tv After Words CSPAN December 15, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EST
which cannot in a very alarmist report saying the united states had fallen behind and kennedy sort of pounced on that. yet it helped further the narrative that he was arguing and to have a sort of panel that president eisenhower had chosen and is sort of gave him an argument to advance but i don't dispute that there was a hard political aspect, and i don't know -- on domestic policy i do think that he was committed as a strong supporter of labor although not an on critical one. he was also very careful on civil rights as i mentioned and was very politically attuned. i don't really feel like i'm quite -- i read a lot about the presidency but the final view on
what were the main political goals of john f. kennedy that will be the next book but it's a great question. a really is an important one. >> thank you so much for the great presentation. i have more of a general question from your presentation it seems like jfk became a president through some kind of a predetermined pass rather than any success in the senate. would you agree with that opinion? in the success and not much for the election but it was part of the ad that he was going through the final rule. >> i do think the senate changed him and transformed him and i do think he developed expertise in areas he had not before and he did a kind of a deep dive on
some complicated issues so it was like an advanced graduate school from kennedy and i think that he did use his senate years to learn more and he kind of form a political identity in which he presented himself as both a modern male politician, the young guest candidate but also someone who was very familiar with the american history and understood its traditions and was very steep in american history. so i think that he put together a very powerful political presence that was a force, but i think it does raise profound -- what are the kind of ironies about the political system seems to be that the times that you are most elected may not be the times that you are most ready to be president. whether it was jfk or president obama or another four or six years in the senate might have done them good but i think they both realize, you know, clearly
that additional time would not make them more politically viable, so they had to sort of decide this is my time. kennedy often said i looker now that everyone else that this fighting and i am just as qualified as they are and so that was sort of his assessment. so, thank you. >> that's fascinating -- >> can you order them on amazon? >> anno salon.com yes. my publisher is paul macmillian and you can purchase it from them. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you.
>> you're watching book tv come on fiction authors and books on c-span2. >> up next on book tv after words with guest host kim dixon. policy expert michael s. carnes the hidden class and economic policy making. the duke professor explores whether the socioeconomic background of legislators attacked the policy choices while in office. the program is about one hour. >> thanks for joining us. "white-collar government." one thing i found out on my kindle is that before you became an assistant professor, do you want to talk a little bit about yourself and how you see your
transition from working class or do you see yourself coming from working class to the white collar profession now? >> definitely a textbook of being the professor in college is great and it is a lot of fun but i don't do a lot of work with my hands but there was a time in my life when i worked at a pepsi bottle plant in tulsa oklahoma and the cashier at the world's largest wal-mart. i worked at a catfish restaurant and a dairy queen. so that was sort of a part of my life. i paid my way through college and paid my way through a little bit of high school, too. these experiences were sort of a part of the inspiration for the research that i do right now. so, you know, my last job before going to graduate school was at
a pepsi bottling plant in tulsa and i sort of went from that to a ph.d. program and political science at princeton and was just a night and day difference and that kind of contrast between where i came from and the support of new world that i wound up in brought a lot of the issues i talk about in this book in a sharp focus for me the difference how people have worked in manual labor jobs and industry jobs see the world and that is the question i asked in the white collar government is what about politicians? do politicians from a different class says think differently about economic issues and see the problems facing this country differently? some politicians have never had those experiences who started out their first job out of the gate was full well -- the law.
