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Hello and welcome to the 538 Politics podcast. I'm Galen Farrukh. Today, we're going to focus on the recent leftward shift within the Democratic Party, particularly on issues involving race, gender and the economy and how the Republican Party is reacting. There's long been a left wing of the Democratic Party, but it's now larger and more influential than it ever was. While Presidents Clinton and Obama were in office. Most recently, reactions to Donald Trump's presidency and the success of Bernie Sanders, his campaign have played a part in that growth.


But the current progressive movement also has roots in the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movement. And the left's ideas aren't just shaping the policies of mainstream politicians, but of institutions and businesses as well. There has also been a growing backlash on the right against what's referred to as WOAK ideology and cancer culture.


In a pair of articles published on the 538 website this week, my colleague Perry Bacon Jr. details the kinds of ideas that have gained currency on the left and how the right has responded and how all of that could shape our national politics. Perry is here with me to discuss his reporting. So welcome, Perry. Thanks for making love to start things off.


What are the ideas that have gained prominence on the left in recent years?


What I was lay out in the piece was you had this initial rise of Black Lives Matter, and that created a lot of discussion around 2013, 2014, 2015 around specific issues of race, particularly African-Americans and how the police treated them. But you've now seen a growth of other ideas of sprang from that because you read a lot on left Twitter. You see in books like I think the fact that like Isabel Wilkerson's cast and Ebrahim Kindies book, How to Be Anti-racist are very popular for these reasons.


So the idea is that I try to look at in the piece were so one is this idea that America is in some ways kind of a flawed country. It's not exceptional. America has never been a true democracy because it's never really allowed women, Native Americans, black Americans, full participation in politics to this idea that white people have advantages, sort of white privilege. Three, the idea that we have systemic institutional racism for the idea that capitalism is really flawed in the way it works in America today.


You know, you heard this idea that maybe there shouldn't be any billionaires, for example. That's the fourth idea. The fifth idea. Women suffer from some systemic sexism. The sixth is that people should be able to identify with whatever gender they would like or not a gender at all. The seventh is that basically the existence of a disparity is evidence of discrimination, meaning if you go to a workplace and they only have one black employee of every 40 people, and that means that the workplace is discriminatory, even if we can't find any sort of evidence of real where they didn't hire a black person to have you.


The eighth idea is cash reparations for black people because of slavery and discrimination. The ninth idea is along the lines of sort of abolish ice and defund the police. The idea that law enforcement agencies like ICE and the police are inherently designed to treat people of color and black people negatively, and therefore they need to be reformed, disbanded, radically changed. And the tenth idea is essentially that Trump was not an aberration, that a lot of white conservatives, a lot of conservatives, a lot of Republicans have always had negative views of people of color.


And so Trump ism was nothing new. And it's what the Republican Party has always been about to some extent.


And how did you synthesize this into those 10 discrete ideas?


So, for example, like, it's not as if no one has ever talked about reparations before. This is like an idea that existed for literally more than 100 hundred years. But is what you've seen is there's been a larger discussion of it in political circles and has become more relevant. For example, like when I looked it up for this story, Gallup poll reparations in twenty nineteen. That was the first time they had done that since 2002. So it's not like reparations didn't exist.


And I sort of asked them and they were like this was not really part of the discourse for a while. So it wasn't really something we needed to poll. The polling firm PRR. I asked the question along the lines of do you think the Republican Party has been taken over by racists? And their pollster told me too. That was not a question we thought to ask, you know, in twenty fifteen or have you? Because it wasn't in the discourse before.


But you do have ideas like there have been people talking about police funding being reduced or so on for a long time. But that one, I would argue, is more new to the mainstream political discourse than before. And I think a lot of these ideas are coming from academia, like you like intersectionality. That kind of concept is from academia. Some of them are coming from the Black Lives Matter movement. This broad critique of capitalism, I think, came from, in some ways the Warren and Sanders campaign.


I mean, some of the thoughts about transgender are more new because that's an issue. Again, the sort of newer the. Space, but none of these came from nowhere, but I think a lot of these ideas are things we weren't pulling or Democratic politicians were really talking about because they weren't part of the discourse. And things get in the discourse because activists talk about them. Twitter helps them get on the discourse. And then often politicians either talk about them or talk about versions of these ideas.


