tv After Words David Frum Trumpocracy CSPAN January 1, 2019 3:28pm-4:30pm EST
to label me. people think of me as a mystery writer thriller writer. i've written personal histories, dramatic family stories as well. so i would like to be the kind of guy when you open the book you never know what you're going to get. if you look at the word formula and the word dictionary, you'll never see a picture of me there. >> host: thank you for spending three hours with the book to the audience. >> guest: thank you, i enjoyed it. >> coming up next on tvs "after words," david frum argues
that the term presidency is damaging american democracy. he's interviewed by "washington post" book critic carlos lozada. "after words" is a weekly interview program with relevant guest host interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> host: david frum, good to be with you. >> guest: thank you so much. >> host: i like the title of your book very much. the president who so brand conscious to ecstasy as name but also get its own brand name. with that in mind which you define and explain how you came up with this concept. >> guest: we are all mesmerized by donald trump southside personality. "trumpocracy" which comes from
the same root as democracy and autocracy is a book about the study of power. that's what the suffix meaning. this is the study of donald trump's power. how does he get it, having to maintain it it, how does he get away with it? "trumpocracy" is the system between trump and the media that enable him in creedon ideas. it's the system that involves republican donor elite and above all between him and the core group within the republican party who enabled him to win the nomination go on to the presidency. >> host: now, there have been bad presidents in american history. when did you decide that trump's order transcended the ascent posed a threat to the american system of democracy itself?
>> guest: my concern is only secondarily with donald trump. it is with the larger system. years before donald trump was even thought of as a candidate for president, might interesting repressive populism really intensified in the early part of the two thousands. the ideological extremism of the republican party, which was so plutocratic, so indifferent to what america was going through. was happening to middle-class incomes and middle-class savings. the first origins of the drug crisis, which you can see shaping up a decade ago was opening space for something dangerous and you can see this dangerous thing to conform. hungary and poland and they
became morbidly assessed do such a thing was possible and that it was coming. i was quite surprised, but when he showed up i realize this is what we've been waiting for. >> host: i'm glad you raised that. these two in the book one is about the stuff that trump is doing. you also write about the preexisting vulnerabilities that trump identified. the american democracy today, how much are you worried about the men in the family and how much is that institutional and systemic? >> guest: when you're well and healthy you shake off infections. they can kill you if you're not well and healthy. they're a circumstance as for donald trump or someone like him
and let me give you a concave example of what i mean. right now donald trump is receiving millions of dollars in payments from foreign business partners. philippines, turkey coming at arab emirate. we don't know how much and we don't know whether it's a flat fee or whether he's getting percentages. we have no idea. we do know it seems to be affecting american foreign policy because the countries in which he draws these incomes in the philippines and turkey seem to get much easier treatment than the countries of which he does not. the persian gulf for bahrain and saudi arabia that have been good business partners get one treatment and qatar, which not only didn't have its national day on the trump hotel but canceled the trump tower 2014. it's obviously affect in american foreign policy. you can imagine in a healthy society that congress to do something about this.
bill clinton in his first two years they sell democratic congress. they held those presidents accountable. the complicity between trump and the republican congress is the first building block of "trumpocracy." >> there are different schools of thought among trump critics about the threats that this presidency is posing. there is some who worry about the authoritarian tendencies that are emerging. others sue seymour a sort of the chaos theory, amateur hour in the white house. and this is the hillary clinton criticism. obviously these things can overlap. after sordid year one, is there
one of these tendencies that tends to bore you most? >> guest: donald trump is negative and negligent, but is quite apt get, committed about the things the president should not do. so there's truth to all of these points. there's chaos because donald trump cannot abide any restraint. even the kind of restraint in its own self-interest. by the way, these things are all reported at other people. i'm very dependent on great fall on the reporting of others. one thing i try to do in the book is always take credit to the individual reporter. one of the innovations pioneered by your paper is because the president denies everything, they start quoting sources on the story. this is a big deal in the past.
