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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
The World's View on America's Presidential Campaign; A Debate on Debates; The Lincoln-Douglas Debates; The Ides of March; Is Trump Rheotoric American Brand of Authoritarianism?; Marijuana Seizures Lowest in Decade. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 13, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:35] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tell the whole story, Senator Sanders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Today on the show, the zigzags and jibs and jabs of the U.S. presidential race have fascinated and horrified the American people. Many asks what does the world think, what do they make of the Donald.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: How does the world feel about the hostility, the vulgarity, the attacks on foreigners?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to build the wall. Don't worry about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: I have a great global panel to discuss.
Also, a scholar has found that the single, strongest predictor of support for Donald Trump is something few of us could imagine. It is not economic anxiety. It is not even race.
We'll talk to him and explain.
And so far the presidential campaign has seen 20 -- count them 20 -- debates and there are still almost eight months until the election. We will debate the art of debating from its ancient origins to Lincoln and Douglas all the way to today. Finally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most important thing is the story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Other shows are re-examining what was called the murder of the century, the O.J. Simpson case. We will reexamine the most famous murder in history. Who really killed Julius Caesar and why.
Fitting questions on the eve of the Ides of March.
But first, here's my take. The energy fuelling the presidential campaign on both sides of the political spectrum seems to be deep despair about the American economy. On this central issue, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have a surprisingly similar message. The American economy has failed.
But is the analysis correct?
Let's see. The U.S. economy has created 14 million private sector jobs since 2010. Unemployment has dropped to under 5 percent and the number of people filing jobless claims hit a 42-year low last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has more than doubled under Barack Obama among the best stock market performances under any president. Housing and construction markets are also strong. Auto sales are booming and even wages have begun to rise.
The central dilemma for the United States is that the gains from growth, low inflation and technical productively, are spread broadly through the entire population. We all gain from lower cost goods and extraordinary technology. But the costs, the jobs lost and the wages cut are concentrated among a smaller group of people. It is the voices of these people understandably angry that we hear on the campaign trail these days.
The present recovery has been much less robust than previous ones. But many economists predicted this from the start. Pointing out the slowdowns caused by a financial crisis battered the confidence of consumers and businesses. The most relevant metric surely is how the U.S. has emerged from the recession compared to the world's other major economies. And on this the evidence is clear. The U.S. economy will likely grow much faster than the eurozones and almost three times as fast as Japan's this year.
In the United States the Federal Reserve has started to raise interest rates because it worries about economic growth producing inflation. While almost every other major central bank in the world is thinking of cutting rates to desperately try to jumpstart their economist.
On the Republican campaign trail one of the ritual denunciations you hear is that the Obama administration has strangled the economy with new regulations. The centerpiece of that argument is Dodd-Frank. A vast complex and unwieldy set of laws and rules that now govern the financial industry. And yet, as the "Financial Times" reported this week, America's top five investment banks made more than twice as much money as their European counterparts beating their European rivals on almost every financial measure last year.
[10:05:06] The argument that the economy would grow faster if there were major tax and regulatory reforms is certainly a plausible one in theory. But the United States is actually a very competitive economy. A recent UBS report for the World Economic Forum identified the countries best able to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution. And America ranked fifth.
In an essay in "Foreign Affairs," Lawrence Summers, the former president of Harvard and former Treasury secretary, carefully explains why the fundamental problem in the economy today is a lack of demand. Too much savings. Too little spending. And he advocates as the single central solution a major boost in infrastructure spending.
He has pointed out to me before that as in a house deferred maintenance insures that you have a much larger bill when things actually break down. Better to borrow money at historically low rates and spend it now to boost growth and kick off a virtuous cycle of demand.
"Future generations will be better off owing lots of money in long term bonds at low rates in a currency they can print than they would be inheriting a vast, deferred maintenance liability," he writes.
From what they have repeatedly said about infrastructure on the campaign trail it appears that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would agree with all this.
