Changing U.S. Political Landscape

People of the Pod


I moderate conversation between Bhatia under Sargon the opinion editor of the forward. And Seth Mandell the executive editor of The Washington Examiner magazine. The program was called the changing. Us political landscape. And what's at stake for American Jews? We are pleased to bring you some of that program now yesterday. Ajc's National Leadership Council received an exclusive briefing from Dr Land Schlieffer the CEO Regeneration Pharmaceuticals and toward the end of the call. He made the points. I hope I'm not misrepresenting. You Hear Lynn. He made the point. That PART OF WHY? America hasn't been a world leader in responding to the corona virus crisis. Far From It is because our political polarization has had almost a paralysing effect on the ability of government to address the primary and secondary issues coming from the pandemic put differently in a certain sense. Our political divide is literally making us so just to lay some groundwork I want to start by asking each of you. How did we get here? How is it that the country that dominated the last century now seems at times like it could tear itself apart by? Let's begin with you. I have a bit of a polarization. Scott's back Anna now what I mean by that is I think that when you look around at our nation more generally this polarization in fact that is so clear to us on. Twitter is so clear in Congress and in the Senate and so clear in the media actually really evaporates as soon as you get out of these sort of centers of chattering class. Political classes is just to say that the tragedy of the polarization in our nation's elites is so much greater because it truly is leaving you know our nation behind it does. We are actually much less polarized. As a nation we have ever been in our history. Polling shows that as a nation we have never been more united than we are over. The major issues at this nation was founded on and so it's deeply tragic to see them at in the media and in political classes. We are others throats really failing to represent the people that we are supposed to be representing set to you kind of agree with that formulation you WanNa take a stab at the original question or you also disagree with my premise here. I think that body is basically right. I think the problem is that there's a perception of partisanship but that perception of partisanship actually has a real effect on what's happening in what goes on and and the formation of policy and things like that you have leaders in alternative media in. Party affiliated party associated media that make a lot of noise that noise that gets picked up by the rest of us in the mainstream media and we sort of broadcast it out and it makes it look and sound like there's a real divide here but in reality on the important thing which is compliance. That divide wasn't really there. It was just an argument. We were having in public. But that's what a democracy is. We were having the argument in public. And the lockdown side. The restrictions were winning the argument and both sides more or less complied with the ramifications of that. So in some ways I do really think it's healthier than it looks but I worry that if we're formulating policy and we're having these national conversations based on the perception of division than the reality matters less than it should so we need to somehow find a way to have the leaders in Congress in media those who set the national debate reflect the same level of division or lack thereof as the general public. Were talking about the vanishing center whether it's actually vanishing kind of out in the districts or it's only vanishing maybe in the halls of Congress to set last point right that might matter more or still matter even if the back home kind of get along but if we're talking about the vanishing center the Center makes me think of consensus issues Fighting Antisemitism and supporting Israel both used to be consensus issues and I think that in some ways they're both disappearing maybe the consensus support for Israel is disappearing a little more obviously than the consensus support for fighting antisemitism. But I think you'd both agree that people are trying to instrumentalise the fight against anti-semitism in a way. That's that's really unhelpful. So Seth we'll start with you. Why are consensus issues like this disappearing the issue that I always return to as something that looks better than the American Jewish Committee is response by? Comparison is what happened with Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and on the eve of the election there was a poll that eighty seven percent of British. Jews considered him antisemitic. And I just remember thinking that that's close as a consensus as I can ever remember. I mean I think the reverse was when maybe eight Ludo mayor it had like a five percent approval rating or something. You had ninety. Five percent of Israelis agreeing wasn't a very happy moment at any time you have countries Jews almost ninety percent agreeing on something that's Unity. That's a form of office and it also means that the political ramifications were not what was important. I had people telling me. Hey look. I'm a lifelong Labour member. I'm not leaving the party but I. I am canvassing for bars.

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