>> host: so you looked at eight period for the microdata from 2008, so it is it's been a slight increase over time for millionaires and the senate is in the presidency but it's mostly stable; is that about right? >> guest: it is a rare constant in the political life. if you look at congress and 1901 less than 2% of the members came from the background and got into politics and eventually wound up in congress. fast-forward to the present day and the average number spent less than 2% of their career doing manual labor jobs and service industry jobs and so through lots of different aspects of the political process and cable news and the rising
elections and politics and the decline of the unions and while all of this is happening, there is, you know, one of the constance during that, during the last 100 years or so is the working class people are not getting elected to the political office. >> host: one founding father that you mentioned a couple times in the book and his view that the merchant is probably going to be able to represent the worker, probably has his best interest at heart. it sounds like from your data through the studies that you've looked at you don't think that is the case. also was there another founding father that you didn't mention? >> guest: i am glad you brought up the founding fathers. the question i talked about in this book is does it matter that
working class people aren't getting into our political institutions? almost no one in the policy-making institutions has an experience in the working class and that is a debate we have been hounding since the founding since even earlier. so alexander hamilton, james madison the way and on the federalist papers and their argument is one that stuck around ever since, and it basically boils down to this. it doesn't matter there are no working-class people getting into politics because we all want the same thing. we all want prosperity and growth and, you know, today was a sort of modern version of that what's good for general motors is good for the country vice versa and what is the harm of letting the business owners and the professionals call the shots because we all want the same thing at the end of the day. and so this is one sort of old school political fault in this country. there is another school of political thought and antifederal list founding sort of real against the perspective and we don't really all want the
same thing. and if, you know, the government we showed up has only political decision makers that come from of white-collar professions, that is going to seriously tilt the policies that they created and make it harder for the police is that the working people to make a difference in blowholes of power and so this is sort of a longstanding debate. the reason i wanted to write this book and got interested in the question is these debates have been going on since the founding and people have got anecdotes and speculations to these debates but what is interesting to me is there wasn't really any hard evidence on this point. one side with point to an example of white-collar professionals who care about working people and say that proves it is doesn't matter and the other side would point to the working class candidate to
say we need more like that and what i wanted to know in this book is if we still looking at individual cases and look across the large samples and look at the political will institutions as a whole, does it really matter all that much that white-collar professionals are calling the shots and working class people were almost totally absent for the political institutions? so i really wanted to take this old fugate and try to bring the bring the best data to question and so that is what i tried to do in this book. >> host: the various historical data pierce 783 lawmakers from 99 to 2008 and i think that you found 13 of those, 783 or a quarter or more of the time of the blue-collar jobs and you talk a little bit
more about what is the sort of findings and then i will last you to talk about laura and occupation verses and come and the socioeconomic status. one of the challenges is that there was a sort of good database that said what percentage of the average number is the career before they got into office and white collar versus blue-collar and when i started out i couldn't really find any sort of, you know, database or spread sheet that had disinformation and so the first task for me in doing this research is just back to the to create that to go through and say with the help of the research assistance, i went through all 783 of the unique men and women who served in the 106 per 110th congress is 1999 through 2008.
what do you do for a living before you got into the political office and so for each of them and pulled together from a half-dozen different sort of almanacs and every piece of information that we can find about the job they did before they got in the office and now with this sort of an interesting project just in and of itself to find out all of these different fact. so orrin hatch i knew that he was a lawyer before he got elected to congress but in the course of doing this research i found out that he actually sent a big percentage of the time before he was a lawyer doing manual labor jobs in the service industry jobs he was a janitor, he was a receptionist and a doing sort of what i call working-class jobs to pay his way through law school. the 783 and in researching the book i also can across lots of
other sort of data sets that have been compiled by other people scholars, interest groups and i try to look at all of them and every piece of information. we look at the detailed data on the modern members of congress it's called the american representation studied in 1958 and one of the two political scientists surveyed a representative sample of the u.s. house members and they got really detailed information about what they did for a living and what they thought about the issues and how they voted and what committees they were on. and once i found and got access to that data set i brought that in, too and i got the same answer every time so this was the sort of striking thing to me
was from the free historical kind [cheering] period i got the same answer and that is politicians from the working class really do bring a different perspective to the political office and politicians who just did white collar jobs and especially politicians who only did white collar jobs in the private sector. that seems to be the dividing line in the political institutions and politicians who did working-class jobs tend to be pro worker and they tend to be politicians who did sort of white collar jobs and more pro-business whether we are looking at the 1950's or the present day. >> host: how do you define the pro worker and pro-business? >> guest: i try to use a combination of let's take the roll call voting for instance. the afl-cio every year they rank members of congress and give them a score of zero to 100
meaning you never go the way we wanted you to long the t-bills that we determined were important to our interest and 100 means you always voted the way that we wanted you to. whether you are looking at those scores or the chamber of commerce scores, legislators from the working class tend to be more liberal and further from of the chamber of commerce once. legislators who spent more of their careers and white-collar jobs especially in business are in the private sector and they are closer to what the chamber wants. >> host: i mentioned earlier the sanchez example that illustrates the question of why would get occupation and why not look at education and why not look at the income levels? so can you talk about that example and also just why look at occupations?
