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what do you see in this photo? on may 29th, 2020, donald trump tweeted the message “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to protests that erupted in the wake of george floyd’s death in minneapolis. today, tom and rp discuss leadership, divisiveness, and trump’s support leading up to the november elections. rp says “every great leader wants a crisis,” but how has trump handled his? will his actions and reactions have an effect on his unchanging core voter base? and why is this voter base unchanged in the first place? tom and rp reference New York Times columnist david brooks’s may 29th op-ed, If We Had a Real Leader.
tom scott is chairman & co-founder of the nantucket project. rp eddy was the architect of the Clinton administration’s pandemic response framework and the United Nations response to the global AIDS epidemic & is CEO of global intelligence firm Ergo.
rp is co-author of the best-selling award-winning book Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes with Richard A. Clarke, Former National Security Council counterterrorism adviser.
Tom Scott [00:00:22] Hi, everybody, RP, it’s Friday. I think I want to speak philosophically today a little bit, but and we’ll work our way into it. I want to start with something here. So tomorrow. Tomorrow. Is MS day. RP, you know and love Kristen right now, of course, Kristen, come say hi. Just for one second. Hi, Kristin. Hi. OK. But but but thank you for coming on. Kristin is our loving and wonderfully talented partner in this show and has M.S.. And so we’re gonna celebrate MS day with her. We’ve been working on a film. What I love about the film is that it’s not a bad thing. Kristen. Right. That the solution or a powerful part of a solution to M.S. is togetherness and conversation. Right.
Kristin Adams [00:01:38] Totally, yeah. It’s your community wherever you find it.
Tom Scott [00:01:42] Yeah. And so and I and I know I stress this one. When Vivek Murthy was on and, you know, in other places. This isn’t like a feel goody thing. This is a medical thing. OK. And everyone think about that, what I’m saying is that if you have meaningful conversations and connections to people with certain ailments. They get that they get better medically better not just better mood, medically better. And they some people don’t get sick in the first place because they’re in communities that have that kind of power. Now, these these are, by the way, some of this is relates to M.S., some of it’s a variety of other ailments. So it’s just sort of a universal thing, generally speaking. So anyway, Kristin, I wanted it in in honor of you celebrate this and watch this film that the trailer to the film that we’re making just as a moment of observation. You good with that?
Kristin Adams [00:02:42] Thanks Tom.
RP Eddy [00:02:43] Thank you for everything you do. Kristen, it’s a real pleasure to work with you.
Video [00:02:47] There’s not a person out there watching this right now, doesn’t know so more, less. The fact that we don’t have that kind of rallying cry bugs me. MS can be totally terrifying. But certainly what makes M.S. so warped is that you don’t know what’s going to happen to you. Boy, if I could make a bargain, I can live like this. We just can’t imagine what our lives are going to be like in the future. I’m scared cause of my daughter because I want to be there for her. It’s a monstrous realization. Wow. There are forces greater than you within your own body. It’s heavy. If I had known, I would have done a lot of other things with my life. I was engaged. That relationship dissolved soon after I got out of the hospital. I was alone. Literally, the doctor who gave you the diagnosis basically just said to me, almost like, you need to go home and die. People here, you have MS and they immediately go to the darkest place possible. I think when people retreat from the world, the brain suffers. I’ll never forget that loss of control and also not knowing when it’s going to be over. The fear of the unknown ends up being a lot scarier than the known. To withdraw and suffer alone is probably one of the most painful human experiences there is. To communicate, to have fellowship with a person is probably one of the greatest gifts that we can give. Human Connection plays a huge role, not just in helping MS patients cope and function, but it actually is life given to the brain. You have potential to really have a great life or really make yourself better or really find love or really get the job that you want. You can do this. Look at me. I’m playing drums. I’m doing what I love, and I’m not letting that stop. When you do what you love, it gives me energy. What the world tells you, is, this is going to get worse. It’s going to end badly. It doesn’t have to be true.
Tom Scott [00:06:07] So there you have it. That’s a bunch people on our team made that. Good job, guys. And Kristin, beautiful. I’m going to use this as a lead in to today. So, you know, I didn’t sleep very well last night and it’s for a variety of reasons. And I’m going to just outline a couple. We’re going to talk about that David Brooks article, because I think the David Brooks article sit to sits at the center of what’s going on right now right at the center. And I’m try to connect some dots here and I’m probably gonna fail. And if you can help me do him or if you think I’m wacky, you can say that, too. But I want to connect some dots. So yesterday was Clint Watts day. Yesterday was disinformation day. Yesterday was man, is this freaking challenging from the point of view of understanding a theme and a center in a story? It’s really hard because there are malignancies that sort of invade it. Then there’s these more benign problems that in just I’m just mean from the point of intent that also get in the way. And then there’s some wacky actors who jump in and really screw it up. You know, it’s really hard. And so I had a moment, RP, on a call that you were part you and I were part of last night. And just to characterize it, RP, does such a nice job as sort of setting the groundwork for the facts of the day. And it’s just so important to people to sort of use those things. You know, my role, which is smaller and less, is to be like the wacky hippie from, you know, who goes into the world and then the rest of the people run the world. That’s how this things work…
RP Eddy [00:07:42] The call we were on yesterday? Yeah.
