ICYMI: The age of "mega-identity" politics
The more polarized things get the consequences of any policy or action by the government become secondary to the Democrats or Republicans win by doing this. Maybe a thousand people die. Maybe nobody dies. But that doesn't really matter as much as I did. The Democrats to Republicans Collo Walkman as a clown show on Fox media podcast network and happy. Thanksgiving I hope you guys are having a wonderful holiday. We're going to re air today. But it's rear with particular relevance to what is happening in politics right now and what's GonNa be happening my work over the next couple of months in May of two thousand eighteen. I interviewed a political scientist named William Mason. Who'd written a book called Uncivil Agreement? How politics became our identity? I think this book is one of the single most important for understanding politics. In this era of Mason's work has been hugely influential in my own work in my own book Her understanding of how our identities fusing with each other becoming what she goes mega identities is genuinely necessary for understanding. This Erin politics. I think very very very helpful for understanding why the Republican Party's reacting the way it is to impeachment if you just look to this as a policy question. Are you as an electoral question. You're not going to get there but if you begin to look at it as an identity question and the way in which their identity group is being threatened Duane Wayne which donald trump has come to represent it. Then things begin to make a lot more sense and in some ways become a lot scarier this is also just one of my favorite interviews. Mason is so oh clear and she so thoughtful and she so crisp on what her research shows and what it means for politics that I it's one of the rare ones that I find myself going back to consult the transcript script pretty regularly in my own work if you didn't hear it the first time or even if you did here at the first time I think there's a lot of value in this one as always my email as reclined show at Fox dot com again. Ezra Konczal at box dot com. But here I present re-present Liliana Mason. Welcome to the PODCAST. Thank you so I wanNA start. You begin with just one of my favorite things that has ever happened in American politics. Tell me about the report of nineteen fifty. Oh that's your favorite thing. That is my favorite thing because when you when you know about that it makes everything. Everything looks so weird. That's true that's true so the APS as the American Political Science Association and in one thousand nine hundred fifty they wrote a report called toward a more responsible instable two party system which essentially said we need our parties to look really different from each other and they don't look different enough right now and it's dangerous and so it's not responsible for us is to have these two parties that are so indistinguishable from each other. That are voters. Can't get clear cues so as ABSA WE'RE GONNA recommend that our parties become come visibly different to the voters. So let's talk about unpack. What that means? What does different mean in this context? And what would be dangerous about not having different parties so the good thing about parties that they have they are like Hughes for voter so voters listened to what the party say they get. They get kind of hints from Parties Parties About which party is closest to them or is kind of more working in their interests and then they go from there and sort of make their vote based on this relatively relatively simple partisan cute so it was happening in the fifties is that the parties were pretty mixed up in terms of the social makeup of the two parties. So they were getting mixed cues sometimes. It seemed like the Democrats were the right party. Sometimes it seemed like the Republicans were the right party and so the voters themselves didn't have these really simple ways of a mixed hugh you hear what might be what race that the most obvious. One is the conservative southern Democrats so white southern Democrats were extremely conservative. -servative there are also Democrats which meant they were sort of progressive economically and they're also white than there were white northerners who were not quite. Data's racially conservative. Also were relatively economically liberal and and so they weren't really sure who they should be voting for and in Congress even the white southern Democrats often voted with Republican Party in order to get stuff done because they had a lot of ideological friends and the Republican Party. I feel like this is a bit of Roseta stone because we have this conversation about polarization in the country. The idea that it's terrible. The parties disagree on everything. They have these very different ideologies and I think to understand that discussion. It's helpful to understand why you might actually want that to be true why there's another moment where the country's imminent political scientists said. We do not have enough polarization because polarization. Now I think it mostly acts as a slur in American life like polarization just kinda equals bad. So let's say you're applying to send and you are worried about this. What problem gets fixed by the party's polarizing? Why why would you think? That's a a a good idea. So the ideas that in the fifties when the parties had mixed cues people were voting almost sort of randomly right it was not clear to the electorate what they're supposed to be doing and so you couldn't really trust the knowledge of the average voter there was a nineteen sixties Report by Philip Converse. WHO looked at the ideological constraints of the American public and basically found that most Americans had no constraint between their issue positions which means you could hear one issue position from an average person and not be able to predict any of their other issue positions from knowing that one issue? That's wild. Yeah at that time. Nineteen sixty four or two percent of the electorate counted as ideological by that definition. One of the things I think is interesting here. Is You often hear people lament that. America doesn't have a multi-party system but when I look back on this period we really did now. They were just called to part is Democrats and Republicans but you had a southern Democratic Party ready and another number product party in the Republican Party and you had all these different quite distinct coalitions operating within the parties and what has always struck me As confusing about that the place very sympathetic to this nineteen fifty report is you're a Massachusetts Democrat voting for Massachusetts Democratic Socratic Senate candidate and you think oh great one voting in somebody's going to elect You know majority leader who's going to make everything more liberal. But then you've got a conservative southern Democrat in Alabama voting for a conservative southern Democratic senator who wants to elect a majority leader who's not gonNa make things liberal and so one of the ways which it seems to me. This is a big deal that you end up having regions where what they think they're doing when they're voting for a party is actually not being well carried out by what the Party is doing in you know with its members from other regions. Is that reasonable so the way that I would think about it is it depends on what you mean by liberal at that time They they were getting their economic issues. Done relatively well right. I mean. The Democratic Party was relatively progressive economically during that period of time as it applied to white Americans and so if a Massachusetts Democrat White Democrat wanted to vote for a progressive economic policy than they voted for Democrats and they got what they wanted. The problem was that there was no difference between the parties in terms of racial ideology and or ideology about out. You know racial or cultural issues and so there was no party to vote for if you actually wanted to vote for for civil rights. There wasn't a party for that. There was no way for you to get that into your vote. It didn't mean anything in the voting booth and so in a sense that's kind of why it's it's almost like the polarization. Today's sort of good because at least there's a party you convo for if you want to get that done whereas in the fifties even if that was your goal there was nobody to vote for it and get that the conflict and so do you buy the argument that it is the passage of the Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty four the kicks off this great reordering of American politics and leads to the polarized parties. We have today partially. Yeah so the. The Civil Rights Act started the realignment on racial issues. I think pretty clearly there were much more clear. Elite cues so people all of a sudden started seeing. Well you know if I vote for Democrats voting for civil rights and if I vote for Republicans look in some not and so people that was a pretty powerful cue for a lot of people and they started sort of using that in exactly the way that the APPS report wanted them to use it but it kept going beyond that so that I mean I don't know if you WanNa talk about cab going but the beginning I think was the Civil Rights Act at least on those issues are because I think this begins to become a really good lead into to some of the identity theory in the book. Why does it keep going once? This process of polarizing parties kicks off. How do we get as far as we are today? So I'm not a hundred percent. Sure I think some of it is just serendipity. A few decades after the Civil Rights Act we had the Christian coalition