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tv   Political Experts Discussion on Stabilizing Democracy  CSPAN  December 31, 2021 3:36am-4:40am EST

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about the foundation and they have quite a bit of money and they are investing it in trials that the patients are interested in and the patients want to put their input into, and it's sort of a real-time patient, and we will see how that goes, but it's a different way that they can have a trial. >> ladies and gentlemen,
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process. this is about an hour. >> >> hello, i will be our event today. a few quick notes before we get started, housekeeping items. for the folks joining us on zoom, we do not have chat available as a feature today and no one will be monitoring that. however, please send any questions you have through the q&a feature on zoom, or you can send us an email. we will try to get to the questions as time permits. we do have a few guests join in us today, so our time will be limited.
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my apologies in advance if your question is not answered. we are also recording this event so it will be available to share with others in the coming days. if you had a question or wanted to clarify something that was said, i would encourage you to find the recording and share it with your colleagues or listen back again to hear the discussion once more. finally, i would like to point out that our discussion today is based on a recent paper that we released called a necessary step to stabilize our democracy. maybe after the event in, perhaps a second window could be opening few scroll through it. i would like to welcome everyone formally to our event. i am a fellow at the governance program at our street institute. we are a nonprofit, nonpartisan,
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public policy research organization. that's what many folks might just call a think tank. we have a mission to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free market and limited effective government. we believe free markets work better than the alternative and we recognize that the legislative process calls for practical responses to current problems. that's why we hold our motto, free markets, real solutions. i focus on elections, both how to make our elections more accessible and secure, but also looking at big picture reforms to help rethink how we can incentivize good behavior from our elected officials. today we will be discussing the topic of losers consent over the course of two panels. you can find our policy paper on her website, our the topic can be summarized like this.
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democracy relies upon the consent of the losers, following an election members of the losing side are the ones with an incentive to rebel against the winning side. to keep -- it is imperative that losers must value the institution of government or than they value the control of government. they must be willing to accept the results and try again at the next election. with discussions about electoral politics, we might perceive ourselves to be the winners or the losers in the present moment, but if you follow politics for any amount of time, you are bound to have experience both victory and defeat as a member of a political coalition and if you wait long enough you will experience both sides over and over again. that's white is important that we have a stable system in place . this isn't just limited to candidates who have to concede an election. it includes all of us as voters and particularly voters from the entire coalition who can i see
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authority of the victors. with that being said, here is what we will look forward to over the next hour. we will talk to co-authors of the 2007 book losers consent. we will talk about some high-level questions and where we stand today. we will follow that up with a discussion featuring a panel that brings together on the ground experience with campaigns alongside electoral reform and what can be done to make it easier for those who lose elections in the future to play again. with that being said, i'd like to introduce our first panel. we have with us at the moment sean, do enough the graduate division at the university of california riverside. he is a distinguished professor and has served as a member of
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the board of the american national election studies as a member of the editorial board of both ethical studies, and president of the western political science institution. he is focus on -- has previously co-authored a number books and articles on the subject including the future is ours, minority politics, political behavior in the multiracial era of american politics, and reforming the republic. shaun, thank you for joining us. i'd like to start by asking what inspired you to write the book in 2007 and at the same time if you can touch on defining what do me -- what do we mean when we use a phrase like losers consent? >> first i should acknowledge it is a collaborative process.
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it is a common concern, while a lot of the tension at election time, just like there is in any contest. the response to losers turns out to be quite important in deciding whether it continues for another cycle or not. we will attempt to look at something comparatively across democracies. matt: with that in mind, why is this important, and in particular, does it seem important to you now that we have to focus on losers consent in our current time? shaun: -- an immediate example
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is the response to the election of donald trump. people are not quite ready to accept the lost. you see a number of different behaviors, for example, a whole series of lawsuits. public opinion shows how angry people are or unwilling they are to accept the results. we saw that on january 6, there were a lot of people very angry about the loss. what we see currently in our politics is a whole bunch of activity that is a confluence of people not consenting. one of the limitations of the study is that [indiscernible] more and more of what the consequences are.