>> guest: in the book by looking at i believe the first sisters they became the first sisters to ever simultaneously serve in congress and what makes them a sort of interesting case study is here you have a situation where the gender of the two politicians is the same, the race and ethnicity is the same and they are approximately the same age and have the same families and grew up in the same places. they represent similar though not identical districts they both represent congressional district in california but more democrat or heavily democratic. so you have these two politicians who look about as a mother has the two members of congress could be. but the one difference between the two of them is that linda sanchez worked as basically as a laborer and then the union organizer and a lawyer and loretta sanchez worked in the
financial sector and the two of them although they are pretty similar on a lot of those they do occasionally break differently so representative linda sanchez tends to vote with the afl fell co -- afl-cio so they are sort of justice one case and member of congress but the difference you see between the two of them are sort of a representative of the larger differences that i see when i look across hundreds of members of congress when i look at the data from lots of different time periods and politicians, these other things better. race, gender, constituency, all of these things are extremely important when a politician tries to decide how to vote on the bill or so of these things matter but there is an important difference over and above those things but when a politician who
has real experience in working class jobs and a politician who doesn't. among your other question what is class? this is something that political scientists and sociologists have been debating for decades and will probably go on for a long time but in the book i sort of say i come down on the side of saying the right way to think about a person sort of place in our society were placed in our economy is that the question that people always ask at cocktail parties which is what do you for a living? you know, when you meet somebody for the first time you don't see what was your income last year or you know, what is the highest degree or socioeconomic status you say what do you do and that's essentially the question i asked in my research about politicians is what did you do for a living before you got into congress? i think it's interesting to know how much money they made in the process and how much formal
education they had. but when you look at the data those don't seem to be defied politicians the way that the previous occupations did so what really seems to matter is it's not so much about the exact dollar amount in a politician's bank account. what really seems to distinguish the politicians ideologically or in terms of how they vote or how they think about the issues it is and how much money they need but how they needed. somebody who made it big as a law professor and then wrote a successful book. ideologically they are going to look differently than somebody that made the same amount of money just doing investment banking. >> host: you talked about orrin hatch and i think in the corner of more of those times and doing something working class.
are there any other among those republicans i think there were four republicans and nine democrats. did you study them how they compared to other republicans? we talk a little bit about orrin hatch and grassley is on that list who has also been a little unconventional over the years. did you without quantitatively? >> guest: if you look at the larger group of politicians you do see the kind of similar patterns. but i think the message that you can take away from somebody like orrin hatch, he's a senior senator from one of the most conservative states in the country and very often he votes the way that you would then expect a republican from a conservative state. he votes with his party and he has lots of conservative votes. but every now and again, senator
hatch will reach across the aisle in ways that you wouldn't expect if all that you knew about him is that he was a republican from a conservative state. so earlier you and i were talking about how he would reach across the aisle when ted kennedy had an important bill to give health insurance to low-income people and a lot of the political observers, you know, struggled to make sense of the fact that orrin hatch who ordinarily votes republican and who is a republican from a very conservative state a lot of struggle to make sense of why he was so sympathetic to working people when it came to issues like health insurance. but i think that you can really understand his position on that issue if you know that he spent a lot his life doing labour manual jobs where his access to health insurance was by no means guaranteed. he understands what it's like to
not have health insurance and i think that helps to explain why a republican senator from a conservative state is going to reach across the aisle sometimes. that isn't by any means no one will get orrin hatch and say well, you know, he's really a progressive senator and that's important to keep in mind, too that there is still a difference between orrin hatch and if you imagine where he just had it made his whole life he never had these experiences were worked as a janitor my research says he probably wouldn't see him reaching across the aisle even the times he did he but probably be fervor to the right. >> host: you talk about manual labor. how do you to find a working class? waitresses would qualify for that. where do the teachers and you
wouldn't consider teachers among the affluent don't think it's manual labor. can you talk about the definition is a little? >> guest: i describe it as doing manual labor jobs so the service industry jobs, a cashier, a receptionist or restaurant server. and i do that for two reasons. i think it would be interesting to break politicians even further down. bill once were factory workers and look different than restaurant servers that there just are not enough politicians from those to break that category down and to serve the more fine grained groups, the but what about teachers and social workers? so i put those into a category that i would call service based professional. so this is a professional job and this is the white collar job. but it is also not the same as say a ceo large corporation.
