#7 Fix It Shorts: Why Trump Won. What Should Happen Next?

We recorded this the day after the stunning U.S. Presidential election.  This show is our attempt to explain the reasons for Donald Trump's win.

Despite his deeply divisive rhetoric and attacks on Muslims and undocumented Mexican immigrants that deeply offended many voters, Trump emerged victorious. 

We examine why Trump won the election but also solutions and takeaways from his surprise victory.

Solutions:

  • Infrastructure: Large parts of America feel overlooked. One solution is investing in infrastructure, which would increase productivity and create more jobs.
  • Reform business regulation: “It’s a lot harder to enter a new occupation than it should be,” said Michael Strain, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute. How can we fix that? We can reform occupational licensing laws which have increased five-times in the past sixty years. These laws make it especially hard for people without a college degree to change careers.
  • Congress should meet before the new Administration takes office and discuss bipartisan reform, including taxes, trade, infrastructure and justice reform. 
  • Americans who are deeply distressed by the election can commit themselves to constructive change where they live, volunteering and rebuilding the public square. 
  • We need a civility revolution: stop vilifying people you disagree with. Let's heal our divided nation one conversation at a time.

#75 How Can We Get Better At Forecasting the Future: Mark Earls

Almost all of us do a poor job of predicting the future. 

This show looks at how we can adapt to the disruption and change the future inevitably brings.  Using examples from business and our personal lives, we consider how to be smarter and more successful.

"We over-estimate how bad we might feel if we lose something, and under-estimate how we will feel if something good happens,” says our guest, Mark Earls.

MARKEARLS20163.jpg

Mark joins Jim and Richard at our living room table in New York. Usually Mark is based in London where he's a well-known author and consultant on marketing, communications and behavioral change.  His books include “Copy Copy Copy”, "HERD: How to Change Mass Behavior by Harnessing Our True Nature” and “I’ll Have What She’s Having

"We have to realize…we have to prepare for multiple futures," Mark tells us in this episode. Some additional takeaways:

Solutions:
Start small. For example Spotify began in a small market (Sweden) and it was able to be more agile, make mistakes and react to its competition more effectively than a larger company.
 
Product plus: some of the most successful companies are the ones that make a product AND deliver a service; Dollar Shave Club is a good example of this.  
 
Customer service is more important than ever. “You can’t have that ‘take a ticket and wait in line’ attitude towards customers; you need to fix it.
 
In our personal lives prepare for multiple future scenarios: what would happen if you had an unexpected expense, how would you deal with a serious illness or a absence from work, or a major housing expense?

#6 Fix It Shorts: Election 2016:The Problem is Us.We The Voters

The news media have bombarded us with stories about the candidates, the contest and - to a lesser extent - the crucial issues America faces as people vote for the next President.

This podcast is about the voters.

We went back to four past episodes of "How Do We Fix It?" pulling extracts about how we make decisions and why the information that you and I receive from internet search engines and other sources may be radically different than the news and views our friends and neighbors are hearing.

On episode 24 podcast host and author David McRaney told us "we are not so smart," using confirmation bias as a defining example. "It would do us all good to actually think what are we wrong about," said David, who argues in favor of challenging our own personal biases. "Whenever you have an understanding of something, create an alternate explanation."

Psychologist Robert Epstein joined us on episode 11 to discuss whether Google is too powerful for our democracy. The former Editor-in-Chief of "Psychology Today" has done extensive research on Google's search rankings and algorithms. "There is a problem is the monopoly in search" that Google holds in most of the world, Robert said. "They're customizing what people see." 

Search rankings can have a big influence on how people vote. We are not getting challenged by ideas that we haven't heard before.

Joan Blades of Living Room Conversations aims to bring people together.  A progressive herself, Joan has engaged with evangelical conservatives and leaders of the tea party in lively, but respectful dialog about climate change, criminal justice reform and other questions. 

"We've become increasingly divided," Joan told us on episode 43. "We don't even share the same facts." Joan explained some of the ground rules of having conversations with those you disagree with. 

This brief "Fix It Shorts" podcast also features John Gable of AllSides. This news website puts stories from different sources next to each other -  columns from left, right and center-leaning news newspapers and online sites. 

"We want people to be able to see quickly the differences," John said in episode 49. "What we started doing with All Sides is breaking that filter bubble."

#70 Electile Dysfunction: A Cure For Our Campaign: Alan Dershowitz

Electile Dysfunction (is), “a terrible pun plus insightful commentary" is how TV host and wit Seth Myers describes" the new book by Professor Alan Dershowitz.

Dershowitz became a professor at Harvard Law when he was 25 years old. In his long and distinguished career, Newsweek described Dershowitz as "the nation's most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer and one of its most distinguished defenders of individual rights." We recorded this episode of "How Do We Fix It?" at his Manhattan home. "Electile Dysfunction" is his 35th book.

(Left to Right) Jim Meigs, Richard Davies and Alan Dershowitz

Voters are anxious, frustrated and they feel impotent. In this show we look at the strangest political campaign of our lifetime and what can be done to improve the way we elect Presidents.

We are not alone in facing a threat to our democracy.  "I'm afraid of what's going on in Europe today and what's going in the United States may reflect a trend rather than a pendulum swing," Alan Dershowitz tells us. "A trend toward extremes and we have to fight back."

Jim, Richard and Dershowitz discuss the rise of extremism on the right and left, the threat to free speech on college campuses and the virtue of compromise.

(Left to Right) Jim Meigs, Richard Davies and Alan Dershowitz

"I think centrist liberals and centrist conservatives have to get together and take back the center and stop the alt right from taking over the Republican Party and the alt left from taking over the Democratic Party," says Professor Dershowitz

We look at solutions:

A voter's Presidential checklist. Before voting, weigh where the candidates stand on the most important issues - from who will best protect us from terrorism to who will keep America's economy strong and produce more stability.

  • Shortening the nation's extremely long Presidential campaign with one national primary day in June, weeks before the party conventions.
  • Reducing the destructive power of the media to hype conflict and obscure the electorate's understanding of vital issues.
  • Encouraging free speech and open dialog that is now under threat at leading colleges and universities.