tv Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt How Democracies Die CSPAN March 5, 2018 6:00am-7:14am EST
>> professor, yesterday you mentioned that history in few skies has punctuated equilibrium and we have moments where there are critical opportunities to make choices because choices become sticky and we end up on a specific task. deeply we are still in a critical. >> good question. dang her. one of the things about this is often it's hard to know if one is one of these moments and to identify the appeared of opening. the political system runs on multiple strings are at certain things are open, other things are not. one thing that's very sticky as her constitution. it's hard to change our constitution. people ask about the electoral college and changing senate and
all sorts of proposals people can dream up a lawyer 18th century integrated constitution and it turns out it's very hard to change american political institutions. so that is very sticky. something that is not sticky or something where there's a potential opening now. steve may disagree on this. a realignment of the political party. we have these two parties, we know what they stand for, but there is a sense in which increasingly attend events with moderate republicans, where they are attacking they are talking to democrats and things aren't in flux when it to party realignment. this has happened in american history where you have the party shifting the minute and 60s and part of the 1850s that began the republican party, so there's a way in which all the slacks in the party landscape, the idea that they're pretty coming along and challenging the
two main parties. this may be more opportunities, a bigger opening that we might've mentioned. >> i don't agree with that, but let me point to the imaginary team and what might've been a critical junction. i'm very worried about the way our party system, that dynamic of our party system today in which republican represent a declining white christian, very homogeneous white christian who used to the majority, now minority. eventually this will get them into electoral trouble which nobody knows exactly when they'll because the california revolving party. they can do a lot of damage between now and then. it is truly problematic. after losing the 2012 election, the republican party leadership thought very seriously about what they could do to become a more diverse party. they did this autopsy and they
thought seriously about making the change critical to reducing polarization. they're also becoming a country that deals with a 21st century diverse society that can live in such a society. because this did not correctly pointed out, there is the republican party leadership. it's completely hollowed out. there is no establishment i composed that vision and impose that line. it's just a hollowed out party donald trump is able to grab and pull in another direction. have they actually had a real party leadership that can impose the vision of a more diverse party would not be hurling in that direction we are today. >> when the framers for putting this together, and they have the issue of democracies going all the way back to the beginning of time. they determined that the biggest
threat, this particular democracy would be growing inequality between the haves and have-nots. you didn't mention any in your, so that's my address questions. democracy is not terminally ill, but at the same time the system of checks and balances is possibly not equal to the challenges and threats to the system. i'm just wondering if you feel as though maybe the time has come for a new constitutional convention or do you think that's going too far? >> good question. thank you. i think our checks and balances, summer checks and balances are working better than others. the go systems are working while, judiciary is working well. media is working as robustly. "new york times" subscriptions are up and so on. our congress is not working well. congress is supposed to be a guard dog of our democracy and constrain the power of the
president in a guard dog has turned into a lap so. it is not serving our constitution while. the polarization in the republican party which turns into a shield when it's the same party and a weapon when it's the other party. i don't think -- there's an employment and know what to a warning about this. lots of discussions it turns out proposals for constitutional convention for states call for a constitutional convention at different route through which it can be called. what makes me nervous about that is you have to imagine who's going to be at the table and what agenda is going to be pushed. it's possible the things we can imagine not to be changed in our national government. if you open the door, who knows what will come out of this. it's a very dangerous prospect.
that said, there is opportunity for an institution being created, but a lot of that should take place at the state level. california, for instance, kind of redesigned rather than having state legislature do this, the gerrymanders have seats for themselves. these kinds of experiments with changes in the drawer systems and experimentation can take place at the state level enough for the process should be. >> i am from the philippines and we could easily conclude they're pretty much in the behavior -- [inaudible] my question is does your research or your book have insight to offer in terms of dealing or responding to a context where political systems are weaker?
>> that's a great question. we don't have a lot of solutions in terms of how to save democracies and crises. if i did i'd have a better paying job. philippines is a country as you said week with both parties and relatively weak institutions. silly demagogue with a week commitment is not going to be happy. a democrat with a week commitment to civil liberties on the constitutional norm can do a heck of a lot by damage of not more quickly in the philippines than in the united states because of the robust judiciary is not extremely weak, but much weaker than here. a president can do much more now
much more quickly. it takes robust opposition, particularly the only way -- the only way to stop this to decide it takes opposition parties, trade unions, human rights groups equal power to stop the president. >> this will be her final question of the evening. so i was at the last semester -- [inaudible] so my question once you talk about the incentives that politicians and parties and voters had for actions they take. when you are talking about how one of the solutions for the polarization with you for the
republican party to stop representing mainly the way christians group that used to be a majority. what incentives to people having a party to do that? i'm not able to think of any offense before it was historical events like you mentioned this kind of diversified party affiliation across religion cities and race. >> that's a great question. first and foremost it would take an electoral spanking. the problem right now is that kurt republican party strategy has got then they controlled the presidency, senate, 30 plus about to have for the supreme court as well. seems to be working well. it's not working as well as it seems. they lost the popular vote in
two of their last four but teresa. and they know in fact that this elect pro-strategy is essentially a racially conservative appeal cannot bend in the medium run. this is one of the arguments david from his making in his book trump ocker c. they are very aware of the fact that they continue down this path they face a very, very tough electoral feature which is one of the reasons they are starting to achieve it. that is not me. the clearest incentive is to lose badly. had hillary clinton won by 10 percentage points in the 2016 election, they would be a lot of soul-searching in the republican
party. the problem is again republicans don't have a party. they don't have an actual party leadership. this is a decentralized party and much of the country, many of the congress people and senators coming to washington are coming from deep red states or districts. even if the republican party takes something at the national level, they're still going to do quite well in much of the territory. it's going to take an electoral meeting that is so bad that it pervades not only north carolina and virginia. >> we are basically out of time so i'll have to ask for a very brief question and a very brief answer. >> i just wanted to say that i think everybody ought to read and think about the points you raise in your book, but in
particular to read it and think about it. i don't know the best way to do this, but if somebody wants to load up a cargo plane with a few thousand copies of "how democracies die," i would be glad to contribute. [applause] >> we can give a short aunt there and say we agree. thank you. thank you very much. >> thankthank you tour speakerss evening and all of you for being here. as a set of introductions where books available for purchase. if you'd like to get a book signed you book signed you can lineup domiciled to my right in the same will be appear on stage in just a moment. thank you for coming.
[inaudible conversations] >> i'm not an expert on patriotism, but the effort of the book is to start a conversation about patriotism and what it is in this time and make sure that people do understand that by fixing their definition, there's a difference between patriotism and nationalism. patriotism is a deep love of country. being a pitcher