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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Fareed's Take; The Election of Donald Trump: How it Happened?; The Trump Presidency: U.S. Against the World; Discussion of Iraq Fighting; How Did So Many People Wrongly Predict a Clinton Victory?. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 13, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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 coming to you live from New York.
Today we will, of course, tackle the stunning results of America's election. President-elect Donald J. Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.
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ZAKARIA: Just how did it happen?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm sorry that we did not win this election.
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ZAKARIA: What does it mean for the future of the left and the right? I will ask David Remnick, Neera Tanden, Dan Senor and Conrad Black.
Also, why didn't the pollsters and pundits see this coming? Harry Enten and Nate Cohn give me their predictions last week
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID ENTEN, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: All of the models that Hillary Clinton had, it's just by varying degrees.
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ZAKARIA: This week, we will do a postmortem. Then Syria, ISIS, Russia, China, what will President Trump do about all these foreign policy challenges? I have a great panel to discuss.
But first, here's my take. For those of us who opposed Donald Trump, the response to choose is both could be anger or honest reflection. And I'm not by nature an angry person so I will try the latter. Donald Trump remade the political map with a huge surge of support
from working class whites, particularly in rural communities. Let me be honest, this is the world that I don't know and many people probably don't know very well and that's part of the problem.
We have all managed to ignore rural America and the pain of economic hardship and social dislocation it has faced over the last few decades. The big divide in America today is urban versus rural. There's an essay on the satirical web site, Crack, by David Wong, who grew up in a small town in Illinois and it gives voice to the rage of rural Americans.
The whole goddamned world revolves around America's cities, he wrote. Most new songs, movies, shows, games are all about New York or LA or Chicago or some fantasy version of them. All the hot new industries are in hip cities.
If you live in rural America, that effing sucks, he wrote. To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. Are you a-holes listening now?, writes Wong. We are.
Over the last three or four decades, America has sorted itself into a highly efficient meritocracy where people from all walks of life can move up the ladder of achievement and income, usually ending up in cities. It's a better way than using race or gender or blood lines as a path to wealth and power but it does create its own problems. As with any system, there will be people who don't ascend to the top. And because it's a meritocracy, it's easy to believe that this is justified, that they deserve it.
A meritocracy can be blind to the fact that some people don't make it because they were unlucky, they were up against tough odds. More profoundly, it can be morally blind. Even those who score poorly on test or have bad work habits are human beings deserving of attention and respect.
The Republicans' great success in rural communities has been that even though they often advocate economic policies that would not these help people, indeed, policies that often hurt them, they demonstrate respect by identifying with them culturally, religiously, emotionally.
So the great sin of the modern left is elitism. But there is also another sin that was highlighted in this election, racism. I know this makes many uncomfortable but hear me out. Donald Trump won among whites without a college degree by a staggering 39 points, according to exit polls. But he won those with a college education by four points as well. He won working class whites but also middle-class whites.
And here is the key point. Trump is not unusual. Right wing populism is on the rise across a vary variety of western countries. It is rising in countries in northern Europe where economic growth has been robust. It is rising in countries like Germany where manufacturing jobs have stayed very strong. In France, where the state provides many protections for the working class. The one common trait in all these places is that a white majority
population faces a recent influx of immigrants. Perhaps the phenomenon might be better described as a reaction to cultural change but it often expresses itself simply as hostility to people who are different and are usually brown and black. Consider, for example, that 72 percent of registered Republican voters still doubt that Barack Obama was born in the United States. This is according to an August NBC poll.
Donald Trump's political skill was to speak defiantly about both these sensitive issues, elitism and race, in a simple, direct, politically incorrect way that connected with white voters, particularly white men. But in doing so, he also terrified tens of millions of other Americans.
We should have a serious conversation about elitism and rural communities. But let's also not shy away from a conversation about race. There are other ignored and suffering people in America as well. We all need to be listening to each other now.
For more, go to cnn.com/Fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
ZAKARIA: Let's keep digging in to the politics of Trump's Trump's November surprise. I have a great panel: David Remnick, he's the editor-in-chief of "The New Yorker", a biographer of President Obama. He published a piece online at 2:40 am on Wednesday as election returns kept rolling in. That piece 'An American Tragedy' went viral.
Neera Tanden was co-chair of the Clinton-Kaine transition until there was no transition to make. Her day job is president and CEO of the center for American progress. Dan Senor was a spokesman in the Bush 43 administration and a senior foreign policy advisor to the Romney- Ryan campaign in 2012. And in Toronto, Conrad Black is a columnist for the "National Post" He's also that newspaper's founder.
Conrad, let me begin with you since you supported Donald Trump and therefore I think I owe it to you to give us your theory of the case. How do you explain Trump's victory?