Tom Scott [00:07:45] And so I was really disappointed when I heard from a pretty big business person who basically said, we’re going back to business as usual now. I don’t think he’s being malignant.
RP Eddy [00:07:54] Yeah. And by the way, huge business person. Can’t say who it was, but huge.
Tom Scott [00:07:59] And I was like, so disappointed. Now, now. And I lay in bed thinking, cause I do this. I think, like, I’m such a loser. Like I’m like the bleeding heart, like freak show who gets emotional about things and doesn’t think things through things rationally. Now, that’s just the way my brain in my heart works. I actually don’t think that’s true. I think I have my own role to play in all of this. But I was really saddened by it and I really thought, like, man, it’s true that we’re gonna, quote, go back. Okay. Now, in this case, we were talking about sort of business processes, but I think the author, the other part of going back to me is we’re gonna go back, which, by the way, we never left. The reality distortion, which is what is the nature of humans and what’s the nature of Americans and how do we sort of love or not love each other? I think the things that we fight over are exaggerated, made up and made more difficult by the state of the way we communicate with each other broadly, thinking it’s media, but it’s more than that. OK, so. So the first thing I did this morning, one of the first things I did this morning is I read the David Brooks article from yesterday, Dan, had sent it to me and I loved it. And I’ll talk about it in a minute. And it really struck me. And again, I’m coming off this night of like, man, you’re just a dreamer. And the world is the good, the good that we’ve drawn out. We’ll go just go back. And that’s just the way my mind I go on roller coasters. And then I read the David Brooks article and it made me feel like, yeah, he’s right, man. And this is RP’s been saying this. And I want to be part of that. I want to say that to RP today. And then I read. When they start looting, we start shooting. That’s what the damn tweet says. And it broke my heart. I’m not kidding. I just read it and I thought. What like how can you write that? You know, this is the United States of America like and why? Why is that different? It’s different because we’re you know, we signed a constitution, made a deal to make a more perfect union. And it carries with it all kinds of responsibilities and maturities. There’s a mature approach. There’s a loving approach to these things that, by the way, there can be great order in our disorder. There has been for many most of our culture. But when I read that headline, it just like it broke my heart. Not a headline. It’s a tweet. It’s a direct communication from the guy in charge. That’s what it is. OK. We’ll get back to that. And I’m just a white dude in Connecticut, so and so’s RP. So that’s who we are. However, however, I want to characterize as best I can, and I’m gonna read a quote from David Brooks, his article, and basically what David Brooks is saying, that throughout our history there’s been these incredible moments of leadership that are so different making. And they come from a variety of people. They come from Ronald Reagan and they come from Bobby Kennedy. You know, this is not. They come from Barack Obama. I mean, you just think of what two Nelson Mandela is like, think about the mantle that that guy creates and what level of leadership that is and what good that does for the world. It’s outrageous. There’s a quote in the David Brooks article. Tim Armstrong actually sent it to me, too. In our sleep, pain, which cannot forget, falls drop by drop on the heart until in our own despair against our will comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. Bobby Kennedy said that when he announced to a crowd and if it it may be hard few to imagine. I think it was Cincinnati. It was an Ohio city where Bobby Kennedy, the morning after Martin Luther King had been killed, had to announce to the crowd a predominately black crowd that he had been killed. And, you know, today that would never happen because it would be all over the Internet the minute it happened. But in those days, because the papers hadn’t really hit yet. No one knew. And the way that they reacted. So it was like this incredible moment of leadership. And, you know, and David Brooks talks about the despair of that. And then I read this quote, and then I was reacting to what I heard last night. And then I was reacting what I heard from Clint yesterday. And I thought, you know what our job is to. Make the message clearer. Make the ask more profound. And not let it just go in some direction that it doesn’t have to go in. And if I feel awkward at times or afraid at times that not just me, but any of us. OK, well, then that’s the fight that. That were in. I know we have said and I believe this now. I don’t want this to be all about politics. I think this is just a moment of individual leadership is really what it is. And all the there’s a million issues that surround it. I know all that. But that’s pretty disappointing. And it and it’s particularly ironic in reading this, David Brooks, which I recommend that you all read it today’s article, that those two things happened for me. It happened like 20 minutes apart. So, all right. RP, that was a mouthful.
