Council on Foreign Relations Discussion on the Midterm Elections Oct 29, 2018



you it's very hard to know who's who he's the one without here alright well hello and welcome to today's session such a great turnout I think on the eve of such an exciting election so I am Katie Hinman I'm an executive producer at CNN and I will be presiding with this very distinguished group I think they probably need no introduction but I will do so anyway James Carville political strategist and author of worth still right there still wrong the Democrats case for 2016 mary matalin distinguished professor at Ogden Honors College at Louisiana State and Republican strategist and Amy Walter who's the national editor of the cook Political Report and host of the takeaway on WNYC and a political contributor at PBS Newshour so listen it's been a it's been a week and I think you can't think of two people who could understand more how to disagree and live civilly together so I guess do you have any thoughts just about kind of the state of our political discourse and and whether it'll have any affection on on next week's election okay I think what happened is that when historians come back and look at this era it'll find out November early December of 2000 a Bush guy by the name of Matthew Dowd brought a memo and in the memo Matthew said elections are no longer one but swing voters in the middle there won by turning out your own voters and he's a good guy and he was the weatherman he was just telling you what the weather was outside and that became in after the 2000 election proud of that strategic doctrine in the United States takes what is that you went as far to the left of the right you had to go to get your nomination and you would sort of inch back toward the center a kind of gentler you know a third way a different kind of Democrat and you would always be hearing that kind of that kind of a thing but then everybody decided that it was no value in the Senate so if they abandon the Senate do it what you did and so races are now one if you look at our race in 92 what was in my mind all the time was somebody in Ohio áfourá de or New Mexico who might have voted for Reagan but voted for John Kennedy and might you know voted for different things out those are the prized possession now it's a set of those prized possession for either party is a low propensity to vote but a high propensity to vote for you and so you're trying to dig to reach that person way more than the person in the Senate so that's that's to large extent politically this is just a manifestation of an eighteen-year strategy and so what you you you're trying to in here now it you never here but it's all about turnout can they get there people do well gauge enthusiasm will gauge all of this it's very seldom do we engage the center because frankly there's not much of that left in American politics and parties have decided that it's just not worth going after so but what you seeing is a logical ethnic extension of 18 years of political campaigns thank you for having us you my friend Janet Mullins is here if you really want to do anything where is she so that the original invitation said just talk about the midterms and then what you guys got was foreign policy I would affects the midterms if you want to know that as Janet Mullen brilliant on foreign policy as her grandson so we're kind of like the Admiral Stockdale of this I don't how I didn't know you're gonna say that I never nobody's gonna say because I usually do so now you know it's not rigged but it's interesting that you did say it like that because just by way of orientation we still have a place here but this was our 10th year in New Orleans at Katrina it was my 65th birthday the city's 300th birthday our 25th anniversary our baby girl is debuting in December and our big girl got engaged Saturday night so we have a whole lots to celebrate no it's not I'm disabled all this by way of saying I feel the most like a normal voter I've ever been because I'm not here although I have one foot in the camp but Janet we have a with Margaret Tutwiler running email thing we like we follow the politics but most people outside of here including critical issues foreign policy they're not junkies like us so this behavior this electorate behavior you said 18 years I was thinking this started room so it's not everybody's blaming Trump or whatever this was two decades almost in the making we rightly lost the house in 2006 frustrated Republicans we're not even upset about that we picked up 63 seats in the next midterm then they want to get so it's been this nobody knows who they are anymore and all these labels me nothing and in the middle of that instead of debating we started calling each other names this is this Trump as I've often said and as you can know is a symptom he is not the cause of any of this stuff and I'm not saying that to defend him or to trash the system or anything like that but there's we are at a crossroads for lots of reasons that have happened in history before but it feels calamitous to us because of the information age and we get so much more information faster doesn't make us wiser but we have a generational shift there's now more Millennials and baby boomers a technological shift an energy shift so all this stuff is churning journey turning around and it's the politics is the way our system is set up is an anachronism and so what what do you do when you're in this chaotic it's kind of situation you have to go back to first principles so as it pertains to foreign policy I think we're going back to the future which is peace through strength kind of stuff then and we just debt I don't know what this election I I do think that we're going to pick up seats in the Senate we disagree and I'm sure Amy agrees with James on that huh I still think we're not going to lose the house I don't know how you could pick up that many Senate seats and not have the zeitgeist carry except at the House seats that are vulnerable or not where the Senate seats are so what would that mean I turn that over to some of you actually does a day to day because that's not how people out there are watching it they're watching it for these conservatives are for Trump transcends politics more than the Republicans do he stands up he fights he exposes hypocrisy he exposes double standards and for people out there who have been called names and had their motives questioned for several cycles