in the book i try to break the scheme about ten different categories. so why try not to just say let's have a one-size-fits-all definition not working class and white collar although when you and i are talking i often say white collar or working class. the book goes a little bit further into the weeds and actually puts occupations into ten different categories. i group those categories into the street working categories and then profit oriented white collar jobs where you are running a business or doing something like running a business so you are a business owner, high level manager in the business and then the third category called not for profit white-collar professions these are necessarily not profit jobs these are jobs where the person is doing a white-collar job and
enjoy doing material security a little more than they would if they were giving a manual labor job or service industry jobs, but day-to-day the primary goal was not to turn a profit for the business. and actually when you look at the data, the teachers and the sort of service based professionals more generally tend to be ideologically the closest to the working class people, so the most conservative politicians tend to be the ones that are the profit oriented jobs and the most progressive torch pro worker tend to be politicians to do manual labor and service industry jobs but in between is the sort of in between are the politicians who did the not for profit white collar jobs so the social workers tend to be ideological the pretty similar to manual labor and service industries as you kind of i think intuitively -- >> host: but not as liberal economically. it's a little surprising to me
because i feel like the stereotype of the working class, this has to do with the social issues versus economic issues and you talk about that a little in the book. was that surprising to you? >> guest: there is a view that working class people are really conservative on the social issues and some of that is i think more height and speculation than actual research. so, fifth. if you are looking at how the members of congress vote on economic issues you get the same answer every time and that is the working class people tend to have more progressive attitudes than white-collar professionals especially white collar professionals who work in the sort of profit oriented professions so on the economic
issues there's a lot of hype about how there is something the matter with handling. something the matter with my home state i would add. but there doesn't tend to be a lot of hard research to back up the claims that are made in that book. when you actually look at the dia on how the ordinary americans think about the issues and vote on economic issues were held a thing or vote, there are big differences that tend to be more progressive on the issues and more likely to be democrats than a sort of otherwise white-collar folks and that is exactly what i find when i look at the data from the members of congress and the tend to be more conservative or liberal on the economic issues. i do in public briefly talk about the social issues that are not strictly economic issues. so for instance, in some
analysis i look at how the afl-cio and chamber of commerce rates members of congress and i also look at how the aclu rates members of congress and the sort of surprising thing i think especially in light of all of this talk about what's the matter with kansas there aren't really meaningful differences on social issues between a member of congress or the working class and a politician who came from a white collar profession. so on social issues there is really nothing to write home about in the research i've done and what class seems to matter is sent when we are voting on sort of a moral or religious issue but when congress is voting on what do we set the tax rate for the rich people at or how generous is our social safety net or are we going to get people out of unemployment that's when you see politicians from the front class is really breaking in different directions. the question is sort of a moral
issue or social issue you don't see this sort of big gaps that you expect to be if you believe there was something the matter with kansas. >> host: so you use the ranking system and then i guess you called it the pre-voting process. and primarily the sponsorship of bills and how wide is the intensity is the word you use in terms of the intensity of the members that have a working-class background versus the white collar background and can you sort of talk about what he found there? >> guest: absolutely. i look at how the members of congress vote on economic issues and they're the differences are crystal clear the white collar politicians tend to be more pro-business or conservative. what happens if we shift gears and focus on diprete rhode stages of the of legislative process? because a lot of people would say that is really where the action is in the legislature.