RP Eddy [00:13:06] It was very clear and very powerful. I thank you also for tying it into yesterday. I think that’s a very, really constructive and concrete way for us to move forward on this unbelievably important question. Democratic nations survive or die based on shared principles and unity right in this country as this huge experiment in diversity under some idea of some sort of shared principles. And. Disinformation. Back to Clint Watts yesterday, or divisiveness? There’s two vectors of that to look at. Right. So one is the breadth of the devices, the forces that try to pull us apart. There’s the ones we all grew up with. You know, Russia and China and the obvious ones. And then there’s the ones of our who we are as individuals where we try to push ourselves apart. Right. And historically. There’s been tools to share these ideas and some ideas are dangerous and some ideas are helpful towards the idea of a republic. Right. So from the printing press to social media, we’ve dramatically accelerated. The ability to share good news and to share division. And so people thought about this beginning of the Internet. They realized how dangerous it could be as well as obviously very powerful for good. So the breadth of the ability to see divisiveness in this information is historically used to sit around the fringe, even pre Corona disinformation, these things largely wasn’t the fringe. That’s why Russian hacking of the previous election, federal election was such a big deal because it spread into the mainstream and actually had our mainstream non fringe impact. So now. Divisiveness and misinformation are moving into the mainstream. So that’s pre- that’s that’s almost pre-Corona. Then you add again on this… For depth. You add where we find ourselves today. We are in a pressure cooker. So when a pressure cooker is from the disease alone, period, full stop, people are dying. Who? Where? Am I going to get it? Unbelievable. Stress is my family OK? That stress has lessened over time. We’re learning more. We’re in a pressure cooker. The second thing that’s happening inside that depth question is the economic collapse. We are amidst an economic collapse. Twenty five percent of American workers are filing for unemployment. Holy shit. And by the way, there are more major unemployment announcements coming today. I was with the CEO yesterday of a major corporation, was laying off 25 percent of its staff today. It’s not over. So depth pressure cooker disease, economic collapse. Add to that. What David Brooks talked a lot about. We have a leadership, at least a leadership void. And I’m going to accelerate down a second. We I keep saying herd animals, limbic all these things. I don’t know if they resonate, but neighborhood actually is the same thing, Tom. Right. Why do we care about a neighborhood? Because we care about what we are. You know, we are happier. We are more fulfilled. We are better when we have a sense of community. So I say herd and limbic. But that’s neighborhood. That’s community. It’s who we are. And part of what that means about us is we want to know that we as a community are safe and things will be OK. And that’s we look to leaders. David Brooks does the lovely job making that point, going through a whole series of leaders and a series of tragedies where we looked to, you know, from the Challenger explosion to Gettysburg to 9/11 to 08. We look to a leader who put their hand on our shoulder and said, we’re going to get through this together. And partizanship went away. So we don’t have that leader. Part one, we don’t have that leader. Instead of not only not having that leader, we have acid. Divisive acid coming out of where, that leader supposed to be. When they start looting, we start shooting.
Tom Scott [00:17:08] Well, by the way, and I just want to add one thing to what you just said, which is. He points out that those leaders step into that divide and bring it.
RP Eddy [00:17:21] Absolutely. You know, Clint Watts was saying it yesterday. Democratic or Republican or Democrat or Republican on whatever it was like 9/13/01 when Trump went down… excuse me, Bush went down to the towers, grabbed the bullhorn. It didn’t matter what party you were in. Here’s a here’s an example. Didn’t matter. What party you’re in in America we all… Our neighborhood became a neighborhood, became a tribe, became a herd. That’s what we as biological organisms want. That’s what we as a nation need. Or we fall apart. Right. Guess what else happened? We had a global neighborhood for a moment. The headline of the moment, the Paris newspaper. Remember, France. The US have an unbelievable history of antagonism. Said we are all Americans. On 9/12. The whole world came together for a moment. Every great leader wants a crisis. I’ve talked to a lot of leaders of government leaders, leaders of nations, leaders of states, leaders of corporations during Corona, every great leader wants a crisis. They don’t want the impact on their people. They want to show they can lead. They want to be the one who brings you from the horror to the hope. This leader did not want this crisis. He didn’t want to be president. I know that he certainly didn’t want this crisis. And David Brooks does an amazing job of dissecting. And there’s one line in here, and we look, we do a good job not being political, so let’s not break the rule right now. And so I won’t even use the name. But you need a leader who can fathom empathy, express empathy, laugh and cry, love or be loved. See the true existence of other human beings, except in so far as they are good or bad for himself. And I took the name of the person you’re talking about out of that so that you don’t have a limbic response to it, depending where you sit on the spectrum. But in this moment, you want a person you can relate to, you know, take care of it. This this op ed by David Brooks is one of the best things I’ve ever met. And again, so how’s he conclude it, Tom, where you and I have been for fifty five conversations. The leadership isn’t there. The leadership has to be here. You have to lead for yourself, your family, your company, your neighborhood, for your state, your country, it isn’t coming from there. We’re so used to looking for it. Remember your old high school biology about the Alpha or the Omega? And everyone else sort of sits in between. Well, there’s no Alpha right now leading. So you have to be the alpha. You have to be the leader of the tribe. It could be a tribe of one or could be a tribe of 30 million. And so that’s why Stacey, other great leaders are doing their thing or so unbelievably important right now, not only in look, by the way, Tom, in our conversation last night that you referring to. Another great business leader, when you sort of made this point, jumped in and said the point I’m making about the corrosiveness. You made your great point about how Twitter is a lie and we all love each other more than we think and we’re having battles we don’t, we think we’re in a war we’re not. And this one, you know, billionaire business leader said, how are we supposed to come together when we have garbage like this coming out of the White House? You have a leader literally trying to pull apart a country. And I’ll conclude with my point. This is not a totalitarian state. We aren’t forced to be together. We’re for… We are together because we have shared ideals and the leadership or the White House is supposed to remind us of those. That’s what David Brooks did a lovely job reminding us of today. So so maybe we got a little partisan there. Sorry. That’s all partisanship. Thank you. I don’t know about. We’re going to talk about what’s the reality we’re in right now.