CONRAD BLACK, FOUNDER/COLUMNIST, NATIONAL POST: I think that some of the factors you've mentioned, Fareed, certainly played in it. But I think that there was no real argument put forward for the reelection of the Democrats and their entire campaign consisted of an attack on Donald Trump as a racist and a sexist and possibly a warmonger and an inciter of domestic violence. None of those allegations is true. And he responded to them by torquing up references to Mrs. Clinton's ethical problems and the Clintons so-called pay to play problems.
And so he got a singularly and vituperative campaign and it just escalated right to the end. But the facts are that Donald Trump is not a sexist and he's not a racist. He won the Republican nomination over the established figures in that party, the Bush family -- but also over the far right led by Senator Cruz by pitching it somewhat to the people you mentioned. But all he really said was he wanted a border in the south. He was opposed to illegal immigration, he was opposed to the admission of terrorist. He's not a racist. He has good record as an equal opportunity employer.
And he certainly isn't a sexist. That 11-year-old tape while it was disgusting was like the normal routine conversation of Lyndon Johnson and we didn't talk about that sort of thing very much in those days.
Now, the times have changed. But those attacks on him were unreasonable. And in general, the American public feel, I believe and I think there's lots of evidence for it and I think the right believe it, that the last 15 years have been the first of period of absolute and comparative decline of the United States in the world under both parties and under legislative and executive branches of both parties and they're very upset about it.
And Donald pitched a good old-fashioned patriotism. Not (jingo), not any sort of imperialism and not any superiority of any one, just this isn't good government, it's time for a change and we have to stop trade pacts that import unemployment and immigration that creates unfair competition for jobs. It was portrayed by his opponents as a racist campaign and in the end that did not because it was not true.
ZAKARIA: Dan Senor, what's striking to me is from all accounts, the Trump campaign did not expect to win. Paul Ryan did not expect him to win. You were very close to Paul Ryan. One of the reasons Paul Ryan told Republicans, detach yourself from Trump if you have to. Everyone was surprised and what do you think accounts for it?
DAN SENOR, SPOKESPERSON, BUSH 43 ADMINISTRATION: For the surprise?
SENOR: Well, first of all, all the polling was off. And I think -- look, I'm not surprised by the surge in white working class voters. And to be clear, I don't think it's just white working class, I think it was a middle-class revolt as well. I think we sort of oversimplify these things. So I'm not surprised by that segment of the electorate what sort of, you know, surged.
What I was surprised about and I think many of the Republican leadership was surprised about was the complete collapse of the Obama coalition. We just assumed that Obama voters would turn out in the numbers that they did in 2008 and 2012. It takes 700 counties in the country that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. A third of them, a third, voted for Trump.
In cities like Philadelphia and Detroit and Milwaukee where you had a surge of voters in 2012 which helped defeat Mitt Romney, numbers were way off. And so the big question for me is not this sort of white working class and the white middle-class revolt, it's why the Obama coalition didn't show up?
ZAKARIA: And Neera, when you look at it, as of now, there are millions of ballots yet to be counted but as of now, Trump got a million votes less than Mitt Romney but Hillary Clinton got five million votes less than Obama. Does that tell you something?
NEERA TANDEN, CO-CHAIR, CLINTON-KAINE TRANSITION: Absolutely. I want to recognize that there was democratic turnoff. There was depression, particularly among some African-Americans. There was surges amongst Latinos but there was definitely some drop off. I think we have to see a lot of votes are still out. It may well be that Hillary wins the popular vote by a million, million and a half but we have to recognize that President Obama did a lot better than Secretary Clinton with white working class voters and many white middle-class voters.
Her particular drop off was with white working class voters. And so he did better in 2012 with white working. He lost them but not by as much. And I think the Democratic party has to recognize that we have to have a better economic message and a better reform message. I think Donald Trump did better in this campaign than many expected because he had an anti-status quo message. And I think that's critical for us going forward.
ZAKARIA: David Remnick, if I'm allowed to, you saw President Obama yesterday. What's his interpretation? I know you're writing about this but give us a preview.
DAVID REMNICK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE NEW YORKER/BIOGRAPHER: I think I wait until I write about it. As you can imagine, he's trying to buck up his White House and I think also his supporters out in the world. But I think even if we can acknowledge that there is a deep seeded feeling, anti-elite feeling, out in the country that has been present not just in the last year but for quite a while because of globalism and all its effects.
And I think we can acknowledge that Hillary Clinton, while I think would have been a good, in my mind, would've been an excellent president in so ways with flawed and I don't think buckraking helped her in this contrast. I didn't think it was necessary for her to make tens of millions of dollars the way she and her husband did and that was easy fodder for the Republicans.
