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tv   A Presidents First 100 Days  CSPAN  January 29, 2017 6:23pm-8:01pm EST

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hundreds of photographs that the artists did. why the artwork is important is because they photograph what is there. there is no perspective on it. there was no emotion. artwork, you get the man. thes bringing with him, experiences. he brings all of that. it is important to understand that and appreciate what is in the artwork itself. more world war i combat art and to learn more about the artists you can visit the archive blog - the unwritten record. >> a panelist of historians compare the first 100 days of previous presidents and discuss priorities for the new trump administration.
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some of the things they talk about include international poverty. this took place at the american historical association annual meeting in denver. it is over an hour and a half. young: when we conceived about this about a year or so ago, we thought of it as an opportunity share theirns to expertise with the new president-elect. little did we realize that our panelists would be advising president-elect trump. we are fortunate that we have five historians that are on public purpose. they would like to reflect on some of the context that the new
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administration that will be faced with. we will follow the order alphabetically. first up is native to cheer -- nathan. a scholar of the middle east. u.s.-arabte of relations. this man will be next, his research polices criminality in the united states. our third speaker is my colleague margaret. she is currently focusing on the relationship between high-tech and american politics. she has recently published a ays for pivotal dya
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elections. a man from the university of chicago. and author of the much acclaimed "the greatled jan divergence." the last one is sean. he has written extensively about modern history. i think if you are a popular aan, you know he ha uthored one of those texts. we will have a q&a session. if you can come up to the mic, we are not going to be passing the mic around. nahtan? nathan: thank you. thank you to the program
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committee for inviting me to take part in this. i feel especially honored to be in such distinguished company tonight. thank you all for coming out to a warm room on a cold night. in trying to anticipate the top --inistration foreign-policy trump administration foreign-policy, it makes sense to compare 21953 and 1981. 1953 and 1981. during the campaign, trump compared himself to dwight eisenhower and ronald reagan. in the case of ike, in the face of deporting undocumented immigrants. in thinking about the middle east, i would like to propose another year.
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it may help us to understand what lies ahead. aat earmarked -- year marked richard nixon's second term. it was dominated early on by the watergate scandal. this affected foreign policymaking. watergate contributed to and helps to shape the consequences to the arab-israeli war. henry kissinger offered a peace process that for the persuadable picture -- or the perceivable forseeableor the future. trump's first 100 days will be in post by his
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relationship with vladimir putin. this controversy is already playing out. bein -- donald trump is being criticized by lindsey graham and john mccain. in particular, the secretary of state designation for rex tillerson. whereis no confidence in the russian affair will be. consequence,nate u.s. consequences to solving these problems requires serious cooperation with russia. the syrian more especially. -- the syrian war especially.
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the democrats who are hurting from hillary clinton's loss will paint him terribly. they will try to associate him with foreign subversion by the kremlin. this is a mistake. it ignores the american genealogy of trump's foreign policy. and the reason behind its appeal now. the thinking about the foreign .olicy genealogy a democrat from texas, the state must ignore says we the tears of internationalists and permanently close the gates of our country to new immigration waves and throw the keys away. this was in the context of a new refugee crisis.
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the debate over whether or not to help jews fleeing nazi germany. abou -- wrote robert adams wrote about -- ft wrote about nato. this should not be provided by -- united states superduper super -- simply to provide this. i see no reason why the other nations should not be prepared to make the same sacrifice. populist nativism and strategic unilateralism both have long pedigrees in the u.s. as trump's america first campaign slogan reminds us. neither is the exclusive property of democrats or republicans.
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say how theible to challenges of the legitimacy of trump's election will constrain his foreign policy in the middle east. his most controversial proposal is to move the u.s. embassy in israel to tel aviv -- from tel aviv. they have strongly endorsed moving the embassy and taking the west bank to israel. condemned the obama administration for not be towing -- as well as secretary kerry's speech defending the u.s. extension. trump has raised expectations. it would be short-term consequences.
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he would further isolate the u.s. international in ways that would undermine the stated goal. it would impose new sanctions on iran. this would precipitate a crisis and alienate muslim majority countries already offended by his bow to bar muslim immigrants. also, his advisers. the palestinian authority said it would rescind its recognition of israel and the authorities's would already become from isaac. -- would already be compromising. this would shift away from what has been a stasis. it was an illusory two state solution toward a binational state.
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the focus would be a the democratic or nondemocratic character of that state. speaking, there would be legal challenges to moving the part -- moving the embassy to a proposed site in jerusalem. ande were properties seized claimed as palestinian in 1948. trump was to provide new opportunities in legal poem in the u.s. and european union and -- the u.n. given the negative applications -- implications from top -- trump's perspective, he could blame other actors for blocking the move. some of his advisers like general james mattis appeared to be opposing.
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trump has prevent receptive to his views on other issues such as the supporter. -- use of torture. this is the sort of bold step that would distract from the circumstances and strengthen his political decorum. syria givesr in special challenges. it requires working with russia. latestas organized the cease-fire after regime gains in aleppo. trump says he wants to partner with russia to fight. the proposed venue for forthcoming peace talks, kazakhstan, reflects ru
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ssia's authority. have is widely thought to facilitated the participation of turkey. these are some of the most important u.s. partners in the fight against the islamic. the question now becomes what sort of deal will put an attempt to make with the u.s. over syria? what applications will there be whatresident trump -- implications will there be for president trump? will the u.s. rollback sanctions against russia posed by the obama menstruation? -- administration? will the senate confirmed tillerson before or after the u.s. commits to joining russia before theyks return to geneva?
