tv After Words CSPAN September 19, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
and by that i think you meant black people's party. and you mentioned that, of course, you wanted to write your party. history tells us that this was not always the case. as you talk about, at the beginnings of the book, talk about the evolution, how did it come to black people being all republicans to black people being all democrats? >> i am an older black folk from the south who to this day is republican because they have a visceral reaction to the word democrats. when they were growing up it was the democrats who were abusing and terrorizing their communities and parents to keep them from exercising there rights,
from going to schools with white children. it was the liberal party for much of its history. in the 20th century when the great depression hit, it was the democratic president, franklin delano roosevelt, who put this rescue plan in place. >> the new deal. >> the new deal. a lot of compromise. baked it into the new deal. that because of that dynamic rescue massive amounts of african-americans began to look at franklin delano roosevelt as someone who was literally saving their economic lives. but you so republicans do very well with
african-americans, jackie robinson who were openly republican and touted the party. what you saw, 60 to 65 percent democratic, but still 30 to 35 percent republican. but really, the turning point in what started the cascade of black americans away from the republican party was barry goldwater. 1964 really was a pivot point from black politics in this country in terms of black people breaking into the democratic party, but. goldwater showing the face of the republican party. >> you mentioned barry goldwater and lyndon johnson. do you believe that it was more of an anti- goldwater,
anti- republican thing, or was it more a pro lbj, throat democratically? >> what caused this massive support? >> he would actually started to do certain things to enforce the rights of black folks. then vice president that racial attitudes that were untoward, when he picked up the mantle of the civil rights act and made it his own he went all in in a way that kennedy had been reluctant to do.
as shown a lot of americans that this might be a party we do business with. the leaders look to both parties. the more radical group said to the republicans, we want to see what your 1964 party platforms going to be though he was not a southerner was opposed to the civil rights act and movement. the by the time you to richard nixon the republican party was starting to train support. it became anti- lyndon johnson reform. that sealed the deal.
>> let's take it up to march, 2008. the presidential primary, the historic election. barack obama made a famous speech on race relations. i can remember sitting down with friends and family and being glued to the television set when he was going to talk about reverend wright and what he felt about race and this primary campaign, historic campaign. did you -- were you impressed by that speech? do you think it was one of the greatest speeches on race ever made? if not, what were some of the greatest that you would champion? >> i think it was a brilliant speech that was not made on purpose. the campaign that barack obama and his people were
running was explicitly nonracial. they were being very careful. david axelrod had run harold washington's campaign and understood how to black candidate and then not black majority district. and he and another man were the architects of that strategy and steering this candidate in a place that was a formidable on race. he was someone who burst onto the national scene saying that there were no black and white americans. there was one america. by the time you get to this attempt to rationalize this man who has never placed himself has such an public life, reverend wright gave his opponent the chance to say this guy is not who you
think he is. he is not this uniter but a divisive figure. by the time barack obama gives that philadelphia speech, he's doing it on the defense. people don't expect the explanation, my relationship to my pastor, go ahead and say what it used to be said. a lot of speeches were important on race. i have a dream. i am partial to the speech in which he talks about riots and the voice of the unheard. sometimes the postcard king is less important than the radical came. he was challenging the nation. the mountaintop speech and others.
first and doing a nationwide televised address. as well as lyndon johnson. the voting rights act. great moments of racial conversation but not a lot of them. >> my favorite one to a crowd, talk about the racial speeches, making this wonderful speech. in the book you say, and let me make sure i am quoting this accurately. with the election of president obama americans expected an open dialogue on race. but instead america got brief comments on shootings
of young black males by police, beer summits on the white house lawn. why do you think that it was so hard and difficult for president obama, the 1st black president to talk about race? >> one of the things i write about, the rules for a black national figure, you are expected to be in a certain box and comment really only on progress and the genius of the american experiment, not.out -- not point the flaws. it limits your eyes so that the candidates who are successful, barack obama, people who talk about race in an elevated way.
