John D. Dingell, Jr., Mara Cecilia Ostfeld, Betsey Stevenson, Marina v.N. Whitman, Ambassador Ronald Weiser and moderator Paul Courant discuss the 2016 elections and their impact. November, 2016.
>> Susan M. Collins: I'm Susan Collins, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean here at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and I want to thank all of you for being here today. I also want to say that it had not been my intention to make initial remarks. I was planning to turn things over to my esteemed colleague, Professor Paul Courant, who both organized the panel and will moderate in a moment, but I haven't had the chance to see many who are here today and in particular many of our students, and I did want to take just a moment to say just a couple of words here. And I want to speak to our students in particular. And again, it's wonderful to have so many with us today. We've been hearing in a number of our classes and in the halls and in study spaces, I had office hours today that had been scheduled well in advance, there are a lot of really intense emotions in the building that people are dealing with in a variety of different ways. And in particular, some have asked about what the role of public policy is in an election where the substantive policy issues often warrant center stage and a lot of the discussion that was had, and what kind of role do collaboration and stability, things that are so essential for what the Ford School's mission stands for, what role do they play as we move forward. Well, I wanted to share some comments that I made very briefly in an email that I sent to the school earlier today, and I'm standing here, as I said there, as a Dean of the School of Public Policy, also as an immigrant and as a person of color and also as someone who is deeply optimistic. I'm going to need time, as I think many of you will, to reflect more broadly on where we are as a country and what we do as we move forward. We're planning a variety of activities, and today's discussion is part of that, and I think it's really important for us to have conversations and to move forward together in a variety of different ways. But I can also say without any hesitation that I believe very strongly in our mission as a school of public policy, in the education we provide, and I'm speaking particularly to our students. I believe that the role of well-done social science is critical in public decision making, and I'm really confident that the work that we do here is relevant and in fact is essential. We need all of you and all of the work that you are doing and every ounce of smarts and energy and passion that you can give this nation and our world. And so, I'm looking forward to our discussion today this afternoon which will focus on the implications from the national election. I also wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate a very special friend of the Ford School, Ambassador Ron Weiser, on his election to the University Of Michigan Board Of Regents. Congratulations, Ron.
[ Applause ]
And with that, it is my pleasure to turn things over to my colleague, Paul Courant, who will introduce our panel and moderate today's discussion, thank you.
>> Paul Courant: Thank you, Susan. Thank you all for being here. It's a good crowd. The subtitle or the title of this afternoon's discussion is "What Happens Now". I want to reiterate that one of the things that happens now is that the kind of work that goes on at the Ford School, the knowledge and skill and research that we developed, that our students developed will continue to be important and that will-- our students and the school will make contributions to what happens next over the next year, five years, 10 years, count as many years as you like. We're very fortunate to have five panelists with experience and expertise to address the implications of the election. Your brochures have brief bios on all of them, so I'm not going to read those out loud. I'm going to note that two of our panelists are here largely because of extensive political experience, Ambassador Ron Weiser who is also now about to become a regent of the University of Michigan, John Dingell who spent some time in Congress. And basically, I decided before we knew the outcome of the election that the order I was going to do was someone representing the winning side of the presidential election, someone representing the not-so-winning side of the presidential election and then three distinguished academic experts, Mara Ostfeld who is a political scientist and actually knows a lot about elections and who also tells me that she hasn't had any sleep. Actually, nobody's had any sleep. That's part of the price of admission here, I think. Betsey Stevenson who is a former member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama and Marina Whitman, a former-- a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under Richard Nixon, both of them on the faculty of the Ford School. And the setup is going to be as follows. I'm going to give each of the panelists seven minutes. When they have two minutes left, I'm going to wave a sign in their face that says two minutes, one minute left you can guess what the next sign says, and then after a minute is the stop sign, and they will stop because they're extremely well-mannered people. After we-- each of them gets to speak, we will have some cross conversation here at this table. We will then open the discussion up for discussion with all of you. I ask that when we have the discussion with you that you try them-- stick to having questions. Sometimes people have a tendency to give speeches, questions is what we're aiming for here, and I'd be most pleased if you could ask them in 30 seconds, and if it's a minute, we're going stop you, so--
>> Ron Weiser: He's going to wave that thing in your face.
>> Paul Courant: I'm going to wave that thing in your face and it's pretty scary, so you don't want that to happen. So without further ado, I will turn the mic over to Ron Weiser.
>> Ron Weiser: Well, I have to tell you, quite honestly, I did not expect to be going first and I am more tired than the rest because I was in New York and flew back today already. So this has been a week of seismic shocks. There were two I think and both of them left people unhappy and other people happy. The first one was the Cubs won. There are awful lot of unhappy people in Cleveland and awful lot of happy people in Chicago. And I use that as an example because quite frankly in every contest, there's winners and there's losers and the losers usually pretty-- feel pretty lousy and they're second-guessing and talking about what should have been done or why things ended up the way they are and the winners are busy congratulating themselves about how skilled they are and so forth. And quite frankly, it usually takes a little luck and-- I mean the second seismic shock obviously was Donald Trump will be the next leader of the free world, whoever imagined that? I mean--
[ Inaudible Remark ]
-- not very many people did. I'll tell you what, I won't comment if you won't, OK? I'm just telling what you the facts are right now. I'm not making any commentary on it. So yes, I'm a Republican and yes, quite often on campus, I feel very unwelcome and I'm here because I was asked to be here long before this election took place. And as I said, I was as surprised with the outcome as most of the people in this room were. It was not a pretty election. But I will tell you, I'm-- I do believe in democracy and I do believe that there is a will of the majority and not only a majority of the total people in the country did Donald Trump won but he also won in-- at the total and the majority of the states and it was opposite of what people expected and what was it based on. I think that, in my opinion, that it was based on anger. There's a real feeling out there by many people and you heard it. That there's corruption in government because of the relationship between big business in the government or special interest in the government and that it's a rigged system that advantages those who are politically connected. I was in Washington for some period of time and I watched some of that. And I watched how lobbyists worked and, you know, there are people with very high integrity that weren't influenced by those lobbyists. And that's why I happen to believe that people who serve for a longer time have the ability to make decisions without being influenced in the same way. And I credit my friend and colleague over here being one of those people, who is able to make decisions independently without having the influence of the outside special interest. But there is-- those feelings are out there and whether you believe them or not, a majority of the people in the country believe them and I think that's why they probably voted for Donald Trump. There's a feeling that in Washington, there's-- that it's a self-preserving system, that there's elitism. That some people feel they're above the