Ruy Teixeira is the author or co-author of eight books, as well as a prolific writer on politics in America, including his recent essay, “The Working Class Isn’t Down With the Green Transition.” In this episode, Teixeira talks about how the climate change issue came to dominate Democratic Party politics, how the party lost its connections to rural Americans, the “insularity of the elites” who dominate both parties, the attacks on free speech that are coming from the Left, and why more Hispanic voters are attracted to the Republican Party. (Recorded April 20, 2023.)
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone, welcome to the power hungry Podcast. I'm Robert Bryce. In this podcast we talk about energy, politics, innovation and power. How do I usually say it energy, power, innovation and politics. That's how I usually say it. So welcome to the power hungry podcast and welcome to my guest really to share. He is the politics editor at liberal patriot.com. Really, welcome to the power hungry podcast.
Ruy Teixeira 0:26
Hey, thanks for having me.
Robert Bryce 0:28
Now you've written or contributed to or edited a bunch of books, eight of them, I think you told me including most recently the optimistic leftist. But I didn't warn you guests on this podcast introduce themselves. So imagine you've arrived somewhere you don't know anyone and you have 60 seconds, please introduce yourself.
Speaker 2 0:45
Okay. My name is Rui to Shara. I'm a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributing columnist to The Washington Post politics editor and the liberal patriot and author with John Judas of the forthcoming Where have all the Democrats Scott and I study political demography political coalition's the evolution of American politics and related demographic and public opinion information. I've been doing this for a long time, trying to understand where we're at politics has been and where it's going. And I'm primarily a data driven guy, I try to look at the data and like the best guess I can is what's really going on.
Robert Bryce 1:24
And I want to get back to this because you got your read up on you a little bit. I tried to on all my guests, you got your PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. And your dissertation was on low voter turnout. So I want to combine in voter turnout. That's right. I want to come back to this. So but you consider yourself a journalist to political scientists, if I said What are you What would you say?
Ruy Teixeira 1:46
Political demographer, I suppose medical animal I guess, essentially, I masquerade as a political scientist that technically my PhD is in sociology, I consider the social sciences, you know, all kind of mushed together in a way, and it's good to roam around and figure out what the best approach is for any given problem and inevitably trespass in other disciplines. So that's what I do.
Robert Bryce 2:11
Sure. So I wanted to read your essay, most recently on the liberal patriot. And it really caught my attention. The title is the working class isn't down with the green transition. And I want to read a little bit of this because it really rang it touched something inside me because I've been watching this for a long time, I spent a lot of time in rural America. You know, I speak to a lot of groups and travel around and the political divide in America really concerns me, but I think what you talked about here is really important. You wrote nothing defines the democratic economic strategy more than a single minded focus on fighting climate change. And existential crisis is Biden, other top Democrats in a galaxy of Democratic leaning pundits have termed it. In practice. This means this has meant restructuring the economy around green quote industries, and rapid transition to an energy system based around wind and solar. Democratic elites and activists are very, very committed to this approach and are willing to pay high cost to make it happen. In the end, they assert not only will the existential crisis be averted, but everyone will be happy and prosperous. But I think you hit something here that to me, I call this a class issue. And our mutual friend Joel Kotkin has written a lot about this and around class and the issues of EVs, and in the piece, you've talked about electric vehicle adoption and how few working class people are even thinking about buying EVs. So you I think you self identify as a Democrat? What is going on? I mean, how is the party been so detached from you? Because you've written about this a lot. The working class roots of the Democratic Party have been completely abandoned here. i That's how I see it. And am I misreading? What's your diagnosis here?
Ruy Teixeira 3:50
No, not at all. Not at all. You know, this is actually a great deal of the subject of the new book, where have all the Democrats gone? Trying to figure out, you know, basically, how this happened? How did the Democrats become so divorced from the working class roots, and we talk about a couple of things in the book. One is the sort of the Great Divide that's opened up between college and non college people working class and elites. And the way in which that's mapped on to geography, rural versus urban, different areas of the country, which have sort of been left behind by economic development, and also what we call cultural radicalism, which is pretty much a Geminis, the Democratic party where they've gone far to the laugh that a lot of issues that just are not a big concern to working class people and in fact tried to impose a worldview on things like race and immigration and gender ideology and relevant to our current discussion. climate. Climate has really become a cultural issue for educated elites who dominate the Democratic Party. This is a huge, huge, huge issue, and they take it as given we are in this existential crisis, we must do the impossible to do too much to hasten the transition to Net Zero and all that jazz. And you know, bass, as I argue in the Peace working class just aren't that interested, it's not a super salient issue for them. They're much more concerned with mundane issues of how they're going to get ahead in life, material things, health care, jobs, wages, and energy prices. But you know, they're very sensitive to energy prices, but the kind of people pushing this stuff or not. So it does create this fundamental contradiction. So what we try to describe in the book is how, you know, among other things, climate is part of this emerging climate, sort of cultural radicalism, which has taken over the Democratic Party, which does divorce the Democratic Party from its traditional role is the party of the working class. Indeed, it's a party of the people, right, against the elites, against the people who have the most economic power. I think the Democrats have really lost sight of that. And there's a lot of reasons for that. And we traced them in the book. But I think climate as part of the reason we see that today, because there is this divorce between the worldview of the people who run the Democratic Party and its associated institutions, the nonprofits, the academics, the advocacy groups, the legacy media commentators, and what have you, where they're totally convinced that this is absolutely true, that, you know, we're in this climate crisis. And we have to double and triple down on this transition to renewables. And, you know, it's like, you know, Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead. And the working class is sort of sitting there at home. But what we have to do what, right there, just as I say, they're just not down with the green transition, but Democrats act as if they are. And I think that's a huge contradiction, and I think it has been and will create problems for them.
Robert Bryce 6:45
Well, so in this is really something I've talked about before, and I haven't written much about it, but that the Democrats and the Republicans have kind of switched sides and Jared, Gerald, Gerald big, Gerard Baker, forgive me in January wrote a piece that touched on the similar things he wrote, in the Wall Street Journal, he said, not very long ago, college educated professionals voted for Republicans in vast numbers, while blue collar workers picked Democrats. Now a college degree is the most reliable indicator of democratic preference. The proletariat is dependent, dependably Republican. So does that I don't want to talk about Trump very much at all. Because, you know, it's such a kind of a, well, I think he's a cancer on the Republican Party. But does that explain in part the rise of Trump was this this, that working class? I mean, clearly Trump dominated in the in the rural areas, right in 2020? Is that is that help explain them the rise of Trump in the in the, in the, how these parties have changed sides effectively in terms of working class people?