When I listen to Conrad Black describe Donald Trump, I think I'm hallucinating. When I hear him described as not a sexist, not a racist, not playing on white fears, not arousing hate, when he's described in a kind of normalized way as someone in absolute possession of policy knowledge, as someone who somehow is in the acceptable range of rhetoric, I think I'm hallucinating. And I fear for our country. And I don't think it unreasonable to do so.
And of course I accept the results of the election. Of course, I do. At the same time, I also know that Vladimir Putin played a distinct role in this election and that's outrageous. And we've normalized it already. Less than a week after the election is over, suddenly Washington is going about its business talking about who's going to get what jobs. You would think that Mitt Romney had won.
It's a hallucination. But I don't think we can indulge that and I think if you are serious about serious opposition in this country or serious journalism or whatever your role is to play then the time is now.
ZAKARIA: Conrad, let me give you a chance to respond briefly but, you know, just to David's point, you did say those things. I'm wondering how do you square that with the ban on all Muslims, a religious tests, the comments about the, you know, policy plans to deport 11 million people. The comments about Mexicans as rapists, you know, the argument about --
REMNICK: The show is only an hour long, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Exactly. So I'm wondering, you know, because these were not just an off-color remark made on a 10-year-old videotape, these were actual policies he proposed.
BLACK: I thought I was hallucinating when President Obama marched around the campaign trail in the last week accusing Donald Trump of being a friend of the Ku Klux Klan. I followed elections since the second one between General Eisenhower and Governor Stevenson and I thought that was possibly the nastiest and most outrageous charge of any president made in a campaign in my time. It became a very nasty vituperative election both ways because the Democrats had no campaign except the sort of thing that Mr. Remnick just said.
Now Trump walked back all those points. He's not expelling 11 million illegal migrants. He's not doing that. He's not saying he's doing that. He's been relatively clear in that if you listen to him. And he made an initial shock statement in the early primaries and a number of these things, they were outrageous, they were bombastic. But instead of permitting the normal flexibility which I admit would be straining the latitudes of saying well, it's just politics.
But instead of doing any of that, those things were seized upon with a kind of sadistic amplification system by his opponents precisely because they had no campaign for the reelection of the Democrats. The Democratic record is not a good one. And the Republican record of the George W. Bush administration wasn't a good one. Those were not successful presidencies.
ZAKARIA: Can I just stop you on that, Conrad? Because I want to get to everybody. Dan, here's the point. And I think if Conrad were right, this would have been a vote in favor of all outsiders against all insiders but it's not, it's a Republican sweep.
SENOR: No, no. If you actually look at where Republicans are, when Obama was first year president, Democrats had 60 senate seats, now they have 48. They had 233 house seats, now they have 192. They had close to 30 governorships, now they have 15. So it is an up-and-down ballot sweep but it is a big Republican win.
It's partly a big Republican win because in a sense Trump ran against both parties. So he became this vessel to take on the system and Republicans, the party, has never been stronger, oddly. It's the beneficiary of this.
BLACK: He was running against the Clintons, the Bushes and the Obamas.
SENOR: Right, right. I agree with that. It remains to be seen how he will govern. If he works with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and lets them advance ideas that they've been working on for some time, you know, it could be a constructive first year. If he resorts to some of the ways he campaigned, it will not be. We have to be intellectually honest about that.
ZAKARIA: Neera and David, very quickly.
TANDEN: Can I just make a very quick point which is to David's point, we've had five days of protests in the country. People are fearful. There has been a rise of hate rhetoric. People are seeing language against Africans-Americans, against Latinos, against women all throughout the country. And for five days president-elect Trump could have said something to stop to give these people some sense that this will not be the beginning, this will be the end of that rhetoric.
He has chosen not to. And I think that proves that Conrad Black is wrong about this language. I think this is who Donald Trump is. I hope I'm wrong. I hope he will spend some time trying to cool the waters but I think that is part and parcel of why he won and why Steve Bannon is likely to play an important role in the White House and something that we need to work against.
ZAKARIA: Last words.
REMNICK: Steve Bannon who was a central figure in the alt-right information universe that has shattered and admittedly has shattered the traditional information universe of "The Times" and the "Post" and CNN and all that, I understand that. But the role that people like Steve Bannon have played -- look, personnel is going to be destiny for the Trump administration.
They're the best case scenario from my point of view is that somehow that institutions modify his rhetoric, modify his behavior that perhaps he has the good sense to appoint people that I wouldn't appoint necessarily or approve of but that as a conservative that he would. But if he goes the way of Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie and Flynn and Steve Bannon then I think that we can't normalize this discussion. Then I think that we're looking a very radical, unpredictable, chaotic presidency and that's something to be profoundly anxious about.