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will senate republicans go along with or seek to challenge trump's cooperation with putin? will democrats go to undermine data president -- the new president. he will prove that he is not beholden to him. these questions will have to be sorted out in the first hundred days. point in the comparison to 1973 is that they will prove to be a distraction from the hard truth that no syrian peace talks can succeed unless they involve the regime and its opponents while providing for the sensation of fighters, weapons and money furnished by their respective external sponsors. even the priorities stated by trump, domestic, political liabilities, it seems unlikely that the president will be able
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to contribute to such a broad based effort. conclude my remarks with a final point about the election and the ongoing crisis in the media coverage of it portrays the middle east as a role apart. operating according to a different scale of historical times. thataccounts suggest regional conflicts have an underlying sectarian logic. the appalling magnitude of the violence in syria can be explained only in terms of staggering inequalities within and between middle eastern states. what the government and sponsors in saudi arabia, the gulf states, i run have poured money -- iran have poured money and fighters into this.
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they have stoked sectarian discussions for reasons. allhe beginning of 2017, we shared the same historical moment, whether in north america or the middle east, our politics affect the evident racial, religious conflicts. it can flourish and circumstances of great economic inequality. thank you. [applause] >> good evening everyone, i want to thank you james grossman for inviting me to be on the panel today. i hope we settle some debts. i want to beg my fellow -- thank my fellow
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panelists for the contribution to this moment. for you star wars fans, today feels like the beginning of the jedi council to discuss priorities with the chancellor he sets out to destroy the republic as we know it. you'll have to pardon my festivities. when i watched episode three: return of a set over the holidays, i couldn't help but explain the anti-fascist message of the saga. i have struggled to make sense of what happened but the visit -- election results mean the that of division th is present. i thought he may be doubly deceitful in a good way. i thought president like, might transform himself --
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president-elect trump might transform himself. then he began to tweet about the legal voters. cabinet making appointments from the land of rejects in the land of doom. howve long realized recognizable trump was in everyday life. some strain or variation of his many ism's coursing through the veins of people i know well. muslims even. i always suspected that trump and billy bush were more familiar to americans than the editors of either magazine was willing to admit. the locker room talk sounded about right. is real, it
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is everywhere. my critique has given way to uncertainty. now is a time for civil disobedience to the inevitable onslaught of obama era reversals. the affordable care act for starters. any of which by my standards for two centrist -- were too c entrist. wereany initiatives modeled on michael bloomberg's style of government. the obama era is behind us now. none of us in this room know what is in store for the age of 12. .rump >>
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it's not that we are better protecting the future, that line always been a bit hollow for me. -- bad at predicting the future. that line has always been a bit shallow for me. the test may help us anticipate the future. nothing quite fits. every candidate that tries to be reagan has tried to out reagan reagan. none has been elected to the presidency. what about the presidents for nato? the call for a police state in pockets of america. the flirtations with the klan. the appeals for loyalty tests. this will purge the federal government of black people. it will unleash the full power
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protect freeo speech and destroy the left. woodrow wilson was a man of great intellect. despite his many flaws, he earned them and honed his flaws within the boundaries of democratic institutions. trump has no such pedigree. anything, he behaves like a petulant child. he is an antisocial -- and that intellectual -- anti-int ellectual. no one knows how to advise someone like that. most well-known for d" as hostu're fire of his own reality television show.
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turnedt the celebrity president ronald reagan was a charming and decent person. at least the cowboy actor turned ofitician has been governor the largest state in the union. the challenge is not simply because we only study the past, it is that the past is missing a whole chapter in this american journey. they spent the -- bent the public good. trump has only won because of this. they wanted her stage of running the state as well. the prestige of running the state as well. the kennedy and king assassination for crimes and tragedies. the wars in vietnam and iraq were disastrous mistakes.
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the country recovered. the democratic process will novate a man who expresses love for democratic norms. based oncan public is norms. standards of behavior, conduct toward fellow citizens. especially, critics and opponents. trump is saying them all. given these uncertainties and trying to wear my big boy pants, here is a sketch of what i think should happen with president trump. this is not about specific policy proposals. it is about opening communication opportunities. ways, i am less worried about him in particular than his cabinet choices.
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on climate change, i would ask the president to sit down with pleadings having tests -- leading scientists. he has never had reason to listen to environmentalists. he needs to hear their side of the story to make their case that fossil fuels are a necessary evil. investments in alternative energy are not an option, time is ticking now. any other coastal temple of wealth won't do so well underwater. that is a fact that my put his feet on the ground. stephenson, a lawyer in alabama teaches us how important proximity is to creating empathy. there is a lot trump doesn't his because nothing about life has demanded more of him.
