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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview With Jared Kushner On Trump's Peace Plan; Jared Kushner On U.S./Mexico/Canada Trade Agreement; What In The World: Why Deepfakes Are So Dangerous; What In The World: Now You See Me, Now You Doubt; The Big Question: How Did America Get So Polarized?; Ezra Klein: We Gravitate Towards Others And When Group Psychology Takes Hold, We Naturally Discriminate Against And Feel Hostility For People In The Group. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 2, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
ZAKARIA: Today to the show, President Trump has said since he was elected, he wanted to bring peace to the Middle East.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
ZAKARIA: This week with Benjamin Netanyahu at his side Trump unveiled his plan. The reaction in the room was elation. From the Palestinians, anger.
I'll talk to President Trump's senior adviser, Jared Kushner, the man who worked for three years to produce this plan.
Can this bring real peace? An in-depth interview.
And black, white, brown, rich, poor, middle class, urban, suburban, rural. America is divided into identities and more divided than ever in the country's modern history.
How did we get so polarized? Ezra Klein explains.
ZAKARIA: But first here's my take. The leaks from John Bolton's forthcoming book are only the most recent revelation in the impeachment process. But put together all the revelations from current and former Trump officials, and compare them against the chart of public support for removing Trump from office, it looks like the EKG of someone after a fatal heart attack, a flat line. Nothing changes people's views.
The story of this impeachment is the story of American politics today. Polarization. It affects almost every aspect of American political life and has now been studied by scholars from many different angles. Wouldn't it be great if someone would digest all these studies, synthesize them and produce a readable book that make sense of it all?
Well, Ezra Klein has done just that, with his compelling new work, "Why We are Polarized.' Klein begins by explaining that polarization is actually nothing new. Americans have been divided for a long time. The policy differences in the 1950s and '60s between southern segregationists and norther liberals or between free market purists and great society advocates are actually greater than those between most Republicans and Democrats today.
But back then each party contain within it a variety of political views which meant these differences had to be navigated and negotiated. Liberal Democrats had to temper their seal because their political power in the Senate depended on the segregationist southern wing of the party.
Since 1964 when the Democrats broke with the segregationists, obviously a good thing, the party have sorted ideologically and policy difference have become weaponized. One megaship that's great exacerbated polarization is that partisanship today is largely about identity, not policy. And identity itself is increasingly determined by demographic factors, above all after the Obama presidency, race.
The book "Identity Crisis" points out that until recently white working class voters were evenly split between the two parties. By 2015, they lean Republicans by 24 percentage point. And once identity is at the heart of political differences, Klein argues, facts will not change people's minds. People have chosen their parties for reasons of tribal loyalty and a better healthcare bill will not alter that deep sense of belonging.
This crucial insight is something Democrats in particular need to internalize. The key to gaining support among undecided voters probably lies in addressing their identity concerns rather than their economic ones. Past Democratic luminaries like Bill Clinton were masters at this sort of symbolic politics.
Because of America's political geography, polarization affects the two parties differently, Klein argues. Republicans are a more homogenous group, centered around white men and have a geographic advantage given the American electoral system. Consider that they have lost the popular vote in four of the last five presidential elections and yet won the White House in two of those cases.
Democrats need to appeal to a broader coalition than do Republicans. It's just a fact in order to compete an inland states and win the electoral college.
Klein's book is powerful, intelligent and depressing. The American political system is not a parliamentary one in which one party gains control of all branches of government and can then pursue its agenda.
[10:05:08] Power is shared between three branches with overlapping authority. The founders despised the idea of parties and imagines constantly shifting factions. In their framework some degree of compromise and cooperation is essential to getting anything done, which is why polarization has utterly paralyzed American government.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
In November 2016, fresh from his surprising election as president of the United States, Donald Trump, told "The New York Times" that he wanted to be the president who brought peace to the Middle East. He said he wanted his son-in-law, Jared Kushner to be centrally involved in the effort. A few months later, Trump announced that Kushner would take the lead in doing what many thought to be impossible.