For example, as the reparations discussion has gotten hotter, there's been this idea among Democrats in the House to create a reparations commission that would study reparations like the actual demands of activists in the real world is not a study. They want reparations done with the way that guys get into politics is now. There's a reparations commission idea that Biden is sort of quasi endorsed.


Where do these ideas come from?


And in particular, why have they grown in popularity over the past five years or so?


So I'm not going to pretend this is a scientific process, but I was really trying to think about, like a lot of people I know have read, this had to be an anti-racist book or even kindie. Some of the more cynical Hannah Jones nasty code have become published. I was looking for things that I think people actually are really talking about seriously and are ideas that are impacting our policy. Like you saw, Biden issued this executive order saying we're going to look at all policies through their effects on systemic racism and racial equity.


And so I think that's an idea that sort of came from this idea that we have systemic racism. So we're looking for ideas like I don't think that, like intersectionality has really entered. The people are thinking about that. I think it's like in the policy discourse, I was looking for things where there's an idea here that either a left wing Democratic politician is now put in their platform. And I need mainly more like an AOC or Ayanna Pressley type inviting.


But I mean, what are ideas that are in the political discourse on the left or that the right is trying to really fight? For example, there are a lot of legislators that are trying to ban the teaching of the New York Times 16 19 project, the one that's really about slavery. So you can see things that the right is trying to fight or ban really formally, like a lot of states are trying to say, cities in those states can't defund the police or reduce funding for the police.


And I think that gets the fact that these righties are sort of made it up and are now really affecting real politicians.


The real policy we've talked about to different movements here a little bit, the Occupy movement and the Bernie Sanders and Warren campaigns, which were part of a critique of capitalism and economic inequality. And then there's also the Black Lives Matter movement and more recently, the George Ford protests, which are more about racial justice. How are the two interacting within this movement? Is this mostly a critique of how the country deals with race? To what extent does an economic message play into it?


Let me ask this question by going a little bit back. So you've had this discussion for a while about like polarization and how the country is more polarized than partizan. And I think at some point those terms do describe something. But I think at some point they became to me almost code words when we were we were sort of saying everything's polarized, but saying we what we're polarized about or what we're partizan about. So on Inauguration Day, when Biden said we're in an uncivil war, I think uncivil war is more descriptive and tells you these are very tense fights.


That framing of it, I think was helpful to me. And I think that that is more accurate in terms of how deep and deep set these fights are and also how the struggle is not just people are voting for people, they're really fighting over fundamental issues. And in my view, what you're seeing on the left is to some extent, like the Democratic Party has always been kind of I'll call it equality focus, that, you know, the civil rights was grounded in the Democratic Party.


But I think to some extent what you're seeing is the Democratic Party is now sort of organized around economic, racial, sexual identity, gender like equality. We want to make things more equal is kind of the organizing idea and a lot of ways for the Democratic Party. So it's like economics and it's race and it's class and it's culture, but it's all around this kind of equality idea. Again, Democrats are not new to this. If you listen to an AOC Warren type, they're like left on racial issues and on economic issues.


And I think that's kind of where the party is going in in the Republican Party has always been the party that more defends the current racial and economic status quo. But I think that's become like the center of the Republican Party is now the status quo defense in part because the left is pushing harder. And I think that's driving some of the status quo defense. And when you think about the uncivil war, part of that thing is like the Republicans feel like the left is moving aggressively and they are responding in turn with some of their more aggressive Julys, January six, trying to stop you from voting in Georgia, that kind of thing.


So in other words, the Democratic Party is a quality focus. And I think that links the economics with the racial stuff.


Yeah, I do want to talk a little bit more about how the Republican Party is reacting to all of this, but I want to dig in a little bit more to how it is affecting the ecosystem of Democrats and the last. More broadly, so when we talk about the views of Elizabeth Warren or AMC, we're talking about one wing of the party.


How widespread are these views among Democrats?


