#TalkingTrump: Conversation, Context, Controversy

#TalkingTrump: Conversation, Context, Controversy


(uplifting music) – Good evening and welcome
to the University of Chicago. I’m Paul Poast, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and your host for this evening’s event, Talking Trump, Conversation,
Context, and Controversy. Tomorrow, Donald J.
Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president
of the United States. The unprecedented nature of this election, the campaign preceding that election, and the transition following the election raises a host of
questions for many people, not only those who oppose his election, but also for those who
supported his election. These questions include how are we to understand this election, both within the scope of
U.S. presidential politics and globally? To what extent will Trump’s
presidency be unique to him? Be indistinguishable from the presidency of any other republican candidate? Or be reflective of forces and trends, both international and domestic that are present regardless
of whether a Democrat or Republican are in office? What does this election
say about the condition of the United States when it comes to social and economic issues? What can we expect to
observe both domestically and internationally over the duration of a Trump presidency? In short, how can we think and talk about a Trump presidency? To help us in that task, before you is a panel of
seven esteemed members of the Social Science Division here at the University of Chicago. Cathy Cohen, the David
and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science, Elisabeth Clemens, the William Rainey Harper
Professor of Sociology, Adam Green, Associate
Professor of American History, Faith Hillis, Assistant
Professor of Russian History, Joseph Masco, Professor of Anthropology, Casey Mulligan, Professor of Economics, and Robert Pape, Professor
of Political Science. Before I turn it over to the panelists, I would like to describe
the flow of tonight’s event. Tonight’s event is
divided into three parts. First, each panelist will
offer initial remarks on tonight’s topic from the perspective of their own area of expertise. Second, Cathy Cohen will then moderate a round table discussion
amongst the panelists. Third, the audience will
then have an opportunity to pose questions to the panelists. If you have a question,
I will offer instructions after the initial remarks on how you can go about
asking your question. So be on the lookout for that. Again, thank you for
being here this evening. Cathy, would you like to
begin the initial remarks? – Yes, I would. How’s everybody doing? (audience mutters) You nervous? – [Audience] Yeah.
(Cathy laughs) – Not about the panel,
about tomorrow, right? Okay.
(audience laughs) So first as Paul said, I
just want to remind everyone we’re each gonna do five minutes, then we’re gonna have a discussion, less moderated by me and
really more a discussion and then you get to come into
the discussion hopefully. So let me start with my five minutes. First, I want to thank Paul and Renee for their incredible work in
pulling this event together. I think the need to talk collectively about the political
environment we are entering is evident in the number of folks who showed up this evening. But before talking about
President-Elect Trump, I feel like I would be
remiss if I did not note that this is the last full day of President Obama’s Administration. I know, yeah. And what is especially
I guess mind-boggling, at least for me at this moment, is that our first African
American president is handing over the levers of power to a person who has trafficked
in race mongering and racism. We must always remember that Trump was the candidate who
called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. He suggested a federal
judge could not do his job because of his Mexican heritage. He repeatedly described black communities, largely to white audiences,
as sites of crime and danger. Trump was the candidate who
propelled the birther conspiracy about President Obama and who called for the death penalty for the Central Park
Five, five young black men accused of beating and
raping a white woman who were eventually exonerated and now Donald Trump is about to become the first president since Reagan not to include one Latino
American in his cabinet. I could of course go on. But beyond Trump’s use of racism to secure his position in the White House, I think we have to ask
really to what degree white voters were primed to
vote for someone like Trump and fundamentally against Obama and the changing demographics
and shifting power that the president represents. For many white Americans, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 had important symbolism. His election signaled to
whites both the possibility of a post-racial America, but also the possibility
and maybe the promise of a dreaded shift in power, robbing them of one of the last domains of supremacy they could claim, political power at the highest level. Historian Robin Kelley
in his thoughtful piece in the Boston Review reminds us that there’s often a whitelash
that follows the expansion of rights and power for people of color. Reconstruction, he
suggests, is one example, Nixon’s law and order
candidacy after the anti-war and Civil Rights Movement is another, and today following the
election of Barack Obama in 2008 and his reelection in 2012 we may in fact be
experiencing yet another. The truth of course
that we now have to face and make sense of is that Donald Trump, whatever your opinion about him, won this election because of his support that he secured from white Americans. According to exit polls by a
margin of nearly two to one, white men, both college-educated
and non college-educated, voted for President-Elect Trump. But it wasn’t of course just white men. We also know from exit polls that the majority of white women, specifically non
college-educated white women, also voted for Trump and yes, let’s make sure
we’re clear on this, the plurality of young whites, white millennials ages 18
to 30 also voted for Trump. Thus there is no avoiding the fact that Donald Trump was
delivered to the White House on the votes of white Americans like nearly every other republican
president since the ’60s and is really the predictability
of that white vote, even when facing what many of us consider to be a racist candidate
like Donald Trump, that is in some ways most
jarring about this election and the racial and political
climate that we now confront. The threat isn’t just
Donald Trump for many of us, as the media might tell you, it is also of the political populous that would elect Donald Trump. Now, there are of course those who argue that this election was
about the economic anxieties of the white working class
and in fact not their racism. They admit that clearly messages of hate were part of Trump’s rhetoric, but they would have us
focus our attention instead on the economic pain of
the white working class as the driver of the Trump vote. Let me say that of course in addition to insisting that we pay attention
to both racism and sexism when trying to understand this election, I also agree that economic insecurity is also something we must
attend to and interrogate. However, we make a
mistake if we understand the election of Donald
Trump as purely a phenomenon of the white working class
resonating to a populous message. Specifically the research tells us that white Americans’ economic insecurity is directly tied to their feelings of status and racial loss. My own quantitative
research indicates that it is very difficult to
strip the racism and sexism inherent in the Trump message
from its economic populism, thus even when you talk
of economic issues, they are often heard through
the lens of race and gender. So when you couple the
prospect of racial loss with the looming changes
in the economic security of all Americans, especially
the working class and poor, it is not surprising
that so may white voters would gravitate to the promise of making America great again, making America great again, that many long for the
ability to turn back the clock to a time when the racial
order was leveraged to dependently situate whites on top or at least preserve the
myth of white supremacy for the working class and poor whites. So any analysis, I
believe, of this election and how we think about
together how to move forward has to address issues of racism and racial anxiety of
white people broadly, not just the white working class. However, I would warn
Democrats and Progressives not to gloat, of course, and not, in fact, to center whiteness unwittingly in an economic appeal since doing so may further
increase the racism and sexism that currently devise the country and mask the reality of
the real working class, which every day is increasingly comprised of people of color. Thank you. (applause) – Well thank you to Cathy
for starting us off so well and to both Paul, Renee, and all of you for making this possible. “Keep your government
hands off my Medicare,” demanded the Tea Party in 2009. This same distrust of
the federal government can be heard from conservative Southerners who resent federal protection of the natural landscapes
that they deeply love. According to Arlie Hochschild,
her informants see themselves quote, “waiting in line for
something you really want “at the end, the American dream. “You feel a sense of great deserving. “You’ve worked very hard. “Then you see some people cut in line. “Well who were they? “They are affirmative action women “who would go for formerly all-men’s jobs “or affirmative action blacks
who have been sponsored “and now have access to
formerly all-white jobs. “It’s immigrants, it’s refugees. “As felt, the line’s moving back.” In this telling, the federal
government is the ally of those who cut ahead in line, the enemy of those who are just trying to do their jobs and get ahead. This resentment of government is not new to American politics, but it is newly and forcefully salient following the election. So the question I want to wrestle with is what should we expect from a government that drew elected insubstantial
if not entire part and empowered by resentment of government. The obvious answer would seem to be that government will
