How Gen Z Might Save Politics (w/ Layla Zaidane)

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Could a united Gen Z hold the keys to a better future? Layla Zaidane, CEO of the Millennial Action Project, says that young politicians agree on many important issues, and her mission is to help young lawmakers to come together and work across the aisle to solve problems. In this special episode, Andy and Layla talk about her efforts to support the next generation of lawmakers and help them learn how things get accomplished, both in state legislatures and in D.C.

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Andy Slavitt, Layla Zaidane

Andy Slavitt  00:18

This is IN THE BUBBLE with Andy Slavitt. Yes, it’s a special Monday episode today. Welcome, hope you had a nice weekend, we’ve been having a lot of conversations about age in politics. Recently, we have two older men, leading both parties bid to run for president this year. And a lot of ink is spilled and a lot of ink will be spilled about how old is too old. And all that. And I’ve had my views on that. And we’ve talked a little bit about that. But I don’t want to go there. Today. Today, I want to actually look at the other side of this question, the one that nobody is really looking at, which is, what are young lawmakers doing and thinking about and up to? What are the lawmakers that in 1020 30 years will be the dominant group and who are already rising in ascendancy, we have our first gen Y lawmakers, we have many millennial lawmakers. And I think today, we have an opportunity to explore the question of what is different about this caucus. We talk a lot about the dividing lines in this country. rural versus urban, educated, non educated, conservative, liberal for whatever that means these days, populist versus kind of more center left center, right, there’s all kinds of dividing lines. No, my guest today, Layla Zaidane, would tell you that the greatest dividing line in how people think and how they’re oriented is not about any of those lines. It’s actually about when they were born. And she has built an organization, the millennial Action Project, which focuses on helping lawmakers who are born roughly after 1982 have the resources to be successful in federal and state policy jobs. Say that, again, he’s not focusing on how to elect young people. She’s focusing on how to make them effective. And she has a number of observations, she came to my attention as these observations became apparent. And you’ll hear me today in this conversation, I really want to test some of these observations she makes, for example, she makes the case that people who are younger policymakers are more aligned than they are with their own parties, their own political parties. She’s pretty unequivocal about that. And that suggests, to me that things are going to change in the future, that there’s going to be a new set of issues that are going to be most important and most dominant. Look, young people are going to play a big role in this coming election. Whether it’s electing young people are choosing between the older people that they want. If you heard my episode, with Franklin four, you will understand the perception that the Franklin had and that I share that Joe Biden is sort of the young person’s old person he is sort of living for and passing laws that will benefit his grandchildren’s generation. That is one way of looking at it. But there’s others. And we’re gonna get into it with Layla. So stick around, I think you’re gonna love this.

Andy Slavitt  03:58

Layla Zaidane, welcome to the bubble.

Layla Zaidane  04:00

Hi, Andy. Thanks for having me.

Andy Slavitt  04:03

It’s so good to have you here. I can’t think of a more topical question. We should have seen a generational shift in this country and in politics. I want to maybe start with, you know, people who are 40. And under I know that some of them would be classified as millennials, some would be classified as Gen X. But how are younger people thinking about politics these days?

Layla Zaidane  04:30

Well, for young people who are voters or who are just sort of participating as constituents, I think it’s become more and more clear how politics is a part of every dimension of our lives, right? All of the ways in which we go to school or have jobs or buy homes or rent. It’s really become, I think, more clear in a lot of different dimensions that the decisions that are made by policymakers Because really impact your life as a young person. And so I think young people have become really engaged in what that means. And we’re seeing more and more participation. Now, one thing that I’m really excited about as somebody who runs a network of young elected officials, is that that’s actually translating into more and more young people running for office, both millennials. And now Gen Zers. Right, we just saw our first Gen Z member of Congress and Maxwell frost. And so I think people are excited to make their voice heard. And it’s becoming more and more clear to younger generations, the pathways by which they might participate in the process and meaningful ways.

Andy Slavitt  05:42

Well, there’s certainly an argument that many of the issues, many of the most important issues we wrestle with, are going to affect younger people, and future generations, to a greater extent than perhaps in the past, where we’re dealing with maybe the economy or a war, or certainly very important things. But today, it feels like we are making decisions around our climate, our democracy, our role, our view in the world, whether that we participate in the economy is a full on manufacture, whether we’re just a consumption country, like these are very defining moments for the future. So do younger people take that lens that like why do we not have more representation?

