Jared Yates Sexton on Impeachment


hello this is teddy today's my eighth birthday and you're listening to talking politics everyone this is kelly ali with to produce talking politics i'm on with my co-host sophie hey sophie hey kelly and joining us today is a returning guest s. two is an author and political analyst jared yates sexton hi jared hey everybody so we last how'd you on about six months ago and banda's things have changed a little bit in the meantime was it was life life has gotten busy we we have some some news to catch up on so i'm going to tell her listeners that we are sitting down to record this at about three p m eastern on friday friday october fourth so that is the you know the where we are in the news if more news breaks if trump commits five more impeachable offenses before this gets up as will likely happen you know just no that's where the conversation was situated okay well let's let's start with us let's talk talk about the the the spin that the republicans are trying to put on everything that is happening the obviously impeachable offenses that that that trump has been doing nonstop basically and jared i know you've written some on twitter about kind of the way that the republicans are trying to play this so what let's just talk about that you know what are you seeing that the republicans are doing or not doing what is this sort of vortex that they're they're in that is keeping them from seeing what's really happening sure and like everything that we're talking about this this is very very complicated and weird nonsensical and does circles circles so i i know personally from my conversations nations with the republican staffs and aids that there is a really great existential crisis in the republican party right now if you talk to people off the record or if you talk to people on background right now they will tell you that they consider this to be really really bad political hand for them if if you're just having a discussion and it's not going into print they understand that this president has done some really really worrisome troubling things the what is happening with the republican party is what has been going on since donald trump came on the scene and even years before that which is this idea of gamesmanship which is you know the democrat republicans have been engaged in trench warfare now for going on thirty years and they don't i don't feel as if they can have a discussion about this or admit any sort of fault or actual concern in public because to do so to be to grant democrats victory sorry so there's a lot of game playing that's happening right now and at a lot of trying to play linguistics games and even more troubling i think which is what i think everyone should be really concerned with is basically just sort of excusing what trump is doing and basically basically giving some credence to conspiracy theory that is completely nonsensical and is really really dangerous some subverts the rule of law and our republic so i think this is one of those places where this game is extremely troubling and really really dangerous and and putting lives at risk and is i could threaten to tear this country apart but i think that game is is ultimately what's being played right now at one point do you think that the gamesmanship sort of flips like in other words at what point do you think the republicans refusing to give the democrats democrats quote unquote a win turned into the republicans giving themselves a lot well this is a this is a big thing and actually for all all the critique so we can have a donald trump i think his intuition on certain subjects has been really really exceptional in comparison with other people there was talk for a very very long time particularly when the miller report was coming out and i cannot believe that was only a few months ago there was this idea that the republicans had their primary position and they had their secondary position the primary position with support support donald trump at all costs and the secondary position is well if we lose him we can f- pence but what trump has done in a few ways and in other ways it's been very glaringly obvious he has made warnings warnings that is basically said if you're going to look into my conversations with ukraine and afford officials in this situation you should also look into mike pence's calls and basically this has been a warning shot across the bow that says if i go down you take with you which more or less turns this into for lack of a better phrase a suicide pack between republicans and trump if this flips i mean we're going to see a situation that would have to echo what happened with richard nixon in a the watergate scandal where republicans realized that they they're simply not tenable way to continue with the position and it's better to have him resign but in our current system in the way the right wing echo chamber works i don't know when we reached that point or if we could one of the things that you've been talking about and and has to do with your upbringing is this idea of a civil war and that there are people who are really looking to maybe start a civil war and maybe that'll happen and maybe it won't but how dangerous the language is around all of this no wonder if you could talk a little bit about that and you know what let what we're seeing that the trump isn't even maybe doing purposely at maybe he is maybe he hasn't but that could be a a very real effective active everything that's happening yeah so i grew up in a really really poor factory family in southern indiana and we grew up with what i would surge rises and extremists type of of christianity an extremist type of baptist faith and a lot of people have this it's an apocalyptic christianity windy that believes that there is a satanic force to the world that is fighting america and is trying to unseat it and and there's a lot of elements of christian white identity they go along with us too so basically the idea that you have globalist so to speak who are trying to 'cause wars wars in america and and hurt white people more or less this this is the fabric of what some people would call the new world order or as it's been rebranded the deep upstate with donald trump continually saying that there's a conspiracy against him the democrats are trying to ruin the country that they're traders that the media's traders i don't know that not necessarily understand that he's signaling to people like the ones that i grew up with and the people in the church that i grew up with but what's actually happening is he's telling them at this alternate reality where there's this narrative that people who collected guns and trapped and put together all their armories and