>> host: the "washington post" the "washington post" thanks you for giving credit to individual reporters. so here's the story. one of the first things he set out to do is reaffirm the american commitment to nato. nato has made a lot of noises that are very nervous about how much he dislikes nato and of course he so much under russian influence or worse it's a big problem. mcmaster arranges and therefore he would give -- there he will give a speech and a monument to article v and they are in front of that monument, he will read a no compromise commitment to the usual defense treaty and be sure that trump says the right thing, mcmaster write the passage himself or at least overseas and it's in the speech. on the way to europe, mcmaster
breese reports this is what the president is going to say. try and get to that portion of the speech and it gets past it. why? some pressure from the russian or maybe he just doesn't like me and told what to do. we don't know. that's where we see the consequence. mcmaster now is in a situation where everyone expected the endorsement and the question is wow, is the president of reneging. the president did exactly what everybody expects a necessity to live. the breaking of the white house staff, discrediting in the eyes of the press. one of the most honorable soldiers are a generation. donald trump has driven above all by greed and by the desire
for dominance. very little by ideology. >> host: could someone else has stepped in to do this? is the "trumpocracy" only possible with donald trump? could someone is skillfully -- >> guest: somebody will. this is going on throughout the western world. we are seeing a global decline in belief in democracy in the affect goodness of democracy across the democratic world. in the united states, it happened, but another countries that expressed it often them are parties and the forces behind donald trump ended in england and britain and the candidacy of jeremy corbyn, leader of the labour party. many of the things that worry me
in the democratic party has been a more levelheaded party in recent years, but one of the themes i stress in the book that is at the most fundamental level are racial, and economic. the tension i draw special attention to. if you follow bernie sanders versus hillary clinton, the gender gap between sanders voters that clinton voters was bigger than the gender gap the general election between trump supporters and clinton supporters and a lot of things famished in social media were more misogynistic tennesseans unleashed. a lot of disaffected men, isolated women and that is one of the sources of energy but the democratic movements. >> host: and the book you spent some time on the conventional notions of white trump did or didn't win in 2016. they're not entirely persuaded by the white working class
theory. what are the things you think release we lease understand about what propelled him to power? just tell you have to pay attention more to the nomination that was the freakish thing. one of the two most likely people on earth to be president of the united states, you've got a shot. in the general election, the real question is not about donald trump. it's hillary clinton because barack obama in the fall of 2016 was polling well above 50%. the economy was growing. personal incomes are rising. political scientists will tell you the party of the president, republican, democrat from an atomic as names. the president should win a third term. hillary clinton got 48-point something. such a big gap between her performance and the bombers. that's the first thing that needs to be explained. there's more to it than that.
her weakness enabled the thing to have their impact. she should have been able to resist. but the battle for the nomination, that's mesmerizing. what ought to have happened is jeb bush campaigned as paul ryan plus more immigration. so he was fed up. thou bubble was set up. if you went to the steep early rally time you saw what the republican base was signaling was more health care, less immigration. less health care, more immigration and said he was vulnerable. the question is why didn't one normal political actor scott walker who is a very brief runner. >> not the worlds most care not at. why didn't somebody else into it
these that donald trump was. protect it, not dismantled. they want less immigration, not more. but they are going to need their social security. why didn't such a person take those needs and deploy them and be the one to lay jeb bush though. that is part of the story of the preconditions that enable trump even when the $50 bill was lying on the sidewalk in front of you, it just can't be there. it's not possible. in fact they had written the whole autopsy report explaining why -- a help wanted ad. the fix was in. a shorter political care of there should have been able to see. this is terrible advice because
the report said early in the book, within 72 hours the entire republican party has converged on the message, change nothing. but the party sent them to campaign on a platform with gradually withdrawing everyone under 55. it's amazing he got 47% of the vote. people did not understand what the republicans are promising to do to their own voters. he might've thought that the reaction was we need to do a little less dismissive of people working for wages. we need to be more attentive to the fact that even are voters really like medicare and wanted to be available even to those who are now 55. they couldn't do that. they could only see the part of the romney platform that they did not light, which was his moderately tough line on
immigration. let's jettison back i make it a 100% rich person platform. >> as you say, it's easy to fixate on trump. the publishers love these days. you read in the introduction that this book is not a story of triumph. it's a story of those who enable, support and collaborate with donald trump. who are they? who are the enablers? how do you break them down? >> guest: first, there are those who immediately serve him, and understandable reasons in mind to conceal the president united states does not want honor. they are the larger executive branch. the department of justice and
the fbi, staff of people like rod rosenstein. rod rosenstein has seems that conscientious and not very imaginative person struggling to do the right thing while also trying to walk the line. and not understanding what a spirit of destruction embodies negotiating. a lot of people are baffled by this and the executive branch. trying to follow their traditional roles and revive ms. amore and its republicans in congress not doing their job. not insisting on basic insight that the president asked dates is on the payroll, the country needs to know about that. and didn't understand that he would use them. normally what happens is the president has an agenda and
wants to accomplish things in a surrounded by people with human weakness. the lbj movies, the president wants a civil rights bill. and the deal was done. they are the enablers. the donors who believe this guy will be the vehicle for achieving what they wanted and the price would be simply unbearable. finally and these are the conservative intellectual world, which developed a series of rationalization and justifications and excuses. if they can't defend them, they attack his opponents. they go quiet altogether.