Ruy Teixeira 7:42
Oh, absolutely. I mean, we talk about this a lot in the book, about sort of the origins of Trumpism. And it does have to do with this great divide that opened up between working class and college educated between rural and urban and between left behind areas of the country and the post industrial metros on the coast. Trump recognize this, that this was not only this was a problem for the Republican Party, because they were associated with the sort of Country Club elites and the sort of libertarian economics and, you know, trickle down approach to economic change. And on the other hand, the Democrats had really lost the plot, in terms of how they were appealing to the people who were sort of on the short end of the stick in terms of how the country was developing. And he basically spoke to that in his own inimitable style. And he was able to basically sort of re realign and reorient the Republican Party towards the working class. And it's deceptive elections, considerable sections of it. And that's how he became president. And he almost beat you know, almost was reelected in 2020. And the Republican Party itself has now you know, by and large, more than working class party than the Democrats from carried the working class writ large in 2020. By four points in 2022, the House National House vote was 13 points in favor of the Republicans among working class voters. So this is, this is a trend that we've seen developing over time initially, basically, in the white working class. And recently, we've seen it spread to non white working class voters as well, particularly Hispanics, and Asians are even seeming a little bit among black voters. And that's, you know, that absolutely has a lot to do with the origins of Trumpism. When both parties seem to lose track of the working class, particularly its historic party changes will happen and political actors and entrepreneurs can take advantage of that. And that's exactly what we saw happen.
Robert Bryce 9:37
So, do you consider yourself a Democrat? I do. And why? I mean, because I'm going to be provocative here a little bit really, we don't we just met and so I'm but 2017, you wrote a book called The optimistic leftist. Why the 21st century will be better than you think. But then in the Atlantic, let me see was in last year in November, you wrote a piece called the Democrats long goodbye to the working class in which you said the party's biggest challenge heading into the midterms is the erosion of its traditional base of support. So I respect your
Ruy Teixeira 10:10
Well, I'm a Democrat, because I want to help them come to their senses. I mean, I've always been a man of the left. And, you know, I'm sort of I would describe myself for want of a better term as a Social Democrat.
Robert Bryce 10:23
Does that mean I'm just I mean, we believe
Ruy Teixeira 10:24
that the Social Democrats believe in the welfare state, they believe in the necessity for government to play an active role in, in sort of steering the economy in a direction that's produces broadly shared prosperity. And I identify with that tradition, as opposed to a sort of more libertarian approach to the economy where, you know, the worst thing you can do is interfere with the free market. I don't believe that at all. I do believe that, in fact, government has a critical role to play, I do believe the growth of the welfare state, and government broadly speaking over time, it's been a good thing for people, but I want you know, a party, the left should be fundamentally oriented toward the benefit the welfare of the working class. And when you lose track of that, and you become obsessed with other things, and you depend evermore on the votes of more educated and affluent people, I mean, I think this is a real problem. So I want to try to get the Democrats back in the right side. On the other hand, the Republicans while they can correctly call out some of the cultural and other excesses, including on climate of the Democratic Party, you know, I would say on balance, they're crazier than the Democrats to this day. Should be on that basis.
Robert Bryce 11:34
Right. So your, your choices, okay, I just picked for less crazy of the two then
Ruy Teixeira 11:39
less crazy, and Republicans are still dominated, I think, to a large extent by business elites who have their own fish to fry in terms of, you know, how they want the economy organized. And I think that's not good for working class people either. And, you know, they don't have an economic philosophy of their own, I think that controls the party that that I think would move in the direction would be best for for the country. I think there are people who put forward some of this stuff and heterodox center right circles like American compass, the magazine American Affairs, there are some senators like Holly and Rubio has put forward some interesting stuff. But I think they're very much minority voices in the party look when Trump took over the country, but he's 16 to 2020, he ran on kind of an anti neoliberal platform to a significant extent. And that was a big part of his appeal. But once he got into office, and he would had to deal with the Republican caucus, about the signature legislative achievement, quote, unquote, was a tax was sort of what do they call it, the tax and Justice Act of 2017, which is basically kind of a giveaway to more affluent people in corporations, it was not actually going to do much for working class people who did not, in fact do much for them. I know he did some decent stuff on trade when he was in office. But I think it just shows to go you that you could talk a populace game, if you're a Republican, and it might help you get elected. But once you get an office, you have to deal with the actually existing Republican Party, which is still in a process of transition. There are people within the Republican ranks who want to see the Republicans become more of a sort of a consciously oriented working class party and have a different approach. But again, I think they're minority views. And you have someone like Jim banks, for example, who argues that Republicans should lean into being a working class party. But he always talks about that exclusively in terms of cultural stuff. And I get that I mean, the Democrats are vulnerable cultural issues. But at the end of the day, you have to actually produce and be oriented toward the material welfare of your constituency. And
Robert Bryce 13:43
that means economic, more economic populism for lack of a better term
Ruy Teixeira 13:47
economic populism, and, you know, national, sort of a program for national economic renewal that actually help people in broad areas, that country that have been left behind. I mean, the Democrats have their plan, right, let's build windmills. And, you know, let's have wind and solar everywhere, and that will produce this groovy society. I mean, okay, well, what's what are the Republicans plan, the Republicans plan, you know, sort of reduces to let's get out of the way and let the market do its thing. And let's cut taxes as much as possible, which, you know, six, to some extent, is still their program. I think they're moving away from it. But I don't think that's the right approach, either. So I think it's a difficult question, how to produce sort of a new, what you might call a new American system, a second American system. You know, back in the 1800s, we had the first American system, which was a partnership between public investment and private entrepreneurship that actually produced, you know, an enormous amount of economic development. You look at the history of economic development in the United States, a country has worked best when there hasn't been this sort of public private partnership and a sort of conscious and Dutch national industrial strategy.
Robert Bryce 14:56
So you think about railroads they're specifically that would be one is that that was
Ruy Teixeira 14:59
part of it. all started out with canals actually. I mean, there's the investments and education, higher education, higher education act, the land grant universities mean Lincoln describe itself right as Henry Clay wig. I mean, he was he was into building building off the American system. And if you look at the history of the United States economy, clearly that's been a progression with evermore growth of the welfare state evermore investment and things that actually produce productive productivity growth in the economy. And we need that again. So that's a long discussion. Sure. I mean, you don't if you don't like the Democrats approach to public investment, and I think there are big problems with it. Okay. What's your what's your program? What is your program, as a Republican as a Republic as the Republican party today? Just back to the future? Let's like, you know, reinvent Reagan, let's reorder it. Let's have another second burst of Reaganism sure are, we cut taxes and regulations, and we, you know, do that kind of jazz and hope everything will trickle down and be good for everybody. So I think that's why their Republican Party or they're in their own pickle, and their own transition where they have a new constituency. And they don't quite know how to appeal to it other than in cultural grounds. And I think that's a problem.
Robert Bryce 16:14
Okay, so yeah, I agree with you on that. And I look, I have my line is I'm not a Republican, I'm not a Democrat, I'm disgusted, and I am disgusted. I mean, you know, a pox on all their houses. Right. But when you say the Republicans are part of the party, the business elites? I mean, couldn't you make that same charge that the Democrats, you mentioned, I believe in your piece? Which was the reason why, you know, one of the main reasons why I wanted to have you on the working classes and down with the green with the green transition, as I look at the inflation Reduction Act of this is corporate welfare, the first order? I mean, who's going to benefit here, it's certainly going to be some of the biggest corporations in the country, big banks, Wall Street, big law firms that are gonna make a ton of money. I mean, we're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars here.