become smaller and weaker. This has already begun. Some cabinet nominees have opposed the agencies they will soon lead. Legislation enabling the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is in motion. Less noticed are more technical calls to limit the use of the tax
code as a policy instrument or to expand the abilities
of the courts at all levels to challenge regulations
promulgated by federal agencies. These development point
to important reallocations and rearrangements of authority
among federal agencies, between state and federal government, as well as with private firms
and non-profit organizations. But we should not forget
that resentment of government also grows support for a candidate who presented himself as a strong leader who will do things presumably
with government in some way, build a wall, renegotiate trade treaties, guarantee health insurance for all. Like American conservatives
of all flavors, Trump contends that
government is too large, too intrusive and
inferior to free markets. His promise is for a new
approach to government that at some point may
indeed involve a return to the expanded forms of executive action for which Obama has been
repeatedly attacked. When combined with the
policy moves in Congress, the Trump Administration may or may not produce a government that is smaller, but it is also likely
to produce a government that is more complex, more decentralized, less transparent and less accountable. Now, all of this can be foreseen in at least a probabilistic way. These are likely developments. But none of it quite
gets at the strangeness of “Keep your government
hands off my Medicare” or the puzzle of why those
Obamacare beneficiaries in Kentucky voted for the
candidate who promised to repeal the program
that had provided them with access to much needed medical care. This puzzle really turns
on how people come to oppose programs from
which they seem to benefit and precisely this strangeness
is important for assessing how the intention to create
a smaller, weaker government will or will not translate into change in federal policy and institutions. Four points help us to think about this. The first is that as a set of institutions that have been built within an often state anti-status
political culture, the federal government we have is often difficult to identify. It operates indirectly in many ways through contracts, transfers,
and tax expenditures. As a consequence, many
citizens do not recognize when they benefit from federal programs such as the tax subsidies
for mortgage interest or employment-based health insurance or even in the case of Kentucky,
the state level exchange, which was known as Kynect,
not as healthcare.gov. And when they are not recognized, federal benefits do not
trigger policy feedbacks through which public programs generate a support in constituency. Social Security is a third
rail in American politics, precisely because senior
citizens know exactly where that check is coming from. Finally, we know from social psychology that losses are felt more
powerfully than equivalent gains. Therefore, straightforward
effort to shrink or eliminate streams of federal benefits may generate new and unpredictable waves of protest and mobilization. So what’s likely to
follow from all of this? Efforts to directly roll
back federal government that impact large numbers may quickly generate
substantial opposition as well as hesitation
on the part of lawmakers who fear political backlash. This is already evident around the repeal and replacement of Obamacare where the legislative time
table is stretching out. So to avoid this volatility, we should expect proposed
changes to move ever deeper into the weeds, into the
world of technical detail where politicization is less
likely and requires more work, although it’s certainly not impossible. Recall how the Affordable Care Act could be reframed as a
government takeover of healthcare or a minor amendment to Medicare
relabeled as death panels. But nevertheless, the
move into technical detail provides some cover from backlash to attempting to restrict
or eliminate benefits and, and I’ll leave it with this, to the extent that projects
of political change and rolling back of federal action remain hidden in the weeds, overshadowed by contentious politics of outrage and emotion
and the latest event. They are more likely to succeed and thereby to actually
respond to the hopes of those who see government as the problem rather than as a solution to the problems. (applause) – So let me speak frankly,
predictably at the start. I’m concerned about what’s to come for our political system,
our civil society, and a broader human community with the transition to a Trump presidency and administration starting tomorrow and it would not be honest on my part speaking only for myself to effect a sense of scholarly detachment in trying to clarify and hopefully convey my reasons for that concern. So I will try to speak basically in order to convey the
stakes of the moment. Predictions about the future
as well as explanations that might comprehensively
take stock of the past strike me to be presumptive,
likely incomplete and not really up to the
magnitude of the challenges that appear on the horizon. One question that strikes
me as difficult to answer is whether what has taken
place is an extraordinary and unprecedented exercise
in personal promotion, self-branding, auto-enactment
of a well-known individual who wins so much you grow sick of it or the turn towards a
discernible politics, either new or restored, on
the part of an appreciable portion of the American people. The web journal Politico
has run a fascinating serial interview since June of last year with four biographers
of Trump, Wayne Barrett, Michael D’Antonio, Gwenda
Blair, and Tim O’Brien that argues the first point. In ways that only someone
who somehow endured hours of interviews with Trump and
his close associates to present something approaching a
complete life portrait can do, these writers argue that
there’s nothing behind the story save unbridled ego, obsessive
and olympian insecurity and an inexhaustible Rolodex, or more appropriately
smartphone address log, devoted to the art of the
vendetta rather than the deal. To search for a coherent politics to say nothing of a stable psychology within this improbable ascension
is a fruitless endeavor according to these writers who, with the exception of
family, may know him best and with far less
obligation or dependency. But this does not explain the surprising yet effective support
that Trump has secured through this election and the power that now transfers to him. There have been many versions
of what characterizes and potentially unifies this coalition into an effective constituency in defiance of parties, rules of civility and the preference of experts. More emphatic characterizations
of racial supremacy, toxic misogyny or homophobia and the insistent incivility
around all of those evokes some, but not necessarily all, portions of this constituency. Like a number of observers, I
see the politics and feeling of Trump perhaps better
characterized as illiberal, indifferent to the necessity of dividing and thereby limiting authority, opposed to the utility of moderation, whether through deliberative processes, rule of law in society
or evidence in thought, unconcerned ultimately
with upholding the immunity of individuals and groups
from undue domination. To be sure, critiques of
liberalism in practice were failing to realize these same ideals or aspirations abound, so much so that at times
we have been compelled to see little difference
between the existence of liberal society and its absence. The coming years promise to enable us to test out that proposition in real time. A number of writers have recently proposed that we should have seen
this coming all along. Historian David Greenberg,
also writing in Politico, traced a long history of
so-called paleo-conservatism back to anxieties over
the progressive state, immigrant pluralism and
the rise of urban elites in education, media, and the arts. While never able to, at least
until now, assume power, paleo-conservatism
ceaselessly sought outlets to challenge a perceived liberal
status quo in public life, whether through creationism,
pro-segregation, or mid-century isolationism. Others, like Mike Davis
and Jedediah Purdy, stress more recent
wellsprings of discontent within the social order, particularly the white working
class that Cathy spoke of, in communities that contain remnants of this industrial working class. To their detriment, these writers argue, both major parties ignored
the needs of this community or took for granted their support, leaving the field fully available
to an audacious outsider. I see something potentially
broader at work. We need to remember that
2016 was a devastating year for those that champion
liberal institutions and norms and not just because of Brexit
and the American elections. The brutal perseverance for
instance of Assad in Syria is perhaps the most overt demonstration of how strong man authority can guarantee continuity of power, but there are other examples, from Ertegun in Turkey who
has, it must be remembered, presided over the jailing
of scores of thousands of teachers, writers,
civil servants, and jurists in the wake of the July coup attempt, or Duterte in Philippines
whose bloody campaign to control drug addiction
by eliminating drug addicts recently won the endorsement
of Trump as the right way, and of course there is Putin, whose rise to power
has involved fake news, assaults on the press,
encouragements on sovereign nations, and the jailing or elimination of rivals. The act of alignment of
the incoming president with many of these peers and their records seems to me to be telling. My worry then is that we are
watching a slow yet steady dissolution of a liberal order. There may be good reasons
to hold that same order responsible for its present crisis, but we need to contemplate
how deeply we may miss it if it goes away. One source or hope and
possibly one great irony is that it may be more radical
forms of social activism even more so than entrenched
forms of liberal leadership that offer the possibility
of defending that order and better renovating it. Thank you. (applause) – For months now, we have been puzzling over the nature of the relationship