lastly, in the country, these americans in the millions drawn to a radical politics of authoritarianism as a way of achieving what things they want to achieve and then punishing people they want to punish. >> host: that's a lot to unpack there. let's start with a party at little bit. you know, you write that once in office he was not trump that enabled him -- a visit from police -- to elevate one man of almost power over itself. currently the republican party thought they were getting something out of this deal. what have they gotten beyond a tax bill? >> they got the tax bill, substantial deconstruction of
obama era environmental regulations. they're looking forward to more of those obama left behind because he couldn't pass legislative restrictions. he left behind an elaborate epa scheme and it's intrusive and burdensome and often irrational and a big project of the coming year will be shutting that down. they got relief from some of the parts of obama cared and some hope though that could be repealed, maybe it could be damaged enough to collapse. they get important favors for the financial industry and above all, the breaking of the otection that has been dismantled. donald trump has his own omb director serving at the same time as the director of the consumer protection board paralyzing that body.
>> host: neil gorsuch. >> guest: that's probably more important to the rank-and-file. they're getting stuff. they're getting real substantial tangible benefits. one of the things, let's not minimize how big a deal that is. who pays the corporate income tax. if they paid their workers? consumers are shareholders. we now have an answer to that question. when the stock market goes up 30% on the dictation of a corporate income tax. we think the shareholders are getting most of this. if it were going to workers and customers, the stock market shouldn't reacted to it at all. post code you write that trump has ripped out the conscious about the political spectrum of david boyd armorer american
conservatism once was. did you do that? when did that excavation of them are conscious of the republicans began? you've been throughout the obama years, the former colleague at aei wrote a book several years ago about kind of moral bankruptcy of the party already. when did this begin? >> guest: the trend begins in reaction to disappointment against the economic disappointment in the iraq war in the party began to move in a more radical direction even i say radical, turns economic individualism and that exactly the same time that the american middle class from which the republican party had to start late gone into bigger and bigger trouble and especially white america, from which the republican party is getting in particularly big trouble with
diseases and addiction. the party had moved away from voters. that's the beginning. the book opens with a series of steps down which the american political system is tumbling. again, all of this primarily republican story i think is true of both parties that since the end of the cold war they played the political game much more ruthlessly than they did between 1945 and 1990. one of the themes of the book is either think we understood how much the cold war limited with the parties did to each other. this great power competition depended on presidential leadership and so the president had to be respect did. the president had to be respectable and they had to set some limits in order to ensure the president could mean is that they struggle. the party competitions become much more savage and the
president has become a person much less necessary to respect and much more important to our party bigger. postcode and mutual toleration norm. you might also do during this first year of trump, so much of the attention has been on the president's bullying were raging for his tweets and in effect ability of the most radical attack on arms of government in the first year were attempted by the regular republicans in house and senate. over those most radical attacks? >> guest: they undertook to gigantically expensive piece. faced with a new kind of medical system. details to be filled in later. they did all of this without hearings of any kind. with the costs and benefits at the very last minute in ways that are really not well done. especially true of the tax bill. to this day no one knows what
the true fiscal cost of this is going to be because they create so many possibilities for arbitraging gamesmanship. how many people really are going to take advantage to llc is a must so complicated you don't know the answer to that question. so you don't know how much individual income tax are going to lose from high income taxpayers. the country was invited twice without opponents of the legislation getting a chance to be heard to present expert witnesses of what this would mean. that's a real departure. big pieces of legislation again obamacare costs more hastily than major pieces of legislation in the past. obamacare was a model of legislative procedure compared to what happened after 2017. >> host: i want to talk a little bit about the people
around trump and the administration and in the white house. there were those very early on who assigned public letters did in their opposition to trump especially in the national security realm and then you've had those who have sort of made their peace about serving in this white house or this administration. perhaps even as an effort to protect against the excesses of the president. you talk about them in the book here you say when good people do bad things, they usually have good reason. what role do these people play in "trumpocracy." people at h.r. mcmaster, jim mattis. when we look back on them as enablers are like a last line of defense? >> guest: the situation was quite tragic. jim mattis has the advantage. it's across the river. he's been a giant bureaucracy that has tremendous power of its own and is a four-star general.
