tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV November 5, 2016 2:00pm-2:31pm PDT
>> hello in a very warm welcome. i am brian thomas, coming to you from berlin. the countdown has started and europe is transfixed and aghast at a american campaign that probes new lows and creates outrageous headlines on a daily and hourly basis. the contest generates far more heat than light at a time when the world badly needs some light. this has been one of the nastiest campaigns. the two candidates have spent
much o of their time attacking each other. the campaign has exposed deep political divisions in american society. at the same time, a number of european countries are gearing up for their own elections. will those campaigns turn out to be as nasty and personal as the one in the united states? i am happy to be joined in the studio by our guest today. thanks for being witith us. we have alan poser, an author and commentator for the german daily. he says what happens in the u.s. is the attack of a fascist on democracy. yes, this is also a trend in europe. we also have a german-american publicist, a member of the republican party in the united states. he says presidential election times have been rough throughout history, but we are
witnessing a candidate who have hijacked an entire political movement to his own end. a few years ago, our guest was a correspondent in washington dc. she says german politics are not nearly as dirty as they are in the u.s., yet, but we are definitely on a worrying downward trajectory. alan, if we could start with you. is this really as bad as we are saying it is? are these the worst elections in tone and content in american history? >> i do not know about that. there have been some pretty bad elections. think of the populist movement in the 1920's. with- but it has to do issues. the point is, here is a guy who delegitimize the
political class, wants to delegitimize free trade, and if you will, the liberal order, which up until the end of obama'ss presidency seemed set in stone. it is not gratuitous. it is not because this is somebody who cannot control his tongue. he wants a different america. that is what this is about. brian: stefan, you are a member of the republican party. are the members of the top parties in the united states saying that he wants to upset the apple cart so nothing is recognizable again? >> of course, they do not officially. particularly, the party apparatus is quite behind him. and i still wonder why, actually. but for that matter, i think the
biggest threat actually is in the attack on democracy itself. and the republican party has yet to become aware of it in its structure. commentsat are the coming from donald trump? are they donald trump, or do they mirror what america has become? >> i think they definitely do. toas in the states from 2009 2013 when the tea party rose. i saw many demonstrations where barack obama was projected as adolf hitler, as a monkey. this vicious tone has been there for quite some time, but trump has perfected ringing -- perfected bringing it to the big screen. he is a media professional. he has raised this to a new level. brian: so, reality nation
becomes reality television. a reality president. >> if he becomes the president. but i think so. >> he is taking advantage of the fact that the entire tea party up hasthat came never had any impact inside the beltway. the establishment, with the two party system, has been very diligent in keeping any notable impact down. >> but that is a problem, isn't it? donald trump has raised an important question about the legitimacy of the system. but does he have some points? >> he has points, but they all speak against him. ok, the political system in the united states is broken, basically for two reasons. most of the seats are
uncontested between the two parties. there is never a switch. so, the most radical candidate who gets the backing of the party tends to become the candidate. and the second one is the influence of money. multimillionaire who can do it with his own money. and the clintons have to hold up their hand to get the money and they are accused of being corrupt, which to some extent, they have to be. brian: stefan set inside the beltway, the people are out of touch. inis a theme we are seeing europe as well. sabina, what do you think? is this a deep stream of sentiment being hit on and tapped into, not only in america, but in europe as well? >> yes, definitely and i don't think donald trump is the one bringing it over to europe. it is fairly new to german
politics. but look at france. marie la pen does not have much to learn from donald trump. i do think he will get as nasty or as personal as it has in the united states. in germany we have seeeen some pretty nasty politics in the last couple months. there have been the attacks, and they have gotten so much worse. the prime minister has told i would say, blatant lies in his campaign, saying angela merkel wants to let every refugee into this country, which is simply not true. but he was playing to certain people and i mean, he won the election and so, is strategy worked. brian: have the establishment parties then failed in the mandate to communicate to the public what their policies are? is it a failure in communication, or a failure in
the policies? maybe people want more controls on migration, for example. >> i think it is a bit of both. i think it is definitely a communication problem. i think that politicians have not really communicated what they have been doing enough. and i understand there is a certain frustration with how things have been going. these are not times when you can very clearly distinguish who stands foe -- who stands for wha t. it is just a huge majority. but i think some people want different answers. the debate -- i don't know, it has gone to such a level where people are not even listening to the answers even if they are given. i see such helplessness, and politicians, they don't even know how to communicate. brian: and there are a lot of trigger words out there. folkthe afd talking about
ish issues. it is a historically laden term. what about fiction, words that are chosen. how much does that matter? >> it matters a lot. and i say this as a sociologist. if we look at trump he has taken level.r me, to a new low he keeps repeating half sentences or phrases like "this hillary,""crooked "hillary the crooked."." brian: if you go to his tweet sisite, it is all of that, repeatedly. >> even tabloids don't use that level of communication. but it works. and it works with a large part of the electorate, obviously. given the fact that americans
know pretty well how to behave in public and what to expect from a public figure, the way he still manages to uphold anything between 35% and 40% of the electorate is a miracle to me. but so is the fact that he is part of the establishment now. brian: this is part of the role he will have to get used to now. alan, what do you think? is there a feeling that has been broken through of what was acceptable? >> yes, and it is a tactic. it is about political correctness. political correctness is about preserving the rules of polite discussion. and to break those rules is precisely what they are doing you know, people who are fascists, right wing extremists, they are breaking those rules down themselves.