now over a decade they're just there there's a visceral emotional response to that right and that's just I don't I don't know how to sum all that up except to say that we've been through worse I suppose civil war Vietnam war they're always like war so this is kind of like a war and it has to end something I don't know how you get out of this other than the next generation gets us out of this because people don't live like this we don't live like this in New Orleans we don't we're in a majority-minority City we don't call each other names and it stock people at restaurants and whatnots and normal people see that in the world and guess what there's more normal people in the country then there are junkies what do you think if that's our entire you know subscriber base cannot have normal more normal people at heart that's bad for a business model I don't disagree with anything that either of them said I will say well where should we even well I would like to get to foreign policy but I assume that most of the people here want to know so Amy tell us who's gonna win so what we have what I find fascinating about this election is number one there is very little overlap between where the senate most competitive Senate races are and where the most competitive House races are so you could just in the states of New Jersey Pennsylvania Virginia and California get all or most of the House seats that you need and those are not the competitive Senate races new jersey's newly competitive because of the person sitting in that seat not because of the state but there weren't competitive House races in Indiana or Missouri North Dakota right that the Senate runs for those so the Senate runs through the kinds of places where they still like Trump and those places that he won by double digits but the house runs through these suburban districts that don't like Trump and are uniquely positioned to go against what has been their traditional DNA which was right these are affluent suburban voters who they voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 sort of holding her in those but they really couldn't stand what they saw out of the president they are getting the policies that they would traditionally like lower taxes less regulation but they don't like who Trump the person is voters in the more rural parts of the country who many of whom are feeling the impacts of negative impacts on some of his policies like tariffs still giving him their support and so I think what's happened to over the course of 20 years talking about normal people for a minute which is that we spend a whole lot of time and we're probably gonna do this you're talking about policy right and voters we have this image of voters looking at this ideological spectrum and picking their candidates based on where they fit on that ideological spectrum and what are their positions on Trade and the economy and the healthcare pick no it's picked on personality and and Trump is the perfect personality candidate and this is an election every midterm election is a referendum on the president but it's much more a referendum on the person who is the president than it is the president and his policies and so what you feel about him whether he's standing up and finally pushing back at the liberal PC media or whether you think he's destroying the fabric of America with his tweets and his rhetoric that's what's driving you to vote interestingly enough that's not the candidates are talking about either right so it's what it's what we talk about we know that underneath that's what's driving voters but if it would look very different if you just sat in front of cable news for every day you would think that the only important things going on are Russia the caravan Muller and Trump's tweets right somewhere in there if you just watched TV ads of the candidates it's for Democrats it's all just hell it's basically a 60 70 % health care it's Washington corruption right special interests giving deal you know using their influence to get congressman X 2 dou Y on the Republican side it's Nancy Pelosi and if you put Democrats in they're gonna move our country too it's going to be a socialist hellscape okay but it's not about Russia it's not about Trump Nancy Pelosi is getting more airtime than Trump is in there yeah and Maxine Waters so look if I were the Republican part you have to make it a choice right you say you may not like Trump but this is even worse for you what that means as I said so we have these two different electorates that are voting in this election which is why I think you can have a Senate that stays red or goes even a little more red like a seed or two and you can have a house that goes Democrat James and I were discussing this in the before we got on in every midterm election that I've covered and we've had in the cook Political Report we have found that races never break 50-50 okay the closest races always break disproportionally for the party that's winning it doesn't mean that they're gonna win those seats by a lot of votes it could be they win a lot of seats by 5048 there are some recounts you know that we have to wait two weeks to find out but it's almost 60% of the closest races break to the out party the party the momentum if that were to happen today it would mean that Democrats would win about 40 seats in the house and they would lose a seat or so in the Senate if 40 is enough to give them control in them yes they just need 23 the only reason that I hesitate on saying this is it's it's gonna work exactly out that way is the other thing we know about midterms is traditionally what gives the winning party the advantage is that turnout is so skewed on behalf of the winning party right so the out party is more motivated to go and vote right Democrats have been motivated to vote since the day after the 2016 election and that interest has not waned at all but we're seeing Republican energy at a level I didn't it wasn't there in 2006 their interest in this election is much different than it was significantly higher they feel better about the president 2006 Mary's right there are a whole bunch of Republicans they were mad about the war they were mad about Jack Abramoff republican-controlled Congress that they felt was out of control and not sticking with core republican values george w bush's approval rating among republicans going into that election with seventy seven percent the this president has a ninety-one