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"Conscious Politics" With Matthew Dowd

By Motley Fool Staff – Oct 29, 2021 at 3:21PM

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Talking with campaign strategist Matthew Dowd.

On this show -- Rule Breaker Investing -- we love to talk about Conscious Capitalism. When campaign strategist Matthew Dowd was introduced to Conscious Capitalism, he wrote about how much better our world would be if politics took a similar approach. Now that's worth talking about!

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Oct. 20, 2021.

David Gardner: Politics is not an area we spend much time on for Rule Breaker Investing. Oh, I've done an election special here or there. I've talked about Dickens' blues and buffs. The Comex scene from his novel, The Pickwick Papers in which a small English town is completely divided in the worst way between two political parties who won't speak to each other. Well, I'm glad for Dickens' satire who can miss the parallels between then and now. I've always loved business conscious capitalism is what I'm talking about really for two reasons. First, all parties win. There's no play for power, where someone wins and by design, the other zero-sum loses, nope. The buyer and the seller in business transactions both participate willingly and when done properly. Both win. You bought my house, you love my house, it's now your house. Meantime, you paid me money. I can move buy a new house, we both win and that's number one, why I love business. 

The second reason is that in bringing us together as opposed to dividing us apart, business creates real value. That's of course, business that rightly can take credit for so much of human progress, particularly over the last three centuries. Well, my guest this week, having been bitten by the conscious capitalism bog a few years back, took the framework in principles and asked what politics we're done consciously? What would conscious campaigning looked like? Well, with a career strategizing and politics himself, Matthew Dowd wrote an article a couple of years ago presenting 10 points that were they adopted would transform politics today in the same way that business is being transformed by conscious capitalism. I loved it and I wanted to have them on this podcast as we near another election season this year in the US and talk it through with him all 10 points plus a surprise or two. Let's get ready to rethink our assumptions, break the rules of how politics could work today. You ready? This week only on Rule Breaker Investing.

Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing. The day was February 20th, 2019, I found an article. I mean, I guess I find articles every day and I try to read them all, at least the ones that I think might benefit me. I usually look past headlines. I think we all know better just law by now, I won't go back over that, but if I can answer a headline quickly with better ridges law, I skipped that article usually, but no, this one was entitled 2020 presidential races running a conscious campaign. Now, I'm a fan of conscious capitalism. I think anybody who spend any time with the Motley Fool knows that we're practitioners we're big fans and believers. When I saw the idea of conscious campaigns, well, I bookmarked that. I read the article, I reread it and I thought the author, Matthew Dowd, whom I didn't previously know, I would love for our team to get in touch with them at some point and talk that through. I thought, let's wait till an election season when we get closer when people are feeling it a little bit more. That was 2019 and I don't know maybe it was busy that fall and then COVID and then I thought were coming out of things. I hope the world is getting back to the best parts of what it once was. It's been transformed out of the lease so that we're all in a new place now, but why don't we have Matthew Dowd on today. On September 7th, my team reached out to him and he said, "Yes, I'd love to do it, let's do it in a month." Here we are. Without further ado, I would like to introduce my new friend, Matthew Dowd. Matthew, welcome to Rule Breaker Investing.

Matthew Dowd: I'm great to be here, David. Thank you for having me.

David Gardner: Thank you for taking the time. Matthew, the bulk of this week's podcast is actually going to be looking at your article. It's 10 points for conscious campaigning. But I think before we get to that, I'd instead just love to start by hearing a little bit of your story. Where did you grow up? What were your top conclusions about the world by the time you'd reach 18?

Matthew Dowd: That's a great question. I was born in Detroit, one of 11 kids in an Irish catholic family. My father worked for one of the big auto companies there. My mom was a public school teacher in Detroit. Then after a certain number of kids couldn't do that anymore. She raised us, grew up there, was there until I was 18, until I went to college. My first job was delivering the Detroit News as 11-year old [laughs] news boy. When we used to have news boy that put the canvas bag over the front of their bike and the back at the wheel. I did that, learned a lot about actually capitalism because back then you had to collect the money. The news boys were responsible for collecting the money at the end of every month. Whatever the difference was, you had to pay the newspaper that you got to keep in that, I always remember, Christmas was the best time because that was actually when you got tips for delivery of newspapers. I was a catty and I was a catty at local country club there which I loved. I learned a lot about life actually as a catty. 

So many stories if you want to talk about that, what I learned about cattying for people. I grew up with family of deep faith. My parents weren't involved in politics, but we're always very interested in politics. Reading was actually one of my favorite things to do, it took me in different places. I got hooked on politics when I was 12 years old during Watergate. I remember being on family vacation up north in Michigan. You're familiar to a lot of people go up North and I remember we went on vacation in the midst of the hearings and instead of me going outside knew all things I was transfixed by the hearings and from that day on when I was 12, I was lucky to have discovered something that I loved which was politics and from then on in some way I've been involved in politics in some way from time I was 12 till to today. Didn't know what it would be, but I knew I wanted to be in it in some way. That my lifetime, six brothers and four sisters. If I said the names, Mary Patrick, Matthew, Michael.

David Gardner: Very Irish.

Matthew Dowd: Sally, Murray, Catherine, Anthony, they started reusing names John, Patrick, very Irish in that. That was my sort of upbringing. I would say one of the lessons I learned, I had always said, like, the one thing I remember my mom telling us it's something that struck with me which was she constantly would repeat this, which is, "You know better than anyone else and no one else is better than you," which was a frame of reference and has kept a frame of reference for me. In all of the things I've done, keeping some humility and modestly about not being better than anyone else, but also not just because somebody holds a position or somebody has greater, or somebody has pain, they're no better than you. That actually it was a big lesson in life. The other thing was like whenever job you're doing, whatever you're doing, be willing to do whatever the task is at hand. I applied that in campaigns and everything I've done. It's like if I'm not willing to take out the trash when it needs to be taken out, that I shouldn't expect somebody else to do it.

David Gardner: Servant leadership.

Matthew Dowd: In my in a bidding sense of faith, which I'll say broadly is the idea of believe in something bigger than self and now religion and all that uses God or whatever, that reference point is. But even if you don't believe in God, it can be a reference point for it's more than just about you and there's something bigger involved in the universe. Those were some basics. I'm sure there was many. I treat other people as you want to be treated just a basic values in that. Those are some of the things that are carried with me through life.

David Gardner: Thank you for that, very well illustrated. I want to say that my own grandfather was the 10th of 11 children born to an Irish family at the top of the state of New York on the border with Canada. He grew up playing baseball against native American kids. But I can relate to 11s and being one of them at least I remember my grandfather talking about that. I also want to say the Detroit Free Press is one of the first newspapers to syndicate The Motley Fool column and I've always had fond talks about Detroit newspapers ever since. But not the obviously the flame you mentioned of interest in politics lit when you were 12. Understandably, I remember being a kid, I guess I'm six years younger it because I was 6 in 1972 or '73, listening to the Watergate trial on radio. My parents transfixed by that as they drove us to school. I will remember that as well. But you've had a number of callings over the course of your career so far, including one special new chapter we're going to find out about later. But most prominently looking at your past, I guess I'd give you as a political strategies. Do you identify that way?

