Spencer Critchley, managing partner for Boots Road Group, is hosting a discussion—the fourth in an ongoing series—that seeks to improve communication across political divides, but the true goal of the discussion is more profound, as evidenced by its title, “Saving Democracy.”
“It’s finding the people wherever they sit on the ideological spectrum who believe in civil debate,” says Critchley. “The members of this party—the party of democracy—have to find each other.”
The next “Saving Democracy” installment is Tuesday, May 26 from 6:30-8pm, streaming on Facebook Live.
Past “Saving Democracy” events have spanned ideologies, with voices from both the right and the left. Critchley says Tuesday’s event will focus on the conservative perspectives and on political moderates. It will be titled “What Would Lincoln Do.” Guests will include former California Republican leader Kristin Olsen and Dan Schnur, who once served as media chief for Senator John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign and who now teaches at both USC and UC Berkeley. Another guest will be Mike Madrid, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a conservative group aiming to “defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box,” according to the organization’s website. None of the guests are fans of President Donald J. Trump.
Critchley will moderate the talk.
He says the thing that makes Trump so dangerous is his corruption. That includes the president’s self-dealing, his firing of anyone who gets in his way, his efforts to solicit help from foreign governments, and his persistent lies, which are intoxicating in and of themselves, Critchley elaborates.
“The point is not to get away with the lie. The point is to do away with the concept of truth,” Critchley says.
He says Americans should not give in to their differences, or else those who are driving divisions will get their way by making groups of people hate each other more. Critchley says many of those who pursue a divisive brand of civil discourse are Trump supporters, but not all of them.
“There’s a brand of liberal intolerance. It’s a different brand. It takes a different shape—‘if you disagree with me, then you’re corrupt,’” he explains.
Critchley, author of the new book Patriots of Two Nations: Why Trump Was Inevitable and What Happens Next, traces the central schism in American political discourse back to the founding days of United States. There was a group that supported the ideals of the enlightenment and another, which he calls the “counter-enlightenment,” that did not.
In order to win elections in the 21st century, Critchley says, Democrats will need to learn to better communicate with those they disagree with.
“The problem is not Trump,” he says. “The problem is that someone like Trump could become president.”
“Saving Democracy: What Would Lincoln Do” will air on Facebook Live on Tuesday, May 26, from 6:30-8pm. Attendants may register in advance, to get a reminder when the event goes live. Visit bootsroad.com/democracy for more information.
UPDATE May 22 7:50pm: A previous version of this headline misspelled Spencer Critchley’s last name.