percent approval rating among republicans an interest in this election back in 2006 this is Pew study going into that election October of 2006 thirty three percent of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic about this election than previous it's now fifty nine percent of Republicans who say they're more enthusiastic about this election than previous so we have a turnout scenario that looks that's the one thing that is sticking in my mind James about why this may not exactly look like typical midterm but I don't know it's the first thing I know it's gonna happen is first of all it's gonna be a huge turnout unprecedented historic out of breath still calculating the turnout tonight when you have an event like that it is going to produce a lot of surprises yeah I I can't tell you where they are but some group is driving this more than someone else yep on election night if you want to get a sense of what's going on I would advise you to pick three races to watch all Eastern time zone races main to northern Maine mm-hmm biggest New York 22 to Utica yeah that party eternity in West Virginia three now why do I say watch these three so I think there's a little doubt the Democrats gonna win those congressional seats in New Jersey and suburban Philadelphia places like that way you have suburban voters they are very comfortable in standing I do well the difference between doing well and really well is going to be lie in the ability to carry these red seats yeah these are exceptions gonna have to go in and kick some up there and those are the three my friend al hunt wrote a column about this and I think it and he was right about those are the three that I think you want to look at I have another weird theory this is just a James Carville theory if in the Florida Senate if Nelson wins by five the Senate is in play if he's ahead by that much and I know Darth Dakota's different in the vatta's differ but elections move intent they're just they just do yeah and they're almost oh this might be the rare exception because they have this high turnout that they don't move in tandem but you know if you're like me you want a cheat sheet going into election night so you can get a sense out we're gonna do those three House seats and I think the margin and the Florida Senate is gonna sell us a lot I think so I think there's something very very important to focus on it's not in the in addition to the high turnout the most interesting demographic by far in this election all white people all right I don't know how you've died white people dynamic because it's hard to believe but like in 80's the college non college vote yeah among whites getting them one percent different yeah what you're gonna see realignment I'm talking about college white females uh-huh Oh young democracy oh we did a poll white females not college white females all white females Millennials 18 to 30 I guess is it 72 19 that's Trump disability I know who knows if who's gonna vote but you're gonna see I feel very comfortable to say that the political divisions among whites particularly by gender in education are gonna be is mind-boggling yes is the number of people at vote yes 100% yeah I mean that's you know who would have thought you know a bunch of old white bread mayonnaise loving people would become the most interesting demographic although I am fascinated to see two so young voters turning out and Latino voter turnout will see and that that also has an impact on now we're not gonna really get to see that until unfortunaly that's not an East Coast thing you have to stay up much later to see Nevada in Arizona the Central Valley House districts in California a little bit sis but that is also a difference I think between a Democratic goodnight and a really great that's where you're gonna get you know you could get four or five more House seats just out of getting a Latino vote that is higher than a traditional midterm because when you see drop-off in midterm elections we know fewer people though midterms in presidential but it's the most significant among younger voters and voters of color and you have these different dynamics going on in place like Georgia or Florida where you have african-american candidates who are turning out young non-white voters at unprecedented levels for a midterm it also has residual impact in some of these suburban districts that take in enough of an african-american vote that it could flip a couple of those seats to so it is it's actually it does it feels very different from most midterm elections where by now the cake is pretty well baked and you have a pretty good sense of you know here that here the 30 seats that just watch those now I feel like it's the playing field is so much wider and it will start to narrow down or expand once we see those early you know those early boats come in around 9 10 o'clock just on the policy front you mentioned health care is one of the things voters tell us is really driving their decision the other one is immigration even in non-border states often listed as the number one or number two issue for voters and president Trump's made it very clear that he wants this to be driving issue for voters he said he wants the election to be about Kavanagh and the caravan Mary do you think that he's right that that will get out the Republican vote or the independent vote it transcends parties right so immigration again we tend to think in snapshots maybe because we're so trained to look at polls but when Fred Thompson around in 2008 then Kellyanne Fitzpatrick what's she's for Connolly kind she was then well she's married she said the number one issue for your kind of voters which sort of conservative libertarian simha Gration there was a long time ago that was ten years and it also wasn't oh six so this has been in the way health care has been in evolving or the mercurial issue was access and it was cost and then it was a civil simulation now it's a security issue it's an economic issue it's a social issue and in that's it does I always thought they did concept of invasion with a little hyperbolic but that's what it kind of looks like because they keep saying that there's no way to stop when we don't know how to so that's that's just doesn't jive with people and I think what the your you guys do or not used per se because you don't because he's smart and you don't either but you put by but you but identity politics requires that you think