that is an overwhelming difference. at the end of the career with not -- nothing more he needs to accomplish. in fact, the sacrificing the rewards with this family and friends that is abundantly clear . if buyer he can't be replaced because somebody like that can be a real attack and i think mattis has been. to the point where mattis has been able to in various ways to make clear in little regard to donald trump. >> guest: the band for instance. though he doesn't do it.
somebody videos on youtube in which he begins by saying i don't have to tell you i find young soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, that is not what it should be right now. do we have to get back to being more respectful to one another, kinder to one another. i'm asking you just hold the line. >> guest: other people have less immunity. you're on the same side of the river is the president. they do not want to be senate confirmed. if you bought things from the president, that alters it. i quote in the book in exchange i had with my good friend elliott: and he went through a
lot of wrestling with himself. first you said you should serve in later he changed his mind. my advice, you need to consider the role, but they were directly serving the president or whether you're serving the national security. and then you need to know yourself and know how sure am i that if asked to do something wrong i will say no. the final reflection as once you're sure that you will do the right thing, as the president agreed with you. >> host: i guess it's too early to perhaps discern what type of threat categories they fall in. >> guest: the outstanding bad actors that nrdc them. we can see some of the kodak verse. and then it's complicated. some people are good and some i.c.e. and bad in others. rex tillerson is proving to be a disastrous secretary of state,
but is also proving to be a non-enabler of donald trump. that's a complicated. >> host: there is another risk you identify to this role. you worn in the book that trans disregard for long-held norms of democratic behavior may pressure others to intern disregard their own long-held norms of behavior. in particular, you worry that the military, whether it's active duty generals can retire generals could be attempted to expand the role and be less deferential to civilian control. do you see any signs of that materializing? >> guest: thank you for bringing that out. one of the things that were his mouth does not get as many discussions. i call this the autoimmune disorders of trump.
the system in self-defense does things that are bad. >> obviously if jim mattis were president right now, i think the whole country would be happier. eddies in the chain of command. he has to execute the president's orders. if the way they're going to protect himself is a military escape in civilian control, that's very dangerous. it's happening in lots of ways that one scientist but we can't be sure of. president trump allows 14 people to read the president's daily intelligence brief. normal administrations allow three, four, five, six are normally the vice president, national security adviser, chief of staff, basically that day. bill clinton let hillary clinton read it.
but it's basically that group of people. if you enough people really able to hold including the highly ethically compromised. and of course we know about him blurting crucial secrets to the russian ambassadors either because he wants to show off her for some more sinister reason. .. . we see is, you know the generals getting a lot of operational authority. remember the "mother of all bombs"? the president was very proud to tell us theater commander made that decision all by himself.