decided to get involved in politics they courted the Republican Party and the Republican Party courted them and they kind of you know ended up getting there the contract with the American family completely Within the Republican Party platform by the year two thousand and took you know from the nineties or from the mid eighties it until the year two thousand but ultimately all the things that the that the Christian right wanted ended up in the Republican Party platform so so now we have both racial issues dividing parties and religious issues. So that's where I think it starts really get much more divided. It was already quite divided with racial issues is but but once we start having you know one party for White People one party for non white people and then now have one party for Christian people and one for non-christian people. That's when I think we start seeing really really dangerous identity so now before we go into really dangerous identity. I want a backup. Tell me about fully out of politics tell me about the minimal group paradigm. Okay what is the minimal thing you can do to make people act like we are part of a group so psychologist named Anri Taj fell. He was a Polish Jew and he fought the Nazis in World War Two and he was motivated in his research to figure out what was what was it that made people have conflict right right. WHY DID PEOPLE ATTACK OUT GROUP MEMBERS IF PEOPLE WANNA kill alker members and he was really interested in trying to figure out like what is the most basic division between people? We can get get where they will discriminate against each other right. How much conflict does there have to be? Let's start with a baseline and say okay. We're GONNA have to completely meaningless groups. There's going to be no conflicts between them. They're not going to be competing over anything. They're just GONNA have different names and we'll start there and I assume there will be no discrimination between them at that point and then we'll add conditions until we get to discrimination and what he found was at this at this very sort of meaningless group level bowl where in one of the experiments had people look at a waffle of dots and estimate how many there were and some people he told over estimators in somewhere under estimators these. These experiments were repeated hundreds of times by many other psychologists as well. It doesn't really matter what you call a groups Every single time without seeing other other group members knowing that you're never gonNA see other group members just having found out that you are in a group called over estimators. People were biased against against the out group immediately. He didn't have to create any conflict. He didn't have to create competition. He just told. People are urine over estimator and then all of a sudden they didn't want the underestimate estimators to get as much stuff. But what the hell. Yeah like why so. He was surprised Tasha was really surprised. He was not expecting it and what he said. That is kind of I quote him often saying this because it you could almost imagine his face just being like dumfounded. He writes it was the winning. That seemed more important to them. Like he's just I like it was what it was the winning and weren't even getting anything nothing personally but that's so wild. They got nothing personally and actually he told them even in the allocation task that they had to do after they were given the groups. He told them. Okay we're starting over a totally new experiment now like this is not related to the first experiment but the group labels labels he left on so they actually thought when they were doing allocation that it was there was supposed to stop the old thing and start completely from scratch and even then an and the the one experiment that I I think the best example of this is that in one of them he asked he asked them to choose between a scenario in which these are not the actual numbers but like for instance. Everybody gets five dollars or the over estimators get four dollars and the under estimators get to and they tended to choose the one were they get less but they win so it sets up this scenario where there is a clear greater. Good right everybody can have five dollars and and it doesn't hurt anybody. It's the best for everyone. And yet they choose the scenario in which they have to sacrifice in order to beat the other guys so I want to stop here a dislike. Everything you've just said is so depressing. It is so depressing so now I want to talk talk about the eagles and the rattlers because this experiment to me right experiment you just describe it. It's so food gentle that its effect is comical. This experiment to me is so obvious and intuitive that it's results are pretty scary so tell me a bit about the eagles the rattlers okay. So this was A. It's called the robber's cave experiment because it was conducted in robber's Cave State State Park experiment. Now there's no positively by the way it's just really yeah. There's a lot of Roberts lateral cave. Now there's just a cave the robbers. It's Mike robbers maybe then it would have an apostrophe that's right now that would have an apostrophe named after him yeah right he was covered it. He doesn't own it. But but it's yeah right okay robber's cave. This was in nineteen fifty four some some social psychologists. They recruited twenty four fifth grade boys from the Oklahoma City area. They recruited them intentionally so that they were as similar to each other socially and psychologically logically as possible so they're all white Protestant fifth grade. They had they were matched on in terms of Classroom behaviour academic ability family structure. Everything they could possibly control for they found twenty four boys that were similar as possible and then they invited them to go to a summer camp in robber's cave state park so they they initially broke them up into two groups that the eagles and the rattlers They actually didn't call them. That voice came up with those names names on their own. The first week the boys did I did not know that there was another camp site they thought it was just twelve boys and that was it and they got to know each other and they gave themselves house names and they had they became friends. And then the Second Week they were told that there were boys down the road and they immediately wanted to start competing against those boys. First thing they wanted to do was have a baseball baseball game. They also started calling them. Derogatory names really dirty shirts pigs. They they call them just nasty names with. They never met him. They had no idea who they were. They just call him bad names. Human beings are great. Yeah yeah fifth grade boys in particular a I'd like to think this is only fifth grade so then they had a week of competent. Who I think of like in my own experience fifth grade? People people are great airwaves junior high schools. That's true. Yeah that was middle schools the workout times. It's good thing that they didn't do. This actually would have survived laughing. Damage damage actually anyway So the fifth grade boys. They spent the second week competing. The only thing they were competing over was a trophy they knew there was one trophy and one team was. I'M GONNA get it at the end of camp and played baseball. They did they mixed up the things they had to do so that they could each the experimenters. Were actually manipulating the scores. I to keep it as even as possible throughout that week so they did puzzles they did Like Arts and Crafts Games so they they really mixed up the kinds of competition so that the boys it didn't really know who was winning at any given time and they were constantly told it's really close and then They while they're having these competitions they started started Conspiracy theorizing about each other to some degree They they attacked each other's camps. They one team said that the other team had probably come to their attack their camp and dumped ice cubes in their in their swimming hall. Because one boy stubbed his toe and another boy thought it was colder than the day before that was not true. Nothing had happened another The other team at one point found some garbage on their campsite forgetting getting they had left it there the day before they blamed the other boys And then it escalated really badly where they started throwing rocks at each other and attacking each other physically hurting each other to to the point. where the camp counselors had to separate them so what we're getting at here? Is that the tendency to sort by group and to really associate with your group and to have a very hostile tendency towards the out group can be activated by virtually nothing and does not require there to be any stakes of any consequence. No I mean in the in the case of the rattlers and Eagles there was a trophy. There was but but that's what I'm saying that the then when you you imagine not too. Were you called an overestimate or underestimate her. Or is there a trophy and to be fair to trophies. I mean there's a huge amount of life life is about getting Julie drove great. But when you're talking now about abortion or healthcare or whether or not we're going to go to war in Iraq the speaks it's really are high groups really do matter and so what happens when you layer literally life or death consequences on top of the human innate tendency to love its own group and loathe the out group. It's still the winning. That's the most important according to them. So what ends up happening is that the actual life and death consequences become secondary the more polarized things get the consequences of any