between Putin and Trump. From the beginning, many
assumed that Trump’s admiration for Putin was directed by
some kind of quid pro quo and of course these
suspicions deepened last week with the release of the salacious dossier. We can be certain that Russia
has compiled a thick folder of compromising information on Trump during his many visits to Russia. It would be shocking if
this did not actually exist. But of course we don’t know the exact role that this plays in Trump’s calculus. But I’m actually not entirely convinced that the Trump-Putin
relationship is driven primarily or exclusively
by bribery or entrapment. There seem to be more
structural issues at play and that’s what I will focus on tonight, unpacking what Trump sees in Putin, what Putin sees in Trump and what this means for all of us. I think that Trump’s interest in Putin is as much about domestic affairs as it is about the international realm and I see it as primarily aspirational. In other words, I believe
that Trump sees Putin as the type of man and
leader he’d like to be and so in telling us of this admiration, he’s giving us cues about what he plans and I think we should take him
very seriously at his word. What does Trump admire in Putin? First and perhaps most important, Putin is fantastically rich. He may in fact be one of the
richest men in the world. Over the last 15 years, he’s systematically
stripped Russia’s resources, acquiring a vast personal
fortune in the billions. Second, Putin is an autocrat. He has destroyed all
institutions and individuals capable of critiquing him. And third, in spite of
his destruction actions, Putin enjoys wide popular acclamation. He’s done this in part by mobilizing the Russian people against scapegoats. I’ll point to the LGBT
population in particular. But he also does this
through a distinctive surreal communication style that obfuscates, distracts, and misleads to make Russians question the
basic reality around them. There are already disturbing signs that Trump hopes to emulate Putin’s authoritarian kleptocracy here in the U.S. and to bolster it through
the kinds of tricks that Putin has used. I could point to his refusal
to divest from his businesses, his attacks on the free press
and non-partisan watchdogs as well as the cheering
section of loyal staffers who he brought along to his
press conference last week. All of these are taken straight
out of Putin’s playbook and indeed the people I know
who work on and in Russia are among the most
alarmed voices out there and that is because we’ve
seen this show before. So I think we should
take this very seriously. This is not about partisan politics. I see a grave threat to our
democratic institutions. Putin’s interest in Trump, by contrast, is not at all personal. Putin has no regard for
Trump as a leader or a human. Rather, Trump is a tool to
achieve a much longer term geopolitical strategy
that Putin’s been pursuing for some time now. Russia lost badly in the global order that emerged from the Cold War and Putin has clearly concluded
that Russia cannot flourish so long as it remains on the margins of the international system. But until recently, he’s had a problem and that problem is
that Russia is too weak to combat the global order head-on. Its economy is in sharp contraction and its military is strong
compared to its neighbors, but it’s not competitive with
the U.S., NATO, or China. Therefore, Putin has been very effectively challenging the international
order indirectly by working to undermine
its most powerful players. He’s funded white nationalists and Eurosceptic parties across the world. He’s engaged in hacking and
disinformation campaigns to sow mistrust in
institutions and governments not only in the U.S.,
also in other locales and this is where Trump comes in, right, because Trump is one of
the most powerful forces of destabilization the
world has seen in decades. By virtue of the power of his office, he can do much more to destroy
the prestige of America and undermine the entire
international system than Putin ever could. But I also want to be very clear that this is not only about Trump. Say, for example, Trump
is immediately impeached. Well this is still an
excellent outcome for Putin because this whole
affair will have reduced America’s standing in the world and made Americans question
their institutions. So what happens next? In the short term, I
think we’re likely to see Trump doing Putin’s bidding. He’s already floated the
idea of dropping sanctions against Russia, which
will immediately implement a huge panic in Eastern
Europe and Scandinavia. But I want to draw particular
concern to other issues. One is the joint US-Russia
assaults on the EU and NATO that we are already seeing being launched. This imperils the future of
liberal democracy across Europe, especially in Germany and France, and particularly disastrous
for the stability in the international order here would be the demise of NATO, which has enacted mutual
defense guarantees that have kept us from
being in a 19th century geopolitical world of might makes right. My second major concern is nuclear weapons and this is an issue that’s
actually gone under the radar, buried by this other bad news. Consistently since the ’80s, Trump has floated the
ideas of joint US-Russia nuclear cooperation to police the world and I think in practice what
he may be talking about here is actually another strike
against a third party, in this case likely ISIS. We haven’t even begun to contemplate the grave consequences
that this would bring. So the threats facing
us are unprecedented, but I do want to end
on a more hopeful note. It’s critical that we remember
that the rhetoric and actions of Putin and Trump are
both weapons of the weak. Putin’s tactics are highly effective at tearing down systems, they’re not effective at building them up and in fact he’s shown a chronic tendency to overextend himself. Likewise, we need to remember that Trump resorts to his authoritarian
fantasies precisely because he can’t govern through
more conventional means. He enters office with
historically low approval ratings, he has no understanding
of how the policymaking process works and he has
no loyal inner circle close to him except those related to him and ironically I think
that his love of Putin may end up being his
Achilles’ heel if he has one. I think if our democracy can
survive in the short term, this may actually be the
issue that topples him. So the most important thing
moving forward as of tonight is that we not comply in advance. Trump will not succeed in
emulating Putin at home if we don’t permit him. If you’re feeling outraged
tonight, stay outraged. If you feel that your
reality is being questioned, hold your line. Psychological refusal to
capitulate to the system that is designed to make
you feel small and hopeless is the first step toward resistance. Thank you. (applause) – Well it’s hard to follow that statement. We had some similar
interest in the question of the production of reality effects
and the kind of accusation that we’re living in a
kind of post-truth moment and you hit on a number of the themes that I was hoping to talk about as well, but maybe I could put a
little bit of it in context in the American domain and
the fact that Trump inherits a set of rhetorical
structures, media strategies that have been built up over
quite a number of years now and I would refer people to
the kind of historic interview that Ron Suskind did in 2004 in the midst of the War on Terror with a unnamed Bush Administration figure that was most likely Karl Rove in which Karl Rove, or
the anonymous figure, accused Ron Suskind, the journalist, of being in a so-called
reality-based community and he suggested that those in power were now no longer interested
in reality-based arguments, but that they were so powerful that they could create their own reality and I thought that what we see in Trump is a acceleration and expansion of the confidence in that maneuver, that one can shift registers,
change the context, disavow formal statements, run a campaign that breaks
every kind of political norm, that runs on division
as opposed to inclusion, that seeks literally to divide and make a promissory note to the country that the country isn’t
actually for everyone, it’s for a designated minority and also that it feeds into
the two large-scale issues that in my own work I’ve
been concerned about over the last couple decades, which has to do with nuclear
crisis and climate crisis and both of these domains in the U.S. have been subject to
radical image manipulation, campaigns in which expertise, science, factual information about
the nature of the danger or possibly policy response to it have often been captured
by political mobilizations of fear on a particular level. If we can just remember
the early moments in 2000 in which the world was filled
with literally proliferating and expansive threats of every kind, threats that had never happened before, a world in which literally under the logic of critical
national infrastructure, every post office box in the country was positioned as a threat
to national security and an object that might need some kind of special protection from a new form of policing power, a new kind of technical expertise and in the midst of that grand exercise in threat proliferation, a whole set of national
policies were passed that had very little to
do with the War on Terror, but changed the nature
of our financial universe in very significant
ways that also played on resisting the emerging
evidence around climate change and collective environmental danger that sought to repress
science in a very direct way in the key agencies of government devoted to studying the environment, to even restrict those instruments, scientific instruments of surveillance that enable greater and
more detailed understandings of collective environmental conditions and so when Trump announces
that he will on the one hand be very interested in
expanding the nuclear program and on the other hand disavowing any interest in climate change, he inherits a set of moves and threat amplifications and resistances to questions of fact
and scientific authority that are already in our political system and so he’s not inventing
those particular problems, but he is accelerating them and I think, Faith, your