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when he sits down with black lives matter activists for the first time, i know he will be different. countyer i taught red big survey the course, i am sure that a lot of people were not willing to learn a more complicated story of the past. i knew how much they resisted me for delivering the lectures. was an antidote to the tyranny of a difference. my job is not to shake their ideas but to help them identify their own. they should see the menu of options available. trump has been inside a bubble for a long time. billionaire bubbles, celebrity bubbles, bully bubbles, bigotry bubbles. it is time to pop some of those bubbles. the stakes are too high, the work is too difficult, the
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choice is not simple. policing criminal justice is tough stuff, border security is too. promised to nationalize stop and frisk. this is not beyond mainstream opening foris an dialogue. making him the bogeyman is not only counterproductive but it affects the lives of liberals and conservatives. we are all responsible for our current state of affairs, everyone is implicated. that is white these people died. died. these people eric garner in new york city. of mine iniends in
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chicago. found by our own historical biographer. these people despise trump. they are thinking out loud about whether or not it is time to tol in the national guard and the plague of violence in that city. there are mass incarcerations on their radar. why should it be on trump's? activists -- with meets with activists, he can bring kanye west with him. jeff sessions as the new ag likely to be put in place will be exposed to new ideas.
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they can bridge black lives and the lives. barack obama did not build a wall or a defense as trump has promised. but he did build the biggest criminal nation system in the nation's system. he captured the unprecedented title of the porter in chief -- deporter in chief. i have already admitted that i have no idea what trump is capable of. the charge is to believe in the force. that is one of communication and dialogue. a historically informed understanding of our shared possibilities for the nation we have built. for may sound quite quaint those ready for massive disobedience. it is a democratic tradition
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right for expansion. in the context of this protest of the standing rock sioux tribe, he writes weighted protests.- wave the they look less like spontaneous outrage and a preview of what the next four years may hold. 200,000 women will decide on the -- tol after the election send on the capital after the election. it is likely to be in the streets. civil disobedience is not democracy at work, it is a form of communication and dialogue. another way to think about this is this: as long as we keep talking, we are not killing each other. episode three of the star wars saga ends with a bloodbath, but the rise of darth vader. the mass killings of the jedi
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knights, the young ones are slaughtered. the two survivors are your to and obi-wan kenobi. obi-wan kenobi. leia.fore saving luke and sometimes, our way forward is looking back. we are keepers of the past, storytellers of humanity and stewards of our culture. we are communicators. we have the obligations to face the facts before us. drawing on the wisdom of the ages, it's try out and tragedy. the work we do off-campus has always been as important as what we do on campus. we have been doing far less off-campus lately according to our academy of scientists. let the first 100 days renew our collective energy.
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to teach our time students and neighbors. how to think historically, how best to weigh the choices at the decisions that we face as a nation. the candidate demagogue may transform and time just as did not later in the end -- darth vader in the end. whatever comes up trumps will not last forever. let's be prepared in the new york times to her member your pre-trump ideals. make sure they survive into a post-trump world. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. it is great to be here. thank you to all the people
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responsible for organizing this. best to add do my to this conversation. i'm going to talk about the economy to talk about a piece of history. any 2016 election, donald trump ran and won while breaking all the rules of modern presidential campaigning. he didn't have consultants, field operations, he blew past all the low energy establishment republicans of the primary and seized and electoral college victory over hillary clinton in the general. it was an antiestablishment change in election that united states has not seen in some time. we do not change elections with regularity. republicaned aside orthodoxy is like an embrace of free trade. he is not doing daily
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intelligence briefings, he is doing his own thing. the campaign trail, he was very conventional and i think this will follow up on the remarks. this gives a window to where things might go next. on the campaign trail, the kid here's -- he adheres to one can makeaign promise to big bold promises to bring back and american prosperity in the first hundred days. when it came to the economy, he sounded like a lot of other would-be president on the campaign trail. franklin roosevelt talked about putting men back to work and fighting for the forgotten man. promised to massively increase jobs and call out to the forgotten men and women. in 1992, bill clinton talked about creating good jobs for our
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people. in 2016, trump talked about there were trade loss -- fairer trade laws. declaredronald reagan that it is time to put america back to work. for those who abandoned hope, we will restore hope. we will welcome them into the great national crusade to make america great again. you know thep, rest of that. whatart of the session is do historians and to this conversation -- add to this conversation? this was not a good year for political punditry. what history shows us is that in some ways, despite all the pro-breaking, all the in some ways, trump
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is similar to his predecessors and he is coming into offices with promises in hand. the study of what does and does not happen in the first hundred days is important and the useful. the first hundred days has fabled status. the tornado of legislative activity in the first hundred standard -- set a 1933 that has loomed over every president who has followed. it is an impossible standard to meet. the first hundred days haven't in a political crisis. that vastly affected the scope of clinical possibility. because of this distinctive -- political possibility. distinctivehis