For more, go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Excitement, horror, other confusion. These are just a few of the emotions that Americans are feeling about the 2016 presidential race but I wanted to find out what the rest of the world thinks of the likes of Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Clinton and Sanders.
Do they feel the same emotions or different ones? Here with me in New York is Valentine Pasquali who is a writer for Global Finance magazine and for the Aspen Institute. She is from Bologna, Italy.
Adam Gopnik, a staff writer for the "New Yorker" magazine, was in the late 1990s the magazine's Paris correspondent. So we're calling him an honorary Frenchman today.
Yascha Mounk is a lecturer on political theory at Harvard and a fellow at New America. He was born and bred in Germany.
And Gideon Rachman joins us from London today. He is the chief foreign affairs columnist for the "Financial Times."
Adam, what is going on in Europe in general because, you know, when they look at Trump surely they are also thinking about what is happening in Hungary and Poland. ADAM GOPNIK, STAFF WRITER, "NEW YORKER" MAGAZINE: Right.
ZAKARIA: And in Scandinavia and France.
GOPNIK: Exactly, Fareed. Well, one of the things that's happening is you've seen a mounting of right-thing nationalist parties throughout Europe in ways that are very parallel to the coming forward of Trump. It's a problem we know, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the grand old man of the extreme right in France whose daughter now runs like a shop passed down, father to daughter, runs the extreme rights party actively endorsed Donald Trump. He's tweeted, "If I were American, I would vote for Donald Trump."
That was a significant thing to do because I think it suggested that they see, and it's not limited I think to the extreme right, Trump as primarily a nationalist. A nationalist -- an American nationalist in the same way that they're French nationalist, Hungarian nationalist, and now for the first time in a long time English nationalist as well.
And I think it's terribly important, Fareed, that we see Trump in that context not necessarily as a crypto fascist or a proto fascist but as a nationalist. It's a very different thing historically from a populist or conservative.
ZAKARIA: Gideon, you wrote a column called "in Defense of Donald Trump." Explain what you mean.
GIDEON RACHMAN, CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, FINANCIAL TIMES: Well, I mean, I started with a lot of the same horror that you said was being felt in the United States and so on, but I guess it was the death of Nancy Reagan over the weekend that reminded me that much of the same horror had been expressed about Ronald Reagan when he came to power. I was a student at the time. And I remember in the U.K., a lot of people thought we were on the brink of World War III and so on.
And I wondered whether well, perhaps, the reaction to Trump is overstated. And I think in some respects it might be because if you look at his positions on foreign policy in some respect he's actually more moderate than, say, a Ted Cruz who wants to rip up the Iran deal on day one.
But in the end, actually I gave up my defense of Donald Trump kind of two-thirds of the way through the column, I must admit, because I do think there are some very worrying aspects which has as much to do with his temperament and the kind of style he brings to politics as his policies. You know, the misogyny, the flirting with racism, and also just his extreme touchiness. I think I would be worried to have somebody like that in charge of the world's largest nuclear arsenal.
[10:10:05] ZAKARIA: You know, the person who he does seem to resemble an awful lot is Berlusconi who had this crass, almost vulgar style but Italians loved it. So tell us what we can learn from Italy's experience with Berlusconi.
VALENTINA PASQUALI, WRITER, ASPEN INSTITUTE ITALIA: I think the parallels between the two are really striking and I think they go well beyond politics and the question of style is really important here. It's the very brash, abrasive rhetoric that Trump is using in the campaign reminds Italians very much of the style of Berlusconi had and displayed for the 20 or so years that he dominated Italian politics whether as the head of government or the head of the opposition. Calling names was a very common thing that Berlusconi would do very regularly. The justices where the communists that were out to persecute him and journalists were criminals. He made a habit of suing them any chance he got. Rivals were dangerous liars and some of that is what we're seeing here with Trump this year.