Layla Zaidane  06:34

Yeah, I gotta tell you this is the exact reason that got me involved in this work is seeing that gap between who’s making decisions and whether or not action is being taken on the issues that really are going to have a long term impact on my life. And feeling like, right, you’ve heard the expression. And if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. Right? I think that was really, it felt true for me as a as a young person. And I think the more that you follow the thread on any one of those issues that you mentioned, whether it’s climate, education, housing, justice, you start to see this common problem, which is political polarization, right, all of these issues, sort of you go further and further back down the thread. And you see that gridlock polarization or causing inaction or causing sort of big intractable problems to get kicked down the road. And the longer we choose to not do anything about them, the bigger and bigger of a problem it becomes for young people, right, we end up paying the cost. And so I think exactly what you say is, is why we need more young people who can prioritize and create more urgency around a lot of the things that we’re going to have to live with for a long time.

Andy Slavitt  07:55

What do you put in this question of whether or not younger people are growing up with a sense, and becoming adults with that sense of cynicism or optimism? You know, in my generation, you know, and I’m, I guess you’d call me Gen X. there plenty of challenges. But, you know, we all grew up feeling like in general, things were going to get better, that we were going to do better than our parents, that things like civil rights, marriage equality, you know, some of those things weren’t even figment of people’s imagination, but that, that we were moving towards a more just society. You know, that I think we now have, since that time, people who, if they go to college, graduate with an awful lot of debt, homeownership is out of reach for a lot of people. Jobs are not as stable as they once were. Baby, they feel a sense of different sense of connection to the community than we did. technology may make them feel more connected in some days, but it may make them feel more isolated in other ways. And then, of course, they’ve got a big set of things to worry about across the horizon. We talked about what some of them are, like climate another’s. So it’s, is there a sense of optimism that we can solve these problems? Or is it really just such a weight, that the general mood and mode is more challenging than that?

Layla Zaidane  09:25

Yeah, I love this question, because I think the stereo type of Gen Z, and of young people right now is that they’re super cynical. And, you know, I would say there’s probably nothing scarier than a teenage girl. And this is me speaking as somebody who wants was a teenage girl because they seem just so like dark and cynical and scary. And yet, when you pull Gen Z right now, they have a tremendous amount of of optimism and actually, Gallup just released a poll a couple of days ago. where three quarters of all Gen Zers believe they have a great future ahead of them. Right, I think at the individual level, we really see a lot of faith in the ability for you to create that that future. Now the gap is that less than half of those respondents say that they feel prepared for it, or that they are equipped to get there. And so I think you see, sort of this, this hope, and this optimism, and then this this real, I think, sobering assessment that the ways in which we are kind of like moving from where we are today to where we need to be in the future, that we are, we are under preparing the generation that we were we are not equipping are tackling the institutions and systems and, and challenges in the way in the way that we need to.

Andy Slavitt  10:50

Well, let’s take a quick break, I want to come back. And then I want to dig into the current election, not just how people are thinking about about participating as voters. But how younger people are thinking about this very quaint, old fashioned notion of actually participating in the democracy, we’ll be right back. Okay, you are involved very specifically, in how to support younger people who are becoming our elected officials, representatives, that I’m gonna start with a provocative question. Aren’t they sellouts for joining the institutions that are failing them? Aren’t they just, aren’t they just like, you know, sell out for like taking wood or put on a tie and jacket and go to Congress?

Layla Zaidane  11:58

Well, Andy, they don’t have to put on a tie and jacket anymore in Congress, as you may have just seen with us some of the new new role changes. But you know, I think I think there’s a sea change on the horizon. Right. And and that agency that we were just talking about, of people, feeling like other folks are maybe disappointing them, institutions are broken, but they I have the power to make change. I think we’re seeing people step up and sort of shake up the status quo inside institutions. It’s no longer just an outside strategy, this inside outside strategy that Gen Z is leading in terms of getting political change is really exciting and animating. And it’s also something that starts to inspire more young people, right? Like, maybe you might be the first but you won’t be the only people seeing Agenzia. And Congress has awakened, I think a lot more excitement and interest from other Gen Zers. And what it might look like for them to hold political power, even if it’s not at the congressional level, what does it look like to be on your city council or your school board or any other number of more local positions?