law. And, you know, there's also was a feeling in this election that many of the things that took place were portrayed, portrayed by either-- by the media or by social media as being something that they were not necessarily intended to be. I had the opportunity to be in Cleveland at the convention and I saw in a luncheon where Donald Trump stood in front of a whole large group of some very educated people and literally his speech was that of a standup comic. He is an entertainer and he was entertaining and he was playing to his crowd and he made comments that if they were made by an entertainer, they would be considered to be nothing more than entertainment. And yet quite often when he speaks which-- and he does play to his audience and he plays off his audience and he listens to the applause and says the things that gets people to react and that's part of what politics is. It's those relationships. I mean, you know, you have them on both sides. I mean, why are entertainers who are part of the 1% standing on stage next to candidates from the other side. I mean, that's a question that I ask. I mean, what makes them qualified to decide what's good politically or isn't good politically. They have no experience in it at all and their backgrounds are usually not very heavy in the political world but their influence is substantial. So the one thing that I thought was at least refreshing to me last night, for those who managed to stay up that late, was listening to Trump's speech, which was a very consolatory speech and he was I think very positive in his attitude towards Hillary Clinton. And I think one of the things that I really liked is that he recognized some of the little people who were-- had played a part in his campaign which were the secret service. And for those of you who don't about it, and I've been around them a lot, these are guys who are trained and will take a bullet for the candidates on either side. And they have to travel halfway across the country quite often to come to an event where they spend four to five hours and then they travel back again. I don't know if any of you realize that but when you see those agents around, they're not steady people or with them all the time. Those are a group of people who will come in advance to a city and they have very, very hard jobs. And they got recognized and I think that's something that I'm hopeful that he will be responsive to and that's to the people who do the things in this country, who provide the services and we shall see what happens. But I was encouraged by it and hopefully those who listen to it were too. We'll see what happens. Please.
>> Paul Courant: You have another 40 seconds if you want them, Ron.
>> Ron Weiser: Nope, it's OK.
>> John Dingell: I better not waste time then, huh? Good afternoon everybody. I'm here, I'd hope to learn. I see that there's a lot of other people who had that same desire. Let's hope that from this discussion, we'll have some appreciation of the things that were important in the next two years. It is-- It must be observed that the Congress of the United States is about the same as it was, House and Senate, a little bit of a vote difference here and there. That has been where the deadlock has been for the last two or four years. We are hopeful that we can now get something which will go through that very curious place where everybody seems to have their eye on the election and on the ballot. Having said that, we have a new president, and this is one of the things that makes the United States unique. We have a president of the United States who is arranging to make a peaceful transfer of power from one officeholder to another. This is an extraordinary important thing and it is-- it's one of the reasons that the United States is the oldest and the most successful of the democracies in the history of mankind because we have a peaceful and a simple understandable way of the transfer of power between officeholders in a way which enables us to have a real continuity to government. So now, we're trying to figure out what this all means. Obviously, over the next little bit, we will see the president undergoing the selection of his cabinet, we will see the outgoing president saying goodbye to those who have served him, and we will see how this whole structure takes place. It would be anticipated that sometimes towards the middle of March, or thereabout, that there will be-- that we will begin to have some kind of orderly processing of the businesses of the Congress and the House and the Senate and the President. And the hundred days, which has been known going back to the days of Roosevelt, if you will recall when they talked about the first 100 days. Those things will be very important and will go forward as we follow how things happen and how they go is one of the unique differences between this nation and all of the other nations in the world. That we have an orderly system for proceeding according to the constitutional principles and practices that is sought for in that extraordinarily wonderful document. Having said these things, we can now anticipate that the new president will begin his efforts to see through it that he-- however he appoints his cabinet officials and those who will be in the White House and his Chief of Staff. And I'm sure that you will find some very interesting events occurring. And we will be-- we'll all be surprised, I hope all of us pleasantly but I can't promise you that, to provide the leadership that is necessary in the new administration. I can't tell you how it will work out with regard to budget and all the other things because there are enormous differences on the budget, not only between the Democrats and the Republicans but also between the Republicans themselves as to how these matters should be addressed, how much money should be spent on what. The-- All of you will look back with me eight years, if you'll observe the oil industry, it was on the rocks and we had to save it. We had to save a lot of other things and we had to get the country moving again. We did, thank God, see to it that that all occurred, although it took a huge amount of effort on the part of everybody involved in a genuinely bipartisan effort in which our delegation, I'm proud to say, that the Democrats and Republicans of Michigan worked so hard to see to it that this all occurred. That was my last session in Congress and I had-- my son wrote a beautiful blog, who I think is here somewhere today, who is now my successor and is more than adequate, as a matter of fact, a superb replacement for me as I am now in my first full-term of retirement. By the way, for those of you who are interested, let me say retirement is a very nice engagement. Having said these things, I was particularly pleased that as I concluded my service, I was able to say I had completed all of the things that I had set out to do and that dad had set out to do when he came to Congress and I came to Congress. I'm hopeful that we will find that those will not all be thrown out the window. Although Mr. Trump has indicated that he is going to do away with most of the things, including Obamacare and other things, which I regard as being absolutely essential cornerstones of a civilized and a happy and a useful society. Because I don't think a man ought to be compelled to die at a ditch because he hasn't got the money to take care of his care or take care of himself and his family and so forth. Having said that, we won't know exactly what the president has in mind until we hear his inaugural speech, until we get the other statements that he is going to make in his state of the union and things of that kind. I'm hopeful that this time we can proceed in greater harmony than we did last time. And I'm hopeful that those who made so much trouble during the conclusion in the last session will not continue the troublemaking which they made, which caused so much difficulty to us as we tried to conduct the business through the nation. Having said those things, this is all of our country and we have to recognize that our differences must end at the waterline. It will be my hope and I think it will be the best practice that we will do our best to see to it that the differences which existed in this nation end at the waterline and that we all work together for the greater good of the nation that has been so good and which has meant so much to all of us in terms of privileges, rights, and freedoms. And then something that requires us to build walls, as one of the candidates said, to assure that we keep out folks we don't want rather than to keep people in that we don't want going somewhere else. In any event, this remains the greatest nation in the world and in fact, we are now able to begin the process of changing an administration of how we work together to better the interest of us all as a part of the great people of the United States of America, I think, is something that should make us all proud. Thank you for the privilege of being with you today.