ZAKARIA: But you say that Berlusconi's legacy (INAUDIBLE) has been very bad. That he has -- he's kind of coarsen Italian democracy.
PASQUALI: Absolutely. And it shocked the trust that Italians have in their institutions by basically debasing public discourse around politics and democracy and institutions. If you say over and over again that everybody's corrupt, nobody is to be trusted, judiciary is a corrupt system with political aims, sooner or later people are going to start believing it especially if you're seeing that from the White House.
ZAKARIA: You know, you've written about this, Yascha, which is that the loss of faith and democracy. But how much of it is that you have this very spirited attack on not just your political opponents for having different policies but almost for being criminals of -- you know, traitors to the country.
YASCHA MOUNK, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA: Now we're at a stage where people just really don't trust anybody in politics anymore. Any politician who stands up there and does the best to convince voters that look, I am an honest, people just don't buy it. And what we like about characters like Berlusconi or Trump is that he's not hypocritical about it. But when he's asked why this -- that he invited Hillary Clinton to his wedding Hillary says, you know, I thought it was fun to go. And Trump says well, I'm a real-estate man. I had to carry political favor. And people like the fact that he's honest about that. So I think, you know, is it also then going to further deteriorate political norms? Absolutely. And what really worries me about Trump is not that he has policies that are radical. Not that he has an ideology that's dangerous. But that his only course is himself. And that makes him willing to do anything. And that's a very dangerous Republican.
ZAKARIA: We're going to take a break. When we come back I want to talk about among other things, Germany, the most important case in Europe in a sense and a place where you do see the rise of a far-right populist.
[10:17:15] ZAKARIA: And we are back with Valentina Pasquali, Adam Gopnik, Yascha Mounk, and Gideon Rachman.
We're going to talk about Germany. Before that, Gideon. I have to ask you about English nationalism as Adam Gopnik was pointing out. This is how much of the right-wing revolt against David Cameron, the attempt to get Britain out of the Europe. How much of that is the rise of a kind of English nationalism that feels that has been bent in by the Scotts, the Welsh, and now Europe?
RACHMAN: Well, it's mainly aimed at Europe really. And it's got quite deep roots. It goes all the way back to Thatcherism. The sense that parliament has lost sovereignty to Brussels. That's been there a long time. But it's been given a lot of fuel by concern about immigration. And there, I think there is some parallel with Trump in the sense that we don't have control of our own borders. But interestingly, although you referred to (INAUDIBLE) in the way they are, they wouldn't yet go as far as Trump. I don't think anyone campaigning, say, for Britain to leave the E.U. would say well, we should have a complete ban on Muslims entering the U.K. That just wouldn't be acceptable discourse, really, except on the very far- right, you know, in the U.K.
ZAKARIA: The big question of course is Germany for historical reasons, understandable historical reasons people would be very concerned about the rise of a far right movement in Germany. So far since 1945 there hasn't been much of one. Now there does appear to be one with this woman Petry. Tell us about her.
MOUNK: That's right. So Germany has been a historical anomaly so far in Europe. When you look at kind of the proportional representation every single one of them has quite significant far-right populist party and they all came to parliament in the last 10, 15 years. And in Germany up to now, I think the country has been a little bit scared of going there. I think they were just lucky that previous attempts at establishing that kind of populist party just were led by people who were unfavored politicians and now it looks like it's coming together.
ZAKARIA: And is the appeal similar to Trump's?
MOUNK: Absolutely. So I think what's going on with this far-right populist is that they had the exactly same sort of political imagine. They think that the people know what's right as the content approach to politics and the average guy knows what there is to do, and then obviously in every country you fill in the variables. So in the United States, you know, Mexican immigration is a big issue. It's the whole of Trump's rhetoric against Mexicans.
In Germany at the moment the refugee crisis is a big issue so it's all about Syrians and some senior members of the Alternative for Germany, that's the name of the party. Have asked that in order to stop immigration we should even be willing to shoot at children at the border. So the particular outrageous statements are different but the basic political imaginary is the same.