policy or action by the government becomes secondary to to the Democrats or Republicans win by doing this. So maybe a thousand people die by. Maybe nobody dies but that doesn't really matter as much as like did the Democrats who entered the Republicans went. How do you know that can talk me through some of the evidence that it's more about winning being for people than it is about the thing that they're winning? Because I think if you ask people to give an account of why they care they'll say well I care because this is important to me. So what makes you confident that that account of the reasoning is correct. So there's two things the first is just some data from Pew. This is actually from two thousand thirteen. The it was after Sandy Hook and they ask ask people would they you know how many people approved of background checks for purchasing guns and it was something like eighty six percent of Republicans approved of background checks and then and they asked the same people they asked would. They approve of the Senate passing a bill to enact background checks and only fifty. Six percent of people agreed with that so thirty percent more people wanted the actual thing to happen than actually wanted a government to do something about it because if they had passed a background background. Check bill that would have been seen as a win for Democrats and they didn't want that to happen. The other thing that I would say is that the one of my favorite experiments. That's ever been done as By Jeffrey Cohen. And it's called Party over policy. He gave people to welfare possible welfare policies. One was really strange in an was really generous. And then he randomly assigned them to Democrats like a and the Republicans like be or vice versa and people regardless of the Policy Eh that they should have liked based on their ideological preferences. They just chose the one that matched there. They were told match their party and he he tried this like like five different ways and give them more and more information every time it kind of allowed them to calculate you know this one better for people or an e no matter how much information he gave gave them. They kept choosing the ones that match their party. Only because they had been told this information at the beginning of the experiment they hadn't thought it through. And then at the end he ask them to write an op Ed piece and send it to the newspaper and he tells them this is actually going to change things you could actually affect legislation with this op. Ed piece that you right so right write down what you think the government should do and write the reasons why they should do it. And people wrote op. Ed Pieces Supporting Their Party's policy with like five points. Different reasons. They come up with reasons. They hadn't agreed with the policy when they walked in the door to the experiment and they off the top of their head. Come up with a a bunch of arguments to support a policy that they otherwise wouldn't have supported and knowing that this is probably GonNa make legislation change so this there's something John Height Eight. The psychologist says that I like here where he says that the the human mind we'd like to imagine that is a truth seeking machine but it's a press secretary the the press secretary never goes out and says you know what maybe the White House maybe. We're actually wrong on this one. That was a good point. You just made questioner or other person or whoever the press secretary does figures gives out how to make an argument for the thing that the boss supports and that more often than not that is true for us to that that our minds are powerful powerful justification machines and that we instantly often subconsciously. Know that we need to get to the position. DECIDE WE'RE GONNA get to the positioned the group is at and then what this thing we do. That feels like thinking it's actually just rationalizing our way. There is basically your view. Yeah it's even worse than that though we're we're we're not just rationalizing the position where constructing it in a way that matches what we wanted to be or what we think it should be and the people who know the most about politics do at the most bats I really this to me is really scary and one of the one of the sort of seminal studies of motivated motivated reasoning. which is what this is? What is called by political psychologists actually demonstrates that when you tell relatively politically sophisticated people to read an an article that they disagreed with they take longer to read it then they take to read an article they agree with first of all and they also take longer to read it than someone who doesn't have have as much political information as they do because what they're doing that whole time that they're reading? It is coming up with counter arguments for every sentence that they read and at the end of it their opinion is not changed. Just some people who have less political knowledge will read it much more quickly and they'll actually kind of change their opinion sometimes but the more politically sophisticated. You are the better you are constructing acting the world the way you want it to look so one of the things that this tells me. Is that the intuitive fix. People people have this. I I get this a lot when I give speeches or talk to people people say well you know. Shouldn't we all just make sure to various media diet more right. Make sure we're hearing from the other side and and on the one hand. Yes you should do that. You should be making sure. You're hearing from a diversity of opinions but the model of the mind wherein that is GonNa make you more open minded is often wrong often hearing opinions. You don't like entrenches your position because away your your your mind react to. It is to come up with a counter arguments. Undermined remind the evidence. And you really like and these people really are stupid. So the idea is just a question of exposure versus cocooning. That would be nice but it doesn't doesn't turn out to be all that true. That's my understanding of the situation. Yeah Yeah I think that's correct. I mean just imagine when you watch a president of your party giving a state of the Union Union address versus the president and the other part giving state of the Union address and the different way that your brain is working. When you're watching those two different presidents Francis Lee who's also my colleague now who's Great? She tells a story of being and I hope I get this right. Because it's been a long time since she told me that she was on a fellowship working in Congress during during I think it was in two thousand and four. And she forget where she was. But this was the year that George W. Bush came out and said I'M GONNA make it goal than America's going to land on Mars right we're going to go to Mars is a country and Democrats have Mars was not a politically controversial position. Democrats do not have a position initiative on whether or not. You're going to go to Mars but very quickly Democrats like that's ridiculous. We have big deficits. Now there's no doubt that if Barack Obama or bill clinic came out and said you know we're GONNA WE'RE GONNA keep going we're John F. Kennedy began and we're going to go to Mars Democrats. Who have been on their feet applauding? And it's not like the position that let's let's not spend the money on going to Mars. Let's worry about the deficit and build build schools. That's not a crazy position. It's just instrumentally downstream from from why they're adopting it now that you think. Democrats would approve of funding NASA. And it it actually disagrees with a lot of the principles that they would be so and this. This goes into Lee's work which I think about a lot because I see it all the time in my reporting. I don't know that I've ever covered with the exception. Have maybe abortion. I don't know that I've ever covered a policy topic. Where at the beginning of it? You can't get experts from both sides in a room and it's very easy for them to imagine a solution that they both like better policies often positive some you can put me with healthcare person who disagrees with me and we can come up with something usually that we both like better than what we've got but as the legislative process whereas on as the coverage wears on as everybody learns more about it by the end it becomes comes a political question and politics. zero-sum only one side wins and only one side loses if you pass the bill and Brock Obama gets to run around the country saying the affordable care. Act Was a bipartisan bill. That everybody really liked while the Democrats are GONNA get more seats in the next election and Republicans might lose seats and Republicans will lose their jobs. And I mean we have not set up the system with the incentives are toward cooperation even though we set one up. Where were you need cooperation? And it's that twist from. Is there something better we can do you too. WHO's GonNa win this fight with whatever tenant rewards if there are any that that brings where politics to me becomes impassable missile? It's no longer about ideas. It's coming up with some clever compromise. You just can't because not everybody can win. Yeah I mean so there's a couple of things one is that the you know part of this. Is that the. The media tend to cover even legislation at this point as horse race. And that's because it's what people wanna hear right right I mean it's it's an attractive way to present a relatively boring policy debate right. It's who's going to debate. It's never boring. Ah generally to get somebody to listen right. You don't say all right. These are