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The Trump Effect


If you're convinced that midterm elections or mundane affair civics wanna one wants to change your mind, this podcast is about the basics of how our democracy works. And they're doing a six part series on the midterm elections. Each episode is a quick primer on the fundamentals such as what are the five things history. Teachers want all Americans. No, but the midterms what's the difference between the house and the Senate what are all those down ticket positions. You've never heard of and more. I recently listened to a couple of episodes. And I was impressed by how digestible the podcast was they make politics very easy to understand subscribe to civics one zero one to get answers to the questions you're afraid to ask him public. And know what you're doing before you vote visit them as civics wanna one podcast dot org. Welcome to the pot. Jackson prime all over the place. You get up people across the border. So why would that be? Could be. Democrats are banking on the Trump effect to motivate voters and win a majority of congressional races. When you look at the data. Look at the counties is America changing forget the candidates. I don't mean again. I don't mean that disrespectfully the candidates. I don't mean that disrespectfully will the Democrats win the house and the Republicans in the house is America changing. I to Assode we've explored to potential reasons. Democrats might not take back the house gerrymandering in Nancy Pelosi in our next to a besides we're going to look at two reasons. Democrats might win in the first one is the biggest Donald Trump traditional standards, partying control of the White House loses seats during the midterms and this election is probably no different. But Donald Trump is also changing politics. He's changing the party's. He's even changing how Democrats and Republicans run for office in this episode. We're gonna look at how Trump is shifting certain districts into democratic control. We're gonna talk about the challenges some Republicans face because of these party realignments, we'll discuss how Trump is changing congress. Basically, we're gonna talk about the Trump affect and all the messy meanings of that phrase. And we're going to start at my favorite place in the world. Capitol hill. I met fuller in this is the wave. I do want to talk broadly about the effect that Trump's having on the party's. He's having on politics. The direction of things I mean year, you pretty active on Twitter. You see how that sort of world works the best in the worst. Yeah. What how Trump of changing the party's you think? Well, I think he's been a wrecking ball to institutions norms and also your political parties that's democratic rep Eric swallow from California he has a lot of thoughts about Donald Trump. But one idea is pretty much in line with how a lot of Trump voters viewed the now president that he'd disrupt Washington, I will say honestly in some ways, you know, norms needed to be busted up. I just don't think he has any idea how to rebuild. You know, he he went to a lot of places during the campaign and identified people who are disconnected from opportunity and the way that Washington traditionally worked, whether it was Republicans or Democrats was not reaching those people. But now I see that they're not better off. They're still disconnected. They don't have infrastructure. They don't have schools for the kids. They don't have healthcare that gives them a shot. And so he may have identified the problem. He may have toward down some of the the norms. But there's no building that's taking place. There's no ideas. He he don't he doesn't approaches. I think is a big blank canvas in his trying to create something new. But in the meantime, I see that he's certainly divided us in many ways, and I see that inside and outside of congress. How do you see him affecting the races for me hasn't been as active a role in these races? I probably imagined he'd be for Democrats running for congress in. Yeah. Well, she likes to think that he has helped get a lot of the Republicans across the finish line. Whether it was in the primaries or he's taking them out of the race. Whether it's governor Sanford, Mark Sanford who lost in South Carolina. I think certainly. A lot of democratic candidates have stepped up to run because you know, they were disturbed by what they saw in wrecking ball presidency. I've met with so many candidates across the country who told me that eighteen months ago, they didn't really imagine themselves as candidates for congress and his presidency and what he was doing was a call for service for them. So he's inspired a lot of democratic candidates. I think Republicans right now are twisted over incumbents about whether they want to embrace him and just row in the same direction. Or if they want to you know, see what it feels like to go against him. And whether they can whether that I don't know if they can whether that if he goes after you, I mean, he got some pretty I would say endangered incumbents who voted against him, but they don't speak out against him. It seems like he's okay. Generally if you vote against him, but if you speak out pub. Publicly against him. That's when he turns for swale. Well, Trump is making it harder for Democrats like him to work with Republicans, particularly when he sees GOP colleagues. So scared to speak out against the president. It's fear. I see the fear. I mean, it really is being afraid that he's going to go after them or that his base. You know, we'll go after them, and they're they're allowed base. But when I take a