Ruy Teixeira 16:56
That is a problem. I mean, there's sort of their business elites who are very influential in both parties, right? Yeah. And you can sort of pick your poison at this point. But it's not like the Republican Party is, are themselves immune from the influence of business elites, who just a different a different sort of section, a different slice of the economic elites. But this is part of the problem that the Democrats had today, obviously, they are, you know, under the sway of Silicon Valley, and big solar and wind, and, you know, some of the financial industry is in their corner. I mean, look at the whose staff, the Clinton and Obama administrations sure this, we talked about this a lot in the book, but the Democrats really lost their cred on being the party of the working class, partly because they became evermore influenced by, you know, their own favorite sector of the economic elites. And to some extent, you know, their policies would therefore tend to reflect the priorities of those people. And, yeah, the inflation Reduction Act? Well, I think it does have some good stuff. And and, and I prove it, the idea of public investment, in general, just because, and I liked the idea that Democrats are taking and sort of now more open to an active approach in terms of how to deal with the economy, and are willing to put their money where their mouth is, the problem is, that's a necessary but not sufficient condition for achieving what allegedly they want to achieve and what they should want to achieve. Because you can do public investment, you can have resources thrown at problems. But unless they're thrown at the right problems, and in the right way, it's not actually going to produce what you think it's going to produce. And I think that's the situation. We're in now, where the inflation Reduction Act has enormous amounts of subsidies, and you say almost welfare for certain sectors of the economy. But it's not clear how much it's going to produce, in terms of actually benefiting, for example, working class. People are Noah Smith writes about this in his substack, he calls it check ism, the concept that if there's a problem with the money we've spent, the problem must be, you know, we need to spend even more money on where it's actually to put it in as crisply as possible. If it's too damn hard to build stuff in this country, right? If you're going to throw money at building up infrastructure and developing certain industries in the country, you have to make sure it goes to the right people, and they can actually do the things that you want them to do. Whereas the Democrats, I think, to some extent, they're mobbed up with a lot of interest groups and people who support certain regulatory structures. I mean, look at nuclear, I don't have to tell you about this. I mean, it's just, it's just insane that, you know, you can't really make any progress on nuclear in this country because of the crazy and regulatory regime. So you know, for example, the inflation Reduction Act, you might argue, okay, maybe it's waited too much toward wind and solar, but at least there is some support for nuclear Well, that's good. But what is that really going to produce as long as the structures remain in place? It makes it incredibly hard to develop a nuclear industry in the way that and with the repetitive we need to do it. So these are some of the contradictions that Democrats face and the public investment bases in this country. But that doesn't mean we should give up on public investment.
Robert Bryce 20:09
No. And I completely agree. And I think that that's one of the reasons why we've seen the nuclear struggle, right. As a friend of mine who worked in the Department of Energy said a long time ago, for nuclear to succeed, you need pro government and pro nuclear politicians. The problem is the Democrats are anti nuclear and pro government and the Republicans are pro nuclear and anti government. Well, we need pro pro Pro, pro nuclear and pro government. And you mentioned that, of course, in your in your piece. The working class isn't down with green transition. But let's you also cite this really what I thought was amazing poll that was done by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, and how beliefs in China and climate change in action on climate change just vary dramatically, and that there were only 38% I think of Americans were willing to even spend $1 $1 on action regarding climate change, and it's dollar a month dollar. And that you were and that also that it was that oh, that only 19% Was it or 20 21% were willing to pay $100. So, but it goes back to your overall points
Ruy Teixeira 21:16
even less than that. But anyway, I'd also add to that, Robert, that, you know, I did some analysis that suggested, if you looked at working class, in particular, it would only be 30% of that group that will be willing to pay the dollar a month, and only 18% would be willing to pay $10 a month. So yeah, there ain't a lot of support there. I mean, you can ask questions, and you've probably seen them, where they, they'll ask respondents well, okay, would you? Would you rather we put more emphasis on renewable energy or oil and gas? Or are you in favor of, you know, accelerating a transition to renewable energy, all this jazz? You get very positive responses to those kinds of questions, even among the working class. But when the rubber hits the road, about whether you'd actually be willing to sacrifice in any way for music? No, of course not. I mean, are you kidding me? I mean, it's just this is a low salience item. And it's way down at the bottom of the concerns of working class people. But it's way close to the top of the kind of people who, you know, the great and the good, who and the Democratic Party who would tell us, you know, how we should move ahead, and the associated pundits and intellectuals. I mean, it is just not to be questioned. The scale of the climate crisis and the scale the action needed to confront it. I'll tell you a little story here that I think it's kind of funny. Sure. Back when I was at the Center for American Progress, which maybe some of your listeners know this is like, the biggest center left Think Tank closely associated with the Democratic Party. I was there for 19 years from its beginning to recently when I moved to AI,
Robert Bryce 22:56
headed headed by John Podesta. Back in the White House,
Ruy Teixeira 23:00
in the White House running the IRA disbursement,
Robert Bryce 23:03
right and was famous for some WikiLeaks in which it was clear that the Center for American Progress among other people, among others, was targeting Roger Pilkey Jr. with a effort to get active campaign.
Ruy Teixeira 23:17
It was was was appalling. I thought, but but I'll tell you like from, you know, sort of relatively early days at the, at the center, you know, they used to have this guy, Joe rom who ran climate progress, right. Yeah. So I ran. I remember he would like talk to the staff and I'd read some of the stuff thing. She says crisis does the sound right. To me, this is like, I don't know, he seems way sure of this that he should be. And, you know, I was always a bit heterodox, at least in my the quiet of my, my study. So I would read people like your Lomberg. And people like that. I think, you know, he makes a lot of I don't agree with him completely makes a lot of good points. I mean, we should, maybe this isn't quite as done and dusted as people think it is. And yeah, so I was kind of a closet lundborg At what I was at the center. But you don't if you think I could tell anyone about this? No way. I mean, this. There's no debate about stuff like this. I mean, it was to be it was just a given that the scale of the climate crisis was not to be questioned. It's all like An Inconvenient Truth, outdoor type stuff. And, you know, this is clearly any other climate radicalism became ever worse, of course, as you know, in the 2010s. I mean, we talked about it in our book. And, you know, the senator, you know, sort of went along with that. And, you know, I was I wasn't really I wasn't a policy guy, politics guy, so, I wasn't sure about this stuff. But it was funny, you know, hanging around there and realizing, I don't agree with almost all of this stuff. I mean, this is like, it's cloud cuckoo land. So, you know, sort of now I'm free or to say what I really think because I, I read and think a lot about the climate change and energy issue. And the more I've read and thought about it the more it seems to me that Democrats have sold themselves a bill of goods on this stuff.
Robert Bryce 25:06
So has anyone to your knowledge ever moved from the center of the American for American Progress to American Enterprise Institute? I didn't know. They know. I've already got me. I've joked I didn't know that they had allowed Democrats in AI, but good for you price.
Ruy Teixeira 25:19
There's a few Denmark, sort of defrocked Democrats who are the de frausto vote democratic and among the junior staff, there are definitely some Democrats. I mean, you have to realize AI is different from the center and a lot of other Washington, so called think tanks, and that it's actually a community of scholars where people are permitted to disagree with one another. I mean, it's clearly got a center right orientation, right? There's no question about that. But there actually are people on staff who disagree with one another, there's no official party line. And, you know, that people are treated with, with respect, you know, in terms of their their views on things, and nobody really tries to censor you. So, I mean, there's very few places like that now in Washington, almost all of them in a sense of a party line, and are advocates for one side or the other. I mean, there's AI, there's Brookings, to some extent, not much else, you know, there's a few international places that are like that. But so many of these things so called Think tanks are really advocacy tanks. And AI to its credit has stayed away from that, though, again, I don't want to kid anybody that most people there are Republicans on the Senate. Right, but they're, they're good Republicans, you know, sure. Like most people in Washington, who are Democrats, I think there's actually good people on the other side, I've always thought so. That's one reason why I wound up in a because I knew the people that I knew Carlin Bowman, I knew other people, I'd work with them. And I thought they were I didn't agree with them on everything. But that was fine. Right? We don't agree with things. Let's discuss. Sure. That's always been my attitude. And the idea that Republicans are all tools of Satan, I always thought was like completely ridiculous.