Tom Scott [00:21:07] Well, yes. Yeah. It’s also. I’m sorry, I’m pausing, I’m just in my brain trying to two to settle this this political notion in the midst of the whole thing. It’s just what you were referring to at the end. If you really I was saying to Kristin earlier, you know, I got to take constitutional law at Yale with Akhil Amar, who’s like one of the lead constitutional law guys in America. And he gave this great opening talk. And he he he talked about the uniqueness of America, the uniqueness of the Constitution. And he’s an Indian born guy. And he, you know, very much praises so many aspects of what the Constitution is. And this isn’t the word he used. But I’m gonna use it anyway. You know, so much of this is built around a passionate love of a concept like that’s the idea. Right. And so within that, there’s this level of responsibility that goes along with. Creating this opportunity, and no one says it’s perfect, but nothing is. And what’s a path to better? What’s a path to perfect? Well, it includes leaders at critical moments making and I can’t think of a better word than mature. It sounds crazy to say it, but don’t be a child in the moment of fear and panic. Be the person who steps forward and brings calm and resolve and restraint. I mean, you just think about what restraint is. What does that bring to the table? I’m sorry, man. If it’s really hard to read when they start looting, we start shooting. I don’t even know what that means.
RP Eddy [00:22:43] It means. It means I want to exercise my base so they come out and vote for me. That means the three hundred thousand swing voters in eight states that that Trump needs to vote for him to stay in office. He knows pretty well that they’ll bite on something like that.
Tom Scott [00:23:00] Yeah, well, and and I think everyone knows this, but procedurally in the United States, that’s all. You’re not allowed to do that. That’s not within the law to do what that that statement says. That’s against the law.
RP Eddy [00:23:13] Incitement to violence?
Tom Scott [00:23:14] Well, an incitement to violence, but also, if someone loots, you’ve got to go try to arrest them in a peaceful way. That’s your job as a policeman, not to shoot them. I mean, that’s absurd.
RP Eddy [00:23:24] Yeah. You know, it’s funny, Tom, is we’re. It’s not like so like, like we’re clearly not discovering this theory that America needs leadership and shared ideals, right. So go pick up a quarter in and read what? Read it. Pick up a dime. Pick up a quarter and read what it says in the back. Right. E pluribus unum, out of many one. Right. Remember what the when they went to go signed the Declaration of Independence, they said to each other, we either hang together or we hang separately. And in that and what I think what we’re we’re what we’re describing here is. In a time of crisis, these diverse brands and what it means to be an American and where we come from or what neighborhoods we’re in and what tribes we are, what race we are. Have people together about our shared ideals by one leader, and if you don’t have that leader, nay, in fact, if you have that leader throwing acid. I Tom, I had a meeting today with a huge group of investors. One of the largest pension funds in the world. And I said it came out of my mouth before I could really stop it. I said I’m becoming very bearish on America in the next nine months. Right. I mean, up until the election and after. And there’s a lot of things to be very scared about as relates to the divisiveness that’s going to happen, because this election, the divisiveness that’s going to happen because of the inevitable hacking from Russia. Why does that matter? Because as Quinn said, if they get into one voter roll and they prove that they were in there and they can, and then Biden or Trump can say, you know what, this this election, whichever way it goes, is fraudulent, because I have proof now that Russia was in this voter roll. Meaning Russia’s screwing the ballots. Let’s just make it simple as that, then you can put the whole election into question. And we have a president who doesn’t. Stand by, precedence. Now, to be fair. A very influential Republican reminded me yesterday when I said this. Don’t forget. That adds to delegitimizing elections, if you’re saying Trump would do that. His view is that the Democrats have put a lot of effort into delegitimizing his election, which is perhaps true. But I don’t care who doesn’t. We have a lot of Lego pieces on the table to be assembled right now for disunity. That’s a really bad analogy. But we could be in a very dangerous place in the next, you know, through November into January. And again, complete with David Brooks line. I’ll read it, one of the lessons of this crisis is that help isn’t coming. Help isn’t coming from some centralized place at the top of society. You want real leadership. Look around you.