the theater commanders are betting into habit of a making a lot of decisions all by themselves. tough to undo the habits. >> especially considering what happens to the democratic party. you have four years of by donald trump and donald trump replaced by some george h.w. bush figure, widely respected in the national bureaucracy, well-informed. that next president, he or she may be able to pull the power of the president back together. what if the necessary person is much outlyer on democratic side as donald trump is on the republican side? what if donald trump has two terms. democracies always want to slip the leash. military democracies always trust civilians. remember chief of staff kelly's outburst, contempt, real contempt for civilian authority. >> if you have not served you have no right to ask questions? >> yeah. could there be more un-american
sentence than that? that is exactly who has the right to ask the questions. your civilian masters, for whom you work. >> you have said, and right now i don't recall if this is interview or in the book, when trump first came along you described rain shower self vaguely trump curious. he could shake up a party. you didn't think he would win. you thought he would be salutary for the republican party to rethink some of its, some of its policies and, you varities now that you've seen symbiosis between donald trump and republican party, what happens to this party after trump? >> guest: it has three futures. at least i can see three future paths for it. and all depend on, the best-case
scenario, is, it, there is a decisive electoral lesson. and at the same time, as local electorates reject the attempt to make voting more difficult that we're seeing spreading across so much of the country, there is a sharp lesson and, a sharp lesson that non-democratic methods are not going to be acceptable. the party then evolves to be a more normal right of center party of enterprise and british, canadian conservative, british conservative, australian liberals, we accept the ruse of the game. we accept the social insurance state as it was built in the 30 years after world war ii, within that context we're speaking out for people, savers, people that own businesses, private sector people, yet not because the others are illegitimate or not american, they have a party of theirs.
because a lot of what democracy is about, you have to do it one way or the other. the way you do it, putting hands, gets to do it his or her way. that is the most optimistic scenario. it is also possible though that the party remains wedded to the plutocratic agenda of the ryan years and the defeats aren't so bad and this, the trump solution looks workable. the disenfranchisement solution looks like it's workable, and -- >> host: voter suppression? >> guest: voter suppression. one of the things i wrote this book, there were people i was in dialogue with, argument with, one of the things i was arguing when donald trump was elected an sworn in, there was great spasm, oh, my god, this is like january 1933 in germany. that is not what modern authoritarianism -- you can't look at the most spectacular, most hideous case of democratic
breakdown in all of political history in the most extreme circumstances of hyperinflation and unemployment and famine near civil war. that is not how it is going to happen. the whole point to modern authoritarianism, in the philippines, south africa, india, it is more economical. you know, you can get, do, if you have identified the right 6% of the population, stop them from voting that is just as good or better than canceling the election. get just as much power with a lot less squawking. >> host: and legitimacy. >> guest: and legitimate sy. turns out you don't have to disqualify very many people. you don't have to tell anybody, you don't have to tell yourself what you're doing. you can do it without telling yourself. >> host: there is a book out, at the same time as yours, i think of it in dialogue with your book. called how democracies die.
they, they discuss that, they basically say, the most likely scenario is that think of the united states like it all becomes like north carolina, right? where you've seen a lot of moves towards this kind of behavior. >> guest: yes. >> host: the, you know, how sort of simpatico do you think the gop is to that kind of scenario? >> guest: i think that is a very possible scenario. his previous book, was a huge influence on my thinking. i, i'm going to recommend it to real hardcore history people. it is a toothy, toothy book. but his, his central thesis in that book, i compares, comparison of european demock is? the 19th centuries, a lot of success of democracy, he is man of the west, ability to reassure holders of wealth and power democracy will not be too much
of a threat to their interests. if you have too radical democracy, i quote this saying, you've seen it on the internet, your uncles probably sent it to you, democracy only lasts until the majority votes it seven benefits from the public treasury. donald trump, jr. this sentiment is attributed to a lot of people. alexis de tocqueville, aristotle other times, as best as anybody can tell, come from op-ed in the daily oklahoma man man in the 1, by a retired state legislator. democracies get in trouble, leave aside the extreme scenarios of the 1930s, people with assets, become convinced letting everybody vote they will lose the assets. way democracies survive, small price they have to pay to keep their assets is worth it. the greatest stability of a
democratic system. and what is happening in the united states right now, is that, asset holders are frequented out. obama, depression, recession freaked them out. obama freaked them out. they thought, my god, this kenyan miss lump will take everything from -- muslim will take everything from me and few hundred billion dollars to rub in my pants. in order to defend what they had, they became open to more radical solutions. >> host: you, in your concentric circles of enablers who talked about conservative intellectuals who accommodated themselves to trump, what has the rise of donald trump done to conservative thought? there's a recent essay in the "washington post" magazine that says that there is this kind of revitalization of conservative publications. in periods of alien nation of power, creative political
thought seems to thrive. do you see that happening among perhaps the, the conservative intellectuals who have not made their peace with donald trump? >> guest: i think that could happen. i hope it will. i don't see any sign that it happened yet. what, because we're still at the point where people are being given the moral acid test. i am impressed grateful, how many people are, including some people i wouldn't know, are sort of shining in this moment. and are standing up. so that's, that's exciting. others less so. i reference in the book the famous never trump issue of "national review." two dozen people signed it. half of those two dozen people made their explicit peace with donald trump. in some cases quite abjectly.