ZAKARIA: We will leave it at that. We will be back to all of you -- back in a moment with a whole new panel. This time to talk about Trump and the world. What can we figure out about his foreign policy by reading the tea leaves?
ZAKARIA: Welcome back to a live edition of the Global Public Square.
When President Trump takes the oath of office at the west front of the United States' capital, he will inherit America and a world facing multiple trouble spots, there's Iraq, Syria, ISIS. There's terrorism more generally than Russia's ambitions on its western border, China's ambition in the South China Sea. How will this man with no foreign policy experience handle all of that?
Well, James Woolsey joins us from Miami, the former CIA director is a member of Trump's transition team. Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of the Eurasia Group of global risk consultancy and Anne Marie Slaughter is the president and CEO of the think tank New America. She was the director of policy planning at the state department under Secretary Clinton and President Obama.
Jim, let me start with you. I was wondering, there are so many questions I think people have about what a President Trump will do. But I wondered if you could start with one of them that has intrigued me which is even in this last five days, Donald Trump went out of his way to be nice to Putin. He said that Putin sent him a beautiful letter.
Russia seems to have played some role in this election. All the intelligence agencies believe that the Russians were behind the hack. They have been playing similar roles in Eastern Europe. They have Annex Crimea. The Europeans are very nervous. What do you think should and will be a Trump administration attitude towards Russia?
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: I don't know. And I'm not going to get into business predicting but I will say what I think about it, which is that I believe there are a number of circumstances in which one wants to be cordial to a foreign country that is causing difficulties. I've negotiated with the Russians four times on arms control treaties.
And there are times in which being reasonably friendly is a good move and there are a number of other times in which it's not. But because he says something friendly I don't think one should assume that's a major policy decision. Roosevelt used to call Stalin Uncle Joe during the middle of World War II and Stalin at that point had killed more people than anyone in human history.
Sometimes you have to work to get along with countries you disagree with or have big problems with and it may be easier to talk to them if you're getting along on other things.
ZAKARIA: Ian BremMer, what do you think about US-Russian relations, because as you know, you traveled a lot. European, particularly east Europeans are very worried. Essentially, what I heard in places like Poland and Ukraine is Eastern Europe is going to be sacrificed at the altar of a kind of Putin-Trump bromance.
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, EURASIA GROUP: Well, some feel that way. Of course, Hungary's president, Mr. Orban, actually is an admirer of Putin. And you have people like Nigel Farage who was just taking a selfie with Donald Trump a few blocks from here, a former head of UKIP, a big supporter of Putin and vice versa.
Look, I think that the Obama administration largely failed on Russia and this is one of the few places where Trump can actually turn it around. That relationship is going to be better. It was, of course, the Republicans that said that they were going to strip out under Trump support for arming Ukraine with their platform despite the fact that most of the Republicans wanted to keep it there.
It was Trump that said that Crimea was basically Russian anyway. It was Trump that said that the Russians don't have anyone in Southeast Ukraine. Trump hates the idea of the U.S. exceptionalism. That's really music to Putin's ears. So they're going to work much more closely together and I expect that U.S. sanctions under Trump against Russia are going to diminish.
But there's no question that's going to make other countries incredibly uneasy because it's precisely the idea of shared values that brought the Europeans and the Americans so close together. And that's what Trump will throw away. He really views alliances as much more transactional, the way he views his business, it's the way he views his marriages. It doesn't have to do with underlying values, it has to do with are we both getting something out of the deal?
And in that regard if he can sit down with Putin and get something done, that's great. And if the Europeans aren't paying as much for defense, well, they're not as important. But that's a repudiation of the way U.S. has actually engaged in foreign policy for decades now.
ZAKARIA: Anne Marie.
ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEW AMERICA: Well, I want to start with where Jim Woolsey started. You asked him a question about what Trump thought and he said I don't know what Trump thinks. I'm not going to predict. I will tell you what I think.
Well there are many different people around Trump who think very differently. So Mike Flynn who advised him through the campaign, absolutely says Russia is a country we can do business with. We should be focusing on ISIS above all. We and the Russians should sit down and do business. There are others who feel very differently about Russia and we have no idea. Because we don't know who he's going to appoint in foreign policy.
The one thing I think we can be certain of is that he will not support any kind of aide to moderate Syrians. He will sit down with Putin and carve up Syria or put Assad in power, stop supporting the moderates and go all out focusing on ISIS. And that I think is something that he's been very consistent on and his advisors are consistent on.
ZAKARIA: Jim, more broadly, you know, what do you think should happen? As I say you're right. You can't predict what will happen. But what do you think should happen that's different in the struggle against ISIS. Because slowly but surely ISIS has been squeezed financially. It has been decimated. It has lost more than half its territory. It appears on the verge of losing Mosul. It hadn't even been able to do much in the way of spectacular terror attacks recently. Is this kind of slow and steady grind that involves others, you know, the Iraqis and the Kurds forces, is that the right approach or should we be doing something more dramatic?
