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Bill Moyers: What Election 2012 Reveals About America and Its Shifting Racial Faultlines

Moyers speaks with two leading political observers about race and economic inequality in America.

From Bill :

The election is finally over, so what happens next? Reihan Salam, a conservative blogger at National Review Online’s “The Agenda”, and long-time New York Times columnist Bob Herbert join Bill to assess and debate how the election revealed changes in American social and political culture. They also discuss what Obama’s re-election means for working families and people at the bottom of our economic ladder.

“I think this election really did demonstrate that there’s been a dramatic change particularly with regard to social issues and how folks talk about them,” Salam tells Bill. “I think that that has proven very sobering for a lot of folks on the right.” Salam is the co-author, with Ross Douthat, of  Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.

Herbert says, “I think the Republican Party is accurately defined as a party that looks out for the interests of the very wealthy. The Democratic Party less so, but I think they look out for the interests of the wealthy, too, before they look out for the interests of working Americans.” Herbert has been traveling the country for the past two years, reporting for his forthcoming book  Wounded Colossus. He is now a distinguished fellow at the think tank Demos.

Full text of the transcript from the interview below the video: 

BILL MOYERS: It's the weekend after, and Barack Obama is back in the White House, Democrats are back in control of the Senate, and Republicans are back running the House. That's what prevailed before Americans voted, when deadlock reigned in Washington, little got done, and the country was frustrated and angry. Are we in for more of the same? The talk we are hearing in Washington sounds altogether too familiar.

So let's consider what's ahead with two people of different philosophies about what should be done. Bob Herbert was a long time liberal columnist for  The New York Times until he retired last year and became a distinguished senior fellow for the national think tank Demos. He's been on the road for months now, reporting for his forthcoming book,  Wounded Colossus.

Reihan Salam writes  The Agenda – that’s a daily blog for the conservative National Review Online. He is a policy advisor at the think tank Economics 21 and a columnist for Reuters. He is also the co-author with Ross Douthat of the much talked-about book,  Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream. ...

Bob, what will you remember about this election?

BOB HERBERT: Well, the first thing I'll remember is the way people turned out to vote in this election in the face of tremendous voter suppression efforts. And I just think they've been really American heroes because they stood up and said, "You are not going to take the vote away from us." Some people stood in line for six, seven and eight hours. Some had been in areas that had been damaged by the storm. And I just think that they were there upholding democracy. So that's the first thing that I remember about it.

BILL MOYERS: They were also there making delicious pecan tarts. Because when I voted the kids in the school were selling baking goods, and they were having a great time of it. What will you remember?

REIHAN SALAM: Oh, that's a tough one to say. I think that for a lot of conservatives and a lot of Republicans this was a very disappointing election that opened a lot of folks’ eyes to some of the deeper changes that have happened in the country, much more so in some respects than the 2008 election which I think a lot of folks wrote off as a one off, as a fluke, something that reflected very unique historical circumstances.

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