the ten different things at the affordable care. ACT IS GONNA do and you know you might like two of them and dislike three of them. Maybe you don't understand the other but instead it's like this is obamacare. An Obama wins if he gets this mets it and that that makes it much more easy to understand. It makes it a lot more fun to watch and makes a lot more fun to follow and so we end up framing things whereas we I used to frame elections as zero-some because they are but now we frame legislation as some and that's I think where the damage gets done but so implicit in this discussion is oh stupid. Humans with your dumb listed that that this isn't right the way we're thinking about this I. It's not correct. It'd be better if we were compromising and yet one of the things that I find to be a tough challenge in this debate and it goes back to that real original Absa Sir Report is when the stakes are high whether or not the stakes really motivating behavior and and and we should talk more about that And we touched on earlier when the stakes are high. Maybe it's rational to act like this. So the famous example this is Mitch McConnell coming out and saying as if he were like an evil villain villains stroking a cat. Our top priority is to make Barack Obama when president and on the one hand. You're like you say that but on the other hand if you're Mitch McConnell in Republican and you believe Republican rule is better for the country and that the Republican agendas great and Brock Obama's agenda is bad. I mean I think if you ask like a lot of Democrats right now what's your top priority. It's making Donald trump a one term president and I don't think that's crazy if you disagree with Donald Trump and so one thing that I find hard in this is that the comfortable position in many ways is to float above it all and say all these polarized political actors. They're bad I'm going to be. I'm going to try to be enlightened but are they bad or is this just actually how politics is meant to work particularly when the stakes are high in the governing. Agendas really are different. Yeah so so. There's there's the there's the argument that this is not bad right or that it is. It is bad in a way that may be as productive And that's that's sort the argument that you know if the civil war hadn't happened. Large portions of our population would not be better off right now and the fact that we have a party that is actually looking out for the rights of people that have not had anybody looking out for their rights in a long time. That's a good thing and so there is an argument to be made. These are important policy goals and the fact that we're fighting so hard about the maybe just means they're even more important. The problem with it happens when I kind. I don't know the way around it because I'm not gonNA say should another civil war there would be a hot take though that would certainly would but you know the other side of it is to stay but but nothing is getting done and not only that when we don't get anything done it hurts. People hurts everybody to some extent Or really it hurts the most vulnerable people because they're the ones who need government help the most and and so there has to be some middle ground between you know you having these really vicious fights maybe we need to have and actually having a government that function so i WanNa put a pin in solutions. Or what would be good equilibrium. Librium here. Because I I do WANNA come to that but I don't WanNa come to it yet. We've talked so far about identities based on almost nothing we've talked about it. Entities based on politics. What yearbook tracks is a construction of what you call mega identities which is awful? Because I want to write a book about this and had very related terms. I wanted to use. But it's your term. It's meg identities which is better than I thought if so tell me about meg identities and how they change the analysis here because this feels like the the the the key of what is changing right. So we're talking about what one identity can do the problem right now. Is that because we've I've had you know after the Civil Rights Act and after the Christian coalition working together with Republicans throughout the eighties and nineties. We're at a point where we have one party. The Republicans who are consistently white and Christian and conservative and then the other part of the Democrats who are consistently non white and non Christian and liberal social psychologist colleges have found when you have multiple social identities. We've studied the effect of one but not a lot of people had started the effect of two right which is ridiculous because we all have like hundreds of them and they're constantly at work in our in our psyche all the time and some of them become more salient sometimes and other times that they're they're not salient generally the ones is there. Threatened are the ones that are most salient. That's something to pay attention to. But actually they work. Together and Maryland. BREWERS is social psychologist. Who studied this the most? What but she's found? Is that if you have to identities that are largely overlapping which basically means most of the people in one group are also in the other group. Then it's a lot harder harder to see outsiders with tolerance right. You become more intolerant people who are not you and that's partially because you know the one of the examples apples that she used was Irish Catholic. Right if you're Irish Andrew Catholic. Then you probably don't know a whole lot of non Irish non-catholic people but if you're Irish Jewish you probably probably know a bunch of non Irish and non-jewish people right because you're two circles are not overlapping and so you're exposed to people who are not in at least one of your groups relatively often and that allows you to feel tolerance towards them. It gives them humanity You you give them the benefit of the doubt. You'll think about them them as thoughtful normal people kind of like you but if you never meet those people who are outside of at least one of your groups then it's a lot easier to dehumanize her out groups it's a lot harder to think of them as human beings who have thought processes it's just. They're not they're not as accessible so. There's a visual metaphor for. I've been thinking about with this reading your book that I wanted to run by you. So if you think about our identities as like a like a weight you know an an anchor or wait. You're holding if they're all over the place you know of your sort of just tied to things that are all over the place. It's pretty easy to move around if they're all in one in place. You can't go anywhere you're there. You gotta be that person you got to have those ideas right. You can only be with other people who are also anchored to that same place and and so if you're a Democrat but your a conservative Christian and you live in a rural area and you so you can go down this list you know maybe you lean towards the Democratic Party probably not that afraid of the other party whereas if you're a Democrat and you're African American and you live in an urban center and you're an atheist and you know you like the culture that you know I mean you go down the list each of it all foods. The other party really is so demographically different from you. And there's so much tying you to your side which is true for a lot of us right when I find. I'm using this hypothetical but it's obviously to for someone like me. It becomes really hard to move it becomes to drag all that to somewhere else because there's just too much of your self at stake and it feels feels to me that a lot of us are in that position now that so much of us can be threatened at any given moment so many parts of ourselves so many of the things we we care about unlike and ways we self identify the idea that you're GonNa Change your mind or give the other party chance. Vote Cross ticket which people used to do all the time I mean. Cross devoting was totally normal fifty years ago. And it's pretty abnormal now at the national level. It was just easier. Is that how this works in your head under my. Yeah I think so. I don't think that waits I get. I get that metaphor the way that I tend to think about it at is One of the things Taj fell said when he was trying to figure all this out was that the the reason that this happens is because our group becomes part of our self image and the status of our group affects how we feel our status right individual. The status of our group is losing. We know this from like sports teams. We feel really bad as an individual we feel bad and if I grew wins than as an individual we feel really a good and so to some extent each group membership is a portion of your own self esteem. So the way that I think about it is the more groups that are involved in every every competition the more self esteem real estate is kind of being taken up by every election right. Each election becomes not not just you know while the Democrats lost. So what a bummer. You know it because because my party lost instead it's like well. My party lost costs so that means my racial group and my religious group and my cultural group and all the people that I know and all the people that I watch on TV everything that I know everything. Mix Up who I think I am. It's all gone. I lost it all. I have nothing left inside my sense of who I am. And so there's this if I imagine a self-esteem esteem as just you know this large object and the more things that get involved in each election the more vulnerable our self esteem is so we're talking currently about the internal version of it. How we feel about ourselves? There's also the question of how we feel about you know. And I. I use this word with a capital. T. them them. I thought the absolute scariest line in your book in the whole book was he wrote People's brains respond similarly when when people are sad and when they are observing a sad in group member but when they're observing a sad out group member their brains respond by activating areas of positive emotion. That seems really bad. Like we have a shout and Freud. There's a part of the brain. There's a part of your brain shine fried. Like how confident are. Are you in that research. Because I I I was trying to think about that and I guess it might depend on like this. What outgrew means? 