Matthew Dowd: I did for many number of years. I've made some transitions in my life over like, I guess 40 years or more of being some involvement. I think that's what I'm best known as, I guess in many ways I reached some of the highest in politics through that strategy in that. I applied it to my time of analysis when I've done ABC News and now other platforms that I've done.

David Gardner: If you don't mind me asking, would you would you brag briefly? Because I think you have a [laughs] pretty pretty impressive career. I don't want your humility. I don't want it to be lost. Well, you have achieved on our listeners.

Matthew Dowd: A storied career, I guess. I would start in democrat politics and I ran the last campaigns of the democrats to win statewide in Texas.

Matthew Dowd: That was more than 20 years ago when lieutenant governor and the governor I helped get elected, democrat Ann Richards and democrat Bob Bullock as lieutenant governor. I had worked in various capacities and campaigns field and all that, but got to the point where I was running those campaigns. Then I started a business in the aftermath of that or in the midst of that as I was doing a business on public relations and public affairs. Then a newly elected governor who reelected governor I got to know through my relationship with the democratic lieutenant governor of Texas, his name was George W. Bush. Said he was thinking about running for president, reached out and asked if I would help him, I had liked what he had done as a governor which is work with both sides, try to work things out. They did a lot of great things on education reform, on economic reform, on protection of natural resources between republicans and democrats. I put everything else in my life on hold and ventured off into that, in the presidency, in the presidential race, we won the first time, and then in his reelection I became his chief strategist for his reelection campaign in 2004. 

Did that, came back home. After that then I did Arnold Schwarzenegger election in 2006 as governor of California. Then had a fairly public break with then president Bush and the GOP in 2007 over a number of different issues. One of which was the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, another was how divided we'd become in this which was opposite of the reason rationale I gave. I remember at the time, and this is probably an interesting part of the conversation, a number of people that I work with for Bush knew my dissatisfaction and they said, we know you're upset but why don't you just go away and just be quiet about it. Just have your break and be quiet about it. I'm a big believer in the idea of karma in the world, and I thought I was a public advocate, and so the answer to that comically or equitably was not to just go quietly. I had to say something publicly which I did, and I didn't do it on a personal way, I broke with them in an in-depth on the front page of the New York Times because I was the first one to break with then president Bush. I thought I did it in a compassionate way, but I did voice why with the problems I had. Then I went off on a long venture as an independent for a lengthy period of time, and then became associated with ABC News after that.

David Gardner: One of the things I'm hearing from you and comes out loud and clear, Matthew, is you've been a democrat, you've been a republican, you've been an independent. I guess I myself am independent mainly because I don't like the party machines that like Dickens is Blues and the Buffs I mentioned earlier seems so intent sometimes on dividing us for the sake of their own power. I guess I like the independent in you most of all, but apart from the actual parties themselves, just looking at the system for a sec, what do you think of the American political system today?

Matthew Dowd: I think it's fundamentally broken. Right now I'm very worried about our democracy in this moment. I think we've lost sight of the experiences, and the sacrifices, and the thread of our American story, and why we came to be and who we are. I think that it's been incredibly tribalized. In this moment it's hard to get any of the big things done that we want done. I worry that we no longer have a country where the majority of the country feels they're listened to in this moment. But I'm incredibly worried, especially in the aftermath of January 6th and the interaction at the capital and my view, and the response to that. By what has become of one of the major legacy parties as I say, the republican party at this time, that doesn't seem at this moment to support small democratic principles. I'm incredibly concerned. Democracy to me is a gift, it's not a given. Just because we've had it for 240 years doesn't mean it will continue. It requires sacrifice and requires good people to step-up in the moment they need to step up and fight for our common story and our common set of beliefs. I think many Americans are concerned in this moment as I am about our political system and its ability to function in the 21st Century.

David Gardner: This makes me think about one of the four big tenants of conscious capitalism as we start to get nearer to your article in the checklist which we're going to go through. But one of the four big tenants of conscious capitalism as I think is higher purpose. Purpose over profit in the business context. Now, without quite getting into your article yet it seems to me that the conscious politicians should also serve a higher purpose. Let's call that purpose over power. If you agree, Matthew Dowd, what do you think is the purpose of America?

Matthew Dowd: Obviously huge books written on that. But to me the fundamentals of America is freedom, equality, and justice. If I were to boil it's our freedom, equality, and justice, in all of the manifestations of those it's at the basis of it. Whether it's freedom to pursue our own happiness, freedom to pursue the idea of building a business, freedom of opportunity to do what your talents allow in this. Then obviously, the idea that we're all created equal, all men and women are created equal, and this and should be treated equally. Then it's a justice where justice is fair, and rational, predictable in a system that applies to the same rules to all people in all always, no matter if you're the lowliest person with no money or the person with the most money in this place, or no matter what color your skin is, no matter what it is. That to me are the basis of it. I would add that our American system is premised on the idea of two seam competing pillars. But I think are incredibly important, which is individualism combined with the idea of the common good. I think what happens often is people emphasize one over the other. I think our founders had this idea that they were going to create a system where both individualism and the common good should and have to work together. I think that's and obviously democracy is practiced in people's votes and expanding of universal suffrage. 

The whole idea of America is that we're constantly in a place of perfecting our union. We weren't perfect at the beginning, we weren't perfect to a 100 years ago, we weren't perfect 50 years ago, we weren't perfect five-years ago. But the idea that we would move toward that perfection of equality, freedom, and justice done through the common good and individualism, it's something that I think it was part of it. That to me is the American story and what I believe in, I actually believe that capitalism and practiced in a way that you say with purpose. I actually think we're no longer in many ways practicing capitalism as a true form of capitalism. Because I think in many ways it's been so miss applied today that it becomes all about profit when really the theories of capitalism weren't fundamentally about profit. They were about building something and creating something that then would benefit a community or a society. I think the story of capitalism and the story of America are intertwined. At this moment and I'm sure you do David, have concerns about both of those.

