was corresponding to the general population. the republicans won seats in the set senate which is something they advertise in their campaign strategy. i looked at the claire mccaskill as a case study and looked at the way the trump organization, the nra, susan b anthony list, and others, joined together and blanketed that state with anti-mccaskill activity. you had the republican party doing its own work on the side but you had it magnified and
4:42 am
multiplied by the other forces plus the media with radio stations that outnumbered npr for example the state of missouri. what you have is a rather uneven playing field. it's one that has continued to this day. at this point the app developers added a special feature which was a texting feature. the argument was that the most likely people to get to vote would be older white fundamentalists, pressured by their religious communities. while the democrats were doing fancy virtual-reality on their apps, the republican developer said that the killer app was text. that's what old people do. what they did was develop a series of apps and when you don't read the 50 pages of
4:43 am
permissions that nobody ever reads and you just download the app, you have given it access to your entire directory on your phone. at that point you also have given them permission to send a personalized text from you to each person in your directory telling them when and how and where to vote. ãb in the world of technology people don't like to think about retro media like radio and tax. they always want to go after the shiny new thing. this movement is very focused on what actually works and get people to the polls to vote and vote in a certain way. one of the problems i have with it is that there is so much of it that it simply based on falsehood.let's start with abortion, which is probably the main emphasis of their campaign. what they are saying in their broadcast center media is that
4:44 am
democrats are in favor of what they call birthday abortion. they say that democrats want to execute babies on the day of their birth. i've scoured the public record every way i can, i've never found a democrat or actually anyone who wants to execute babies on the day of their birth. but this has been said by trump, by crews, by their media and it's being promulgated not only in radio programs but i've seen anna animation films they have near full born babies being extracted from the womb and by them arguing this is what democrats like to do. it simply isn't true. i think there's an honest and important conversation to be had about abortion. i'm perfectly open to that. it should be based on fact. and at this point, that's not what's happening, it's being
4:45 am
used to rouse a motion through graphic and false depictions and that's not the way our political system should operate. we also have the same apps and the same antiabortion platform being implement it for the national elections in canada. so right now where we are is the public is captivated by the daily spectacle from the white house. it's what i called dust in your eyes. there's always something new to stare at, to wonder at and that can be distracting the public from the main event. there is a nubian election next year and it's going to have a determination of the future, not just in the country but in many ways the future of the planet. being distracted at this point is not a good idea. there is a lot of attention focused on the idea of impeachment. it turns out that mike pence
4:46 am
has been an ally of the council for national policy for over 20 years. there are many signs, which i documented my book, he was actually their preferred candidate. it could be that everyone who is focused on impeachment may actually be serving their longer-term purpose. i wrote shadow network at a time when i dropped everything else i was doing because i thought it was important to provide all the documentation of this movement that i could. whatever your political persuasion i think it's important that american citizens know how this works, understand it, and figure out how they respond to it. i don't claim it's the whole story, it's not the only story, but i do believe it's a significant part of the story. ultimately it's a question of our commitment to democracy.
4:47 am
you know who won the election in 2016? didn't vote. trump got 27 percent, hillary got 28 percent, didn't vote got 40%. we should all care deeply about that. the combination of people who are eligible to vote and didn't register, seven percent of people registered and didn't vote, 33 percent. the future of the world rests on some people and some swing states. not that many because that's our system works. if people don't pay attention to it they are ceding their vote for the future. i should add that voters over 65 or 30% more likely to vote than those under 30. so you have an entire generation of americans who are ceding their future to people who won't be around to experience it. my last two books run anti-nazi
4:48 am
movements in berlin and occupied paris. i've been working from the perspective of a historian. i believe when historians in the future look back on our time they are going to ask whether we were willing to defend our democracy through the peaceful means we have at our disposal. and that, at the end of the day, is a ballot box. thank you. [applause] any questions? i think you are supposed to get a microphone. are there any questions from someone willing to use the mic?
