Introduction: Trump Phenomenon Debate (05:08)
Moderator John Donvan introduces Intelligence Squared Debate Chairman Robert Rosenkranz, who predicted Trump's success based on his reality TV personality; desire to hold someone accountable for government failures; and "working class" financial decisions.
Debate "Housekeeping" (06:50)
Donvan states the motion, explains the debate format, and introduces panelists for each side.
For the Motion: Ben Domenech (06:04)
"Federalist" publisher and Manhattan Institute media fellow, Domenech argues that Trump represents a solution to the erosion of trust in American public institutions. He broke with Republican Party views on immigration, trade and foreign policy favored by big business to appeal to white, middle aged, and unemployed men with high school degrees.
Against the Motion: Bret Stephens (06:07)
Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist, Stephens polls the audience to prove they are "elite," and asks whether they blame themselves for Trump's rise. He blames voters for responding to Trump's message of intolerance, bigotry, and fake victimization; demagoguery appeals to those wanting easy answers.
For the Motion: Tim Carney (06:47)
Washington Examiner political columnist and American Enterprise Institute fellow, Carney defines the elite as lobbyist politicians including George W. Bush, John Boehner, and Bill Frist, among others, who rigged the system. He calls the Tea Party a populist response to crony capitalism, and blames Jeb Bush and Chris Christie for failing to beat Trump.
Against the Motion: Jennifer Rubin (06:30)
Domestic and foreign policy "Washington Post" blogger, Rubin says Trump's economic and manufacturing argument is a fantasy and contradicts conservative philosophy. She argues that voters got factually incorrect ideas from right wing media, and the average income of a Trump supporter is $72,000.
Voter Responsibility (09:40)
Jennifer Rubin says Trump supporters have bought into right wing media misinformation, which has poisoned the body politic against non-whites. Ben Domenech says that Sean Hannity is an elite and partly to blame for Trump. Tim Carney argues that Republican leadership broke promises to the working class and Trump voters want a change agent; Bret Stephens counters that working class people of color are not voting for Trump.
Washington Cronyism (06:49)
Bret Stephens argues that cronyism is not a new phenomenon; Tim Carney says it is reaching new heights as Republicans profit from Obamacare. Jennifer Rubin points out that minorities upset at cronyism are not supporting Trump; Ben Domenech says Trump supporters are protesting elites, and to call them all racist and misogynists is deflecting the blame.
Political Pornography (05:26)
Bret Stephens compares Trump's incendiary comments to strip poker; polls show supporters are racist. Tim Carney disagrees that a quarter of the U.S. population is "deplorable;" white working class wages have stagnated and Republican elites have broken promises. Jennifer Rubin warns of history repeating itself in scapegoating minorities.
A Rigged System (02:44)
Bret Stephens argues that America is not a dystopia, as portrayed by the right wing media. Ben Domenech argues that Trump supporters want change and are not all racist and misogynistic.
QA: Defining the Elite (04:16)
Tim Carney defines elite as politicians in power over the last 20 years. Bret Stephens argues that all politicians cannot be equated, and Trump voters are to blame. Ben Domenech argues they are protesting Republican orthodoxy.
QA: Leftist Media Enabling the Trump Phenomenon (05:57)
Ben Domenech argues that liberal media elites “cried wolf” by over criticizing past Republican candidates. Bret Stephens argues that Trump voters are responsible for his empowerment; journalists have warned against his demagoguery. Tim Carney criticizes Stephens for supporting the Iraq War and contributing to a corrupt political system setting the stage for Trump.
QA: Bernie Sanders Phenomenon (01:12)
Tim Carney argues that both Republican and Democratic elites contributed to political powerlessness that gave rise to the leftist populist candidate.
QA: Trump Voters Assessing Elite Failures (02:45)
Tim Carney says that Trump voters suffer economically, although they inaccurately blame unemployment on immigration and free trade. Jennifer Rubin argues that they are responsible for their political convictions; to suggest otherwise is condescending.
Volley Round (03:32)
Ben Domenech says the against side's weakness is ignoring the call for change among Trump supporters. Bret Stephens counters that change should not come from hatred of others. Jennifer Rubin says the for side's weakness is ignoring the lack of minority Trump supporters. Tim Carney responds that the elites paved the way for racism and misogyny.
Closing Statement For: Ben Domenech (02:05)
Domenech says that the media elite have insulated themselves against a reality experienced by Trump supporters. Americans are rejecting an agenda serving elite politicians and desperate for change that they believe Trump will bring.
Closing Statement Against: Bret Stephens (02:17)
Stephens reads an anti-Semitic tweet written in response to his column. He argues that Trump votes are fully responsible for their racism and bigotry, and are looking to victimize minority groups.
Closing Statement For: Tim Carney (02:03)
Carney says that opposing panelists have used deflection to shift the burden to Trump voters. He argues that the Republican Party is to blame, for failing Americans.
Closing Statement Against: Jennifer Rubin (02:28)
Rubin is surprised that the conservative opposing panelists are using "leftist" arguments to blame politicians for the Trump phenomenon, considering they would not normally believe in victimizing working Americans. The liberal international order has brought prosperity and freedom to millions.
Time to Vote (03:47)
Donvan thanks panelists, instructs audience members to vote, and outlines upcoming Intelligence Squared debates.
Audience Vote Results (01:06)
Predebate for - 32% against - 27% undecided - 41% Post- debate for - 58% against - 33% undecided - 9%
Credits: Blame the Elites for the Trump Phenomenon: A Debate (10:02)
Credits: Blame the Elites for the Trump Phenomenon: A Debate
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