Israel was the second country Trump visited as president and right by his side was senior adviser Jared Kushner. This week Trump announced the details of his so-called Peace to Prosperity Plan. This time with embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his side. Notably absent in the room was the other side of the deal, the Palestinians. Indeed the leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas called it the slap of the century as oppose to the deal of the century as Trump supporters are calling it.
I had the opportunity to talk to the man behind it all, Jared Kushner, on Friday.
ZAKARIA: Jared Kushner, pleasure to have you on.
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Pleasure to be with you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: So you've put out this plan on one side, the Israelis most of the spectrum likes it, it does allow Israel to annex most of the settlements, almost all of them in fact. Legalizing something that most administrations, Democrat and Republican, had so far withheld. It allows it to annex the Jordan Valley.
You're asking the Palestinians to say yes, in order to get this deal. I am trying to understand how you get to a yes and yes because you have two sides to this party. So on the one side you've given Israelis a lot of this stuff. You asked a lot of the Palestinians.
And then in the last few weeks, you've been pretty belligerent about them. You've said if they want to screw this up like they've screwed everything they've ever done before, tough for them, you know, they can't pretend to be victims anymore.
I'm just trying to understand, what is your strategy to get your Palestinians to say yes because it seems like you've come out with what even the "Wall Street Journal" calls a pro-Israelis peace plan and now you are berating the Palestinians so how are they going to say yes now? KUSHNER: Yes, so first all, I think we have to look at what's been
accomplished over the past week. We've been working on this for now about three years. We've studied this very carefully and what President Trump was able to accomplish this past week is first of all unify Israel on a plan during an election on the most divisive issue in Israeli politics which have never been done before. He got Israel to agree to a stay with conditions that were laid out.
He released a plan that was about 180 pages. I see you have it there. It's a very extensive document. I think people have actually really appreciated the depth. I mean, to give you some context the Arab Peace initiative which was the first real attempt which was great attempt was about eight lines. The next attempts that have been done were two to three pages of words met high level concepts.
But what the president just released 180-page, very detailed roadmap that could really allow people to get this done and to live side by side in peaceful co-existence in a productive way. The other thing the president did was he got Israel to agree to a stay. He released a plan and then what he did is he got a map and so in all the different negotiations there's never been a map that's been public. That has been agreed to by a side and I think that that establishes a basis for how do we move forward.
And I'll just say the people have been trying this problem for years. The Israeli peace process, Israeli-Palestinian peace process is probably the most complicated problem in the world. And so what we've tried to do is take a pragmatic approach to it. We've tried to do it differently and I think that for the first time there's a real offer on the table to break the log jam and it's really up to the Palestinians to see if they have the opportunity to pursue it.
ZAKARIA: OK. That was a very nice set of talking points about the plan. It doesn't answer my question. You've done the plan as I said. The "Wall Street Journal" says it's a pro-Israeli plan. You asked them -- a lot of the Palestinians. You're berating them. Why are they going to say yes? What's the strategy here?
KUSHNER: Well, I think what you have here was you have a lot of the Arab countries come out and called this a very serious plan, and call it a basis for negotiation. So I think that's never happened before and I think that that would take a little while to sink in for the world. Israel has always been isolated but you have the U.K., the European Union, you have Poland, you have a lot of very -- Austria.
You have a lot of very good European countries come out in favor of this. And then you have a lot of Arabic countries, where it's Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar. Egypt put out a great statement. So what people are basically saying is they'd like to see this issue resolved. And this is a good framework for negotiations.
The Palestinians and again, what I've been doing is not been berating them. It's just been speaking truth. What they did is they rejected this before it came out. They called for a day of rage and they're saying we want a state. But people who are ready to get a state aren't calling for days of rage and then marching in the streets. So what we hope that they'll do is read the plan. It's a detailed document. But not try to negotiate the same way that they've done it for many years. Because the way that they've done it for years hasn't led to results.