barack obama was perfectly situated to be that person because of the way he comported himself in public life after his moment of radicalism painted the anti- apartheid stuff in college. he comes into office focused on the economy that has gone over cliff, 700,000 jobs a month being lost. i found no evidence that barack obama came to the white house to litigate race. he did not, and for a lot of african-americans there was this pent-up need an expectation to have our racial litigated, and it did not happen because this was president focused on being president of the whole company -- whole country. he winds up stumbling right into the same box that others find themselves in executive eric holder is,
reverend sharpton annoying his parents opponents characterized him because he had a human moment and defended his friend. suddenly people said, you are breaking the bargain that we elected you on. you are not supposed to address these kinds of things. he addresses the shooting in florida. he really was fooling you. he really is not the spatial ecumenical character, and i think that it was seized upon, he tiptoed toward it. >> host: did it harm him politically when he did the tiptoed? >> guest: absolutely. almost immediately when he would make a comment that had any racial context his approval numbers plummeted
immediately. whatever he would talk about the racial experiences that black folks have, yes, he is affirming what i'm saying. here's the president of the united states affirming me. by and large white americans thought it was bad and divisive. >> host: you say president obama and others were able to talk above, very positively about the american racial experience, and that helps him politically many white voters. i wrote a book called ghost of jim crow where i talk about some of the racialized incidents that happened during the 2008 primary campaign. i direct your attention particularly to south carolina to really raise
between the clintons and obama. and there were some characterizations of obama as running a fantasy campaign for some characterizations of him being the affirmative action candidate with a black candidate trying to put them in a box. my question is, do you think that this was just politics as usual, two strong candidates competing, or was this hitting below the belt with this sort of using racial codewords of using many in the republican party have done this over the years. >> guest: it is panic. the clintons presume she would be the nominee. hillary clinton,, and then
senator obama was elected offender washington. she understood what that meant and fellowship reached out and supportive of them. they never expected. they were start got in and key advisors they presumed worked for him worked for david axelrod. then he wins iowa, a very white state where he just out organize them. by the time they get to new hampshire it was a campaign that was discombobulated and they started to make mistakes. so to take things personal.
they were making it factually accurate put a stinging statement that was meant to be a rebuke, a kennedyesque figure and the father this couple particularly since bill clinton saw himself as someone who wanted that. i think it in raise them. they were all made in one day. making ugly statements out of desperation. full-size in the tooling,
now have a seminal figure of the civil rights movement in politics owing back off. it did not matter at that point. they were not prepared to run against the black man but the black community. >> host: when obama 1st announced his numbers were very low at some point where it was iowa or four new hampshire the black community embraced him.
what do you attribute that to? starting out low-end and the phenomenal embrace. >> at the way you have when you look at the history of black politicization, the african-american vote is very pragmatic. resource will flow to our community, the people who by and large are hurting. have never gone on to the fantasy fun. they did not support chisholm by and large. when jesse jackson runs and 84 he had the support of the black establishment. a fantasy run by this young creature who sees himself as a cane. he runs and 88 and it was
more of movement. this is exciting. the majority saw that is a wonderful training for the future. come up a little bit more in politics. we need to make sure a democrat is in the white house. will go hillary. not just the leadership of the base of the party. but when this young black senator wins iowa the way to stay in the country, it was almost like a lipless which. not a fantasy but a practical possibility. but on the night he loses
his best speech was just the yes we can speech. >> so many interesting facts and tidbits of background information, as a professor myself i thought i knew a lot of the stuff. and i thought i lived in cleveland at the time coast of became mayor you talk about -- you mentioned shirley chisholm and said that the civil rights committee wanted stokes to run. she sort of jumped the gun, but it is facts like that that i think people will read this book and just be amazed. >> thank you. >> let's talk about the title and what it means specifically in terms of
affecting the relationship between president obama and the clintons and the racial divide. when did this divide 1st manifest itself? what specific things do you attribute it to? also, do you feel it is more personal or more philosophical? is it about bill clinton the politician, hillary clinton, politician, or is it about more personal? >> it is a great question. the 1st crack that spreads is in 1968. four years after the civil rights act, three years after the voting rights act, and you have president johnson was heroic in the eyes of many
african-americans suddenly pivoting away from the resourcing of the war on poverty which was meant to rescue not justjust black people but also wife were all-americans from poverty. you see him drain resources away from that and put it into the war. you also see protectionism in the non-. you are not welcome in these neighborhoods. they start to look at lyndon johnson five ways. and king comes out against the war, and then you have lyndon johnson go to the convention and 68 even after he was not going to run, and in order to insert hubert humphrey, the black freedom
fighters, not expecting the voting rights act. then i don't even want him on tv. that was the 1st moment. as you know, you have the black establishment saying we need to respond and put up our own kennedy. show this democratic party that they don't own eyes. they were put up a candidate, carl stokes. richard nixon wins and it is a disaster. he runs online order. it sort of like oj saying these black criminals saying we're going to take care of that.