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matt: i want to ask about that, because you mentioned areas of research having covered -- my impression of the book, and it's almost 15 years old at this point. it was written in a time period in which vice president al gore lost a contentious election, it went to the supreme court, and followed up the supreme court's decision with a concession speech that effectively said i don't like the decision that was made, but i'm willing to accept it, i'm going to encourage folks to accept it for the stability of our country. as i read through the book, it seemed to take the united states ability to handle loss for granted. think might have changed in that time period. in the paper we have available on our, i noted there has been a bit of a vicious cycle that has happened. if you look at an event like january 6, it's not an isolated
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incident, it took a series of steps along the way to get there. not to necessarily draw equivalencies, but we've had conversations over whether or not presidential candidates will accept the outcome of the election for four or five years in advance of the 2020 election, whether that was donald trump himself as a candidate, hillary clinton even following the election making claims that the russians were responsible and perhaps trump's election wasn't even legitimate. in 2018 we saw a gubernatorial candidate refused to succeed and i believe still refuse to concede to this day. it paves the way for continued withholding of consent. i'm wondering if you see it similarly, is it a vicious cycle problem? should we no longer be taking the subject for granted in the united states?
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shaun: there's a lot there to talk about. if i talk too long, just make some gesture or something. it really is unusual to see this happen in the u.s. and this -- in this sort of way, we are not used to it. and for generations of political scientists brought up on the idea that the u.s. is the model for the rest of the world. the american constitutional crisis as an example. that turned out not to be that case. i think you're quite right that this isn't only -- this is all donald trump. there is this long history of polarization over the past generation that provides a background to this willingness to accept a loss to the other
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side because the other side is so bad. what we have seen is a whole series of examples and for example, one of the consequences of this election is [indiscernible] except that the claim has been about there is something wrong with the elections. his been going on now for 20 years pretty much. you can see repeated examples of claims being made that the elections are fraudulent, the elections are fake, and so we have to do something about it. which means, and i agree with you, the current situation does reflect something longer-term.
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matt: todd is joining us as well. todd donovan is a professor of political science at western washington university where he conducts research on elections and opinion in washington state, the united states, and occasionally in canada and great britain. he is the co-author of a number of books as well. professor donovan himself is also an elected official in washington. thank you for joining us. i like to give you chance, i will ask you briefly to mention, we are able to define losers consent and reflect on the book from 2007, but in your perspective, with all that is happened in the intervening 15 years since the book was
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released, it's my view on reading the book that losers consent was taken for granted in the united states at the time that was written. you agree with that characterization, and if so, or either way, do you think that it should be taken for granted now? todd: thanks for having me. i wouldn't say it was taken for granted. the book has a heavily comparative european focus and a lot of the data we were working with was more available in europe. the american stuff kind of did not quite fit in with that. but i don't think it was taken for granted. i think looking back on the book, if we were doing it again, we kind of measured some things fairly soft in terms of trust in government satisfaction with democracy and how losers have
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different attitudes on those sorts of things. i think what is may be different now is the sort of concern about democratic the consolidation or liberal attitudes among people. that is not something that we are able to get into enough. if we were doing it again, that would be an area that we would probably want to look at. to the point of what sean said about concerns about electoral fraud, that goes back, in 2000 it was democrats thinking the election system was wrong and in 2004 it was democrats thinking that the ohio machine voting things were rigged. republicans thinking that illegal voters casting ballots. all that stuff was going on before we even wrote the book.
