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Narrative Breakers

This is was inspired by Marshall's framework of the issues that shaped The Realignment Part I: Are there any topics/events that you would qualify as part of The Realignment that you still aren't able to explain or contextualize? e.g. "I still don't understand how this person rose to prominence?" or "I don't know why x is or isn't a popular issue?"

Who regulates the regulators?

Marshall, your experience in the think-tank space probably makes you a good person to answer this question. It's easy to see the harm caused by the revolving door between regulators and the industry they regulate. The inherent conflict of interest incentives regulators to serve industry rather than the public. What's less clear to me, though, is whether locking down the revolving door will result in better regulation. Someone who is actually qualified to regulate the entire banking industry in the US could easily make 10, 100, or even 1000 times more working at Goldman Sachs than the President of the United States earns in salary. How are we going to incentivize competent regulation while at the same time cutting the most qualified individuals off from the opportunities for wealth offered by the revolving door? Do we really want to take away the chance for regulators to better themselves?

What if DeSantis doesn't run in 2024?

All current discussions and polling around the 2024 election/primary revolve around Trump vs a candidate who isn't actually a candidate. I'd like to here your thoughts on what the political implications might be if DeSantis decides to sit the 2024 election out and wait for Trump's time to come to pass. - What is the likelihood that he decides not to run in 2024? - Would it be in his best interest politically? - Could running against Trump damage his reputation and chances for a future run? - Would sitting aside make him look weak or scared and damage his reputation and chances for a future run? Sorry for the multiple questions, but everyone seems to be assuming his candidacy is a certainty, and I thought the alternative might make for good discussion. Keep up the good work!

DeSantis vs Trump

What are the set of conditions needed for DeSantis to beat Trump (not including Trump dying or going to jail)? As a republican who would like to see DeSantis win the nomination, it is discouraging to see that Trump’s support balloon post-indictment, but it is encouraging to see that DeSantis’s floor seems to be 20-30% with Trump around 50-55%. I say this is encouraging because it suggests he won’t free fall like Jeb Bush did in 2016. Saagar has recently pointed out that DeSantis’s line of attack on COVID lockdowns/executive branch staffing is most likely ineffective because it’s been nearly 3 years, people have moved on, and Republican’s don’t care about policy. Would the correct line of attack be to prosecute the culture war, especially with Don Jr. telling the right to stop boycotting bud light? Or is this too “online”? I would add that country music singer Riley Green substituted Bud Light for Coors Light at one of his concerts and the crowd went wild. While anecdotal, conservatives may actually care about this. Thank you for taking the question and keep up the great work! -JP

My kids, pessimists about America

I have four kids, all high school and college age. We were together the other day and talking about their goals and where they picture themselves in their ideal futures. And all four said they want to leave the US and live in another country. The destination is different for each of them, but the sentiment is the same: The US does not rate for them as a great place to live. My daughter talks about Sweden or Norway, pointing to online articles that come up when she Googles "best countries to live in." Two other kids have their eyes set on Canada--close and familiar but, in their minds, culturally preferable. (The youngest imagines himself in New Zealand.) For some context, they have all lived a relatively tranquil suburban life outside Denver, Colorado. We've traveled the US, but never been to countries. They have the privilege of good schools, although college has turned out to be a struggle, personally and financially, for the older ones. Of course, they live half their life or more online. They're not especially wired in to politics, but they have their opinions: They are generally liberal, absolutely disgusted by Trump, but most critically, they have an ingrained notion that the US is not a place of promise--that it is a venal culture, even toxic, and most likely irredeemable. They have absorbed messages about the escalating expense of education, housing, healthcare, and just surviving as an adult. Hence they look abroad, or at least dream of it. My question is: What would you say to them? How should young adults feel about their country in 2023? Where should they be looking for promise, or even a foothold on hope? What might their idealistic images of life in Scandinavia or Canada be missing? When you're feeling pessimistic, where do you find optimism?