[10:20:05] ZAKARIA: Gideon. when you look at Trump from England, what is the discourse there? What do people think? Is it different from what you hear in America?
RACHMAN: Well, look, I mean, it's incredible how much interest there is. You know, and I think originally, the reaction was actually rather similar to the American establishment's reaction that this was a kind of only in America phenomenon but that it would soon fade. They didn't really believe that it would have legs. And then it's been replaced by incredulity. But still at a degree of amusement because in the end it's not our country but now I think a degree of anxiety as well, although people are still -- I don't know whether it's in denial or they're being realistic. But I think people still find it very hard to imagine that he would go all the way to the White House.
I think the full back kind of London dinner party position now as well, OK, even if he gets the nomination surely he will lose to Hillary Clinton. So in that sense I don't think people have yet quite got themselves in the position where they really think it's real.
ZAKARIA: I'm glad you're revealing your reportorial technique, Gideon.
RACHMAN: Exactly yes. OK.
ZAKARIA: What do they think in Italy of Trump?
PASQUALI: Berlusconi just come up over and over again. It's been widely discussed in all the media and I think amusement and incredulity are two big feelings in Italy as well. It's very hard to see the United States going down the same path we went down 20 years ago and a lot of people didn't think it would get this far in Italy like they don't hear, they didn't hear.
GOPNIK: There's sniffing difference, though, it seems. One is Berlusconi was actually a successful tycoon. Right? He actually had done some things. One of the things that makes Trump and the people in France have noted this, so (INAUDIBLE) he's an entirely American figure in some ways with all the commonalities that he has. He is the great American figure of the confident man. The music man in that way.
He's had relative -- by New York real estate standards he's a very trivial and second-class figure. By -- if we talked about Ronald Reagan, let's remember, Ronald Reagan had been governor of the biggest state in the country for eight on the whole successful years. So this isn't like those previous things it seems to me. And it has some quality, some 19th century quality of the Bangcam (PH) artist that is mesmerizing and frightening at the same time.
And I think that in France -- you know, it's funny how each country has its own peculiar history. In Germany it's terror that the far- right would come back up. In France, it's the question of can you ever allow the far-right out of its cage in a sense? That's the heritage of Vichy and collaboration.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating conversation. Thank you all.
Next on GPS. Debates. What are they good for?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Look at those hands. Are they small hands?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: They've certainly been entertaining this U.S. political season. But how enlightening have they been? Was it better in the old days? Well, we will ask two scholars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:26:54] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican candidate, Vice President Richard M. Nixon and the Democratic candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: September 26th, 1960, the first ever televised presidential debate. The story goes that if you heard it on the radio you thought that Vice President Richard Nixon was the victor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know what it means to be poor. I know what it means to see people who are unemployed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: But if you watched it on TV you were certain that then Senator Kennedy won. Why? Well, Nixon looked sweaty and sickly and Kennedy was young and handsome.
Welcome to the world of television.
Fast forward to today's debates where the insults fly and references are made to the size of genitalia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And he referred to my hands if they're small something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Perhaps we should step back and remind ourselves that the purpose of debate, its terrific power, and the great debates of history.
With me are Eric Foner who is a professor of history at Columbia University, a Lincoln and Civil War scholar and a Pulitzer Prize winner, and Hunter Rawlings who was the president of Cornell University. He is now the president of the Association of American Universities.
Hunter, I thought we'd start with you because your class -- you really gets to the issue of why do we have debates? Why -- you know, it used to be that people had speeches. But you and I have talked about how at the heart of it all really is the ideal of a Socratic dialogue. So why did Plato start writing dialogues?
HUNTER RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Well, Plato started writing dialogues because he thought that a lot of public speaking was actually very superficial and weak. And so he felt that the best way to get to the truth is for you and me to have a serious argument. And in a serious argument, I can take your ideas and put them under the test and you can do the same for, in that way we're going to -- we hope -- get towards something that's true as oppose to my winning the debate or your winning the debate.