So we looked at some polling and it really has a wide range on the issues. Like, for example, it looks like cash reparations, at least in some polling we've seen, is getting to a point where it's like 40 hour polling from Gallup showed. Forty nine percent how you ask it, between a third and half of Democrats support cash reparations. A few years ago that was like in the teens generally. So that's when is were split. When you look at like police funding to be reduced, I think Pew asked this question last year was about 40 percent of Democrats think police funding should be reduced.


So that's getting close to half. AOC, I think have said a couple of years ago or some Democrats are saying every billionaire has a policy failure because the idea being you should never be able to accumulate a billion dollars. That's idea. That's like in the 30s among Democrats. The idea the Republican Party has been taken over by racists is like shared by close to 70 percent of Democrats. The idea that's a lot more difficult to be black compared to being white in America, 70 percent.


So you have some of these things, racial ideas particularly are to the point where they are a majority of Democrats, generally reparations being different. So some of these things are quite popular. The general idea is that the country does not treat black people. Will is a very popular idea among Democrats reparations themselves. About half and half less popular wealth inequality ideas depends on how you ask them. Police funding generally unpopular among Democrats, reducing spending, unpopular among Democrats.


So there is a range, but I think in general we're talking about views that this sort of AOC wing does hold then the Biden wing. It depends on how you think about it. And so the case I was making was essentially that these are views that are not becoming the Democratic Party's point of view, but they're affecting the Democratic Party in the Democratic Party is trying to sort of meet these views a quarter or halfway.


How much has opinion on these things changed over the past five years or so? At among whom like who are the actual people within the Democratic Party that hold these views?


So if you look at a question like reparations, for example, where Gallup had a poll, like I said, Gallup and poll this in a while, but it went from twenty five and twenty two to forty nine and it was a nineteen. And which is generally saw in those polls was the black Democrats generally were for reparations, even 2002. There's a growing number of white Democrats over reparations. Other polling suggests younger Democrats and more liberal Democrats are particularly more supportive of reparations than they used to be.


That's not shocking when you get to this question of it's a lot more difficult to be a black person than a white person in America. Pew did this question in twenty sixteen. The number then was fifty seven percent. The number now is seventy four percent. They didn't look up the cross tabs on that. Generally questions like that show that black people had those views already and that particularly college educated white Democrats are moving toward those views as well. Let's see, there are more than two gender identities.


We only have this question from recently, but that's generally 52 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of Americans. But I think only 20 percent of Republicans think there can be more than two gender identities. That's again, one where we're the more liberal Democrats are more likely to think that police funding is at forty one percent younger and black. Democrats are more likely to support reducing police funding than older Democrats and white Democrats.


You mentioned that these ideas are not necessarily the dominant ones within the party. They're not necessarily Biden administration policy, but nonetheless, they are shaping mainstream policy within the party. What are some examples of that, maybe in terms of what Biden has already done as president or how he campaigned?


So I mentioned earlier that they announced this executive order on racial equality and fighting systemic racism, which I think is something from the beginning. And you've heard Biden and the U.S. is very focused on, for example, making sure the vaccine access is as equitable as they can. They're very focused on that because they're very focused on this idea that there should be racial equity. I'm not saying Obama didn't do that, but I'm saying on day one, Biden had an executive order saying one of our big focuses is on racial equality.


And so that's sort of an obvious example. The second is the administration is not trying to abolish ICE, but they're certainly trying to make ice different than under Trump, like make it less harsh. And I think part of that is to abolish ice movement did not succeed in getting Biden to be for that, but he's definitely open to changes, reforming. Again, it's hard to sort of pin down did Biden or others view independently of them. But I think it's clear that the ICE abolish Ice Cube would create a discussion in the party that affected some conduct there.


If you look at. A lot of cities around the country, you see that nobody is saying we're going to defund the police, but there's a lot of talk about reallocating funds, moving funds to social services. The Washington Post this week had a big feature about how we need to reimagine public safety. That was not something The Washington Post was editorializing about two years ago. I think that came from we're not sure that defunding is right, but we need to reimagine this.