people are monolithic in their votes and their approaches legal immigrants Hispanics in particular are very everybody's Pro immigration but they're pro I mean anti-illegal immigration and same thing with people of color the Trump is really making inroads in that and he's in in in the black demographic so there is no if you dispense with the notion of a monolithic idea or philosophical coherence then you can sort of get sort of wrap your brain around like he keeps talking about women yes until they get married until they have kids and they kind of people's behavior and their philosophical preferences evolve and they we don't we don't know how to account for that I'm not going to trash the bowls or trash the meteor anything but we don't know how to account for what people aren't telling us and the reason they're not telling us exactly how they think is because when they offer any kind of opinion which is just even if they're just asking a question then they're called a racist or a bigot homophobe or massage instance so that's people just shut up so I think you're I think you're both lying about the health seats I just feel like I just I just I think there's so much going on out there that it doesn't necessarily transcend or translate into what you're saying and a couple things are different this cycle really different we always thought and we're you guys are still behaving like money is the message what is what is a robert francis the war kevin texas forty million dollars and I would say we're tired of the notes yet and what do you think that's gonna make a difference and I will say you just use Nelson as an example Nelson is under he's in companies under 50% look I know I'm not I'm saying if the Democrats went for a Florida by five or more that pretends well for other Senate seats I'm saying but I don't know I'm not saying that he's gonna do that I'm just saying is that the Senate is hard that would be a sign of a big night not attack I know I'm asking you what if snow it is a disastrous night but don't thank you thank you if the Democrats lose the Florida Senate that's gonna be that's gonna be a head that's gonna have Indiana in East Coast one two okay it's now let me ask you another James Carville Ian's lesson that you taught me that's always been right if an incumbent is under 50% they end up with their last numbers well first of all Rick Scott is as much of an incumbent is Bill Nelson is he's the governor it's not so it it's not a classic and by the way he's never been over 47 and he's an incumbent but I'm not I really don't want we're gonna know a week from tomorrow what happens I'm telling you sir anything if Nelson loses Florida and you're a Democrat so up and go to bed because the night wait so I tell my students like immigration they said they're sending their worst actually they sit in their best if you're a woman you're a 30 year old woman and you walk from Guatemala to Juarez with an 8 year old kid you're motivated you're motivated tell me you're not that that's some kind of Darwinism going on that now some of the people could be very bad actors everybody's got to be really varied but the people that come here I think tend to be very highly motivated people that are just doing they're just struggling to make their lives out of what they can make them but I mean there's some kind of a sense of you know if you want to hire somebody to work in your hotel and so what you're doing before I walk with my child for 800 miles to get here I think you're gonna show up for work for work to pretty good shape around you okay wait can I tell a story this used to be just in our house like you can't be with on election night we're never ever ever together my sister hates me my daughter but this like election night thing I just had to tell you how honest he really is in 2004 we were upstairs at the White House in the residence getting wrecked putting on our coats getting ready to go down and claim victory as Bush's real-like and the White House operator comes somebody comes in two million goes the White House operator is looking for Mary Matalin James Carville think don't don't go out yet who carries they're gonna remember this so I had to go they're gonna contested he goes but the provisional ballots exceed what contested Ohio would be so I have to go back and tell the poppy bush daddy Bush W and everything to put take your coat sit back down so I tell the Vice President Cheney he goes will you tell him I'm not telling him where'd you get that I said James Carville egos okay fine everybody took off their coats and said you know you are an honest broker yeah I doesn't do I used to actually think that if I went on television I said something it would convince somebody or something well that was all so much of that rock I mean look we are one thing's gonna be one hell of a big story today after the election have a turnout it's gonna be a hell of a big story what happened is this is not you know when people say this is not normal you're very observant very observant it is not and you get you're gonna see it in a time now we talk about foreign policy and so I was thinking coming here it normal to be nice very prestigious that y'all will invite us to be here and you know something I can tell my grandchildren or something but so I could give you a nice kind of answer I can tell you truth foreign policies influence on this election is going to be about that much right that the great foreign policy question of 2014 I'm flying back from Argentina and I said I'm reading and I'm a college professor I don't know anything about Ebola that was the foreign Polycarp crisis of October 2014 and I'm reading a Business Week article and a foremost expert on Ebola is a scientist at Tulane Medical School the guy named Robert Geary says seminars are called we Minnesota not Gary James college student could you come by the seminar do it from my house like 20 kids a guy shows up if we sitting around in our table and he said well I just got back from Sierra Leone and it was I said wait a minute you just got back crazy I will get sued you know it's no no no that's not the way it works you know then he went through and explained the whole thing and of course the Ebola crisis lasted exactly until Election Day and then the day after the election it was no crisis anymore well the caravan is the of 2018 and I bet you that the caravan is out of the news a week from tomorrow but nobody is voting