Andy Slavitt  13:09

Okay, so you’ve got 1600 or so members in this caucus, which is, I think you define it as people who are under the age of 45. So tell us what’s different about this group, this generation? And how they think about their challenges and what they have to do?

Layla Zaidane  13:32

Yeah, so So we looked around almost 10 years ago, and saw a bunch of candidate recruitment organizations that were helping young people get elected run campaigns, and noticed that there really wasn’t anyone there helping them govern, sticking around for all of the hard decisions that they have to make the laws, they have to, you know, evaluate the relationships they have to build. And so what we decided to do is we launched something called the future caucus network. And as you said, it’s for anybody 45 years old and younger, and it sought out to sort of deprioritize the saliency of your partisan identity, right, like when you show up to Congress or state legislatures, your friends, or just people who are Democrats or Republicans, and we thought, okay, all these young people are getting elected. What if we made the saliency of their generational identity, the most important thing that they were holding as they walked into these political situations.

Andy Slavitt  14:37

Okay, so let me let me stop you there. Is that working?

Layla Zaidane  14:41

Oh, people are so hungry for that. Yes, it is.

Andy Slavitt  14:45

So you have Democrats and Republicans that are friends with each other.

Layla Zaidane  14:50

All over the country, Andy? We’re in 33 states.

Andy Slavitt  14:53

I say this a little bit serious, a little bit joking because the truth His people actually do have good friends on the other side of the aisle. They don’t necessarily make it public. But certainly the old way of doing business, and even the current way of doing business. I mean, McCarthy is a pretty polarizing figure, but he hangs out in the house gym. And there are plenty of Democrats that know him from that. And it’s amazing how there are people who are partisan Democrats and partisan Republicans that actually do get along. But there is this general sense in the country that that’s going away. That that’s the old way. And you’re telling me no, no, no, that’s not the old way. That’s actually how, how people in this new generation people like it.

Layla Zaidane  15:42

It’s super lonely and hard to be a an elected official like to take on public leadership is a hard job. And to be able to find a community of people who are at the same stage of life as you who can commiserate with the experiences that you’re facing, and who can be actually governing partners who ultimately make your job easier, who can help you write bipartisan legislation that actually, you know, gets gets through, that’s a that is such a value add to young people, they’re so hungry to find communities like that. It’s totally working at all, you know, I’ll give you an example. So in Kansas, we have a chapter of young lawmakers in the Kansas State Legislature, and they’ve gotten all sorts of, you know, legislation done together as a caucus. But they also hang out every week, they go to the bar, they recently did, like an axe throwing night and you know, beer and axe throwing, I think they went Axe Throwing first and then they had a drank, not the other, other way around. But it’s those kinds of moments that helped build the relationships. And then, you know, give them a community have a governing partnership that helps them get things done.

Andy Slavitt  16:52

So met Matt gates is 41. Alexandria, Acacio. Cortez, I believe is all of 33. We should people be imagining that those two people could be friends?

Layla Zaidane  17:06

You know, I think they have written bills together. And so when it relates to public policy, they’ve actually figured out ways to to get things done. I think the the question is as a, as a leader, you have a choice? Are you going to go on Twitter X, whatever we’re calling it and be a flame thrower? And are you going to build political power that way? Or did you run for office? Because you saw problems that needed to be solved? And are you going to look for another way to build your power to get those problems solved. And I think we’re seeing for a lot of young people who are going through the trouble of running for office in the first place, they really want to get things done. They’re not interested in being in, in the limelight, as the matt gates is, and the AOCs of the world has been really successful in doing, they’re most interested in, how can I actually do the thing that I set out to do and I decided why I wanted to run for office.