And a lot of ways, another one being that the stimulus bill, unlike economic policy in the Clinton and Obama years, the stimulus bill gave money to people directly, was something Andrew Yang campaigned on. The stimulus bill was kind of disregarded the idea of the deficit and really focused on like giving people a lot of money. It sort of was a bill. If you'd asked me who's going to sign a one point nine trillion dollar bill that gives people money directly of the candidates who ran the president.


Twenty, twenty. I would have not named Joe Biden in that list early, but I think it's pretty clear that he's had a lot of Warren staff. I think those ideas of getting in the mainstream of the party. Right.


And of course, I didn't mention earlier, but the pandemic has played a large role in reshaping the Democratic Party in terms of policy. You do see right now that there is a tension over the Biden administration's policies at the border where the left flank of the party is already frustrated with how some migrants, particularly children, are being treated. The Biden administration is basically asking for time to reorganize the immigration enforcement system and so on. How do you see the relationship between Biden and the left flank of the party playing out over the next four years?


Is this a tense relationship? I mean, so far the left seems happy with the American rescue plan, but when the two parts of the party disagree, who wins?


I mean, Biden's in charge. And also, as I noted in the article, a lot of these views that I'm talking about, like we shouldn't have billionaires. These are minority views in the Democratic Party. So they're really minority views in the country. So ultimately, Biden not only is president and he and Pelosi can say in many cases is not only that the left's view is not our view and we're in charge, but also the left's view is not where the majority of Americans are in for electability purposes.


We need to be with the majority of Americans are. So the left is going to lose most of these arguments when the full fledged left idea, like a wealth tax wealth actually is sort of popular. But the idea that we shouldn't have billionaires or the idea that we should have reparations to live is not going to win these debates in full. They're not going to get their policy. My guess is really. But can we get a reparations commission? That's a different question.


And I think that gets to the point where Biden may be persuaded to say yes or maybe I think Gavin Newsom or something like that might do worse, maybe even less movies, even more popular. I think you're going to see some of these things happen in states as well. So I think right now Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, is on Twitter a lot. He's the new Donald Trump in terms of tweeting in this interview. And he also seems to be courting the left in other ways, like as we speak today.


Wednesday, Klain met with Jiah. Paul was leader of the Progressive Caucus on the Hill. And Ron Klain is in a lot of outreach. I read somewhere this week that he talks to Sanders regularly on the phone. The White House has hired a lot of Warren and Sanders staffers warn particularly so. I think the idea is for the Biden team right now is let's bring the left in the tent, let's hear them out. Let's let them criticize us in private.


Hopefully, we know that Ailes is going to criticize us in public. Some to the idea, I think, is to unify the party and keep those tensions as low as possible. Ultimately, when the brass tacks his, there are going to be issues. I think immigration is one where the left position is just not going to be something Biden can abide by. But I think they're going to try to soften those differences as much as possible.


You mentioned that a lot of these ideas are not electorally viable and Democrats probably won't try to win national elections running on them. Are there some ideas here that are and in particular, I do want to key in on the American rescue plan here because it is broadly popular and it gives, as you mentioned, cash directly, either in tax credits that are actually paid by the federal government or in direct payments themselves to a lot of people. And when you look at the breakdown, a lot of this money is going to poor whites who are in large part in a different party in the Republican Party.


Is this seen as an actual way to bring Republicans, poor whites in particular, into the Democratic fold?


Do they think that's possible electorally or is this an ideological belief, which is that like poverty is bad and we want to reduce it, but we don't actually think these people are ever going to join our party?


Oh, no, no. They lift people very much thing. And this was like a core of Sanders campaign in particular. The idea is the economic populism give people money. So on is good policy and also good politics. And the rescue plan has, as we've you talked about, a lot of the spike in polls in the 70s, sometimes in the 80s, giving people money directly. He's extremely popular, Trump is doing it, too, so I think the economic parts of this, I don't think you can get a lot of voters who are going to say capitalism is bad.


I think that's not going to pull Will. I think Americans tend to think billionaires are good, smart people. Bill Gates seems like a smart person to me. There's some evidence for that. But I think if you get beyond the sort of we should change our economic system to what the policies underlying that are, we should tax the wealthy more. We should give more people money directly. We should create more public jobs, more infrastructure. The economic policy ideas of the left are actually fairly popular and they're actually popular with Biden, too.