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so about mechanics of elections, much of that predated the book. i think that has changed kind of structurally. not that we are going to write the book again, but if we did that would certainly be something we would want to look at. matt: looking toward the future than, if you have thoughts, and we will go to each of you in turn, on what can be done to help ensure losers consent going forward. my paper outlined a few different options, each of which i will admit would have varying levels of impact and lift to implement. what i looked at were ideas that would allow more proportional representation, that if voters feel like they're having more of an impact in who represents them in government that you would have fewer losers, as it turns
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out, and the stakes of losing might not feel as dramatic. if it's about flipping from one side to the other and the direction of the policy of the country turns with it, that can add to the resentment of losing. i looked at reducing partisanship, even if people lost and feel like they got a fair shake, that can encourage him to participate in the future. there is an opportunity to combat misinformation about the election and whether that is things like allegations that don't have any evidence to back them up, or things that everyone, in my view, kind of takes for granted, like that there is a partisan impact on turnout. you will see elected officials promoting one reform or another with the intent to boost or holdback turnout, thinking it will have a partisan impact. everyone seems to have just
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bought into this. a softer factor is, i think it is important for voters to demand more virtue from candidates. candidates themselves need to show humility in defeat and they need to show graciousness in victory. i think there is a sore winner and loser that can happen as well. even if a voter isn't able to create a proportional representation system, they are responsible for the character traits they want out of their candidates. those are the things i put forward as potential solutions. feel free to reflect on those ideas or if you have anything else to bring forward. todd: one of your recommendations was a system, one of the books we did is called the limits of reform. that reforms will make people
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better engaged, and there's a lot of uncertainty about all these things. often they don't deliver the things that proponents sell them as. i think there is a lot of promise, not just in terms of how voters might change their perceptions but in how campaigns are conducted. not that they would be less partisan or polarizing but the fact that people have to make appeals to their rivals, supporters, given your second or third choice or something. there is a little bit of evidence that people perceived less negativity in campaigns in the voting context. the nonpartisan election met -- administration, should state
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electors be elected or appointed? and if elected, should they run as nonpartisan? the secretary of state of washington is being vetted for a top post in homeland security. she is a republican being appointed by the biden administration. that may not be nonpartisan but cross partisan. at the end of the day, the signals that people in office send are probably the most important thing in terms of how people perceive the legitimacy of elections and how they are conducted. whether talking about the secretary of state of georgia or washington, whatever their party is, they have to be in a
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position of transparency and something that at least people perceive as being nonpartisan. not just secretaries of state, but elected officials in general. so how do you get that virtue you're talking about, we can think of these mechanical, procedural reforms that may soften perceptions about elections being less than legitimate, but at the end of the day, what are the winners and losers saying? shaun: one of the things that strikes me, there is a lot of incentive for losers not to consent. there's a lot of campaigns on the basis of election fraud.
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there are a lot of people whose interest is in perpetuating this idea and to keep stoking the fire of anger. there are a lot of election lawyers out there willing to take this on. i think that is important to recognize. institutional reforms are a piece of that. i think it is quite promising. i think further reform in the primary process might be helpful because right now, extremist candidates -- to help promote in
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some ways might help. it really does depend on the virtue in public office, and we have this general disregard for good people in public office and for people doing good things in public office. that just seems hardwired into america these days. we are trying to believe that. i do think we have to be cautious about the incentives for a lot of people. it means that institutional
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reform is a piece of that, particularly these ones that break apart the idea that there's only two choices and it is us or them. so open primaries, proportional representation, those kinds of things will help break that down. matt: i will notice we start to approach the bottom of the hour, if folks have questions for us, feel encouraged to reach out by email and for those with us on zoom, our q&a function is live. i do have a question that might be the last one given the amount of time we have available to us and pending audience questions. i don't want to spring you with recent polling data you may not of seen, but you research released a report last week looking at democracy internationally --pew research,
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whether or not folks felt satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country, and the results were not optimistic for the united states. roughly 60% of americans were not satisfied with the -- the way democracy is working here. at the same time, something like 85% of them believe there is an opportunity for reform and that things do need to be reformed. so i'm curious, in your viewpoints, are the american people ready for reform, or are we still in a place in our present moment where we need to be holding tight and waiting for the tides to turn? i don't expect any of us to have a crystal ball, but i'm wondering if you can give your take on whether or not the american people have an appetite for the reforms necessary. shaun: think fast.