[ Applause ]
>> Mara Ostfeld: Thank you for granting me this opportunity. I am, as Paul kindly introduced me, I am a political scientist and I'm also an elections analyst at NBC in Telemundo and NBC Latino. So, I'm excited to talk about the next-- what happens next but to be honest, I'm still trying to figure out what happened.
>> John Dingell: So do we all.
>> Mara Ostfeld: So I worked as many of you probably were. We were-- as you watched the election results come in, I was part of the team that was analyzing the exit poll results. And so I have-- I haven't slept so please excuse my lack of clarity as I talk through this. And part of the process that we engaged in when we-- as election analyst, is we spend a lot of time before the elections come and we draft stories about what are certain polls saying, what are the different potential outcomes, what do we know from our research as academics, what do we know from news coverage, what are the things that we might think will happen and then we can kind of get the exit poll data, quickly insert it into the story and then send it to the networks to broadcast. I will say that most of the stories I had drafted were not usable when we got those exit poll returns in because they were so out of line with a lot of the pre-- the election priors that we had. Three things that were key things that I wanted to kind of talk to you about and kind of process on my own also was the theme of women, of white men, of Latinos and African Americans. One big thing were-- we had this story about these key groups that many had said that Trump offended women, Muslims who we don't have enough data that really talk about, and Latinos, and African Americans. Women had supported Obama-- 54% of women has supported Obama in 2012 and 53% supported Clinton. So that was not the story that we thought we were going to write. There was a gender gap and it was a significant gender gap but it was a gender gap because men were shifting away from the Democratic Party and especially white men were shifting away from the Democratic Party. And I think that that race angle is very important partially because I'm a scholar that studies racial politics. But it's important to contextualize that the Trump campaign was a campaign that started where immigration was the only policy position he initially had on his website. And that is very clear when you go to his rallies and you hear people, "build that wall, build that wall," when you look at the data and you see that almost 90% of Trump supporters advocate building a wall compared to about 15% of Clinton supporters, about 40% of Trump supporters think or in the exit polls, reported that they feel that whites are disadvantaged by minorities, that minorities are privileged over whites. And that's really significant and that's really significant when we think the Republican Party is now 90% whites. And this is really significant in how we interpret the social identities that are associated with the parties and how-- what-- the type of meaning that those parties are conjuring in the general electorate. The other story that was a really big one was everyone had been talking about Latinos are coming out, they're really coming out high in the-- as early voters and that was absolutely true. Perhaps it's because we had those high numbers and everyone was saying Latinos are really turning out that then subsequently other Latinos were like, "OK, they turned out. I don't have to turn out anymore." We don't know that but there is evidence that that often happens. When you think that you're ahead, then other people especially younger people who don't have those established patterns of voting are then less likely to feel like they have to participate. Perhaps that was a factor in the poor polling or the inaccurate polling that was done. Florida was a really funky story especially because we thought that was such a clear Latino story that had been written. And one rationale that was put forth was because this was an election where Rubio was on the ballot. He brought out a lot of Republican-- strong Republican Latino supporters and so that may had-- the last time he was on-- he was up was 2010 so that was not one of Obama's last races and so that may have changed how Latinos voted in Florida relative to '12 and '08. Because there was a pretty steady trend of Cubans becoming-- moving away from the Republican Party, '04, '08, '12 moving away from the Republican party, becoming more independent and slightly more aligned with the Democratic Party and then last night, that shifted. And that was a really stark shift that we don't often see. And so it was a pattern that merits a lot of additional attention. It's also important to note that one of the questions on the exit poll was how would you feel if this candidate won? Would you feel-- I read them in Spanish so now I am trying to-- excited was one of them, worried, afraid.
[ Inaudible Remark ]
Scared. So there was worried or concerned, afraid, enthusiastic, excited, something like that. Scared was a really big one this year and it was really big for African Americans and for Latinos. And this was numbers that are really inconsistent compared to past exit poll results. Fifty percent, almost 50% of Latinos said that they would be afraid. They would be afraid if Trump won in about-- it was about 80-- 86% of African Americans said they would be afraid. Oh, no, I'm sorry, 68%, nearly two-third-- about two-thirds of African Americans said they would be afraid of a Trump presidency. And this is a really significant pattern. When we looked at whites and their sentiments about their fear about a Clinton presidency, it was about 36%. So still a notable and a noteworthy number but not anywhere near the numbers we saw for Latinos and African Americans. And it's just something to keep in mind as we contextualize these findings and make sense of things going forward. So I look forward to your thoughts and comments as we continue to dissect this further.
>> Betsey Stevenson: OK.
>> Paul Courant: Excellent. Betsey.
