Eric Garcetti on the lessons of Los Angeles

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There’s been a lot of talk about the coming of majority-minority America — the point, projected for roughly 2045, when there will no longer be any racial or ethnic group that makes up a majority of the United States.

But there are plenty of places in America where this has already happened. Los Angeles is one of them. LA has about 4 million people, making it more populous than 23 states, and a demography in rapid flux. Non-Hispanic whites make up about 30 percent of the population, while Hispanics and Latinos make up 47 percent, and African Americans make up 10 percent.

Eric Garcetti is the mayor of LA. He’s its first Jewish mayor and its second Mexican-American mayor. He was reelected in 2017 with a stunning 81 percent of the vote. And he’s openly considering a run for president in 2020. If Garcetti does jump into the race, he’ll likely do so based on two core ideas: that there’s a better way to talk about and govern amid diversity than either Donald Trump or the Democrats have shown, and that Americans are primed for a manager who makes running the government their core objective, rather than fighting the culture wars.

In this conversation, Garcetti and I talk about what he’s learned governing a majority-minority polity, why he thinks national identity is crucial amid rising diversity, his political vison’s central tenant of “belonging,” the roots of LA’s homelessness crisis, whether paving streets is sexy, and much more.

Garcetti offers a different vision of where the Democratic Party should go next — one based much more on the lessons of California than backlash to Trump. It’s worth hearing.

Recommended books:

Stone, Paper, Knife by Marge Piercy

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer

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