step back and think about it. And again, I I look at this. What I do if I was in their position because there's a lesson to be learned here, not just, you know, admiring their misfortune. It does seem like Republicans are scared to break with the president that they stay silent about so many tweets, so many statements stories press conferences scandals even administration policies, but Republicans countered that they do conduct oversight who say this doesn't make headlines that's host freedom caucus, German, Mark meadows. He's one of the House Republicans closest with Trump. He's also the subcommittee chairman of government operations on the oversight committee. Anything's Republicans are holding the administration responsible. That's going to be the narrative. I mean, if I were a democrat, that's what I would be saying. And and I don't know that those are always meted out with the actions in in our oversight committee. I'll give you a prime example when Elijah Cummings was concerned about. Separating of kids at the border. I was concerned about that too in. He had a whole letter of from all the Democrats saying that we need to investigate this. Well, it was a little bit provocative, and and as it should be. He's just trying to make sure he makes his point. But I told him I was willing to join with him. So he, and I put together a letter bringing people in forcing in become into testify on that particular. So so those areas if they're not political in nature if it's really about transparency in about good government and making sure that we do things correctly. I'm willing to join in on that now does that necessarily translate into the voting populace. I don't know that it does. And most of the people that made up their minds on that. Most of the Democrats have made up their mind that the president is guilty with regards to Russia collusion. In terms of real oversight. We just had the general counsel for the department of homeland security come in. We subpoenaed him and made him come in for sworn testimony on what I believe was inappropriate behavior, holding not only FEMA, and and other heads of agencies accountable. I think you have to do that regardless of administration, regardless of party. But here's the here's the interesting thing is these cycles coming go. This is not your first rodeo mad. Yeah. You you've been here, you've covered it, you know, that when Henry Waxman was head of Oji are and there was a democrat administration. There wasn't any subpoenas. I mean, they go back. Check the fax. I did go back and check the facts for the two years, the Democrats controlled congress under Obama, Harry Waxman, wasn't the chairman of your oversight committee adult pounds was and he did subpoena the administration multiple times. Mostly over documents related to the financial crisis. Still all take meadows point the Republicans. Have subpoenaed this miseration, and actually we have issued more subpoenas under Republican administration from GR? Those are the facts numbers. Then Henry Waxman did when he was, you know, had the gavel, and it was a democrat administration. What we've also seen this recently this list of investigations Democrats over I think, I think a lot of that is true. I would never have put together the list. But I think that what what you're, but the other is is you get that list. How many of those are really truly wanting to look at oversight, and how much of that has a political component to that some of those are very legitimate. And now, and the vast majority of them very legitimate. Some of them are just truly trying to. You know, make a political point. So do you wanna go see you have the list? Go ahead. I mean, you might as well ask the tough question. Matt I will ask the question because this is about as close as you get to that moment in any hall when you say, well, I happen to have Marshall mcluhan right here. The list includes President Trump's tax returns, Trump family businesses, Trump dealings with Russia James co means firing Trump's firing US attorneys Trump's transgender ban for the military Steven Mnuchin business dealings White House staffs personal Email us that was a big one for Republicans cabinet secretary secretary travel. We've had all these scandals with cabinet secretaries. Yeah. But some of those have been gone. So so so there are both legitimate on that list, legitimate, concerns and political. Here's the thing is I'm not one I put out my tax return and at the same time. That's not something that I believe is a legitimate concern. Now, here's the here's the fundamental difference. A democrat believes that you come to Washington DC to get rich because they see all of this. Stuff. A Republican believes that you come to Washington DC to represent the people go back home. I can tell you. I did much better in the private sector that I'm doing in Washington DC, and and in terms of sacrificing financially, you know, all the ethics and disclosure things that you've got actually are in net negative in terms of making money now. When you when you look at transparency, if somebody, you know, me if somebody is using the federal government, whether they're Republican or democrat and they're getting financial gain. It is wrong, and I will go after Tom Price issues of of private it was wrong. It was foolish. It was not something that I condone. He's no longer here. He's talking about former health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, by the way in his use of private planes for travel, and and so to that stint. Yeah. We we have to be wise stewards of the tax payers money. And so they're going to find a very genuine partner