Short-term thinking is politics’ most epic failure | Jill Lepore

So if you look at the history of political
parties, the Republican Party is founded in 1854 in Wisconsin and it’s founded by a
bunch of people that were exiles from other parties, which were mostly short-lived parties. It’s founded by both women and men; it’s
the first political party that is founded by women as well as by men, and it’s founded
as “the party of reform” because there’s a bunch of people that just think the other
political parties are not actually reforming American politics as fast as they ought to. And chiefly what they mean by that is ending
slavery and coming up with a new form of national unity to replace the brokenness of the American
political arrangement under a country that’s divided (half slave and half free), as people
would have described it at that time. So it’s a pretty significantly important
vision that what the party is going to do is take the religious energy of abolition,
which was a movement of Christian evangelicals who believe that all people under God are
equal (men and women, black and white) and that slavery had to be ended immediately and
without compensation to slave owners. To take that evangelical zeal, but instead
of asking people to do that work outside of electoral politics, to say “We’re going
to do this using the tools of party politics, we’re going to form a party that can achieve
these ends,” that’s a pretty substantial moral commitment and commitment to instituting
change using a really important set of political institutions, mainly the party system (but
also newspapers, say). And so when people say today “the Republican
Party is the party of Lincoln” that’s what they mean, you would say the Republican
Party has reinvented itself many, many times (it’s like Odysseus’s ship at this point,
like “What does this Republican Party have to do with that Republican Party” would
be a really interesting question.) Similarly, the Democratic Party you could
tell a completely zigzag-y story about the history of the Democratic Party. One of the reasons that the party system isn’t
especially inspiring, and I don’t think either party is especially inspiring as an
example of an enduring institution, is that both of them are pretty willing to trade their
constituencies out for short-term gain. And you can see, I think if you were to do
case studies you can see where nonprofits and for-profit businesses fall apart in that
same way thinking very much in the short-term about an immediate market gain, say, or dividends
for their stockholders, some particular new deal or acquisition or sell-off and they’ve
actually dismantled the whole intention of the institution in the first place. So the Republican Party, I don’t mean to
pick on the Republican Party because you could do the same dismantlement of the Democratic
Party, but the Republican Party is for almost all of its history the party of women. It is, as I said, founded by women, it’s
the first party to support suffrage, it is the first party to support equal rights, and
the Republican Party in the 1970s, under Ronald Reagan, says “Let’s just give up on the
women because we could get these white men and it will be better for us.” And there’s just a deep abdication of the
long deep tradition of a commitment to—I won’t say that the Republican Party delivered
suffrage or equal rights because they really didn’t, women had to do that work outside
of the Republican Party—but that continuous support means that the party is I think quite
in a pickle in terms of understanding itself and its relationship to its own past because
it, for various reasons of immediate political expediency, has forgotten its own past.

Maurice Vega

58 Responses

  1. What happened to them? Now Republicans are a sold-out party that has no sole or principles, other than shoving religion down our throats and rape the public lands for natural resources to become rich, all the while keeping the rubes flipped out using racism & misogyny

  2. Trump 2018: Against people striking for increased wages.

    Trump 2019: "Wages are up 3.5% and I worked really hard at that."

  3. Great video. A couple minor quibbles. Reagan changed the party in the 80s. And Theseus, not Odysseus.

  4. Oh it's this nutjob again. It's amazing how she manages to be so vague and say so little while talking so much.

  5. Americans ae so dangerously ignorant they create a subjective public sphere and then wonder what's wrong?!?!?!?!?
    Dishonesty, injustice…the American way.

  6. I find it amusing,
    That people have this belief,
    That checking a box,
    Will cause some kind of relief.
    It's funny in America how we seem to be getting 'Dumb and Dumber',
    Making the movie seem so much 'Clever and Cleverer'. 🤔😕

  7. A moral commitment, a use of morality in order to limit the power the Southern States which had 1/5 a person, their slaves, in their possession and in that ignorance of those who had power at that time gave them who had slaves extra voting power, there was no "balance" in the earlier government. To limit that power most of the northern states formed the republican party to entice defectors of slave owners by promises of freedom and other promises to which has never come to pass. This was done to lower the southern state's power over the new country and paint an image that would make them more desirable to other countries citizens as being a country of "moral beliefs" and "freedoms" under their rule of law to new citizens. It may have later been taught as a moral compass judgement to free an enslaved people but their low effort after the fact shows limited policing of the southern states, those in the southern states felt they lost everything after the war; the southern states did not really get hit as hard as our enemies today. They were sent home and most were not ended for treason.

    As for the newly formed republican party not all of the northern's power structure cared about slaves. Many of them had to be convinced to do it in order to gain control over the states as a federal body and also to not been split the nation due to potential foreign and national, Natives, threats. Also, thinking about the future the best option was to get the rest of the world to see the states as a country to align with was to unit and have one set of rules which did not make the country seem amoral which would contradicted the written morality within their charter. Freeing the enslaved people was an option to keep future political ideas about citizenry from being baseless. To the rest of the world a virgin country who enslaves its, darker complexion, people would not give them this idea that they as citizens of a old nation, who may have been mistreated by their own country, would be so inviting of others who don't look white or have the same nationality as those who set the rules and those who were here "first". To gather this understanding look at the history including that which has been omitted from taught history within our public school, except the one all of use have to pay for, and look at the actions of those who had the ability to change the fabric of the nations image.