on the Western alliance no one is voting on the trans-pacific trade agreement nobody is voting on any of that it's just not a real factor in this election that I can dare I think it's a my mean when I was growing up as a kid you know it adds in World War two I was in the Marine Corp I lived through the greatest foreign policy disaster you can imagine but it's not they're just not the great debates that we had about foreign policy this election it's caravan and not much else but that's not that's illustrative it's not dispositive just the caravan is going to be out of the news but the immigration issue is not going to go away until there's some coherent recognizable tangible reform and everybody knows that and what's normal people it's making normal people crazies they know but that there's an answer out there but both sides have staked out a position that precludes their coming up with a sensible solution but it's not gonna go where the caravan is just a snapshot of it okay so questions in the audience right over here sir mm-hmm thank you David Goldwyn Atlantic Council question for mr. Carville can you paint the profile of a winning Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 that's a the question pivots offered a conversation that Amy and I will heaven in a green room coming in here and that is the outcome of the 2018 election is going to have a big effect on the 2020 nominating process if the Democrats don't do well the party will be throw the hands up it'll be in you know the burning people will say look you're nominated all these men Stremme candidates what did it get you they'll be a huge huge internal debate within a Democratic Party I think and I also think under under accounted for if I go to a Democrat and I say look I got somebody that you're gonna agree with 86% of the time but has a 52 percent chance to win or I got somebody you're going to agree with 72 percent of the time but has a 53 chance to win is intense when it's a good guy that can win I mean what ability is going to matter a lot in this cycle it doesn't normally but in its up I'm if you want to get Democratic votes then go campaign spend 20% of your time campaigning with people who are not Democrats to demonstrate to other Democrats is why are we writing to white working-class people off I'm not I'm going out in campaign and maybe I won't get 50 percent but there's all the difference in the world between getting big 70/30 and 6040 and you're demonstrating to other people that hey I'm going to fight for every vote in the general election and you know why these other candidates then all the time telling you how great they are I want to go out and expand our ideas I want to tell people about how fundamentally important Medicare and Social Security I want to tell people out there that the unbelievable game dangers we face because of climb but I want to tell people out there how we can expand to get more health insurance to people whatever the democratic ideals of the party are you don't have to change them but you just can't have a conversation with each other other Democrats want to have a strategy that's expansive that they can feel good about and so I bet I think we were under playing that we under played at 92 we'd been out of power for 12 years those Democrats were willing to let us do anything if they thought we could win yeah they just knew we would hear that although whatever you do just do it just so god damn win – thanks you know I think that's gonna be a big part of the psychology of of what's going on in and if somebody is too perfect they're gonna say you have a chance that that's my general view I would agree in a amend that a little bit just in that if let's say Democrats do great okay let's say it's the James Carville five point Senate flips governorships everywhere Andrew Gilliam is governor Florida then I think you have a Democratic Party that does say well let flowers bloom we Joe Donnelly conservative Democrat runs on the wall he wins in Indiana we got a progressive african-american candidate that wins in Florida we can have we have Ocasio Cortes in New York right we've got socialist Democrat we got everybody let's let them all let's see who is the best one right that's where you can serve have those internal debates in the navel-gazing about who we want what's our party said if it's a bad night then the panic meter goes up on oh my god he's gonna be president for eight more years we can't we can't let this thousand flower bloom thing we gotta find a candidate what right they went counting carefully eight total years a total years of all of this I we find that person we find him now and we got you know we can't have one of these crazy seventeen way primaries like Republicans had where we got we get on cable television and have these crazy forums which by the way I the one thing that is going to be many things that are unusual and unique about this next presidential election but can you imagine what those debates are gonna look like with Trump tweeting them live like underneath the chyron is gonna read we know what it's gonna look like Democratic hands are gonna be up there the chyron running underneath will be you know Donald Trump kooky Kamala's you know prescription for health care is gonna bankrupt America and that you know will Flitz there's gonna be reading the tweets live to the people up on stage so if you're already panicking you're not gonna be Trump do you really want a long drawn-out process that is right is determined by some of the very people in the in the primary process that you think can't determine who's the best person to defeat Donald Trump so that's gonna be a much different I think a much different reaction and the best-case scenario right now for Democrats is you look at where they are going to be them where they'll be the most successful in governorships and Senate races is the Midwest right the the battleground for 2016 Wisconsin Michigan Pennsylvania Ohio all of those Senate races which were supposed to be really competitive Democrats all those seats aren't very competitive now Democrats likely to hold all of them the governorships all competitive including Scott Walker who could eat loose Democrats can think about hi Oh Iowa right these are places that we that looked after the 2016 election well those are no-fly zones for Democrats Ohio's no democratic state I was I mean a Republican state I was a Republican state success