is some of those oversight areas some of the other areas that that you start to look at, you know, well, I don't want to suggest that there's a policy at place, but there's different standards based on an and what I don't wanna be accused of and I have been accused. But what I don't wanna be accused of is that if there's a legitimate concern in terms of wasteful taxpayer dollars or going against the rule of law. Breaking the raw. That's why Cummings knows he's heating count on me on certain areas to do that. I'm not going to be the protector of any administration, regardless of party. It's tough for me to know what to make of that. Because I believe that Mark meadows believes he'd go after a government official wasting taxpayer money or in themselves. But I also think meadows knows in his heart of hearts, there's a lengthy list of. Items that Republicans aren't investing that they probably should be meadows. Did just admit that their items about the Trump administration worthy of investigation, which is a little newsworthy. I guess. What I am. Sure of is that Mark meadows has cozied up to Trump. But in his telling that's just reality of this president. Yeah. I mean much has been reported about my relationship with the president. Obviously, you know, that there have been good and bad moments in that relationship over the the first couple of years in the administration, but I do get to talk to the president on a regular basis. I think how it changes things is. And I hear this even from Democrats. This president is willing to engage personally with members of congress more so than than ever before at least under the previous administration. And I think that catches me and other members. Really by surprise. I can tell you prime example, head couple of colleagues one democrat one Republican come to me and say that they wanted to talk about term limits and wanted to talk to the president 'bout term limits. So I was able to set up a meeting with the administration. I think they thought they were going to come in and talk to some senior level official. But here's a bipartisan meeting happening in the Oval Office on term limits and the infamous tweets that probably your listeners complain about on a regular basis actually on that that day you had both democrat and Republican freshmen members encouraging them to tweet out his support for term limits of which he did. And but but it has changed the dynamics. And and that's that's one of one of the ways that is done that meadows talking about a tweet from the end of April in which Trump said he had a bipartisan meeting with freshmen. Lawmakers about term limits, and they have his full endorsement, but other than a tweet which a lot of lawmakers do seek out in Washington. There isn't any real movement on an issue personally other than well-known televise meetings with lawmakers, I don't see Trump engaging with Democrats that much at least not significantly more than Obama did with Republicans, but not every Capitol Hill reporter agrees. I actually think he's better at dealing with congress than Obama was in many ways that's Jake Sherman one of the co-authors Politico's playbook despite our disagreement, but Obama's engage with congress, Jake is probably the best source reported in the house. He's also writing a book about Trump's relationship with congress the hill to die on with his playbook co author Anna Palmer, he has relationships with so many members of congress. I'm not saying you piss off a lot of members of congress. But like he talks to a lot of rank and file members of congress. And there's positives and negatives to that the positives are he has a good sense for what a lot of different factions in congress think whereas Obama felt like. According to a lot of reporting by other people Obama kind of felt like John bainer had a point of view, and he can never deliver. His guys Trump has a pretty good idea where different factions in congress are at all times when he's trying to get something through congress doesn't mean successful getting infrastructure, whatever a lot of different priorities through congress. But he talks to Mark meadows. He talks, Jim, Jordan. He talks Kevin McCarthy talks to Paul Ryan. That's already more contact in the rank and file then I imagine Obama had based on my reporting from those days based on what I could recall. So that's one thing. I think another dynamic that is particularly strange, and we'll have to see how this plays out in the next thirty. Something days is. Do voters vote against Republicans. Even though they support the president, which we're seeing their somebody districts around the country where the president's right side up which is an phenomenon that I really don't fully understand it. I don't think anyone understands this point. Right. Basically what Jacob sayings that? There are Republicans who are gonna lose districts where the presence approval rating above water, in some cases, like Dave brats district the presence approval rating over fifty percent. But one of the reasons Jake uses to explain this phenomenon. He's Republicans a lot of campaigns are trying to split the difference on Trump with their voters. I don't think the I'm going to disagree with him when I can. And when he I need to really works. I don't I think it's a it's a soft argument that kind of puts people in a mushy middle that were they have no definition, and I could be wrong. I could be totally misleading and it's difficult to make broad brush observations on races from far without spending. A lot of time in one place or another. I just think I think that being with Trump is either being with him