it is all of the negotiating and coalition building that happens behind the scenes. in the book i look at the the the data and how hard they work to see them pass and how likely they are to succeed so the goals and the efforts and effectiveness. when i look at the goal of the legislators i find this sort of seem differences that we see if you look at how the vote so the legislators and the working class tend to cast more pro-worker votes and tend to introduce the sort of bills that are more pro worker than the white collar professions. what's really interesting though is they also tend to work significantly harder to try to pass them. so in one analysis i look at how many co-sponsors the legislator recruits which is a rough measure how hard they are working to pass the bill and i find a legislator in the working class when they introduce the
bread-and-butter economic a bill the recruit twice as many co-sponsors than the white collar profession which to me says legislators are the only more per worker in how the vote but they are also investing more energy to try to pass the kind of economic policies most americans care about. the advice of that chapter is also the work twice as hard, legislators and the working class only pass about the same number of economic bills as any other legislator. so this is the sort of disturbing finding that comes out of that chapter is that we have known for a long time that people from historic the underrepresented groups often have a harder time meeting bill's forward in the legislative process and it looks like that's what's happening to of legislators in the working class. working-class legislators bring a different perspective to political office but their
proposals are weeded out of the legislative process at a higher rate than the proposal introduced by white-collar professionals so religious leader has to work twice as hard to pass the same number of economic bills. and to me that this the extent that we care about everyone's voice having a seat at the table in the political linscott couchepin. there aren't that many working class people there introducing bills and second of all the few working class people that do get into office the proposals the introduce get out much faster so that's really sort of a double whammy in terms of the content of our legislative process to the working-class people voices they aren't being heard in the first place and when the working class people do get into office their voices are getting filtered out at a high rate. >> host: we can talk about that after -- we are about to take a break.
>> host: we are talking about white collar government. we talked about the working class and a small number of people that have a working class that are now in congress that work twice as hard as measured by trying to get bills passed and i guess they were only sort of as effective as from another group. we talk about the role of ideology. you made the contrast in the book between our people out of touch with people from different class's or are they out of step and i think and you found that they are not.
can you talk about the distinction that you make? >> absolutely. if you look at how politicians from different class's though and have experience they tend to be more progressive and pro worker. you might look at that and say it's just a low white collar professionals that get into the political institutions are out of touch. they don't know the facts on the ground and what it's like to be a working class person. if we just got them the information and educated them they would think differently. so that this sort of one story that we could tell from the white collar jobs are sort of more conservative. another story that we could tell is the politicians in the white collar jobs just genuinely have more conservative views. working-class people tend to have a more progressive perspective on economic issues. white collar people tend to have a more conservative perspective and we know that from the
decades of public opinion research and media the same is true for politicians, and if that is the case then just educating them about, you know, the realities for the working class people because they know the facts and it's not that they knew to be taught how the economy works but how the economy works and their view is sort of more conservative. so what i try to do in the book is to determine which of these explanations seems to be the most important for helping us to figure out why politicians in the working class and white collar jobs are so different when they get into office and the one that seems to carry more weight is the explanation they just think differently about the issues. you know, a member of congress has all but the information resources they could possibly need if anything they would have too much information around them and interest groups and