[ Applause ]
>> Betsey Stevenson: So we were coming to the part where I am supposed to talk to you about what we can expect in terms of public policy. And when I agreed to do this panel, I thought for sure we were going to have a different outcome and I had a lot to talk to you about because I knew the Clinton policy platform really well. And I will tell you it's not for lack of studying that I don't the Trump policy platform very well. So I think that I will, you know, I want to start by saying that this, I do not believe was an election that was about issues or public policy. This wasn't a referendum on how you feel about the minimum wage, how you feel about family leave, how you feel about many of the very important Clinton policies. And I say that for two reasons. One, the current president has very high approval rating right now. So if what you would have expected is people don't like the kinds of policies that President Obama put in place, you know, you would see him with a lower approval rating and a stronger tie there. The second thing is I think, you know, that people didn't really ask, they didn't have a lot of interest in knowing what Trump platform was going to look like. And so I think what this was instead was people who are frustrated about the pace of change. So I've heard a lot of people say this was in a vote for change. I actually think this was a vote against change. There's been a lot of change happening very rapidly. And the Obama administration pushed things through, you know, very rapidly in terms of rights for various groups, in terms of extending the social network. And I think that that pace of change might have been a bit too much for people. I have been worried for a long time that the fact that white male wages for the middle and bottom of the distribution have been stagnant for so long and really were masked for two decades by the fact that their wives' wages were growing, so at least family incomes are growing. Their wives' wages have stopped growing and their marriages aren't as strong as they used to be. And you put those two things together and you start to see a lot of frustration, frustration that's happening in the home as people are seeing that their marriages aren't as strong, their wages aren't as strong, their, you know, children are having a hard time in school. And these frustrations, these feelings mean that they're looking for something different to happen, something different than what's been happening. And then sort of my general view. I was going to point to a couple of things that I think might happen, some reasons for optimism. One of the things I noticed in DC was that Grover Norquist had a stranglehold on the Republican Party that I really could not understand. I think the Republican inability to vote for anything that would be a tax increase or perceived as a tax increase really stymied a lot of policy effort. And I truly believe that President Trump will not care what Grover Norquist thinks. And I think that's going to give him a lot of freedom. And I think when members of the Senate and members of Congress say "but Grover won't like this," he'll say, "I don't care and I'm smarter than he is, look at how I got elected, look at how I turned people out." So I think that he is going-- no, that is-- that will change what Republicans do and how they act. And that change is definitely longtime coming. And we heard I think the beginnings of that last night in his call for more infrastructure spending. He wants to get out there and build roads and build the country and spend money on infrastructure. We've talking about spending more money on infrastructure for eight years and have not been able to get it done. No, if he can get that done that will be great for the US and that's the kind of policy that both parties believe in but the dynamics of the party have not-- that has been, you know, really difficult to get done. So there's on the pessimistic side, I will say that, you know, President Obama got a lot of things done. He was actually a president who passed a lot but he did a lot in ways that were very partisan. Obamacare is extremely partisan and almost every Republican ran on the idea of repealing Obamacare. So there's a lot that can be undone and, you know, a lot-- you know, from the-- around nuclear deal, to climate change, to Obamacare that can be undone, but the question is will it. And I think it's really too soon to know how much will actually get undone. This might sound kind of cynical but in some ways Donald Trump is also going to-- as President Trump will-- I think it has expand his abilities because he is better able to tell a story to the American people than just the facts around what happens. So if he changes Obamacare and tweaks it but doesn't repeal it, I think what we've seen on the campaign trails, he'll feel pretty comfortable telling people he repealed Obamacare.
[ Laughter ]
I think that that gives him a freedom to get things done. It is a freedom to push things in a certain direction and to deal with the limitations that are the reality of Washington, DC at the same time speaking to his base. And I see that as something that I think that we can be optimistic about. The reality is that governing is hard, getting things-- policies passed is hard. There's a lot of promises that have been made from, you know, building a wall and limiting trade, undoing existing free trade agreements, stopping the progression of any new trade agreements, ending access to healthcare, I mean you can't do them all at the same time. And so, what we're going to have to learn about over the coming months is what's going to be the priority in that bucket and how far will movement go, but-- you know, and as was already pointed out, there's a big difference between the-- where some Republicans are in Congress and where President Trump is, and we're going to see how the party has to work together to reach compromise.
[ Applause ]
>> Marina v.N. Whitman: I feel a little like the skunk at the garden party because all of my-- all of the people who spoken before me have looked for some silver linings in that cloud. For me, from what I know now, what happened last night is a repudiation of everything that I have worked for and stood for throughout my professional life and actually starting even in high school. What do I mean by that? I'm an international economist. I have worked all my life for international cooperation, for freedom, increasing or decreasing restrictions on trade. I worked hard for many of the trade-liberalizing agreements that have been occurring over the years since the end of World War II. And while there is a lot we don't know, as people have said, about what President Trump's views really will be, because on many things he really was all over the map, the one thing on which he has been consistent, as far as I understand it for decades, is his opposition to trade agreements. He's feeling that the US is always on the losing side of those whereas I've always seen them as win-win. And one mistake I think that economist like me have made is, while we have been unanimous on the-- over aggregate advantages of trade liberalization, we haven't paid enough attention to the losers. There are many more winners than losers, but the losers feel it much more personally and intensely. And neither my profession nor the government has done enough to try to assuage some of the difficulties that those losers face. Why do I feel so-- Oh one other thing. It turns out that there's a lot asymmetry in a president's power with respect to trade issues. You may have to get a trade agreement through the Congress, but it turns out that a president can repudiate, tear up, undo any trade agreement without any agreement from any other branch of government. The checks and balances just don't operate in that area. So President Trump has a free hand. I worry deeply about that not so much because of the economic consequences. The economic consequences of trade work can never be good, but the simple truth is, that the United States is somewhat less vulnerable than most other countries to trade restrictions. I mean, we're just a very big market. What really worries me is the national security or the geopolitical implications, particularly with respect to the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. President Obama's shift-- pivot to the-- to Asia is in plenty of trouble already. Thank you very much. We all know what's been going on with the president of the Philippines. The President of Malaysia has been behaving about the same way. If TPP fails, the Chinese have, right there, in fact it's already in effect with several Asian countries, their own version. I think it's called the Comprehensive Regional Economic Packs, C-R-E-P. And they are just--
[ Laughter ]
I didn't put those words there. They are-- There's no vacuum there. They are waiting to exercise a very important piece of soft power, semi soft power in what they definitely see as a competition with the United States for dominance in Asia. So I-- when I look at what is likely to be the failure of TPP, it's not my economist hat so much as my national security cap or geopolitical hat, in a lesser but still important way, that's true of-- if he tears up as he said he wants to do with NAFTA. I don't know how you tear up NAFTA. I don't think that omelet can be converted back into eggs. But he may tear up some of the bilateral trade agreements we have. Certainly the likelihood of a trade agreement with Europe doesn't look good and that's not only because of views here. Unfortunately, I think many of the industrialized countries are doing what it looks as if we are going to do which is to look inward, to batten down the hatches. And when we have slow growth already, that's only going to make it slower. And that will be a, how should I say it, a negative-positive feedback. The more growth slows, the more people will be angry, and so it goes. Similarly on immigration, I haven't quite favored totally free immigration, but I've always thought, and I am a first-generation American and one whose father made an enormous contribution to the winning of World War II, and I've always felt that on the whole less restrictive immigration was better than more restrictive immigration. So at the moment, I have to say that I don't see a whole lot of silver lining in that cloud because that's the one area in which Donald Trump has been consistent and where he feels that we've gotten a bad deal, that situations that I see as win-win, he sees as win-lose and we're on the losing side and he wants to fix it.