ZAKARIA: How was it regarded at the time, this idea of having this kind of debates?
RAWLINGS: Well, the ancient Athenians loved public discourse, they love speaking, they love rhetoric. The Athenians did not elect officials to make big decisions. They instead make the big decisions themselves sitting in large assemblies.
ZAKARIA: So the debate was crucial because in effect you were exposing people to the -- to the issues that they had -- perhaps didn't even know about.
RAWLINGS: Yes. And you had to be a very good speaker. You had to be able to speak to 10,000 or 12,000 people live, and that, of course, takes talent and a lot of practice and frankly education. So someone like Pericles, the famous Athenian leader, was regarded as a superb speaker and in fact his nickname was the Olympian, because when he spoke it sounded like Zeus thundering down from on high.
ZAKARIA: Where did debates start in American political history?
ERIC FONER, HISTORY PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, of course, the Constitutional Convention was full of, you know, pretty profound debates about -- but this was all in private. They were not public debates at all. The proceedings weren't published until much, much later. But pretty early candidates, not for president as you said, but candidates for other offices, lower offices would have debates certainly in the 19th Century there were plenty of debates between candidates
[10:30:00] for Congress in different districts.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates are rather unusual because they were both candidates for the Senate. And so you have these seven debates where they are out there, just as in Athens, speaking to 10,000, 20,000 people coming to hear these very lengthy -- they lasted three hours or more -- and quiet profound in many ways debates between the two candidates.
ZAKARIA: And did they -- did they matter? Did they make a difference? FONER: Oh, they made a tremendous difference. They made a difference, first of all, in the long term in making Lincoln a national figure. We didn't have TV; we didn't have the Internet, but newspapers from all over the country covered these debates. And the next day, they were in the print. You know, people can read about them because the telegraph is there and the transcripts can be sent around very quickly.
You know, but more to the point, they -- they really put -- they were a debate over fundamental issues, the place of slavery in our society, the future of slavery, the role of African-Americans; who is really an American? Is it only a country for white people? Do free blacks have any rights?
ZAKARIA: When you watch these debates and you look at it as a historian...
... what is your reaction?
FONER: Well, you know, I'm usually appalled, particularly by the Republican debates, which have sunk to a pretty low level, as you've mentioned before. But, you know, we should not think that American politics has just been a polite debating society until now. There's always been demagoguery. There's always been some pretty scurrilous attacks.
I mean, you can go back to what they were saying about George Washington or Thomas Jefferson in the 1790s and, you know, pretty low attacks were being made.
But I do think that, you know, the lack of substance, so to speak, and just the elevation of personal insult and personal aggrandizement and, you know, egotism run amok -- it is a kind of a new low in -- in our political debates. So I hope that this is not a trend which will continue but it's just a reflection of the particular moment we happen to be in.
ZAKARIA: Eric Foner, Hunter Rawlings, pleasure to have you on.
Lincoln and Douglas went on to fight a presidential campaign against each other, and that is the subject of tonight's episode of "Race For the White House." Take a look at this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Douglas focuses his attack on Lincoln.
(UNKNOWN): If you desire Negro citizenship, then support Mr. Lincoln and the black Republican party.
ANNOUNCER: His weapon: race hate.
MARGARET WASHINGTON, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: He accuses Lincoln of being in favor of race-mixing, in favor of black equality. He calls him a black Republican. He calls him things far worse. PAUL BEGALA, SENIOR STRATEGIST FOR 1992 CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Lincoln did a lot of things that today seem unethical, but he never appealed to the darker angels of our nature, and Douglas did. And Stephen Douglas should have been ashamed of himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Watch more of the political drama in the upcoming episode of "Race For the White House" tonight at 10 p.m. on CNN. Up next, we are on the eve of the Ides of March. Do you remember who was killed on it?