Biden is not necessarily an ideological centrist. He's sort of a shape shifter in a certain way. The other thing that is popular is I think treating trans people equally is very popular. It's like, you know, Americans don't tend to like the idea that people should get discriminated against. Like most people only know a trans person in America, that they still are wary of treating people badly. The policing part of treating black people better is actually fairly popular, too.


Don't separate children from their families is very popular. So it was even on these racial issues, the Democrats are populist. More than the most left position usually isn't that popular. But I think, like if you look at Biden is actually extremely savvy about what's popular is my impression. And like we should focus on systemic racism is a view that I think is probably a majority view in the country. I think I saw a poll, in fact, that executive order we should focus on systemic racism and address that is a majority view we should give.


Reparations is not. And I know those two are related, but you can probably get to a position where you're saying one and not the other. So also the left is aware that the people on the left are aware that they lost the primary and Biden won it. So I think there is some rethinking on the left about in the left as a broad group of people. That includes a lot of different constituencies. But there is some reading in the left about is talking about white privilege, smart or not, using that kind of phrasing.


Like, you know, there's a book out by Heather McGhee. It's called Some of US. There's a lot of the left about that book. And her argument is basically the way for the left to succeed is economic populism, is to talk about ideas that affects everybody. In fact, the idea that she talks about is like when you pass a law that makes it harder to vote, that might make it harder for black people to vote, but it may also almost inevitably will make it harder for white people to vote, too.


And so you can see the left is trying to make their arguments more. This issue affects black people or Hispanics disproportionately, but it also affects white people, obviously giving checks to people for isn't it always going to help black and Latino people more because they tend to have less income? But it also helped white people, too. And you're seeing that synergy, which is why I think that the left versus center fights are going to be less tense because Biden is trying to have a unified party in the left, is trying to be a little more electorally said.


I want to talk about how the right is responding to all of this. But first, you talk about a lot of ideas that are gaining traction within the left, within the Democratic Party and how they're reverberating and reacting to the larger party ecosystem. But, of course, there's another party here. And so writ large, how is the right reacting to these ascendant ideas that you described?


So these are ideas that are really opposed on the right, like the right is divided on like the minimum wage, where a lot of Republican voters support raising the minimum wage, but the politicians and the Republican Party generally don't. But we talk about ideas like we're talking about here, reparations that America is not exceptional in the great nation. This should be a model for others. We're talking about this idea that it's really hard to be black in America when we talk about defunding the police or reducing funding for the police.


These ideas are incredibly unpopular in the Republican Party and therefore there's some extent of the Republican Party to elevate these ideas to and to say Joe Biden believes in these things because these things are often very unpopular emotionally in terms of having a negative view of capitalism. That's forty four percent of Democrats. That's thirty three percent of Americans. That's 20 percent of Republicans. Every billionaire has a policy failure, this 20 percent of Republicans. It's a lot more difficult to be a black person in America.


Nine percent of Republicans, police funding should be reduced, eight percent of Republicans cash reparations for black Americans, five percent of Republicans. White people benefit a great deal revengers black people don't have five percent. And Republicans and also a lot of these views are not supported by a majority of people. Cash reparations is not very popular. Police funding is not very popular. So a lot of the ideas that are emerging in the left are unify the Republican Party and put the Republican Party with the majority of the electorate.


So good for the Republicans and sort of divide the Democratic Party, which is an important electoral tactic. As you describe in the piece. This dynamic, broadly speaking, is one that we've seen played out in some cases over decades. Right. The Democratic Party has played the role of pushing the country on social and cultural issues, and the Republican Party has played. Pushing back and sometimes the left winds and their social movement becomes broadly accepted by society and sometimes it doesn't.


What's new or different about this moment when we think of it in that broader historical context?


So if you look at like an issue like gay marriage, we're in 2004, people pushed for same sex marriage. The Republicans campaign against that some and to some amendments to make marriage in a man and woman pass, it looks like in 2004. That's a bad issue for the Democrats. They've pushed social issue even. It's more like Democratic activists pushed it and became an issue. John Kerry was not sure what to say. Bush was strongly opposed to this.


