There is pressure for change. Does that mean the nation wants or needs different values and principles? Right now we have more access to more good information than at any point in history by a lot. This should be, can be information nirvana.
At the same time, more people have more access to your mind through more channels at any point in humanity. Do you see the side of utilizing technology to sharpen our minds? It seems like we should become better decision-makers.
National or international?
We have a tendency in this country to look at it as an American phenomenon or a Trump phenomenon. That may or may not be accurate. Look at what’s happening with Brexit, in Germany or in Italy. You see dimensions of this in Hong Kong. Doesn’t it seem to be the same thing? Do you see recognize the rise of nationalism and populism, economic stagnation, and racial tensions? These things come from immigration here and migration over there. Then there are worries about technology and globalization. It is similar in all of these places.
In the short term, the end effect of that is we have this massive rise in nationalism and populism. That’s really defining our politics of the day. It’s happened at different points in the countries’ histories. Probably it does ultimately settle down. The reason it might not settle down right away is that when you look at those countries – and then I’ll take it back to America.
The historic American debate
Politics is fundamentally academic. We are either for big government or small government? That has been the lens through which we looked at most political debates. Today it’s gone from academic to visceral. Now it’s more now about your identity. Do you like the world as it looked and felt when you were growing up? Are you supportive of those values? Do you like those social norms? Or do you like the diversity, the speed of change, the changing complexion of my country?
Once you get to that, when it becomes visceral, that’s where it really becomes an attack on your fundamental being. It becomes much more emotional. And that’s why you just see so much more emotion in our politics. Do we sustain this or does it change? If you look at the demographics our country just is changing. But does that mean the values and principles we live by should change? There is pressure for change but change is the only constant in the universe.
How do demographics manifest themselves?
Setting aside one’s personal view on demographic change. We are becoming a majority-minority nation. You see it happening because of birth rates and immigration patterns. You aren’t going to change birth rates for a long time. So like this is inevitable. Well then does it change our politics?
Look at a state like Texas. Why is Texas a place where Beto O’Rourke only lost by two points? That is a state that used to be solidly conservative. A lot of it is because it’s just a changing state. There’s a rise in the number of Hispanic voters. Any place where you have population change you have political change.
There are some people who just don’t like the change. That is not to say that it rooted in racism. Maybe some of it is, but it’s more like there is a lot of change. It’s an authentic change. And especially when people are playing on that change, you’re just going to end up having this streak that’s running through our politics. There is pressure for change.