David Gardner: I sure do. I do want to strike an optimistic note which anybody who knows me knows this is typical of me. But I'm really happy to say that I've located enough businesses that I think do capitalism well and recommended their stocks to enough people. Seeing that they truly prosper over the only term that counts, the long term, that I actually have a pretty deep and abiding belief that business is getting better every day. A lot of the leadership that we're seeing and a lot of the solutions coming from the private sector thinking about vaccines are just distribution of vaccines, etc that's just one example. But I bet I'm not the only optimist in this conversation, I suspect. You rightly have a more grounded realism than maybe my pie in the sky optimism, but I absolutely appreciate that. I want to ask you one more question then we're going to go to the checklist. It actually goes to a line that opens up your article from 2019 Matthew. You mentioned in your article about the state of our politics and campaigns today that, "I have realized more and more in the last ten years that we must stop the ends justify the means approach to governance, politics, and life, and must instead replacing it with the means justify the ends dynamic." Now, a lot has happened in 2.5 years, do you still feel the same way? Would you explain this some more?

Matthew Dowd: Sure. I feel even more so today. My whole idea is that if all you pursue is the end, whatever that happens to be, whatever goal you have without regard for the meaningfulness of the means or the correctness of the means, you're willing to do means that actually could destroy what your purpose is or what meaning you have in it. To me, which is why you see many times unethical behaviors because they'll look at the end, and that applies to politics, that applies to business, or whatever.

David Gardner: You bet.

Matthew Dowd: All of those things happened to be. For me is if the means are correct, if you're doing it in the right way for the right reasons, to me the ends take care of themselves. If all you're concerned about is winning, then many people then just fall into the trap of doing whatever is necessary no matter how unethical and at times I think illegal at times such things have been done to get to the win. As opposed to, let's figure out what the end is, should we be treating people well, how do we relate to one another? Should we be compassionate? Should we be inclusive? Like inclusively and diversity is a perfect example. To me those are means, and if those are done well by organizations, the ends will be fine, the ends will take care of themselves. The end result as you know, Fool know the most inclusive diverse companies are actually probably the most successful companies.

David Gardner: Yes.

Matthew Dowd: As opposed to forcing diversity and forcing inclusivity. All you have to do is say, "Hey, if you want to be a success, be inclusive and diverse. You'll be a success." That's a means. That's what I mean by it, is just focusing on how am I relating to another, or how do I treat another? Do I look at everyone with dignity? All of those sorts of things. I wish we did that more in politics as opposed to looking at some end-goal, because in my view, the end will take care of itself if the means are good.

David Gardner: Well said, I agree. Thank you for that. That connected well with me, which is why I wanted to underline that line from your article. Well, let's now get into the 10 points that could really transform campaigning and politics, conscious campaigning. I want to say before we get here, Matthew, that truly, if any one of these points were actually agreed to by both opposing candidates, even if the other nine weren't respected, boy, does that look like a better political environment to me. Each one of these strikes will blow for freedom and glory in my mind. If we can hit them all, that'd be even better. But I thought it'd be fun as we conclude each one to ask you, how actually doable is this one or not? For each of the 10, let's go with a pie in the sky rating. There'll be three ratings. I'll just remind you. But it's quite doable. This should be happening. That's number 1. The second is, it's got a chance, and the third is undoable. Probably not going to happen anytime soon. Let's get into it. Now for each of these, you described them, Matthew, as commitments. If a candidate, or especially both candidates could commit to them, this would be a good and conscious thing. I'm going to call them commitments throughout. Let's go to commitment number 1. You wrote, "Let us treat the candidates we face in election contests not as enemies, but as worthwhile opponents. Toss The Prince by Machiavelli and The Art of War by Sun Tzu, which many use as a guide to success, and perhaps pick up the Sermon on the Mount or writings of the Dalai Lama as guiding texts.

Matthew Dowd: [laughs] That was something, obviously, from some of the things I've thought about and read. I do think it's important. As you were reading it, I was thinking of, wow, there's been some change in this moment from what I wrote a few years ago between what we've faced today, but I actually do believe that. Our political adversaries are opponents, they shouldn't be enemies. For sure, we shouldn't treat other supporters in that way. I think sometimes we devolved, we attribute bad behavior by a candidate to bad behavior by supporters, to bad behavior by voters. And I think that's a huge mistake. I've often thought about this. You can go and have an adversarial relationship with a candidate, but I think when you start driving that down to voters, that's when it becomes exceedingly problematic, who may be supporting a candidate for a variety of reasons, some of which we are all unaware of. But I do think we'd be much better instead of approaching this is a war, or to a death struggle, and then that gets into what we've talked about before, which is ends justify the means in the course of this, and we did it as a competition of ideas. Then I think we are much more likely to treat this in a way that's not a to-the-death struggle.

David Gardner: This number 1 makes me think so much about the negative advertising that I am constantly seeing on my television watching sports, which is basically what I watch on television these days. It just strikes me that every single political ad that I see is negative and attacking. Sometimes I wonder, Matthew, imagine if the private sector did that with its advertising. Imagine if we were just constantly being bombarded with slams on whatever the product is that they're competing against, it would be so exhausting. I find it exhausting to watch. I also find it lowering and demeaning, not just of me or you, but all of us, that so many, perhaps all of the ads, are negative. It does remind me a couple of years ago, I'd do a series on Rule Breaker Investing called Mental Tips Tricks and Life Hacks. One of the ones I suggested, which was a trick, was to advertise for your political opponent. I'm just curious if you've ever heard this done or seen this done because it fits here with commitment number 1. The idea would be that the first ad you launch for your campaign is giving props to the person who is your opponent, showing their most honorable side and that you're honored to be competing against them in the battle of ideas. To me that would just jump off of the TV and maybe into the papers. Has that been tried before, and what do you think about that?

Matthew Dowd: I don't know. Just to tell you in the campaigns that I've been involved in and what I've done is there's actually to this end an interesting matrix that we would use to go through. The matrix is like a four-box matrix. I don't know if you've heard this, which is, what are you going to say about yourself, is in one box. What are you going to say about yourself in a campaign, what is your opponent going to say about you, what are you going to say about your opponent, and then the box on the far right is, what is the opponent going to say about themselves. You go through that exercise, which I think is very helpful, because it allows you to prepare. It allows you to put yourself in their place. It allows you to say, "If they're going to say this about me, what do I want to do? How am I going to figure this out?"

David Gardner: Great framework.

Matthew Dowd: That actually goes exactly to that. It goes around the whole part of the communication strategy. I think when you do that, you have ability to create empathy in the midst of that, actually, without even consciously being aware of it. You create empathy in the midst of that, and it also actually makes you smarter.

David Gardner: Thank you for sharing that. To close number 1 here, pie in the sky rating, doable, it's got a chance, undoable. Let's treat candidates we face in election contests, not as enemies but as worthwhile opponents. How're you rating this one?

Matthew Dowd: A two. It's a got chance. Two.

David Gardner: Got a chance. Speaking of two, let's go to commitment number 2. I quote, you wrote, "End the practice of opposition research, which seeks to dig up personal scandals on others, which have nothing to do with how someone has led or might lead in office. Dirt diggers have no place in a conscious campaign."