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opportunity, it may not go as planned. reagan took a fierce opposition in congress and didn't get much legislation passed. his popularity remains high. no clinton had -- bill clinton had to control of house and senate. he came in with a lot of ambition. by the time they got to the end of his first hundred days, nothing got done, they were working on the economic package and that didn't get on to the end of the summer. and it comes to actually thatcing economic results, is what the public has been expect.ed to the first hundred days have fallen short every time. 1933 included. the case against the first
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hundred days as a fair assessment of what a presidency will be is that presidents who have had frustrating first to bed days went on two-term presidents. they ultimately ended up residing over economic expansions that went some way to meet their big campaign promises. tells us, andory tells the president elect, is that meaningful economic and job growth is not a product of the first 100 get -- 100 days. it is a long game. the credit for economic growth is shared across many different presidencies. that may be something that to the president-elect may not be welcome news. economic growth comes from public investment in people,
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fors, and technologies which there is not a market. focus on theme story of the technology industry, something i know about. it is an industry that trump has demonstrated a great interest in. he sees it as an important engine of job and economic growth going forward. era,senhower's air of -- developments in research propelled and age that fueled the high-tech revolution that gave birth to the large companies whose leaders were sitting around the table at trump tower two weeks ago. these were not economic or job creation policies, but enacted in the name of cold war defense. johnsonennedy and years, a similar high-tech boom
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came out of the space program. rockets needed high-tech components in them, so the launching pad for silicon valley was the rocket program. place that economic , theism and jobs come from job growth that happens over time, is from internationalism and immigration. history shows us that the opening of america's doors, bringing in people, and having exchanges and a truly global outlook on the world has been very good for the economy. now, it has also been the culprit for the imbalances in the economy, but focusing on the high-tech industry, you see powerful examples of how immigration opened doors, was a cornerstone of the prosperity that trump is trying to
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recapture in his program. you have international exchange programs started under harry truman that continued under subsequent presidencies that bring the best and brightest scholars from the world to american universities. the american university system is leading in the world, not because americans are the best, but because the best in the world have come to the united states to teach and to study. and many of them stay. similarly, the expansion of the immigration after an act in 1965 has been a huge job creator. small businesses at a rate of a greater number than native people do. trump has pointed to this as an engine of job growth. if you want to keep that engine primed, you have to keep on opening those doors. on example from silicon valley
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is a vivid one, there has been no better place to see the impact of these new waves of immigration, post-1965, then the valley. indian and chinese foreign screeners were at the helm of 24% of the technology enterprises started between 1980 and 1998 in the valley. that is a lucrative time for high-tech from pc to internet era. upside ofthe economic the open door policy has been clear to the most successful occupants of the oval office. reagan declared that are stand -- our strength comes from our immigrant heritage and our welcoming of those from other lands. this is a truly long game indeed, income security. years ofkable 25 rising incomes that happened after world war ii were not just
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because of these big investments in industry, but also in government programs that increase individual economic security. results not just a top of top-down action on the part of politicians, but the result of sustained activism and protest from the bottom up. telling that story of how critical that is to be broader economic prosperity is something that historians can bring to the table and bring to the conversation. the tech industry is another great example of this. most of the people who founded iconic tech companies were not born rich. steve jobs, his father was a machinist who did not finish high school. the founder of intel was the son of an iowa clergyman. they grew up in a moment of political commitment to expanded opportunity to prosperity, of higher education, a job
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opportunity, and of growth. it was fueled by a different outlook on the role of the federal government than we currently hold -- then the leaders of both parties currently hold. this would be something i would be saying if hillary clinton had won the election. this requires a change that goes beyond the result of this particular election. so what should the next president priorities be for the next 100 days? patients and compromise. if donald trump really wants to create jobs and lasting economic transformation, he needs to be ready to play it long. some of the people who could help him and the people around him and the people in the political realm in washington understand the multiple dimensions about long game, our historians. teachers of history and students of history, in the academy and
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beyond it. let's get to work. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. as i understand it, my job is to talk about china. china has states and a lot of of issues with each other, i would say. china's position as both an american partner and rival. some cases where the relationship is ambiguous, like china's investment in asia, should be welcome to the united states in so far as that investment helps these countries develop and give some of them on alternative to market dependence on russia. it is probably not so welcome in
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that it encourages development of fossil fuels or resource grabs at predatory prices. with are all intertwined, some issues have a stronger historical dimension than others. what can a historical analysis tell us? historical memory matters even when it is inaccurate. it is a big stretch to say that taiwan has always been an integral part of china. chinese rule of the island lasted from 1683 21895. until the first half of the 20th century, even chinese nationalists rarely talked about recovering control there. compared to the same people talking at enormous length about holding or recovering last parts of manchuria and mongolia, as well as treaty port concessions on the mainland.