lobbyists, they have their own staff. there is no shortage of information if a politician who's never done a blue-collar job wanted to know what it was like to do blue-collar jobs. what i find in the book it's it's not really the case of the white collar jobs are out of touch. it's not that they just don't know what working-class people want. it's more business and the surveys and just one that was done in 2012. so occasionally people actually survey the members of congress or state legislators and they asked them sort of what positions due to publicly but what is your own view on the economic issues if it were up to you with the government be sort of more involved in the economy
or less involved in the economy. across-the-board those have shown time and again the politicians from the working class their own views are more progressive. politicians from white-collar jobs it is their own views that are more pro-business or conservative. >> host: they would probably call themselves pro worker. the debate about the minimum wage and is there not a debate about increasing the minimum wage past a certain point when we need to lay off? are you making an assumption that sort of that a democrat would make about what's work for the -- what's good for the worker? >> guest: i try to think how working-class people tend to be more supportive of increasing the minimum wage and the white collar professionals less supportive of increasing minimum wage. so i kind of take that as my
starting point and ask do we see the same patterns among politicians and we do and the message is this is not a book about whether increasing the minimum wage is good or bad for the economy this is about whose views are represented in the power. so i'm not an economist and i cannot tell you what the minimum wage is. i can tell you working-class people want the minimum wage to be higher but white-collar professionals are the ones running on the political and institutions and that is part of why it is so hard to raise the minimum wage. >> host: i think that you looked at 15 big major votes to get 56 and then you looked at 15. some of the big votes in the last decade or so in the bailout during the financial crisis and push tax cuts before that. can you talk about you look at those votes and the bailout of the banks and other institutions
that passed the bush tax cuts and all americans benefited from that with the wealthier americans benefited proportionately more. what would have been different if i guess if congress was class balance according to the population >> guest: sure it matters on the margin whether the petition did manual laborer jobs or white collar job is. but the question i want to know is does it matter for the public policy? what the final result in the legislative process look different? are we just talking about moving one or two votes are counted really doesn't matter so one of the things i do in the book is i just try to see i take 15 important economic policies from a list of about 50 and a sort of imported enactment compiled by another political scientist for a totally unrelated project. so i take davids' list of
important enactments for the years 1999 to 2008 when i have the really good data on with the members of congress to for a living and i take 50 some really important enactments that he's identified and i pulled the 15 that are directly related to the domestic economic policies and say okay. on these 15 landmark economic bills, what the outcome of the final passage have been different if congress that looked like the country as a whole, if congress hadn't been massively skewed in favor of the white collar professionals? that is a tough question to the answer because we will never -- we have never actually seen a congress that looked like the country as a whole in terms of its occupational background. but what i do in that part of the book is lightweight the members of congress just like if you were to run a public opinion survey in your sample is a
little bit unbalanced you would unweight the individual participants in the survey. i do the same thing with members of congress. so, in congress will years are about 50 times more numerous than they are in the general public. so i take every lawyer and instead of giving them one vote on save the 2001 bush tax cuts they get one 50th of the vote and every member of congress from the working class which is sort of under represented by the factor of 50 instead of getting one vote they get 50 votes. so why just tally up and see what the final passage vote would be. and what i find there is pretty striking. so i take the example of the 2001 bush tax cut that is a bill that didn't get a single food from someone with real experience in working class. if you get this congress that looks like the country as a whole that got the same mix of
occupations as the united states land more conservative economic policies, several landmark conservative economic policies wouldn't have reached a majority vote. and a congress that looked like a country as a whole including the 2001 bush tax cuts which most people regard as pretty regressive provisions of the federal tax code. so the take home. i can't tell you what a class balance congress would have done with george w. bush tax proposals. what i can tell you is if it looks like all of us you can't pass the bush tax cuts or lots of other conservative economic policies. >> host: why are there so few working-class people in the congress historical?