there is going to also point fingers too well okay who's the Democrat that can win the Midwest that's great that you want Florida that's nice and everything but we need somebody who can do that Pennsylvania Rust Belt you know I just want to make one point over to Mary do you see anything she was wrong aggressive we need to be more aggressively to be aggressive and you know the two Democrats who was thought that be in some trouble a year ago Oh Bobby Casey and sherrod Brown you know they're both gonna win by double digits yeah and they're both the anti in your face kind of guys both of them I mean they're good Democrats but they're very polite kind of humble people who just sort of get up and go to work until any of loud speeches and I've known podiums and not calling people names and I think there's a lesson yeah there's a real lesson here and the the first lesson for Democrats to take is is if we want to beat truck we got to nominate somebody later ah no that's not it yeah that's not the formula and look at the people who are doing well like that you look at all these candidates that are running and I tell must as one of my favorite moments in history is the Battle of Chattanooga and over Chattanooga the thing called missionary red what you would think it is it's a ridge that's kind of overlooks the city and a Confederate on me held Missionary Ridge and so General Grant comes in with the Union Army he's got this kind of complex thing and his Sherman's contact the North flank and Thomas the South flank and it's not going very well and all of a sudden he looks up and these soldiers just going up the ridge in the middle and he looks his eighth he says who ordered those soldiers up there he said nobody general they just went and that's what I'm telling these Democrats around the country don't wait on order some head Florida to the D and see anything and you look at all these people out out there running they're just going on their own and I mean I think that if my hopes are fulfilled we're gonna see a lot of women candidates we're gonna see a lot of veteran CIA agents it's going to be a whole new tenant to Washington and these are all the people that just grabbed their rifle and lit up the ridge and they're all running on I'm a centrist right yeah these ones who are gonna win they're winning in these swing suburban formerly Republican districts they're not running on we need to punch more people in the face they're running on right we need to solve problems and this is the wrong way to do it and yeah but what's breaking through is not Casey in Ohio it is fingernails scratching down and the riots at the Cavanaugh thing this Republicans are naturally skeptical and that just did you guys everything you have done that does not represent what you've just described has reactivated Tea Party people let me go back to what he said before when we look for these two ideal candidate 1992 it wasn't just you need it to win or you want it to win Clinton William Jefferson Clinton is an extraordinary Sooey generous candidate and politician there's just nobody else like it and Trump is soui generous now you might not want you obviously this is not a room but I remember in that campaign we thought you think Trump is vulgar we thought talking about boxers or briefs or going on Arsenio Hall or going on Imus or playing the saxophone or you and that thing with Jennifer flowers we thought all that was vulgar okay so I think we're like it's a Rorschach test so you think like you think I think like I think and this is how we get toward 2015 you think like you think that's your problem no it's not your problem so we don't talk about this but do you see what I'm saying honey they're doing well or tend to be more sedate nice appeal look what did Bill Nelson who I think is going to do well this doesn't bang the podium and I think the country I mean we always take the wrong lesson yes yes that's right yep go forth in each the bottle speak if necessary one way of communicating okay that's one way you can you can commute it you can communicate by the way you act you can you many facial expressions using hand gestures there are thousand ways to do that but I think decorum or deportment or whatever word you want to use I think counts a lot for this cycle I really do and I and I think it gonna count internally in the Democratic Party as it goes to its nomination process I I do think that the stylistic backlash to what we have now is going to be pretty profound can I add one more thing to this because we act like this is all new and it's all we've never been here before we've been here so the campaign's I think this is true of all the parties when we were doing them I'm such an we are passionate about it and it was a it was an honorable profession it's more of an arithmetic algorithm kind of thing today in the the but campaigns essentially always have been about communicating so we're communicating in a much more ferocious and high-velocity way but I keep I am I like history I don't like this world that were in right now so I like one of my favorite politicians in all time of all times of Cicero and James gotta somebody asked him to write that analyze the strategic memo from Cicero's brother who was his campaign manager you didn't want to do but I love sisters so I talked it into this holy this is like I could have written this memo what was it I mean it so it's rose or something he said better too and says what you do this thing about the memo that says rose brother wrote no I don't know exactly my cup of tea so if marriage he's out love this right read the book so I said okay so I started reading it was so contemporary you wouldn't believe it about when to go negative it even called them tough to foul fake lawsuits I think we always think that we did something different we reinvented something new or we know something about politics and wet and learn one thing it was the same thing in Cicero's time as here's the day if go back and read what he said in it was so it sounded so contemporaneous that in that was my kind of it was very humbling to think that had already thought of this 2,000 years ago I thought I was a genius okay let's watch Beverly Lindsay multi-campus University of California for any of the panelists the races in Georgia and Florida for the governor are within the margin of error for both candidates Republicans and Democrats but I also remember when Tom Bradley was well ahead