What we want to do, just one final thing, is that our intentions is to lay out a framework that can make the lives of the Palestinian people better. We laid out a $50 billion economic plan that will create over a millions of jobs. That would let their GDP reduce their poverty rate by 50 percent if it's implemented. It got wider acclaim on the details of it. This will make the Palestinian people's lives better. And what we're expecting is leadership to engage to try to do that.
If that's the objective then this is as good of a framework, as real of a framework as they've ever had. And I'll just say that again people on this complain a lot, they try to find reasons why we'll fail. What President Trump has done on this and what he tried to do on so many other issues is find a pathway to move forward that can make people's lives better and move problems that have been stuck in the mud for a long time.
ZAKARIA: So let me ask you. You say you're promising a Palestinian state. But here's what strikes me as -- suggest that actually there will never be a Palestinian state, according to this plan, which is on page 34 it says, "The predicate condition to a Palestinian state being recognized is that there must be free press, free elections, guarantees of religious freedom, independent judiciary, financial institutions that are as good, transparent and effective as in the Western world and the U.S. and Israel will judge whether the Palestinians have achieved this."
Now, I think I'm right in saying there is no Arab country that would meet these criteria, certainly not Saudi Arabia, Egypt, which are, you know, the countries you've worked with very closely. Isn't this just a way of telling the Palestinians you're never actually going to get a state? Because there's -- if no Arab countries today in a position, that you are demanding the Palestinians before they can be made a state. Effectively it's a killer amendment. You're saying there won't be a state.
KUSHNER: Look, I think these are basis. Are you saying that we shouldn't have these criteria? Say, you know, it's OK, if you don't want to respect human rights, if you want not allow people to speak freely, if you don't want to have --
ZAKARIA: Well, should Saudi Arabia not be a country because it doesn't -- it doesn't have any of it?
KUSHNER: Yes, but that's not the question that's to a debate. If you're Israel, right, and again, the question is, how do we get Israel to make compromises? You have a territorial dispute, how do we get here, right? Israel has been attacked many times over history. Right? So in defensive wars. And through those defensive wars they've been able to conquer territories. Since they've done that, they've been able to thrive as a country. They've become a power house militarily. They're a powerful
economically, technology wise and they're doing very, very well. You have the Palestinians, you have five million Palestinian people who are trapped under the rule that you have now. I mean, the Palestinian Authority, the leader of it who I think is a man who does want peace. He's in the 16th year of a four-year term. So it's not exactly a thriving democracy in that regard.
You have a police state. You have a situation where the people don't have the rights to thrive. When we did our conference in Bahrain, we had all the business people from around the world came to visit. It was an amazing thing.
ZAKARIA: Except the Palestinians didn't come.
KUSHNER: Well, they didn't come because their leadership basically was going around handing out flyers saying we have a bullet for anyone who wants to come -- let me finish this point. The real point that came out of that conference was that people are saying we care about the Palestinian people. We're dying to invest to create jobs there. But nobody said that Israel was the problem.
They said the problems were twofold. Number one, nobody wants to make capital expenditures in a place where there's fear of terrorism. They don't want to move their people in and they don't want to make investments where there's no stability to the government, which means that you need to have a peace agreement.
The second thing was you need to have a good governance structure. Who's going to go on and make capital investments if you don't have property rights, if you don't have a rule of law. And so you have to ask yourself, Israel has been a very convenient scapegoat for the Palestinian Authority. And by the way, it's been a unifying feature of the Arabic world and the Middle East for the last 70 years. To deflect from a lot of the shortcomings internally in a lot of these countries.
But, for the Palestinians if they want their people live better lives, we now have a framework to do it. If they don't think that they can uphold these standard, then I don't think we can get Israel to take the risk to recognize them as a state, to allow them to take control of themselves because, the only thing more dangerous than what we have now is a failed state. And we've seen what happened all over the Middle East when you do have failed states, and the risks that causes to America, through terror, through radicalization, and to the neighbors.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, on Monday, Iowa holds the first contest of the 2020 election. The election itself is less than 275 days away.