'cause I can imagine out groups I mean when I'm watching a movie in the Nazis lose. I'm I'm cool with that part of my brain. That deals pleasure does does light up. But I see lots of people who hadn't seeing my group and I hear about their suffering. I don't feel good about it so on the one hand that scared me on the other hand. It did not intuitively feel like good. I mean are we truly base. No so it wouldn't work with every single out group and I think one of the things I think you just explained it really well which is if if it's an out group member that you are in competition with and you really dislike and is dangerous to you. Then they're suffering will bring you joy joy if it's now remember that you don't feel like you're in particular competition with and and you know the them -ness of their group is not very salient to you. Write like you know if you see someone from India and and that's supposed to activate your American identity right and you just don't have a very strong American identity then thin alker members not that isn't GonNa Affect Your brain all that much. It only really affects your brain. If you're looking at somebody who activates a powerful identity for you and in that group is in competition with you in some way so it wouldn't always happen Off I mean it will happen with party identity. We know the party identity is a relatively strong social identity at least at least now and we know that racial identity is a really strong identity for some people and so some of these studies that they head were you know the neuro biology tolerance studies were and this is not my area of expertise just to clarify. But you know they. They did one that I talk about. In the book where they prick someone's hand show a video of pricking someone's hand and if the hand is a same race as you then your hand twitches when you see it and if the hand is not the same races you than your hand doesn't twitch or it's less frequent to see someone and twitch if it's a different if it's a person of a different race who's being hurt and and you know they found US enough to find significant results doesn't mean to happen to everybody but it's enough to their. They found significant results. I do think you see this at least in core politics quite quite a bit so there's been a lot of attention this year to state legislature special elections and I see people tuning into them and I recognize it on some level. People are tuning in because they're interested in whether or not it's important right whether or not Democrats winning an unexpected effected state legislature election in Georgia means number. It's GonNa take back the House and that means trump is gonna get investigated it you know. I can run out the the sample on that but also it does seem to me that people are tuning in. And they're just they want to see those side win in the loose and implies to me that any can you talk about this dimension of his rhetoric that when Donald Trump really focuses on winning as the core concept of politics that much as it does sound childish and strange range. He is on as as he often is something very visceral gut level in us that works. He just talks about it in an unusually crude crude way. Yeah and there's something also to the crudeness so first of all you know the fact that these identities are linked to we're on self esteem means that if you're not feeling particularly good about yourself and someone tells you that your group can win. That will pull you out of bad place so for the people he was talking to write this. You know. I don't really buy the economic anxiety argument but for people who aren't feeling feeling like they're doing very well if your group does well then you feel a little bit better even if it doesn't help you at all in any real way and so oh so first of all. There's there's that and I do think that using that. Winning and losing language was a large part of his success. The other part of it was is that not only did he say you know you're losing which is a relatively rare thing for politician to say right. We're losers is not popular campaign slogan but he said a lot we're losers and were losing and calling. That out is risky. Except that if you tell people they're losing and then you tell them who's faulted faulted is then you get their attention then you turn essentially what the you know. There's emotions research that shows if someone feels like they're losing and they don't know why they feel afraid and humiliated and those are emotions that make you sit down and hide but if you feel like you're losing and you know exactly. Whose fault is it makes you angry and get up and you fight? And so what trump was able to do was to take a whole bunch of people who are feeling humiliated and afraid and give him a target which was an insane target right. He Mexicans Right. It's not the reason that these people are suffering. But he he pointed to a real target and said that's it that's the reason. Now go out and get them. And that's an extremely motivating from a psychological viewpoint extremely motivating message and when people heard that you know it wasn't just you can win it was. I'm GONNA show you how to be victorious against an enemy and that's important. That was an important ingredients radiance. Let's say you're listening to this. You're thinking I don't want to be one of these people I don't WanNa be. I don't WanNa work this way. What do you do? I'm not sure you the type of person who would say I don't WanNa work. This way is less vulnerable to that message to begin with well. Maybe the Donald Trump's exact message but to the broad idea of this identity protective cognition as as Dan puts it. What do you do? What do you do you to be a little bit more of an individual and a little bit less of a group member so there are social? Psychology has gone through a whole bunch of things trying to reduce Intergroup conflict in in terms of ethnic and racial conflict for decades. We can use some of that to apply it to partisanship which You know. Maybe maybe it'll work and maybe it won't but one of the things that seems to work really well for at the very least implicit bias. Implicit racial bias is to constantly. Because it's implicit Blissett right. You can't just tell yourself turn that off right. It's not gonNA turn off but you can train yourself over time and sort of strength and muscle in your brain to say. This is not not what I should be doing. This is wrong and I'm going to I know I can't turn it off but I notice it every time I do it so in the example is if you're you know if you have implicit racial bias every time you see a racial out group member whatever your first thought about them is just look at it not even try not even try to change it. Just look at it and see what that is. What are you assume about that person the second that you see them and the same could be said for political opponents right the second that you hear somebody who's a Democrat or Republican? Look at what that means to you. Pay attention to it and think about whether that's fair and and and for at least four reducing racial bias. One thing that once you start looking at it then you start. Count arguing right you say how about a completely counter. Stereotypical a typical image. I'm GonNa see that guy. I had originally assumed that that this guy in the Manga hat is a rural farmer. But I'M GONNA pretend in my mind that he's a college professor and at work you have to practice you have to practice and also that type of thing really only works for people who are not endanger right. So I wouldn't recommend that for instance. Racial minorities do that with trump supporters. Necessarily it's difficult to ask someone who may feel endanger to try to be tolerant. It's not ready to do that when when you look at the underlying forces. Here's something that I see the way your book argues. That is the construction of a flywheel happening so you go back into the twentieth century. And you'll these two parties so there is some differentiation but there's a lot of blockage around race the media's not that national at that point there you know people are mixed in where they lay. We've not gone through what Bill Bishop calls a big sort yet and so it isn't that easy to construct the super entities then. Things begin to come into alignment so so you have race stops blocking conservatives from becoming Republicans and liberals from becoming Democrats and then once you've you've become start having a national media media and now rather than just be a liberal democratic channel or Conservative channel you can be against Republicans and Conservatives Against Democrats and liberals so that makes it easier and you begin to stack these things you begin to sort where we live as you say. Religion race both become much more sorted. Does this stop. Is there any reason. Thank that the forces that seem to be accelerating polarization where polarization begets more polarization. Do they