Andy Slavitt  18:04

So I’m hearing you, and part of me is going okay, I’m gonna love this part of me is like, I don’t believe her. I just don’t believe her. And let me tell you why I say this. I actually don’t think that the difference is between Democrat and Republican so much right now, as it is between populism and establishment. And so I actually think gates and AOC have things in common. They both want to disrupt the party, they both want to bring real change. Now, the kind of change and how they want to do it can be very different. But you know, Gates and his crew want to stop the Congress from operating as it operates and say, Hey, wait a minute, we should be doing things a little more Piper’s way and I think AOC similarly, what I actually think they both hate is center, left and center, right. And it feels like center left and center, right candidates, particularly center, right, people are more and more thing of the past. And that the real lane is to have a populace better the populace tilt to what you’re doing. And that, to me feels like a much stronger trend. Even if people do get along and you know, want to get things done, et cetera. Do you know there’s a there’s the problem solvers caucus, it exists? You know, it’s you can argue how effective it is. You can argue how big it is. Your guy yeah, how much they’ve actually gotten done. I mean, I know plenty of people in it, and some of them are good people, but they do not feel mainstream. They feel to me more out of the norm. Yeah, again, four to 500 600 people, there’s gonna be all types. But am I really to believe that, you know, 20 years from now when the people that are coming into Congress now these young people are working there that we’re gonna have more harmonious Congress? It’s just have a hard time swallowing that.

Layla Zaidane  19:57

Yeah. Well, let’s And you don’t have to take my word for it, I think, again, looking at state legislatures just because there’s there’s way more of them. So it’s a, you know, bigger number to evaluate. We looked at every single piece of legislation that got done last year. And of those pieces of legislation. Well, let me say this first to about one in five state lawmakers is millennial urgency. Okay, so one in five, that’s lower than the population as a whole. So low underrepresented. A third of all bipartisan bills that were enacted last year were authored by a millennial or Gen Z ear. And so this, you know, when you compare sort of the trend lines, you’re seeing them over represented in this desire to get things done. And I don’t necessarily think that harmonious is the word that I would describe this Kumbaya, as for problem solvers, you know, sort of, not to speak negatively about them. But like, the end goal is not like a watered down mushy middle, kind of like a solution that has no teeth. I think what young people are, is impatient, and, and frustrated with just a lack of progress on so many things that have stalled for so long, that they’re willing to work with whoever they have to work with, to get things done. And oftentimes, that means that somebody in their own party is not the person who’s going to help them get something over the finish line. It’s actually somebody in the other party who they can find alignment with. And so I actually think you start to see sort of interesting, strange bedfellows because of this, like, real urgency that young people feel to, to get moving on a lot of the problems that they see within themselves, they have the power to affect change on and if nobody else is going to do it, then why not then.

Andy Slavitt  21:49

Let’s take a quick final break. Then let’s come back. Let’s dive in a little bit deeper on some of these things. And then I want to finish by talking about what the impact of your work. looks like. It’s going to be in the upcoming election cycle. We’ll be right back. We are back. Okay. I guess let me just take you through a couple of areas. And I just curious, get your thoughts whether or not these are areas where historically Republicans or Democrats have pretty different answers. But I’m curious as we’re looking at it, whether the younger generation sees them more and more, the same start with health care. Do you think there’s some unity of purpose between younger generations? You know, certainly across political aisles here.

Layla Zaidane  22:54

Yeah, definitely. I think there’s huge, especially when you look at Jen’s ears, but millennials to focus on mental health. I think the pandemic has brought about some real clear opportunities on telehealth. And I think there’s, you know, been a conversation around prescription drug pricing, insulin, things like that, that really get young people to the table.

Andy Slavitt  23:16

How about tech and AI? I mean, these are really emerging important policy areas. Older people know a lot less about these topics than younger people. That’s a place for younger people to lead. Is there emerging perspectives and uniformity there?

Layla Zaidane  23:30

Yeah, that’s an interesting one, because it’s not its own silo, right. Tech and AI cuts across every other industry in issue from education to, you know, to healthcare to, to sort of how we even run our government, right, like the actual like bureaucracy of it. And so I think there’s more of an open mindedness in young people about the opportunities of tech and AI versus I think, a knee jerk fear, or like apocalyptic view of like, we have to shut down any kind of work on it. I think that is not a position that young people have, but actually thinking through what are the ways in which you can responsibly integrate interesting tech and AI into the, you know, way in which we run our schools or hospitals or you know, everything.

Andy Slavitt  24:19

Interesting. Though, it feels like we’re that far off somewhere in the future. There’s going to be legislation on AI, it’s probably going to get it mostly right and somewhat wrong. And I suspect that having younger people participating in that dialogue and deliberation process is going to be important. How about affordable housing.

Layla Zaidane  24:37

We recently surveyed our legislator membership actually and asked them what issues are most important to their constituents to young people, as young people themselves, and housing was actually one of the the number one issues that came back just how expensive it is, especially for young people looking to save to buy their first house but even young people renting it So I would actually say looking forward to 2024. That’ll be something that we see a lot of action on.