4:49 am
[inaudible background conversations] >> you connected many of the dots that i knew were out there. the only dock that you have it connected at all is putin and the russian connection and we've been seeing lately how greatly he is benefiting from all of this. i'm wondering, in your opinion, since we can't necessarily back this up. that's the first part, putin. i'm wondering how distressed he might be about catalonia when you think about history when you think about riots in spain,
4:50 am
about catalonia and independence. a two-part question. >> the question was, how i tie in what has happened with the russian investigation. as the first part. the second part is how i respond to the riots in catalonia. i've taught in catalonia and barcelona but not for some years. as someone who attempts always to be an evidence-based and fact-based reporter i would rather know more about it before i opine. in terms of the russian investigation, i knew there were many signs of connections is always doing my reporting and i had to limit what i was trying to do because as you point out they were all already an awful lot of dots. however, after i finish the manuscript and the book was printed, the democrats on the senate finance committee published a report that stated
4:51 am
that maria bettina had been in touch with the national rifle association and they published an email where the nra offered to pay her way to the cmp meetings. so where there is smoke there may well be fire. i guess the frustrating part about writing a book like this is when you do have to confine it. i felt it would be good to publish it now and that if i did it over a three-year period it might be a postmortem, which was a ãi did what i could in the time i had. i hope lots of other people follow-up because there are so many additional different avenues for investigation and you name the first.
4:52 am
>> given all your extensive research, is there anything that gives you hope? [laughter] >> the american people. i do believe in this country and i think that this country has responded to periods of crisis in the past in ways that they didn't even know they could. but i also look at people as individuals and, my last two books about the anti-nazi resistance in europe i'm writing about individuals who always recognized the nazi threat and when they undertook their most courageous actions this is 1940, 1941 and every indication was that the nazis had won the war. they hadn't invaded the soviet union yet, the u.s. wasn't in on the war so it looked like they were fighting an
4:53 am
impossible enemy. they decided exactly what they could do and they did it. and while their actions may have only affected a small percentage of the lives that they managed to say, those mattered. i was in paris talking to 80-year-old children who been rescued by the network in paris run by suzanne spock. talk with people who are alive because a housewife decided to step out of your comfort zone and do something. her motto ãbyou got to do something. so i think when people realize that the moment is all hands on deck for democracy and they put aside some of their personal interest, amazing things can happen. and 80,000 vote in 2016 do the
4:54 am
math about how small these margins are. of course there is a question of money but it's not all money. a lot of what this movement has actually taught me is that the gold standard for political campaigns is not facebook feeds people click and move on, it is someone who takes the time to go door-to-door see someone face-to-face, listen to them, speak to them and hand them a piece of printed literature. hand-to-hand and asked them to vote. that's what really works. these people are very clever and figuring it out. i was astonished to read that the democratic national party did not manage to get campaign literature to wisconsin in 2016. much less have the candidate's visit. i believe people can learn. [laughter] and as a historian i
4:55 am
will watch and see whether i'm right. >> that's a great segue to my question and you sort of answered it but i will ask anywhere which is we are in a very important state sound like one of the things we can do is go door-to-door but do we want to go door-to-door in other areas because we kick our kind of a blue district. with the single most important thing those of us that want to do something outside of her comfort zone to do. >> and not a political activist.i'm somebody who wrote a book that explains the mechanics of the movement that's affected our national history. i'm not going to be prescriptive. i will tell you there's many organizations that are taking on the job you can look for them and decide what you think will be most effective. that's all out there. but i do think, i will be enough of an advocate to say getting out the vote is very important in a democracy. i don't think that's being
4:56 am
partisan. and i do think that it's very important to help people understand that you can take a single issue like abortion and distort it and inflate it when people should be thinking about whether they have clean water to drink and whether their children can go to school and whether they have healthcare to sweep all that aside over a falsely positive debate over abortion i feel is inappropriate. if you look at the voter guides of these organizations, climate and environment aren't even on the list. they don't exist. so they are making these cases for issues based on how much emotion they can arouse. i have to say it's pretty effective but i do feel that they are probably strategists who could address this in effective ways too. >> you have any indication yet
4:57 am
that there are forces on the other side that have up there arsenal to counteract what you've experienced and what you've written about here and an effective way in this cycle? do you see the tools being deployed now matching with the firepower out there? >> i have interviewed strategists from both republican and democratic party i do believe that both of them are ramping up their forces considerably. people who are interested in following this might look at an article by thomas edsall in the new york times about trumps enormous warchest and buying facebook as it was out last week. the kind of updates some of the reporting i have the book. i think that yes both sides are upping their game. and both sides understand that
4:58 am
this is sort of armageddon. to use such language. because with another four years of this movement in power, you start to have the courts totally transformed. the federal judges who have held on and even delayed their retirement because they don't want to be replaced by nominees from this administration. they can hold on for a year or two there and hang on for five. you could see the united states transformed into quite a different society with this. i think both sides realize it but i have observed one thing, when i look at the republicans in this movement i say, it runs like a corporation, once they make a decision, it's command and control, everything moves in the same direction and you get the feeling that it's run by people who are business majors.