stop. As for some reason I think six something interrupts them or is this a one way ratchet up. I don't think it's one way it might be. I've been wrong before about things Politics happens in cycles and really the only thing that needs to happen for this to to stop is for there to be a new rift somewhere somewhere so either one of the parties. Has You know some internal rift or the demographic changes that are happening in. America are absolutely threatening to a lot of people and it's making them sort of dig down into their positions but eventually the party of white in Christian conservative men is not an electoral coalition anymore. So at some point. That's something has got to have to change in two thousand twelve. The Republican Party had not topsy and they were ready to start reaching out to Latino voters and participate in the new American demographic population right so they weren't really ready for that but but if they had lost twenty sixty and maybe they would have someone was saying this to me. The other day is winning. Parties don't change right ever but to the extent that at a particular message particular strategy stops working eventually somewhere something has to change. That's is the only way that I see us getting out of it. Otherwise we end up with really a very you know shrinking portion of our population fighting against against a large and growing portion of our population. And how does that continue. That's not sustainable. Right it's not fifty fifty. Yeah yeah although it can sustain for a long time one thing I think about politics. Is that people who are kind kind of professionally wonky. I on policy on elections on political science on whatever. They always underestimate how much something can't be sustained. It is such a a trope of coverage to say. Well this can't keep going on right. They're not gonNA let healthcare prices get that high. We gotta do something before that happens and then like fifteen years later. You're like actually we. We just did I just. I think that things can get a lot worse than we often give them credit for the sometimes there's just a lack of tragic imagination. I mean society is going to Long-term to I look at Japan right. I could really imagine being in Japan however many years ago and saying. Look these demographics. There's there's no way we're not gonNA figure out something either around birth rates immigration like no way like we're not gonNa have you know so many old people that we begin selling more adult diapers and infant diapers. That'd be crazy but here we are and I obviously get much much worse. You know civil wars and you know I had amy chew on this podcast and one of her arguments is that as dominant groups lose power. They become much more threatened much more intensely tribal much more dangerous in some ways Which I think you see trump? Actually you know the move towards a more extreme version of white identity politics and we've seen in quite some time in this country country and I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm not saying it can happen. I'm just saying that it also seems just as possible that it doesn't happen and that this is not a problem. American politics has machinery to solve. And it doesn't mean the country breaks apart or falls into violence but it might mean the country just cannot govern governed self well for a very extended period of time and the things do get worse. Yeah so I mean the way that I think about it as we are almost two years into this it is you know we're still at a point where not enough has happened yet for for us to know whether this is a survivable crisis that we're look back on and white brows Mueller. Who that was? That was rough but everything. That's going to go back to normal. Somehow or whether it just descends right one argument for your position that it we keep sending is that most of the professional people that I know are having a really hard time imagining the next president. What happens? Who is the next president? And how do we get out of this. How does that person get us out of this? What happens to do? The militias happens to the trump supporters. What happens to trump himself and his messaging and is divisiveness? You know he's not going anywhere necessarily women women ex-president comes along so most people can't most people that I've spoken to camp imagine it. It's so strange. The can't imagine who it will be. How will work? And they can't imagine just trump continuing and being frightening and you know breaking norms and thing I mean can you you imagine president yeah absolutely so do the institutions. He'll in your imagination broken. I've a weird view on this. This will be honest. I think things are pretty bad but I also think they've been really bad and a lot of ways for a very long time and that the ways in which trump is bad are very easily accessible human mind. Donald Trump is. His behavior is alarming. In the way. That if your partner was behaving this way your boss your employees your friend your kid. You'd be really freaked out right. You'd you'd be really concerned. And so on a human level I think you look at trump and he and his tweets and the things he says in his level of of recklessness and confrontation and and like everything in this is not okay. If you're not sympathetic to Donald trump right like I was he some people look and say this is great is exactly what I wanted to president. But that's not obviously obviously my view that said I think about the twentieth century which you know when you talk to political scientists kind of this golden age of American politics and we weren't at that polarized. I mean you think about nine hundred fifty nine hundred sixty nine hundred seventy and then what's happening John F. Kennedy is assassinated ks assassinated. Martin Luther King is assassinated Malcolm x's is assassinated Harvey Milk is assassinated. squeaky from gun doesn't go off. So Gerald Ford doesn't get assassinated but definitely would've otherwise Ronald Reagan got. Shot the Arabian a lung. Punctures I you've urban riots. You have Kent State shootings we seem to me at other points. In American history there are recent to be much worse. And so you know when I look at trump and I don't know I don't think it's impossible. He wins a second term by any means but the idea that he will just be replaced by as some totally banal. President seems very high to me and then we will be in the place we were in under late Bush and all of Obama. which is you know back? Then I was having conversations about how screwed up congresses and how our political system is paralysed but people didn't think it was existential in the way they do now and I think we're going to go back. I think we're going to snap back to that quicker than other people do. That is my view. It may very well be wrong long but I'm just not persuaded that the damage trump is doing the system that what he represents is as systemic or replicable as people think I do think we have real challenges and I don't think we are going to govern well but I think we've been covering that well for pretty long time now and I. I think we're GONNA muddle. Was this is so. This is the other alternative theory. Is that you know possibly the this. This era is just kind kind of because we're only a couple of years into it. Maybe it's relatively brief. And we're lancing the boil right the fact that we had these racial identities align racial and religious identity is in line with our party. Partisan identities actually is a big threat to serve the traditional social hierarchy of our society. And that caused this mess freak out and and ultimately after trump is done right we will know we are. This is our fight. We're having a the. The cleavage between our parties is a social justice cleavage cleavage. That's what it is and it took this to get us to admit that that's what the that's what the new partisan cleavages and then our parties fight fight along that line. Our Party divisions have always been moving right. Sometimes we fight over economic. Sometimes we fight over culture but the line keeps moving and so my version of the optimistic story is that this might be like the sixties. If we didn't have a party that was actually representing social justice. Right now right. Part of what happened in the sixties was that the populace was fighting for social justice and there was no organized place to put it and it turned into absolute chaos. And right now sort of what we're doing is putting it in an organized place in the Democratic Party. I think that's so interesting. So you've just given me language for something. I've been struggling with so this is I'm trying to talk about this because by the time this podcast comes out it'll be like ancient history. But I'm in this dispute with Sam Harris Right now who is like a Kind of new atheist podcast or whatever. I'M NOT A. I've said plenty on the dispute by this point but what I have thought is really interesting about it is over around him. You're seeing a connection between people at an identity form that is to me a social justice cleavage coach and it. It can be confusing. I think the first time you look at it because you think well what why. Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro Jordan Peterson. And you know this community of people bowl so comfortable with each other when you know probably on a lot of been all political issues. Sam Harris and I are much closer than he is. Ben Shapiro maybe but on the social justice cleavage we're on totally different sides of it and it really seems to me that at least in spaces of online political argumentation tation And I don't mean people doing it professionally. I mean just people doing it. I think if you look around Youtube comments or whatever it might be. I think that cleavage of are you comfortable with these pushes social justice. Do you think the bigger problem is political correctness on campus or the things that politically correct activists on campus for trying to fight. I think that cleavage is becoming really dominant. I actually don't think it's that well mapped onto politics yet. I don't think I mean. It is somewhat reflected in the Republican and Democratic parties. But you have people who mix it up there but it does feel to me that that is one of the really interesting cross cutting cleavages right now where you have. People who traditionally thought of themselves as I don't mean classical liberals political liberals but are becoming much more comfortable on the right because of the social justice cleavage and in some cases his vice versa. I think if you look at a bill Kristol or someone like that. You're seeing the opposite. You're seeing people who look at someone like Donald Trump and think they can't even like the tax plan because the cultural regressiveness is so offensive that it just makes the entire package packaged toxic. Yeah even if you I mean I. I was at a like a mini conference on Truth at American University. And we were talking about this. You Know Oh sorry One of the things that occurred to me as I was having I was in the middle of a conversation was that one of the kind of really really damaging forces at the two thousand sixteen election was this. We're calling it anti-establishment sentiment to some degree. It was nihilism right. It was just like people who wanted to burn now the building and start over and it sort of just you know an involved trolls and it involved. Maybe Russia right just like let's just destroy everything but it all of a sudden it occurred to me that the thing that kind of all the online nastiness has in common as it all Kinda started with anti pc rhetoric and it's like there was something that needed to be resisted in our you know in in this increasing level of of concern for social justice and and making sure that people are treated equally and kindly unfairly and social justice warriors a bad word in many corners of the Internet and I think ultimately the people who coined that as a bad word GonNa wish they chose a different. Usually when you usually do that. You pick something more pejorative in this asshole China Society. I think there's a branding problem. That's if I were doing that I would maybe think think about trying to call these people something. Switch back to snowflake yeah like the people who WANNA call everybody. SNOWFLAKE are the same people get so triggered by somebody. Somebody saying happy holidays to them. It's the funniest thing in the world to me. Ability to melt is not really the executive of it doesn't it doesn't cut the the the parties all about all that anyway but my point is actually that you know it is. It is completely possible that what we're seeing come out now is not just total chaos and meanness and you know just dislike nasty culture that hates all organization and deplorable. You know whatever saying this is there could be a unreal new partisan cleavage that. We're actually trying to organize around get figured out and if it gets figured out it's not necessarily a bad thing when you're talking about a new rift version of this. You might have expected the anniversary of this people wrote about is Donald Trump represents percents the beginning of a new rift in the Republican Party. He's going to arise you're GONNA have never trumpers flee the Republican Party. You're going to have a new cleavage. I mean you really did. You had all these pieces about the Republican civil war and it was a very common theory as a respected political scientists talking about it. PUT IT in my book. It turns out basically. Nobody left the Republican Party. Like Bill. Kristol and Jennifer Rubin and that's about literally like twenty five people and instead it's this absorbed either it's absorbed trumpism. TRUMPISM is absorbed or they have come to an accommodation but rather than creating a new cleavage issues literally the same cleavage On a macro political level now more micro. I do think you have exactly what you're talking about it. It does feel to me like we're trying to find an expression for new you for a new cleavage and people almost don't quite yet know how to explain why they're comfortable with people are comfortable with as opposed to the people old idiological. You would have thought they'd be comfortable with but but why isn't it happening. What politically has trump had so little effect on the partisan structure of America? I mean you could argue that. It is happening to some extent not in people changing the way that they're being partisan but in the way that people are just quitting right. There are a lot of people are quitting being part of either the White House or you know stepping down says Congress people. There's a large number of open. Seats is here. This is not my this is more your area their mind but but you could argue that that you do the job the way that you're used to doing it until it feels weird and then you stop doing. I'm happy right I I just I I would have thought I would have thought watching Donald Trump. That more people would look at him and say whatever I think about the guy. It's not my like I just. I can't get onboard. The way he's acting is just to nuts for me now I recognize is negative. Partisanship plays a big role here and a lot of people do feel that way but at the same time I shouldn't Chuck Schumer Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton whoever might be so I I I recognize that there's a kind of like an opposite magnetic force happening here and that that is holding things in place that if it were just a yes or no on Donald Trump The situation might be more fluid but even so I think we've seen less just normal change in politics and it just makes me think that the structure we have. It's more stable even than I thought it was. I thought it was pretty stable by this point but if something if a personality as disruptive live is Donald Trump cannot change more of it than I literally don't know what cab so but I mean going back to the main. The main like principle of book. The power of winning is very strong. The idea that you know we could expect people whose job it is to compete compete and win to just stop playing or to let the other side win right. That's the goes against everything that our two party. A competition does the question is could it make a and this I think goes back to some of the the social justice. Clear that we're talking about what I would have thought and I do think so. You've seen this with some people. Is it changes idea of who they are. Group's I totally agree with you as long as you say this is my group then. They can't do that but you know something. I think you're seeing in pogo arguments. People finding new coalitions. I do think I do think some of what I would call the elite never trumpers. I think something is interesting talking about the never trumpers is it. They're not just never trump over time. The more strident of them have just become more liberal. They are saying Moore mean mean things about the Republican tax plan. Where if that same tax plan had come out under Mitt Romney I do not think they would have had a problem with it or they are more appalled by the obamacare process? Yes they are less enthused about Donald trump moving the embassy to Jerusalem and to me. It's always very interesting. Thing when people begin to drift away from their group. It's it's not like they just say why disagree on this topic. All of a sudden the whole package of the other side becomes a little more appealing for all these a group identity reasons. You talk about Egypt. You just hear it more sympathetically when you read the article is your brain is not looking for what's wrong with them and maybe beginning to look at what's right but that processes is happening among as far as I can L. vanishingly small number of people. Now you know other people don't want to come out but but even so we looked to be headed even if you take a pretty optimistic mystic view for Democrats to mid term wave that is within big but a historically normal kind of counterreaction. Something you saw in twenty ten and something you saw in two thousand and six and on and on not does something. That's like American. Politics will never be the same and I thought I agree with you. That people are not going to say well but it's time to let the Republicans lose a couple of them but I thought you might see people say you know either. I'm going to get on board new group. I Want Evan mcmullen to win. Or whatever it might eh that that would have been I. I think that that lack of new formation is interesting to me so this is where. I think that we're too soon to look for that. I think it's a really instructive story for this. Is this is the southern conservative Democrats in the nineteen sixties. Because if you really look at them. It took about a generation for the the the southern conservative Democrats to become Republicans. Right the people who were Democrats then when the Civil Rights Act happened were worse worse promising to themselves. They would never ever be a Republican under any circumstances whatsoever and maybe over their lifespan. They eventually unsually identified as independent and then their children went from independent Republican but party ideas sticky. It's really hard to get rid of. It's not just you know this is what I spent a lot of my