brent bozell of the media research center and one of fiercest critics would not go where donald trump was at the time of the election. intellectual signs i don't see any part of vitality. in part because i don't think american conservatives yet understand how how their ideas are, how much they were solutions to problems from one period of history, one set of circumstances. how radically those conditions have changed. let me put this very concretely. this is my life story. i apply this to myself as much as others. conservatives grew up in the 1970s and '80s, if you have and inflation, we know just what to do. the liberals say wage and price controls. we know it is monetary restraint, deregulation, we know what to do. if you have a challenge from a totalitarian idealogical geopolitical enemy we know what to do. if you have a lot of crime we
know what to do. but if you have a deflation, and economic stagnation, if you have, international chaos and breakdown of the u.s.-led international order, if you have a drug epidemic, not a crime epidemic we're baffled. we were respond to all of this insisting america suffers from problems we do know how to problem and does not suffer from the problems we do not know how to solve. the real revitalization, of conservatives when conservatives acknowledge new problems that, certain principles and values may endure but your policy can't have sized policy solutions and that work is, i don't see that work being done. but, i want to pay, i want to say in the context of paying tribute to the character, people quoted in "the washington post" article, they have shown themselves people of character. that should, that should always be hailed and saluted.
>> host: there is a passage you have in the book i wanted to ask you about because i wasn't entirely clear where it was headed. you say, maybe you don't care about the future of republican party but you should. conservatives will always be with us. if conservatives become convinced they cannot win democratically they will not abandon conservatism, they will reject democracy. what does that mean? >> guest: we were talking about a minute ago. the greater north carolina. that, they will become, you will see is more and more people saying explicit many republican members of the house say which i don't think everybody should vote. voting should be difficult. you should is to make an effort. you shouldn't be able to just, shouldn't be anybody walking in office. theory of democracy, you know, the most pungently expressed in series of debates during the civil wars, 400 years ago, the poorest he has a life to live as the much as the greatest he.
that is the idea of democracy. not, people are not equal in wisdom or aptitude or wealth but, from the point of view where the meaning of their own lives, their human worth they are all equal. in that respect we're all one, one, one, one and the democratic theory says that one voice, from that one person, about his or her own life is entitled to equal consideration. if you start saying well, but not if they're late? not, not if they can't get off work on a tuesday. then, you're discarding them. and then you can build a lot of rationalizations why it is so. look and some of the rationalizations may have a lot of power behind them. there may be, i think, there is something to be said for not letting people vote six months before voting day. they will be deprived of information they need. at some level, we can't run, it is not a 24 hour drugstore.