Robert Bryce 26:54
Well, so let's talk about this divide again, because I think William Golson had a good piece in The Wall Street Journal, just recently talking about the urban rural divide, and it's something that I put on posted on Twitter recently. And I see very clearly I speak to a lot of rural electric cooperatives. I travel a lot in rural America and talk to people and you know, their farmers and ranchers, storekeepers, you know, people who work with their hands, you know, I consider those my people, right, who do I speak for who I want to speak for, I hope to speak for the people who turn wrenches, right, the people who work with their hands, but the divide between? I mean, we've talked about the Democrats being the party of the college educated, but it's really the party now increasingly of the cities, right that they do that. So how did rural America at well, gholston talks about this? I think there's a Cornell study that just came out and talks about the fact that rural America is being left behind, but it's also being, I would say, victimized in some cases, targeted steamrolled by big business, big banks, big industry, big law firms, to force them to take renewable energy projects they don't want. Right. So, right. Which is a citing issue, land use conflicts. Why do you why has all asked the question, why has rural America become so Republican?
Ruy Teixeira 28:15
Well, that that's that's a big question. And you're right, that it's happened. And again, I refer you to what's coming up with God, Judas, where well, the Democrats got Amazon for pre order,
Robert Bryce 28:26
which will be out which will be out in November. Correct. So where have all the Democrats gone? The soul of the party in the age of extremes? By him by Henry Holt, if I remember.
Ruy Teixeira 28:38
That's right. So we do discuss that in the book. And, you know, if you you want to, I mean, you have to trace the disaffection with rural America back quite a ways to the sort of economic transformation the country went through in the 70s 80s. And 90s, be influenced with the trade shocks. NAFTA, you had the, you know, the China shock in the early 2000s. And a lot of the economic base of a lot of these rural areas was was sort of getting eroded. And they felt like Democrats basically had about zero interest in helping them out. And even as the Democrats seem to have zero interest in helping them out and sort of acquiesced, and this, these kinds of economic transformations, they felt like the Democrats increasingly, in a cultural sense, did not represent them, and in fact, look down on them. And this is something that, you know, obviously bedeviled the Democrats among white working class voters in general, but it's particularly the case in rural areas, which are more conservative, which are more dependent on resource extraction and manufacturing, farming and what have you. And not were not part of the favorite industries that the Democrats were close to. And the
Robert Bryce 29:48
and those and those industries being tech and specific, right, I mean, because that's one of the other Oh, this is a clean industry, right? Oh, Google, and, you know, Bezos, Amazon, you know, where Michael Bloomberg right? Big, big donors to the alt energy NGOs. Right that these are their their crowd. Right. Whereas the but I want to talk about the you know this depopulation issue because it to me, it contributes to the other broader challenges that I think are worrisome in America, which is this urban rural divide, right. It's a Republican Democrat as well. But I published a piece recently piece recently on subject, my subject, Robert bryce.substack.com. I'm a faithful reader, thank you. But it was about the transformer shortage. And when I talked to the guys who were running the trend dairy farmers, he was saying we can't get enough labor. And this is a longer term, if we just talked about So where have all the Democrats gone? I think it's I look at the United States. Now. I'm very bullish on the United States proud to be an American. But I look at the issues around demographics and workforce. And that's one of the things where I get concerned, because are we going to have enough workers, particularly in rural areas where these transformers are manufactured? So do you talk about that? Have you looked at that manufacturing? Because it is true that a lot of the manufacturing capability in America is in small towns, but they don't have the the the employers are begging for workers? They can't get enough?
Ruy Teixeira 31:11
Yes. Now, we don't talk about that specifically in the book. But I do think it's a very good point. And it connects to the broader problem of, you know, the Democrats strategy for rural areas, right, which doesn't really concern itself or have much to say about the kinds of problems you're alluding to, but instead has sort of Gailey assumes that if we sort of throw enough money and subsidies at wind and solar, some of that will be in rural areas, and everything will be great. You know, as opposed to like, the what are the mechanics of this? Where do you get the workers? How do these industries actually grow? How does this actually benefit the area's a whole? How do you get around the problems with, you know, citing these these, these industries and building them out? You know, what are the there there are multiple problems here, but I think that while Democrats I think want to believe that because, in theory, some of these resources and money and development will happen in rural areas, or at least being targeted to rural areas, that the grateful rural residents will then vote for them. But I think that, you know, the devils in the details, you can allocate resources to x, but unless the resources can be deployed in a way that actually produces results that benefit the people who live there, and they recognize it's benefiting them, and producing the kind of development that they they're they want and are looking for. You know, I think to some extent, it comes across as tone deaf, it's just like, you know, you're gonna let them eat, you know, let them make wind turbines. Right, right.
Robert Bryce 32:47
And to respond to that really was what is this line? Oh, you know, especially in cold cold mining areas. So we're going to teach them to code now. We're gonna make them computer software, guys, right, but
Ruy Teixeira 33:00
we're gonna put a lot of coal miners out of work. Wasn't that one of Hillary's lines in 2016? I mean, this is exactly the sort of, you know, classic definition of a gaffe, when a politician actually says what they really think. So, you know, it's like, yeah, I believe you, Hillary, you are gonna try to put a lot of coal miners out of where it goes. You know, of course, then there was a famous basket of deplorable. So, you know, a lot of the people in those areas they have they feel they have abundant evidence that Democrats do not, in fact, care about them that much that they they actually abomination and looked down upon not only them, but a lot of the industries and activities they have depended on economically for so many years. And that does not go down. Well. Yeah, voters.
Robert Bryce 33:42
Well, and one other one other point that is in this Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago survey you were you referenced it, that 77% of Democrats believe climate change is an important issue versus 29% of Republicans? I mean, it's just a massive gap. Yeah, huge. And is this let me talk about affiliation or religious affiliation. I don't know if you talk about this much in your in your work or but it's I think about the climate change as a belief system right about catastrophism that there is something that very rhymes with Christianity rhymes with a lot of religious belief about sin and redemption and so on. And Republicans tend to be more churchgoing than Democrats by a significant margin. Is this is this part of the college educated Democrats that this the belief system in climate as a and catastrophism is part of a new form of secular religion? Does that rhyme with yours makes it does that sound correct to you?