Tom Scott [00:26:15] Well, yeah, well, and I think that that I mean, as you were saying what you’re saying and I was, you know, hanging on the words and agreeing with them and frankly, well, frankly, is the wrong word. But a lot of what I what drives me to believe those things are the things that you’ve taught me and we’ve together discovered over these last several months. You know, from from Clint Watts to my time in Memphis, you know, you feel something that’s very powerful. And that was the part that was the one part about last night that I felt like I failed and what I what I failed to do was communicate perhaps the opening of a curiosity to understand, well, what is an American really and what what is my role as a business person within that culture to make that culture stronger? One of the things that’s worked pretty well up to now is you can just be Ayn Rand-y and and do your own thing. And then the culture will sort of happened by the invisible hand. And there’s an element of that that I think is true. But if but if the but if the the the priority, the value, the principle that is guiding you is, say, economic first. Which I don’t have a problem with economic as a motivator. I just think if it’s mixed well with love, it’s amazing what you could create. And so my point being, I think if you actually understood and and again, I say this from observation in all the miles and, you know, I went on this one trip, it’s not this one trip. I went across the country like five times by train, four times by car. I’ve done it by motorcycle all in the last two years and on. And so my end my point is this. These pools in Missouri with the people drinking, they’re not everywhere. They’re in limited places. These bad people, they’re not everywhere. They’re in limited places. And the nuances of some of the ways people get confused or just that they’re nuances, they’re not these black and white, evil or good things. It’s not the way life works. So I, and by the way, you can love a person like that. You can love a person that has layers. This thing we did with Kristen, the thing I think that Kristen and that we discover we discover through M.S. and this treatment as you discover the layers of truth and that changes your biology. Well, how do you do that? Through direct conversation and understanding and learning and being open minded if you just give someone a black and white. There’s nothing to be learned, there’s nothing to be given, there’s nothing to change the energy of a person. So if I had hoped something last night, I had hoped, like maybe through my communications people, the open to the notion, oh, wow, my business could be more. And I and I didn’t do the greatest job. Or certainly. Well, maybe not with him and so and so that you get to today and I think, man, I can’t just stand aside and have us go back and do this so that the person that we elect, President United States, says this just terrible thing.
RP Eddy [00:29:05] So three quick thoughts. One is. When we do so, if you are a CEO of a publicly traded company, that gentleman we’re kind of referring to obliquely yesterday was the one who said things are going to sort of go back to normal. At a massive, massive, iconic firm. He’s still not let off the hook on shareholder returns. He’s still hired to do that job. And that framework is not going to change and nor should it. Right.
Tom Scott [00:29:35] And I’m sympathetic to that, by the way. But go ahead.
[00:29:38] And we shouldn’t be heartbroken when you say that was an off the record group and he was saying that she’s like, look, man, I got to play. What he’s saying is I have a kick ass business. We make billions of dollars. I love the model. I don’t want to change. I can’t. I can’t change and maybe some millennials are come to work more, maybe some old folks going to work less, you know, whatever. And remember. It’s part one, part two. I want to be very clear when you’re talking about the pools in Missouri, you said bad people. There wasn’t italics in your voice. And I know you are air quoting it. These aren’t bad people, right? These are folks who don’t have a shared consequence. And. Remember, they’re like, how many cases? What’s number right now? How many cases are there in Missouri that were not in old folks homes? So I’m making this distinction. If you’re in a state and someone died in your state and old folks home. I don’t think that hits your concept as a shared consequence. I don’t think you see that as a risk unless you’re got a family and old folks in the old folks home. So if you’re the ninety nine percent of other people in the state of Missouri, for example, and there’s 500 dead, 250 in the old folks home or some number like that, you know, there’s been this tiny number of people around you of that. And, you know, you’re 18 and 35 and you’re full of. Sex hormone, and you want to go dance in a pool with girls and boys, you ain’t gonna stop because what are you talking about? Who’s dying? Right. So then the third point, and this is maybe most interesting to me is you, Tom. I since last night to today, I haven’t seen you so agitated and I saying that I’m saying that from position of empathy, that’s a part word. You. You were texting me last night. You got shook up by that comment and I get it. And then that tweet. And you’ve worked really, really hard not to talk about the Oval Office or talk about the president. And I don’t know if most people know it gets not going out. But like, you’re not a Democrat as far as I understand, historically and. And we’ve worked really hard not to. Make this partisan or talk about the president and. I don’t know. That’s a that’s a that’s something notable today and that. Words matter.