Jared Kushner on Donald Trump's strategy to win again.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the campaign because you are now moving on to -- to run the president's campaign or at least to be substantially involved in it. The congressional wisdom is that the impeachment process has helped him net-net by rousing his base. I'm wondering now, if -- once impeachment is done with, will people not come to the conclusion that Lamar Alexander came which was that the behavior was wrong even if it was not impeachable? And could that overtime hurt the president?
KUSHNER: Yes, I think there's just a big difference between what the voters see and what the voters want, and from what the -- what people maybe in the Washington or in the media are calling for. What we've seen since the impeachment started is that most people by the way are not paying attention to it.
We've seen the president's numbers go up by seven points. We got polling back last night that showed that the president's approval rating nationally was over 50 percent. It was the highest that it's been since right after the inauguration. So we've seen --
ZAKARIA: Yes, the RealClearPolitics average is more like 44 percent.
KUSHNER: I think it was about 46 percent, but again everything is relative, right? Again there is a lot of polls that were wrong in the last election. I think our data proved to be more right than the public holds and I think that it will continue to be. But I'll also say about approval, though, is in the last election, when Romney ran, two percent of the people who disapproved of him voted for him.
In the last election, 15 percent of the people who disapproved of president -- of Donald Trump as a candidate, and they're voting for him. So look, I think his base is strong, getting stronger. Last night we were in Iowa, we had a massive crowd. We were around in New Jersey this week. About 160,000 people signed up for it. I mean, the energy that I'm feeling today was stronger than what we felt at the end of the campaign last year.
I think that President Trump has not lost many supporters. If any at all. And I think that a lot of people who say well, what he's talking about, now he's actually done all the things he's promised. He's actually done more things than he's promised. He got done criminal justice reform work done. He did promise he was going to do that. He did a lot of things that he didn't even promise he was going to do.
And again, the American consumer has never been stronger. He's created seven million jobs. You have 2.5 million Americans that have been -- that have entered the work force, and 2.5 million Americans who've been lifted out of poverty, almost 10 million Americans that have come off of food stamps.
The numbers are unbelievable. But I will say this, the more time we spend in Washington and the more the administration gets better and better at it, and the more the president has his vision for what he wants to do, he believes that the potential for this country is unbelievable. And so as we finish implementing our deregulation agenda, our tax reform agenda, hopefully we'll do more tax cuts as we, you know, focus on becoming energy independent, which is critical to our nation's security, bringing down energy cost for people, folks on workforce training, training people for the future economy.
We have a lot of things. We have folks in the judiciary where the president has been very successful. The potential for making this country strong is unbelievable and the president has been very enthusiastic about what he's been able to accomplish so far.
ZAKARIA: You work at the White House. You work for the president. Obviously a special relationship. But why do you think it is that so many of the people who work for him leave feeling very dissatisfied that he's done a lot of wrong things, that he asked them to do wrong things? I am thinking of John Bolton, General Mattis, General Kelly, Secretary Tillerson, Scarramucci, I mean, I could go on. It feels like a lot of people have that feeling. Are they all just wrong?
KUSHNER: No. I think being in the White House under this administration is a very intense experience. Right? The president has increased the metabolism of Washington. He's a business person. He's not a politician. He demands results. He demands that you work hard, that you deliver.
What I've seen is that the cream has risen and I'm not going to say what the word is but that is saying. And what's happened is, is that he's cycled out a lot of the people who didn't have what it took to be successful here, and a lot of the people who have come in have been excellent are not out there complaining and writing books because they're too busy working.
And so I think what you'll see is if you look at the results that this administration has produced, whether it's on all the foreign policy issues, the trade issues, again to do a trade deal, TPP, they worked on for five years, it was a horrific trade deal. And the USMCA got done in about a year. I mean, then it took another year to get it through Congress. But China, everyone has been talking about China, the president has got it done.
The Middle East, the president was the first president to get Israel to agree to these historic concessions that maybe make something that's impossible possible. I look at everyday what the president has done for the economy. So this is not happening because you have a bunch of disgruntled people running around. When the president has bad people, he moves them out. And then he's able to attract tremendous people.