Ruy Teixeira 34:45
Yeah, yeah, very much. So in our chapter on climate in the book, we actually do kind of talk about that the growth employment catastrophism as a belief system and how it's kind of taken over the brains of most people who run or inflow It's a Democratic Party and it is, you know, kind of a secular religion. Michael Shellenberger talks about this a lot. Certainly I think. And I just don't think there's any question about it. Look, I live in a very blue area, no, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and I talked to lots of people about politics about issues like climate. And they're just, they just don't have to scratch the surface very much to get this sort of almost religious fervor coming out about the climate issue, which is fairly unrelated to or untethered from any actual look at the data. Right? I mean, to some extent that religion is accentuated every day for them, because as you know, Robert, every time any unusual weather event happens, that's all attributed the climate change. So it's kind of like this constant stream of, of provocations, and, you know, incitements, to believe that we are in this climate crisis. And this is the biggest existential crisis facing humanity. And it does form an overarching belief system, about the planet, about the economy, about the weather about what should the priorities of the country be and the priorities of the world. They mean, it's all one big blob of belief, right about, you know, that sort of ties everything together. And let's talk a lot of these people. Let's,
Robert Bryce 36:22
let's talk about those priorities. Because I think that that's the key here. And I'll ask the question this way, or is what is happening in Europe as a potential warning to the Democrats about not about about being too focused on climate change, we see the new prime minister in Italy saying we're not down with, she didn't say we're not down with the green energy transition. But essentially, that was it. Do it? Count us out? Right. The big results that happened in Holland just a few days ago, a few weeks ago, now, where you had this unknown party, the farmers party, I think, is the name of it. And suddenly they're the they're the new center of a new coalition in Dutch politics. Is that a? Could that be a warning sign or a little bit of a reminder to the Democratic Party in the United States? Hey, look, you need to sober up on this.
Ruy Teixeira 37:13
Yeah, I think so. I mean, if you follow European politics at all, I mean, it's the push back on, a lot of this stuff has been gathering for a while. And there's been retreats and notable retreats on the part of many parties and politicians on these on these issues. And, you know, they talk a good game about the clean energy transition, but when it comes down to it, you know, they realize that what people really care about is energy supply and prices. And, you know, if they can't, you can't meet the energy needs of the country with renewables, then you have to deal with other stuff. So we have the backup on all this stuff. I mean, you have, you know, produces these weird contradictions, right, like in Germany, where they just, like, phased out all their nuclear plants, and then have this incredibly aggressive, clean energy transition strategy, but they wind up like, you know, sort of relying on, you know, building out more coal. I know, by gas on this. I mean,
Robert Bryce 38:09
how do you look, you're the you're the data, how do you explain Germany? I mean, I just kind of put up my hands, I think, and they just closed their last three nuclear reactors at a time when they are facing energy, not Armageddon. That's overstating it, right? But massive climate, massive energy supply, and
Ruy Teixeira 38:26
they're gonna have to meet their energy shortfalls with coal and more gas. Right. So how
Robert Bryce 38:30
do you even call so how does it how to use a political science guy explain that is what is it? What is it in the German psyche? Is it something I guess, beyond my Can I don't understand?
Ruy Teixeira 38:40
Well, I think you know, it's a little bit. It's a very interesting question exactly how this came about. But we can see some of the same political and policy and ideological transitions and the German laugh that we've seen in the American Left, right. So not only do they have an immensely strong Green Party, which is totally bought in and all this stuff, and Geminizers most of what we would call in our country, college educated liberals, but it's even infiltrated or has a huge influence in the Social Democratic Party. So people in the more traditional that party as well have been oriented toward toward this sort of clean energy, transition and emphasis. And, you know, so the, you have parties that are willing to subscribe to this, you have evolved in a direction that's consistent with it. And you don't have to look, even the Christian Democrats and in Germany have felt they needed to sort of respond to this, right, the sort of, if not as aggressively, climate transition people, but but somewhat. And at this point, you know, we haven't yet seen the big revolts in Germany from voters, maybe at the end of the day is it is up to the voters to say, you know, Boston enough, and they haven't yet said it. They may say it in the future. But at this point, the party czar feel that they can get away with this? I think they're probably mistaken. I think their strategy is, you know, sort of very suspect and it's going to produce bad it's already produced a lot of bad results in terms of energy prices, as you know. And how long are people going to put up with it? What's going to happen next winter? We'll see. I'm glad
Robert Bryce 40:18
the Tories in Britain right, you know, but Ritchie, Rishi Sunak comes in. He says, we're going to repeal the fracking ban, and then reimpose the fracking ban. Looking at it, I'm thinking, Wait a minute, you're a Tory, what are you doing? You? You're in a massive gas crunch.
Ruy Teixeira 40:33
One way to look at this, Robert might be well, who runs political parties these days? be they on the left? Or the right. Okay, well, primarily, college educated. elites who have gone to the same universities and live in cities have not been the same circles are not particularly connected to the lives of working class people. And so, you know, if you look at an issue like climate, or you look at various cultural issues around transgender and so on, they all kind of come out of the same bucket, and they tend to, they tend to socialize with different flavors of the same kind of people. So in a way, it's the triumph of the hegemony of college educated, relatively liberal elites on both parties.
Robert Bryce 41:19
So insular, it's it's a product and insularity and Celerity they live
Ruy Teixeira 41:24
in. Now, you know, it just shows to go you that today in the West, political parties, the people who run political parties are not particularly closely connected to working class people and in the middle class people of various sorts, and we're connected to people they, you know, they went to university with and their whole outlook on the world and the neighborhoods they live in. And that's why you periodically have these populous searches among more authentically working class people who are willing to break the crockery and say, What shouldn't be sad and are, you know, looked down upon by mainstream elites, be they on the left and the right is sort of really uncool? And they shouldn't say stuff like that. And they're like, these are Yahoo's. So
Robert Bryce 42:10
is it what a third party help with a third in the United States here? I mean, you know, I've thought about well, my guess is my assumption is, I mean, you're the political scientist, but I think Trump no matter what the indictments, what happens next, he's going to run because he's Trump. But if Trump wrote with Trump runs, it means the Democrats get the white and win the White House. Well, you know, this is the Ross Perot factor, right? I
Ruy Teixeira 42:30
actually don't think he's gonna run if he doesn't get the nomination. But it certainly would make it interesting, and probably does considerably enhance the probability that Joe Biden will have a second term, but a third parties in general in the country, and I don't see any reason to change my view on this now. I mean, the standard view is that it's really hard to be a third party in the United States because of the you know, single member perks past the post system because you know, we, we do we are structurally not set up to make sure that if you vote for a third party is in a vote for your worst enemy. Right. So that is
Robert Bryce 43:05
repeat what you said there really, you said something about the first pass the post forgive me. Yeah, well,
Ruy Teixeira 43:09
so the plurality system I mean, if you run if there's a mole, you know, several parties more than two in a given district, or a given state, the person who gets the plurality wins right now, the person who does it gets a second vote and the third mouse gets nothing at all. So if I'm a person on the left and I want to vote for the proletarian, you know, socialism party, which and they're gonna get 10% of the vote that's going to be taken away from the Democrats that's just going to help the Republicans right so that is a fundamental and and unavoidable dynamic of these things in the United States. And that's why third parties have continuously failed unless there's some massive realignment that takes place
Robert Bryce 43:53
the existing in the existing parties have no interest in seeing that happen. So that's not that's no
Ruy Teixeira 43:57
Yeah, so So yeah, I'm not holding my breath on that one. I think that discontented people like us will still have to make our choices between Republicans and Democrats. And you know, depending on which party we're most closely associated with tried to make the make the case that we need a different kind of approach here if we're really going to achieve the things we want to and really decisively beat the other side and continually try to make
Robert Bryce 44:24
an actively hold our nose as well we vote then it's the choosing the least worst or
Ruy Teixeira 44:30
some extent Yeah, I mean, I think I think that's a lot what I think that's a lot what it's about with like, you know, many many many many Normie voters right? As we know what what activates a lot of people these days is not that they love their own party it's just they hate the other party much more what they call negative partisanship. So all the people voting democratic today because they love the Democrats know a lot of it because they think the Republican Party's you know, it's like you fry short of a happy meal and I could never vote for those people. So
Robert Bryce 45:02
are three fries short and
Ruy Teixeira 45:03
maybe even three?