Tom Scott [00:31:54] Well, you know what part of it is for me? Part of it is for me. It’s like like the rest of us. I’m a human being. Right. And when. Boys, in my case, gather on the play on the playground. We act differently. We act like a mob and there’s like things you can do and there’s things you can’t do. And it’s true as a Grown-Up. You’re supposed to stay within the crew generally. Some people are willing to sort of push the crew, some people aren’t. Some people push the crew for just for sake of pushing the crew because it makes them feel good. Some people want to push the crew, but they’re afraid to push the crew because it’s just why who wants to deal with the bother? I think I’m one of those. I mean, I generally speaking, I’m a relatively sensitive person who doesn’t want to always be pushing the crew. And then there are these moments where I think. If you’re not gonna open your mouth, who’s going to open their mouths, like who are the people who are actually going to open their mouths and like a Cassandra, because that’s a little bit how I feel. RP I feel a little bit like a Cassandra. I feel a little bit like Quixote at the windmill with the damn Lance or whatever. The thing is, he’s hitting. You know, I feel that way a little bit. And then there’s this part of me that says, OK, well, that’s how it feels and you just grow up and deal with it. So that’s, you know, that. And so and as it relates to Trump, I believe because in Dan and I talk about this all the time, it’s like there are things that I find abhorrent in both parties and on generally speaking, I’m more conservative than not. But I also vote both ways. It’s just who I am. The solution is not in in problem pointing out. It’s just not we need to know what the problems are and I accept that. But solutions are sort of a different thing. And so I, I like to think that I have some degree of restraint in that realm. But then I think there are moments where I think, you know, you better open your mouth and then, you know, often it’s emotional. Like I’m I’m just feeling emotional based on those concurrence of events that happened over the last 24 hours. But I mean, you know, I I come back and I meet these people and see these things. And then I read that in the newspaper. And I think that’s the president of the United States, by the way, don’t read the newspaper. I saw it online. And it saddens the hell out of me. And it’s not a coincidence that I read the David Brooks article moments before I saw that.
RP Eddy [00:34:20] Well, that’s responsibility, right? The herd mentality is sort of watching things happen. And then finally saying enough, that’s that’s too much right there. And. What’s. So, you know, it’s the responsibility of people who can raise their voice about things they must. And. What’s ironic about that is. The people who support this president, the polling data for people who support this president is just largely a flat line from before he was elected to now. They don’t seem to be moved one way or the other by what he does, not more people don’t join. More people don’t quit. The depth of feeling for him doesn’t change among this core group of people. And I can guarantee you that tweet isn’t going to change that. Spoke with a political scientist. A great political scientist yesterday. And she’s nonpartisan by design. She’s just trying to figure she’s a she’s a. Election predictor professor and pollster and PhD And all that stuff. In her description of our body politic, as compare us, call her a scholar, or electorate as compared to America historically or other nations, or other democracies is that it’s it’s sick she doesn’t mean that we’re bad or that it’s very unusual to see the steady line of support that does not change. And the study out of hatred that does not change of our president. A very weird thing. And you’re. And then you start getting into questions of electoral math and electoral electoral college and all this. But. So, so. People like you are a nightmare scenario for the Republicans. If you were, I don’t know that you were. But if you were like an on the edge voter for Trump. You’re a soft Trump supporter. They’re just very, very few of them, and it’s not clear what will kick them off. In one question, people have as well. All right, look, we’re going to have one. Have one hundred and thirty thousand people dead by July. An estimate reverse in Washington just came out that said two hundred twenty five thousand dead in America by August one. I think it was or September one. And you can look at that and say, oh, that’s bad for Trump. I’m not sure it matters that core isn’t going to move. If you want my kind of prognostication on just that, right. I know I’m kind of going down.
Tom Scott [00:37:01] No. And I, and if you recall, I know yet last night I showed this. And, you know, there’s people might look at this picture and think like, oh, my gosh. The ironies, I see in that picture, you know, they wouldn’t see these things as ironies. And I think if you spoke to them, you would be surprised by what you might walk away with. And the point there is just that the things that are communicated to them creates this. Opportunity for disdain. Which is to say they feel very put upon by certain kinds of Americans. And Trump’s their Trump is their their bully. He’s the guy who actually defends them. You don’t have to. I mean, look, if I would just offer up if you if I’m sounding crazy to you, like, I think if you were standing there with me, I think you’d be affected by it. But but I just want to emphasize in your point that I don’t think those people you’re talking about and you’re right. I think, though, they, too, are very misunderstood as a whole. There’s individuals who probably fit the profile you’re talking about.
RP Eddy [00:38:09] I mean, there aside some. Well, because most people most people who probably live near us or maybe that are watching this, think of the folks that put up the signs you showed or the Trump supporters as having a strong overlap with no neo-Nazi KKK racists in that. And all I think neo-Nazis and racists and KKK are, you know. High majority Trump supporters like let’s say over 95 percent said does not mean that 95 percent Trump supporters are neo-Nazis. And so.