[ Applause ]
>> Paul Courant: So I now invite my colleagues of the panel to question each other or comment on [inaudible] each other's comments. Anybody?
>> Ron Weisser: I only have two. I mean the-- obviously these people study policy and I don't. I will be the first one to admit that. And so, I don't know what the policies will be. But what I do know is I've seen a lot of political contest and lots of things are said during the contest. And at the end of them, it seems that everybody forgets them. So I'm not as certain as Marina is that all the things that were said are going to be things that come to be. I know in talking about Obamacare for instance, he's always said repeal and replace. And replace can mean taking what's there and adjusting that is Paul Ryan has proposed. So-- And right now, people are upset about Obamacare because of the high premiums that are starting to come in under the system. And obviously, there are some places where it doesn't work very well and probably can work better. And whether or not the Congress and the Executive branch can come to an agreement of how to change those things, that's-- a replacement is-- I think is inline because I think the people of this country start-- have started realize the importance of having that kind of social net-- a safety net. The second thing is on the trade agreements. He's talked about renegotiating and not negating them and that's different. I mean as you well know, Marina, a lot of our trade agreements do not address currency manipulation and it's one thing that has affected us negatively. And I've seen that. I remember going to China with President Duderstadt in 1992 and going into the Chinese store where they were selling goods from all over the world. But because their currency was fixed, I was able to buy them for one-third the price I could buy in the United States. So, those kinds of things have to be addressed also which weren't addressed by TPP as you know. And, as you also know, the auto companies were very concerned about the fact that currency manipulation wasn't being addressed by it so.
>> Marina v.N. Whitman: Yeah. By the way, I agree that some of our trading partners and China, in particular, have played dirty. I think they're barking up the wrong tree to focus so heavily on trade manipulation simply because I don't believe at the moment China is manipulating. I think there's no question they did it several years ago. There are other things that the Chinese are doing which we might well want to take them to task on. And on one of them we already are right now on the Chinese steel imports. But also, they're-- stealing of our intellectual property, the fact that they are very restrictive in allowing American companies to make controlling investments in China whereas we let them do it here more or less unrestricted, not quite. So I agree that there are things which could be fixed, but I hope you're right that-- renegotiation is tough. And by the way, one other thing I didn't mention, because I'm an international economist, is I am concerned and I agree that we don't know how this will be treated with the comments he's made on some of our alliances, NATO and so forth. These are things which could change and I hope they will but they're troublesome.
>> Betsey Stevenson: I just wanted to comment on currency manipulation because I mean that is obviously something where a lot of people expressed concern particularly with the TPP. And I think that it's an issue that is very hard for a lot people to wrap their heads around. So first of all, the treasury does actually take action on currency manipulation so just because it's not--
[ Inaudible Remark ]
Right. And as I said-- but the real problem with currency manipulation is it's very hard to know. One man's currency manipulation is another man's monetary policy. And as many of you probably know, the US was accused of manipulating our currency during recent Federal Reserve actions that were taken to prevent the recession from having such negative consequences on folks. And as an economist, I find the idea that we would surrender the power of the Federal Reserve to set monetary policy independently and start putting monetary policy into trade agreement is very nerve-racking, which is why currency manipulation has often been left out of trade agreements.
>> John Dingell: I'd like to make a comment here going back on repeal of Obamacare. First of all, I was one of those who had [inaudible] one of the authors. We did every damn thing we could think of involving Republicans in the writing of that legislation and then seeing to it that we had their comments and suggestions. Boy, oh boy, you talk about their great stones as you couldn't get a peep out of them because they wanted to make a political issue of it and they were quite determined that the issue was going to be the repeal of it. Now, when they talk about the increasing rates and stuff, increases in rates are coming about as result of the insurance companies, not as the results of Obamacare and don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Now the harsh fact of the matter is that we have done something that absolutely is necessary to do to save the hospitals, the healthcare, the physician services and everything else. And I would point out to you that Obamacare had the support of all of AMA and all of its components except for one. That tells you something about where the experts in the business saw the matter to be. The interesting thing is though that we have tied this altogether to a number of corrections of very, very severe wrongdoings in the insurance business. The insurance industry has a situation where they won't let you buy insurance if you have a preexisting condition. If you're a woman, you got a preexisting condition, you have a baby. And they ain't about-- some insurance companies ain't about to let you have a baby because it runs their costs up. And there are all kinds of similar things in there that are corrected. I know I had a staff member who was sent home the day that she had mastectomy. They took all the tissue out from one of her arms and she had to go home because the insurance company wouldn't pay for the cost of taking care of that woman. There are all kinds of other abuses in there that are correct and I want to see my Republican friends come out and say, "Oh, I was there to repeal this iniquitous thing because they're screwing women by saying that they can't have a baby because that's a preexisting condition." Or if you've had tuberculosis or if you've had cancer, they won't sell you an insurance policy. There's a lot in there that is good and necessary for the American people and that are going to save costs for people. And I will urge you to listen with care when the debates starts and watch and see the rascality that they're engaged in, and to see how they're seeking to do away with things that are important to you and to others who have insurance that is so desperately important to your wellbeing and that of your families.
>> Ron Weisser: If I may, the only thing I would say is to try speculate now what is going to be said between people and what's going to be changed when it hasn't been talking about yet I think is a little premature. So I know and I heard, at least I watched some television when I heard Trump say, hey, listen I understand preexisting conditions and that's something-- that's not something we're going to try to change. So whether or not he does, or not, I can't tell you, but he said he was going to try to change it. I mean, I think that something is important. He did say he wanted to open up the markets because now if you're in Michigan and you moved to Ohio, you can't take your policy with you. So-- I mean that's something that wasn't put into the--
>> John Dingell: Ron, I investigated that and we found that insurance companies were using that particular loophole to see to it that you couldn't get insurance in Michigan which protected you against wrongdoing of a company that originates [inaudible] in Ohio. And we found that to be particularly true in the South, in the Southeast of United States. There's a reason for some of those things. Admittedly, they next correction but let me tell you this. Correct the evils and don't throw the baby out to the bathwater.
