Skip to main content

tv   The Fourth Branch of Government  CSPAN  February 18, 2017 5:48pm-6:01pm EST

5:48 pm
were still so raw about it. it was so painful. -- i also want them to understand that it is okay to confront this hidden history. this shameful part of our history and to really grapple with it. and that is something that we have to do as a country to be able to move forward. >> in 1741, st. john's church was the first church in the city of richmond. it gained notoriety in march 1775 when the second virginia convention was held there. and attended by colonial leaders and future founders, george washington and thomas jefferson. it was here that patrick henry gave his famous give me liberty or give me death speech. which helped spark the beginning of the american revolution. we continue our special feature
5:49 pm
on richmond with professor jack trammell and his book, "the fourth branch of government: we the people, talk about the public's participation in government". >> the fourth branch of government was actually a contested term. some people refer to it as the media but my co-author and i would like to co-opt that and reinvent the fourth branch to be the power of the people. we believe america has gone to the point where our democracy needs to grow some to and the fourth branch is the people's branch. it is the people's participation in our government and democracy. i think the premise for what he wanted to put came from his experience as an ordinary citizen and our democracy experiencing some of the frustrations with partisanship and the failure of the two-party system and gridlock in government and so on. for me, my perspective changed after retro congress in 2014. it opened my eyes to this functionality many things. next comes from the fact that
5:50 pm
we are in uncharted territory. we've never been a nation of this many millions of people. we've never been a nation that has an economy that move from manufacturing to services and the technical side of the economic equation. we've never had a democracy that had to function with this much diversity and this many complications in the worldwide economy. so we need a democracy that is able to adapt to this new world that we live in. and unfortunately, it seems that we are stuck in some of our old ways. to take one example, we have not made meaningful constitutional amendment and almost 50 years. and yet on average we've amended it every 20 years or so. and so we seem to have lost the ability to keep changing and that seems to me to be one of the key problems right now. the role of social media has really impacted our democracy and the way our election works in campaigning.
5:51 pm
before 2014 when i ran for office, i viewed social media as kind of a funny distraction. but in my campaign, our social media transformed from pictures of me kissing babies and meeting with people in retirement homes and instead became an active place where the debate took place between the opposing candidates and issues where - this transformation took place over four months and by the end social media was one of our main vehicles. it was difficult for me to debate with my opponent and establish that protocol and have him agree to it. but we had quite a debate on social media daily. and more recently the trump presidential campaign, see yet another level of innovation in the use of social media. and whether you like it or not, i think we will see that it
5:52 pm
will transform the way we are going to be doing elections from here on out. my co-author and i would like to suggest that social media also presents an opportunity for people who can participate in democracy at a higher level. we like to see technology updated in the way that people participate.e-voting is something we have a chapter devoted to but there are many other ways technology can be involved as well. the chief benefit and most general sense is that this is the convenience we. i saw. . you have a smartphone. people. my smartphone transects where e-voting and allow people to participate in democracy through smart technology.
5:53 pm
there is resistance to e-voting. for example as a form of technological participation in democracy. the resistance is primarily centered around security concerns. the guy and i argue that if people want to try to sway an election in a fraudulent way, technology is not the only way for them to do that. and so the problem is the motivation of people and not the technology itself. we've actually interacted with some people at the university of virginia for example who believe it is very possible to implement a safe form of e-voting that is almost 100 percent fraud involves some technical things i am not adept with but once it is explained to me it makes perfect sense. i think the resistance also comes from the fact that we have been in about 60 years of gridlock where we are just not willing to look at the constitution, we are not willing, congress is passing hats to laws they did 50 years of each less work from congress and the feeling we need a breaker of some sort.
5:54 pm
some technology is way we can do that. i think technology has had both positive and not so positive impacts on political activism. on the one hand, social media and other forms of technology have made it much easier for people to get involved in just a few short minutes. having an opinion, contacting someone, joining a crowd online so to speak.but i think it is also discourage people from some of the traditional ways of being an activist. for example, where suit standing here in richmond with the general assembly's meeting and we like the people who are coming into meeting with their delegates or their senators and i think nothing replaces that face-to-face contact. and so there is a downside to the technology. this is the world we live in. and we need to make it compatible with our democratic processes. we need to make it easy for lots of people to participate. with the limitation of e-voting i think it is a little bit different than just standard