WOOLSEY: It's making some progress and that's -- that's good because we really have to take out ISIS in its homeland there, essentially, of Iraq and Syria. We can't let them have the caliphate. We need to defeat them and defeat them very soundly in the battle for Mosul and the rest. That has been going a bit better than it was for some time over the course of the last few weeks. And that should continue. We should not hold up short of knocking ISIS completely out of business.
The harder task is going to be to defeat them out in the the 60 countries where they are present in one way or another, and that is the base rock from which they will launch small and individual actions, and some of them extremely horrible, in order to shock us as well as to kill us. And I think that we have to work with our friends and allies on best practices to take ISIS out of action out around the world. And that is going to entail some types of intrusion into people's businesses and companies and organizations that would not be appropriate except in wartime.
But I think we have to admit, as Trotsky, I think, once said, you may not be interested in war, but war may be interested in you. This war is interested in us and it's not just some skirmishes with a terrorist group; it's war. It's war to the death, from the their point of view. We have to defeat them all around the world.
ZAKARIA: Is there anything more that can be done?
Let me -- I'll start with you, Anne-Marie -- with the -- with this threat of terrorism? It's real. There are -- there is, you know, ISIS. But what strikes me about it is that the real danger to the Western world seems to be these lone wolf attacks or small groups, often locals, often radicalized, kind of, alienated young men. I imagine we'll be able to defeat ISIS, but what do you do about that the next time you have a crazy couple or a jihadi couple somewhere in the United States or France who decide to launch an attack?
SLAUGHTER: Well, so Barack Obama's response was ISIS itself is not an existential threat to the United States; we will do everything we can to contain it, but what we'll actually do is emphasize this is not a war on Islam; we will work with American Muslim communities and we will fight that threat through intelligence.
I think Trump is in a very different place. You actually just heard it. There's the view that this is World War III against radical Islamic terrorism. And remember, he kept beating up on Obama for not naming it. He does think it's more versus Islam. And oddly, he conflates that with Iran, because Iran is actually opposed to ISIS, but, again, if you listen to Mike Flynn, he says Iran's the major enemy. He's -- Mike Flynn's even suggested overthrowing the Islamic Republic of Iran. And we know Trump is very hostile to Iran. So I actually don't think he's going to focus on the threat that is more dangerous to us, which are these lone wolves, and much more on fighting Islam, fighting extremist Islamists, which actually will make us less safe.
BREMMER: Look, I think that, of course there's going to continue to be a significant military response, and I agree with Jim that that's had some progress and it will continue to. But of course it can't only be a military response. I think the danger under Trump is the potential that the United States becomes a place where Muslims living within our borders are unwelcome. Certainly the rhetoric we've seen consistently through the campaign would make them feel that way.
It's harder to fight terror in France or in Belgium because their large Muslim populations are not integrated in their broader country; they don't feel like they're a part of it, and so if you tried to actually engage in surveillance, it's very hard for your own agents to get inside. Now, that hasn't been as much of a problem in the United States, but it's likely to become one if we continue down this path, if people like Newt Gingrich continue with the sort of rhetoric that says, oh, we need a revival of the Un-American Activities Committee, which would be a desperate repudiation of the values that the United States was built on but something that we've done before and we could do again.
So we have to hear what Trump is intending to do in terms of all of these people that do live within the United States and they're citizens.
ZAKARIA: Jim, let me ask you about that contradiction that Anne-Marie talked about. Because I recall you've always been very tough on Iran, and I wanted to know what you think Donald Trump's attitude should be on Iran. Because there is this contradiction. He says the Iran deal is terrible. He's implied that he would somehow renegotiate it or tear it up, which, by the way, is more difficult to do because it's actually a U.N. Security Council deal, not just a U.S. deal.
But at the same time he says "My number one focus is ISIS. Anyone who is fighting ISIS, we should ally with."
Well, the number one country outside of, you know, the region, outside of the Iraqis, that are fighting ISIS is Iran. Iran has been in the forefront of fighting ISIS; they are really enemy number one because they are the dreaded Shiite power that ISIS has been -- has been rebelling against. So how can you be in favor of everyone battling ISIS and at the same time deeply opposed to Iran?
WOOLSEY: Well, we had a lot of Americans during World War II who realized, as did Franklin Roosevelt, that we had to fight the Nazis first but that at some point we were going to have to deal with the Communists. And it took us 45, 50 years to win World War II and then to defeat the Soviets in the Cold War.
On a smaller scale, in a sense, this is the kind of problem we face. It's two totalitarian movements, and one of them is of an immediate concern and the other is of the long-term and steady and, I think, deeper concern, Iran.