Tom Scott [00:38:40] Well, I think this picture, which I brought it back up again, which is one of the reason I like it so much if you met them. The sign actually uses signaling to to express their highest priorities.
RP Eddy [00:38:53] Now, that’s a great point.
Tom Scott [00:38:54] Yeah, they’re really loving. Like when you first meet them and, you know, we talk about race. We talk about immigration. We go there. We do go there. But, you know, if you sort of feel their prioritization and the way they navigate life, I mean, you can see in the picture there’s a pro-life sticker there. They are very religious. You know, you may have issues with that, politically speaking, but it you know, their priorities are very much of like this spiritual, religious love driven thing.
RP Eddy [00:39:21] So it really that’s. An unbelievably influential Republican leader. Said to me. After Trump won. This guy has the polling data. He has the insights. He said you don’t you’ll never get it. The people who voted for Trump were looking for the biggest middle finger they could give to America. And that’s what he was.
Tom Scott [00:39:45] Yes.
RP Eddy [00:39:46] Right. Like, you don’t get me. You call me deplorable. You call me a racist. You do. Right. And you think I’m as you think I’m that I’m actually someone who has a Bible I believe in a family. I believe in a neighbor. I believe in the Constitution. I believe in. And Hillary, you know, that’s why she was probably such a bad candidate versus him. Roiled so much antipathy from them, so much anger that. They had to defend themselves where they viewed it in their way of life. And who are you to tell me my Bible’s wrong? Who are you to tell me that pro-choice or pro-life is wrong for you to tell me the Second Amendment is wrong and my way of life is wrong. And so here’s my middle finger to you. Yeah, and I bet that group is the one that’s just sort of stayed with them and they won’t care about that tweet. And the bad news, Tom, is no one’s going to talk about that tweet in a week. You know, one thing I’ve said about the beginning of this presidency is remember the John McCain thing he said during the campaign? John McCain, revered American icon. God rest his soul, were here. P.O.W. Vietnam, senator. You know, superstar, pretty bipartisan so far as Republicans go. Constructionist leader, foreign policy. Excellent guy. Had the pleasure of working with him in that meeting. I mean, a big fan of his. Donald Trump said in an interview or debate or something during the campaign, he derided McCain for being a P.O.W. I prefer heroes who aren’t caught and of course, course. John McCain’s experience in the Hanoi Hilton was broken arms, broken legs. I mean, you know, fucking torture to the highest extent. Pardon the French. And here comes Trump saying this. I said, oh, he’s gone. That’s it. He’s done. He’s done. He’s done. He’s done. No way he’s going to win after that. OK, then we get to the Billy Bush comments about grabbing women, sexually assaulting women like he says, live recording. I sexually assault women. All right, he’s done it, said he’s done. No. And then it’s just the roll. This keeps going on and on, on. And it is. We have become. Punched in the face so many times by it were totally inert to it. It doesn’t matter any more. One more point I asked a big Democratic strategist yesterday said, Joe Biden, can you show up? Is he there? Is he mentally competent? Be able to hold this campaign together? The answer was absolutely yes. No. I don’t know. This guy says he is 100 percent he’s a gaffe machine. Always has been. And then he says, but look. This isn’t going to be a campaign where you’re going to end trouble for gaffes and saying things will go with the president’s done for three and half years. Interestingly, I don’t think they’re going to hold Biden to the same standard. And they weren’t Judge Joe Biden, as we think Joe Biden is here, he shows me the staid centrist senator. So when you make a gaffe, like we judge against that and we’re gonna judge Trump against, we think Trump is.
Tom Scott [00:42:40] You know my own. Yeah, I like my own politics visa vi gay marriage have been for as long as I can remember. Why not? You know, I lived and worked in Provincetown as a 14 year old and as a 15 year old in a restaurant when AIDS broke out. I’ve lived in like gay communities most of my life. It’s something I’ve always been comfortable with and I’ve always believed that. And, you know, Barack Obama ran for president of the United States and won as a Democrat against gay marriage. He was civil unions like that’s how he was elected. That was his platform. So I was left of him. However you want to put it OK. And the law changed. And then there became this moment where there was this just so much condemnation of anyone who is even marginally in question of that. And I remember when that was happening, I was like, you are going to push these people away. I mean, you gave your own guy a break. And you’re you’re condemning these people, you’re asking them to evolve overnight and they’re not going to like it, it’s going to hurt them, and especially if you insult them with saying they’re racist or homophobes or evil or whatever. And it just started to happen. I remember at the time thinking like, wow, you’re going to lose a lot of people along these lines. And I think, though, like, that’s about when it started. Now, it probably started before that, but it was also during the onslaught of the the the Internet. And so all of a sudden, like to be mean became easy. It’s easy to be mean. You can be mean to people all day long was hard to be mean to people in mass numbers. In 2005,.