It seemed to have helped. I'm not going to be able to prove that killed John Kerry. I think he might have lost anyway. But that was not a helpful issue. Fast forward to today. Same sex marriage is like a majority position, fairly popular, hard to oppose, at least in public. So someone should go that way. On the other hand, like bussing for school integration was an idea that was more popular on the left. It never became the majority, just so you never know.


So what I think is different about these issues is not really that different in that we have the Democratic Party is pushing the more equality minded change positions representing disadvantaged groups, and the Republicans are opposing that in some ways, like I think this is like nothing new. And on some level, like Trump was saying, law and order when the police reform attempts this year. That happened in the 60s and 70s with Nixon as well. What's really different is the issues we're talking about have changed.


Like we weren't talking about transgender Americans in 2004. So that's a different group we're talking about. We weren't really talking about reparations in 2004. It's a different issue. We're talking about the idea that billionaires are bad was just not in the landscape in 2004, even really in 2016. So the couple things are different. One is that the issues themselves obviously were in twenty twenty once the issues than they were in 2004. Two is that the Republican Party in the country are different.


And when I say that really the country is much more racially diverse, also more diverse on sexual identity and gender issues like the country is not more diverse, but is more cognizant of the problems women might face. For example, there are more people identify who is transgender or gay. There are more people who are Latino and Asian between the countries different. And so what I was getting into in the piece a little bit is that the Republican Party has some incentive to not be openly against some of these equality causes, which leads to invocations of phrases like Wuk and Kinsel culture, which captures some real phenomenons.


But also our way to say I don't want people to be canceled, then I don't want to use the right pronoun. So those issues are often circulating in the same conversations.


Yeah, you know, as far as the right is concerned, what do the terms WOAK and counterculture mean? And I know you said right there that there may be intentionally a little bit vague, but if you had to define them as far as the right is concerned, how would you walk on?


The right is kind of the ideas. I'm talking about these sort of left wing ideas that are really trying to push us too far on these kind of equality dimensions, like the idea that we have to really accept transgender people on whatever sports team they want to be on and in every way possible. The idea, you know, there's more than two genders. The idea that obviously it's clear that black people suffer from discrimination and that white people have privilege, the idea that these things are not contestable, like reparations is like an idea that they are sort of in the sort of Wolke.


So a lot of ideas around race and economic equality that the people in the right feel like are going way too far. And then when you talk about cancel culture, we're usually talking about is on the right. Let me ask this question two ways. On the right we're usually talking about is if I criticize this idea of the left, then the criticism I get back is excessive and too hard. And occasionally I sort of feel socially canceled, as in like I get all this criticism rained down on me.


I'm called a bigot or a racist or sexist. And occasionally I'm actually cancel this in my Twitter account is removed like Donald Trump or or my book deal is canceled, has been up in the Senate or hot or my invitation to speak on a campus is revoked. And I should note here that some of these things there are some people like Obama has talked about his concern about the canceling speakers on college campuses. So some of this is like there is a real debate about, like we have changing social mores in the country and what should be done if you don't conform to those.


And I think that's a broad debate happening on The Bachelor and happening in a variety of ways. But on the right, often what's going on is like Josh Holley is not just talking about views. He's also talking about. People canceled my book deal after I supported the insurrection, and I think that's a different thing where he's sort of taking that term to mean anything, we have always had punishments. If people think you go over the line like Twitter removed Trump because they perceived him as inciting an insurrection, that's a different issue, then that's sort of like anytime anybody criticizes me is cancel culture.


That's when we get into sort of what's happening on the right a little bit is like a broad based criticism that is vague and used to sort of absolve all kinds of behavior. And so it sounds like culture means different things to different people. And in some ways, it's a tool to basically say even if the things that I do are unpopular with the broader public, if you criticize me, you're canceling me, whereas it also has a meaning for the broader public, which is like someone does something or says something insensitive in the public square and faces a backlash.


They might not even be a known quantity. They lose their job, whatever they are disinvited to speak. It's complicated because it means different things to different people. But how does the public more broadly view the idea of control and brokenness?