comment on the Russian tactic of using confusion as a
strategic political technique is something that I
think Trump is definetely bringing into the American political space where it’s actually very difficult to know what the policies might
actually be, right, that there are so many positions taken, so many threats amplified,
so many shifts in perspective that what we actually are witnessing is the production of a space where political discourse
is about disinformation. It’s literally about making it impossible to have the conversation
about what were once the key strategic national
security concerns of the moment in which multiple forms of expertise had to combat one another and come up with policy moves that could be collectively embraced. So the key things to look for
I think in the coming year with the first acts of
the Trump Administration is definetely what happens at the EPA. There’s a concerted effort there I think to eliminate the job of the EPA and with that to restrict and control the kind of work going on on
the collective environment and then secondarily on nuclear concerns, Trump is very interested in
building the nuclear complex. He suggested that it’s
old and out of date. It is and actually the
Obama Administration set the Department of
Energy on a 30-year course to rebuild the entire nuclear complex, new weapons, new missiles,
new launch vehicles. The best estimate is that it’s maybe a trillion dollar commitment
over the next 30 years. So Trump is entering into
a world that has already embraced the idea of renuclearization and we have a real problem here I think in managing a world of disinformation and of strategic confusion when certain kinds of
dangers will reassert the fact-based world in a
hyper-violent kind of way. Nuclear danger is one, but of course climate change
is producing multiple effects across every ecosystem and
in every part of the planet and I suspect that some of our billionaire members of cabinet with
their oceanfront properties will eventually come to be deep
believers in climate change, but it may not happen formally this year. So I hope many people in the
room can hear differently perhaps the campaign
of threat amplification and also of scientific denial and to understand those are
precisely about buying time for something else to happen politically, something else probably not named and to be very wary of the political uses of disinformation, confusion
and to fight for those facts. Thank you. (applause) – Okay, so it’s my
pleasure to be here today, really every day in the
Social Sciences Division at University of Chicago. It’s my pleasure to hear
what people are thinking, what they’re publishing. Did you know that we have
30 weeks of class a year and most of our competitors only have 26? I love that and they could
charge me tuition really, but I’ve shared that with you. Don’t tell my chairman or
the development office, okay. So let me get into the pieces that I’ve been seeing
what’s happening lately. I draw a distinction between
tangibles and intangibles. That’s a distinction. I think intangibles are very important. You’re not a person if you
don’t put value on intangibles. In politics, even beyond
the personal life, in politics, intangibles are
even more important because typical person has essentially
no individual incentive to vote or participate on the
basis of tangible benefits. Back to the personal life. I buy Coke Classic and
like a lot of people, I don’t really care if
the scientists tell me it’s the same chemical as Pepsi or the same chemical as some generic cola. The intangibles are important to me. When I watch Star Wars, I root
against Darth Vadar, okay. If I ran into the actor on the street, he’s probably a nice guy or whatever, but I’m rooting against
him in the theater. It’s the same thing you’re
watching Shakespeare or reading a fiction book. So what if Othello isn’t
historically accurate, people like him, okay. The intangibles are important. But I don’t want to also make the mistake of saying that the
tangibles are irrelevant. Have you heard that parable
of the pet food company that was launching that
new dog food brand? They got the best advertising,
they got the best scientists to make sure that the
ingredients would make for shiny fur and good
eyes and strong teeth. They got a world class
distribution network. But the product wasn’t selling. The executives, they puzzled over this. They decided okay we gotta
call in all the salesmen in the nation and we gotta tell them how the marketing’s supposed to work. Maybe they don’t understand. Then they were lecturing the salesmen. The salesmen were supposed
to sit there and listen. But one lady in the back from Arkansas was raising her hand and
finally the CEO broke down and called on the lady and she says “What are we supposed to do
when the dogs don’t like it?” And the experts dismissed her at first, but then they brought in
some dogs and they realized that even the hungry
dogs don’t eat the stuff. So they got rid of that product, to their credit finally. Better late than never. Well President Obama was selling stimulus in Obamacare and not dog
food, I understand that, but the point’s the same. The so-called stimulus didn’t stimulate. Obamacare was supposed
to jumpstart the economy. It did the opposite. I brought a chart with me today. But in that chart, I show the labor market for the last 10 years
and after a recession, normally you get a sharp bounce back, but from 2010 to 2013, the
labor market was barely growing and then what you see… What you see at the end of
2013, something happened. A real recovery’s starting to begin. What happened there? Well if we click the next
one, we see what happened. The stimulus finally ended. The thing that was supposed
to be growing the economy, we actually got the grow when it ended. Then after that, the Obama Administration
started taxing employers. This is part of their plan to create jobs, they tax employers and guess what? The recovery stopped and then more recently,
about 12 months ago, they started doing the
full tax on the employers and were even less growth
in the labor market. Remember how the pet food
company finally realized that the dogs don’t like it? Well the Obama Administration
should have got the clue in 2010 already when Scott Brown won. No, they didn’t. More bad product followed
like we’ve seen here and by 2014, you had dozens
and dozens and dozens of senators and congressmen
who signed those laws who lost their jobs. The dogs didn’t like it. Mrs. Clinton refused to acknowledge that the product was bad, not to mention some FBI
investigations and things like that, and so as a result, she and
her party gave her opponent, whoever that would be, a huge advantage. All that opponent had to do was
to repudiate the bad product and to enjoy that advantage and of course what did Trump
do almost every campaign day? Talk about how he’s gonna repeal Obamacare and repeal executive orders and take the product off the shelf and when you are given a
huge advantage in something, you have room to squander
it and candidate Trump had room to squander
some of that advantage and if he didn’t squander it
too much, he could still win. So Mrs. Clinton and her
party created plenty of space for an opponent to be, I don’t
know how I should say it, racist, sexist, homophobic,
xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it, he could be all those things and still win because of the
advantage that they gave him by having a bad product and so now it looks like
what’s gonna happen perhaps, Trump’s hard to predict, but it looks like he’s gonna get credit, to all those people out there
that don’t like the product, he’s gonna get credit for taking
the product off the shelf. Thank you. (applause) – Hi, I’m Robert Pape. I have been studying
international security affairs among states and among terrorist
groups for about 30 years and so I want to talk about Trump and the international liberal order, that set of institutions, the military, economic,
and political institutions that we built mainly for Europe and Asia after World War II and that for 70 years, as others on the panel have said, have stood in the way
of major power conflict, especially in Europe and Asia. Well the bottom line that I’m
gonna leave you with today is that I believe the Trump presidency is presenting the biggest challenge to the international liberal order that we have faced since
its creation in the 1950s. Although we could continue to hope that President Trump
would behave differently than as candidate or president-elect, we should realize that
Trump has consistently and indeed as recently as just this week called NATO obsolete, openly supported the disintegration
of the European Union, repeatedly disparaged
major free trade agreements and has plans for executive orders for aggressive anti-immigration policies to start as early as tomorrow. In effect, he is suggesting
that the United States would be better off, that is more secure, if we wall ourself off
from much of the world, including Europe and
Asia, not just Mexico. So what do we expect is going to happen? Thankfully, there are a
number of major IR theories that can usefully explain the
consequences of such policies. In particular, there
are variants of realism that focus on capabilities and intentions in institutional theories, but also thankfully they all
point in the same direction so I don’t have to go through all of them point by point by point. We have a situation of rare agreement among these major theories and I’m afraid it is
not a positive outcome. So let’s examine Trump’s
stated policies in context to get the full picture. The international liberal
order that we’re talking about, these institutions, have been built on top
of long-standing American security commitments, those
commitments to Europe and Asia that are represented not just by treaties, but by the deployments of
troops to Europe and Asia. It is the deployment of those troops that have enabled NATO,
the GATT, now the WTO, and regional integration to flourish because those troops, more
than any paper promises, mean the United States, as
the world’s sole superpower, will spend its own blood
to defend those countries. Now even before Trump, the U.S. commitments to Europe
and Asia have been declining and if I can get a chart up. This shows you the U.S.