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the of session with liberating becamebegan only when it think i should ask last days. none of that changes the fact taiwan is partt of a single china is deeply ingrained. no chinese leader would refrain from retaliating about any challenge to that claim. investments on the mainland are hugely important to chinese countries. taiwan needs the foreign exchange from mainland visitors. many taiwanese want to see their ancestral villages on the mainland. even short of using force, they have plenty of tools at their disposal. used as at want to be marketing trip on other issues. because they can target taiwan
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rather than the united states, a also will not fear counter escalation. quite support for taiwan may make sense. admirablyome an democratic and prosperous society. it is one under considerable stress. it is interesting to note that taiwan's per capita income has grown 50% over the past 20 years, while real wages have been stagnant. sound familiar? it echoes the pattern for much of the developed world. in taiwan, this is not led to the rise of extremism. that is something to support. my me switch to advice to fellow academics, perhaps something to study as well. loud support for taiwan is likely to back off. the taiwan situation is also a specific example of a second historical generalization. the people's republic never got
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the memo about the inevitable the client. they are absolutely obsessed with internal security and stability. in many cases, this makes them conservative. in the 1990's after the soviet union collapsed, china settled a number of border dispute with the central asian republics unfairly generous terms. excepting considerably less than half of the disputed territory, even those best even though those new states were weaker at the time. that is in contrast with their aggressive stand against stronger adversaries in the south china sea and the border with india. one key reason for the difference, the central asian states, the chinese perceive potential partners in monitoring
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muslims and strengthening their control over the province. that commitment about what they call, non-interference, has other uses for the united states. the chinese have clearly hacked into the computers of many u.s. politicians and of both political parties. they do this as a matter of espionage. they have never tried to weaponize that intelligence to influence an internal political process the way the russians did. because they saw that interference as a red line that nobody should cross. that is the other side of it. it is not that reassuring. the prc has an expansive notion of what noninterference is an mean. nothing that is happened in the last two years has made liberalization look more attractive to them. the new laws regulating
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everything from the branches of foreign universities to the u.s. china business council, the american bar association, and hundreds of smaller and feist year groups environmentally -- monitoring the environment, is a much more restrictive law than a de facto regime. internet censorship is getting more vigorous. government has a new plan to assign people social credit scores based on their speech acts. gotten muchnt has more bold about pressuring other states to extradite chinese dissidents abroad or to look the other way while some of them disappear. china's leader is the most authoritarian they have had for 40 years. the situation is not unique to china. worried if henely
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does not crack down hard on ,orruption and foreign thought the basis of rule could be undermined. that hepossible to say is completely wrong here, regardless of what we think of his strategy are dealing with that. and regardless of the fact that corruption rather than foreign ideas is the real problem, combined with a slowing of the economy, horrible environmental problems, and other sources of discontent. it is not clear how much foreigners can resist some of these measures without being counterproductive, but some expanded beyond its own borders. holding parent entities abroad responsible for the allegedly subversive speech of ngos they sponsor in china need to be revisited.
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and on the matter of ideals as a matter of preserving a level playing field for economically relevant nonprofit activity. moderating weather guarantees of these in labor conditions of a supply chain are being honored her -- are being honored. if you care about america being able to compete, you should care about the labor standard of people overseas. standardso way those will be enforced entirely from the top down. we have more than just an ideal interest in protecting the space in which groups like labor and environmental ngos function. this leads me to one further observation, and one last area for discussion. is that theion accession with security -- the obsession with security is about
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short and long run security. everyone in china is an insider. they think about preserving the system for the long term. that means that though they will bargain hard. interested innely playing constructive roles in climate change and of gaining prestige of having a leadership role on that issue will give them. issue, and making the iran deal work, all bets are off if they sense these efforts are likely to collapse anyway. then they will take full advantage. the area that this leads to, which you probably expected to come up earlier, is the economy. , while the past matters, we also have to remember things change. was artificially
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depressing its currency for a while. there is move for argument over how many u.s. jobs that might've cost. regardless of what you think of that, they are not doing that anymore. they are not likely to in the near future. they are now much more worried about capital flight, stoked by the anticorruption campaign and by a lack of attractive places to put assets in china right now. real estate and stock markets are overvalued. attractiveooks less than they did when both prospects -- when both projections were higher. the moment they want to inflate the currency. moreover, china passed an aportant historical milestone few years ago, thanks to the rapid aging of the population, the total labor force has started shrinking. the pace at which that happens will accelerate at -- as lower
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birth rates continue. the urban workforce will continue to grow for a while as people leave the countryside, but that has limits to. we are facing a china that is going to have very different priorities. priorities that could make it easier for us to work with them. there is less obsession with capturing export markets at any price, and more with a priming domestic this consumption, though that is going to be hard until home prices level off. towardsbe switching services, crucial for meeting environmental goals. on china's air pollution problems, but water problems are arguably even worse. there are over 100,000 water related protests incidents as the government calls them every year in china. this is a matter of enormous
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importance for them. they recognize that the only way they will cope with their environmental problem -- they will have to do many things, one of them is they have to move toward a service economy. that is something that is good for us. targeting higher value added kinds of production. there continue to be significant sources of economic tension with china over intellectual property, the safety of certain chinese exports, nontariff products subsidized abroad, labor standards, environments are standards and so on. be to coordinate more closely to the eu who have similar complaints. the bargaining table should not be cluttered with yesterday's
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redes, even if they are meat for some american constituencies. this is the most important bilateral relationship in the world at the moment, and probably will remain so for quite some time. i've touched only a few parts of it here. there is no need to make it more complicated than it is by also fighting yesterday's wars. meanwhile, conducting the relationship via tweet and soundbite will only strengthen the chinese leadership's conviction that they have the better political system and can wait us out on those issues. a view that has been strongly reinforced by recent events in the west. after years in which opinion on that point was much more fluid and diverse. thank you. [applause]
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to theme add my thanks previous speakers. i have learned a lot. i do not have a particular expertise in any part of policy. i've learned a lot. i have different remarks. think this is just a guess, but my presence on this panel has something to do with the fact that the organizer might have thought that donald trump not be president-elect, but that hillary clinton would. i had that speech all written. it did not work out. [laughter] noto i had to figure out only what i was thinking, but when i had to say tonight.
