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tv   Discussion on the Presidency  CSPAN  November 24, 2018 2:16pm-3:04pm EST

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space station on american rockets. >> thank you very much, speakers thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you. >> presidential communication and character. former cnn analysts. how america became ungovernablel politics. >> fantastic. the election and the message at the 20th annual fall for the book literary festival. my name is peter.
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we are thrilled to sponsor this event. the curriculum includes 37 schools across the world with one right here in northern virginia. we rank among the best schools on national and international benchmarks. serving students from age two- two-12. especially proud of our new upper school program. it includes a seminar and primary textbased that he is history where civil discourse while. it remained civil even in these times. this festival is a nonprofit. funded through donations. please remember to silence her cell phones and think unit band
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for filling out a survey. all of our author books are available in the lobby. any book signing sessions will be in the lobby as well. two political experts discuss different factors of the u.s. president these. even farnsworth, phd is a professor of political science and international affairs where he directs the university center for leadership and immediate studies. a recipient of the state council for virginia's outstanding faculty award for 2017. canada u.s. research scholar at the university of montréal. he detailed the evolution of white house news management over the last 20 years.
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how america became ungovernable. discussing how voters decide and why their decision is seen so impractical. the senior political analyst from 1990 to 2009. covering every u.s. presidential and midterm election since 1996 for the los angeles times. the atlantic monthly, cnn. labeled the nation's electric by the washington times and the aristotle of american politics by the boston globe. a member of the cnn political team but one and emmy for the election coverage. please help me welcome even and bill.
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[applause] >> thank you. go ahead. >> your book is presidential communication and character. look forward to another conversation on the campus. selling themselves in policies through the mass media. one of the most important presidential rolls in my view is this marketing of the president in order to convince congress and the public, supporting presidential initiatives. promoting themselves in a way that may be unseemly.
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barack obama emma george bush, all of them use very different strategies in terms of using the media. that positive opinion of themselves. focusing a great deal on character. how they can connect with ordinary. the immediate environment at the immediate age is very -- so it is who you are as a person. some realistic image of who you are as a president can go a long ways when people are not interested or all that informed about the specifics of the affordable care act or tax cuts.
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very capable of dominating the discourse. what is newsworthy, the white house is newsworthy no matter what happened. with l clifton, the the challenge, i think, in terms of character was the unsavory reputation that he developed and perhaps even exacerbated during his time as president. what he did as his selling point was to feel our pain. really connect with us. when you look at the tapes of the presidential debates, drawing your attention in the way he connected with -- we had one of the three presidential debates in virginia that year.
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really able to demonstrate that forever he understood our pain. that was a way to move upon less than exemplary in the venue. social media was perfect for that. you had late night. talking about how he could connect with people. turning to george w bush, another media change has in the rise of fox news. very well tailored to the rise of george bush and the marketing of george w. bush in terms of his personality, his character and his efforts to communicate. what george you bush ended up being was foreign policy. that clearly was not what he had in mind when he was elected.
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almost no coverage of foreign-policy in the 2000 election. presidential, the presidential election. we look how little coverage there is. there is an increasing focus. for george w. bush, it worked well to look at fox news for generating the image of its toughness. with respect to barack obama, you had had a very different strategy that you saw with the first two. in many ways, you could think of bill clinton and george w bush as being people that really believed that the best strategy for presidential communication is to be the sun king. there was not a policy issue that the two of them did not
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want to weigh in on. they did so with great opportunity and great aggressiveness. barack obama was a more dissident president. he did not try to dominate every new cycle. he did not insist it was every policy. going back to the old harry truman idea that a lot can get done in washington if you don't mind someone else taking credit for it. the obama approach to healthcare was more about presenting an image of the congress doing the heavy lifting. that was the visible place where that was happening. obama's character, of course, was this. it is really compelling to a lot of americans. rising above that. dealing with an increasingly diverse america. barack obama tried to sell himself through hope and change. a better america that was less
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divided by race,, culture, class, region. that was his vision or what he represented as the personification of the country which they always try to be. his vehicle for using this was social media outlets like youtube in particular. a great medium moment as a president is when he appeared between two ferns telling jokes about healthcare. a good idea for young people to register. the enrollment deadline is coming along shortly. you have to meet people where they are. the media environment becoming so diverse and it has come essential to think about going to the media outlets where the young people are, where others are. stars interviewed rock obama. he slow jams the news on late night. vehicles for reaching the public
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it was not the same sort of traditional media full-court press that you saw back in the days when television was more dominant. i think it was a very effect of realistic adjustment on how to maximize your utility. particularly on that signature issue of his the affordable care act. we will turn briefly to trump. and then i will turn it over to my fellow panelists. four the moment, we can imagine that donald trump is the ideal president of the twitter age. the idea of policy being complicated is not something that really works well. 140-280 characters to say what you think.
