I was in Cleveland for the Republican convention. I think there was a Wall Street Journal story during that week or just right afterwards. And the headline was “GOP Delegates Think American Economy Is Terrible – Except Where They Live.” You know, there was a sense that most of their communities were doing OK, but they believe the entire American economy was troubled.
And I think we are seeing some combination of the way in which a generation’s worth of cable news has sort of conditioned people to nonstop and undifferentiated crisis around the world. The great difficulty of presenting positive developments in ways that don’t seem silly or sap-like. And also – I guess I’ve been thinking about this in the last day or two – the elevation of national politics to something like a religion
.. And I think national politics has become what you – what I think of as either a religious affiliation or a particularly sort of acrid sporting team loyalty where people who you otherwise can work with and compromise with and build a future with you either really feel connected to or you really feel just are the other based on which team they’re on, whether they’re on the Republican team, the Trump team, or the anti-Trump team.
And one other theme which no doubt we will explore, which is the ways in which people in non-coastal America feel as – not so much looked down on, but just ignored by media in particular
.. when my wife and I began our flying project back in 2013, our premise was to go to places that you would normally go to only if there were a flood or a tornado or a shooting as opposed to treating them as real entities and giving them the sort of three-dimensionality that you’d naturally give to the big coastal cities.
.. the opinion polls that came out before Donald Trump’s announcement when they asked people to sort of free associate across the country about the greatest threats to the nation, immigration was normally not in the top 10. You know, some people were very concerned about it, but not most people. So I would view this as a phenomenon of something about modern political national-level campaigning and media emphasis thereof has allowed us to get hyperpolarized and hyper, you know, upset about phenomena that in the daily life of the country are not seen as that threatening or disturbing.
.. I’ve interviewed most of the fallen Republicans and their campaign managers. And they really felt that the cable-based structure of those debates, where you had 10 or 11 people on the stage all crowding around for airtime, with Donald Trump standing dominant in the middle – that that helped him as well because it sort of preconditioned a “Survivor” or “Apprentice”-type show where you would knock off the weaklings one by one.
And there was always somebody who was weaker than Donald Trump, so he ended up seeming relatively stronger as time went on. And also, none of them – they didn’t figure out that they needed to join in together to attack him.
.. I think, in a potentially ominous way in the violation of norms. Donald Trump didn’t release his tax information. We thought in modern times that’s what a presidential candidate would have to do. During one of the debates Donald Trump said to Hillary Clinton that if he won, she would be in jail. This is something we have not heard from our candidates. We think of our candidates if they lose a bitter campaign, they say we offer our support to the next president. When Donald Trump suggested that he might not accept the results of the election, that also was unusual.
.. And Jimmy Carter, who had many thoughts to offer about speeches at all times, his thought about this was we don’t say that. You know, he’s a former president. We don’t talk about our opponents that way. We say we disagree with their views. We say they’ve made mistakes, but we don’t say their intentions are bad. And so to leap from there to saying that the incumbent president and his one purported successor are traitors, that is one more of the norms that we had – we’d not seen before this year.
.. I recorded a number of times where something happened and Donald Trump would immediately say it’s 100-percent clear that X happened. For example, this EgyptAir plane disappeared over the Atlantic some time ago – I’m sorry, over the Mediterranean some time ago. And still nobody knows what happened to that plane. But within, like, 30 minutes of its disappearing, Donald Trump was on the news saying it’s 100 percent clear this is terrorism. If you don’t know it’s terrorism, believe me, you’re suckers, folks. This is entirely what it is.
.. FALLOWS: So his main point, it’s based on something that is in my view largely just wrong and connected to something that is – that is real…
GROSS: I mean, wrong you disagree or factually incorrect?
FALLOWS: Factually incorrect – and that is the idea that essentially the economic problems America has is because China is – in particular but also Mexico and Japan and South Korea – are stealing our factories and stealing our jobs. And this is the main reason why the U.S. has the economic problems, the employment problems that it has. I think if 20 years ago, when China was beginning its ascent, you could say that a lot of the economic problems of the early ’90s were much more directly traceable to outsourcing decisions than anything that’s going on right now
.. But if you go many places now, the people who have been losing jobs in the last 10 years have been losing them only minorly to Mexico, China, South Korea, Japan. They’ve been losing them mainly to automation.
.. I can tell you from going back and forth to China that in every single country of the world, including China and Japan and South Korea and Mexico, the employment problem is the hollowing out of factory-type jobs because of automation.
.. I think to blame it as he does on bad-and-stupid deals with Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea both is out of date about the problem and really off about the solution because I don’t think there’s anybody who is involved with those countries who thinks that much tougher or canny or dealmakers is going to bring a lot more factories back to Indiana or Illinois.
Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years.
.. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits for about 10 million people over the next decade.