and you know have bug out bags ags or bunkers or whatever you wanna call it that they are actually living in the moment that they've been taught to wait for their entire lives that doesn't mean that there's going to be a civil war it doesn't i mean obviously that we're going to have you know one side against another on on battlefields but what does happen is there are individuals who hear this they believe it and they take action in staccato terrorists situations lone wolf terrorists we've already seen this happened multiple times and for anybody who's been covering politics there is a very concerted effort to terrorise journalists and politicians to threaten and to occasionally test boundaries of safety the the the truth is whether or not trump knows it or not he's activating the impulse in a lot of different people and i think this is one of the reasons why it's really really important for people to get this story straight understand it and to not sensationalized unnecessarily or try and profit from it because the longer this thing goes and the more cornered he becomes and you know what was it yesterday it might have been two weeks ago i can't even keep track of him anymore where he sent on camera i want these these is countries tariff here in our elections the longer that we let this go even as he's self-incrimination becomes obvious that he needs to go the more chance there is for him to come desperate and really signal to these people who again have been waiting most of their lives to be in this situation and again i don't think it's intentional or maybe it isn't central i'm not sure her but whatever it is it's really really dangerous what is the sort of way out of that i mean i i don't know i don't you don't don't need to have the answer to that but you know what what are things that the democrats that republicans who aren't on board with all of this could it'd be or should be saying that might ease some of those tensions and pull back some of that rhetoric you know are the other ways that we can frame our own language that will help well unfortunately a lot of this is taking place on the right i've been doing a lot of research lately on domestic terrorism i'm particularly from a christian white extremists and one thing that happens is in periods of political tumult particularly win the right NBN are a and they sort of extremist sort of get on the same wavelength and they talk about the danger of globalist and liberal conspiracies there's a tendency for these these things to happen so what would need to happen for this to deescalate would be that the right would have to reject this call for you know civil war or even calling it a coup republicans need to realize that there are consequences to these words and i think that a lot of do but they're very very afraid to stand up in the face of trump i know over the past couple couple of weeks republicans have particularly hidden away from cameras they're not very fond of going on on the record right now and saying one thing or another i think think they wanna keep their face away from trump and keep their identities away from trump but hopefully the right will will realize they need to tamp down these calls as far as his liberals and democrats i know personally one thing that i'm looking at with this entire impeachment crisis is i personally am i'm trying to keep this in its in its sober place i mean this is a really terrible situation and i don't think anybody should necessarily be gleeful or celebratory story i i don't think that there's anything to enjoy about this or to necessarily be excited about but it's it's more of a a really really dangerous sad situation and i think we have to tamp down the idea of partisanship and look at this from the idea that this is actually about maintaining the country and maintaining tainting our laws as opposed to some sort of partisan victory which i think is what got us in this situation in the first place that's a little bit about timing you mentioned it's pretty dangerous injury the rhetoric right now and that there's the potential for trump to as the story develops and and sort of sinks into the ground a little little bit for him to feel cornered and for him to sort of verbally call on these people in the in this particular way and the other hand it's possible but some republicans particularly in the senate are waiting for the primaries to be over for twenty twenty so what do you think in terms of like timing do you think there's a a something to be said for hurrying up and getting through impeachment very quickly or do you think we should kind of wait until so after the primaries are done republicans might not have as much to fear from trump that is the ten thousand dollar pyramid question i'm not sure i the the one thing that i've been doing particularly in my research i've been looking at a lot of how game theory has affected our current situation nation which basically turned politics into a game or each side has to make logical moods they give them the most advantage you know the type of zero sum politics i'm i'm not sure what the correct answer is in terms of strategy but i think particularly with what we're looking at i know for a while democrats sort of running their hands over the idea of bringing about an impeachment inquiry or calling for it but i i think when people were saying well you can't do it it won't matter it'll get voted down but then when democrats oh crap stood up and i think that they did the right thing we saw that the narrative changed to meet that and respond to that so my natural impulse on this is to try and move away from the idea of game theory or strategy and in terms of the impeachment inquiry i would say that it needs to be done in the way it needs to be done god if that goes quickly if that happens before the end of the year so be it if it needs to go longer and it eats into the two thousand twenty cycle i think that's totally fine i think this is the time where people need to stand up and realize that that politics as as we know it isn't conducive to making democracy work this gamesmanship ship one upsmanship doesn't necessarily work and he gets us in worse trouble so in in my own feeling on this situation i would say let the investigation take as long as it takes and really really hope that there are republicans and i say this knowing full and well but i'm not expecting this to happen i hope that it does help that republicans pins standup do the right thing and and actually realized that they have a moment in history that they need to play which we've seen in the past certainly with richard nixon we saw him resign because republicans told him it was time to i don't necessarily think that donald trump