Matthew Dowd: This is, I think, one that for my years have been very in tune with. I don't like it, I hate it. I think it's fine to talk about what somebody's done, If they've held office, decisions they've made, how they have affected citizens. Policies they've passed, legislation they've done, that whole conversation as long as it's factual and truthful, which is important.

Matthew Dowd: But the idea of venturing often to somebody because there are some divorce they had 50 years ago or 20 years ago or some issue or somebody's member of the family. Every time somebody showed up in a campaign, and usually you have these people that show up and they're like, I have got some stuff on this. I would basically show them the door, I don't want to hear it, I don't care. I think one voter react badly to it because, what does that have to do with my life? Most voters are like, why do I care about what's going on in that. Plus, that conversation I think should exist between that person and their mighty or whatever. It's a part of the campaigns that I have never wanted to be involved in, would never be involved in and I just think it's completely utterly counterproductive.

David Gardner: I'm curious. This is not my world. This is a world that you've studied. You've been part of. Sounds like you're not a fan of it either nor would I be. Is the opposition research industry booming? Is that a stock we've wanted to own here over the last 25 years because it just shot up lower left to upper right.

Matthew Dowd: I would've said you would've wanted to buy it 25 years ago, but I wouldn't buy it today, because I think that it was a time where it was new or people presented as new information that everybody then thought they had to have. The interesting thing about opposition research firms, is they made a living both of about researching your opponent and researching the candidate themselves. [laughs] It would be like, oh, if we did this on your part you better be aware of all your problems. They would have like a twofer, they get paid for the research [laughs]. The other person will research on you. I think it's less and less part of campaigns. I know it still exists, and we can discuss this at the end. I know it's still exists, but I wouldn't buy today on it. I think it's priced out of favor today.

David Gardner: All right, so committing to end the practice of opposition research, pie-in-the-sky rating, doable, it's got a chance, undoable?

Matthew Dowd: Number one, doable. I think it's very doable.

David Gardner: I'm really interested to hear you saying that maybe it's even peaked and that makes sense to me because in this age of social media where somebody took a picture of you 22 years ago or even two years ago, which would be presented 15 years from now as you come of age. Facebook, you did or said or looked like this crazy thing. I think people are getting beyond that. I sure hope. I think we are. I'm delighted to hear that maybe it's not a stock we'd be buying today, which does fit with your doable rating. Let's move on to commitment number three, you wrote, and the tactics of personal insult, name-calling and berating or demeaning others. If we wouldn't want to see words and actions our sons or daughters use in elementary school then we shouldn't allow them in political campaigns.

Matthew Dowd: This goes to the whole idea that I actually think the bar has been set so low on so many different [laughs] things that we just accept behavior in our politics and our politicians that we would not allow our six-year-old or seven-year-old or whatever.

David Gardner: Isn't it true?

Matthew Dowd: It's like that's the bar and so we shouldn't even have an expectation anymore that we expect that. This actually goes to a fundamental thing about basic values, like the idea of integrity and honesty and compassion and all that. Basic values that we were raised on, and we raised our own children on. That we now don't even think like we have an expectation of those basic human values that we have anymore, and that's something I've been a big advocate of. What happens if we just forget about all of the issues for a minute and just a, we want leaders with basic human values, and the idea that we would want somebody like that old book like everything you know, you learned in kindergarten. [laughs] Go back to just those basic things and say why don't we just start with there and start like our expectations there and then we can have a conversation about issues. To me, it's just a basic thing that we should expect. But the bar, as I said, has been set so low today that we don't even expect the basic thing anymore.

David Gardner: I'm going to call this one the Mr. Rogers commitment because boy, a lot of us are Fred Rogers fans. We interviewed him, I played that before on Rule Breaker Investing when he was still living, of course, and the movies that came out of that Mister Rogers, the Real One and the Tom Hanks one, both excellent, just such American reminders that I think one of our nation's core values is kindness, which surprises people, especially in the face of personal insult, name-calling, berating or demeaning others, which by the way, I don't see very much the private sector or the ads. But boy, does it seem to be right now, the tail wagging the entire dog of politics in America. I do believe we have hit new lows and yet I feel like we're going to be bouncing off those lows like some of the stocks that we hope to invest in. I'm obviously not from this field, but I'm an observer, a liver of life and one of my pet peeves I'll just share with you here, Matthew, let's get on to Number 4 shortly, but it's the Kumbaya speech. That's what I call it, it's the I won and now let's all come together and heal speech that so stereotypically seems to end many an election. You've got the candidate saying let's all come together. They've just beaten each other bloody. Now you are saying now it's time to heal, it's always struck me as a little hypocritical and not something that I feel like we're ready to heal or that they are either so the I won and now let's all come together and heal speech. Have you seen those before?

Matthew Dowd: [laughs] I've seen it before, and I actually believe in the idea of healing and coming together and all of that. But I think what you're saying, what you're alluding to is that if your behavior up until that speech was not authentic [laughs] to that speech, then it becomes complete meaningless BS. I believe in that, but in order to make that work, you've had to conduct yourself in a manner that when you arrive at that point, it's authentic to people. Then we'll refer to work you have had to have treated people along the way in a way that when you give that speech, it resonates as true.

David Gardner: Very well put in much more eloquently than I was stumbling through to convey. But sometimes I get emotional about my pet peeves.

Matthew Dowd: It's OK.

David Gardner: Pie-in-the-sky rating for ending the tactics of personal insult, name-calling and berating. Doable, it's got a chance or undoable in today's politics.

Matthew Dowd: It's somewhere between two and three. It's possible, and undoable, it's somewhere between two and three.

David Gardner: Yeah. All right, moving on to number four. Let us practice compassion for other candidates that we face, as well as their campaigns. Each person in a campaign should personally get to know other people who work in an opposing campaign. Keep in mind, I grew up in Washington DC, so I read this with particular interest. You wrote, I've discovered it's much easier to be compassionate to others if we get to know them, and when other campaigns lose, let us reach out to those folks and see how they are and help them recover. Kind of to the point that we just spoke about, so let us practice compassion for other candidates Matthew.