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what twitter is great about is when people are angry. it took me to a half hours on the metro to get here today. when i am done with all of you, i will be on twitter complaining about how the washington metro since the has disappointed me again. the reality, though, this is an opportunity for donald trump to release the to the issues that motivate his presidency, motivate his campaign. donald trump speaks to a lot of americans that are very angry or very anxious about the future. tomorrow may not he is good. they worry about the opportunities of how america that they understood and they believed in is changing in ways they may not find all that recognizable. it may be a focus of anxiety for some. it may be a focus of anger for
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others. when you put it together, it is a vehicle of grievous ideally suited to twitter. if you think about what trump is able to do, he is so effect about managing that kind of anger. speaking to that kind of anger. trump would not be very good at a town meeting, question from ordinary citizens, talking about dealing with polished, struggling with the carefully staged event, it seems like he does not necessarily team all that well informed on the healthcare bill he is supporting her the tax cut bill he is supporting. the crisis involving saudi arabia at the moment. not a level of sophistication that we are used to as presidents. trump was the first candidate not to have had more experience in government.
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not to have been in the military or congress. trump may be needing a bit of a plan for some of these issues. that matters little on twitter. 280 characters, you don't need to know a lot to get to the end of what you can say. a great vehicle for truck. a great vehicle for channeling anger. the worst conversation on twitter. we can hope for better. [inaudible] >> we will come back to it.
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with respect to whether trump is this sort of shape of things to come. a lot of celebrities would like to run from president. oprah, kanye, who knows who we may see the macau about michael helus. >> celebrities politics that come to pass in the future. what donald trump is, the lebron james of twitter. i'm not sure we will see a lot of people that can re-create this. you see they are already jockeying towards the position. i do not know that he will be a two jump president. we will see where the economy is i do think that there is one thing to remember for the future tiered what we want in american politics consistently has and what we don't have.
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a pretty sophisticated policy speaker someone that comes over and turn off as condescending. the anger, resentment, the channeling of lou koller value even from a goldplated mansion in new york city. these sorts of things do not give us a pattern for the future. it just is a something not to like for the next election. look at bill clinton. they are all reactions to the president before them. my next will not many trump. rather the on trump. i will be glad to answer them in
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a few minutes after we've had a few minutes to talk about our books. thank you. >> a lot of my book has a do with way we go from one president to the next. trump was the on obama. we think about the next presidential election. think about who will be the on trump. just like donald trump. very angry. the only democrat around that can take on trump. if that's what you have a crack long, it will interesting. american politics have gone from camelot to "game of thrones." [laughter] my book which i have right here,
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standoff was published this spring. describes how that happens. you have to know that we have a constitution that enables gridlock. the constitution has checks and balances and divisions of power. they can be entrenched in different branches of government. it does not work too well right now tiered we have republicans control of congress. now republicans controlled the supreme court and mostly government. they control everything. what president trump is discovering, even if they control congress, he can get anything. money for the famous wall. it will take a big struggle even with the republican congress. the constitution created a system to mold limited government. week government. the office did not trust strong government.