leep],ot allowed to say [b and i can say after afro american. postmodern right wing. articles andwith opinion pieces, it is of course doing a lot of research on social media, including on the number of times donald trump has taken to twitter to insult his opponents. it is a very long list. >> late last month, the "new york times" published a list of all the insults and personal attacks donald trump has posted on his twitter account during the presidential campaign. there are 281 of them. as you might expect, many of them were directed against hillary clinton. trump called her a hypocrite, corrupt, and too weak to lead.
trump also seven republicacan party leaders, including house speaker paul ryan. trump said ryan does not know how to win. foreignlasted politicians, including german chancellor angela merkel. trump said she is ruining germany. what's behind this torrent of tweets? is he just letting off steam, or is this part of his campaign strategy? >> donald trump is not only a spontaneous person, he is also a very calculative strategist. look at his push right now in the battleground states to unseat the democratic dominance there, including florida. which trump are we seeing in these tweets, the strategist, for the alpha male? >> maybe this is a question i see differently as a woman, but i definitely see an alpha male.
i find it difficult to see too much strategy behind trump. i think he is not strategizingng too much, correct me if i'm wrong. brian: adam seems to disagree with you. >> there are people who have been put down, they have lost their jobs. they are talked about as rednecks and whatever and backward hillbillys. and trump is compounding interest for them. >> of course he is. yes, this is incredibly negative and bad, that look at hillary clinton. she is not on the same level. look at the last couple of days. she is under pressure and what is she doing? she is not telling people why they should vote for her. all she ever does is tell people why they can deftly not vote for trump. it is negative campaigns all over. it is just different levels. brbrian: you are saying this asa
republican, but seriously. >> i am not saying this as a republican, but just looking at the campaign. obviously, she should be aware of the fact that she is not the ideal candidate. >> and she is, i think. >> i think it would be pretentious to come up with a self-image that would portray her as the candidate everybody has been waiting for. brian: doesn't it leave the field to donald trump, in a certain way? >> i would not expect her to pretend she is the best one who has ever wanted to get into the white house, but to put a bit more positive spin on it. you are talking about how not just america, but the world needs more light, and that is not what i see in this campaign. i see different shades of darkness. brian: in these different shades be anrkness, could there
insight -- could there be a politically charged language that could in fact, be dangerous? >> i would say definitely, yes. you have talked about how they are shaking the foundations of what a democracy is built on. donald trump said he will only accept this election if he wins. he said, i will let you know once the election is over if i accepted. this is shaking the grounds of what this country is built on. i think a clearly does not mean, do something about it in the next election. it means something else. tien: alan, you said the between the tone and fiction is a deconstruction of political correctness. when you look at that, where is the line between fiery rhetoric and what is acceptable debate? who determines that?