Matthew Dowd: So I've experienced this in the course of all the campaigns have been on, and I've made actually a lot of friends and a lot of relationships with people that worked on the opposite side of me because I reached out and talked to them and built a bond based on humanness. These are human beings on the other side, with the same dreams and hopes and their ambitions and all of the things just like are on your side. You may disagree with them at times and a campaign and there may be moments that you feel like they've gone way off the deep end, which makes it a struggle obviously, as it is in our own lives, as things happen and and all of that, especially, if you believe somebody has broken up trust or has been dishonest, that's a difficult part. But I think you can understand it more. I made tons of friends that I have today when I was working for George W Bush against Al Gore and working George W Bush against John Kerry. I've made a lot of friends in the other opposite camp of this and we've stayed friends till today and we've ended up doing things together in public life or on television or at seminars or whatever. I think it's just assuming some level of humanity and what somebody goes through, especially, when somebody loses and reach's out, they're going to have a tough time. They don't know where they're going to go, what's going to happen to them, who's thinking about them. It's a loss of self-esteem. Its a very tough moment. I think if we reached out and just were compassionate and apathetic in the midst of it, it's the right thing to do. But I actually think it's for your own long-term interest. It's a good thing to do. One of the lessons I've told my own kids, especially my three adult boys, is that you're going to cross over more bridges you've crossed over before, than you're going across new bridges in your life. That is true of people you meet in your life. You have no idea that that person that you are in the midst of a battle with five years or 10 years from now, maybe across the table from you at the same side of the table, you want something else and if you didn't work compassionate or mistreated them, it makes it much trouble in the new moment to do that. So people have to remember, you may be in the midst of really stiff political battle, but these are people that could one day be allies in some other form at some other time.

David Gardner: It makes me think of, I haven't actually read the book, I'm embarrassed to say, but many a time have I heard it mentioned Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, Team of Rivals and what Abraham Lincoln did as the first elected Republican President in history and how he stocked as cabinet with people who disagreed with him. Let us practice compassion for other candidates we face, as well as their campaigns, get to know each other. One of the principles of conscious capitalism is win-win-win. That you can create a win for all of your stakeholders. I'm interested, Matthew, would it be a level up for politics today? Would it make it more conscious if a campaign thought of it's adversary as one of its stakeholders and acted accordingly?

Matthew Dowd: Yeah. The problem is, obviously, there is a winner and a loser. That is declared by a massive population, either in a District and State or our country and it's hard to get out of the win-lose when there is a loss and there is a winner in the midst of that and then you move on and it goes away and one person holds office in that. I think that it's an interesting thing as you raise it, thinking about people as part of the process, as part of the effort, I think would give more meaning to it and more ability as we went back to your previous point of healing and that. I think about this. It's like looking at your setbacks as opportunities. It's the the same thing. It's the story in many ways the same way. We always think of good things that happen to our life as gifts, and we always think those bad things as not. I've thought about this. Those bad things that have happened to me, if I looked at them as gifts to me, like this is teaching me something, this is showing me something. I should see this bad thing that has occurred, as a gift. I think if we thought about our opponent as a gift in this, we would treat it differently.

David Gardner: Very positively intelligent. I would add that there is something to be said, and especially works for me as an investor and thinking about the stock market of playing the long game. If you're playing the long game in life and you know this better than any of us based on the life that you've led within politics. Each part is going to win multiple times over the course of any meaningful period of time, so it really doesn't make sense to vilify them or I love the bridges that you've spoken a building and then teaching that to your kids as well. If you're really playing the long game, you recognize that we're all Americans and some of us are going to win. I think of basketball, I'm a big North Carolina Tar Heels fan. That's my own modern. Duke is going to win some of the time and it's in part of great rivalry, because you are both great and you honor each other. So I think that, that long game mentality can help. But the win-win-win in politics, probably by its nature as you said, it is a win-lose. There's a zero-sum aspect to elections, which just isn't true business, which is I guess in part why preferred business, but what is your pie in the sky rating for practicing compassion for other candidates and people in their campaign? Doable, it's got a chance, undoable.

Matthew Dowd: I think it's doable. I think it's harder in this moment. Because of how the lines have been drawn in this moment, where I think democracy is at risk. But I think it's very doable today, I would say it's harder, but it's doable.

David Gardner: Well, something that you've reminded me of. I'm just paraphrasing one of the lines I love. We can't control what happens, but we can control how we react to what happens. You've just described win or lose. You can raise everybody up around you based on how you react to that and I of course love that. Things that go wrong are gifts and opportunities. Let's go to number five and there's an interesting turn at this point in the article. It will become evident as I share point number 5, Matthew, you wrote, "Let us put together organizations that pay full-time employees a living wage, ensure a ratio where the highest paid employee doesn't make more than 20 or 30 times more than the lowest paid employee, provide health insurance, and commit to running an organization that is both diverse and inclusive and respects the environment by having a simpler carbon footprint." A really interesting turn here with commitment number 5. I here it most of all, as being about the employee stakeholders. We're back to creating wins for all your stakeholders. I have to say, rarely do I hear about the employees within political campaigns, but I know a few. For example, my friend Allan here at The Motley Fool, been with us seven or eight years. Allan came from a job answering phones for one of the parties right here in Washington DC and was completely burned out of that experience, having gone in with the best of intentions and the highest of ideals. I have to say, Allan has been much more at home with the Fools culture, which feels nurturing and thinking about employee first a lot of the time and again, I'm not part of the party machines, but it seems like that's not happening with the big parties today. Do you agree?

Matthew Dowd: I think it happens in some organizations who basically practice what they want. My view, you ought to be running a campaign the same way you were going to govern. The idea that you're going to run a campaign differently and then also govern in a much different fashion. How the campaign function should be a reflection of how you're going to govern. I think too often times we take advantage or take for granted people, and then it's like, "I want to do this because I want to get elected and do great things for everybody." Then basically they're running an organization that the practice of the organization isn't actually doing that. We've seen some of that hypocrisy, in my view, highlighted where people have advocated for universal healthcare and then you discover employees in their campaign aren't [laughs] available through them, or they advocate for a living wage when they're going to get elected and then you discover they're not paying a living wage to their employees in this. To me it's an evidence of hypocrisy at times in this. I learned a lot of this lesson about employees when I was doing a business. One of our clients was Southwest Airlines, and Herb Kelleher was the CEO of Southwest Air. Legendary as you know.

David Gardner: In deed.

Matthew Dowd: One of the things he constantly talked about was, if you treat your employees well, they're going to treat the customers well. His idea was, you had a concentric circle idea that instead of jumping over your employees to the customer, if your employees are happy and he had this whole idea of building a happy, joyful organization. That if that existed, then the customer experience would be good. If the employees felt good and part of an organization, that gave joy and meaning and purpose, and reward. I learned a lot of that watching him on a large airline build an organization. I haven't looked at Southwest Airlines recently, haven't been related to it, but had some of the highest customer ratings because it had some of the high employee ratings.

David Gardner: It's been one of the truly great stocks to have held for the last 35 years. It's had its ups and downs. In recent years, of course, Herb is no longer with us, but you got to sit at the feet of a master right there. Somebody who truly understood how you treat people says so much about who you are, and where your organization of the world is headed. I really appreciate that pie in the sky rating for treating full-time employees within these campaigns in the way we'd wish to be treated. Doable, it's got a chance, undoable?