And when I look around the administration, the White House, the Cabinet, I think that the people we have now are spectacular. I feel honored every day to be able to work with them. And I really believe we're getting a lot of things done and we're getting better and better at this every day.
And I'll just say this, which is that, the president is very focused, he really does not -- he's not somebody who's taking political decisions. He's saying what's right or wrong for the country. And as an American, whether you voted for the president or you didn't vote for him, I think you can be very proud that you have a president who shows up every day at work, trying to make the country stronger, make our economy better, make our country richer and keeping our country safe.
ZAKARIA: When we come back, more of my interview with the senior adviser to the president, Jared Kushner.
ZAKARIA: Jared Kushner you have been involved in a lot of the trade negotiations. First, let's talk about the one with Mexico and Canada. The former trade representative for the last Republican president, Robert Zoellick, Bush's trade representative, wrote a long op-ed in the "Wall Street Journal" explaining why this was actually a very -- I think it would be fair to say it was a bad deal, that it actually, you know, in many ways added conditions that were going to reduce growth, reduce the free flow of goods and capital.
Pat Toomey, conservative Republican senator, issued a statemen that said this would be the first trade agreement in the history of the republic that is designed to diminish trade. So that's two very prominent Republicans who have been involved in trade who think that the net effect of the deal you negotiated is actually to diminish trade which means diminish GDP.
KUSHNER: Right. So I'll answer all the different things you said. But first of all, it got 89 votes in the Senate which is pretty unheard of which is that there is a widespread of popularity to this deal.
You have farmer's endorsement you have labor endorsement you have manufactures endorsement you would have a wide range of endorsements from all over the spectrum that you don't usually get.
Look, I was not involved in trade globally as my previous life and I got involved in this. President Trump had a radical view in trade from what the conventional Republican thinking was. People like Pat Toomey, like they had a different Republican doctrine to what it was.
President Trump's trade policies, how do you protect the American workers how do you protect the American economy? I became more and more of a believer and although I would have to negotiate on these issues that the President's instincts on trade are 100 percent right. If deficits don't matter then why is it that every country idea what doesn't want to have one?
ZAKARIA: But the tradeoffs statistics had gone up under President Trump it hasn't gone down. KUSHNER: Our economy is growing the dollars is very strong.
ZAKARIA: But you just contradicting yourself then it are a good thing that the trade deficit went up.
KUSHNER: But that's - but there is structural things overtime you want to reduce the trade deficit. A trade deficit is a transfer wealth that's what the President believes and I do believe that as well.
ZAKARIA: But the fact that has increased under his administration is a sign of strength.
KUSHNER: Well, the rest of the world is there is growing much less. America has been but pacing the world historically low in employment and dollar is very strong our interest rates are higher.
But let's go back to the trade stuff. With regards to this deal, what's so spectacular about this deal is, first of all it modernizes all of our trade policies it had great chapters on digital trade all the technology. But the most important thing it does is it protects American manufactures. It changes the rules for cars under TPP you could have made 90 percent of the car outside of North America and shifted in with no tariff.
Now 75 percent of cars have to be made in North America with a lot of it being high dollar components which protects the auto manufactures in Michigan and Ohio and all these different places. But what I will say is that when a lot of these trade deals were done, NAFTA and China joined the WTO we had about 70,000 factories that left American closed down since then.
A lot of the problems we face in our society. So the benefits of globalization were distributed. The cost of the t-shirt went down for everybody. But the cost became very concentrated. You would have a lot these towns with a factory would get close because the product line would get shipped overseas.
A lot of these communities became hollowed out economically because of these irresponsible trade policies. And no way to transition workers who were in these situations to better different jobs as the economy evolves.
So I do think that President Trump says all the time the Arab economic surrender is over. And I think that this trade deal with 89 votes in the Senate has been praises one of the greatest trade deals of all time it's the largest in history of the world.
$1.3 trillion you have trade and it will add about half a point of GDP to America's economy a year and brings about 200,000 jobs to America and maybe even as much as 5,000 jobs. So we think it is an excellent trade deal and many people other than those two people I guess have said so.
