Our guest this week is Rui Tavares, historian and University Professor, who talks about his late fascination with the United States, anticipates a left-wing turn in American politics, and recalls the criticism of Radio 100 years ago to ward off demonization of social networks.

Originally from a communist-oriented and suspicious of the United States family from southern Portugal, Rui Tavares had his eyes set on other geographies, such as Brazil. The American fascination came late, as he admits himself, with the postcards sent by a former teacher who showed a more diverse country, different from what he knew from afar.

“It’s the first moment when I think ‘I was able to fall in love with the United States’, having never been there and not coming from a family or a particularly Americanophilic culture.” – Rui Tavares.

The first experience came in April 2000, when he landed in New York and he stays in Hoboken, the city of New Jersey from which one of the greatest figures of American culture originated: Frank Sinatra.

He also lived for a month in the East Village in New York. He would eventually return to the United States several times, as a visiting scholar and visiting professor, at the Universities of Massachusetts, New York, and Brown, and in 2008 he was the special envoy of the newspaper PÚBLICO to cover the elections that would give a historic victory to Barack Obama.

Also a former politician – he was an MEP for the Left Bloc and is the founder of Livre, which has achieved a historic result in the latest legislative elections – Rui Tavares predicts a left-wing shift in American politics that can change the political spectrum forever and anticipates that Donald Trump’s political legacy will be a lasting one.

“This conservatism of Donald Trump will leave a lasting legacy. At the same time, socially, the country will turn left and from the moment the Democrats manage to break through the floodgates of the Senate, eventually ending up as Filibuster in the Senate – that mechanism that forces super majorities and benefits Republicans – on the day this is over, I think the floodgates open to a democratic and multiracial predominance in American politics , which will change American politics forever.” – Rui Tavares.

On the power of social networks on the media agenda and the effective and efficient use by some politicians, especially populists, Rui Tavares does not embark on the demonization of social networks and recalls what was said when Radio emerged, in the first decades of the twentieth century.

“What unites and divides is the message, not the platform. We had the very same argument in the ’20s around Radio. There was a whole speech, a pessimistic approach about the radio that said, ‘see? Radio is the tool of the demagogues. What’s Radio for? For the Mussolinis and the Hitlers, because Radio is very immediate, because Radio enters people’s homes.” – Rui Tavares.

Despite all the polarization and profound changes he sees, the historian leaves a relatively optimistic message about social networks and the conjuncture itself.

“This moment of enormous polarization in which we are living, in which none of us know what to believe, what strands of information to cling to because they are so many, we will end up finding some cardinal points in these old ideas of human rights, of democracy, that make more sense than tribal selfishness.” – Rui Tavares.

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