Andy Slavitt  25:05

Interesting. Interesting. And it also foretells maybe how we could see policy shape up. Does it is really hard to imagine a whole generation not able to afford a home. How about criminal justice?

Layla Zaidane  25:19

Oh, well, that has historically, you know, been a pretty bipartisan area. I think young people in particular, see the social justice lens by which the justice system has has failed, I think where Republicans come in, as well as just the like economic and efficiencies of how much we spend on on incarceration. And there’s a lot of opportunity where it relates to juvenile justice, as well as preparing returning citizens to be to avoid recidivism. Think there’s like a lot of policies, you know, things like Ban the Box and making sure that people can get gainful employment, as well as I think across all of our state caucuses or state future caucuses, we’ve seen a lot of work on marijuana and some other sort of drug related policy.

Andy Slavitt  26:08

Yeah, no surprise, you guys are unified on marijuana. How about energy in the environment? And look, here’s the place where people who are, you know, 45 5060 are quite divided between left and right. You may have seen in the recent Republican primary debate, not a single candidate raise their hand and believed that climate change was manmade. And that continues to divide us, or younger people more uniform on this perspective.

Layla Zaidane  26:39

Yeah, I think asking the question that way, sort of creates a false division, like people are entrenched now into having to say I believe climate change is real or not real, which is, you know, sort of a ludicrous question to ask in the first place. But putting that aside, I think the reality of natural disasters and all of the things that are creating real problems and communities require solutions, and I think certainly with young people, you are seeing an urgency with building resiliency in cities and states.

Andy Slavitt  27:18

Yeah, I don’t think it’s that they don’t believe I don’t think it’s that they don’t believe in climate change. I think it’s they believe that any solution that needs solutions that any solution, but most solutions are too expensive, relative to the burden they place on working people today. And therefore, that’s why they answered the question that way. And they certainly vote that way. It wasn’t just a staged moment where they got tricked. Yeah. There is, yeah, there’s no industrial Republican support for policies that will hasten the transition, not even policies that don’t hurt fossil fuel industries?

Layla Zaidane  27:56

Well, you know, I don’t know about that. I think certainly even things like the grid, right, the the grid infrastructure and things like micro grids that create more of an ability to build resilience and withstand big storms, or sort of heat waves, things like that. Those also then set the stage for sort of renewable energy reliance, it hastens that transition without necessarily impacting some of those fossil fuel industries. And we’ve seen that be something that has gotten some interesting momentum.

Andy Slavitt  28:34

Are younger people more willing to hold polluters accountable. Is that notion of say a carbon tax. Which by the way, I think it’s pretty mainstream notion and much of the world, including including, by the way, by major corporations here in the US, because it’s a single system. That’s fair. It’s not it’s not a perfect answer. But I think people of an older generation have been clearly unwilling to embrace the carbon tax. Most people I know who are thoughtful about this issue, and even people who are balanced about this issue with thoughtful about this issue, are in favor of a carbon tax. The question is, you know, is this the kind of thing where we’ll get this done when the next generation has more power? Or is this is this not that kind of issue?

Layla Zaidane  29:22

Yeah, I think that young people are, it would be irresponsible to not take action in some way on these topics. And certainly, as you look at any poll, and you do see Republicans, Democrats, by age are much more in favor of a lot of the environmental sort of policies that we’ve that we’ve just discussed. I think the question now is how much can those both at the grassroots level and then internal, like the elected leaders themselves, persuade their colleagues to take action in ways that take the urgency of the matter seriously, now verse says is it something in 10 years, which is, you know, certainly too long to wait for some of the based on some of the reports that have increasingly sounded the alarm on how much trouble we’re already in. So yeah, so so we’ll have to see, I think, certainly if you look at young people, there is a lot more unity around that.

Andy Slavitt  30:22

So what’s going to be the story in the 2024 election around young people, often the narrative is, in recent years has been still voting in very low percentages. But the you know, on the other side of the coin, electing a lot more, certainly, younger people a lot more younger people running a lot more diverse people running. And I think younger people have been probably consistently overwhelmingly voting democratic, although not obviously not uniformly. And there’s a split between education level and not, what’s the 2020 Ford narrative going to be on young people.