>> guest: politicians from the working-class or incredibly rare and i say in this book that's important. the obvious question is that it's so important that there are working-class people in office but is keeping them out in the first place. and that is a question where political science still has some room for new research. we cannot say definitively what is keeping working-class people out of public o'clock this. in the government i try to rule out a couple of popular explanations for test a couple of popular explanations. if you asked somebody on the street why do you think there are such working-class people on political office you are often going to get one of two different types of answers. one answer that i often hear when i talk to people about this research is there aren't very many working-class people in the political office because that is what the voters want. this is a democracy and if
working people aren't getting in the congress it's because they are not winning elections so this is about voters preferring white-collar professionals. and the other sort of argument here is there aren't very many qualified working-class people out there. it's the sort of have what it takes politically, there would be great. but there aren't very many blue-collar workers with those clarifications and skills that you need to be a successful politician. in the book i take both of those arguments seriously and i find that neither one relief lines up with what we actually know about the u.s. politics. so if you politicians that do run for political office do as well with the voters as politicians who come from the sort of white collar professions and i talked about in the book some other research by a friend of mine and what she has done is nationally representative surveys where she's given voters a hypothetical candidate and
randomly varied the whole biography is the same except she randomly changes from a white collar professionals to the blue-collar worker but everything else is the same and she finds the same thing i do when i look at actual elections. there doesn't seem to be this huge dropoff that he would expect. voters seem perfectly willing to cast the ballots for the workers. what's the problem? it's not that the blue-collar workers are running and the voters are sending them packing if they are running in the first place so if you take my actual balance from north carolina of 2012 and go through the top and look at every single politician on that, for every office down to the general assembly in the state legislature and there wasn't a single person out of the 30 or 35 candidates there wasn't a single person working from the occupation.
it's not the working class people running and losing its the working class people that are not running in the first place. then the question becomes is it the case they are running because they're just are not very many qualified working-class people out there to sort of fill in this case is on the ballot and so i'm trying to just look at -- it's hard to know who is sort of qualified to run for office and in the broad sense but we do have a systematic data on who's interested in politics and who feels like they can make a difference and who was participating in the political process and when you look at the data like that there are not sort of these huge gaps between the working class and everybody else. you know, the statistic i talk about this even if half of a percentage of working-class americans had what it takes for the clarification if even half
of the working class people were qualified that would be enough people to fill every seat in congress and every state legislature 40 times over with enough qualified workers left over to fill up a few thousand city councils. this is a big country. the idea that there just are not qualified workers out there just doesn't add up. >> host: a few things that occurred to me is just one of the very practical things like they are working a lot of hours and they don't really have time. and i guess the other thing is related to education and maybe you can get into this in terms of the lack of confidence and they didn't think it was something they could do. >> guest: i will be the first to admit that we need to do more hard research on this but it isn't so much a lack of qualifications it is the discouraging circumstances like the high cost running of the campaign and practical disruptions associated with
running for the office. with the data is starting to show although it is preliminary is that there are lots of qualified people out there but it's being screened out by the sort of practical hurdles that are really in front of anyone that wants to run for political office. i should mention that running for office isn't easy for anyone who does it, but i think that is probably a much -- it's going to be a bigger part of the explanation that we just thought voters are sending them home or working class people just don't have what it takes. i can't say that definitively what is keeping the working class people out of the office but i think that going forward we can take those explanations off the table. i don't think we would get very far in explaining why we have a white collar government if we get hung up on these ideas that working-class people are no good or the voters don't like them. >> host: so they are just as likely to win but when they are in the congress and you talked
about this a little earlier the work harder in terms of the number of co-sponsors and they don't get to pass as many bills. you might make this link in the book because the congress is not itself representative of the public at large in the working-class and other non-working class people? >> guest: you get into congress and the state legislature and you propose a bill that you know from your own experience is important for the working class people. it's going to be harder to get traction for that legislature if everyone around you is from the white collar professionals. that is definitely one possible explanation for that finding. >> host: you also talk about the tipping point and i thought about the analogy to win and there's been a lot of talk about the women in the studies and how there is a tipping point there
are so many community heads and there was a little tight in the nineties when there were women in the senate. i don't believe it has reached a peak that seems to be more than the numbers would suggest. can you talk about a tipping point for the working class. >> guest: in the 70's and 80's there was an early line on the shortage of women in the political office and how that affected public policies and what that research found is that once you got a critical mass of the women in the legislature then you started to see real policy change but it wasn't just a lanier relationship it was a strength in numbers situation.