will do that but i i would really really hope that republican pressure would step up one way or another whether audits before or after primaries before or after the election season really takes off so you said on twitter i think it was just a few hours go but you know the this blending together we republicans used to get their principles and strategies from think tanks you you know there used to be in this sort of was on purpose and they had sort of very clear messaging around the think tank says that all republicans are now going to do this and talk this way and these are the points we're gonna say and now that's not doesn't seem to be so much the case anymore are you know this think tank still exist and there are certainly some people still listening to them but you know a lot of this is coming from the dark corners of the internet or the sean hannity's in the world do you have any sense of why that happened we can certainly see how dangerous it is you know that trump is getting his news from you you know fox news but how do we get away from that how do we convince people to you know not that i i want us all listening to republican think tanks anymore but you know at least there was some sort of research going on there yeah i would say what ended up happening is there was a moment in history particularly with the founding of fox news in nineteen ninety six where roger ailes and his group of people decided that they could win politically by manipulating reality and sort of giving these narratives i i was reading something the other day it was an account john bainer he was meeting with roger ailes i want to say this was in two thousand tin and he realized that roger ailes had started believing his own propaganda and was looking for black helicopters thought barack obama was going to imprison him and was secretly partly a muslim so one of the things that ends up happening i think when we look at this period of history later on is we're going to realize that the echo chamber of the right created a feedback loop in which it created this dystopia america where people would be afraid and they would vote republican and they would buy guns and and they would oppose people like obama and eventually they started reporting the things that the people who believed what they said were saying and it just got worse and worse by her degree it doesn't help of course that sean hannity has shown a proclivity to believing every single conspiracy theory that comes across his desk whether it's death rich or what is now being called hold on the insurance policy and if anybody doesn't have looked into this i would advise them to this is what is leading to the ukrainian crisis and this impeachment the crisis is that trump giuliani and apparently everyone around them now believes in one of the most nonsensical conspiracy theories that has been tracked down on to websites like four chan and h. hand and like the most fever dreamed youtube conspiracy theorist imaginable but they have started to believe their own propaganda and get lost in their own narratives which is one of the most dangerous things that can happen i think the responsibility for the arming this comes on the media and i and to be frank i i think that the mainstream media has done a rather poor job of covering things over the last few years i even now as trump is saying more and more dangerous uninjured things there are still headlines and still stories and reportage that you notice where it's still frames it as if it's normal because he's president of the united states what the media needs to do and particularly people in public i need to do is before they discuss anything of what's going on this impeachment crisis crisis they need to say offhand the story behind this and the narrative that's being pushed is completely asinine and unreasonable and there's absolutely no truth to it and here's here's what's happening and i think that will probably do something in terms of putting a dent into this messaging but eventually the fever has to break the these narratives half the sort of collapse under their own ethnicity and hopefully we can restore some sort of sanity to our politics in no what's interesting is you're talking about people starting to believe their own story believed their own hype you know i am now a i guess a part of the media i mean we were already sort of with this podcast but but now with dumb kasdan you know we we purposely made it a nonprofit so that we wouldn't be driven by numbers of clicks the you know we we wouldn't we'd be trying to tell the truth and not you know what people are drawn to but it's so hard not to see hey this story is doing really well maybe we should should publish more of those kinds of stories and you know i i can understand i can't understand i think the idea of starting to believe your own stories but i can totally i understand how people get wrapped up in this idea of this is the kind of news that sells and and we have jobs to keep and so we're going to keep pushing out that kind of news i mean is there a solution to that short of like news not being able to be corporate which i don't know how you do that at this point but you what what what what's the balance there i mean you you write books you know to do you feel you feel yourself also being sort of pulled into that like this is the kind of thing that people want to read i listen that is a massive massive thing behind what's happening here we we have a situation now and and i looked at the impeachment crisis particularly and i realized that one of the things that's driving this and i was talking to someone the other day they said it feels like the season finale of america erica decline and it's true we have started to think about our politics and our moment in history as being a televised narrative i i think that there are some people out there and i know that i've had conversations with people who feel this way who look at impeachment and particularly months of it they look at it as wonderful hole for ratings and clicks and advertising and there are certainly people and again they probably won't say this in public but trump has been great for their business the anxiety and the tension in that he is created has been the rising water there's raised all ships and there are certainly people who have fortunes and booming businesses mrs to thank for what trump has done and what he's created i think the problem here is that we have to disentangle the idea of of profit and and success from the health of the country and and this has been a problem for decades now but it has gotten to the point where it is created a state of hyper reality ah it again feels like a television show because it's a television