Layla Zaidane  31:01

I hope the narrative is we saw the highest number of young people run, and that has been trending in that direction. Over the past couple election cycles. Last year, we saw 170% increase in Gen Z candidates 56% increase in millennial candidates. So I hope that in 2024, we can say this is the biggest year ever for millennial and Gen Z candidates. And I think same thing when it comes to those voting. It is a civic flywheel, right, the more you see yourself represented, the more you see your issues on the table, the things that you just mentioned, and the right health care, housing, criminal justice reform climate, the more that they see people who who who represent them who look like them, who maybe have similar life experiences life stage, I think that excites people to get involved, that excites them to turn out even if the people at the top of the ticket are in their 70s and 80s. If they see other young people who are putting themselves out there to speak for a generation, I think that gets people to the polls. And so I hope that we not only see more people running, but more people voting.

Andy Slavitt  32:12

Yeah, I was going to ask you that very question, which is, you can’t escape asking the question. You know, we are still running boomers for President in the year 2024. Or so it appears at the as we sit here in 2023. And maybe this will be the last time probably will be. But when when you look at that, and when when the people you know, look at that, do they say these, these folks don’t represent our interests to the I mean, obviously, they say they don’t look like us, like I got it. But the thing I’ll just portray a little bit of my own bias here, which shouldn’t surprise you. I think Biden is differentially working on a set of issues that will matter to his grandchildren, and not so much to him. I think he’s very focused on the legacy around climate and democracy, and jobs and and reindustrialization of the country and rebuilding alliances, which are big, long term issues. And I think there are certain ways to view your age, and say, you know, I’m, I’ve lived through the lion’s share of my life. And this is what I am meant to do now. And I do knowing him a little bit personally, and also just observing him I think, I do think that’s his approach. I’m not sure how well that translates when either someone uses words like Malarkey, and, you know, stuff like that all the time. But it’d be that let me that translate into may just look like, hey, there’s just two older white guys running.

Layla Zaidane  33:47

Yeah, you know, I think the other thing that that President Biden has going against him is for so long, he had this like Uncle Joe, right? persona of like this sort of sweet, lovable grandpa, and like, culturally, that’s, like, ingrained in a lot of people’s heads. And now he’s, you know, much older than, than that even. And I think, even if strategically or the impact of some of the policies might align with the long term sort of solutions that young people want or need. It’s just a it’s like a narrative problem. Right, which speaks to I think what a lot of older candidates end up doing, which is making sure that they have younger surrogates thinking about culturally relevant translators. You know, I think, to a certain extent, that’s helpful. I don’t know how much like that kind of marketing persuades young people when they feel like they’re being advertised at. And so I think the trick is really involving young people in in the process earlier on and making sure that they sort of have an understanding of how long change takes and what what a reasonable sort of level of of expectations are, I think, even for the young lawmakers in our network work, it’s something that they struggle with is making sure that their younger constituents sort of understand like, they’re asking for a, you know, XYZ. And here’s, here’s what I can get done in one year or two years or three years. And here’s why this sort of is a building block to sort of this bigger change. And so I think part of this is just like a deeper cultural civic education, like across our country about how change happens, how long it takes, and what reasonable expectations are. And then I think the other part of it is, yeah, I think we really shouldn’t be living in a gerontocracy anymore. At the end of the day, we should authentically probably have some younger leaders at the table. And we saw Mitt Romney, right, just make a make a statement, sort of about what his political future looks like. And so we’re, my job is really helping to build that bench and ensure that regardless of what side of the aisle they sit on, they’re equipped to be effective leaders, and that they’re ready when their time comes to sort of step into that higher leadership role.

Andy Slavitt  36:02

But you made a incredibly interesting point just now about authenticity. And this generations, I think, very perceptive ability to sense when there’s smoke and mirrors. And I think that’s right. And then I think the other thing you just said, which is really, really important, which is we think of people getting elected to office now as in their current role, but these are the future senators, governors, and indeed presidents and vice presidents in our country. And it’s extraordinarily important, as I think your organization’s emphasizing that they get involved, that we get educated, that they we support them in the way that you’re doing. I have to ask, though, the one obvious question is my final question that I apologize for this, but it’s impossible not to listen to you and not think this will be needs to be the head of the caucus to be serving, she needs to be driving this from the inside, not just from the outside. So I just have to ask, is that going to happen?