for the Gov ship in California and lost considerably because people stated one thing in the polls and then voted otherwise what do you think will really happen and particularly in Georgia because that's a woman candidate who haven't done very well in statewide elections in Georgia I think that Gilliam is gonna win in Florida but I didn't in Georgia everybody tells me it's a me might have some more inside America maybe heard something internally but I I would say entra is definitely a favorite and far right yeah don't you hear in different states too you know the thing about Florida is right that's a that's a state that goes one and a half points Republican 1/2 points Democrat every right in the in the different elections for president so it's oh it's sort of like right in the middle and then wherever the national environment is it sort of moves with that versus Georgia which is is a red state that is getting less red thanks in part to the college-educated white voters becoming less knee-jerk Republican lots of growth obviously in and around Atlanta and african-american voters but to get a Democrat to forty eight percent I think is not it's not easy but you can get a Democrat to forty eight getting a Democrat to fifty is the challenging part it's that's two points and that's where the kind of voters that live in the state matter right I think southern white voters are very different from suburban Atlanta voters are very different from suburban Philadelphia voters even though they might both describe themselves as Republican or conservative they look very different so I would rather be running in a state like Florida as a Democrat I take your point about Bradley and african-american and what is it like and certainly it's not been shall we say under the radar the issues around race in in the Florida governor's race and in the Georgia race but you know it's different it seems to me this in this day and age is that it's being talked about out loud not just by the people who are saying racist things but the people calling out to the racist things and that's the big change and that in some cases that it has an impact too on how white voters perceive the Republican rather than how they perceive the Democrat that's the issue of immigration – I think the issue of immigration now breaks down on whether you see it as a security issue or a social issue and that is I think a lot about where you position yourself internally politically not necessarily what the issue of immigration means right is it that these people are invaders or is it that we should see this as James pointed out is more compassionate this is about humanitarian process not about ms-13 and Isis but they used up their compassion card okay they just and they've used up their racist card is what I'm saying and I'm soon you're gonna disagree with me on this but you've been calling people racist for so many cycles now that it just lost its it's lost its impact and it's in fact it's aggravated people the kind of Democrats you guys are talking about that would be victorious are this is how normal people think again results-oriented okay that you have to have something to show our dear friend Rahm who is no conservative right but he's in Chicago every time I turn my said you sound like me balancing the budget and like when you're a governor or some closer to the the state legislation state of things you can see those people have to perform they have to they're held accountable they are people they have to show results like we don't have to that the whole different mindset from singing the kumbaya song they that you want to hear and it's I I think you're having an internal conflict and where we're already pastors I think you also have no polite way to say that a geriatric prop problem do you know like we don't tweet or Facebook or we're too old I don't like he's ADHD and I don't get it like if you're over 30 and you have a glass of wine at night you shouldn't have a Twitter time do you think Joe Biden is mister and that's why trumpism trumpets like he is speaking beyond like we think it's vulgar because he's speaking to ok he's speaking to this information age generation that we don't we kind of get because we both work in colleges but it's a whole different kind of mindset that's that ok switching your question first of all who is the only person to ever since Eisenhower to ever win fifty percent of the popular vote twice Obama okay so at least we know that over 50% of the people in the country the other thing I want to point out and very very kind of underreported event was the african-american turnout in the Alabama special it was not high it was beyond historic but we were modeling optimistically a 28 percent contribution it comes in at 31 almost and just remember it's the hardest thing in political consulting for people to remember if something goes if one demographic goes up two points as a contribution than somebody somebody else has got to lose two points so that's how one no doubt about it Doug Jones of central Alabama was because of a breathtakingly high african-american turnout that pretends that you know nine Stacey in Georgia you know in place like that the instinct tells you that happened in Alabama with Doug now you had the glory of Rome or which is a great one great turnout craters that ever lived but so it's going to be interesting to see if this holds true and it may it may not now one other thing is but what's really weird is you're probably going to have Republican governors in Vermont Massachusetts in Maryland and you could have Democratic governors in Kansas Oklahoma South Dakota South Carolina South Dakota even and so there so there is if you look at what Mary was talking about on the kind of more results-oriented thing you're seeing some pretty different behavior in these governor's races that you're not seeing in more nationalized way it can I go to what we all are going on we always take the wrong lessons from these outcomes what really can we learn from Florida when a critical swath of voters has been wiped out by the hurricane so weak that's just that it's going to be at having the impact in their not everything is about race like when Mitch Landrieu when we moved to New Orleans after Katrina you helped with Katrina we James we he was he did not want to run and he did anyone with 67 percent of the white vote 67 percent of black vote uptown downtown 9th Ward he won across it and