The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Matt Taibbi: Lack Of Self-Awareness Cost Republicans The Minority Vote

When it comes down to it, politics speaker Matt Taibbi says that Rush Limbaugh just doesn't get why the Republican party earned so little of the minority vote this past election. While the Republicans fared well with white males at the polls, they were far off from earning themselves the support of minority voters. Limbaugh questioned why the GOP wasn't able to connect with these constituents on his radio show. While he is by no means the resounding voice for the Republican party, his brash comments certainly crystalize an overarching problem with the party's direction.

“It's hard to say,” Taibbi writes in his recent Rolling Stone piece, “whether it's good or bad that the Rushes of the world are too clueless to realize that it's their attitude, not their policies, that is screwing them most with minority voters.” Self-reliance and fiscal responsibility, for example, are two traditional conservative values that most people would generally identify with and support, Taibbi explains. However, by clinging to stereotypes and assuming that all young voters are lazy and don't want to work and that women are only concerned about reproductive rights, Taibbi argues that the party is missing out on the issues that would allow them to really connect with voters. If you are out of touch with what your voters actually want, he questions, how can you expect to earn their support? While the Republicans didn't lose the election by a huge margin, some introspection is necessary, he writes, to decide how to better connect to a larger portion of the country. Romney and the Republicans' lack of self-awareness, Taibbi argues, could have been the biggest factor that cost them the election—not their policies.

Red And Blue America: Steven Pinker’s NYT Piece on Politics and Geography

“Regardless of who wins the presidential election,” Steven Pinker writes in his New York Times opinion piece,  “we already know now how most of the electoral map will be colored, which will be close to the way it has been colored for decades.”  If you look back on elections past, the electoral map shows little change between which states voted Republican and which voted for Democrat over the past five elections. In the article, Pinker breaks down several theories that attempt to explain both why certain groups of people have clung to similar ideologies for years, and why certain geographic locations are more prone to vote a certain way.

In the article, Pinker asks, “why do ideology and geography cluster so predictably?,” and, further, why can you predict a person's set of values once you know their stance on a single hot-button issue? Politics plays on conceptions of human nature, he writes. Drawing from theories presented by conservative theorists, Pinker says that political affiliation is rooted in the political right's “Tragic Vision of human nature.” and the left's “Utopian Vision.” On the right, it is argued that human beings are tempted by aggression which must be dealt with through the enactment of strict commitments to a strong military and stern criminal punishment. The left, contrastingly, sees society as more flexible and aims to improve it through the improvement of public institutions. He explains that the geographical connection to political affiliation is linked to ancestry. The states that have a longer-standing history of democratization continued that tradition whereas the states that have a history of a more anarchic society tended to favor more conservative values.

As one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in The World, Pinker's work delves deep into the human psyche to analyze why we do the things that we do. He has authored many best-selling books charting the course of violence in society over history and and the complexities of language. In his writing and his fascinating talks, Pinker expands our views on the world and helps us answer some of its greatest mysteries.