the response of the democratic party, black parties to say we're going to walk away from this. we're going to adopt the tough on crime message of your and our opponent and become more like them. these issues you care about, jesse jackson, we can do with it. these fractures existed under the surface. i just burst more in 2,008 because now you have the seven democrats, the southern governor essentially trying to repay what he saw as a debt of his i was the 1st black president. african-americans read that is saying that her
aspirations, it's hillary's time. the new site years and decades of a new line fractures open. >> you talk about this fracture beginning with lbj. talk about it during the clinton administration. there are a number of things you mentioned in the book that i was unaware of. i don't think a lot of americans knew this was occurring the beginning of the clinton administration. they didn't exit the party right away. other politicians understood this game bill clinton comes
in and 92. one of the ways you signal to white working-class voters is he rebukes jesse jackson. he used his convention. that wasthat was not a message to black people but white voters. because of the needs to do compromise. republicans taking advantage gearing to the right who does the crime bill. reverend al sharpton was protesting when the crime bill passed. it is seen by civil rights leaders as the beginning of war. he does the welfare reform bill, trying to get the
worst bill through that had real consequences. so this clinton path which on the one hand was a golden economic age for african-americans, and they loved bill clinton in a lot of ways. there was a lot of tension, to. >> host: fascinating. i know you talked about the urban agenda that many of the civil rights community was trying to push at the beginning of the clinton administration as well as welfare reform that caused the fracture as well. fascinating aspects. let's bring it up to 2015. it has been an amazing and tumultuous year in many respects, particularly when it comes to recent police interaction, police shootings, many have been captured on video, and much of the nation has been shot
by this horrendous treatment and serious consequences that have occurred. a number of movements have been sparked by the shootings. the most well-known is the black lives matter movement. talk a little bit about how you think this movement has impacted the primaries, democratic and republican? >> they had a tremendous impact. black lives matter again after the killing of trade on margin. and that really sparked what was going to be this national conversation that the value of young black men's lives. when barack obama touched it and said something about trade on margin and related to have that became polarized and suddenly you have this left right
argument. the black lives matter since then has picked up steam. powerful, young african-american speaking for themselves. and then report to the force the party that has gone back to its mcgovern i roots. rejected the wing to great success. he became president and was reelected. but that has been marginalized for a long time it's really the liberal white wing of the party. they are focused on economics, post- occupy wall street arguments whether
income inequality is the key issue that needs to be dealt with. and if you go back and look at the history, the vast majority of riots was killings by the police. mainly white liberal democratic party, you cannot bypass the issue. the force hillary clinton says it will be on civic justice. her 1st big speech. >> columbia university. forced bernie sanders reluctantly.
the worst time of police interaction. surprising when you look at the democratic party's, it is retro, young people of color for showing dynamism within politics. we have almost the same sort of dynamic is the 1960s. >> ii want to push you a little bit because you mentioned the jesse jackson, george mcgovern wing of the party. and do you think there is a difference between black and white liberals with the democratic party, the jesse jackson and bernie sanders. >> absolutely.
the liberalism, poverty, cuomo zeroed in on urban poverty, and jesse jackson his agenda was about poverty but whose agenda is race specific. and that is something by a large some of them are sympathetic to. it was not central to their argument. very much in the sanders camp which is about income inequality broadly and if you can solve that it will lift everyone.
and that has always been the divides. >> very interesting. let's talk about the recent campaign, hillary clinton running in the democratic primaries, bernie sanders, martin o'malley. at the end of the book is a quotation from a voting rights activist whom you talk about throughout the book. she worked for bill clinton's campaign in 92, became a leader in the acorn movement which registered many, many minority voters. you say,say, and i quote, the prospect of a woman president is as exciting and fundamental ways barack obama's candidacy was an 2008. do you believe most african-american female voters feel that way about hillary clinton's campaign?