my guess is you probably see something with working-class people. if adding one or two working class people to congress might affect public policy. adding 50 would probably affect the public policy a whole lot more. so why do think there is a strength in numbers and there's also like you mentioned. >> host: there are more members and more so on the city level. were you able to find any kind of 18-point and can you talk about some of the differences between the local city council verses the congress? between the state legislature and congress because they are sort of fundamentally different policymaking environment but they do have a lot of things in
common. and they're dealing with similar kinds of problems. so in the book i look across different states and different cities and there's a way of supplementing or beefing up the analysis to congress i would say okay if it really is the case that it matters that there are no working-class members of congress than in the state legislatures where there are some working class people and city councils there are some states where there's a majority class working council you should see policy outcomes changing or we should see a different policy outcomes in states or cities where there are lots of working class people in the political institutions. and that is exactly what i see. so, one of the analysis in the book looked at what percentage of the city's budget it devotes to social welfare and safety net programs. what you see the congressional
level the city's tend to spend slightly higher percentages of the budget. it's hard to say there was sort of an exact to pinpoint just because we don't see hundreds of thousands of cities run by working-class people. even at the city level there's a severe shortage of politicians in the working class. but i think the sort of important take home from that part of the book is that we do see what you expect which is when you add more working class people to the legislature in this case the city council, the policy does move in a sort of pro worker direction or doesn't move towards the outcomes of the working class people. >> host: was there a period in history when it's been pretty stable over time but during the 70's, during the civil rights
movement -- >> host: there is essentially no change. you can't fall off the floor. the congress has no working class people and every congress during the 20th century had less than 2% working class people. but if you go to the state level you do see the declines. it's about 5% working class and fast forward to today and it's more like two or 3% working class. so i think what that tells us is if anything it is getting harder for people to get into the political office for a lot of reasons that you might expect. unions are declining and elections are getting even more expensive and so what we are seeing i cannot tell you there is a sort of high water mark we don't have that information and
the data before the federal level doesn't go back very far. what i can tell you is if there is a trend is downward getting harder for people to get into office so this isn't a problem that is going to solve itself. this is a phenomenon that is going to go away on its own. >> host: can you talk about the role of the union's most people are aware that they have been declining. are there other groups out there you give the example of emily's list to go out there for the people in the working class does it have to the unions or who else would it be? >> guest: there are programs on the ground right now that are designed to recruit, train and support the candidates from the working class. right now the ones i know about are all union base. so the most prominent example is the afl-cio in new jersey where
they identify, recruited and trained hundreds of working class people to run for office. i think that they are graduates of over 700 elections at every level of government in new jersey from the most local of to the state legislature. so there is a sort of model out there that works and doesn't seem to be very expensive. just sort of gets high quality candidates from the working class to run and win and have a sort of successful political career. the big question right now is can that model travel to a place where unions aren't as strong as they were in new jersey so could you have a labor school or candidate school for working-class people in the right to work state where the unions where there are not as many union members and they have less institutional powers? and to me i don't see any reason why you couldn't.
there are lots of progressive grass-roots organizations that every state that care about the working people even states where the legal environment is hostile to the unions there are organizations that stick up for the little guy and i think those are the kind of organizations that might have the potential to sort of take up this challenge of supporting the candidates in the working class even in places where unions aren't doing that work right now. >> host: you don't talk so much about party in the book to talk about controlling party. is this almost like a mantra for the democratic party to bring out people who might vote progressively we've used that word many times. a lot of the ways that you define working for the working class and democratic policies. can you talk about the role of the party and what can
republicans learn from their research? >> guest: let's take democrats out of the picture completely and just look at republicans nationwide. among the ordinary citizens there are important differences between republicans from working-class jobs or white collar jobs. and there is the case that you see the same thing among politicians. a republican in congress from the working class is going to be a little less for to the right and a republican in congress on the white collar jobs and so the steps that i'm describing in this book isn't limited to one party. there is a huge difference between republicans and democrats in congress but with each party there are differences in the perspectives that a republican in the working class job brings and that republican is going to be closer to the working class republicans than a republican who did only white-collar jobs. and so the message here is and really, you know, the