commitment of troops to Europe and Asia pretty
much over the last 70 years and what you see is that
during the Cold War, we committed every day
300,000 U.S. troops to Europe and 100,000 U.S. troops
to Japan and South Korea. This is not just a paper promise. Then after the Cold War ended,
this started to decline. In the 1990s, the numbers
fall to 100K in Europe, 80K in Asia, that is
Japan and South Korea, and then after 9/11, the
next shock to the system, even further. At the same time, America has ratcheted up its commitment to the Middle East, especially the Persian Gulf in
the fight against terrorism. Trump is merely continuing these trends, more aggressively to be
sure, but these are trends that have been going on now for decades. For our allies, many were
already worried before Trump about our commitment to Europe and Asia. After the election of Trump, Germany’s Angela Merkel
probably best summarizes the reaction of all of our key allies when she said in her first
public press conference, and I quote, “We got the message. “We Europeans are on our own.” That’s really striking. Now, what are those consequences? In Europe, the most
important is likely to be the awakening of German military power. With the declining American
commitment to Europe, there are obvious
incentives for conventional, possibly nuclear buildups
by Germany vis-a-vis Russia. We have already been watching German and Russian rivalry in Ukraine. This could easily expand into Eastern Europe in the near term. In Asia, we would likely have
a worse version of Europe with less and less Chinese cooperation and declining U.S. commitments
to Japan and South Korea leading to multiple intra-Asian rivalries, both with Japan and South
Korea vis-a-vis China and even with each other. In the Middle East, now
here there is some hope because a US-Russian deal on Syria would help stabilize at
least part of that country, however, there’s also lots of complexity and we could easily see
conflicts spiral out of control as Russia, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran all vie for their own
individual spheres of influence, which is what we have been witnessing in the last four months as we know. What this means is more
instability under Trump, not less, especially in Europe and Asia, which have not been experiencing this significantly under the Obama. So all this complaining about
this instability under Obama, this is going to get worse,
ladies and gentleman. Trump is also likely
to experience something Obama did not have to contend with, which is pushback, strong
pushback from our own now allies as they are sucked into
spiraling conflicts in their region without
the U.S. by their side. Trump has suggested that the
U.S. would return if needed, but it will be much harder
to rush back into a crisis and we should not expect to
be welcomed with open arms. The cost of American intervention in ongoing spirals of
conflict in Europe and Asia is going to be much higher than preventing them in the first place. That’s the future we face. Now finally, close borders
on the domestic front also have the potential
to further diminish America’s global image,
but without addressing the security and economic concerns that are purported to motivate them. While Trump has highlighted fighting ISIS as a vital security threat, his proposed Muslim ban and
discussion of a registry do little to address
the true security threat of a tax in the United States. A soon to be released study by my center, the Chicago Project on
Security and Threats, highlights that out of the 112 individuals indited in American courts
in the last several years for ISIS-related crimes, a mere three of those 112 were refugees. 62% were American-born citizens and on top of that, 30% were
recent converts to Islam. So even banning 100% of Muslims is not going to stop the threat. Overall, Trump’s plans
for Fortress America are likely to damage
our long-term security. Today, we are the world’s sole superpower with many strong friends and the respect of even powerful rivals
like China and Iran. The key question is will we still be the sole superpower after Trump? Thank you. (applause) – So I was gonna say again I
want to remind people this is, I want to remind the
panelists in particular, this is light moderation. So I’ll start off with a question
or two and then hopefully we’ll have a conversation
amongst each other. I was taking notes. I enjoyed every presentation. But let me start with maybe two. Casey, you know I was gonna come to you. One of the things I know from
looking at quantitative data and doing my own surveys in
particular with millennials is that overwhelmingly we see that people don’t necessarily want
to reject Obamacare. They want to reform Obamacare and also your analysis
seems to suggest that Obamacare and the issue of
Obamacare drove voter decision. So I was wondering if you could maybe just elaborate a bit more
and I know you didn’t mean to equate voters with
dogs, but that’s okay. You’re an economist, you can
get away with it I guess. But if you could elaborate a bit more about kind of your thinking and maybe also what does this
mean for a Trump presidency. Do we assume that in fact when he… destroys let’s say or rejects
or rescinds Obamacare, maybe there’s nothing there, that he automatically gets the credit as you may have suggested. So maybe start there. – It’s been my impression that since Lehman failed 2008 fall, jobs has been the number one concern of many, many Americans, not
all, but very many of them, and they did a stimulus that promised jobs and it did the opposite. If you don’t think it did the opposite, it was sure hard to see that it was doing what it supposedly did. That can make people angry. Then what did they do? They tried to tackle jobs in another way. No, they did the healthcare thing. That disturbs a lot of people even when it’s not jobs as
the front of their thing. But so and then it was sold that yeah, we’re gonna be giving you jobs at the same time we’re gonna
be giving you healthcare and then the cat got out of the bag and everybody admits now
that Obamacare destroys jobs. It may be worth destroying some
jobs to have some healthcare is now the argument,
but it was sold to us as you know that job thing
that you really care about, well we’re gonna help you with it. No, we’re gonna actually slap
you in the other direction and there’s a lot of people
that are bothered by that and Trump I think knows his market and it’s not an accident. He didn’t randomly roll a dice every day he was out on campaign and say “Oh dice come up Obamacare,
I’m gonna do Obamacare.” He knew that that played very well and I think there’s some tangible reasons why it played very well and
also some intangible reasons. – Does anybody else want to? – I think with Obamacare in particular, one thing to notice is looking
sort of beyond aggregate effects to particular
segments that were hit hard, particularly Americans making
above the level for subsidies, but still not feeling comfortable being required to get better insurance than they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. They would have taken the risk
and possibly been one of that percentage of families that went bankrupt because of medical crises
that Elizabeth Warren studied, but that there is a group that traded off, that was pushed and required to trade off a possibility of catastrophic medical cost versus a certainty of paying more than they would have otherwise and I think there was
a voting effect there. – Yeah, but it’s limited
and it’s not clear that the voting effect
was what drove the vote, but I mean it could have been
part of a stacked process. Can I just and then I’ll
turn it over to you guys. But Faith and maybe others on the panel, I want to, we’ve heard kind of repeated presentations about in many
ways the danger that Trump holds and again if you look at the data, people generally are worried
about kind of the practice of democracy and democratic norms, right, the ability for individuals to descent the role of the press to
hold the president-elect, soon-to-be president accountable and there has been a kind of range of ways in which this has been framed. One is about kind of just
the democratic process, but others have used
the word fascism, right. So I want to get this on the table. I’m wondering how people assess and what is the language
of danger we should be, is your sense that we’re
confronting at this moment. Is it in fact a blistering individual but who will still be controlled by the institutions of our democracy? Or do we worry that in fact
even the fundamental practice of democracy is at odds right
now and is on the brink here? Yeah? – I can speak for myself personally and say, as I said before, I don’t think this is
about partisan politics. I wouldn’t be saying what I’m saying had anyone else won, had Ted
Cruz won, had Marco Rubio won, even had Mike Pence, the nominee. I think for me again just looking at what’s happened in Russia and the repetity with which it’s happened, I think we’re in real trouble here and so I’m worried about fundamental democratic institutions,
as you say the free press, the First Amendment, all of these things I think are on the table, yeah. – So I think that there’s no doubt that the free press is in deep danger. I think that when we say fascism though, what we’re often thinking
about is the executive controlling the powers of
government to use them to, and I think this is, and Faith you know this if course better, but this is I think part
of what people think of when they think of Putin. I think at least in the next few years it’s gonna be very difficult for Trump to use the power of the
Executive Branch in that way. So I think what you’re seeing
with the CIA right now, what you’re seeing is
a battle between Trump and not one person, but like 30,000 people and they’re not all resigning, but that doesn’t mean they’re all gonna go and support Trump either. So I think that what
you’re gonna end up with and this it looks like in other possible cabinet posts as well is basically a battle here between Trump and the actual powers that be, the bureaucracy that does things and so I think what, at least
in the first few years here, you may just see things
grinding to a total halt and so it’s not the CIA
will assassinate somebody on his orders, they just
aren’t gonna be doing anything. You see, it’s sort of like what we’ve seen in some other cases and I think that now maybe a couple years after that, he could clean house for real because he would really need to replace not just 2,000 people, but
tens of thousands of people, closer to probably 200,000
to really get his way. – Yeah, go head. – Like using the F word either. I read his story– – Yes, people don’t and– – Yeah, his story is
arguing in great detail about what constitutes fascism. I don’t think that’s the
appropriate word here, but one of the key words that came out is the word that Adam first
used, which is illiberal and the rise of illiberal
systems around the world. I think that’s important. I think another important
word, yeah I agree, it’s gonna be complex how this plays out, to what extent republicans
are acquiescent, to what extent they aren’t, to what extent the Executive
Branch works or doesn’t, but there are these clear
authoritarian tendencies that are visible in Trump,
but also in his supporters and then I think the third
component I’d throw in there is also this kleptocratic element, which is actually a totally new
element in American politics that we have not seen before and we don’t know what’s happening because we don’t know what