ZAKARIA: But if that's the case, Jim -- if I can just interrupt you -- if that's the case, to follow your analogy, should we in the short term be nice to Iran to help defeat ISIS and then turn on them? It seems to me odd to simultaneously be against ISIS and its principal opponent.
WOOLSEY: That's a tactical question. My judgment is no, that we don't want to ease up on either Iran or ISIS now, but Iran will probably have a nuclear weapon well before the 10 years that is forecast under this agreement. I think the president-elect now is right. This is, as far as I'm concerned, the worst single international agreement the United States has ever signed. And it is not, I think, implementable because not all parts of it have been filed with all parties so it doesn't really take effect yet, if you follow its terms.
I think that it -- the verification provisions are thoroughly rotten. I've negotiated four times on arms control agreements with the Soviets and Eastern Europe, and I think anybody who came back with this agreement to Washington and said "Look what I just negotiated" should hang his head in shame. It is truly rotten.
ZAKARIA: Anne-Marie, what happens if a President Trump does -- as I say, you can't really abrogate it entirely because you're not going to get back U.N. Security Council sanctions because those other countries -- Russia, China -- won't comply, so all it would mean, presumably, is that the Americans can put back sanctions unilaterally but the Iranians could then start enriching again, right? They can go down the path of weaponising again?
SLAUGHTER: Absolutely. I mean, essentially the horse has left the barn on the Iran agreement in the sense of the billions of dollars that have gone back to the Iranian government. All this will accomplish is that European business, Russian business, Chinese business will be doing business in Iran and U.S. business won't. And, yes, the other piece of that is Iran can say, "Well, if the United States is not holding up its part of the agreement, we won't hold up ours."
So then you have the worst of both worlds. You have an Iran that can support terrorism around the world and an Iran that is pursuing a nuclear weapon.
But I just have to say this is crazy talk. This is not World War II. We are not in a World War II moment. And the other thing we know about Trump is he did read the American people to say "No more wars of choice, no more putting boots on the ground in the Middle East," so you -- you're not going to reconcile a man who says, you know, "We're going to stay home" with this apocalyptic vision.
ZAKARIA: Fifteen seconds: What is the single most important thing that happens in the Trump administration first term?
BREMMER: I think it's the fact that we may not be in World War II, but it is the end of Pax Americana and American allies are going to be hedging. This is -- this is going to be a radically more unstable geopolitical environment.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," how did everyone, including me, get Tuesday's election so wrong?
I will be joined by the same two prognosticators who joined me last week to eat some crow.
ZAKARIA: All right. Regular viewers will remember I had two guests last Sunday who offered their best expert predictions about the elections, one from 538 and one from the New York Times" Upshot. At the end of the segment we all offered electoral college positions. Take a look. (BEGIN CLIP)
ZAKARIA: So I'm going ask you now. I'll put my -- I'm going to go with Sam Wang, 312. What's your -- you must have an electoral vote count that you have figured out.
ENTEN: I'll go with 318.
COHN: I'll go with 322.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: To be clear, these were all electoral college votes we thought Hillary Clinton would get. We didn't even think about Trump.
We were, of course, absolutely wrong. So was pretty much everyone else. So the question is why?
Harry Enten is the senior political writer and analyst with 538 and Nate Cohn is a writer for the New York Times Upshot.
So, very simply, why were we wrong?
ENTEN: Well, I think the polls. I mean, that's the reason why. The polls had indicated that Hillary Clinton was a favorite over Donald Trump. But I think the thing, perhaps, that we didn't articulate as well, although I think our website did, actually, a fairly decent job of it, was the uncertainty around that estimate, so that even if we had, say, the mean estimate being 318 or 312 or 322, the tail should have been considerably longer.
ZAKARIA: The tail means the possibility of an outlier event?
ENTEN: That's exactly right.
ZAKARIA: But the first point you made is very important to understand -- not to get you guys off the hook, but, you know, models are based on input.
ENTEN: That's right.
ZAKARIA: And in a sense it may be fair to say in this case, since the polls were wrong, garbage in, garbage out.
Now, here's my question, though. This was not just a few polls. In the last five months, I'm guessing there were about 150, 200 polls done. Maybe Trump was up in 15, 20 of those. Hillary was up in the vast majority -- vast, vast majority. Why were they all so wrong?
COHN: I think it's hard to say why at this point, but I do think it's worth clarifying exactly how they were wrong. And it seems to me that the preponderance of the polling error is found in just a few states in the upper Midwest and the rural northeastern part of the United States.
I mean, there were no polls that showed Trump winning in Wisconsin. The national polls don't look that bad. Clinton's going to win the popular vote by 1.5 or two points. The national polls said Clinton was ahead by three or four.