We will take a new look at the most famous assassination in history, that of Julius Caesar, and why it still resonates today.
ZAKARIA: "Beware the Ides of March."
Those are the words of William Shakespeare. And indeed almost all of what we think we know about the assassination of Julius Caesar comes not from 44 B.C., when it happened, but from the 1500s, when Shakespeare's play premiered.
Well, one professor has gone back to as close to primary sources as still exist. And what he has found will surprise you. Barry Strauss is a professor at Cornell University and the author of "The Death of Caesar," which was a past book of the week of mine.
Barry, we thought it was fitting to talk about this on the eve of the Ides of March.
BARRY STRAUSS, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Absolutely.
ZAKARIA: And the first thing I want to ask you about is the subtitle, "The Story of History's Most Famous Assassination."
Why is it such an important assassination?
STRAUSS: Well, you know, I'm really glad you asked that because the death of Julius Caesar really was a turning point. This was an opportunity for the republic, peacefully, to make the reforms that were necessary.
ZAKARIA: And this republic we are talking about is Rome...
STRAUSS: The Roman republic.
ZAKARIA: ... the most powerful nation in the world...
STRAUSS: Absolutely, yes.
ZAKARIA: ... at that time, the America of the world.
And Caesar becomes this guy, this great military conquerer...
STRAUSS: Right. ZAKARIA: ... who seems to be morphing into an emperor.
STRAUSS: Yes, absolutely. Caesar gained more power than anyone had ever had before in Rome. He's the richest man Rome's ever seen. He has the strongest army Rome has ever had.
ZAKARIA: How large is the Roman Empire at this point?
STRAUSS: So it stretches from Britain to Syria to North Africa to Spain. So it's enormous. And there are about 50 million people in it.
ZAKARIA: What was Caesar like as a person, from what you can tell?
STRAUSS: As a person, he was absolutely fascinating and absolutely maddening. He was brilliant. He was a genius. He was smarter than just about anyone else and more talented than anyone else. The trouble is he knew it. He's a rare person in history who's a great general and a great politician and also a great author. We don't see that very often.
ZAKARIA: The Shakespearean version is that Caesar is betrayed and assassinated by a group of people eventually led by his closest friend, the man he considers his son, Brutus. And there is that famous line in Shakespeare, "Et tu Brute" -- you know, "You, too, Brutus? Then fall Caesar."
ZAKARIA: Is any of this true?
STRAUSS: It's true that Caesar was betrayed by his friends. In fact, the majority of the conspirators were his friends and not his enemies. It's also true that Brutus was one of the chief conspirators. It's not true that he was Caesar's greatest friend. In fact, he had fought against Caesar originally in the civil war and Caesar then makes peace with him and brings him over to his side. He had a very strange relationship with Caesar because Brutus's mother was Caesar's ex- mistress, Servilia.
ZAKARIA: Why does it succeed, simply?
STRAUSS: It succeeds in part because it was extremely well planned. So the picture we get from Shakespeare is that these are a group of guys at the last minute putting it together and they just get a lucky break. In fact, the leaders of the conspiracy were some of Rome's top generals. They were experts in ambushes. They knew exactly what they were doing. They cased the place. They really had this plan down to the minute. They even brought gladiators as back-up in case they were needed, something that's not there in Shakespeare.
It also succeeds because Caesar really doesn't believe it. He's a victim of his own success. He's someone who sucks all the air out of the room every place he goes. And so there's nobody there to say, "Caesar, I think you really better take this seriously." In fact, there is one person -- and Shakespeare gets that right. That's his wife, Calpurnia, who was a very experienced Roman politician. Her father is one of the top politicians in Rome. She comes from a political family. Caesar takes her seriously when she says, "You better watch out; you better not go to the Senate meeting."
ZAKARIA: There's another woman in your story -- in your story -- who doesn't really appear marginally in Shakespeare, and that is Cleopatra.