and, and there is something to be said, voting from home. there is something is to be said for participating in collective civic rituals to go to a place to cast votes. many of these things can be defended. there is this mood that says we want to actually stop certain categories of people. and, that is, driven by the anxieties of people with things to protect. >> host: isn't that some level rejust shun of conservative i ams believe in individual liberty and self-determination? >> guest: well, yes. individual, conservatives beliefs in those things and that's why conservativism has been mable to make its peace with democracy. that is historical. many democratic innovations were driven by conservative-minded people in a way. sometimes in ways uncomfortable for modern people, how much of the energy behind women's
suffrage was conservative. one of the things that advocates of women's suffrage counted on women voters to do was to suppress strikes, out of control drinking, that women that, the big -- it is not, it is not a coincidence that american women to the the vote at exactly the same time, just after the first world war. the country is cracking down on all other forms of behavior. especially labor radicalism and alcohol depend den system women were mobilized because they thought they would vote for more orderly society. indeed the huge republican landslide of the 1920, by gender gap in republican favor by women voters. >> host: you write in the book about trump's response to the demonstrations and counterdemonstrations and violence in charlottesville,
virginia. there clearly appeared to be white nationalist forces feel emboldened and take comfort in donald trump's rise. it is not, it is not a huge focus of the book, what broadly, what do you see as the role of the alt-right in the trump presidency, beyond it? do you think trump unleashed something he really doesn't quite control or understand? >> guest: that is a good way to put it. when you get radical movements, they, you have to, is this radical movement something that is so marginal that you don't need to deal with it? symbionese liberation army of the 1970s. certain extreme animal rights activists groups. these people do violent things. the answer, you track them down. won't be more than 40 of them. arrest them for their crimes. rethem from society, society will be safe. sometimes you get radical groups that are expressing something
real, broadly shared, the black panthers. that, black panthers were violent criminals in radicalized form speaking to something that black america was not content with the achievements of the first wave -- in fact opened the way to a lot of anger. we can vote but we want an equal share of the society. at that point what, wisely stable policy, what a wise conservatism does is to say, confronting people like black panthers, we have to identify the antisocial personalities here and isolate, marginalize them. identified grievances they're exploiting and address them. a combination of confession and repression. that is how you face radical groups broadly based. reaction to things like charlottesville, reason why i was trump curious and at the same time so trump horrified. the alt-right, whatever you want to call that, it is made up of
obviously many violent socioand psychopaths, cruel and vicious people. but it is also channeling that something has gone very wrong in less educated part of white america, that people are killing themselves with drugs -- america's lowest seatbelt use of any developed country. why? less likely to put children in car seats than any other developed country. why? people are not finding life precious enough. addiction, the self-medication with food and videogames and i would say, get in trouble, the rise in use of marijuana i think doubled since 2007. something's going wrong. and those people, end up sometimes in the, end up dropping out of society all together. the task of creative leadership, one of the reasons when i speak to my friends on the right, i see donald trump such a tragedy, why you can't say, well there is good and bad. he achieved things. what he is doing taking
everything that you ought to be working on and corrupted it, putting it to a dead end. what the response of alt-right, yeah, ones who bear arms, prison. the ones who incite, you know, the internet, basically play the part of self-radicalizing jihadi preachers, marginalize them but, those millions of under30 young men who are earning less than women, don't see marriage in their future, are experimenting with drugs and are putting themselves on the path to self-destructive and socially harmful life, they need a bigger answer than being told they should be ashamed how much privilege they got. >> host: you, i want to shift a little bit to the international scene. one of your big concerns in this book is that trump is eroding america's leadership in the world. and i know, it is hard to
separate these things but, when you think, what part of donald trump's impact will be more lasting? his impact on american democracy at home or this erosion of global leadership that is, you know that you chronicle in "trumpocracy"? >> it already has happened. if you're south korean how can you trust the united states. the president of the united states is clearly contemplating a future which he trades hundreds of thousands of casualties in your country in order to avoid any nuclear risk to his country. at the same time, as he reneging on deals like how you pay for the missile defense of south korea. he is attacking the u.s.-south korea free-trade agreement which is so essential to your country's prosperity. meanwhile he tweets out once a month, if you want protection from a north korean missile, the person to ask that protection
from the president of china. they have history of internationallallist conflict, one is democracy, one is not. if you need security and chinese can provide it and the united states can't or won't, you have to talk to china whether you like it or not. i think that is already in place. i think opening of border between south korea and north korea which donald trump hails as an achievement is actually a vote against his leadership. the south koreans are thinking we have to make our own deal here because the american guarranty is not trustworthy. and not safe. i think you see a lot of this happening in continent of europe. where the united states is the most important thing that has happened since the euro, maybe more important than that negotiating a amicable and stable brexit, that is awol. trump, for some reason, trump has decided germany is america's most important geopolitical enemy. he could not be more hostile.
thereof u.s. ambassador to germany and insult to german leadership. there is no u.s. ambassador to brussels, to the european union headquarters either. trump at regular has something disobliging to say about germany and e.u. they're not going to forget this. the biggest jump in math from zero to one, from non-existence to existence. all these doubts jumped into existence. >> host: what will it take for the rest of the world to look to america for leadership in the way that perhaps it once did? >> well, this, this was going to be a problem for the united states no matter what. the united states, 50% of the world economy in 1945. 30% of the world economy in the nixon years. a little over 20% in the reagan years. on its way to being 15% of the world economy.