his interests are per se and so this is what I’m talking about when I’m talking about the
demise of institutions. – And one of the things that I think maybe we have to take care to
try to do is not grade this on the curve of
administrative accomplishment, but grade this instead on the
curve of public expectations. Where are people in
terms of what they expect from political systems? I mean, something that I
think you were speaking to very directly in terms of Russia, I think Liz, you were talking about in terms of the expectations and the ways in which people
misread what government in fact is actually
able to provide for them and I think this idea about information and what are the kind of means by which people are
able to make judgements about function, efficiency, capacity is itself important. I think that whether or
not there’s a kind of grinding to a halt or sort
of quick march forward, what it’s going to mean
in terms of the ways in which American people come
to have lowered expectations and what they can expect from this or any other administration
is itself consequential and then, which I think
is a different question, how do we read this in
relation to the ways in which this move towards illiberalism appears to be happening in a
certain kind of coordination at many, many points within the world. Again, I mean the cases that
I brought up are only a few. We’ve got a series of
consequential elections that are happening in Western
Europe over the next year, all of which may actually
veer in the same direction that we’ve seen thus far across this year. That’s going to have its own effect on the ways in which people
within those countries have expectations about their governments. So I think at that point,
we’re not really sort of keeping score on where
the administrations are. We’re trying to take a temperature in relation to what the health is of civil society in each
of these various places. – Joe, you want to? – Some really wonderful comments, really carefully considered evaluations. Following up on Bob’s great point, there is this opening move
with the evaluation of the EPA in which there was a request for a list of all the people that had
worked on climate change and so this idea that attending to who is, who are the civil servants,
who are the scientists, who are the intelligence officers who actually make the
machinery of government work is something that’s already
being considered in that sense. And then… I’m just struck by this potential that we have within the
American democratic scene, the mechanisms actually
of democracy itself were used to choose Trump and there’s something about an
outsider who was rejected by most of the establishment figures outside of a certain
world in finance perhaps who didn’t spend much
money on the campaign, who basically systematically
tried to offend every constituent winning using the very mechanisms
of democratic order that I think we have to really assess what the implications of that are and also what the implications are for other figures with
radically different politics coming through with a similar kind of surprising outsider status and then finally we have an
undisclosed problem in the FBI in this election and
so part of the problem going forward with the
national security community is also the question of
how the CIA and the FBI are gonna understand this election and I think we haven’t seen
that kind of a problem, like the question of the basic legitimacy of one of the major
intelligence agencies before. – Great, Liz, you want to? – Yeah, picking up on this point that we shouldn’t assume that there is already a coherent consolidation
of power and control regardless of how
dramatic the election was. I think it’s actually
important to recognize that there are multiple
projects moving here and one of the big projects behind the congressional majority is not this unpredictable, volatile figure who may create all kinds of catastrophes, but at the same time he is creating this creates opportunities
for a consistent, methodical project that
we tend to associate with organizations such as ALEC or folks such as the Koch brothers and this is the boring and
technical project of change that is very directed, very thoughtful, very tactically sophisticated and that we may lose sight of. Whether you agree with their goals or not, I would say that while the
band of what might be a future produced by that project is much narrower than it is in the case of Trump, the odds of them transforming
intentions into outcomes are considerably higher. – Great, well thank you
all for having this panel. It’s been a wonderful talk so far. My question, I want to
kind of return to this idea of Trump the top of an
authoritarian structure and this idea of an illiberal democracy. How much of this is kind
of reports of a death of liberal democracy are
greatly exaggerated right now? How much can he actually do on his own? One of the comments earlier was he really doesn’t have an inner
circle outside of his family and the coalition that he’s
put together in his cabinet pretty much only seems linked by the fact that they’re really rich. So like take from this
chart as an example, how much can Trump really get
troop numbers down to say zero if he’s opposed by someone
like General Mattis or in the Senate by senators like John McCain or Lindsey Graham. – So in terms of reducing
troops down to zero, he has an enormous amount of power. If Mattis won’t do it, he’ll just fire him and find somebody who will. So this is not Mattis as
an institutional constraint on the power of the president and over the last 70
years what we have done is we have basically given the president more and more and more power
and at his discretion to use, particularly military force, and this is something that drove
a lot of people very upset. We wanted to get into Bosnia,
you remember in the ’90s, we couldn’t do it despite
all that public pressure and so forth and so actually
what you’re seeing is he has an enormous amount of power when it comes to military troops. – Thank you.
– Thank you. – Oh you want to add, please. – In 2001 is still operative
for the War on Terror. So the basic mechanism for deterring all future terrorist acts as the president deems them
dangers is still in place. – All right, so let’s go to that mic. – I really had to kind of
follow up to the last question. Given that all of Trump’s
national security nominees and their Senate confirmation
hearings disagree with Trump about the importance
of American alliances, can they resist Trump? But although he could of
course can say “You’re fired.” That would greatly diminish his influence and so I wonder how much Congress backing the national security nominees and maybe more important public opinion so that there might be a
reaction to the post-truth era, that’s exactly because
of the post-truth era and because of obfuscation, because the issues in a way are so clear, there could be an actual
resurgence to belief and truth and that public opinion
plus the power of Congress plus that if Trump actually
did fire Mattis or Tillerson, that would be a huge blow and so I’m really getting
to make it a follow-up to ask what ideas are important. Like what might lead to impeachment? If someone is too much
under foreign influences because he fires Mattis. – So just to add to what I said before. So Trump also is about to gain a power that he’s already been very good at using, but much, much more powerful, which is the bully pulpit. So what Trump has been a
master of over the last year is manipulating threats, security threats, and using them to his domestic advantage and this is something that
we’ve seen in other politicians like say Slobodan Milosevic
in other countries. We have not seen this in the United States and Obama actually and also
other presidents as well have tried to calm fear. The greatest thing we have
to fear is fear itself. What you are seeing is a
person who as candidate and now he will have the
power of the bully pulpit to manipulate that fear. What that does is it’s the
fear of our personal insecurity which drives the Patriot Act. It’s not the Patriot Act
didn’t get passed in 1994, it got passed after 9/11 when there’s tremendous
fear by the public. It’s the fear that’s causing the public to be willing to get rid of or diminish its constitutional rights. What Trump now has that we have not seen in the hands of anybody else is a master at manipulating fear to reduce constitutional rights and he now has the power
of the bully pulpit. So I understand, Robert, your point. I think that it’s a smart point. I just don’t think we’ve
quite really fully seen Trump using the powers of the presidency. The presidency is
enormously powerful office. The founders, as a lot
of people in this room know better than I do,
went to great lengths to restrain the power of the presidency, especially in security affairs. We’ve taken a lot of those restraints off in the last 70 years and
we are now gonna find out what it means to not
have those restraints. – I’d also like to speak
to the Tillerson issue because I know a lot of
people were surprised that he seemed to say all the
right things in the hearing. I think the question is now
that there is this daylight, what happens if Tillerson continues to say all the right things about sanctions, about Crimea, et cetera and Trump doesn’t? Can Tillerson actually
go incredibly negotiate? Not really, it really undercuts him. It’s my understanding that
different departments have, DOD for example may have more autonomy, but Tillerson in particular
I think is hamstrung if he’s negotiating with Russia and then Trump is off tweeting
something contrary, right. – Great. – So I’d like to direct
this question about primarily towards Professor Mulligan. So in a recent survey of Trump supporters, many said that they supported
the Affordable Care Act, but not Obamacare. (audience laughter) And when asked why, the
primary reason cited was that they don’t like Obama. I really appreciated your
analogy with the dog food. But I was wondering if you
could address the suggestion that it wasn’t the product
that voters have an issue with, it was the seller. – As I said, you’re not a
person if you don’t put value on the intangibles and that
would be part of the intangible. Again, shame on Mrs. Clinton
for not straightening that out. But there’s also tangibles involved. There’s people there, they
may not know what the ACA is or the Patient Protection Act, but there are some of those
people who don’t have those jobs and they know that they don’t have a job and they know that their
neighbors don’t have jobs and they don’t like that and Mrs. Clinton wasn’t about
to do anything different than Mr. Obama was doing and
they didn’t like the product, the dogs didn’t like it and hopefully someone will
pull the product off the shelf. It’s too bad they gave
Trump the opportunity to be the guy who is the savior on that, but that’s what’s been done. – Okay. All right, we’ll go over here. – All right, hi there. I have a question about the
future of political activism in the age of Trump
because on the one hand, like the future kind of looks dismal. I mean, we’ve seen already laws proposed by the likes of the
Governor of North Dakota to empower police to more strongly police political activists in a public sphere. He’s made no subtleties about how he felt about like the Standing Rock
protesters and all that, what powers he’d like to give to police to prevent such things
from happening again. But on the other hand, if it’s true as Professor Cohen intimated, that the success of some of