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i guess i would say two things. it's not surprising that people aren't happy, we are still just coming out of the covid epidemic. there are all kinds of things that went wrong last year. especially i think the long legacy of george floyd and similar events across the united states. there's a lot of events that a lot of people are processing and a lot of people that are ready for some things to change. as well as the bigger ones about the economy. so it's not surprising that a taste for reform or changing things, i'm sometimes hesitant,
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reform is supposed to make things better as opposed to just change it. i think a key thing becomes how do you accomplish that? that depends on elected politicians having a taste for reform. that benefit status -- benefits the system. whether we look at statehouses or washington dc, there is not a lot of evidence that matt: matt: our political platform is ready. and perhaps not a lot of incentive for them to see things that way. todd, i will give you the last word as we approach the bottom of the hour and shipped out our panel. todd: there was a similar one a couple of years ago that said 60% of americans think fundamental structural changes are needed in the american
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lyrical system. they also found that people thought democracy in america was working ok but there are the structural things, campaign-finance reform and redistricting, that people seem to support. how do you get that to happen with the people who are in control in office and changing rules? some of these things get done in redistricting, term limits, or that might be the way we get proportional representation. the appetite is there. it takes advocacy groups
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educating people about what some of these reforms are and it takes the opportunity to get that on the ballot. in terms of places that don't have direct democracy, that is much harder. then you are counting on people under the current rules to change the current rules. matt: i appreciate ending on a note of optimism because it seems like often conversations around electoral structure and politics in the united states can be a bit dour, so thank you for the note of optimism. we will start to transition into our second panel. you are welcome to stick around as we bring on our next panel. if you are part of the next panel, you are welcome to turn your camera and microphone on. i will provide an introduction and give folks a reminder, we are talking about losers
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consent, the idea that it is important, not just for losing candidates but for their voters and coalitions to recognize the winners and their authority following an election, which can be very difficult. there are a number of incentives for doing that, but the losing side of an election needs to value the institution of government more than they value control of the government. in certain circumstances, that can be asking a lot. i'd like to bring on meredith, she is a long time public affairs strategist with more than a decade of national experience in communication. her work includes campaigns and more than a dozen states, battleground states like arizona, pennsylvania, florida, and virginia. meredith writes for political
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candidates and elected officials at her firm. thank you for joining us. sarah walker is executive director -- she is a veteran election policy specialist. she served in state government and held various roles in government relations. she's an expert on voting and legislative issues. she frequently speaks to the media and has been quoted in the new york times, politico, dallas morning news, houston chronicle, tampa bay times and others. sarah, thank you for joining us. sarah: thank you for having me. matt: jason robert specializes in american political
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institutions with emphasis in the u.s. congress. he is serving at the university of north carolina at chapel hill. he earned a back first degree from the university of north alabama and his phd from the washington university in st. louis. he was an assistant professor at the university of minnesota. he is currently working on a process that -- project that explores ballot types. jason, thank you for joining us. finally, artur davis, who served from 2003-2011. he was successful in multiple campaigns for congress and provides perspective as someone who has participated in elections for governor of alabama.
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valuable experience in the context of our conversation today. he earned his bachelors degree and juris doctor from harvard where he graduated magna cum laude. following his career as an elected official he returned to the practice of law and works in the field of workplace discrimination. thank you for joining us. artur: thanks for having me. matt: you have on the ground experience both as a successful candidate and in some hard-fought campaigns that did not turn out like he wanted them to. speak to us about what it is like accepting defeat as a candidate, but still being willing to try again in the future? artur: a politician long ago
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once said, if you lose an election -- many would say that is dead on. what i have learned as a candidate over time is that there are two sets of forces at work. first of all, that is across any sort of partisan lines or generational lines. there is a perspective that winners win and losers lose. that perspective, which donald trump fed into, and folks on the left feed into as well, has change the nature of election outcomes. someone who loses an election today is enduring that
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experience in the midst of a cultural identification of losing with weakness, of losing with a lack of ability, and an equation of women with skill, fortitude, determination. so saying that losing is not an option, there's the theory that if you have the will and determination, you will be successful. people from abraham lincoln to bill clinton to barack to ronald reagan can tell you that is not so. all of them suffered significant losses to their career. the second observation i would make is that the trump we are dealing with today, politics today is a struggle between good and evil. you frame your opposition as
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evil and morally corrupt. to lose now is too lose two corrupt forces. that is what feeds this notion that, i cannot concede defeat post race because i am conceding to the forces on the other. now meaning means i have beaten -- winning means i've beaten the forces on the other so i need not be magnanimous. that enforces in our society, it affects sports, entertainment, it affects how you think about winning and losing in politics. matt: i think that's right, and i appreciate that you come from alabama, a state that has a team that is known for winning and at team that is known for winning in the shadow.