>> Paul Courant: The-- There are-- Obamacare, the medical care system, medical insurance system in the United States, are enormously complicated. All of these things are connected up. It's very hard to keep one thing and not keep another and make the thing altogether. So the details are going to matter a lot in seeing what is meant by repealing Obamacare.
>> John Dingell: Well, repealing means whatever the particular repealer happens to want.
>> Paul Courant: I think that is correct.
>> John Dingell: And, my friend, you better watch out because there's all kinds sharpshooters running around with all kinds of fancy ideas I think they are sending out to screw you good and proper.
>> Paul Courant: On that happy note, are there other questions of each other or should we-- let's turn it over to the audience. Do you have any questions? Someone should materialize with a microphone.
>> Before we ask the first question, I just want to let everyone know that we will be taking questions from Twitter as well. So if you see anyone handing me note card, that's where those questions are coming from. We'll be asking a few. There are many of you who want to ask questions. We actually have four full classrooms throughout the building right now of people watching this event including the great hall outside. So here we go.
>> Paul Courant: And please limit your questions to 30 seconds or just a little bit more if you absolutely have to.
>> My question is for I guess the entire panel. So what I see is an interesting paradox of this election is that Donald Trump did better among both African Americans and Latinos than Mitt Romney did especially in the industrial Midwest. So do you think that means that the most salient issue of the election was Trump's appeals-- economic appeals on trade and his belief that the system, I guess, economically has been rigged against the lower middle class, working poor and such in those places? Was that the deciding issue of the election rather than race or anything else?
>> John Dingell: I'm smart enough to let the political scientists go out contemplate their [inaudible] and come back with an answer to those questions. I don't know it now.
>> Paul Courant: Mara, want to take a shot?
>> Mara Ostfeld: I'll say that-- yeah, so Clinton did not produce the enthusiasm among African Americans and Latinos that Obama did. And so we can say that we know that way more Latinos supported third-party candidates as did African Americans done in past elections. Never before-- I think it was 3% in '04, 2% in '08, in '12 and then all of a sudden this year, 6% of Latinos are supporting third-party candidates. That's a really big shift and that's a notable shift. I really feel pretty strongly that Rubio being on the ballot in as important of a state as Florida also had a significant impact on how Latinos voted as well as early reports on how well Latinos were coming out. I know that African American numbers in Wayne County in particular were very down. And so I think there was a really significant turnout issue among perhaps those who Hillary thought were going to be her most ardent supporters.
>> Betsey Stevenson: And I think you can't also overlook how important gender was in this election. This was not only a woman who was defeated but it was a particular form of masculinity that was elected that has been not as supported in the public and certainly not as supported by elites in recent years. So aversion of masculinity that openly repudiates doing childcare that, you know, openly repudiates doing anything that they see as a woman's role and that really embraces a very strong division between the sexes. And I think that, you know, we did learn in this election that-- you know, there are-- a part of the public that has moved towards gender equality faster than another part of the public. And that that matters for people because that matters in their everyday life, that is what their family life is like, that's what their expectations are at home. And as-- in data, we've seen for a long time that highly educated men, despite the fact that they are working more hours in the market, that they are earning more, that the college wage premium has never been higher, they have also shifted much more sharply into direct parental care to, you know, direct childcare to changing diapers, to engaging in housework. And we've seen lower-income men who aren't working as much and then social scientists often ask, "Well, why aren't they doing childcare?" And I think we saw in this election, they told us they don't want to do childcare.
>> Mara Ostfeld: And just if I can quickly add one more thing onto that. I mean I can imagine. So we know that one of Trump's strongest groups when we break them up into these groups was white men who had not gone to college. And I can imagine if you're feeling like things-- you're angry, that was another one of his key groups. If you're angry about how the federal government is operating, that seeing Hillary is not kind of the person that you want to see to come in as to say that she's going to help you out. We also know that her outreach to Latinos did depress support among many white democrats. We know that in '08 when people-- after people heard that Obama was elected, they felt like racial progress had been made and that additional steps to address racial divisions were no longer necessary. And so, there's-- this all-- We have a colleague in political science, Donald Kinder, who has emphasized the importance of Trump's position on the tail end of the first black American presidency.
>> Marina v.N. Whitman: To come back to your question about the rustbelt and jobs and that Trump made so much about bringing jobs back. In one sense of course that's nonsense. Those jobs aren't coming back. For one thing, most-- the great bulk of those jobs were lost to automation. The auto industry in the United States made more cars last year than ever before but with less than half as many auto workers. So, go kick a robot.
[ Laughter ]
Some of them have also been lost because the American consumer is consuming more services and less goods than they used to. And the ones that went to China are, by now, many of them not even in China anymore, they've moved on to Vietnam and Bangladesh and, you know, they're chasing the lowest labor cost. But I think the reason that Trump resonated with many of these people is what I said before. That we haven't-- That we the profession and we the government haven't done enough to recognize and to some extent ameliorate the very real cost that those people who were displaced by all of those things, and trade is one of them but by no means the only or the most important one. We are the stingiest among the industrialized countries in what we do, either to assist, to help people in transition, to new careers, or in partially compensating people who take new jobs at lower pay than the old ones. We have something called trade adjustment insurance and labor calls variable insurance which tells you what they think of it. And as I say, we are remarkably stingy compared to other rich countries in what we do about these things.
>> Cameron: Hi. My name is Cameron [assumed spelling] and I have a question for anyone on the panel who has an opinion on this subject matter. According to the New York Times and Fox News, which I both think get their data from the same source, as of 4:30 p.m. today, Donald Trump has 279 electoral votes and Hillary has 228 electoral votes. Yet Trump only has 47.5% of the popular vote where Clinton has 47.7 of the popular vote. So there-- This has happened four times before November 8, 2016 where the popular vote and the electoral vote differed and there might be a fifth time in history where we have this. So Professor Courant said this panel is based on what policy issues we need to take on next and this is something that will come up. So my question for you is how do we see policy changing to affect the direct election of the president? Do we see something like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact which is on the rise, which if you don't know, it's where states get to decide if they want to sign onto it. And if enough states do to where 250-- 270 electoral votes are totaled, then it would take into effect and all of those states have to vote for the popular vote winner. Do we go with that? Do we stick with the Electoral College and change something with that? Or do we make an amendment to the Constitution? So I just want your opinion on that policy issue.