Matthew Dowd: I think it's very doable because I think that in the days of people's ability to voice their concerns in social media and all of that, and showing hypocrisy, I think it becomes harder and harder to have a diversion between how you're running your campaign and what you're saying is how you want to govern. I think it's very doable.

David Gardner: Wonderful. Well, that's half of them. I'm going to speed us up a little bit because we've got a little bit more to cover just after these. Let's move quicker through these. Again, I've had so much fun talking about each of them. I don't want to give it short shrift, but I will keep us moving. Number 6, let us each morning, gather campaign folks together before the chaos of the day begins, and have a meditation or a centering prayer session of 30 minutes so that everyone can set their compassionate intention for the day ahead. Matthew, how did this one come to you? Higher purpose?

Matthew Dowd: [laughs] I practice this. I started my own practice of this about 14 years ago because I realized that I needed in my own internal practice to face the world and face life. Every morning for 45 minutes or an hour, I do this, I do it before I shower. It's different ways I do it. I can read quotes, a passage in a book, something from the bible. It all depends on what strikes me. A quote from somebody that I discovered, some moment in American history, whatever it happens to be. It centers me for the day. I have to do it when I travel. I tell people when they ask me about the practice, I tell people, you need to do it before you get in the shower. You need to do it when you wake up, I don't know about you, but once you're in the shower, you're already planning your day. You're already in the mode. [laughs] You get in the shower, and you're like, "I got this, I got a meeting." You're already in the day, so you've lost yourself by then. I'd say, you do it before it starts. It's centers you. You can reassess your values again and what you want to do, how you want to confront people in the day. It gives you a greater degree of patience in my view throughout the day. It just centers you on your purpose, what really are you doing instead of just the practical application of what you have to function through the day. It centers you, and you're going to lose your place in the course of a day, but at least you have a center to return to.

David Gardner: I think we're going to agree together this one's doable. How could this not be doable? It represents a commitment, which is what each of these is really. But one that feels like one you and I can make in some cases are already doing. I will point out about this one that you've described as a personal experience. But what you're putting out here with number 6 is more of a collective thing, which interested me in that regard. There's a dynamic of gathering folks together, which I found interesting. Do you want to say something quick about that, or should we keep moving?

Matthew Dowd: No. I think that's very true. It's funny, I started a group here a few years ago in the local interdenominational church, where every Wednesday morning I gathered a group to do this before their day started at eight o'clock in the morning. They all loved it and considered it incredibly helpful to them as they just came in before they started selling real estate, or go into the restaurant they owned, or whatever it was. So I think it's very doable. Individually, it's incredibly important, but collectively, I think it can change a community.

David Gardner: Very cool. Number 7, let us make a commitment to running campaigns with integrity where deception, dishonesty, and disingenuous is abandoned. Discussions rely on facts and the truth in all elements of communications. Transparency and openness with the media should be practiced as much as possible, and be the default position when dealing with the press.

Matthew Dowd: To me, this is something that's incredibly important, especially in this moment we're in today where there's a real question about truth, and real question about honesty, and real question about facts and science in the course of this. I would like to believe that campaigns can do this, and I actually think they can be very successful in this. If you're honest, the old saying is, if you tell the truth, you don't have to have a good memory. If you tell the truth, you don't have to worry about dealing with the press. People that have most worries about anxiety about dealing with the press, they ought to look in the mirror. Because the reason why they're having a huge amount of anxiety in dealing with the press, is they believe that they may have not been carrying their decisions with integrity, because now they're going to get questioned about them. I think it's incredibly important a way to live life, and it's also incredibly important for any organization, especially politically. Now, most [inaudible 00:51:30] I think are like, "Oh, my God. Politics, honesty, truth, whatever, not going to happen." I believe it's actually the demand for it is even people are more hungry for it today. I think it's very possible.

David Gardner: Well said. We're going to call that one doable. Clearly, that's where you're conveying, Matthew. As somebody who loves branding, I often think the way to get your brand to standout is to do something different than all the rest. Who's acting differently? I think the movie, Dave, which I still remember, I'm guessing at some point you must have seen the movie Dave. Dave was actually a good guy telling the truth.

Matthew Dowd: I love that movie.

David Gardner: You love that movie. So maybe we could call this one, the Dave principle. We had Mr. Rogers earlier. I'm feeling some channeling of Dave going on with this one. It does feel not just doable, it actually feels it could be incredibly advantageous if authentically and actively done.

Matthew Dowd: Absolutely. To think of what John McCain when his Straight Talk Express, and he basically was like, anybody come on, let's talk with sadness. I'll answer any questions or whatever. It took off, and how he was doing that in a way that was very authentic to him. I think it's not only necessary, I actually think it could be highly successful.

David Gardner: I agree and I look forward to seeing more of that. Number 8, let us attempt to refrain from questioning the intentions of others unless evidence is clear of something nefarious and debate contrasting visions and policies at a higher level, starting with the presumption that the opposing candidate is well intentioned, will raise the standard of discourse throughout. I am going to say amen to that. I'll be curious what you think the pie in the sky rating is for this one. But Matthew, thoughts on number 8.

Matthew Dowd: I think this is really important. I always think about life lessons.
The lessons we learn in the smaller circles are also the lessons that actually are completely applicable to the larger circle. This is actually something that in a personal level and personal relationships, we should practice. Don't make an assumption about what somebody's intention is before you actually have a conversation or gather information. I think the same is true in politics. Now, you may come to a conclusion through evidence and through facts that their intention or what they're doing isn't a fairy. It should be pointed out. I definitely agree it should be pointed out if that's the case. But I always operate from a transition of I trust the person until shown otherwise.

David Gardner: You mean innocent until proven guilty, is that what I'm hearing?

Matthew Dowd: Yeah, and trust until proven untrustworthy.

David Gardner: Sure.

Matthew Dowd: Trust until proven untrustworthy. Now, like you and me we're surprised by some people that may do something that like, Oh wow, I didn't see that coming." I'd rather be a person that walks through life that says, "I didn't see that coming." When you look at life through such a dark lens that you assume everybody is bad.

David Gardner: I'm going to say I'm that person, and I bet you are too. I bet a lot of people hearing us right now are. One of the great lines I've heard about human psychology is that we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their results. So I've often said on Rule Breaker in the past, that one of the best ways you can become more awesome as a human being, whatever you're calling is to reverse that, is to judge yourself by your results and others by their intention. So whether or not that's going to happen in a political context of an individual level, every one of us can be more awesome and level up if we become more self-aware of that dynamic.

Matthew Dowd: The other thing I'll add on that is I completely agree with what you just said, but I also think there's another corollary to that, which is oftentimes the things that most upset us in another person are something we need to work on ourselves. They actually should be an insight like why am I getting so upset about this? Wow, it's because I have something I need to work on within myself.

David Gardner: I don't know if you've ever read the book, Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine. But if you've not, you're channeling a fair amount of it in this discussion today.