The polling I've seen, the soon the large number people don't know what the culture is like 30, 40 percent. But when you sort of explain it to them, generally, people are opposed to cancel culture. That's not surprising. Cancel it's in some ways, political correctness also doesn't poll well because it seems like we're imposing norms on people that seem silly. So we used the phrase cancel culture that's sort of unpopular. When people think about both on the right and on the left is pretty unpopular.


When you get to examples of should this person be fired, it becomes very like if someone uses the N-word in public and they get fired, that would be a cancelation, I would assume. But I think most people would support that. It often it becomes very context dependent, whether people support the underlying action or not. But invoking this idea that these people are canceling everyone is actually a pretty smart tactic because cancel culture is, as a phrase, is not popular.


What are the politics of this? Is this becoming a policy agenda? Like, are there policies that can be enacted around opposing rockiness, uncancel culture that seems somewhat elite driven like it doesn't seem like there's necessarily a grassroots movement against kanthal culture. I hear about it a lot on Fox News or from politicians, but you don't see like a Tea Party style movement activating against it. So one, what are the policies that stem from this and to how is this used in politics?


The possibility this hour, for example, you're seeing that I think Ron the Santurce and maybe in Texas, Abbott as well. There's there's a lot of initiatives along the lines of we want to find, punish or what have you, social media companies who throw people off their platforms, like clearly saying that Twitter or Facebook should not take conservatives off. And you're seeing a lot of proposals like that. You're seeing policies in states to ban the teaching of critical race theory and the 16 19 project.


You're seeing policies to stop the defunding of the police. So this is a wide range of things I'm talking about here. But I think the sort of main focus of this Cancela culture idea is to justify the taking on the left in the racial and Internet way in terms of conversation like particularly, I think that idea the social media companies should not be able to remove people from their platforms for really any reason. That's sort of a real outgrowth of you should not be able to cancel us.


And therefore, here's a policy that comes from that notion. So you're seeing do you see Republican governors, state legislators really focus on that aspect of it? So that's kind of how it plays in terms of policy, in terms of politics. You saw that like CPAC, the first big event for the Republican Party post Trump. The headline for that conference was America UNcancel. And what I think it plays out in the Republican Party is cancel culture has become this broad thing that means from were defending the police to were defending Trump from being banned by Twitter to where we're defending against the Democrats, trying to talk about race too much.


We're defending against Democrats trying to make transgenderism universal. So it sort of fits as a politics because it's all encompassing on some level. So I think, you see it's a phrase you can use to almost attack any left word idea and defend like a lot of conservative ideas. So you're seeing it play out is that. I agree. It's like an elite idea itself. But I think the Republicans are saying we are defending you against cancer culture as a way to motive.


I think the base does know what they're talking about. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump's old press secretary, launched her campaign to be Arkansas governor by saying, I thought the people who tried to cancel me and I'm going to do that. I think that cancer culture is becoming a means of saying I'm going to fight against the overly powerful left. And even though it's an elite phrase right now, I think people are going to gradually get what they're talking about, right?


Yeah, that makes sense. I've asked this question a couple times on this podcast, but I'm curious for your perspective as. Well, this is very clearly the culture war of the 20 20 is essentially when we look at history or when we look at the specifics of today, do culture wars usually trump issues like taxes, infrastructure, health care, things like that?


Like. Applying this to electoral politics like we did when we were talking about how it works within the Democratic Party, do voters care more about these kinds of things? Because, of course, these cultural wars can inspire very visceral feelings among people. We've seen it throughout history.


Does it trump the bread and butter issues that the Biden administration seems to be trying to focus on?


I think this question is probably yes. And so historically, the Republican Party's economic policy views have been on people like this. Idea of cutting taxes for the rich is never popular. But the ideas that were defending the status quo were defending against minorities, asking for too many rights too fast. The Republican Party is campaigning on these backlash to these equality things for a long time. That's often been successful, I would say in twenty twenty. It's like in the slow process we've been talking about a lot like the Latino shift toward Trump.


And this is a complicated story. But I think part of it is like Trump campaign all four years of cultural conservatism, and that means defending the police, defending against weak ideas in a variety of ways. You know, socialism, socialism. And a lot of Americans are culturally conservative. And that's a vague term, but intentionally vague. But if you poll a lot of black and Latino voters about do you support the police, but they don't support that either.


