5 Best Talks about Voting and Politics

1. Arthur Brooks: A conservative’s plea: Let’s work together

“We need to come together around the best ways to mitigate poverty using the best tools at our disposal, and that comes only when conservatives recognize that they need liberals and their obsession with poverty, and liberals need conservatives and their obsession with free markets. That’s the diversity in which lies the future strength of this country, if we choose to take it.”

With strong beliefs and convictions, conservatives and liberals often stand from opposing sides of what may seem like a huge divide where finding a common ground appears to be an impossible feat. But what if there is a way to get past ideologies that only add to the increasing polarization so evident today? Social scientist Arthur Brook offers ideas on what individuals can do to make working together possible regardless of political beliefs.

2. Benjamin Barber: Why mayors should rule the world

“…we need to understand why cities are special, why mayors are so different than prime ministers and presidents, because my premise is that a mayor and a prime minister are at the opposite ends of a political spectrum. To be a prime minister or a president, you have to have an ideology, you have to have a meta-narrative, you have to have a theory of how things work, you have to belong to a party. Independents, on the whole, don’t get elected to office. But mayors are just the opposite. Mayors are pragmatists, they’re problem-solvers. Their job is to get things done, and if they don’t, they’re out of a job.”

In this talk, political theorist Benjamin Barber explores why city mayors, the ones who are actually getting things done every day, may just be the right people to take the lead in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.

3. Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy

“How often do we hear that people just don’t care? How many times have you been told that real, substantial change isn’t possible because most people are too selfish, too stupid or too lazy to try to make a difference in their community? I propose to you today that apathy as we think we know it doesn’t actually exist; but rather, that people do care, but that we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way.”

Are people really apathetic and could not care less about everything that is happening in the world? For Dave Meslin, the answer is no. In this video, he talks about the obstacles that hinder people who care a lot from getting involved.

4. Eric Liu: There’s no such thing as not voting

“Imagine where this country would be if all the folks who in 2010 created the Tea Party had decided that, you know, politics is too messy, voting is too complicated. There is no possibility of our votes adding up to anything. They didn’t preemptively silence themselves. They showed up, and in the course of showing up, they changed American politics”

Civics educator and former political speechwriter Eric Liu talks about going beyond the rhetoric of voting as a civic duty and make it more engaging for everyone. He shares how he and his team launched “The Joy of Voting” that aimed to encourage people to come together and vote in the 2016 US presidential election.

5. Nate Silver: Does racism affect how you vote?

“Racism is predictable. And it’s predicted by interaction or lack thereof with people unlike you, people of other races. So if you want to address it, the goal is to facilitate interaction with people of other races.”

Statistician Nate Silver offers an interesting perspective on how racism may or may not affect the way people vote. Using data, he shares some interesting insights that will make you think about the impact of skin color in politics.