show and in terms of journalists that is one of tougher nuts to crack right i i know personally as a freelance journalist when i get on social media i'm well aware of what will drive up numbers if i want to drive up numbers sometimes as i look at my phone in quiet terror and i think about how that could drive me to do things that i don't necessarily think are right in order to to have some sort of of boost in some way but for myself i look at it and i think about it before i do it and then i consider like is this good for as for other people is it good for the country and that sort of i think hudson and i think what we've had in journalism is a real fear that there's not a way to make a profitable not a way okay to keep the lights on and as a result this has been good for business but you know bad for business i know less munez before he got removed said famously we now trump is maybe he's bad for america but he's great CBS and it's that kind of idea and mentality i think has really pushed us to a point of crisis i don't think trump happens if we don't have that mentality we don't have that pressure it's my hope that we can figure out a different profit model it's my hope that we can figure out a different way to keep the lights on because this right now it it creates hyper reality where things get really really bad really really quickly and and we've already seen i think it has a really terrible effect on the country credence politics so my hope is that we can get off of this prophet engine and start working towards something better and healthier and more humane what do you think think happens next i mean i know you don't you don't you can't see the feature and then this whole story is insane but like what are i guess what are you sort of looking for to see next in attempted impeachment proceedings well so one thing that happened in this goes back to the idea of the media and the narrative and all of this talk like one thing that happened was the moment that democrats rats went ahead and said that they're going to do the impeachment query increa- i think we all saw that there was a change in the way that the media started reporting on this and it became very serious very quickly i think it was yesterday again or it could have been six months ago who has where chuck todd said on TV the he says the beginning of the press the daily said this is a nightmare and we're in the middle of crisis i think treating the way that it is quite frankly this has been a crisis for a while but calling what it is i think my hope anyway that this will wake people up and make them realize that democracy has to be participatory and and this illusion of the spectacle of politics the idea that everyone watches it as opposed to participate in it will reawaken people to realize that the narrative can change it at a moment particularly as people take action all it would take for the situation to reach ahead i believe would be a a mass protest test or strike or some sort of major movement among the people to take power in their own hands as opposed to wait on politics the place out again and like a spectacle i think once we see the extent of these crimes and they are flowing out every single day and trump gets worse and the things he's admitting or worse and worse every every day it's my hope that people particularly in the center the ones who have stood by him because maybe the identifies republicans or maybe they've stood by because they want to you know trigger liberals call it they start to realize that this is a problem we can move beyond it and and some people start to wake up and actually participate that's what i think is the best case scenario is the idea becomes so overwhelmingly clear that he has to leave office that we somehow or another bypass the threat of of danger we bypass the threat red eye of tax and and and disruption whatever you wanna call it but there is certainly a very large chance that this gets very very bad there is a large chance that we will see some people get hurt and i think every day that we look at the news we realized there's more of a chance that our institutions could buckle under under the weight of partisanship and and pressure so there's a way that this can go very well i think there's a way that this can go very bad and right l. i i wish i i could say something better but it feels like the flip of a coin since since the last time we spoke you published a new book can you tell us about your book and how people can get it sure it's called the man they want to be toxic toxic masculinity and crisis own making it's basically about how the identity of masculinity the is fraudulent and say socially constructed idea and that men and women everybody suffer because of men particularly because they have to overcompensate ed liver role that isn't real and and basically where they devalue everyone around him gets into how trump in this current crisis is a result of that again getting a loss walkin the narrative of who you're supposed to be what the world is but it's available everywhere and stores and online yeah and we'll put a link uh of course is there anything else that you wanted to make sure that we talk about today no i think we got deep in the weeds on that one real fast i again i i for kind of losing track of time in terms of when things happen i i again i can't believe the miller report was only a few months ago it feels like two two years ago yeah yeah for sure well and you know the the good news perhaps nothing good right now but the the good news perhaps is that the polling has also moved super quickly on impeachment and you know we now see i think it's like half of people nearly half of people in this country think trump should be impeached and you know that that moved really rapidly so perhaps there is some hope of a way out of here without everything collapsing i think that's a good point i think it's good for people to remember that when impeachment began to richard nixon the of the approval impeachment was much lower than it was right now l. and bad situation escalated very quickly and took care of itself so here's ears open that trend continues all right well jared thank you so much for coming on and talking to us again people definitely follow you on twitter you are always a a breadth of reason on on all of these this issues and i thank you for for coming on and we'll put link up to your book too so people can check that out thank you for all the good work all right thanks thank thank you thank you for listening to two bras talking politics put the dim cast podcast network our theme song is called are you listening off of the album elephant shaped trees by the 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