STRAUSS: Cleopatra, yes, amazingly. This is a touch that not even Hollywood would dare invent. But she was Caesar's mistress and she was actually present in Rome on the Ides of March. She was living in Caesar's villa. She probably had their natural child with them, their son, Caesarion, which means "little Caesar." And she was a very controversial figure. Many Romans despised her and they thought that she was the proof that Caesar really wanted to be king, because, after all, his girlfriend was queen of Egypt, one of the most powerful, wealthy, important places in the world.
ZAKARIA: What's the big lesson, you think, of the assassination?
STRAUSS: I think the biggest lesson of the assassination is that politics always trumps military thinking. You always need to have a political plan. It's not enough to be able to fight people. You have to have a plan for how you'll then govern them. Both Caesar and the assassins were lacking any such plan. And that's why Caesar failed and why the assassins failed in turn and why the person who inherits it all, that no one could have predicted, was an 18-year-old kid who turns out to be wiser than either Caesar or the great man who killed him.
ZAKARIA: And that's Augustus?
STRAUSS: That's Augustus, yes. And he is the man who inherits and manages to put the pieces all back together again, though it's not an easy process.
ZAKARIA: Well, it is an absolutely fascinating book. Barry Strauss, thank you so much.
STRAUSS: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, what is the single best explanation for the rise of Trump?
An academic has a startling book that will worry you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I say do it, they're going to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would bomb the (BLEEP) out of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will build the wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: As Donald Trump continues his meteoric rise, his opponents wonder, is this an American brand of authoritarianism?
Obviously, his supporters would disagree, but let's listen to what a fascinating book has found.
Jonathan Weiler, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, co-wrote a book in 2009 that eerily anticipated the rise of Trump's politics.
Today Weiler says that Trump might be just the first in a series of 21st Century strong-man candidates.
JONATHAN WEILER, AUTHOR: Thanks for having me.
ZAKARIA: What is the thesis of the book?
WEILER: The thesis of the book is that the polarization that we've seen in American politics over the last 30 years or so that everybody recognizes is a particularly intense and acrimonious form of polarization is actually being driven at the grass-roots level, at the base of the two parties, by differences in personality among the voters supporting those two parties.
ZAKARIA: And the personality of those voters is that there are certain kinds of voters, now mostly on the Republican side, who like authoritarian-style politics.
What does that mean? What is it that they are attracted to?
WEILER: Yeah, so what they're attracted to is they believe very strongly in a need for social order as traditionally defined. And they feel very fearful and resentful toward groups and social norms that might challenge that traditional order.
ZAKARIA: And these voters have certain personality traits that predispose them to like authoritarian-style politics?
WEILER: That's right. It's going to -- those personality traits are going to attract them to leaders who speak in clear, simple, direct terms about imposing order on the world around them.
ZAKARIA: When did people start trying to figure out whether people, ordinary people, had tendencies toward authoritarian style or non- authoritarian style?
WEILER: So research into authoritarianism, mass authoritarianism is several decades old. After World War II, there was an effort to understand what explained mass support for fascism. In more recent decades, thinking about the democracies of the United States and Western Europe, there has been an interest in understanding why a particular personality type would be associated with people who feel a strong need for order, who want to ensure that people who are not like them are, sort of, put in their place, and want clear, simple solutions to complicated problems.
ZAKARIA: And in order to figure out whether people have this tendency toward authoritarian-style politics, you actually asked questions that are not related to politics?
WEILER: That's right. We asked four parenting questions.
We asked people to tell us what kinds of attributes they want children to have. And, to a fascinating degree, how people answer those parenting questions tells us an awful lot about how they see the world politically.
ZAKARIA: So what you find is that people who want, presumably, their children to be -- to have respect for elders, to have obedience, to have good manners, and to be well-behaved...
ZAKARIA: ... have a tendency...
WEILER: To be more authoritarian.
ZAKARIA: And to choose more authoritarian-style figures in politics?