ZAKARIA: Jared Kushner, it is a pleasure to have you on.
KUSHNER: Thank you very much it's honored to be with you. ZAKARIA: Pleasure. Next on "GPS" they have long been fakes in the world of fashion and art and more, but now we have the world of Deepfakes where people can be made to appear to say things they never said. We'll get into the deep dangers and solutions.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World Segment." These days it is hard enough to believe what you hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It turns out it was probably the largest audience ever to watch in an inauguration address. And they say the noise causes cancer you tell me that one okay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Without having to worry about doubting what you see. But that's just the risk posed by fakes, videos created using artificial intelligence they can make you believe that what's fake is actually real.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: President Trump is a total and incomplete (BLEEP). Like this video which is a deep fake created by Buzz Feed in the filmmaker Jordon in 2018 to raise awareness about disinformation.
This video the Former Italian Prime Minister Motteo Renzi by a - television show depicting him denouncing political opponents imputing Current Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. So how do you make these increasingly convincing videos?
They rely on machine learning algorithms that process reams of video and audio from say a public official or an actor to create something entirely new. There are also cheap fakes which are altered without using AI like this viral video of Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Was engaged in a cover-up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Her speech was slowed down to make it seem like she was slurring her words. The videos are evolving rapidly and becoming more life-like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have endorsed my worthy opponent, the white honorable Jeremy Corbyn should be Prime Minister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: It is easy to imagine what can happen if this technology were in the wrong hands. As the Boston University Law Professor Dan Electron noted in testimony to the House of Representatives Deepfakes are already proliferate online. One report found that 96 percent of these are non-consensual pornography.
So try and ask the lawmakers to imagine a deep fake coming out on the eve of the 2020 election preferably damaging a political candidate. Or imagine a fake video purportedly from a CEO trashing his own company designed to cause that company's stock to crash even for a few hours.
A world rife with Deepfakes creates so many possibilities for confusions and deception imagine if President Trump has dismissed the "Access Hollywood" tape as a deep fake, do you have any doubt that his supporters would have lined up behind him and believed that it had been artificially created?
The lesson is very clearly illustrated in the African nation of Gabar (ph) for places. It has been run by the same autocratic dynasty for more than five decades first by Omar Bongo then by his son Ali the current President.
In late 2018 Ali Bongo stopped making public appearances. Rumors flew about flew about the state of itself.
ZAKARIA: Eventually the government announced it had a stroke. Then as Radio Lab reported in the fascinating recent episode, that December, Ali Bongo appeared in a national address to ring in the New Year. Or did he?
Viewers pointed out something strange and stilted in the address. His head moved strangely, he barely blinked and as Radio Lab reported a political opponent of Bongo and web of activists proclaim the address a deep fake and some suggested Bongo was actually dead and this rumor seem to have very real consequences.
Days after the address military officials attempted a coup. In the end they did not succeed and experts have said that they have no evidence that the New Year's address was fake but that did not really matter. The mere existence of Deepfakes and well timed suggestions from activists and the political opponent made people doubt what they saw.
Deepfakes can't be eradicated. But there are ways to curtail the spread. Facebook recently announced that it would ban most Deepfakes from its website. But that ban has already been criticized for not going fine enough.
That Pelosi video for instance was allowed to stay. The Defense Department has also invested in technology to detect Deepfakes quickly. One solution to the Deepfakes problem is the same as the remedy for the spread of any other kind of misinformation. Congress should make social media companies responsible for the content posted on their platforms which would pressure them to stop the dissemination of deep fakes. It won't solve the issue but it will ensure that these fakes won't spread so widely.
Like many troubling trends and technologies, Deepfakes open up a Pandora Box that can't be closed but the problem can be perhaps managed and controlled better. Next on GPS, why is America so polarized as our client answers the big questions very well when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Earlier in the show, I told you about Ezra Klein's terrific new book. "Why we are polarized" I'm fascinated by the subjects so I wanted to dig in deeper with the author as well as the Co-Founder and Editor At-Large at the news organization Vox. Welcome.