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you are right, i think it permeates across our culture in more than just politics. it can be a dangerous mindset if it helps to enable bad activity in the name of a good cause. i told you we don't have too much time and we have quite a few panelists. i want to give meredith a chance to chip in here. as i understand, you've served as a campaign staffer. specialize in communications and talking to average people about politics or speaking through another official as a speechwriter. i'm wondering if you can share for us what it is like convincing voters to remain engaged, digitally if you're picking up in a moment where they might have just gone through electoral defeat. separate from experience as the candidate, as someone who
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understands the communication toward voters. meredith: there are no winners without losers, but also with winners, many were at one time losers. and that is true whether you have engaged as a candidate or elected official, a staff person or as a volunteer. think about how many elected officials have blocked a race at some point in their political career and what they learned from that experience. and again, whether you are a candidate or staffer, it you only need to know the feeling of losing -- if you engage in a campaign again, you have done the work to kind of understand what you need to do differently, whereas if you have the attitude
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of, i didn't actually lose, i one and it was stolen, you aren't taking that hard look at the things you could have done differently and done better. i will say, having worked on a losing campaign myself, there's nothing more motivating than having gone through that experience. that is something you take with you when you talk to voters and volunteers and inspire them to pick up and work on the next campaign. matt: and i'm curious as well, based on that experience, is it your sins, our voters as willing to jump back into the fray in our current moment, is there a difference, or are we seeing a trend? any thoughts along those lines. meredith: i think time will tell. i noticed a lot of folks coming out during the stop the steal
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movement that had never once volunteered on a campaign. so hopefully the outcome, disappointing as it may have been for them, might prompt them to get engaged before the election happens rather than after the election happens, when it is too late. matt: i think that is a great point. you are right, time will tell. we will see. i will give you a pass because i think you are right. next i'd like to turn to jason. i know you have studied elections and congress, and the relationship between the two and how ballot structures and the rest might impact the way an elected official acts. i am curious for your thoughts.
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we have about a five minute window to answer the question, and it is a big one. do think it is possible under current electoral system that we can assure consistent consent from electoral lists -- electoral losers, or do we need to make changes? jason: there are some changes we can make. the point that will probably have the most impact would be to move to a system where the person administering the election is not on the ballot. you talked about the georgia gubernatorial race. it is a clear conflict of interest to have a candidate for an office administering the election. the person could have the purest of intentions, but it is going to look at no matter what you do. we couldn't should probably do more nonpartisan election administration. we need to develop better candidate norms. senator romney said it best, he
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said tell the voters the truth, that they lost, and it is time to move on. you referenced the algor concession speech. i called up the last -- the owl gore concession speech. i laid it out for the students to show what it has been throughout history, landslide elections, close elections, where you had a gracious accepting of defeat. we have had that before and in the context of a system where they have always done this in a way to advance them. we tempered it with the norm of you accept the outcome as it is and then you move on. matt: if candidates historically had this norm to concede, presumably whether the norm was just this is what we do, or if
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they view that there was an incentive to concede, that the public would heap shame upon them if they didn't. it seems in my opinion that something has changed. do you have any sense of what kind of change as far as the public's willingness to accept a lack of concession? jason: i think it gets at what we talked about earlier. it is not so much that you care so much about your own side, is that you think the other side is evil. there's something inherently immoral and corrupt. it makes that kind of behavior acceptable because you have lost it to an illegitimate actor. if you can view them as not a legitimate actor then you don't feel as constrained by norms of democracy and democratic competition. matt: getting back to how do we
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cure politics in a way that we think about us versus them. and what separates us. sarah, i would like to bring you into the conversation. i know your work is focused on reforming electoral systems to improve access to elections but also making sure the results are trustworthy. i am curious if we can keep the conversation going about suggestions for particular reforms that will ensure losers are willing to consent to reform of winners following elections. i will note for the folks joining us that our papal -- our paper offers four possible options. we've got different electoral reforms like proportional voting to give voters a difference and more impactful say in who wins,
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or maybe just reduce the number of people who might identify as losers. we also look at ensuring nonpartisan election administration as well as demanding more virtuous behavior from candidates. artur, i'd like to get back to you as well about how voters can demand virtuous behavior from their candidates. sarah, i'm wondering your thoughts on what we can do with a particular reform to help ensure losers consent? >> one of the things i'm most concerned about is what is happening now. we have to actually stop what is happening in the state legislatures currently. to me, losers consent is further