ZAKARIA: In fact, let's stop on that for a second. Because a lot of people look at the L.A. Times tracking poll...
COHN: Oh, no.
ZAKARIA: ... the one poll that say -- people say got it right. Well, actually, the L.A. Times poll had Trump winning by five...
... winning the popular vote by five. He lost it by one, so that's actually a six-point error, more than a lot of the polls that supposedly got it wrong.
But keep going. Why did the polls get the upper Midwest wrong?
COHN: So I think that what all those states have in common is that they have a large white working class population and that in those same states Clinton was expected to do quite well in traditionally Republican areas like the Milwaukee suburbs or western Michigan.
ZAKARIA: In traditional Democratic areas?
COHN: No, no, Republican areas.
COHN: So, like the last poll out of Wisconsin from Marquette, which is a good polling firm, showed a close race in the Milwaukee suburbs. Polling in Michigan showed Clinton competitive in western Michigan, which is traditionally the most conservative part of the state. And you'll note that on the last day of the campaign, Clinton stopped in western Michigan. I mean, that was the way that she was going to make up for these huge losses in the white working class voters.
So I think there are two basic possibilities here. One is that those Republican voters in traditionally Republican areas came home at the end of the race and decided that they couldn't vote for Clinton. Perhaps Comey was a factor in that, or maybe it was just a natural tendency as they moved back towards their natural affiliation -- or the polls underestimated the strength of Clinton's lead -- I'm sorry -- of, rather, Trump's lead among white working class voters in the outlying parts of those states.
And, you know, I don't think we have enough data yet to be sure on the mechanism.
ZAKARIA: Why would a poll underestimate it, like... COHN: Can I just rule one thing out?
COHN: I don't think it's a shy Trump voter effect. And there are -- the reason I think that is because the polls underestimated all of the Republican candidates in these state, unless you think there's a shy Toomey effect or a shy Johnson effect...
... which I don't really buy. So I think it's complicated. And I -- you know, one possibility that I've heard that I'm kind of convinced by -- I don't know what you think -- is that it's possible the polls just underestimated the proportion of the electorate in these states that doesn't have a college degree.
ZAKARIA: That it's larger than we think?
COHN: That it's larger than we think. And I'll note that this is actually a really hard thing to figure out. The exit polls and the Census and the voter file are the three main ways we have to understand the electorate. The biggest place where they disagree is on how educated the electorate is. The exit polls think it's nearly half. The Census says it's -- says it's less than -- says it's around one- third. And the voter file, which is what the campaigns use, doesn't have education in it.
ZAKARIA: And this is really important, it seems to me, because, if you look at the recovery; if you look at the charts of unemployment -- of employment -- what is striking is that the chart for people with college degrees is very strikingly high, about 8.5 million jobs created for people with college degrees. For people without college degrees in America, in the last eight years, I think 80,000 jobs have been created. Essentially, they're still in a recession.
ENTEN: If you look at the state that actually had the largest polling error, it was West Virginia. That's -- West Virginia and North Dakota, which are two states that aren't in the Midwest, but they have fracking; they have coal; there are a lot of people, especially in West Virginia, who don't have college degrees. And there wouldn't be -- why would anyone in West Virginia be shy, you know, to say that they were voting for Trump? That was where Trump rolled in the primary. I think that there's something very much to that, that there's just something that's going on with non-college whites, whether it be in West Virginia or Wisconsin or Maine or Rhode Island -- and, you know, you're talking about rural -- rural New England.
They're just -- something happened there that the pollsters didn't quite figure out. And I do also -- will also point out another place where, if you, sort of, chart it out where there were the largest errors, it was in normally red areas where Republicans, kind of, roll free. You know, if you look at a state like Alabama or Mississippi, in Mississippi, I think what was the margin, nearly...
COHN: Twelve? ENTEN: I think it was, like, 16 points.
COHN: ... grow?
ENTEN: It grew. It grew from the last time with Barack Obama. You know, Barack Obama got a much larger vote from African-Americans but also white voters without a college degree. There are lot of those in Mississippi. So we, kind of, really saw it across the entire map. I think there was just something going on there where the pollsters missed it.
ZAKARIA: What about the issue of the -- the Comey affect?
The part that I remember, 538 had a very good point that undecided voters, a week before the election, were at about 12 percent, 13 percent. It's normally 2 percent or 3 percent, maybe a little more. So you had almost four times as many undecided voters. I wonder whether those are people -- A, that could be where your shy Trump voter is. That is, people were telling the pollsters they were undecided, but they were, kind of, leaning toward Trump. I'm assuming that the polling models took those undecideds and split them about the way the electorate...