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now you're going to get a really pessimistic talk. [laughter] >> i'm going to concentrate more on donald trump and trying to understand him historically. i will get to that in a second. i have a couple of tech to start texts to start with that, i i've. they follow what i want to say tonight. one comes out of the daily news, the headline says donald trump appears next to convicted felon and new yours eve party. donald trump rang in the new with a convicted felon with ties to the notorious gambino crime family boss john gotti a recently released video has revealed. shows donaldained
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trump run through a number of campaign promises before the campaign --. down,xes are coming regulations are coming off, we will get rid of obamacare. supporters, their fist in the air. trump mayance with raise some eyebrows. beyond the felony conviction for possessing stolen artwork, he's to be friends with john gotti. he was also shot three times and left for dead in a 1980 incident . it goes on to talk about trumps relationship to the man. there is nobody like him. he is a special guy. i'm quoting donald trump. the other article, the headline
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hurts putin. -- toedged to russia recognize russia's annexation of crimea if she became president. -- portrayedher her center-right rival as to right-wing. it put paris on a collision course with london and berlin which both condemned the annexation. the national foreign leader who fund russian banks would the election campaign, went on by expressing support for a president assad of syria. electionen set out on strategy based on leftist economics and an anti-economic stance. and the shift on foreign policy in moscow. evidently, it can happen here.
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8,r since november reporters, colleagues, students, friends, and family members have asked me to tell them how and why it happened and whether there is any precedent in the history of american presidential politics. you have had of people asking the same questions. my answer is no, there is no precedent -- precedent. some backers say he is a 20% three andrew jackson, i disagree. as to how trump won the 2016 campaign, i have my own views which i will be happy to share and debate. because they sometimes cause me to break into a rant or descend into gloom, they are that are left off the record and after hours. i want to give advice to the
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incoming administration. some citizenp with lead bits of advice. before i get to those, i think it is worth talking about how we ought to think about trump historically. difficult to pin down, that is the way he wants it. i would like to suggest at least one possible historical approach to understand the america from which he has emerged, which may kelly something about the man himself and had -- and how he will cover as president. surprise comes as a but not a shock that a man of trump's talents has won the presidency. even if they doubted the prospect, observers have long pointed to the facts and forces that could cause such a thing. before the lebron or sinclair lewis wrote their chilling novels, well before the rise of modern authoritarian politics,
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writing in 1888 in the second volume of the american commonwealth, james bryce included a section on liability to be misled where he took note of american traits. the tendency to sentimentalism, which marks all large masses of men. and how those traits left people vulnerable to what he called the palacio'sst -- reasoning of adventures. with the checks and balances of the constitutional system, the same that impeded good legislation in completed a stalemate on which demagogues could thrive, those checks made it improbable that an adventurer could clamber into the residential chair and could conspire with a congressional ring.
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it looks a great deal more probable if we re-examine the writings of another man on the legacy.e of the 1890's nowadays, many american u.s. a story and -- historians think it a best exaggerated slander on social movements. who can doubt that he captured a andrful and persistent triumphant strain in our past and present politics. bygoneed to restoring a mythic american greatness. founded on what he listed as a few key elements. the idea of a golden age, the harmonies, national the conspiracy theory of history, the doctrine of the primacy of money. he went on to locate precisely those paranoid elements in the ofarthy eight conservatism
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the 1950's and the goldwater movement in the 1960's. you might find it easy enough to find connections to the tea party and the trump campaign. there are some american political and cultural archetypes that may appear to prefigure trump. most of them do not really fit. , whatever you think of him, declared war on precisely the kind of swindler capitalism that trump not only practices but celebrates. was no full gary and. and's character was a perfect ideologue. embodyomes closest to described inhose "the fury of the leisure class."
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of anythingdance written resembling productive labor. trump was formed in a very different place. was the manhattan of 1970's and 1980's as described best by tom wolfe in "bonfire of the vanities." a very particular world of self-declared masters of the universe, driven by tabloids, cynical public servants. this was the manhattan that fred trump's boy wanted to conquer. if you could make it there, he could make it anywhere. it is part of this whole mix. trump never really would make it. he never will really make it. it helps explain the projection
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and raise that are among him -- his hallmarks. the way he went about trying to make it, he became the donald trump with whom we must now reckon. center, new york in 1970 and 1980 was embodied by one man. cohn that most historians know, but the later roy cohn. he did the most to inspire and instruct and in fact construct the diamond. you can see at last, 30 years after his death, america has made way for roy cohn's greatest creation, donald trump.
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scenee a have to be a new or new act in "angels in america." after the viciousness in the credited0's, cohen is with opening a law practice in new york. the clients included the mafia bosses like john gotti and others. the law office of the catholic archdiocese of new york and the new york yankees. [laughter] >> it was only natural for the young trump to seek out the man to do battle with the nixon justice department who was suing that she was being sued by racial discrimination. donald was awestruck by his take no prisoners style. he took to donald as a handsome
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and suggestible acolyte. in his clutter, in his townhouse on 68th street, and on the dance floor studio 54, the self hating jew showed trump the ropes. introduced him to all the right people. taught him how to game the tabloids. forged important trumpian connections, including links to his clients. of, -- a man who own their cement used for trump tower. those links lead trump to a long length of useful mob related figures. it was in this underworld mildew were donald trump thrived.