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being jeopardized in the upcoming elections and as a result of all the state policy passed in the legislature. and bills are already being introduced for the 2022 legislative session. it's only going to make them less likely to want to take on those roles. they range to civil penalties and civil rights action, and perhaps what keeps me up at night are the egregious, never-ending election investigations that are spreading like wildfire. i'm sure many people have heard about the bill introduced in texas, which fortunately has not passed, but i think it shows where we are headed and why the state legislative actions need to be stopped in their tracks if we're ever going to get to point where we can look at the kind of electoral reforms that r street has suggested. to initiate a review of not just
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past elections but future elections, simply for losing and with no evidence of malfeasance or any burden of proof. this is particularly concerning, not just for trust factors, but it would apply to primary in addition to general. you can imagine a scenario in which on her most extreme elements on both sides, both parties, would be challenging the primary vote, and in the meantime, while those votes could be recounted, we are going into a general election, creating a general system of chaos. but we all know this isn't happening in just texas. it is happening in states like michigan, wisconsin, nebraska, montana, and utah. these are things that are
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further developing and promulgating the conspiracy theories while redefining positions and believes that are being used to weaponize. these policies are creating hostile environments and what i would say are the most needed electoral reforms. the other thing i would add is i think professor donovan rightly noted that people receive signals from elected officials. if we are going to restore trust and democratic norms, it's critical that we lay the foundation for increases in failures. we have to stop these now for going to be able to create them with collaborations and coalitions needed for electoral reforms. i also worry, and i guess this is still the unknown, but i do think this will change who wants to participate and what their
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motivations are for participating. the last thing is, i think we would all do better on electoral reform if we did not only focus on those battleground states and perhaps focus on states like alabama and mississippi that don't always receive as much attention. matt: i think there's something poetic, perhaps one of the better way to restore elections is to do nothing for a bit as far as reforms are concerned. let things simmer and let the heat be turned down a little bit. i want to come back to you around candidate behavior. we have received a question regarding what everyday folks can do to have an impact on improving and reforming our democracy. it is my take that even if you can't actually change election laws, individual voters as part
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of a collective do have an impact on the character of the candidates they empower. as a former candidate yourself, i'm curious what your thoughts are on the ability of candidates to be held to account for their character, to signal to their base. >> we have to professionalize the administration of elections. into many committees around the country, the people who compromise, the people who won the election no process, they are hard-core partisans. they are not neutrals in any way, shape, or form. the world series starts tonight in houston. we will not allow atlanta to designate half the umpires in houston to designate half the
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umpires. as far as voter capacity to make a change, here's what is at the root of that. today, if you decline to recognize the legitimacy of the other side, you are rewarded for that by your political base. your political base will say this is a person of courage, a person a principal, which are going to have to change the of what people value in politics. over the last 25 years we have gone from a world with highly capable people who are able to think naturally and creatively about issues, to the world where to be a star now means you have to have a loud voice and know how to project that loud voice.
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do you have the capacity to project yourself? we have to change the incentive structure to where experience matters, where it demonstrated track record matters. we have too many people running for office whose primary qualification is they know nothing. we have got to move back to a world where people are venerated based on whether or not they show they can do a job. unfortunately it is the one high-quality selection we have where resumes and credentials don't matter. matt: let's move to meredith again. give you a chance to respond to what you might have heard from your fellow panelists.
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in particular, some thoughts you might have around some of our best opportunities to ensure greater consent from losing voters. meredith: yeah. one thing sarah pointed out earlier is something has to give. todd made a great comment the first session in that campaigns have to operate appropriately. how do you instill that virtue in candidates to be able to win or lose graciously? there's a responsibility that in some ways lies with staff and consultants as well to prepare a candidate for the potential of both outcomes. certainly there is a balance there, operationally. you want to keep your focus as a campaign operative to doing what it takes to win for as long as possible. but if you have done everything right operationally, election
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day is believe it or not a pretty slow day. the night before, the day of, both of those are great opportunities to have that at times challenging conversation and say listen, things look optimistic but let's stay humble, list be prepared with two speeches just in case, and let's also be prepared to win or to concede graciously. unfortunately, i think some of the people in the president's circle were afraid to approach the president with that reality, and that's ultimately, in my opinion, partly attributable to the horror we saw on january 6. matt: i think that is a good point. yeah. it does tickle me as someone who has dabbled a bit in helping with campaigns of how slow election day can be, but most people do not see it that way.