>> some are. important for me to run as a woman as it is to run as an active american. there are a lot of black women over a certain age, women over 60, my benchmark black or white or latino very excited about the idea of a woman president. for a lot of women, they feel now that the country has check that box of having the 1st african-american president it is time to step forward and for women have the opportunity. and i find pockets of black women in these would be in
general still have some peeling about the clinton because of 2008. and occasionally you will have people say after the way that was run. >> this month campaign by the clintons can overcome. a tremendous, overwhelming advantage. far and away the most popular candidate is the reason she retains an advantage over bernie sanders. his base is not very diverse. it is a huge advantage. al gore got 92 percent.
people line up for the opportunity to elect waited for barack obama is the way itself. what do you think will happen. get the obama coalition to be as excited for her candidacy. >> it will be hard for any candidate to get the same level. only because the audacity of hope young man whose middle name is hussein.
such an emotional catharsis and unlike the improbable thing that is set of expectations. a lot of time activists that were involved, the comedown was quick. barack obama is really biting him. repeating and attacking him closing gitmo, ending don't ask don't tell. so outside the bernie sanders moment where you have people having a euphoric attitude toward the candidates, i don't see that during this cycle.
demographically democrats have such an advantage. >> in terms of the demographics of the country. it is becoming more brown, 2 pey four years which has increased the national advantage. republicans have to when such a high percentage, that it is getting harder and harder. they can win congressional districts that way. it is hard to get the white house if you can do better than eight or nine or 10 percent of black voters. very hard to win that way. >> host: that leads to my next question. i will ask you to switch sides now and go to their party. let's say the head of the
republican national committee or one of the republican candidates for president retains you and says, i want to increase my support within the african-american community. what would you advise that candidate to do? >> what republicans would need to do is find someone with the credibility and strength and voice to repudiate not just the messaging of some of the media parts of the service establishment, very hostile, rush limbaugh right wing blog world which can be really shrill when it comes to race and really rejectionist. african-americans have felt this for a very long time as well, but you have to go
against your own base. the republican party has a base issue in that they have become the home of what used to be the southern democrat. the preponderance of the democrats are black. going to disparage racial groups as a whole but we need to target something. impossible for me to talk to people, party. jackie robinson's picture was going in the the homes of half of black americans at the time.
i would say that the tennis a change. colin powell, bruce bartlett , former reagan guy. if they do that they are taking a risk that they will lose some of their base. the basal like an republican party not speaking to anxieties and nativist impulses that some this really believe. a moderate republican, very few of those around me these days, but to me that would be interesting race to see a
moderate republican like powell how many african-american votes he could get but i guess are not going to see that. >> a lot of republicans assume been carson is that person. he just does it in a much more pleasant tone. slavery in nazi germany. republicans would be disappointed. the language would have to change. it can just be coming out the person of color's mouth.
republicans, leaders do understand this. understand that they must diversify the parties to survive. i have to figure out how to confront elements of the base. >> well, that is exactly what the democrats to with the dlc. they wanted to keep their base the spread out, reach out more to working-class whites, to moderate republicans, to independence. >> yes. >> do you think that the republican party could be a successful by keeping their base is the democrats have been over the last several elections.
>> and they still voted for him. one of the things it is a truism is that democrats advise the base and republicans fear there's. liberals are the base of the democratic party. a lot of the blue dog new democrat deal, the democrats have fallen away. few of them left in congress. leading the party ideologically again.