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lessons which to this day trump says were absolutely invaluable -- invaluable to him. proteges hasump's said that trump learned from a master. "a brilliant strategist who understood the political system and how to play it like a violin." as it happens, when the elections outcome was certain to be very different from what it turned out to be, i had the opportunity to appear on a panel with roger stone. i asked him what he thought roy cohn would it made of his boy donald trump becoming a useful idiot for vladimir putin. [applause] >> apart from calling my reference to roy cohn a low blow, we were talking to a liberal audience, but stone
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avoided answering. trump sees inat the x kgb authoritarian. i'vees beyond where trumps isolation is a -- isolationism mixes with prudence schemes. they cannot have to do with money. trump come back from his bank properties of the late 90's. in party with political that putin's intelligence agencies gave trump important, if not crucial assistance in the 2016 campaign. , and is a closer affinity affinity that has nothing to do with ideology, even though the appeal ofolitical what might be known as "the
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" are nearly, identical from prague, to paris, to trump tower. in a recent issue of the new york review of books, and silent exiled writer -- an aboutn writer talks putin's power structure. given trumps formation at the feet of the mop yet and roy cohen, it is a warning to be taken seriously very what advice can we give to what may turn out to be an abnormal white house? if trumpen said that
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fails, it will because he succumbs to incompetence, corruption, or authoritarianism. even though the first two could be handled by the constitutional system, the third, not so much. imagine if evidence were to come actually suspect happen, that there was collaboration between the kremlin and the trump campaign and words like "treason" were be in bandied about the senate, a could become dangerous. my first piece of advice is , this is fortrump the entire administration, adhere to your oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united date. the second suggestion tries to capitalize on trump's lack of
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ideology and fascination with men of authority, especially military men. cites hisuently admiration of george patton and douglas macarthur on the basis of a single conversation with his designated secretary of -- jamesames madison, mattis. he repudiated waterboarding as an interrogation technique. my second piece is to follow the place of another american general. general who also happen to be elected president of the united states. among other things, like the house and higher -- wait d remembered for the military industrial complex, but he equal a prescient warning. any success, it is
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quite clear that the federal government cannot avoid or take responsibilities which the mass of people believe should be undertaken by. if the rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything. drasticthe possible and change in the constitution. this is what i mean by my confidence in moderation in government. should any political party social to abolish security and a lemonade labor laws, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. there is a tiny splinter group that believes you can do these things, their number is negligible, and they are stupid. i would tell president-elect trump, that though that number is no longer negligible, that splinter group is now trump's
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nominal political party. it now controls every level of american government. nevertheless, the general's words are just as clue now as they were in 1954. to keep them, trump would have to fire the entire cabinet he has just named your it is a long shot. but trump made his mark as a celebrity by firing people. just maybe coming from a general, trump might pay attention to his words. just do not tell him what president eisenhower. of roy cohen. thank you. [applause] >> we had a few minutes for questions. not very many minutes. keep your questions concise and to the point. please step up to the microphone if you have any questions.
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audience member: thank you. canada and i am a united states historian and was born in the u.s. advice be,your anybody can pick it up, to what is left of the democratic party? did bothers me, although i like what one of you pointed people we may like in our parties. bill obama that signed a to deport more people than the 42 other people that had held that office for the previous 200 years.
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not seem to get many liberals very upset. telling theto democratic party to become the democratic party again. what would you say? >> does one of you want to answer that question? one year ago, everybody was talking about the collapse of the republican party. it did not happen that way. the republican party is in bad shape too. the democrats are in terrible shape. they are a minority and they have no leverage anywhere. the thing about the trump administration is that there is no place for the opposition to hold onto. the question is whether the democrats do what mitch mcconnell did and say no to
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everything that they push through. or whether they should try to triangulate with them on things like infrastructure. i am no political strategist, but i think the first of those is actually smarter for the democrats. any trump victory is going to help trump. that is just a political guests. who is the democratic party now? nancy pelosi? chuck schumer? governors? it is pretty small. you need people in the end. how you're going to find the party -- it is not so much even mending the risks that were left after the last primary. a lot of people did not show up for her because of what happened in the primaries. thatnot convinced that insurgency is going to transform the democratic party.
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democrats arehe going to have to survive. question? >> everybody is in shock. that they add to that need to survive and make sure the constitution survives. as important as all these policy issues are, the most important thing of all is ensuring that in 2020 we have a reasonably fair election. i think the democrats would have a reasonable chance of winning, as weak as they are, because i do think that trump will crash and burn on a whole lot of issues. i was critical of the president for not saying more about the hacking before the election.
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i think national security was at stake. that was an attack on our system of government. they were pretty sure that is what was going on. i was quite disturbed by that. comey,e fbi and director this is a tainted election. there is no way around that. the question is how we are going to move on after this? investigationthe is where we go with our next election. one practical matter which often goes on remarked upon is edat they raped -- they rigg the primaries. need to do a better job of primary where they do not get caught, or they need
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to convince the party that the best person will emerge, and not the person that has been given denomination on a silver platter which is what happened with clinton. know, the add, as we death sentence has been predicted for one of the major two parties again and again. they always survive and adjust. we went into this election day with two parties that were in big trouble. we came out of it with two parties that were in big trouble with internal divisions. to a previous remark, one thing this has done is it has activated activism and -- we also doay
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not like to engage in counterfactual, but if there had been a hillary clinton victory, there would have still been this index -- discontent in the democratic party. the democratic party would still be in a pickle. isanswer when people ask me if is that the state and local level. that is something -- we focus relentlessly on the presidency and national politics. focustention is to always on muska d.c., but there are two other levels of political drama that is going on. that contributed significantly to how and why the pattern of .oting in 2016 the rebuilding has to happen on all three levels of government. >> i agree with that.