RP Eddy [00:44:19] Let’s say when we go eat in our car, too. Right. Like, if I was walking down an aisle at a grocery store, I wouldn’t yell at somebody slow down. Hurry up, get out of my way. But if I’m in a car honking the horn somehow, you know, feels like an easier way to be offensive. But I it’s more easy to be offensive. Similar to Twitter. You know, the anonymity of. The distance.
Tom Scott [00:44:39] So those are the things. Because I think, you know, and Michael Moore, I got it, he he he gave a talk. It was I don’t know. It was like October 31st, 2016. And he said exactly what you just said. You’re about to see the biggest F U that America has ever. Right. And he was dead right. And that F U. Is really complex. It is not as simple as all the bad people gave the finger to all the good people. That’s not what happened. What happened was we got really good at dividing ourselves and the frustrations that boil on both sides elected somebody who can say when they start looting, we start shooting. Sad to me, you don’t want to be too dramatic here. And I on the other hand, I do want to I don’t want to like, back off either. I don’t want to just assume the cool kids know what to do next. And, you know, we step aside and let the cool kids do the cool things.
RP Eddy [00:45:40] So, you know, one thing we haven’t mentioned and it’s not ours is, you know, the the George Floyd thing. I mean, Holy Moses, what in the world is this? It’s not. I just want to make sure we don’t like I don’t want to look back on this in 10 years and say we didn’t even mention this atrocity.
Tom Scott [00:45:59] Yeah, well, yeah.
RP Eddy [00:46:01] And here’s the irony of this. Those riots. Will help those with those will motivate more Trump voters. But they will also motivate critical parts of the Democratic base base to vote too.
Tom Scott [00:46:17] Yeah, well, and it’s going to be obviously more fertile ground for the Clint Watts phenomena, which is that other actors are engaged in scoring us apart. Yeah, yeah. It’s going to it’s going to pull us apart. Yeah. And I just I’m glad you brought it up. And I, I said it to Dan at the top. It’s like I don’t wanna go too far into it. It’s just it makes me sad. And to be clear, it makes me sad. I don’t. Of course I don’t want to see that. Maybe not. Of course. I think it’s horrible. And and all the issues around it, it’s hard for me to identify. I appreciate that. I totally appreciate that. Yeah, thanks for bringing it up. In many ways, that that’s the subject matter.
RP Eddy [00:46:59] That’s what it is. When they saw looting, we start shooting. But. All because of that poor, poor man passing a counterfeit bill. Similar to the guy in New York, I forget his name. I can’t.
Tom Scott [00:47:12] Eric Garner.
RP Eddy [00:47:13] Eric Garner selling loose cigarettes. We have a little more patience. Not a lot. If this was like. A spree shooter. Yes, insanity.
Tom Scott [00:47:27] OK, so. So before we go. Well, let me ask just one question and then we’ll go. Do you do you see yourself on a journey? And it turns out Covid was what brought us into this journey.
RP Eddy [00:47:51] I. I can’t. I’ve learned an unbelievable amount. In these. 80 days, right, and fifty five days we’ve done this. And I hope that I’ve grown. I think I have the exposure to you and other great thinkers. And certainly brought. Tools and strength to my ability to help for sure. And. I am, as I mentioned before, I am bearish on where American lives, meaning I’m negative on where America goes in the next nine months. It’s going to be a brutal nine months.
Tom Scott [00:48:42] All right. So so I’m going to do a call to action then, if I can do it. Do do exactly what RP has said before. Lead yourself. Do what David Brooks wrote about today. Lead yourself. And by the way, if it’s easy, this is my general feeling. If it’s easy, you’re doing some wrong. It’s going to be harder than you’d think to be thoughtfully leading yourself through a difficult time. And so it is won’t happen the way the ozone did. We were all freaked out about the ozone. And then when I was just gone. This isn’t going to be one of those. Like, you don’t want to. You don’t want people rioting in Minneapolis and you don’t want people die in a COVID. And so navigating all these different things. Not to mention 25 percent unemployment. And not to mention, wouldn’t it be nice if we get to the other side of this and feel like, man, we live in a better place than ever, would not feel good? Well, OK, it’s gonna be hard. Own it.
RP Eddy [00:49:32] Nothing easy is really ever worth doing right. But are only things that are harder worth doing. I don’t know what the expressions are, but the yeah, and I think you’re making a great point, which is that there’s going to be a vaccine. You know, it’s 35 percent chance I’ll be a vaccine in 18 months and then it’ll appear like we’re done. The ozone hole is sealed. But this economic collapse and this national division is not going to get sealed.
Tom Scott [00:49:56] That’s right. And in the middle of it, we’re gonna need some kind of fiber that holds us together so that we can go somewhere. Because the way it feels to me is we’re going like this. Right. We’re going this way.
RP Eddy [00:50:07] Of course, we are Jesus. OK.
Tom Scott [00:50:11] All right.
[00:50:12] You know what? More leaders like Stacey. And bring more attention that we can learn, more lessons the rest of us can be like Stacey.