EZRA KLEIN, AUTHOR, "WHY WE'RE POLARIZED": Thank you for having me.
ZAKARIA: So at heart if we are trying to understand why we are so polarized which you say is it's because we like to think in terms of groups. We like to swart ourselves into groups and we like to discriminate against other groups.
Tell the story of this scholar who was the holocaust survivor who does a kind of experiment to try to make at this point.
KLEIN: This story I think is remarkable. So this guy name is Hendry - he is a Polish Jew born in I believe in the 1920s. He immigrates to France in the 1930s because he can't go to university in Poland because he is Jewish.
So he immigrates to France he becomes part of World War II. He's captured by Germans and put in prison of war camp. And he is understood this is so important to his life and the future of social psychology as a French prisoner of war.
If he is been understood as Polish Jew he would have been killed. When the war was over, he's released and his old family was killed in the holocaust. And so he becomes obsessed with the question of group identity.
How do people sort into groups? How do we understand when somebody else is part of a group that is not ours? And what happens to us? How do we act once that takes hold? So he creates this set of studies that are now known as a Minimal Group Paradigm Studies and in some ways - show it's an ironic name.
He grabs a bunch of boys from the same school 64 and have some come in and says - have you due to his quick experience look at the screen, how many dots do you think are on it? So they say how many dots and then researchers score their work. And then they say you know while you are here, we would like to do a study totally different from now where no relationship but just for ease of use, we're going to separate you into the groups that over estimated the number of dots and under estimated. In chief by the by the way this is false they're randomly sorted.
And so then the next experiment is the money allocation study and immediately these boys who are similar to each other know each other go to the same school and have been separated based on more on a meaningless characteristic dot estimation that is not even true began discriminating against each other.
They give more money to people in the group. He then--
ZAKARIA: Had to explain they get no money.
KLEIN: They get no money.
ZAKARIA: So the money we give to other people.
KLEIN: To other people.
ZAKARIA: And yet they give more to their group.
ZAKARIA: --which is a meaningless group.
KLEIN: What's striking about this study is this was supposed to be underneath the line of group behavior where - wanted to do was begin adding and adding and adding group dynamics to figure out when group psychology will take hold.
He couldn't find something small enough that they wouldn't do it at some level.
ZAKARIA: So this was meant to be his sort of control--
KLEIN: Yes, exactly.
ZAKARIA: --where people pay no attention to the group because it was so random and unimportant and in fact even there--
KLEIN: Even there--
ZAKARIA: He found that people--
KLEIN: Even that minimal. This study is replicated.
ZAKARIA: So what does it tell you?
KLEIN: --much different times.
ZAKARIA: It tells you that human beings what?
KLEIN: We sort naturally and are psychologically tuned to see group differences between ourselves and others. And when they take hold and this is one of - key insights that he again has been replicated again and again.
Is that once group psychology takes hold we naturally discriminate and feel hostility and competition towards members of other groups. And if you don't believe all the social science jumbo, just look at sports.
I grew up in outside of Los Angeles. We have the ramps so they left. I am comfortable with the idea that players go where the best money is. Teams go where the stadium tax breaks are and yet we are so attached to the outcome of these games that for us it don't mean all that much materially that we will - burned cities are emotional highs go up and down that is because sports key on this deep sense of group psychology.
And when I move this over to politics where the groups are more firm the stakes are much higher, even life or death. And you can begin to see how much this is playing a very prominent part of our psyches.
KLEIN: So one of the things to understand about politics is it's activating certain identities and much more to the point collections of identities simultaneously. That's a very powerful effect on our behavior.
ZAKARIA: And you say that white identity has been activated in the last five or six years and why?
KLEIN: Not just in last five or six years, but very powerful in this era. So something to know that the content of American politics now is we are in this period of very rapid demographics change. We're about 20 years less from becoming majority or minority country racially we've gone from having 4 percent of the country will be foreign born in the 1970s to about 14.5 percent now that's moving towards the record.