it wasn't and I'm Yankee so I don't get this like southern thing about race but everybody came together because we had we didn't we had it we were flat out like we had a start-over with everything schools and it was just like ground zero so that not all of these things are about race and I think to the extent that we keep pitting races against each other that that's that does not comport with outcome based results it just it's just a zero-sum game okay let's take one more question up here thank you one thing that hasn't been mentioned at all is the recent spate of domestic violence do you think that's going to have any impact on voters is it the October Surprise I mean it's certainly occupying the news I mean if I were there is no such thing as an October Surprise anymore because every day is a surprise right I mean I didn't think we would be talking about 99% of what we talked about on a daily basis but you know I think that where the news is focused is either helpful or unhelpful for the for the president or for Democrats I think when the focus was on Cavanaugh and the focus is on in some of these states immigration but I do think it plays differently in different places honestly that's really better for the president and if you notice his approval rating actually for the last two to three weeks has been really good right that last poll that came out from it's not just that this NBC Wall Street Journal poll had him at 47% 45 if you have likely voters but that's not it that's his high-water mark Gallup has been showing him go up like if this election were taking place last year at this point in 2017 it would be a wipeout devastating white presidents at 38% he's at 82 percent or something with Republicans Ryan de says so it's a divided sort of depressed Republican Party Democrats are engaged and energized and they're turning out and that's when you get 45 seats in the House and that's when the Senate flips and right now he's at 45 percent the enthusiasm as I said it's very different than it was in 2006 certainly different than it was in 2017 but now the focus is on what the uncertainty and the it's about lack of civility it's about you know crazy people with guns it's about rhetoric and language and targeting of vulnerable groups of people if you are running in a suburban district as a Republican I don't think that's what you want the con to be about right because it reminds people like right whether you believe that as Trump's fault are not Trump's fault it's still like oh like life with Trump is always like this right it's like what I remember when you know when the Access Hollywood tape came out and then also with the the WikiLeaks that next day but to me the thing about what I remember most about the final ten days of the 2016 election was the James Comey letter not just because it was oh no maybe there is more to this maybe this is a big cover but more of like I remember thinking oh god this is the next four years like every day it's gonna be another Clinton scandal right that we're gonna have to watch you know it's going to be Bill Clinton that's gonna be the Clinton Foundation and they're gonna find more emails and then we have to talk about the Anthony Weiner again on it right like oh my god another reason not to tweet but if that's the conversation you know again what is it what is right in front of you the reminder of like oh right this is what our la this is what life looks like versus if it were the last ten days we're talking about how great the economy is and the stock market's up and Cavanagh and these crazy Liberal Democrats who want to do all this crazy liberal stuff so that's where I think that matters can I quote a Madonna the other night in in James will attest to this if you've done power politics in this the years before us Amy said the other night it just broke my heart which is already sort of crusty I'm so sad because I'm not surprised at the I don't live in incivility but it was just this ugliness in during the Kavanagh thing I'm pretty tough he's very tough he comes home during the Kavanagh hearings I'm it's five o'clock in the afternoon I'm in my robe and haven't brushed my teeth I know sitting in his easy-chair watching TV in his room we have separate rooms a box which is no no in his nicely Neal needle pointing and he hadn't been home for like a week and he walks in and I stand up and I have to throw my robot i Huff out of the room like he didn't even know what's going on it's just so we're just so worn out yeah it's so what do you do when you're worn out by stuff like this you just go back to first principles and I don't know that we know how to measure that do you do you feel like I mean like the polls will get better later and just depending on the weighting and all that jazz but we don't know how to measure this not brushing your teeth all day and staying in your robe and needle day that's it's a key crosstab so I called and I I didn't know so I called Holbrook and said is this guy like cool with three years gonna finish it ashraf ghani James is one of the finest people that I've ever not in us a little rigid I mean that that's good but I've been taking pay me in furthermore I don't think he can take my expenses he said James you must go you a member of the Kennedy generation Jamaica Roasters don't know what over then I helped him and he got 22 percent of the votes and I got my expenses paid and they gave me a rug so I still had to run from it the next time he ran he didn't he didn't have me and he wants so maybe there was some sort of connection with it but I said look I don't mind you know I didn't think he'd pay you got to go so I went went to Afghanistan it was pretty interesting he didn't know how like when he goes to Afghanistan he comes home with rugs when I when I came back with these swords you know Johanna burka and I would take them to our kids classes and the boys the girls wanted nothing to do with the burka but the boys all won one of the Soylent oh and they wonderful yeah because they just didn't get the concept and the girls I want to play with these giant like samurai well isn't it I I could listen to you three all day but I'm gonna try and play by busy afar rules and wrap this up hopefully you all are not too worn out to go vote on Election Day and right thank you all for being here [Applause]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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