  8. it's true about being zig-zaggy, and you don't even have to go as far as to when they were founded. it used to be republicans who were pushing red scare, now it's democrats and republicans act fine with russians. it used to be that democrats were more peace oriented, then comes obomba and starts 15 wars. then comes trump, pretending to be a republican, and starts ending wars… they are groups of people, of course they are gonna change. I mean, okay, republican party was founded to free the slaves. What are they gonna do after that was accomplished? disband? or change?

  9. Sorry, but the General Opposition Party is still the party of reform. Believe the polls at your own peril. The fact that many on the Left don't see it that way only reflects on them. What specific actions by Reps were for short-term gain? Harry Reid instituted the Nuclear option, Obama and Democrats rammed ObamaCare through, completely decimating the health care market instead of just expanding Medicaid, and is standing in the way of the border security.

  10. Short-term thinking is a necessary component of our structural design in the age of 24-hour media. It is the reason why American "Democracy" is a failure that is incapable of both solid governance. The needs of the nation always will come second to the momentary zeitgiest.

  11. Sorry hon, but there is no passage in the Bible (except with the broadest interpretation) that promotes equality. Not one! Indeed, there are passages that support taking foreigners as slaves and passing them down as an inheritance (Lev 25: 44-46) passages that allow you to sell your daughters into permanent slavery (Exo 21:7) passages that tell slaves that they must obey (Eph 6:5) passages that allow slaves to be beaten nearly to death (Exo 21: 20-21). It's good that "God is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction

  12. It is due to capitalism. Politicians are corrupted puppets of big business. Direct global internet democracy is the solution. (Yes your doubts are wrong)

  13. Women should never have been given the vote. That was as big a mistake as giving the vote to people who didn't own land.

  14. god how boring. please prep before you do this. youre advertizing those paracitic cocksuckers in the GOP and continuing this coke and pepsi shit. fukn prep pls…

  15. your blinding white background is why i don't watch your videos anymore. it's so intense, distracting, stressful, and fatiguing.

  16. With the embrace of the Southern Strategy, the GOP deliberately pushed aside African Americans in favor of Southern, white bigots who felt abandoned by the Democrats. And, once you’ve betrayed one constituency, the next betrayal is that much easier.

  17. 2:06 Did Jill mean the Ship of Theseus being rebuilt or the ship of Odysseus being rebuilt? I want to say Theseus but my mythology isn't the strongest. Freudian slip on her part or am I missing something?

  18. The Republicans have an opportunity to be the party of the working class, but they aren't doing it. They still think they have the rich. The Democrats have a strong hold on the poor and the elite rich (slave and master) like they always have, but no one is stepping up for the middle class.

  19. As a man I have to admit, I LOVE how Trump battles women. However, Trumps presidency is making future-life for the average-man unbearable. Trumps antics are justifying present/future minimizing of male-opinion.

  20. Probably a good thing parties forget their past. There was a time when one party advocated slavery. Best that idea is abandoned, and that party no longer supports those who advocate such an idea….

  21. The electoral cycle determines the horizon of thinking, the nation would have longer range planning under state capitalism like China. America buys cheap consumer junk from China who uses it to buy US tech companies and build their armies… that's the true cost of democracy and appeal to the masses… not short or long term thinking.

  22. Meeh…More a human thing, the most people seems to be short sighted so the politician with long term goals is at a big disadvantage and adapt to a stupid population…….Carpe Diem…..

  23. I am going to have to disagree with her on one point. The Reagan era GOP didn't drop the women's equal right's platform because they were abandoning women. They did so simply because women had achieved equal rights under the law and it was no longer needed to be a major concern of the party. To state otherwise, simply comes across as virtue signaling.

  24. If politicians don't act short term how do they get elected? And re-elected? And re-elected? And re-elected?

    Thinking long term in politics is a thankless venture.

    And if anyone in this world loves praise and thanks it's politicians…..and Hollywood.

  25. Not just in terms of parties and commitments, each president that comes in also helps set an agenda, and their main concern is, what can I accomplish in 4 years? 4 years is extremely short-sighted. So, when Clinton signed a budget that removed glass-steagall in 1999, he knew it was a mistake, but that the effects wouldn't be felt till it was some other president's problem, people wouldn't associate that crisis with him and his decision. We can't change the electoral system (although removing the electoral college would be great), but it would be excellent if presidents could at least look to prior programs and positions and talk about how to continue longterm goals so that we wouldn't keep demanding quick fixes that could well be ineffective. It's also worth questioning those longterm plans that aren't working – like the 100 years war on drugs, etc. A government's course of action must address the people's best interests in the longterm, not a single president's vanity.

  26. Great point, it seems like the political system and by some metrics the wider culture has fallen into the trap of instant gratification

  27. Turn back and stop reading comments while you're ahead… there is nothing good to read here… just angry Americans as usual 🙁

  28. "I don't mean to pick on the Republican Party"…. sure you don't
    It's not necessarily bad to be coming with a particular bias or slant, but it is bad to be so disingenuous about it.

  29. She's so wrong and unashamed in her left bias. "Oh you can easily make the same arguments about the Democratic party" – well why didn't you? You took 4 minutes to criticize Republicans and not a second to reflect the same criticism on her own beliefs (which by the way is no hard task.)
    "Why go after the woman's vote when we can get the white man's vote?" That's literally not how any Republican thinks. Unlike Democrats, Republicans aren't seeking votes based on race or class of person. That's just her own narrow mindset painting shallow thoughts on people she doesn't agree with. Not surprising at all. Why go through the arduous task of critical thinking when you can just make sweeping generalizations and make easy conclusions?

  30. Completely disagree with the last 30 seconds. She offers absolutely no evidence that Republicans have abandoned women. (I’m not a Republican or Democrat.)

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