the Trump Administration’s policies will depend on level of which contentious politics could
be used to authiscape the reality of how much they grasp the institutional levers they
need to make these a reality. I mean, you can make the argument that it might not be in the Trump
Administration’s best interest to necessarily restrain political
activism across the board. I mean, keep in mind the
influence of the Tea Partiers behind the Trump movement
in the first place and the methods grasped
of activism they adopted. So I guess all this is to ask is it very clearcut at this point what the policy of the
Trump Administration from the federal government’s
standpoint at least will be to political activism
and I guess the right to express political opinions
in public space from here on? Is it very clear what that policy will be and what its consequences
will be at this point? – I mean… One of the things that I think perhaps can give some confidence, some
inspiration to the other side is from that point to
also go back to history. I mean, think about the
conditions of what it meant say to protest in the South in relation to civil right struggles in
the mid-1950s and 1960s. Believe me, police power
had very few restraints for instance in relation
to dealing with people as we see in terms of
many different episodes. Think in relation to labor
organizing during the 1930s or at even earlier decades
in relation to that. I mean, I think what’s
gonna happen is that it’s gonna grow more contentious and people are going to
have to think strategically and tactically about how to operate within a more contentious environment and there are precedents
for thinking about that. There are parallel examples in terms of thinking about organizing in countries like Turkey and elsewhere in relation to how people combat those sorts of circumstances and that kind of aggrandizing of power. So I think in some ways
clearly it’s going to change and it’s hard to predict
specifically chapter and verse, others may be able to do that, what will be some of the
moves in order to quell popular opposition to either
proposals or actual commitments and interests on the part
of this administration, but there are plenty of examples to think about the ways
in which people operate in more contentious environments in this country’s history and elsewhere. – Along those same points, I
would say there are kind of two ways at least I’ve
been thinking about it. I think if you are in support
of descent and protest. in a way that’s surprising, this has been a kind of clarifying moment. I think we’ve seen organizations that had vowed not to work with each other come together because in fact
they see a greater threat in the Trump Administration. We’ve also seen the capacity, whether it’s foundations or donors, kind of mobilizing and
providing extra resources. So I think the infrastructure
for kind of civic engagement and descent has actually
expanded at this moment and another reason for the expansion has been I think there
was confusion at times when confronting the Obama Administration. It wasn’t clear in fact
if you wanted to be that organization or that group that in particular targeted the state and there were also ways in
which the Obama Administration came to engage with activists and kind of pull them into
a process, a policy process. I think activists
understand right now that the Justice Department will no longer in any way protect their rights, whether it’s from voting or protesting. So I think there is a clarity, but there’s going to be an
increased danger no doubt. But I think in fact we may
see more continuous activism than we saw for the last eight years. – I would just add that it’s
going to be more contentious, it’s going to be more risky, it’s going to be more
fraught in many ways. So it becomes really
important to think about the theory of change in which
descent and protest figure, that often where there’s
sort of a gap there that the point is the protest, not to think about how the protest makes something else happen
and I think the price of stopping at the protest
is only gonna grow higher. – Thank you.
– Thanks. – Over here. – Cathey Cohen sort of
preempted some of my question, which is the now on of what is to be done, especially in protest and
especially by students. I’m Marshall Sahlins, retired
Professor of Anthropology, retired so long that I
think I’m post-emeritus. (laughter) But it’s relevant that I mention this, these personal coordinates because the problem of student
activism is an important one relative to what happened
in the ’60s and ’70s when student activism
raised the consciousness of the nation, became the
vanguard of the movement against the government action in Vietnam. Situation has changed radically since then and I wonder if it’s
changed beyond redemption about student mass protests. In 1970, the number of bachelor’s degrees in the social sciences, including history but excluding economics, vastly outnumbered or
significantly outnumbered the number of bachelor’s degrees in business-related subjects. In 2014, the number of bachelor’s degrees in business-related subjects was more than twice as many as the number of all
social science degrees including history and in fact more than double
all social science degrees and more than all social
science and humanities degrees. Beside that, we have the
problem that our students, except for the very rich, are more and more becoming
victims of debt peonage to the business order by virtue of the debts that they contract and which force them
into all kinds of jobs which they might not have wanted to be in. So my question is what can the students do and can we recover? Especially also is the whole
other problem I won’t go into, the divided nature of
the politics of today. The identity politics, diversity politics, important as they are, are fragmenting the
structure of the protest. But the question then is what can we do? What can the students do? Can they once more organize
and be the vanguard of the consciousness of the
nation, which is their future? (applause) – Before anybody would
give an answer of course, we have to acknowledge
that there are no students on the panel. So that’s a question I think
is engaged by many who are engaged in organizing here
and elsewhere in the city. One thing that I guess I
would point out is that a lesson of this election was that the group of people that reside within colleges and
universities such as this one presume a far greater
authority to be able to predict what will be the direction of elections or various other kinds of
developments in society than sometimes proves to be the case. In this city alone and
I think it’s something that’s been born out by groups like Black Lives Matters, BYP 100. There are plenty of cross-institutional, higher-education involved
and with groups that are not involved in higher
education, groups of youth that have gained in very creative and very effective organizing. I think there are lots of
opportunities actually. I would suggest very humbly to students to think about going beyond a campus that one finds oneself at and beginning to think about
federations and alliances and cross-community groups that are able to be quite effective in ways
that might actually prose a very powerful answer and
not necessarily get rid of one or the other, a
class-oriented politics or an identity-driven politics, but recognize the
consonances between those that I think are actually quite powerful. – And I think these
young people would also, first of all I wouldn’t reify
the position of student. I think there are young
people who are engaged in struggle already across the
city and across the country and so while I hope and I think
we all have a responsibility if we can to provide kind
of support for students who are interested in being activists, I’m not dependent on students, especially at predominantly
white elite institutions to provide the consciousness
for the country. I think there are already organizations who are kind of mapping that agenda and I guess I would also push back a bit on this idea that identity politics, or I guess you called
it diversity politics, has fragmented the movement. I would suggest in fact
that they are speaking to the kind of larger
condition of the country, but quite often because
people only are able to engage in a politics
that they can recognize as directly relevant to them and I might say class politics to me falls into that category ’cause it’s usually about
the white working class as opposed to a kind of
broader understanding of how class operates in kind of multiple positions and places, for example even in a place like Chicago, a city like Chicago. So I think there are all kinds
of wonderful possibilities at this moment. Some of them will be born and operate and live in universities, others will be operating
at a Chicago state, others will be kind of on the streets on the south side of
Chicago and internationally. So I think this is an incredible moment. When we think about the
capacity for protest and the protests that we’ve
seen over the last four years, for example, since the
killing of Trayvon Martin. I think we have to kind
of step back and say in fact we are in a moment of momentum and how do we continue that momentum instead of, this is just my perspective, instead of suggesting
that there is loss there or an absence there. – So Cathy, could I just? So I think Marshall that I
think you’re definetely right that there has been a shift
in the numbers as you said. One of the things I think
that though that misses is that there in the last
15 years has been a dramatic increase in the number of
undergraduates in particular that have a hunger for public engagement. That’s what you see in IOP
and in my center CPOST, which doesn’t just do peer-reviewed
research, which we do, but we also every term, every week have over 25 interns who
are spending 10 hours a week to contribute to that research and not all of them are
gonna go on to PhD programs. Some of them do, some go into government, some go into the military,
some do go into private life, but what is really striking
is that there is a hunger here among the undergraduates to engage. It’s not always the
same type of engagement. It’s not simply protest or
research or the IOP type events. It’s a whole collection of those and that’s really changed
since I was here in the 1980s where we did have undergraduates, but they were more narrow stand. I think we have much more variety. I don’t think we are giving
them as many opportunities here to fulfill that hunger and I think that over time we should. – Great. – If I could just add. Institutions like this are
also part of the process that moves people around the map and produced the divergence between the popular vote and the electoral vote. Places like this draw students nationally and I think one of the things to do in addition to protest of all sorts is if you come from a
purple or a red place, keep in touch, don’t make it easy for political positions to be demonized. Think about moving back there because the geographical
sorting across political units is really central to
understanding this moment. – How we doing, Paul? Two more questions, okay. Right there. – Hi. Casey, I think you were
actually the only person who brought up the fact that Hillary ran a really, really bad campaign. She had a layup, she was facing possibly the most unpopular candidate in history and she chose to campaign
on “I’m with her” and “America is already great” and to me that did not
resonate with anybody and I think that speaks
to the broader failures of these central liberal