5:55 pm
issues around social media. i think e-voting is an access issue. in the frontier days, access meant court day and driving 20 or 30 miles in a wagon to get to the county seat. and making sure you fill out a paper ballot and stuck it in the box. our tools are different today with - but the process is the same. i still there feel there are obstacles to many people making it difficult for them to go. e-voting wouldn't be a way for us to make it much easier for the vast majority of people to participate. even in off year elections. particularly looking elections. there have been some locales i have experimented with e-voting. and the sky has not it may be time for us to try that at the state level or look at this closely. i see technology and democracy as evolving.
5:56 pm
if we go back to 2008 when president obama grabbed his first campaign, we saw innovation with social media in that campaign. it was a grassroots campaign. it was a populist movement with lots of white bases across the country, across many states. social media fit into this. it actually was more than cheerleading. they actually helped grow the movement. then in 2016, listing another evolution with this to another level. where we are actually counting who has more followers, we are keeping track of who treats what in terms of factual content and so i think in 2018, 2020 in the presidential election we will likely see a further evolution of this. the question is how can we use this social media to get the ordinary person more involved in our democracy and our elections? the case of president trump, i think most people realize by
5:57 pm
now that he is the one tapping on his smart phone and sending out all day, all hours of the day and night. and this again was something new in presidential politics as far as i know. i think there is an upside to that. i think in terms of populism there are a lot of people who respected him for that and felt like they were able to connect with him personally. that they were not layers of campaign staff that were filtering what he was saying and the fact that he occasionally had missteps with what he said actually endeared him to some people. on the flipside of that, and i fall into this camp, i believe that somebody was a candidate and ultimately became president should be very thoughtful about what they put out in the public space. and impulsivity and twitter, sometimes do not mix. so i think there is an upside and a downside to this. i think one reason is difficult for people to get involved beyond their smart, or beyond their social media is not in
5:58 pm
the last few decades we have really become programmed to live our lives through that technology and through social media. my wife and i have a rule that once a week on date night we cannot take our funds with us. and i think politicians need this rule to sometimes. all of us perhaps. but i think this technology has become so ubiquitous, so commonplace that we perhaps are losing track of some of the other things that we need to do in a democracy, we need to have face-to-face conversations. when you have groups of people actually be together physically, see each other, react to each other in real time. be able to see body language, understand what people are saying in context and politicians do engage in his giant campaigns. they meet with crowds, they meet with people. i think social media on the downside has a tendency to disconnect us from that.
5:59 pm
for people who read the fourth branch of government, what i would like for them to take away that our founders were. >> c-span: they were wise and give us tools so should not be published. we may not always agree on what the tool should be. they may be people that think e-voting is not practical. in the book we argue that the electoral college is out of date but i'm sure there are people who argue that it is very necessary and important. the point is we need to have these conversations because we have stopped updating our democracy and yet the world has continued to change. the main message in the book is that we need to be ready to change.and it may not be this and it may not be that we need to have a conversation about it. because if we stay where we are will fall further behind. >> booktv is on twitter and facebook. and we want to hear from you. to us, or post a comment on our facebook page
6:00 pm
>> this is booktv on c-span2. it is television for serious waiters. here's a look at our prime time lineup. starting shortly, documentary filmmaker --'s television series on the civil rights movement. at 7:30 p.m. timothy tyson reinvestigate the death of emmett till. at 9:00 p.m. news stays kevin deutsch talks about opiates and national drug rings. then on booktv's afterwards program this evening at 10:00 p.m., republican strategist roger stone discusses the 2016 presidential election and donald trump's victory. and we wrap up the sunday prime time lineup at 11 with thompson, talking about his book culture is weapon, the arctic influence in everyday life. first up this evening, here is ã- discussing eyes on the prize. >>


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on