Matthew Dowd: I haven't read, but I will.

David Gardner: It's great. Before we move onto number 9, for number 8, Matthew Dowd, doable, it's got a chance, not doable.

Matthew Dowd: Got a chance.

David Gardner: Number 9, if a campaign attacks an opponent in the sexist, racist, or mean-spirited manner, other campaign should stand together and defend that candidate. The mantra should be that a personal destructive attack on one should be viewed as an attack on all. Give support even if you believe the attack may hurt your opponent and help you.

Matthew Dowd: I think this is just, again, another human quality of are we embracing, this is our own individual pursuit or are we embracing it as a pursuit that is supposed to be for to build up our country or build up our community? If it's the latter, building up country and building up community, then we should defend others in a place of injustice or in a place of lack of fairness because it's really should not be solely about ourselves and our own pursuit. It should be about how are we going to improve the situation in total at hand? To me, it's not only about, I'm going to protect myself and defend myself. It's what you would do if you were going down the street and somebody was mistreating somebody else, would you just walk on by because it has nothing to do with you, or would you defend them? Because there's obviously a famous quote; an active injustice against one is an active injustice against all. Campaigns, I don't think about it that way.

David Gardner: This one feels particularly occur. I know you obviously wrote the article in 2019. How much has happened around sexism, racism, and mean spirit in the last 2.5 years. I feel like you were really seeing ahead. I don't know whether campaigns have gotten any better at this, but I do think as a society, we're much more attuned to this. I'm not going to say we are all doing it right yet, but there is a lot more awareness about these forces than I think was being acknowledged even just a couple of years ago. Matthew pie in the sky rating for this one, number 9, campaign attack somebody based on sexism, racism, etc. The likelihood other campaigns will stand together and even if it's not in their own best interest, defend that candidate, doable, got a chance, undoable.

Matthew Dowd: Got a chance. I'm somewhere between got a chance to doable. I would have given that between a two and three years ago. A few years ago. Now it's between a two and a one today.

David Gardner: Excellent. Number 10. It uses a word that I often hear in and around conscious capitalism, which is held, by the way, in Texas, the conscious capitalism CEO Summit every year in October, I just got back a couple of weeks ago. It was probably the first group of people more than a decade ago who I started hearing talk about the word love in the context of business, which to a lot of people raised on 20th-century classic capitalism, love in the workplace like I would love my employee or I would love our customers. Herb Kelleher, ticker symbol LUV for Southwest Airlines. This has been in conscious circles for quite a long time. I don't often hear about this in politics or campaigning, but here's number 10 according to you, Matthew, "Let us lead with love and not with hate. While anger could help energize folks to rise up, let's have campaigns which seek peace and calm instead of war. Let's encourage people to focus and to calm down and access their better angels, instead of stirring people up and appealing to the worst aspects of human nature."

Matthew Dowd: So I think this one was written before the moment we're in right now in the last few years, obviously, where this has become a huge part of it, where that hate has become weaponized in a way that I didn't think was going to happen.

David Gardner: So sad.

Matthew Dowd: It was used and then obviously fear is used to get to hate that gets the anger and then it keeps me moving and moving past that. Yes, I think again, this is just one of those things that you can make an argument against somebody. I hardly ever use the word hate. I just think it's such a harsh word. Using the word love, I think the reason why it seems unusual and difficult is it's associated with softness and romance, as opposed to embracing and collectiveness of community. That sometimes love, which to me is one of the most powerful, strongest words one can use, it's often seen in politics as weakness. I think we have to turn that around. The idea that showing love, caring, compassion, kindness, which is all related to it, is actually a strength and not a weakness.

David Gardner: Very well said. Thank you. Doability of number 10, let us live with love and not with hate. Doable, it's got a chance, undoable today.

Matthew Dowd: I have faith that love always conquers hate, maybe not in a short term and 0.25 balance sheet, but maybe over the long haul, it will. I would again put that between 2 and 1, a doable and it's got a chance.

David Gardner: Matthew Dowd, thank you for going through the 10 points. The 10 commitments you spoke to 2.5 years ago in an article that some random fool on the Internet read, remembered and really thought, increasingly we should talk about this. I'm so glad that you came on the podcast and did. I've been enlightened by what you said. I've been inspired by what you said. As I said at the top, if any single one of these was really taken up an owned collectively by a campaign, that is by all participants on both sides if there are two sides of a campaign, does that help their community? Does that help our world? So tired of the negative, living with hate, the question, all of this. It's funny, Matthew, you and I are both dads. We try to do these 10 things in our lives. As you said earlier, we teach our kids these things in kindergarten. We reward or punish our kids based on their behaviors around these things somehow. We would never tolerate this in the world of business in lots of ways. Never, it wouldn't work. You wouldn't actually compete successfully against Southwest Airlines if you employed a lot of what's happening in the political world today, day-to-day. Yet, there's one area where it seems to work or have worked, especially in recent years. I do have a deep faith that that will not be the case in an increasingly conscious society 10-25 years from now. I think it's starting right here, right now in some ways. I want to quote you at the end of your article because this is the most juice. You nailed it with this. You read at the end of the article, "I believe that if campaigns are running this fashion, it's much more likely that leaders once elected will govern in a manner more in alignment with justice, integrity, and the common good." We see that how you campaign you were sounding this note a little bit earlier, probably in a lot of ways, shows us how you're going to lead. Better campaigning very likely is better leadership. Boy, does the public sector, in particular, starve for that today? I'm not talking about any given party. I'm a native of Washington DC. I've seen the federal government over the years. But all of us, wherever we are in, and many of our listeners of course, are in other places in the world where they probably dream of having some of the things we take for granted in our country. But I'm really glad you concluded that way. I think that's important.

Matthew Dowd: Thank you.

David Gardner: As we near the end, I want to mention ahead of time, of course, next week on Rule Breaker Investing is the October Mailbag. We started with mental tips, tricks, and life hacks, to start this month, and I did nine full issues I hold to be self-evident last week, something I only do once every two years. Then, of course, conscious politics this week with Matthew Dowd. I would love to hear what you thought at this month's podcast. [email protected] is the email address. We'll be taping our mailbag a little early. Ideally, you're emailing us by Friday if you're hoping to have your thoughts included on next week's mailbag. Again, our email address; [email protected] Matthew, now my team of Sierra Baldwin and Maggie Dorn, that's our booking team. Sierra reached out to you to book this interview on September 7th. I was checking our corporate slackers, I said, book Matthew September 7th, and you said yes, I was delighted when you did, although you said in a month or so. In the meantime, maybe I see why you were busy now. My Texan Fools and my highly politically aware listeners probably already know this, but I didn't until yesterday. And I wrote you apologizing that my jester [inaudible 01:04:47] head is often buried in the sand when it comes to politics and races, but in between our booking you on September 7th and today as we record our interview Tuesday, October 19th, you announced that you yourself, Matthew Dowd, are running for lieutenant Governor of Texas. Wow.