career arguing about. It's not just a list a policy positions it's an identity and it's something that is you know you associate with your parents and your friends and your college experience. It's a part of who you are and how you grew up and for some people they think of it in a much more practical okay and so they can say you know what doesn't match anymore. I'm done but it's that's a vanishingly small. The number of people that can do that in two years it takes a long time. So what do you think. Think when you then explain that story of that change over the took generation what happened like what indicators are you watching for now how or was it just that you had cohort replacement as people got older and aged. That's a euphemism aged out of the political system to the after the afterlife realize how do you how do you explain what happened there. What what happens when you do see those transitions occur? So in the mass electorate threat level. I think you're right. That people started thinking. This doesn't feel like my group of people right but that's that's just sort of a little uncomfortable thing in the back of your head head unless you're paying a huge amount of attention to politics but there's a sense of like. Why do they do that? I don't like that that they did the the civil rights. I don't like that but God forbid a bit. I'm a Republican. That's absolutely not going to happen. And and the across the entire south no one could imagine being Republican and so gradually you start maybe seeing your representatives voting with Republicans every once in a while. And you're kind of okay with it depending on what the policy is and your representatives still haven't changed their party and maybe a couple of representative start art changing their party but that takes twenty or thirty years itself. I mean we had you know. We had southern conservative southern Democrats in Congress until what like fifteen twenty years ago so what you see is a group based change but it it's like converting from one religion to another to very few people do it and it takes so big and you have to feel like you're ready to leave behind a huge portion of yourself and find a new portion of yourself and other people that are or like you. That's hard I feel like they have to find all the cues you know. They have to find their people they have to figure out what positions are. They have to figure out who they are rooting for and every election election. They have to figure out how to vote again. You know I mean it's it changes your patterns and your habits to change an identity so I'm GonNa move to asking you just a couple rapid fire questions. Russians are answers can be long shirt as you want to to close us out here. What is a finding here? Could be in your book just in political science. Generally that you think deserves more attention of finding that it structures way you think about this that you most people don't know ideologies and identity being liberal or Conservative means something to you that's beat that goes beyond having issue positions is that are liberal or Conservative and what is it. What does it mean so the identity itself Avenue paper out on us the identity itself? How strongly identifies liberal or Conservative? Makes you hate eight. The other side really much more powerfully than any set of issue positions that you hold and even if you hold issue positions that are largely consistent with the opposite group you still hate liberals conservatives conservative table liberals. It doesn't matter what your policy opinions are. What's something that the group you? Broadly belong to believes whatever group Rupak may be political scientists. I don't know your politics. You can choose that you think is maybe wrong that the group I belong to you. What is is it? What is a within things that you think is your group and as you say we all have many groups in many identities? What's something that you question that you think i? I think probably a lot of the audience. Probably be broadly in your or not too far from you. What something that you look around you think you know? We don't have that one quite right so so this is not political science just in general that we can change our party system that we can have that we can all of a sudden invent a new system him for American politics. There's a lot of idealism out there and I like that idealism and it makes sense to me that we should write that we should have a different party system. Actually don't think that's I don't think it's correct and I don't think it's feasible title I think it's kind of pie-in-the-sky ridiculous thing that I hear people certify here of Liberals saying a lot we need to change the whole system. I don't think that's is happening. How much I think there's actually a question I'm GonNa get after this so I want to ask it here? How much do you think money is involved in all this polarization? Do you think people overweight or underweight. Wait the role of money. In the level of polarization. We have now. I think I used to given a lot more credit than I than I do. Now until twenty sixteen. I think I was really worried about it and After the twenty sixteen campaign. I'm not as worried about it anymore. We got a little view into you. Know the kind of democratization of Information Asian that we saw in the two thousand sixteen election whether or not that's propaganda coming from another country or necessarily where all came from but we do know that individual people people had a lot more power spreading messages in this lecture. I don't think that's going to change. And you know the money is for messaging. The money is for getting messages to people's faces and ears and a nail boxes. And if you don't need mailboxes then our television ads then and I you know. I'm not sure what we spend money on and finally what are three books you've read that influenced you on this or other topics that you'd recommend to the audience so that the nerdy book. The academic book is called Ideology In America by L. Chris Ellis and Jim Simpson from two thousand twelve and they kind of explain this whole idea of having an identity that's ideological over's official positions. It explains it better than anything I've ever seen in my science every single class that I teach And I'm a big fan of fiction so I like to read. I feel like reading in fiction can help us kind of get into the mindset of other people in a way that we are completely incapable of doing in our regular average life even having a conversation with another person awesome. That's very different from you. You can't really get into a mindset or their mindset unless you kind of live their life a little bit so there's a book a novel called Home Going by Ah Pronounce Your name correctly. yod Jesse Think G. Y. E. S.. I I think it's pronounced Jesse that is like A. It's an epic story of two sisters is borne Ghana and one stays in Ghana. One is is shipped off to America to be a slave in their family lineage over generations and generations and it really first first of all just a beautiful compelling story but also really explains what like what structural. Racism is. What people are talking about when they talk about that And really concrete way and that I personally never really got until I read this book and then the other one just just really funny. Actually this was on Obama's list of books That's how I read it. It's called the power by not by Naomi Alderman. And it's it's about like a future world like five thousand years in the future where women have all of a sudden generated the power to Electrocute people out of their fingers and it and then explains kind of what society how society changes once that can once that happens when century women are more physically powerful than men and all of the changes that happen. It makes it so clearly. Like physical strength infects everything including things that are not about physical strength. Thanks right like power is ultimately can boil down to physical strength in so many different directions that you wouldn't otherwise think of it as interesting. I'm definitely going to about is really fun. Liliana Mason thank you very much. Thank you thank you to the land of Mason and thank you to all of you for being here today and in general I give thanks for you as always my email is Ezra Klein Show Fox dot com. I'm grateful if you have a moment. gives rating on Apple podcasts. Or send the show to a friend thinking regime Karma for researching to huge guilt for producing district lunchbox media podcast network production. Everyone this Sean. Ramos firm on the host of Fox's Daily News podcast Cast Day explained and on Wednesday night. The Democrats had their fifth debate. And if you're watching carefully you might have noticed that Mayor Pete Buddha. The judge no longer seemed to be on the offensive. He wasn't attacking Senator Elizabeth Warren. He was on the defensive people for attacking him and he was defending his position. It was sort of an interesting shift for Mayor Pete and we explored in greater detail on our latest episode. We spent the first half recapping wrappings debate and the bigger moments. There wasn't a lot of robust conversation on policy but there were a lot of moments where we learned more about these candidates from or superficial conversations stations on policy and the second half of the show. I talked to Matthew Yglesias. The host of the weeds podcast from vox all about the rise of mayor. Pete whether it means anything is just a bump we forget about it next week. Listened to the show to find out today. Explain the sodas out. Now it's called the DEM's went down to Georgia thank you.