David Brooks: A Conflict Between Urban Cosmopolitans And Less Well-Educated Ethnic Nationalism

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PBS: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including what Brexit might suggest about the upcoming presidential election, how frustrations with low-paying jobs and expensive education are influencing voters this year, President Obama’s “depleted” legacy and the prospects for new gun legislation.

DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: Well, in country after country, we’re seeing a conflict between what you might call urban cosmopolitans and less well-educated ethnic nationalism, and ethnic nationalism is on the rise.

And I agree with everything that Ivo, Richard and Margaret were saying, but it should be said — and I covered — I lived in Brussels for five years at the Maastricht Treaty, when all this was coming together — and the elites, as much as I hate the leave — the fact that the U.K. is going to leave the E.U., the elites in some large degree brought this on themselves.

There was built into the European unification project an anti-democratic, a condescending, and a snobbish attitude about popular democracy. And, secondly — and this is also true here — and I’m as pro-immigration as the day is long, but we have asked a lot of people who are suffering in this company to accept extremely, radically high immigration levels.

And we have probably overflooded the system. And so while it’s easy — and I do condemn the vote to leave, get out — a little humility is in order on the part of the establishment, frankly, that we have flooded the system with more than it can handle. And, secondly, we have not provided a good nationalism, a good patriotism that is cosmopolitan, that is outward-spanning, and that is confident. And, therefore, a bad form of parochial, inward-looking Trumpian nationalism has had free rein...

DAVID BROOKS: But it’s also feeding into and sort of intertwining with a cultural sense of loss.

And if you look at Trump voters, for example, and certainly probably true of Brexit voters, they think immigration is a force for harm, not good. They think people like themselves, basically white people, are discriminated against as much as anybody else. They think the country has because too multicultural.

And so these two forces, a sense of ethnic loss and economic loss, are coming together. And that’s certainly a dangerous formula.

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