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making sure that presidential power would limited and check by other branches. i am told every now and then he will turn to an aide and say why can't i fire congress? he would love to. we have to political movements in this country. what i call the new america on the left in the old america on the left. they have fundamentally different values. interest to what politics are supposed to be about. interest can be negotiated and compromised. values can't. it is a divergence of values which i trace back to the 1960s. values are attached to people's identity. the distinction between interest and values is a major team of my book. i talk about the fact that there
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was a book written right after the 2004 election by thomas frank. used to be a hotbed of economic populism. the leader of the populace in kansas. farmers should raise less corn. kansas is now one of the most conservative ace in the country. why? poor white voters. working-class white voters. those have very conservative values. they tend to be deeply religious they vote their values. jewish voters have conservative interest in liberal values. their interest, whether they are dictated by economics or there's a for israel tend to vote republican. typically when there's a conflict between interest and
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values, people vote their values an opportunity. conservative trump was supposed to sit in the white house, nine whatever legislation the republican congress came up with and then keep his mouth shut. you know, is that once asked me here, it is the most divided we have ever been as a country? we did once have a double war.
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three quarters of a million americans died in the civil war. this is the most divided the country has in since the civil war. since that terrible time. a third of americans believe we were headed for can civil war. on a different side. the difference between the political parties has mostly about wealth and economics. democrat with hard gravel working people, what they called the british labored party, the sons of toil and republicans where the party were elite. now the differences education. the educated elite. barack obama. the prince's education. mitt romney the prince's wealth.
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two competing elite. education and wealth. the republican party has in trump a fight. a way in which republican voters simply felt under the sway of donald trump and are now intentionally loyal to president trump. populace cultural values. racial backlash. religious fundamentalism. often considered a new light in or vulgar tiered miss their trump of queens and midtown manhattan does extremely well in rural america. west virginia and wyoming. i don't know what he has in common with west virginia and wyoming. democrats used to be the party of organized labor. now they are the party of universities. virginia was the most republican state in the south until
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recently. virginia voted republican for president in 13 out of fort presidential elections, all except 96 the four with the lbj lamp died. democratic for the last three election. welcome to new jersey these changes really started in the 196 these we had our own cultural resolution. i remember that then-president visited washington from china. i pointed out when i was covering his zip from washington that in the 1960s, china experience one of the greatest tragedies of human history tiered what is interesting is they got over it. i've been to beijing. they have restaurants in beijing where they have reenact errors.
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for them, they reenact it like we do the civil war. something that happened a long time ago. here in the united states, the differences we had a cultural revolution as well. but we cannot get over it. bill clinton said about 15 years ago now, if you look back on the 1960s and you think they did more good than harm, you are a democrat. if you look on the 1960s and you think they did more harm than good, you are republican. that would be george w. bush. more harm than good for him. american voters today are increasingly divided by education. white voters without college degrees. working-class whites have not been voting democratic since richard nixon. obama intentionally alienated them partly because of racism. at the same time, trump is
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driving well-educated voters out of the republican party. you can see it happening right now in a fluid suburb that used to be only republican. i give you barbara comstock. the rule in american politics is this. the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to vote republican. the better educated you are, the more you are to vote democratic. what if you are wealthy and well educated? a lot of people are. yet still use the sociological term. if you vote your economic interest you will vote republican. if you vote your cultural values, you've got vote emma craddick. that is what we find in well-educated affluent suburbs. trump has increased and intensified that educational difference. people who finish college, who
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never finish college, like him. particularly, men. college graduates cannot stand him. he went before the cameras and said i did every well with the poorly educated. >> he is an outsider. he has no experience in the military or politics at all the only president we've had with no military or government experience. that is because of his tendency in the united dates. i write a whole chapter of my book about what was behind the ross perot movement. a desire for someone who is completely out and politic. a businessman.
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essential faith. one central bully. this is shared by most americans, folks. politics is the enemy of problem solving. most people believe that. why can't we deal with climate change. politics gets in the way. why can't we do something about the national debt? that is a core element of populism. i am often asked somebody in the audience, you know, i think we should run government like a business. it would be efficient and we would not let politics interfere with it. as we all know, there is no politics and business. there is an answer to that. i will share it with you. remember this. business is not a democracy business is not a democracy. if business were a democracy
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the, folks, it would look like government. very messy and very inefficient. the book talks about the new america emerged. politically conscious in the 1960s. jewish american. gays emerged as a political force. working women, angle mothers. educated professionals never thought they had any real role in the american class. young people and one group that democrats don't like to talk about. they are willing. the unchurched. nobody is supposed to be unchurched. the fact is, about one quarter of americans now when asked, they i'm not affiliated with any of those things. i have no religious affiliation. i do not belong to a church.