>> Paul Courant: I'll comment on that because I actually happened to have been teaching about this a little bit lately. So the status quo has an enormous power, especially in something as complicated and important as electing a president. So my bet is that this won't change. The National Popular Vote Compact has lots of difficulties. One of the difficulties with it is the way it works is if enough states agree that they're going to cast their electoral votes for the national popular vote winner, then it goes into effect, and the national popular vote winner would then automatically get from those states 270 electoral votes wherever the popular vote came from. And there's well over a hundred electoral votes already signed on, I think, to this thing. You could go in that direction. One difficulty with it, I'm just going to mention one or two, one difficulty with it would be you might imagine that in the early stages of our presidential campaign, circumstances would change in some state simply by the legislative act could drop out. They can get in just by legislative act. And it is well-known that legislatures cannot bind future legislatures. So you want to be pretty far away. You might want to go there more than 270 before you did it. The other thing that would certainly happen if you actually got the compact is there-- it would raise constitutional questions and I'm not going to opine on how they would come out. It is conceivable to me that given that we've had now a couple of this over a fairly short period of time that there would be-- there might be an interest in thinking about reforming the Electoral College, turning or going directly to a national vote system. But you got to get three-quarters of the states. You can't get three-quarters of the states to agree that the sun rises in the east. So I think that's unlikely to happen. But this election is going-- certainly going to raise the issue more and making more prominent [inaudible].
>> John Dingell: I was looking at the numbers today and I found that Trump actually did not get the majority of the popular vote according to the figures that I saw. A similar event occurred in the Gore election a few years back. Now having said those things, I started out with my dearest friend in the Congress, John Moss. And we were like brothers. And we trying to figure out what it was we're going to do about this bad situation on the Electoral College. Well, the simple facts of the matter is, that every time we try to straighten it out, we found that we created greater problems than that which we had had when we entered in to trying to straighten it up. So the result was we just threw up our heads and said, "Well, the heck, we can't do it anymore." One of the things that we found out that's particularly pernicious about having direct elections is the fact that you're very liable to get all kinds of minority parties. And I would take that there's one country in the Middle East [inaudible] guess which one it might be, but it's got something like 50 or 60 parties. And they've got to figure out how they're going to divide the vote amongst these and what kind of rotten deal waking it makes and it takes and it takes to get these people to work together to form themselves a system of government that in fact gives the ability to make decisions. And our conclusion was that it's just doggone bad that we might just well leave it be. And directly, guys, there's no doggone way that we can straighten this thing out in any intelligent rascally avoidance that is importance-- of is of importance in the matter.
>> Ron Weiser: Again, I'm not a political scientist but I can tell you when I served in Slovakia where they had-- when I arrive 108 political parties and 11 in the ruling coalition made it kind of difficult to deal with them because you had to deal with 11 different people at once to put forth the position of the United States in certain issues. That being said, I would also comment that politically, as you-- as many of you know, the news media, on a constant basis over the last several weeks and last night, were talking about the great blue wall. So I'm not so sure that the-- even though there was a loss last night that the Democrats want to see that wall fall down, that everybody talked about the electoral advantage that the Democrat Party had and now you have a president who won despite that and so it's unlikely he'll want to do it. I'm not so sure either side will want to do it because they each think it'll be an advantage to him-- for him the way it is right now.
>> So thank you very much to the panel for helping us process this all a little bit. I think my question is for the ambassador and with respect for your service to the university, my question is throughout the campaign were you bothered by the things that Donald Trump said or the things that we know that he did? If so, why do you support him? If not, how can we as your constituents know that you will protect people of color, women, religious minorities, those who've been sexually assaulted, those whose lives have been horribly impacted by the things that we know that Donald Trump has done? And so my question for you is why should we trust that you will fight on behalf of those of us who live on the margins of this society?
[ Applause ]
>> Ron Weiser: Well, a similar thing took place in the Michigan Daily because, well, I did not run any negativism in my campaign, one of the other regents who was running did say some things in the Michigan Daily about me that were similar to that, and I was accused of Trumpism so I looked up the definition of it which was the promotion of nationalism, anti-globalism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and those views I find despicable. So the fact that-- I mean I think there are Democrats who didn't agree with everything that Hillary Clinton said and did and I think the Republicans that-- I mean to paint a broad brush thing, because you're Republican, you must believe everything that Donald Trump did or said I think isn't-- is not a right conclusion. And not only that, what is it that is different between a person who serves as a regent and I ask this question of the Democrat regents when I was in front of the faculty senate, what's the difference between what's your Republican colleagues who you serve with for the last 16 years, what have they done differently in policy than you have? And I don't think that that's going to-- you're going to see any differences because it's not a political position. I mean there's a-- as you know, there is a-- there's a mission of the university and I happen to read it on the way here which is to serve the people of Michigan a world through prominence in creating, communicating, preserving, applying knowledge, art and academic values and in developing leaders and citizens will challenge the present and enrich the future. I believe in those things. And because I'm a Republican, I don't believe in them any differently than you do or any of the Democrats do. That's the purpose of this university. That's its mission at least for now until it's changed. So I would-- I don't feel I have to defend myself quite frankly. The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies had-- has had-- the Islamic Center is part of it for three or four years and that was something that I encouraged when I first founded that center which is part of the university. So I'm not-- again, I'm not quite sure where you're coming from unless you're saying guilt by association makes you guilty.
[ Applause ]
>> Paul Courant: Where is the microphone? OK, there.
>> Hi. My question relates to what Professor Whitman was talking about earlier. Some-- A lot of economists from what I've heard, some believe that the growth that was seen in the 20th century, the massive growth that was seen in a lot of western nations in the 20th century, when I believe and many others believe is what Trump talks about when he says making America great again, was-- is not a sure thing going forward. If that's the case, is this sort of this effectiveness with the policies of the government and anger that the lives of one's children might not be better than their own lives going to make something like this and something like Brexit and these sort of changes keep happening. Do you think this is the new normal?