And we are on our way again in about the 2040s to the legacy unaffiliated becoming a single artist for this group in America. So in this period a lot of racial alleges and demographic change and among other things that are activated in a deeper way than it is normally true or has normally been true in our politics white identity.
I want to be very clear that isn't said white identities are not being powerful in American politics. I say it has been so powerful that could be taken for granted. But now I fell it is under treat and that's changing boarding patterns among why the Americans is changing the access of political conflict.
Donald Trump what he does in 2016 is he goes into to the Republican Party and he says the primary access of political conflict should not be do you want to cut Medicaid or Medicare. It should be do you want to raise or lower taxes. It should be how do you feel about this country getting browner or about immigrants coming into this country?
How do you feel about that and a lot of people on the Republican base say you are right, that's the thing that I feel most essentially. It's much easier for us to feel those kinds of stakes than have debate over whether or not we should do health care in this way or that?
ZAKARIA: The two takeaways that are very immediate that I got from the book are the Democrats need to understand when they try to appeal to people particularly potentially undecided voters a lot of it is not a matter of facts and policy announced.
They've got to figure out a way to make those people feel like that they belong, that they trust them that there is a kind of identity of affinity of some kind. And secondly the Democrats have a much harder task, because geographically the way the country's Electoral Colleges works, they have to move to the center. The Republicans don't.
KLEIN: Those are crucial takeaways. A lot of it what we've been talking here the psychological tip roots and foundations of polarization but a lot of the book is about its interaction with the political institution and our particular political system.
And as you say Democrats have a particularly have a hard task here. One is that they need to see identity as a layer of politics. Democrats really like to talk about policy. And you know me and my background, I am a policy reporter, I come into this because I needed a better explanation for how policy debates move from their positives on beginnings were people can imagine a lot of different ways of solving a problem into collapsing into to these all out zero sum partisan wars.
So Democrats are often not very good at thinking symbolically about policy. In 2016, Hillary Clinton has about 50 policies on her side none of which people really know and none of which say that much about her was.
Donald Trump had seven none of them makes all that much internal sense in terms of how they're constructed? But they say a lot about him a symbolic policy communications. And a lot of politics is symbolic communication.
But the other point he make is well taken as well. Republicans can win and are winning in the Senate right now and in the White House without the Supreme Court with a minority of the population in each of those places in relevant elections they've got fewer votes than Democrats.
Democrats if they do not win center white voters, they do not win power. If they got to 46 percent of the vote that Donald Trump got in 2016, they would not be President. They would be wiped out in the Electoral College.
So Democrats are not able to follow the same strategic incentives as Republicans because Republicans due to their over representation in rural areas that are amplified in our political system they have a path to power that is not require so much of the popular vote which by the way is a bad thing for our political system. It is good for parties both of them to be disciplined by democracy itself. And right now the Republican Party is not being disciplined by it.
ZAKARIA: So wind worse though for the Democrats listen to and fascinating stuff for all of us. Ezra Klein, pleasure to have you on.
KLEIN: Thank you so much.
ZAKARIA: And we'll be back.
ZAKARIA: East and West, North and South countries all over the globe are once again tuning in to the threat of infectious diseases and their spread in our globalized world. It brings me to my question this week, according to the Global Health Security Index, which of the following nations is most prepared to contain large disease outbreak? The Netherlands, China, the U.S. Or Thailand?
The answer to my GPS Challenge this week is C. As you might expect the country's the most prepared to contain an outbreak are typically high income, the U.S. is first among them; alarmingly the Global Health Security Index Report says that international preparedness for epidemics and pandemics is very weak.
Only four countries in the world have healthcare systems that are most prepared to treat the sick. And considering the billions of outbreak can cost, the lesson seems to be let's pay the cost now to improve readiness or else we will be paying in money and lives in the future.
Last week, in telling you the answer to the question, we mistakenly included Canada on a graphic of nations without paternity leave. New Canadian fathers do indeed gets paid leave are bad.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.
BRYAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, I am Bryan Stelter. This is "Reliable Sources" our weekly look at the stories behind--