Robert Bryce 45:06
Well, so let me ask, let me switch gears here a little bit because this is something we mentioned Michael Shellenberger earlier. And he's been doing a lot of work on censorship. And this is something that I've been observing when it comes to the Climate and Energy stuff, right? I've seen, you know, articles published by National Public Radio, effectively arguing that, or even contacting Facebook and asking Facebook, why are you allowing these rural opponents of solar to say things bad about solar, say things that might not be true about solar? I mean, actively seeking suppression of speech. So my question was, why have the liberals or the left I just say it had been so in favor of restrictions, right. We've seen this on the Evie mandates. You're coming from the non legislative, this the administrative state, the natural gas bans in California 75 communities in California have passed measures that prohibit will prohibit now, the Ninth Circuit ruling this week, thankfully, will negate I read your piece, I thought that was good and validate all this. But but even speech on masks vaccines, so much of this effort to suppress speech is coming from the left. Is there any irony in that? Or how do you explain that? Well, of course, there's
Ruy Teixeira 46:17
already the traditional position of the left has always been free speech is, you know, somewhat absolute good. It's basically traditionally been used to suppress the left not to help it. And by and large, we should rely on the free exchange of ideas in the expression of different viewpoints. And people should not be repressed or suppressed, whatever, simply because they have a different point of view. That was the traditional view of the left, but it's clearly mutated quite a bit in recent times. I mean, I think you can, you can sort of, you can certainly see it in the debate about race, you can see it in the debate about transgender stuff. There's increasingly a concept that, you know, free speech, you know, how uncool how uncool is that idea? Right? We all know that words can harm, we all know that people can be led down the wrong path. I mean, you know, we cannot have a neutral attitude toward what people say, because there is, you know, basically speech can be and sometimes is violence, right? You see this all the time on the campus, of course, but it's it's spread to liberal and left wing circles. So there's this really kind of leery weird attitude for free speech where you know, pit words that cause actual harm must be stopped. And words that actively mislead people will then do harm must be stopped instead of having some faith that people can make their own decisions, and people should have access to a lot of different information at different points of view. I mean, I think this is this is really tragic. I think this really tarnishes the left. I think it worsens the political discourse, because of course, people on the other side are just gonna have their own pushback on this and you get a you know, sort of an unpredicted tussle about, you know, what people are allowed to say, I think both sides would benefit from just, you know, sort of making their point of view known and sort of providing their information. And it's, you know, it produces a certain lazy bones attitude to on the part of Democrats where, for example, you try to explain why Hispanic voters have moved toward the Republicans in many ways in many areas of the country. Oh, it's it's disinformation, it's misinformation, or just being manipulated, instead of what you think politics is about. It's about like, giving people your point of view on stuff and hoping they buy it. You know, I mean, if you want to call it misinformation, you know, the history of politics is all about getting your quote, misinformation, unquote, in front of voters. So nobody is completely objective. No one tells the truth all the time. And the moment you start deciding some people who present their truth in a certain kind of way, have to be privileged and other people must be suppressed. I mean, talk about your slippery slope. My God, it's just, I'm appalled, really, that people buy this kind of nonsense about free speech must be limited and free speech. And it was reactionary concept. It is
Robert Bryce 49:09
appalling. And I find it very, you know, like, a key reason why I can't identify with either party. Right. I mean, part of it is my instincts. I guess, as a reporter, right? I've been in this and never had a real job. I've been a reporter my whole life. Right. You know, I don't, I don't want to identify because I it to me, it would. Well, it just did not matter in my bones. Right. I think I think everybody's full of it. But it is appalling to see it coming from the left where traditionally it's been well, this is the ACLU right. These are the people who are going to defend unpopular opinions. But I want to I want to follow up on a point you made there because this is interesting, particularly here in Texas, right. I live in Austin, that Hispanic voters are turning toward Republicans and that we had was a border congressional district that went to a Republican, which is revolutionary in recent history in Texas politics. So how do you explain it To give my own theories on this, the increasing popularity of Republican the republican party among Hispanic voters?
Ruy Teixeira 50:08
Well, I think Hispanic voters have been typecast by Democrats in a way that, you know, it's been unfortunate for them in terms of understanding what's going on. I mean, Hispanics, right, there are people of color there, you know, sort of this certainly became in vogue and the late teens and 2020. You know, they're part of this massive group of people of color who are oppressed by the white supremacist system and our United States. And they're all united by the fact that they're not white. And they're, you know, sort of part of this awful, dystopian society we live in, that's not at all the way Hispanics look at it. They're also typecast as people who are fundamentally driven by the immigration issue, and they're very liberal in immigration, they don't really care about border security. None of this stuff is true at all. Hispanics are an upwardly mobile patriotic constituency who believe in hard work, who believe in having, you know, the most opportunity possible to want good jobs, schools, communities, safe communities, they're not into the funding the police that are interested in any of that stuff. And they do not believe we live in a white supremacist society, they do not believe you know, that trans women are women and what have you. I mean, they're not that liberal, you know, in that sense, to conservative in their social views. And there's, you know, somewhat left of center in terms of their economic views, but their left of center and their economic is because they believe the Democratic Party, at least I used to believe it's one that's going to help them get ahead in life and to provide decent services for their communities. Once you get out of that wheel house. For the demo of the Democrats, things start falling apart. They also, you know, the people who vote who are Hispanics, their citizens, you know, they, they believe in their country, they love their country. And they don't think actually, it's the case that anyone who wants to come here should just be able to stroll across the border, and, you know, just hang out in the United States forever, because that
Robert Bryce 51:53
hurts them. I mean, that hurts them as
Ruy Teixeira 51:57
they feel they've gone down. So yeah, Democrats have had, you know, like I say, a very simplistic view of these voters that I think is now hurting them with these communities and and making them less capable of responding to the challenges they currently have. I mean, it's part of the way the Democrats in general are sort of miss assessing.
Robert Bryce 52:18
Let's talk about a church going a little bit, because that's the other facet of the Hispanic population. And obviously, I'm in Texas, a big part, a big part of the Texas population is Hispanic. Same in California, they tend they tend to be more church going, and they all ask the question this way, how closely correlated is church going to Republican affiliation? Oh, very
Ruy Teixeira 52:41
much. So. I mean, that's been a finding of long standing. But what's interesting about the Hispanic community, right, is that if you look, I mean, you can also see this just in terms of basic ideology, but if you look at church going behavior, right religiosity, controlling, I mean, Hispanic, very religious church going Hispanics are voting way above that level of what we predict the rest of the population in terms of voting democratic. In other words, they were a relatively conservative church going people but they were voting democratic at a rate that was far higher than among the rest of the population. So what's happening now, is that conservatism, that religiosity people are more Hispanic people are more aligning their social behavior and their ideology with their voting, whereas previously, they were not they had this default assumption, I will vote for the Democrats, because they're my party, even though I'm a religious, conservative, church going person that no longer washes with a lot of these voters are looking carefully at the Republicans and many of them are deciding Well, you know, I just can't give the Democrats the past I used to, I feel like the Republicans are more my party and I'm closer to them, and then more people like me, so I got a vote for him.