the united states has been reinforced by wealth of its friends. if i wanted to exert the kind of power it did in the 1980s it would need to head a big and sustained coalition. that is always difficult. so maintaining american leadership was going to be a difficult problem, project no matter what. so what it will take, first enormous economic growth in the united states, would make united states a bigger share of the world economy. bad behavior from america's rivals will help. china looks to many like, not an attractive alternative but more predictable alternative than the united states. if china behaves in ways that is unpredictable. that may bring some friends back. if you, but it will take barring those things a generation of careful, painstaking tedious work on institutions that were destroyed by people who didn't understand how they worked or why they had been built. >> host: origins of this book in
part are found in this terrific "atlantic" cover piece you did a year ago. something along the lines of, how to build an awe. timing was extraordinary, editors posted it when the first travel ban was going -- >> guest: jeff goldberg is our new editor. he is one of these people natural sense where the public is. by the way, this was a costly decision because the cover stories are linked to print advertising. and he bit the bullet to say, this was an economic risk to release it early on the internet because this was the moment, that he was, as unusual completely right. the fact that jeff is so often completely right, you forget how unusual it is to be right so often. that is completely right. >> host: in that piece you put yourself four years into the future, imagining the beginning
of a second trump term. and a lot of the things you thought that, you know, would be characterized in the country at the time, are things like a sort of compliant gop congress, a sort of stigmatized press, we are littlely quiescent public. i would like to ask you to cast forward again, now, sort of one year in to the trump presidency, based on what you see and this conflict, this fight that you identified between "trumpocracy" and american democracy traditionally defined. do you see the guardrails holding? how do you see this battle playing out? >> guest: i think many of the things i envisioned in 2021 are in the process of coming true. the trump years were prosperous. that he was, he ran big deficits, had loose money. he had immigration restriction
policies that tightened the labor market. he spent a lot on infrastructure. the infrastructure program hasn't materialized yet. not hard to imagine it will. these things, tighten the labor market especially for blue-collar men. and people liked it. one of my predictions is 2018 may be better year for donald trump than 2016 as wages flow through the economy. i did predict compliant congress. that depends on outcomes of election in 2018. he may have have a very frisky congress. if in 2008 republican losses may be less dramatic than most people today imagine they will be. the could youing of, treatment of the press, spent a lot of time on trump's use in the article, and trump's use of antitrust as weapon against the press. "washington post," that is top
of mine concern for the president and use of time warner merger to put pressure on cnn and, so far the elite press has been really resistant. "washington post" has played an incredible role but the larger concern which is, that the article envisioned that the elite press holds made ever less relevant by in a country where more and more people get soft news via social media. and, facebook, is making decisions right now, that is indicate, great willingness to play ball with authoritarian regimes outside of the united states. that sort of augers ill for what it would do if it were under pressure in the united states. facebook run as business model that has been sensitive to government pressure. very few regulatory changes, could, if the government were just to deem facebook a publisher, a, somebody degames
somebody on facebook, somebody writes article in "washington post," degames somebody, "washington post" is liable. if somebody writes it on facebook they are not liable. why should that be? maybe facebook should be liable. if facebook is liable, suddenly number of facebook's tiny number of employees, they will have to have editors. and then, with editors their vanishes facebook enormous profitability. a little changes in privacy regulations, the united states would adopt eu style privacy regulations would have huge impact on facebook's bottom line. easy to imagine pressures like that being brought to bear especially closer to the next presidential election. >> host: david frum, author of "trumpocracy." thanks for being here. >> guest: thank you for your attention to the book. >> did you know that all booktv
programs from the past 20 years are available to watch online at booktv.org. and today we're bringing all of the top 10 most watched book events from 2018 according to booktv.org. sixth is the syndicated columnist jonah goldberg, tribalism, populism, nationalism are threatening american democracy. >> up next on booktv's "after words" indicated columnist jonah goldberg argues that tribalism, populism, and nationalism are threatening american democracy. he is interviewed by jon podhoretz. "after words" interviews nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> host: jonah goldberg in your