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jason, i want to come back to you. i know you have a chance to listen to the other panelists and a want to give you a bit of an open floor to provide response. i would also like to raise a question that was brought up in the q&a related to what americans can learn from other countries, perhaps. i brought up this poll in the first half of our discussion today, that americans are not satisfied with the state of democracy. this is a poll from last week from pew research. and they see there is a real opportunity for reform. on the others we have countries from around the world that do have broad support for their democracy in their country, and at the moment are satisfied with the way things are going. they brought up switzerland as an example of where folks feel they can trust their government. the pew poll brought up the netherlands and sweden and new zealand and a few other countries. from your perspective, both to reflect on what we have heard and if you have thoughts to
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share about what we might be able to learn from other countries. jason: to reflect on what we have heard, i would like together two points made about election administration getting people involved. it takes thousands and thousands of individuals across the country to administer elections, to work on election day, to do those things. i am on the local elections board in my county and we run 45 pop-up businesses a couple days a year. it is a really massive undertaking. most of the people doing that are very professional and very hard-working. if you can get people who care about party to get involved in this, they might see this process a little more. i recall last november when we were sitting in the elections board late at night counting absentee ballots, one of my republican colleagues looked over at me after we had spent 90 minutes chasing down a missing ballot, and she said, you know, it would be really hard to commit voter fraud given the processes we have in place. i said that is true, we need to
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make sure we share that people and have people see that. if people get engaged before the election and see how these processes work, i think you would feel much better about it and have fewer people questioning the outcome if they would look at the controls and the quality checks that go into administering an election. i do not want to speak out of school about what other countries we can learn from, but i do think if we paid more attention on the front end and did not see this so much as a horse race, we would have more confidence in our outcomes on the backend. matt: thanks. sarah, we only have a couple mittens left ear, and since you are -- left here, and since you are the last to go in the first group, i want to give you the opportunity to provide reactions to reactions. so any closing thought you might have? and i will go very briefly around the horn after this if folks want to share about a minute of a closing thought. sarah: i will say two things
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very quickly. one is i do agree with professor roberts. i think helping educate the public about the processes already in place is something we can do to build that trust. but i also want to leave on a positive proactive note. while some of the large-scale electoral rooms might take longer and require coalition building, there are things you can do as state legislator do not be partisan. add voter tracking to all absentee ballots so voters can see the process, administrators can check them, and people can see if something has gone wrong or the balance is not received. i also think every state should have some form of risk limiting audit and we should make those things transparent, so they are true's -- posted on the secretary of state's website. there are small steps we can take to start rebuilding that trust in the interim. matt: thank you. artur: with respect to the comparative politics issue, one thing that always strikes me about other countries' election
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process, the candidates do not become cults of personality unless they win. in many european countries, or even israeli politics, canadian politics, the reality is that the party and the ideas and policies associated with the various parties on the ballot dominate the election process, and personalities less so. this is a country where because of the extended nature of our primary system, the personalities of the candidates and the qualities of the candidate go on center stage much earlier than other countries. i think that has an interesting impact on our politics in ways beyond this discussion today. matt: thank you. i had not thought of it that way before, especially in regards to the way the primaries play this role of taking folks you might agree on 99% of policy and hyping their personality differences. that is fascinating. thank you.
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meredith, a final thought from you? meredith: sure. losing, it's just really difficult because it is emotional. it's a reflection of a failure that has taken place, and often a very personal one. operationally, campaigns are more than a full-time job for many, and they commit the time, the resources, the money you need in order to be competitive, a lot of times you alienate your friends and family during the campaign. there is a lot of personal exposure wrapped up in winning and losing. i also believe, and i hope, that most -- not all, but most political candidates understand the weight and responsibilities they will have to take on to help their constituents once they reach elected office. with that comes the idea that
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artur pointed out which is you develop this notion, a very polarized notion of good versus evil, and that certainly plays a role in what makes losing so devastating, and alternatively what makes winning so joyful. but looking at the necessity of the palatability of concession when it is necessary, making sure that candidates are educated about the realities of winning or losing, and to professor roberts' great point of educating volunteers and people who engage in the elections process, who are oftentimes just local volunteers, and really engaging them in the process is where we are going to start to see positive changes. matt: thanks. i appreciate ending on a note of optimism. i pointed out a few times that this subject can be a little pessimistic because our politics is not a forum for happiness and joy at the moment, but it is nice to remember that there are good folks out there working on
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this, and that there are positive ideas for ways in which our country can come together. even if we de--- disagree on policy, we can agree on democracy. i want to thank our viewers for tuning in. a recording will be amenable -- available. and you can learn more about the work that we are doing our website,
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strategic and international studies. >> thank you so much. we are so pleased to be able to host this conversation as part of the civics now policy summit. civics now has been an outstanding partner, the passion round promoting civic education is so inspiring. it is the passion we have heard from a wide range of national security professionals we've had the privilege to talk with over the course of this initiative at csis. a key goal is to bring a sense of urgency to this issue of civic education that we attach


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