Robert Bryce 53:58
And how much of that would be well, then maybe this as you pointed out earlier, this this cultural What did you call it? Cultural radicalism right around transgender you know, these things that are the hot button issues for a lot of Democrats high profile liberals around those issues? That would be would those be repelling Hispanic boy? Absolutely,
Ruy Teixeira 54:17
absolutely. They spandex in a certain prior to the really cultural radical, Democratic Party, which I think we see in the teens early 20s. You know, they were Democratic Party was probably more liberal than they were in some social issues. But it wasn't so liberal. That and so off putting that they couldn't put up with it. Right. I mean, there are again, there are a lot of people who are conservative and abortion is just conservative and other issues. They go to the Democrats anyway. But you'll get too far away from the median Hispanic working class voter in terms of your cultural views. And yeah, you're you're like, sort of stretching the rubber band until it's That's right. So they just, they're just going to places and saying things and employing rhetoric, you know, like Latin X and all this other weird stuff. That's like, What are you talking about? You know,
Robert Bryce 55:13
these are not these are not the issues that they care.
Ruy Teixeira 55:15
I didn't sign off for this stuff. Right, you know. So, yeah, I think that that has definitely become a factor in how Hispanics view, the Democratic Party, you know, associated with socialism is not a good thing in a lot of areas. And obviously, socialism has become a more sympathetic kind of, sort of thing and the Democratic Party. There are a variety of things that now seem to define the Democrats brand, as it were, its image, right, that is increasingly making it distant from the median working class Hispanic voter. And I would emphasize that the data show very clearly that the biggest shift against the Democrats among Hispanics is among working class voters, not college educated voters so
Robert Bryce 55:58
so that that class then becomes more of a player button, perhaps then that even the Hispanic, even the even it being Hispanic, that's still again, it's college educated, higher class, being associated with Democrats.
Ruy Teixeira 56:14
Now there's a lot of overlap between Hispanic working class and white working class voters in terms of their views about certain issues and their their sense of how the country works today, which elites they don't like. And I think more Hispanic working class people are starting to act like that. So there's no there's still a big difference in terms of these constituencies and how they vote, but the distance between them is declining.
Robert Bryce 56:37
Yeah. And then if I'm, you know, I'll just interject my own thought here. That's the part that that concerns me so much, perhaps more than any other. Yes, it's urban rural, but it's the class issue there in the country is really dividing around class. Okay, so we're coming close to an hour here and my guest is really to share he's got a has many affiliations, you can find out more about him on liberal patriot.com. He's the politics editor at liberal patriot.com written or CO edited or CO written eight books has an upcoming book out in June in November with John Judy's or Judas, John Judas, called Where have all the Democrats gone? That's published by Henry Holt out November, mid November, if I recall. Okay, so give me your Give me your outlook for 2024. What does Biden pull out at age 85? And not run? I'm guessing as Adrian forgotten his age, does he say okay, well,
Ruy Teixeira 57:32
there'll be a youthful 82. Okay, usually a youthful,
Robert Bryce 57:36
youthful 82. But let's be clear, I've watched him in public. He's an old man. And I say that as an old man, myself, I'm 63. This year,
Ruy Teixeira 57:44
he's lost a few miles off his fastball. Let's not hit ourselves.
Robert Bryce 57:48
Okay, that's all except that I could go take it further. But I'll let it take in a few. Yeah, his fastball isn't what it used to be. Does he does he bug out and another Democrat coming in? Who get called November 24 2024? Who's on the who's on the ballot?
Ruy Teixeira 58:07
No, Biden is is I mean, I guess there's always, never say never. But I think that it's like a 98% probability that he is the Democratic candidate. He is planning on running, he will run. And the question is, could he win a second term? And that's where? And that's where my interesting discussion should be.
Robert Bryce 58:30
And I'm the among the Republicans is DeSantis. To the odds on favorite he's from
Ruy Teixeira 58:33
Oh, Trump, is the odds on favor. Okay. Well, clearly, if you look at the way that the race is evolved, and, you know, he has this hardcore of support. That's, that's pretty big. 30 35%. And, you know, lately he's been polling much higher than that overall, and even against the Santas, so, and he's benefited actually from the Alvin Bragg indictment in New York. And he's still the guy who knows how to maneuver the core Republican primary electorate in a way that's to his advantage. And DeSantis has not done such a good job lately. He has the, you know, if there's, if it's not going to be Trump, and a mill, it still might not be. I mean, I think people overestimate how much it's in the bag or the Donald at this point. But the most obvious second choice would be the Santas and you can see that also in data when people are asked, you know, okay, right. So what is your first choice? And what's your second choice and DeSantis? You know, polls very well across the first and second choices, but a lot of them are second choices, not first choices. So you know, a lot depends on how people Republicans assess the question of electability at this point. Yeah, part of the Santas is appeal is gonna be if he ever gets around to declaring, but I'm more electable than Donald Trump, and here's why. But so far, Republican voters are not pricing electability as much as say Democrats did in the contest and 2020 when that really turned In the race decisively in Biden's favor when the question of electability came to the fore, and they decided, yeah, Biden and not these other clowns is much more likely to be able to beat Donald Trump. So
Robert Bryce 1:00:11
other other clowns,
Ruy Teixeira 1:00:14
perhaps too harshly.
Robert Bryce 1:00:16
Fair enough. Would a Democrat with an indictment from Georgia State officials on Trump make a difference then? Because that's the other big wildcard here, right?
Ruy Teixeira 1:00:25
It may it may not.
Robert Bryce 1:00:27
That's not Alvin brag, right? That's No,
Ruy Teixeira 1:00:29
no, I think I always thought it was a favor for Trump that the brag indictment went first because it's so obviously kind of weak and it seems so obviously politically motivated. I think it was ideal for Trump ginning up, you know, crazy, politicize attacks by the Democrats on me your, you know, your advocate Donald Trump, right, I think it has have been had that effect, that Georgia thing is much more disturbing. It's a much more serious indictment, as you eventually, you know, it's sort of will cumulate. I mean, who knows what will happen after Georgia made an offer this stuff happens. And people start thinking, you know, I don't know. I mean, I'm not really first Republican anyway. And right, you know, the important thing is, we got to beat Joe Biden. And there's just too much mishegoss here, you know, there's too much craziness. And I had to look at somebody else, and then they look at the Santas or who knows somebody else. But that's why,
Robert Bryce 1:01:23
Mr. Gosar is, that's a Yiddish word. Right? Yeah. Okay. Well, you caught me, caught me off guard with that one. So, really, we've been talking for about an hour, I like to keep my podcasts at right about an hour. I wanted to make sure to ask this question, because I mentioned it earlier about your dissertation now. And that you you did you got your doctorate or PhD in Sociology back at University of Wisconsin, on declining voter turnout. And I've thought about this as well that I kind of, I don't know if it's cynical, or just realistic view on politics that a lot of people including me, kind of just look at it as entertainment. Now, you know, I kind of look at it like, little way like, well, this kind of like the NBA is kind of like, you know, all the other things that I kind of I care about basketball, I love basketball, right? But politics is kind of just another George magazine was the kind of the obvious example of this was politics is entertainment. My little bit of editorializing, why don't more people in America vote?