So in some ways, like focusing on the cultural lines of socialism, do you believe in America? Is America a great place? Do you believe in billionaires? Do you think racism is a big issue or do you want to talk about racism a lot in focus on racial divides? Those things are not as popular as let's increase the minimum wage. So I think that is true, that if you talk about these cultural issues a lot, that probably is more advantageous to the Republicans than talking only about economic issues.


But in reality, like because the country is divided on these issues, because Fox News is focused on these issues, there's no way for Biden to get around them because the left, for that matter, cares about some of these racialized issues, too. There's no way to get around the fact that identity and culture have been part of politics from the beginning. On some level, like slavery, you know, wasn't identity politics issue, you know, just say in a silly way, I don't know if you can get around these things and depends on sort of how they play out.


Like it looks to me like the Democratic Party is trying to figure out how do we have a message that talks about racialized issues in an inclusive way, the idea being that like giving people fourteen hundred dollars addresses economic concerns and also might help with systemic racism. That's kind of what Biden is trying to do and the Republicans are trying to do. Basically, Biden is obsessed with talking about race all the time to the exclusion of helping you on issues that might work to the answer.


This question is really complicated because people have in their head and economic issues and racial issues and those are sort of intertwined. Like Heather McGee's book makes this point that I hadn't thought of before, which is like Latinos in Texas became more wary of Medicaid expansion when Medicaid expansion was defined as something to help poor black people. When issues are sort of racialized and cast Karsten's this helps maybe people perceived who don't work as hard, which often is a stereotype for black people, particularly in American culture.


Then it becomes like an economic issue becomes racialized, which often happens. We can't really draw this clean line between economics and culture, even though if the Democrats never said defund the police and always set the minimum wage, there would be good. But most issues have an economic and a cultural lens at the same time. Wrapping up here, you wrote in your piece that for now it seems like the WOAK are winning. Do you think that this movement on the left is likely to be successful long term?


I do. And it's hard for me to look at what we're seeing now and how the Democratic Party has changed in terms of being more quality focused and think that it's going to go backward, because a lot of these things, these activists and so on, are saying are kind of like if you look at the evidence pretty carefully, it's a it's hard to justify the income inequality between white and black Americans without talking about Jim Crow or slavery or things like that one.


And then, too, even if your actual view is that black people have less money because they're lazy, we're getting into a culture where you probably can't say that out loud in a way that you could have like 20 years ago or imply that. And therefore, it's hard to win an argument when you're saying people shouldn't be too woak as opposed to what's your actual position is like. So I think these ideas are going to get more popular in liberal circles.


And I think you're going to see more and more cities. They're not going to defund the police. But I think when an argument becomes do we have more police funding or more funding for mental health, I think mental health is going to win ten out of ten times unless there's some kind of huge crime wave. So I think these ideas are going to win on the left. I think they're so unpopular on the right that I don't know what happens there.


Like if you live in a Georgia, I don't know what happens in a swing state like this. So these ideas are going to become more popular in cities run by Democrats. They'll be done by the Bush administration. I think that they won't get more people on the right and they may be overturned by President Tom Cotton, in fact. So if you think about if we live in two Americas, which I think is increasingly the case, then I think in blue America these ideas are going to move and rid America.


They will not move at all. And therefore, in America, America depends on who's in charge.


All right. Well, let's leave it there. Thanks a lot. Happy Thanksgiving. And you can check out both of Perry's pieces describing the ascendance of these ideas on the left and some of the backlash on the right and 538 dotcom, the great read. So I suggest that everyone go do that. My name is and Drew. Tony Chow is in the virtual control room. Claire Better Gary Curtis is on audio editing. You can get in touch by emailing us a podcast at five thirty eight dotcom.


You can also, of course, tweeted us with any questions or comments. If you're a fan of the show, give us a rating or review in the Apple podcast store or tell someone about us. Thanks for listening and we'll see you soon. I wrote at Verlinden about a nine page analysis of what I thought his situation was from best case studios and ABC audio listened to in Plain Sight.


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