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that number has and growing. note getting 22-25 americans. a lot of them are very young tiered all of those group that i just mentioned are growing in size except for two. blacks and jews are about the same. they are not really growing in size. gays are not probably growing in size, but they're coming out of the closet and there becoming a larger force. we asked people in an exit hole nationwide, are you a homosexual, less ian or bisexual? 2% of the voters said yes. a few years later we asked the same question. 5% of voters said yes. i do not think there was a sexual conversion in the country, but they have become much more comfortable coming out of the closet. all of these groups are growing in size and influence. especially educated
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professionals. democrats expect that they will be saved by this emergence of a new america which could happen. except for one problem. demographics is long. politics is short. it will occur in this country. it will take 10, 20 years, maybe longer. politics happens overnight. you have foreign-policy crisis. everything changes overnight. i remember talking to tim kaine. a number of people at this meeting. one of them presented the argument that the democrats would do well representing groups growing in size. i understand what you are saying i think that that is wonderful news. what you're talking about is
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going to take years. remember this. trump followed for president in a row. two republicans into democrat who promised to bring the country together. president bush was kinder and gentler. bill clinton said he was a new democrat in the third way. he got impeached. george w. bush called himself a uniter, not a divider tiered he ended up tearing the country apart over the war in iraq. barack obama became prominent in 2004. he said there is no little america and no conservative america there is only the united states of america. he was wrong. the line is becoming stronger and stronger. two republicans, two democrats. they promise to be healers. they promised to unite the
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country. they all failed. trump was different. he never promised to be a healer nothing he would ever be able to do. he found a way to turn the bitter division of the country into a political asset. the bitter division of american politics created an opportunity for him. he ran as a divider. he got elect it as a divider. he governs as a divider. in the end and politics, you have to have a base. let me define your base. the people that are with you when you are wrong. a base during the scandal. did not abandon him. a very powerful base that remained during the monica lewinsky scandal. this year will be a battle of the bases. the trump base versus the democratic liberal base which is
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furious with president trump. each of those and rages the other. the trump base, unfortunately, for democrat is more reliable voters than the democratic which includes a lot of minorities, immigrants and young people that don't have much of a habit of voting and elections. found to be negative and divisive. it makes governing difficult. the parties cannot come together and compromise. those values cannot easily be compromised. it endangers democracy because each party regarding its opponents as illegitimate. the winning party teases victory as a mandate to destroy whatever the other party has the east. it means eradicating all traces of barack obama's presidency including healthcare reform, environmental protection, trade
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agreements and treaties. if trump ever succeeds in building some of his promise wall on the mexican border, democratic candidates will race to the wall. they will hold lyrical rallies to be the first to stand before his or her supporters. mr. president, tear down this wall. we will end up with titles of lunging political revenge. aiming to do everything its opponents, undo everything its opponents did in office. make america great again is an attack i trump on his predecessor. obviously was not great under barack obama. hope and inspiration. the political style of both the rock obama and ronald reagan. republican and a democrat. they will be very rare. not much in evidence as long as trump is president.