4:59 am
the democrats more like lawyers. let's all contest and let's come up with every possible footnote to contest the other democrat. there is a very divisive culture that goes on that you could say was kind of democratic in its way. but it's not always politically effective. >> good segue into my question. the gop has become, as far as i'm concerned, in a non-entity. they have really become a trump party. and we have a morally corrupt president. what do you see has led to the total co-opting of the republican party by trump and his actions and do you see any ability for the republican party to go back to the old
5:00 am
moderate conservative party or has it been lost forever do you think? >> this is in my book. and what i describe is a set of tactics it evolves over time. that are about purging moderates and reinforcing hardliners. it actually starts with the southern baptist convention in 1960s in texas. where moderates and southern baptist church leadership are purged. by some questionable political tactics at the annual southern baptist convention. then it moves on to the national rifle association which turns out used to be a patriotic marksmanship organization which helped with gun safety. and was not really so apart from the national feeling about gun safety and gun control. there was something called the
5:01 am
cincinnati revolt where hardliners took it over, purged a moderate entered it into a political one organization. over time the same thing happened with the republican party. there were many honorable republicans we could all name, who voted on legislation, worked across the aisle on issues, who were focused on making things work for people and who supported critical issues in the environment and other areas of public life. and many of them were purged. so you can go through chapter by chapter and see who and when they were. can it be recovered? i believe that. but that's an opinion. i can't prove it. but i have a lot of republican friends who are not only dismayed by the current state of affairs, and not only alienated by the trump
5:02 am
administration, they speak with a sense of personal betrayal. this is not the party that i belong to. this is not the party a supported and i really hope they will have something to go back to because we need at least a two party system. we need honorable people on all sides. this may be a chance for kind of renewal of american democracy. she said optimistically. >> evangelicals consider trump the second coming or there is something in it for them. the end of days. what are they getting out of this trump administration? why are they still sold? >> one issue i had to deal with in the book was the question of some definitions because it's
5:03 am
not a bright line between protestant, evangelical, fundamentalist and i had to use some shorthand because there just aren't precise definitions. i will say that within the evangelical community there are many different strains of social attitudes. and there are people such as the group called the red letter christians who are evangelicals who subscribe to the idea that christianity involves the words of jesus printed in red letters in the new testament such as the beatitudes. which are big factors in the movement i described. so i don't think it's right to lump anyone together into a single category and i do feel that many of the fundamentalists who'd been led to support the current
5:04 am
administration are questioning it on many accounts. right now you see a parting of the way on the issue of the kurds. there is a lot of questioning about trumps policies and about his decision-making process on account. and i also suggest that anybody who is seriously engaged in this topic look at some of the more serious analysis available in my absolute favorite is larry sabato operation of that of the university of virginia and he has a center that analyzes holes and lyrical trends in a very academically sound way and it's called larry sabato's crystal ball. i don't think he predicts the future but he charts the present with i think a fair amount of precision. so i think it's really important because they will be a very small group of states that will define the future and
5:05 am
i tell people, i live in new york a boat in new york and that's totally vote has no count. my parents live in oklahoma their vote has no count either. there will be about five or six states that as i say will determine the future of the country and perhaps the world. and current signs are that wisconsin is one of them. we are done? [applause] thank you.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on