>> Marina v.N. Whitman: Well, I did say that I worried about these circle of feedbacks that-- for a number of reasons. I think that the rapid growth of the second half of the 20th century had some characteristics which we cannot count on going forward mainly has to do with the rate at which productivity increases a little bit to do with the age distribution of populations, particularly in countries other than the United States. So I think there is a real concern not just with respect to the United States but other industrialized countries as well. That slower growth will promote anger and pulling inward in a variety of ways, and that that pulling inward will slow down the growth rate of those countries even further. And that's something that really worries me.
>> So we're going to take a question from Twitter. I've received several. And here's one that's been pretty common. Was the vote of repudiation of the notion of expertise, and this is in parenthesis, the media, academics, scientists, and an embracement of anti-intellectualism?
>> Betsey Stevenson: You know, I'll start on this one because I think that, that is there's going to be a lot of discussion about the-- that that is what is indeed going on. But I-- you know, I do think that there's a lot of confusion nowadays in terms of news and how it gets generated and people don't know which news sites to trust anymore. So they distrust something like the New York Times and then they trust some, you know, random website maybe ran by some teen in a foreign country that is, you know, generating income for their families by getting clicks. So that spread of misinformation has meant that it feels like people don't really trust the experts. But it's not clear to me that, I think as they said earlier, that people have actually really ever trusted experts that much. And that they don't-- aren't always looking for just the sort of expert opinion. They like people who are down to earth who feel like they understand their pain. They tend to care about what's going on in their own personal circumstances. And, you know, while I'm not going to say there's no dimension in which there's a repudiation of the experts, I think-- my prediction is that that angle will be overplayed, that we should resist overplaying that and spend more time trying to understand the very real frustrations that people feel.
>> Paul Courant: I'm actually going to take the prerogative of the moderator to be a moderating response to what Betsey just said. That may be generally true. It's the most optimistic thing I've heard about it in a while. I just don't think it's true for climate change. I think the repudiation of scientific expertise by many republicans around climate change feels like it's, if not anti-intellectual sort of what ideas. So I do think that there-- that has become political at a way that is hard to explain in optimistic terms. We have a whole bunch of hands here and no microphones.
>> Hello. So this goes back to the ambassador. It's kind of based on the response of this gentleman's question. So the definition of guilt by association is guilt described to someone not because of any evidence but because of their association with an offender. And so I guess my question is how can you say it's guilt by association when by voting for a man who has gone on television many, many times and like just, you know, talked very-- or had very bigoted comments and very bigoted perspectives, how is that guilt by association and how is that not evidence of the fact that you ascribe to such abuse yourself. Because he-- by voting for him you are voting for someone who's going to shape the, you know, perspective of the free world.
>> Ron Weiser: You know, I spend 11 years working with him, the man that many of you don't know, his name is John Barfield who is one of the most successful African Americans in Michigan, and we together were co-chairs in United Negro College Fund and raised more money for scholarships for that fund than had ever been-- that it has been done anyplace else in the country. I spent hundreds of hours working on it and, you know, I quite find-- quite frankly find it offensive that people think I'm bigoted because I voted for somebody that has certain principles or economic principles and other principles that I happen to agree with, OK? And I also had concerns about certain things about the other candidate. And those-- that's what we all judge candidates by. It's, as you know, this was about as negative of a presidential election as anybody could have ever imagined. Both sides were hitting each other up. It was not about, like, I didn't see-- hear-- I didn't hear much about positive policies from either side. But that being said, we all make choices and I'm an economic conservative, and I think that some of the things that I believe in are fundamental and I don't believe that they are being promoted in order to take advantage of those who are disadvantaged. I spend much of my life trying to help the disadvantaged not to take advantage of them.
>> Paul Courant: We'll have two more in total. And again, the microphones--
>> Last night, Steve Kornacki threw out a statistic based on exit polling. And the question asked was of voters, of supporters, which of the two candidates do you think are the most liberal? Seventy-one percent said Hilary Clinton, I think it was 73% and 27% voted for Donald Trump and thought he was the more liberal of the two candidates. Do you care to comment on that statistic?
>> Paul Courant: It's an amazing statistic, what can I say?
>> Mara Ostfeld: I'm not sure, I think.
>> Paul Courant: There's a whole gang down here with their hands up, one of them ought to get the microphone.
>> Hello. This question is for my daughter who was walking here. We were supposed to meet here and we didn't make it. But at least she gave me her question. And it's mainly waiving out of Dr. Whitman [inaudible] regarding-- I told her when I saw the results, and I saw the plummeting in the stock market. I said, "Here we go again, we just lost so many years of savings and now we have to work 20 more years to make it up." So we will never retire. And her answer was, "Well, what about me? Where do I save? What do I do, my generation." She's a millennial. "Do we buy stocks? Where are we going to save? Should we save at all if this country, every eight years is doing something catastrophic?"
>> Well, I'm the one who made the mistake of saying in an interview a few days ago that I'd converted my CREF Money into cash and-- And actually, I had a number of reasons for doing that. And the simple fact is that the stock market went way, way down. Interestingly enough, I haven't checked in the last few hours. It seems to be going up again. But if you're worrying about your retirement, don't drive yourself crazy worrying about week to week bounces in the stock market. Sorry. It's not at all clear what the forthcoming presidency will mean for the stock market. If it gets us indoor recession, yes, then we should definitely worry. But-- Sorry. You know, you really have to look at the long run. The stock market bounces around and it always has and it always will. So I wouldn't take what's happened in the last few days as catastrophic. The question of your daughter as-- and I'm not quite sure is she saying in what medium should we save?
>> Should we save at all--
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> Marina v.N. Whitman: Well, but what's the alternative? Under what system do you think she would be less concerned about saving?
>> Paul Courant: That's a form of saving.
>> Betsey Stevenson: So--
>> Marina v.N. Whitman: That--
>> Betsey Stevenson: Yeah.
>> Marina v.N. Whitman: Yeah, that's a form of saving, there's also mattresses. But I, you know the simple fact is that the American democratic-- constitutional democratic system has worked pretty well for a large number of years, and the prosperity of people has gone up enormously. The last 10 to 20 years have been an unpleasant anomaly for many people. But I don't think you can blame it on our political system. A lot of other thing--
>> Paul Courant: So we're going to stop with the phrase "I don't think you can blame it on our political system". It seems like a very good way to end. We will have a reception outside. And you're welcome to continue talking to our panelist. Thank you, all.
[ Applause ]