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what can save the country. well, unfortunately, this has happened repeatedly. designed to be ungovernable tiered we are designed to be ungovernable. we work very well when there's a crisis. when there's a crisis americans will come together. when there is a huge urgency to solve a problem, the country can function quite admirably. 9/11 worked for one year. a majority of democrats favored and supported president bush. a charismatic leader can help do it. that was supposed to be president obama. our constitution of week government provides an answer to saving america from this bitter
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division. designed in the 18 century to protect america from a tyrant. fighting a revolution against the tyrant. protecting us from a tyrant. my view is, our cost to tuition in its genius can also protect us from a maniac. the mac i could do that. please let us know which one of us you want to ask a question of or both of us. thank you. okay. i have been a journalist for 40
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or 50 years. what do you make of the fact that in the past seven presidential elections the democrats have outvoted the republican. >> all but one. >> all but one. >> what you make of that? >> i think that this beaks to a lot of the frustration that you see among democrats today. they feel that the system is not fair. now twice recently has favored a republican even though the popular vote favored the democrat. the gap in his last election was 3 million. much bigger than the 500,000 in the popular vote back in 4000 with core and bush. i think really reading to this argument, that my colleague here on the panel makes, america is getting more and more in governs
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so much anger and energy pulling us apart. even the structures of our politics, not just anger with the politician, is now intensifying tiered i think that that is a very serious problem. i think they like getting disproportionate influence and they will keep it, thank you very much. the gaps may very well be larger as your state get less of an opportunity. >> it is very hard to pass. >> even after 2000, the only ones that propose changing was a senator from new york state named hillary clinton. did not get anywhere. the electoral college, small states do like it even though it doesn't advantage most. the presidential campaign takes place in state that are swing
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states. nobody goes to california or texas in a presidential election. we all know how they're going to vote. they will be very small like new hampshire. i don't see a particular change. after the 2000 election, there was some anger about the electoral college. >> hold on the second for the microphone. >> my question is -- i know mentioning trump god elected in large part because of economic inequality. leading to the argument that was
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not exactly inequality. >> getting trump elected. why or why not. >> not nationally before becoming a candidate for president. not a legitimate president. it resonated with a lot of people. there is no doubt about it. one of the dynamics of this resentment is not amply inequality with back to economic issues thomas but also a concern that level of resentment i think
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is one of the things that trump was able to play. that explains why the popular vote deficit that he had nationally mattered less than the 80,000 vote margin that he had in those industrial state, pennsylvania, was constant in michigan that really were sort of ground hero for that issue of racial division that you are raising in the question. >> i agree. let's get more questions. >> one more question. >> okay. been at the other student in the front. >> my name is scott and i'm a student here at george mason university. my question is for both of you. being in the united state as we have so many different cultures and economic stances like in the different states, what do you feel like the difficulty and process of a presidents
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communication to keeping a positive image in all of these different state, having trump who one the rust belt appealing to people from the rust belt, but also appealing to someone from west virginia. someone from, even though he did not win, new york or california. still appealing to those conservative voters from states like that and people that are just so different and how our dynamics in america are just so different. >> i think what we talking about here is a change in terms of off to ms. him. for the longest time, if you you look across most residents that have been successful, they have this vision of a better america. a more optimist vision. usually when a person says the present is that her than the future, that does not really work as an election strategy
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this message that trump offered was really kind of a challenge for americans to adopt. in many ways, there are people all that are where trump is on this point. the challenge of how to be off in this at at a time of divided government, the challenge to be optimistic at a time of international threats, the child should be optimistic at a time where more and more people are looking at pension plans that they have not invest the dwelling because the private pension plans don't exist the way they used to. more and more jobs being turned off shore because of lower wage rates in developing countries. you can understand why trump is president. there was a sense that optimism is missed place. particularly in certain places, certain communities. those are the places that trump did well. a great challenge for a politician that wants to be optimistic in the way that reagan was or obama was in 2008.
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that will be a great challenge. i imagine there democrats a to the task. talking about how we want what we don't have an american politics. maybe there will be a way to turn that around. at the moment i do not have a great deal of assurance about how that may take shape. >> sorry for the jumble this without question. it was nerves. how did the president in general appeal to so many different variety of voters. >> i can answer that. the coalition you have to agree on one thing. you can be very different on everything else, but you have to agree on one thing. hillary clinton should be president. good. you are a democrat. we will not ask you any other questions. nowadays, you cannot be a racist in any part of the democratic party. you are one of us.
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that is all we will ask. trump really represent something closer to a movement. he did not even get a plurality of the bow. a movement is supposed to agree on everything. the republican party is to come more and more of a movement in recent years it democrats are showing more interest in becoming a movement. maybe about 10 years ago when some smart i from ohio came up with a list of 10 positions. he said in order to be the official republican candidate, you have to agree with eight of these positions. the iraq war, ending social security and it had to do with getting rid of medicare and doing something about the national debt. you have to agree with eight out of 10. ronald reagan would not have qualified. he did not agree with eight out of 10. that is a movement. the best example of a movement that i know, that tea party. you have to agree with us on
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everything or we will throw you out of the movement. they did with a lot of republicans. they were defeated at the polls. they are supposed to be diverse. trump is really closer to a movement leader. his face is supposed to agree on everything. including something that republicans historically did not have a great interest in. protectionism which is not part of a conservative tradition. that is why he is a different kind of president in recent years.


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