Matthew Dowd: [laughs] Yeah. It happened, I announced on September 29th. The campaign, it's something I've bounced around for me as I've watched this year unfold. I'm just trying to ask myself in the midst of all of what's going on in politics and things that have happened both nationally and in Texas, which I have completely disagreed with and I actually think aren't in the best interest of the majority of Texans. I understood as I've debated this, the sacrifice it would be. My life was good and is good. I sit in the hill country on the Blanco River, my kids are great and I spend time with them. I've been blessed in my life that I don't have to worry about a lot of things, life was good, but I actually started to ask myself, you got to do more. If you allow just this to keep going and not step up in this moment, then you're just allowing the bad to continue. So I made a decision to run for Lieutenant Governor in Texas, which in Texas is a very powerful office different than other states that people might be familiar with, it's very powerful here. And I'm running as a Democrat because I believe that right now it's the only vehicle. Though I may disagree with other Democrats on some issues, it's the only vehicle I believe right now that supports the constitution and the values that I am a believer in this small democratic principles. I'm right in the midst of it. I'm sitting in Texas flag behind me. I'm sitting in my campaign office in Wimberley, Texas right now, and I'm on my way.

David Gardner: Well, I think anybody who knows me knows this is a non-partisan statement, I really don't spend much time thinking about the parties. I do actively ask and you don't have to answer this question unless you want to say something about it. Just like I look at the core values of my company, The Motley Fool, or the core values of any, let's say, not-for-profit board, I'm sitting on, I like to know the core values of our organizations. We talked earlier, what are the core values of our country? Again, I think that's a beautiful question to ask anyone. The next time you're sitting on a bus without anything to say or an embarrassing moment in the elevator, well, this will actually make it more embarrassing, it's a little too intense, but just asking, someone, what do you think are the core values of our nation? Just having an open conversation where people open up and share and you're like, well, why do you think that? That's such a much more valuable conversation than some of the ones we've been inveighing against over the course of our hour together. But I'm curious because I have a hard time seeing this today. Do you think that the Democratic Party has core values? If so, are they truly aligned about them? Could you articulate 3-5 of them? Or I would say the same to my Republican friends, which I am rhetorically on this podcast. Are you all aligned around 3-5 core values that in our workplace there's so many of us have found so powerful and effective to state those and be aligned though. Do you see that in party politics are they true core values that unite parties?

Matthew Dowd: Yeah, I do, actually, I do see that. It's not an issue. Debate though issues can be reflective of core values, but you could debate issues and policies. Even under a core value, you can debate them and the best way to achieve those core values. But I do see them. I think at this point in time, I think you have to really get to the deepest most fundamental value in this moment. I think the Democratic Party right now, they have a lot of debate and a lot of stuff and they're not always perfect [inaudible 01:08:46] at times. But I actually think they believe in some basic core values about an interest in the idea that democracy, it should be a functional system that everybody's vote should count, that we believe in the idea of justice and fairness and all. I think there are some core values that all democrats agree with, but, again, I think there's a dispute at times over the practice of them in whatever debate on a policy is. But I do believe, which is why I'm running as a Democrat, they have some core values that I think are very different from what the opposing party is today.

David Gardner: Let's leave that right there because it really is not the purpose of this podcast or my personal interest to investigate that. But I'm glad we're having the conversation, and I'm glad that somebody of your caliber, Matthew, is bringing that to the fray. Speaking of the fray, I guess my obvious concluding question [laughs] is, well you just laid down the strategy book on how to conduct a conscious campaign, and I'd say you generously shared your viewpoints and even your ratings on exactly that. Matthew Dowd, how thoroughly are you planning on putting your stratagems into real practice in the year ahead?

Matthew Dowd: Great question. I put a lot of thinking this, having been in politics and one-time campaigns, I'm not a candidate that's handed something and says, here, read this sir, this is what you need to say. Everything that I say and do comes from my own gut and my heart. If somebody can go on our website and look at the opening video, I wrote that. I wrote the opening video, that was me in my own words. There's a statement of, what are my statement on why I'm running, I wrote that.

David Gardner: I love that.

Matthew Dowd: I came up with the overall idea of a campaign, which is common sense with common decency for the common good. Common sense with common decency for the common good. Very much in line with the conversation we just had. When I've hired people here at the campaign, and my first sit down meeting with them is I want to conduct a campaign that reflects how we're going to govern, if we're elected Lieutenant Governor. We should act and treat and behave as if we're already in Lieutenant Governor's office and not tell people we're doing this, but so people were doing this. It's that old Margaret Thatcher quote that I will paraphrase, which is, being important, it's like being a lady, if you have to tell people, you are, you're probably not. [laughs] The whole idea is, if you are going to be a person of integrity or you're going to be in person that believes these things show them, before you tell them.

David Gardner: Yeah.

Matthew Dowd: I'm trying, imperfectly. All of those things as you went through them all I was thinking to myself, yeah, that's what we want to do and that's some of the things we've already thought of. Some we can do better, some we need to reflect more on how we're going to do that. But speaking about using the word, it has been a conscious thing for me that I don't want to win. I'd rather lose and do it right than when and done it wrong.

David Gardner: Beautifully said. I want to thank you again, because I think a lot of people who are actually candidates for political office, and I literally didn't know you were when I invited you to this podcast and you had denounced [laughs] anything that I did. But to think that you came on the podcast and you didn't insist that I lead off by mentioning in your bio that you're running for Lieutenant Governor of Texas, I really wanted it to emerge organically as was my own lived experience. To see, oh my gosh, this guy said and thought these things and look what he just did. It was fun for me to go through that very same sequencing for this podcast. I'm thankful that you didn't say, hey, please lead with that, and that's why I'm on this podcast, and how many people in Texas listen to this podcast? You didn't ask any of those things. I'll conclude by saying Matthew Dowd at the heart of this podcast and of course, in my own heart. I love rule breakers, people who challenge the status quo, who look at the conventional wisdom and maybe see something better. Usually the greatest value is created by people who realize the conventional wisdom was wrong. In the stock market when you do that, everybody is going one way, and you're buying Amazon in 1997, and you do really well over the next 25 years because you were the one who challenged the conventional wisdom. I trust and hope that I'm not going to call this a movement that you're starting, but maybe in part it is, that conscious politics and conscious campaigning are about to turn and get a lot better in the next 25 years. Whether you win or lose, and I love how you said it, I think that to uphold that and to communicate that and teach that, I think a lot of us will be watching you with interest. I sure will. Matthew, thanks for joining us this week on Rule Breaker Investing.

Matthew Dowd: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

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