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winning is always better than losing. the democratic party would be in much better shape if clinton had one. there were ways in which the division inside the democratic party was not as profound as many people think. it might have even been narrowed. i know that was on the minds of people who thought that she was going to win. that did not happen. defeat is an orphan, but it can also kill you. that is what the democrats have to worry about. >> it is interesting that the subpanel for this panel's priorities for the new president. about the dilemma between the democrats deciding who they are and where they stand and overcoming their own when facingisions
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the trump agenda. my allegiance until recently shifted from the democratic party to the republican party. in the last election we saw a white working class for -- workers vote for the republican party. states that had larger white populations were pulled into the republican camp. wondering whether there is a --r the two party
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parties to appeal to white working-class voters. >> i have the advantage of ignorance here. i do not study the united states because it is far too strange. workingk of the white class shows that there is an enormous amounts we do not know. inre is an interesting piece the times about the white working class. when he followed it, that term turned out to mean is whites without a college degree. .hat is not the same it is a very different story. there are basic things we do not yet know. you feel -- you see all this data and think it correlates with voting patterns and incomes. thatstorian's, we know
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your economic status is not about your income. the person making $60,000 a year and lives in a house that they inherited debt free from their parents is very different from the person who makes $60,000 a year and is trying to pay a mortgage. never seems to have that kind of information in it. there is a tremendous amount that we do not know and that we should not assume that this revolt of as a working class in the traditional sense. >> i would like to add to that. about thethinking future dissertations and books written in 30 years. i think there will be interesting one written on the
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modern media of 2016 created class consciousness in many ways. one of the things about this election, a lot of college educated white voters voted for aump too, it was not just question of race and hillary clinton in particular. trump'sa lot about personality. this was a look -- an election based on two personalities. really, the presidential a candidate about centered election of a magnitude we have not seen in him had. probably because the candidates were both negative. as parties, they do the
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nominating of candidates. these two individuals have been in the public eye for more than three decades. people have very strong and fix opinions about these people. particularly hillary clinton. >> to put it in context a little bit more. in three states and we would be having a completely different conversation then we are having now. it would be remarked on how hillary clinton managed to get enough of the white working class voters to windows three states and to carry off a pretty big electoral college victory. we should be careful about seeing the margins. this is a very strange outcome and a very strange campaign. when i say it is tainted, i mean it. the outcome is so clouded by the events that happen, especially over the past month and a half
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of the campaign, that i do not want to make too many strong sociological judgments about the voting patterns without all of that out there. i just do not given the closeness. certain bad decisions that were made by the clinton campaign and how they handled it. but that is inside baseball. i would to be more careful about making grand judgments. the second point is that we have been here before. how ais a book about county that went for trump carried reagan in the 80's. they go back and forth. this year enough of them either did not show up or voted for trump that made a difference. again, it was a very narrow difference. audience member: i have very much enjoyed all of the remarks tonight.
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election struck in an where gender played an enormous role. no one has addressed gender as an important issue for the first 100 days. any comments on that? >> we all have gender. >> we certainly do. >> let me think about this. part of the problem is if had beenlinton elected, we would have different answers about this. roe v wade will probably be killed. ?lanned parenthood funding it will likely disappear. issues, it looks like it will be a disaster. i'm not sure what trump's
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policies be gender are except reactionary. in some ways your back to 1973 for a different reason. that --to the fact that 200,000ion women are going to boston, the scene the day after the election. c are going to washington, d the day after the election. me through all of the coverage of trump voters who obamaented the former rainbow coalition, particularly latino voters, that a number of continuously would
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respond to the badgering questions about supporting trump and being a woman. they kept saying that they were not concerned with being a woman, but were being concerned with the economic future of the country. there are women who are concerned at the polls who are conflicted about what those gender issues mean. we have to come to terms with that. i do not think trump is going to be the arbiter of that. it will depend on what takes place in the national conversation. voters have been confounding expectations since 1920. the assumptions about how women are going to vote and then the reasons why they do vote have been interpreted and misinterpreted again and again. this cauldron of race, class,
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and gender in which everybody is operating. yes, a female candidate who was boundary breaking and that she was the first major candidate for a presidential party and came close to winning the whole thing. atypical woman who was in many ways. two is a public figure. she was incredibly privileged. she had been living in a bubble for a long time. the weirdest job in american politics, first lady. a highly gendered job. we know way too much about her marriage. our ability clouded -- maybe when the got -- when the dust settles in a couple decades, we will be able to make better sense of how and what the ultimate impact was of her
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candidacy and how historic it was in what the legacy will be. >> since we are running late, maybe one last question. audience member: thank you for your comments. anybody who believes in women's rights can be at the march in washington. carolina,ent of north we are going to be the only ones that actually have elections. donate to north carolina. [laughter] >> we approve of this message. >> thank you all. [laughter] [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute,
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which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer 1: you are watching "american history tv" 48 hours of programming on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. sidney blumenthal spoke before the annual lincoln forum held in gettysburg, pennsylvania about the political forces that shape the 16th presidents view on slavery. he is also the author of "self-made man, the political life of abraham lincoln." we will hear about how lincoln crafted and refined it. [applause] sidney blumenthal: well, thank you very much for those kind and generous words.


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