technocracy in this country, which fails to give people
any sort of an alternative to Trumpism that really
sparks their interest, that gets them passionate and even now as Trump is taking power, we’re seeing a lot of
democrats in the Senate who are doing these things,
capitulating in ways that we never would have expected them to. You got Senator Elizabeth
Warren, who’s probably one of the most left-leaning
people in the Senate, who just helped to swear
in a war criminal Mattis into the… So in what way do you
propose that Democrats, as they exist right now, can fight back? – Be a good leader. – Addendum Bernie would have won. – I’d like to think to tell them the truth is gonna be a successful
strategy in the long run and the Obama Administration
was not doing that and the press was not doing that and it maybe gave them
some short-term gains, but now look where they are. Their policies are about
to go out the window ’cause people understand that
it was oversold and so on. So that would be my humble recommendation. – You know, I’ll just provide, it’s not at all a full answer to that, but just an observation. My mother grew up in rural Michigan, North Michigan in a county, Ogemaw County and I looked after the election at the results from that county and I believe it delivered
2,000 of the 10,000 votes that Donald Trump won by. Barack Obama won that county
in 2008 and he lost that county by I think four percentage
points to Romney in 2012. So there are many, many things that the Democratic Party
needs to do and think about. There’s a lot of soul searching. This DNC race is actually
very, very important in relation to thinking about
the direction of the party and whether it sort of
commits itself to this idea of a 50 state strategy or
it imagines that the base, the coalition that was
able to elect Obama twice is one that actually
represents an important base to build on in relation to elections. But let’s not go too far
in terms of thinking about the postmortem around this election in terms of just complete
vacuity and complete irrelevance in relation to the
positions that were there because for two elections before this, many of the same voters
who voted for Donald Trump voted for a black president. That’s something that’s
gonna take some time to figure out how to analyze
despite the nondelivery in relation to different
policies that were there that I think also needs
to be thought about. But still, those two elections
need to be factored in in terms of thinking
about future directions around the other side of this politically. – Should we go here? – This is a question for Professor Cohen and Professor Green. So I’ve been trying my best
to follow this election in terms of its ecological and economic and all these kind of implications, but ultimately when it comes down to it, every single day I wake up
and I’m a person of color and I’m a woman of color and I feel this election very viscerally and I want to center
because this conversation has not been about race mostly and I want to like recenter that and ask what does this mean for women of color and marginalized populations
and what does this mean not only for women of
color in the United States, but what does it mean across the globe in terms of that kind of
movement and coalition? And also to an audience of white allies or professors that are white allies, what responsibility do you
have and what can be done to hold people accountable
to what has happened and the hatred that I feel
toward my body every day? (applause) – Well, you want to go first? (laughs) Well as I started my comments
and ended my comments and focused my comments
on the question of race. I think it’s unconscionable
to think about this election, not of course including
everything that has been said, but also with the realization that in fact there is, as we already know, a kind of significant racial divide, but there’s also a way in
which our politics I think mask the kind of… Not just the difficulties
of folks of color and communities of color, but in fact the very
different lived experiences that different segments
of the country have. So for example, the point
of kind of talking about the working class. It seems to me that when we focus only on the white working class, first of all we
misdiagnosis what happened. If we look at the numbers, the average income of a Trump
voter was about $72,000, far above the working class. So this is not just an issue
about the white working class and I think it goes back
to this question of why, it’s not just kind of why did
whites who voted for Trump then vote for Obama, but I
think it’s a larger question of why did whites who could
hear the racist comments daily, the misogyny, how could
people still bring themselves and I think it has so much
to do not only with Trump, but Trump’s opportunity and
I’m trying to talk to you. But in many ways it also, and
this is a hard thing for us, talks about the failures
of the Obama Administration and I think a policy of neoliberalism that the Democrats have
embraced for a very long time, not thinking about the
constrains and the concerns of the working class, but in
particular the working class in communities of color. And so what do you do? I understand that you feel
that you’re kind of, your body, you feel that you said
the hatred of your body, towards your body? – Well I feel like a lot of POC and a lot of other like
trans and women of color would say that yeah, it’s
visceral that every day like you feel it walking down the street, waking up in the morning. – I have to say I think
we have to figure out kind of where we organize and how we hold people accountable. The day after the election I
was giving a talk in Maryland and so had to get on a plane at six a.m. and this is the truth, I
walk through the airport and I saw nothing but white people and I wondered did you vote for Trump because it felt like that
vote was a vote against me and my body and my community. Now that said, I think
that communities of color have a broader vision and lived experience that speak both to our concerns, but really speak to the concerns also of a white working class. This has to be an issue about how in fact do we empower and improve the lives of people who struggle every day to kind of make minimum wage, to provide for a quality
education for their children, who want access to healthcare
and clearly that’s rooted undoubtedly in communities of color, so therefore communities of
color have to provide that leadership, but it’s not an
issue of identity politics, it’s an issue of a kind of
lived and empowered experience that we hope for people
when they talk about living the American
dream and it seems to me that we have to claim
that central component of a broad vision of politics
that is about liberating lots of people who struggle
and who feel oppressed, but also recognizing,
and I know I’m going on, also recognizing that just because you’re a woman of color,
I’m a woman of color, our positioning is not the same also. You come to the University of Chicago. I teach at the University of Chicago. So not to understand the privileges that are also involved in
that type of positioning within communities of color I think would also be a mistake. (applause) – Literally I’ll just be very, very quick ’cause I think Cathy
touched most of the bases as she always does incredibly powerfully and incredibly eloquently. The state’s not gonna have
your back and that’s clear, that’s something that I
think also was complicated to figure out in the context
of the Obama Administration. That’s now resolved. That’s been the case before, but there are different communities that are facing different
kinds of challenges and there are different ways in which oppression gets acted onto people that are gonna have to be accounted for in terms of organizing,
in terms of thinking about how one engages in resistance,
in terms of imagining both the communities and the politics that one wants to enact. That’s something that’s
going to happen organically because it’s not going to find
really any sort of support in relation to state action
and state orientation. I think the other thing too though is that given the clarity of the
moment, as Cathy pointed out, but perhaps a little optimistically, we’re going to have to think about where new coalitions begin to form and what are some of
the complicated issues that are gonna have to be worked out. So let’s say that the
Supreme Court is remade with two or three justices and reproductive choice
is in fact taken off as something that’s protected by law. There’s been this precedent of course to think about the ways in which people operated in the ’60s and ’70s. One uncomfortable tension
was the way in which people who were trying to encourage the defense of reproductive rights were seen as engaging in a
kind of population management or overt sterilization process from the standpoint of
some communities of color that were led primarily by male leaders. That’s going to be something
that if we face it, hopefully we’ll do a better
job of thinking through and addressing in terms of addressing what those kinds of issues mean. Similarly, various kinds
of forms of legislation at the state level that
we’re trying to suppress or restrict the rights of LGBTQ people, those were at times things that
were supported and endorsed by particularly religious
communities of color. That’s going to have to be something that people are gonna have to
be rethinking going forward. So at the same time that we invoke the possibility of new coalitions, there are gonna be real new challenges in terms of understanding what it means for people to ally with one another and not just white people
with community of color, but also the ways in which
communities of color themselves think about these issues. That’s gonna be an opportunity, but it’s certainly gonna be a challenge. – I think we have to turn it over. – Yeah so with that response, this concludes tonight’s
round table Talking Trump. Just a few general remarks about the nature of what we saw tonight. The goal of this event was to demonstrate a productive mode of discourse surrounding a highly controversial topic. I think there’s no doubt about that. One that is best confronted from the collaboration of perspectives. This is something that social science by its very nature does well. Social science is a field
comprised of many disciplines, but social science is also aware, as was this going tonight with this panel, interdisciplinary
collaboration can work well. The University of Chicago is
known for challenging ideas and providing healthy soil
for intellectual growth and I hope tonight’s
event showcased the best of what numeracy can achieve when it comes to academic discourse surrounding the real world circumstances. With that, let me follow with this. One, we hope to be able to hold
another event on this topic approximately say 100 days from now (laughter) to take stock of the
initiatives and the events that will transpire between now and then. There will be more on that to come. Furthermore, more immediately tomorrow, I have an announcement here, the Department of History
is holding an event Conversations on Trump Part Two. Part two is what does
a Trump presidency mean will be comprised of
a panel of individuals from the History Department and it’ll be from two to five p.m. in the Stevanovich Center for Financial Mathematics building. There will be more, there’s been a host of fliers
around that throughout campus. So there will be more
events and more to come. But for now, thank you for attending. (applause)

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