>> more today and anti- republican, that the republican party is somehow hostile minority interests. not accepting of diverse groups or is it more of a pro- democrat, the democrats have delivered, the democrats supported the voting rights act of 65. the democrats delivered civil rights. >> i think it is a combination, but more of the former to be honest. a lot of african-americans, there is a definite -- recognition that the party has not always delivered and there is a taking for granted of this committee that has voted 9010 in their favor.
i think there is a presumption among democrats that the black vote will be there. you can show up in the african-american community. there really is not a lot in between. if youhere are seeing a lot of the black political class question that and favor the party which is not good enough. states experimenting with open primaries and next primaries, i would predict you will see more movement of that african-american vote only because there is a sense, particularly the black political class that are very conscious of the way that power works. you hear people saying, we need to spread out, but there is very little people
that say you need to spread out into the republican party. the vibe is not to welcoming, but i have spoken with republican operatives who are working specifically to try to reach out to african-american and hispanic voters to recruit them into the party, fighting a two front war against the presumptions people make in the actual words coming out of some of their candidates mouths. i feel for them. it is a tough job. >> it is often said that black liberals in the democratic party have nowhere to go. do you see, perhaps, an independent candidate running from that wing of the party or perhaps a third-party being created?
such imagine a third-party candidate winning the white house. make sure you have the one-off governor bernie sanders the parties are so invested in the current system. in the early 1950s and 60s african-americans understand that immigrants were incredibly hostile and did not want them around. republicans almost did not exist.
mississippi freedom democrats so i have always for pragmatically chosen democratic of the republican party and tomorrow: follows the nominee, i wager he would do pretty well is attitudinal presentation is welcoming. it is not because he is black only. is the way he talks about politics. [laughter] >> very persuasive. what do you think?
you have a chapter called the 1st black president talking about bill clinton. is it bill clinton or barack obama? >> it is really barack obama. what is interesting is why she said that, around the time that bill clinton was attempting to talk about race. trying because he had a unique positioning or you can talk and tell that both of the churches are understood and welcomed. advantage. he comes in and tries to use that same language to talk to the country and gets spanked, to say slavery was wrong when he was in africa just got huge reviews, and then his sexuality beliefs.
in much thein much the way black male sexuality has been perceived since slavery , you have this man who single -- signifies the single folks of blackness, single moms, a man child in the promised land of hope arkansas and have this aspect and demeanor and get on the pulpit and sounds just like a preacher. had he been black and jesse jackson white, president of the united states. people felt comfortable with him. it's a very particular thing. >> it is often said that was emphasized that he was biracial. how do you think that
impacted his electability. everything about barack obama accept his name made him tailor-made. he had an understanding of white america and eight convergence with white america with white anxieties he perfectly communicated white anxiety. he could explain that in a way that did not feel like accusation but familiarity and could explain the black context because he personally lifted. i think partly because he was biracial have that convergence across the racial divide that made him perfect for this job. >> i don'ti don't think i
have ever seen barack obama be angry ever. >> i have this image, they seem to be perfect girls, but the little girls jumping up and down. [laughter] >> he is so calm. >> it has helped them a great deal. manipulate the political scene. >> anything you want to add? anything i have not asked you if you would like me to ask? >> no, the questions have been brilliant. ..
it's a conversation he needs to lead. it's really difficult to see. john oh franklin wasn't able to make it happen. so many are seeing it as a race hand. you're a race person. so, i don't know. know. my name is joy. i don't know what's going to happen. people need to feel comfortable. >> joy, there is an old saying about the eternal tree of life. were very appreciative of your time today. thank you very much. the book is fracture, barack
obama, the clintons and the nation divide. i encourage everyone to read it. >> thank you. >> thank you. that was afterwards, book tv signature program in which authors are interviewed by journalists, policymakers and and others familiar with their material. you can also watch "after words" online. go to book tv network and click on "after words" on the upper right side of the page here's a look at the current selling nonfiction books.
first up is national correspondent for the atlantic magazine. he looks at the history and current state of black america. david mccullough is a two-time winner of the pulitzer prize recounts the first flight in the right brothers. being mortal is a discussion of end-of-life care. oliver sacks in his book on the move. in dead dead wave, eric larson discusses the german u-boat in 1915. the bestsellers list continues with jimmy carter's reflections on his life. former vp president dick cheney along with his daughter liz cheney present their thoughts on foreign policy and national security in exceptional.
in a road to character, david brooks and the lives of ten historical individuals on how to achieve success. many of these authors have or will be appearing on book tv. you can watch them on our website, book tv.org. former vp dick cheney and former deputy assistant secretary of state liz cheney discussed their book, exceptional, which looks at america's foreign-policy and national security.