how do people know who are not experienced, like people in the media? >> how do they know? i can't answer that. all i can say is, if you see that people are denigrating our clinical institutions. we instance, in germany, are the people. some kind ofy, is rhetoric which is denigrating the whole process, not just the people presently sitting there because they were elected. not accepthe will the election results. in germany, they are saying they will not accept anything in less there has been a referendum on it. you don't have to get personal. this is a political attack on the system of representative of democracy. that is what is worrying. people will then take the law into their own hands. even if trump wins legally and
he decides to deport 11 million people back to mexico, how will he do it? >> he is not going to do it, i think. brian: we don't know if that is a realistic policy proposal, deporting 12 million people, but it has mobilized many voters. could this level of political invective be possible here in germany? >> on this level. personalall, the attacks, i do not see the head of the social democrats calling angela merkel a traitor or nasty woman. right now we are seeing this on the level they are fighting for the presidency. you can see that in the afd, that is right. i think diction has changed, even in the mainstream parties. everybody has been affected, not
just the conservatives, who might be most under attack by the afd. social seen it with an democrats. but i don't think it will go as low as it has in the united states. brian: who is to blame? are we to blame, is the media to blame? in the united states and europe people are questioning the legitimacy of democratic institutions. >> the democrats have upheld an outward stance, much supported by the "new york times," for that matter, that a certain part of the electorate is continually voting against their own interests, and we know better than thou, and we all know how this goes down with the american population. not at all. i think, although some of the points might be legitimate, people do not see the point in
what they do and why they vote and so on. this is deconstructing the democratic system from the other side. i think it has helped, in a way, that we have not imagined before. brian: do you think there is a bigger chance here because there is a general tendency to defer to authorities who are specially trained and educated? >> in germany, no. the fact is, you have to accept that some people are better educated and some people are better equipped to deal with certain situations, that there is such a thing as the political class and political elite. there is such a thing as education as a means towards advancement. you can't just sit there and say, i have been a failure in school and my life and i don't want these people telling me what to do. do we want those people telling us what to do?
no. there comes a point where you damnit --y, yes, sorry, that was french. pardon my french. brian: how do you channel those individuals in the socieiety tht are so critical of the elite that they perhaps, despise them -- to take the energy and make it a fruitful part of the political process question mark . >> do we have good leadership in this country? brian: that is part of the problem, isn't it? this tremendous vacuum, that it exists. >> we saw in britain before the brexit vote, david cameron did not leave the country and we saw the shambles of the brexit vote. we are seeing in germany a certain vacuum due to the so called grand coalition. it is all sort of a vacuum.
brian: into the vacuum comes social media. donald trump has been tweeting, talking to people who have either never voted, or have given up on voting. next year we will be elections in france, the netherlands, and germany, where the right-wing is expected to make strong advances. like in the u.s., immigration is playing a central role. in france, marine le pen is running for president. eu andis opposed to the illegal immigration and she has endorsed donald trtrump for u.s. president. in the netherlands, the far right freedom party is expected to do well l in the elections fr next march. he is an outspoken critic of the eu and immigration from muslim countries.
in germany, the right-wing has ast afd party platform that is similar to donald trump's in many ways. they have promised to hault the economic decline of the middle class and to crack down on immigration. as donald trump -- has donald trump become able model for white -- has donald trump become a role model for right wing political parties in europe? -- are weng at the looking at the five pointed star for conservatism? >> vladimir putin. brian: i am talking about in the west. are we seeing a new international right wing movement? >> yes they are and it is perverse because they want
borders up, trade down, globalization to somehow disappear. i mean, we have seen this before in the 1920's and 1930's. the person who has got most to gain from that is vladimir putin because it is destroying the west and europe. brian: a belgian writer wrote in politico: europe that what we are getting here is actually a gift of barbed wire, a barbed wire wrapped gift. we should be happy and not be afraid of the fact that more people are coming to the political process. the question is, how do we unwrap this barb wire wrapped present? theell, i do not really see point. of course, getting people involved in the political process is something that could have been done earlier and more thoroughly. in the u.s. we had so many chances. we still have marvelous things like write in ballots.
people could do a lot, if they wished to. i still have the feeling of a postwar transatlantic, what i am in the wrong movie. brian: can we unwrap this barb present? >> i don't think politicians know how to unwrap this, if it actually is a gift. brian: what do we do about these people who want to come into the political process who are difficult to mainstream? >> the will have to talk about it. >> it is not a good. the whole point about representative democracy is keeping the thugs out of politics. brian: 40% of the electorate in the united states. >> not everybody who both. trump is a thug. i am going on record, saying he is a thug.
he is misusing democracy. the entire point of the representative democracy is to keep the trump's and the le pen's out. brian: this discussion will remain with us in the weeks and months ahead. i would like to thank our guests for being with us. the german-american republican who has been with us today on the program. correspondent in washington dc. thank you all for your comments and being with us. thank you for joining us for "quadriga," coming to you from berlin. i am ryan thomas and i am looking forward to seeing you again.
♪ >> hello, and welcome to "focus on europe." one of the topics that we tackle on today's show is on genetically modified food. a controversial subject for many europeans who question the health benefits of such crops and whether they are indeed , harmless. meanwhile in spain, most farmers , rely on genetic engineering to protect their fields and to reliably produce hardy crops. but some are opposed. we cannot control the contamination caused by genetic engineering, says this farmer.