ZAKARIA: Now, when you take this data and you then looked at the Trump phenomenon, what did you find?
WEILER: So we found -- so Matt McWilliams at UMass-Amherst did a national survey in December in which he included the four parenting questions. And he found, to a striking degree, that how people answer these four parenting questions was by far the best predicator of their support for Donald Trump -- better than the kinds of demographic things like gender, income, education, that people usually think explains political preferences. In fact, it was these four parenting questions that told us whether folks like Trump or not. ZAKARIA: That's fascinating. So you're saying, even more than people
will often point out, you know, it tends to be working-class whites, or poorly educated whites, but the answers to these questions were actually an even stronger predictor of whether you'd be a Trump supporter?
WEILER: Much stronger. And just let me say something quickly about that, Fareed, because so much of the narrative has been about white, working-class support for Trump. But the truth is white, working-class voters who are low on authoritarianism -- and they exist -- they don't like Trump at all. And college-educated voters who are high on authoritarianism like Trump a lot.
So the degree to which working-class status explains Trump, it kind of -- it goes away.
ZAKARIA: And you think that this is the beginning of something important because this polarization, this splitting where the parties have, sort of, captured two kinds of people, is just -- is just starting?
WEILER: I think what's happened is that the Republican Party in particular has cultivated a base that sees the world -- and, of course, not all Republicans feel this way -- but they've cultivated a base, many of whom share this world-view. And, in our regard, they are now beholden to that base and they need to reflect the world-view and the concerns and the fears of that base. And so, from that perspective, I think it's possible that Trump will not be a one-of-a- kind politician.
ZAKARIA: Jonathan Weiler, pleasure to have you on.
WEILER: Thank you very much.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, none of the American presidential candidates have said they want to legalize marijuana. But should they be saying it? Well, there's new evidence you want to know about
ZAKARIA: Antonin Scalia died one month ago today, and the nation has been waiting ever since for the president to nominate a replacement for his seat on the Supreme Court. It's crucial for many reasons but, prime among them, it is a lifetime appointment.
It brings me to my question: How many other OECD countries grant life tenure to all members of their highest constitutional court?
Is it zero, two, three or six?
Stay tuned and we will tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is James Traub's biography of John Quincy Adams. By rights, John Quincy Adams should be one of America's most famous presidents. His life story is remarkable, the son of one of the nation's founding presidents, the only one to serve in an elected office after leaving the White House, and a man of vast intelligence and political courage who died while debating in the House of Representatives.
Yet he's an obscure figure. James Traub has rectified this in a book worthy of its subject.
And now for the last look. Are we finally seeing a bright spot in the war on drugs? Well, recent data from the U.S. Border Patrol showed that marijuana seizures along the Southwest border are the lowest they have been in a decade. This supports the theory that Mexican cartels are now facing tough competition from American marijuana sources, from some elicit production to legal recreational sale in states like Colorado, as the Washington Post pointed out.
The state has issued roughly 1,000 licenses to dispense marijuana. The sales of medical and recreational pot reached nearly $1 billion in 2015 and the state collected more than $135 million in taxes and fees, according to the Denver Post. That is money that can go toward schools and services, including drug education.
So if the cartels lose and the states make money, is it about time to legalize and light up all over the country?
Canada seems to be moving in that direction.
Well, there are some areas of concern. Weed-related emergency room visits rose by 44 percent for Colorado residents and 109 percent for visitors less experienced with potent Colorado cannabis between 2012 and 2014, says the New England Journal of Medicine.
In general, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs. But the best way forward would be to study the data coming out of Colorado and other states and countries where marijuana is legal and to craft the best policies going forward that take the crime out of drugs but also address the fallout from more widespread availability. This is a chance to make policy based on facts, not ideology.
The correct answer to the "CPS Challenge" question is A, zero. The United States is alone in providing life tenure to all constitutional court judges. Every OECD nation has some limit on the tenure in such jobs, according to analysis by the International Law Institute.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.