After the attacks in Paris, 31 governors in the US said that their states won't accept Syrian refugees even though the attacks were carried out by European nationals. Nearly every Republican governor in the nation joined the chorus, but one refused– this cartoon from The Salt Lake Tribune depicts Utah Governor Gary Herbert standing apart from the pack. This is somewhat unexpected because Utah is one of the most conservative states in the US. Republican presidential candidates have won Utah by at least 19 points in every presidential election since 1964. It's a really red state. Why then is Utah the one conservative state that has pro-refugee? The answer? Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Mormon Church religious persecution hits really close to home. Shortly after the church was founded in 1830 it started growing rapidly, it wanted to create a new religious and political community it called Zion, and that didn't go over very well with the people of Ohio where the church set up its headquarters. The Mormons were violently driven out after just a few years.
Persecution continued as they moved west, violent clashes broke out in Missouri instigated by non Mormon trying to evict the Mormon settlers and prevent them from voting the governor of Missouri even issued an extermination order stating that the Mormons must be treated as enemies. By 1840 the Mormons were widely seen as a growing political and economic threat and no one really wanted them around. At the same time they started openly practicing polygamy, an illegal practice that gave mobs even more legal justification for hating the Mormons. By 1846 most Mormons were violently driven out of the United States. They settled in the high desert of Utah, which was a part of Mexico at that point. Every Sunday Mormons are reminded of this history from paintings that hang on the walls of their church to songs they sing to commemorate the early pioneers and their struggles. "Whether or not you are a descendant of pioneers, the Mormon pioneer heritage of faith and sacrifice is your heritage.
" now mormons may not be known as the most progressive or tolerant…"A Mormon bishop excommunicated a woman who demand equal rights inside the church" "The church has now clearly laid out that anybody who enters into a same-sex marriage is considered an apostate." But when Republicans turn away Syrian refugees and Donald Trump goes even further "Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Mormons remember that as the governor said recently in a Facebook post, "Utah is a state that was settled by religious exiles who withstood persecution after persecution" …and that's enough to get them to break with the conservative mainstream .
There's this graph that I saw recently. It's the most unsettling graph I've seen in American politics in a very, very, very long time. And yet it's really boring to look at. It's just a nearly straight horizontal line. The line doesn't do anything interesting at all. But what the graph shows is something that's somewhat terrifying. What that line shows is the relationship between what the average voter wants, and what they actually get. In a huge study, looking at over 2000 surveys of people's policy opinions, whether people were on the left side of the line which meant they opposed something happening, or on the right side, which meant they all wanted it to happen, it didn't matter. Once you controlled for the opinions of affluent Americans and interest groups and other lobbying organizations — average people, their voice was not heard at all.
Or at the very least their voice didn't appear to matter at all. Average folks only get what they want if economic elites or interest groups also want it. And all this data comes from a time when these groups were arguably less powerful in American politics. America never sold itself as a democracy. It sold itself as a representative democracy. There's accountability from voters onto politicians, but politicians, they get time in office. To step away from the passions of the electorate for at least a little while. And do things that are right for the country, and then voters will judge them on whether they did a good job. So maybe its the case that affluent Americans and interest groups and politicians just — they're always right. And average voters. You can just safely ignore them. But it doesn't look like America's been run so well. We had a massive financial crisis because we didn't do enough to regulate Wall Street, we got into a disastrous war in Iraq. We have median wages that haven't substantially grown in many, many years.
It doesn't seem that we are so incredibly good at running this country. Maybe we need a little more democracy in our representation..
Bernie Sanders: When you talk about foreign policy… as important an issue as any, is the issue of climate change. If you talk to the CIA, if you talk to the Department of Defense, and I have, what they will tell you is that one of the great security issues facing this planet is the fact that as we see more and more drought, as poor people around the world are unable to grow the food they need to survive, you're going to see migrations of people in international climate. I happen to believe that when you talk about foreign policy, a the very top of the list is the need for the United States to lead the world, to work with China, work with Russia, work with India in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. This is not just a, "Environmental issue," this is also a global national security issue as well. It is an international crisis and I have to tell you, without being overtly political here, it is an embarrassment to me that we have a major political party called the Republican Party, which with few exceptions refuses to even recognize the reality of climate change, let alone is prepared to do anything about it.
That is an embarrassment. That you have a major party refusing to listen to science. Ezra Klein: Do you believe we need to price carbon? Bernie Sanders: Yes. Ezra Klein: Would you do it through a carbon tax or cap and trade? Bernie Sanders: Carbon tax. It's the simple and direct way to do it and I've introduced legislation with Senator Boxer to do just that. Once you're into cap and trade you're into all kinds of complicated stuff. Folks on Wall Street are going to make a whole lot of money. Look, we have got to come up and answer a simple question. Are the scientists right or are they wrong? If they are right they're telling us that the planet earth will be 5 to 10 degrees warmer by the end of this century Fahrenheit. That will cause cataclysmic changes in terms of drought, weather disturbances, rising sea levels, acidification of the ocean, international conflict. If they are right, I believe they are right, we have got to move in a very, very bold way.
We have to do it yesterday..