ENTEN: Yeah, they split them evenly, but they also added to the uncertainty. And that was part of the reason why we had Trump at a 30 percent chance of winning, say, than other estimates that might have been considerably higher.
ZAKARIA: But presumably they actually didn't -- didn't split 50-50. They split heavily for Trump.
ENTEN: Probably, although we'll need some numbers afterwards to really understand that. What I should point out is that Clinton was dropping, or her lead was dropping; Trump was really rising -- that was why her lead was shrinking -- pre-Comey. Comey perhaps accelerated that, but right in the final weekend, it seemed as though Clinton was having this slight recovery.
But that might have been a little bit of a fake-out. Often times the polls that are, say, taken a week before the election are more accurate than the polls taken immediately before because there's this phenomenon that occurs where all the pollsters manage to converge to one kind of number. If you notice, there were a lot of plus-fours, plus-threes, plus-fives. That's a little bit of a statistical anomaly. It should have been a wider range. Maybe they were some pollsters who fudged the numbers a little bit.
ZAKARIA: Given where Trump won, if the Democrats had nominated Bernie Sanders, does the polling suggest he would have won?
COHN: That's a really good question. You know, I -- I think that it took so much going wrong for Clinton -- and so much did go wrong for Clinton -- that it's hard for me to argue that someone else would have lost it. And Bernie did undoubtedly do better than Clinton in a lot of the areas that cost her the election.
ZAKARIA: And no Wikileaks, no Comey, no e-mails?
COHN: Yeah, I think that's a distinct possibility.
There would have been a tradeoff in the suburbs, potentially, but Clinton, in the end, didn't do so well in the suburbs. I mean, part of the reason why Clinton was thought to win -- thought to have an advantage was she was going to win over these well-educated Republicans who couldn't stand Trump. That didn't happen in the end in a lot of battleground states, and that was the area where I would have told you maybe Bernie couldn't have done that. But if Clinton didn't take advantage of that opportunity, then I don't see any reason why Bernie would have...
ENTEN: I mean, the real reason we thought that Sanders wouldn't do as well was we thought ideology mattered a lot, but I think Donald Trump, kind of, proved that some of the things that we thought mattered don't really matter. People really just wanted someone who was a fresh face, a kind of outsider. Sanders matches that. I don't know if he would have won, but, heck, he couldn't have done that much worse than Clinton did against someone who was the most unpopular candidate in modern American history.
ZAKARIA: Great to have you both on. Thank you. Thank you.
Next on "GPS," President-elect Donald Trump will become the second president in the history of the United States to serve without any experience either in the military or as an elected official. Who was the first? My question of the week when we come back.
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PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD J. TRUMP: I've just received a call from Secretary Clinton.
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ZAKARIA: Donald Trump made history on Tuesday, becoming the most anti-establishment candidate, as he calls it, to win the presidency. And it brings me to my question of the week. Which of the following presidents, like Trump, was elected without previously serving as either an elected official or U.S. Army general?
Was it William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, William Howard Taft, or Herbert Hoover? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is a long essay by George Packer in The New Yorker titled "Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt." I thought it was the single best piece on the politics behind this election, and even though it's technically about Clinton, it is still vitally relevant. And now for the last look. There were a lot of "what ifs" thrown
around this week. What if Hillary had spent more time in the Midwest?
What if she'd focused more on working-class whites?
What if the polls had been slightly more on point?
Well, we thought we'd add a comparative "what if." What if America had a presidential system like most other countries in the world?
Hillary Clinton lost the election, but it now seems she has won the popular vote. Presidential candidates have lost the presidency after winning the popular vote five times in the history of the United States, in 1824 when Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams, in 1876 when Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1888 when Grover Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison. And since 2000, it's happened twice in 16 years, the first time, of course, in 2000 when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush and this year.
Some vehemently reject calls to change the electoral college system, while others say it's time to amend the Constitution. It's been seriously proposed many times. In fact, less than 50 years ago a resolution, had it passed a final hurdle, could have changed the course of history. In 1969, legislators submitted a proposal to Congress suggesting the direct election of a president and vice president. In cases when no candidate received more than 40 percent of the vote, a runoff would be required. The resolution was endorsed by President Nixon, passed the House of Representatives, but was filibustered and killed in the Senate the next year.
Had it passed, it would have been the first major constitutional change in the electoral vote system in more than 150 years, and it would have resulted in the election of the first female president in 2016.
The correct answer to our "GPS" challenge question was D, Herbert Hoover. Hoover became the 31st president after serving as the director of the U.S. Food Administration during World War I and then as the secretary of commerce. The others with no elected experience were Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight David Eisenhower. However, all three men were victorious generals. If you guessed William Howard Taft, he was elected as a judge to Ohio's Superior Court prior to his presidency, but you still get points.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.