Layla Zaidane  37:05

Now, right now, I think there’s such a dearth of organizations that are supporting young leaders in governing, literally, so much energy goes into electing candidates, and just a fraction of that goes into helping them be successful. So I’m really happy where I am, I’ve had the pleasure of, of, you know, helping, as you said, 1600, Young elected leaders, I hope to help you even more. And so I think I can have the biggest impact, right?

Andy Slavitt  37:35

I get that I do you get incredible scale impact. And it’s very hard to give that up to kind of go do it yourself. But I don’t know, I think it’ll be very interesting to watch the arc of your career. whatever choice you make, whichever path you choose to take, you know, there’s been no more influential lawmaker in our lifetime than Nancy Pelosi. And, you know, she started her career on the outside, and then eventually went on to the when the inside and then of course, at massive scale. So all I ask is, you don’t rule it out. 100%, you leave yourself open to the possibility. But in the meantime, you know, you keep not only refreshing our pool of leadership talent with people who are not cynical, who are young and really want to make a difference. But also that, you know, you educate them and get them into positions, where they are emphasizing our commonality, the common American story, because every issue we talked about, and I challenge you some part, for finding some part, because I think it’s important to challenge these things. But all these things are going to be a common part of our future American story. And if instead they become a partisan part of our future American story, we will end up in a different place as a as a nation, and the people you’re talking about are current and soon to be future leaders, and how they approach this problem. It’s very interesting to me that you are someone that’s giving thought to how people approach this situation matters for our country.

Layla Zaidane  39:09

And, you know, I just have to say, like the reason that I care about politics about you know, what you just said so beautifully, that these are our common problems. It doesn’t you know, Storm doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. My parents are immigrants to this country. They’re from Morocco, and I grew up in New York, so proud to be an American. And so, you know, I had a foot in the world of my Moroccan cousins and getting to see the differences of how they lived and how I lived. I think it really just gave me an appreciation for two things that you two things can be true at once right I could be an Arab woman, I could be an American person. And and both of those things are equally good. Not one is not better than the other And that all of the things that like drove my parents to move to the United States to build a life and a family was something that I wanted to invest in that I was grateful for that I want to make, that I just I want to expand. And I want to help continue to build those bridges, like the ones that allowed my parents to emigrate from Morocco to the United States. And so I just, I just think that so much of like the American story is my story. And I want to make sure that that doesn’t get lost as we continue to talk about what it means to live in a democracy and what’s possible when you come together around common problems.

Andy Slavitt  40:40

Well, that’s beautifully said, your parents created a remarkable citizen in you. And I’m sure that makes them immensely proud. Thank you so much. Thank you for being in the bubble.

Layla Zaidane  40:52

Thanks, Andy.

Andy Slavitt  41:05

Thank you, Leila. The very best thing about having a show on Monday is yet another one on Wednesday. Two days from now, I’m sure you can barely contain yourself with joy. Let me tell you what we’re focused on. We’re focused on what’s happening with the rollout of the vaccine booster shots. And what’s different this year, some of you may be having difficulty getting appointments for your vaccines. And there’s a reason for that, and we are going to be talking about that on Wednesday. We’ll bring you a great show. Promise. David Leonardt is coming up soon after. Lots of other good things. Thank you for sticking with us. I hope you enjoyed today’s show. Have a good couple days.


Thank you for listening in the bubble. If you like what you heard, rate and review and most importantly, tell a friend about the show. tell anyone about the show. We’re production of laminata media. kalshi. Lee is the Senior Producer of our show. He’s the main guy, and he rocks it with me every week. The mix is by Noah Smith. He’s a wizard. He does all the technical stuff and he’s a cool guy. Steve Nelson is the vice president of weekly content. He’s well above average. And of course, the ultimate big bosses are Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie whittles wax. They are wonderful, inspiring, and they put the sugar in the lemonade. The executive produced the show along with me. Our theme was composed by Dan Mullen and Oliver Hill, and additional music is by Ivan Carey. If you can find out more about our show on social media at limonada media where you can also get a transcript of the show and buy some in the bubble gear. Email me directly at Andy at lemonade You can find my Twitter feed at a Slavitt and you can download in the bubble wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music. It’s a prime membership. Thank you for listening

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