.. The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs
.. Numerous social-welfare programs grew after the financial crisis, leading to complaints from many Republicans that more should be done to shift people out of these programs and back into the workforce. Shortly after he was sworn in, Trump said, “We want to get our people off welfare and back to work. . . . It’s out of control.”
.. In that budget, he sought a big increase in military and border spending combined with major cuts to housing, environmental protection, foreign aid, research and development.
.. The White House also is expected to propose changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though precise details couldn’t be learned. SNAP is the modern version of food stamps, and it swelled following the financial crisis
.. As the economy has improved, enrollment in the program hasn’t changed as much as many had forecast.
.. An average of 44 million people received SNAP benefits in 2016, down from a peak of 47 million in 2013. Just 28 million people received the benefits in 2008.
.. SNAP already has a work requirement, which typically cuts benefits for most able-bodied adults who don’t have children. But states were given more flexibility during the recent economic downturn to extend the benefits for a longer period
.. the U.S. government spends between $680 billion and $800 billion a year on anti-poverty programs, and considering wholesale changes to many of these initiatives is worthwhile, given questions about the effectiveness of how the money is spent.
.. it could pave the way for states to pursue even stricter restrictions, such as drug tests, that courts have often rejected.
.. In March, the White House signaled that it wanted to eliminate money for a range of other programs that are funded each year by Congress. This included federal funding for Habitat for Humanity, subsidized school lunches and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
.. a change in the funding for Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income program, which provide cash benefits for the poor and disabled.
.. budget director, former South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney
.. A key element of the budget plan will be the assumption that huge tax cuts will result in an unprecedented level of economic growth.
.. these tax cuts would end up creating trillions of dollars in new revenue, something budget experts from both parties have disputed.
.. The tax cuts would particularly benefit the wealthiest Americans, as Trump has proposing cutting the estate tax, capital gains and business tax rates.
.. there has been a deficit in the United States every year since the end of the Clinton administration
.. “People think government is cheaper than it is because we’ve allowed ourselves to borrow money for a long period of time and not worry about paying it back.”
.. Its premise is that the creation of more wealth will help all Americans succeed, and the Trump administration believes that some anti-poverty programs have created a culture of dependency that prevents people from re-entering the workforce.
.. “I don’t think the Republicans on the Hill are going to feel a strong compulsion to follow the president,” Haskins said. “They are not afraid of him.”
.. the White House is expected to call for $200 billion for infrastructure projects and an additional $25 billion over 10 years for a new program designed by Ivanka Trump that would create six weeks of parental leave benefits.
A journalist who covered Nixon’s fall 45 years ago explains why the current challenge to America may be more severe—and the democratic system less capable of handling it.
the worst version of what Nixon and his allies were attempting to do—namely, to find incriminating or embarrassing information about political adversaries ranging from Democratic Party Chairman Lawrence O’Brien to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg—was not as bad as what came afterward.
.. attacks by an authoritarian foreign government on the fundamentals of American democracy, by interfering with an election
.. as part of a larger strategy that included parallel interference in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and elsewhere.
.. meant to destroy trust in democracy
.. But even in his stonewalling, Nixon paid lip service to the concepts of due process and check and balances.
.. Stennis compromise
.. he wanted to act as if he was doing so while sticking to some recognizable rules... Nothing Donald Trump has done, on the campaign trail or in office, has expressed awareness of, or respect for, established rules.
Republican and Democratic voters disagree about a lot. But the divide between each party’s members is much wider than simply distinct policy positions and different evaluations of candidates. Each party’s supporters define the terms and stakes of political competition quite differently. Republicans believe they’re battling over two opposing ideologies, while Democrats view partisan conflict instead as a fight between different social groups.
The Republican Party defines itself in ideological terms as the vehicle of symbolic conservatism. The Democratic Party, in contrast, is organized as a social group coalition.
Republicans tend to emphasize what they view as ideological disagreement between the parties:
.. Democrats tend to describe a clash between competing group interests:
- Democrats “support the poor and middle class.” Republicans “look out for the rich and don’t care about the poor and middle class.”
.. we find that Republicans are consistently more likely to identify themselves as conservatives than Democrats are to consider themselves liberals. Republicans are also more likely to say they believe that their party should stand up for its principles and become more ideologically pure, while Democrats tend to favor pragmatic compromise and a more moderate party.
.. On the whole, Americans call themselves conservative . . . but prefer liberal policies
.. Democratic candidates, in contrast, prefer to emphasize disagreements over individual policies: Should health-care access be expanded? Should public education
.. Even Republican voters who identify as strong conservatives frequently depart from conservative orthodoxy on specific policy questions. For example, many Republicans say that they strongly support smaller government in the abstract but want specific federal programs to keep going or even expand. Former
.. Democrats, meanwhile, nominated a candidate who rarely employs abstract rhetoric, courts an array of social groups by promoting specific policy initiatives aimed at their concerns