Ruy Teixeira 1:02:20
Well, you know, that's a complicated question.
Robert Bryce 1:02:23
You have your 90 seconds.
Ruy Teixeira 1:02:27
Two reasons. One is it's, I mean, broadly speaking, it's harder to vote here than it should be if the state mantained the voter rolls as they do in many other places. And you don't have to worry about getting registered in any way, manner, shape, or form that would do some to boost turnout. But the other factor, of course, is how involved people feel in politics, how much they care about the outcome, how much they think the political parties care about them, what they think the stakes are, if they can even understand the stakes. And I think that that goes up and down, and America went down a lot from the 60s to the 80s. Oddly enough, now, Robert, we're kind of in a relatively, at least for the United States, high turnout here, where people are so
Robert Bryce 1:03:06
2020 was 2020 was a good year for turnout. So
Ruy Teixeira 1:03:09
if the stakes, you know, if people hate the other party enough, partisanship is strong enough that actually does produce higher turnout. And I think that's part of the reason why we're in a relatively high turnout, election, electoral era. Again, for the United States. Even if you don't quite understand what your own party stands for, and how they're going to fix things. You can, you can definitely understand how awful the other side is and how bitterly you hate them. Right. And that's a good motivation to come out and vote.
Robert Bryce 1:03:39
And what was the what was the turnout in 2020? Was it silver? 60% 70
Ruy Teixeira 1:03:43
or 60%? Yeah, yeah.
Robert Bryce 1:03:44
Okay. So, so, okay, fair.
Ruy Teixeira 1:03:48
That's totally it's a lot of people who didn't show up. And right now, there's, there's a whole nother sort of set of debates and questions about well, how do we interpret that in terms of what could be the possible political effects of those other people showing up? And one of the great, great myths of the Democratic Party is that if we could just get more of these people to show up, we would, you know, obliterate the Republican Party, because those voters tend to skew toward demographics that are in our favor. That's a whole nother discussion. But the short answer to that is no, that's not the case. Actually, high turnout does not necessarily benefit the Democrats and look at 2024 They barely be you know, basically most people who looked at the data, you basically think that higher turnout on net probably benefited the Republicans more than the Democrats. And again, the Democrats, you know, late actually lost House seats. They barely beat Trump and they thought they were going to kick his ass. Yeah, I mean, you just can't read that much into high turnout, per se, if we want higher turnout. It shouldn't be motivated by partisan motivations. It should be because we think that's a good way for politics to happen that more people should be involved in it. Take it seriously. That as you say, Robert, not just look at as entertainment or a bunch of crazy people fighting each other. That would be good for the country. No one should assume little benefit their preferred political party.
Robert Bryce 1:05:03
Yeah, that's interesting. Because, you know, I've been in Texas a long time and there's that's always been kind of one of the ideas that oh, the state is eventually going to turn democratic and because of all these Latinos which, and Hispanics, which we've already talked about, and, you know, Abbott just killed I mean, just, you know, took Beto to the end of the woodshed in the in the last election. It wasn't was not close, despite a lot of people thinking it would be. So last two questions really. You've written a lot of books you you're constantly writing essays and publishing. What are you reading now? What books are on the top of your list?
Ruy Teixeira 1:05:36
Wow, well, I read a lot of stuff. So
Robert Bryce 1:05:40
you don't have to name all just one or two.
Ruy Teixeira 1:05:43
Okay, well, I'm reading this is completely out of left field. But I really got the memoir of a German common turn operative called Yan Balaton called out of the night,
Robert Bryce 1:05:53
which is a German what I'm sorry, German, the Communist International.
Ruy Teixeira 1:05:57
Oh, you know, an underground operative for the common turn from the 20s through the 30s. And he participated in the original German uprisings of the spartacist. Against that, right, it'd be for the Weimar Republic was established. It's a fascinating book, if you ever want, you know, the sort of the inside baseball and how the common turn worked in the 20s and 30s. This is, this is a book for you. So
Robert Bryce 1:06:20
that's a new, I'm not heard of that the so this was the Communist Party inside Germany, in later years.
Ruy Teixeira 1:06:27
Right and a more on a more serious vein, I've been going through Vaclav Smil, is how the world really works, which I, I recommend highly to everybody. It's a fantastic book. And it does connect closely to the subject of this SEER podcast. Because part of the problem with Democrats and people who are so obsessed with the climate issue, they don't understand the mechanics, right, of how the energy system works, they don't understand how difficult it will be to transition industrial economies to run solely on their preferred modes of energy. And you need the facts about how the energy system works, where we get it from, how did it happen? What's an embedded in look at all the different materials that go into supporting an industrial society? So I say on a more serious note, I mean, you common turn, fans can look at the out of the night, but for people who really want to understand what the hell's going on, in our world and in our country, and what the whole energy debate is really about, I think you could do no better than to read Vaclav smells that I alluded to plus this other stuff is great to write about productive Polly.
Robert Bryce 1:07:30
Yes, I am incredibly productive POLYMATH. That's, that's true. I have a book I have a whole shelf of his books. So we share that fandom. Last question, really what gives you hope?
Ruy Teixeira 1:07:42
Well, it gives me hope is that, you know, we live in a democracy and voters are entitled to vote out the people they think are complete idiots. So I do think over the term pressure from voters who aren't getting what they want, will force one or both parties to move in a direction that's more productive for the country. So I, you know, I put my faith, you know, as unfashionable as it may be to say in the people, people get the vote, and the people will decide, and you can't, you know, if something doesn't seem like it can go on forever, it won't, as Herbert Stein, the famous economist once put it. And if you don't like the way politics is today, and you think it's incredibly unproductive, which is very reasonable point of view. You know, if something doesn't seem like it can go on forever, it won't, you know, so I think that people of goodwill, people who are not satisfied with the offers from both political parties should soldier on and keep on arguing for more sensible common sense, and more common sense approaches in both parties. And that's why to some extent, I consider myself a common sense, Democrat. It's neither on the left or right of the party, but simply trying to urge the party to go on the path of common sense. And I think that's really what most people want. So I think that if we keep making the arguments and people are not suppressed, then I think good sense will prevail in the medium to long term. But, you know, I'm an optimistic guy, what can I tell you?
Robert Bryce 1:09:16
Well, I am as well. So we'll stop it there. My guest has been ready to share. He's a prolific author, writer, you find out more about him at liberal patriot.com. You can also preorder his book, if we haven't mentioned it yet. I think we have a couple of times, but we will, again, with John Judas. It's called Where have all the Democrats gone. It will be out in November published by Henry Holt. Really, it's been great fun to get connected here and chat about these things. We both share a passion for our country and where it's going and great to become acquainted and talk something some of these things through. So Thanks, Robert.
Ruy Teixeira 1:09:48
It's been more fun than several barrels a monkey. So thanks for having me on.
Robert Bryce 1:09:54
All right. Well, thanks, really. And thanks to all of you in podcast land. Tune in for the next episode of the power hungry podcast. Make sure substep subscribe to my substack Robert bryce.substack.com If you haven't already and until the next podcast see you