or being against him. So my view of it is a little bit different. Right. Like your base is already going to have a tough time showing up in a mid term. So if you are not fervent about the president, how do you what's the argument to get your base out? Let me put it this way in perfect conditions with the president with relatively strong approval. Ratings Republicans would still lose the house of representatives. Right. We know that based on history. So with the president with somewhat not good approval ratings there even more likely to and in a district in a middle of the road district a nominal district where Republican really has to turn out his or her base to win. How is an argument that I'm some sometimes going to be against the president get your base out. Jake is basically saying there's no middle road here for politicians districts, where Trump isn't that popular you have to make a choice. You can't be sometimes Trump and the truth is we haven't seen elected Republican really be never Trump Jacobs saying if you're a Republican your best shot electorally is to just get on board with the president. I mean, there's a theory. There's two competing theories generally in house, politics, right? There's the we need to talk about when I'm against Trump when I'm not against Trump or we need to just forget, Trump totally and talk about the local issues what you've done for the air force base. What you've done for cleaning chemicals or anything, and that proposition is being tested, even more. So this this time around because you see in a place like Colorado, Mike Kaufman's down by a dozen or so points. He's pulled it out every time when everyone else thought he was going to lose. So I think he could pull it out again. But the question is is the climates overpowering that even that which is usually seen as a pretty safe road that even that kind of goes by the wayside essentially Sherman. Thanks Republicans have choice either embrace Trump for they completely ignored in focus on local issues because the other option of calling Trump out when you disagree with him doesn't seem very sound. But all those strategies could be flogged. On the localizing the race. Right. That's always been the Republican mantra. That's always been this pathway for them that look we don't need to run a national issues. We can always localize races. We don't have a national playbook like the Democrats do and that's been successful for them. Do you think that that could still be successful this year or they just running up against this huge tide? I think in some places it will be successful. Maybe the problem is this isn't we're not we're in an era where members of congress actually don't have a lot of control over local issues. They can't your Mark money. So they're they can't spend money at home. The government is not closing military bases anymore. So they could say in many cases members of congress say I helped the military base may or may not be true. But if you get that into the bloodstream, maybe that helps, but there are not really a ton of ways to talk about local issues in an honest way. If you're a member of congress, you could talk about for example, the opioid Bill and how you. Support a Bill to try to cut back on opioid addiction and opioid addiction. Big issue and your district fine fair enough, and maybe that works, but you don't have the ability to talk about local issues in the same way anymore. What Sherman is saying is that even though Republicans of run a lot of successful races on local issues. The last several years it's getting harder particularly with Trump and the D triple C's making sure that's the case. I would just add you only get one first impression with voters. That's Tyler law. The D triple C's national press secretary. He also thinks Republicans have a lot of bad choices this election season. And if you're a candidate, and you only have so much time to make that impression. Do you want them walking away saying oh that candidate doesn't like Trump? Where do you want them walking away saying, I'm pretty sure that candidates going to try to lower healthcare costs and protect social security Medicare? You know, you only get one opportunity often with the attention span, I would say of voters of everyone, and so focusing on the issues that matter to people are deeply personal to their everyday lives is critically. Portent and one more point. I would just make about Trump's influence on the midterms Republican said that they needed to be laser focused on selling the tax Bill, for example. Well, he does not allow them to focus on any coherent message. They can't go a day certainly not a week without having an answer for his scandals outrageous behavior his tweets, so it has really been a detriment to House Republicans. And the last thing I'll say is they said they're going to localize all these races. Well, he has made that impossible for so many of these Republicans while I know that was a strategy imperative they laid out I have not seen Republicans anywhere successfully localizing their races. Tyler law might only slightly overstate the case in a couple of races. Republicans look like they might be able to stave off the wave through local issues. Mike boasting, Illinois is funding some traction by running on steel jobs, and some of the California Republicans might survive by running on water issues and the gas tax, but certainly national issues like Donald Trump and healthcare pervade every race. Here's how I think we view Trump and his impact on the midterms that's murder. Kelly the D triple CS communication. She's Tyler's boss in both of them spent the last two cycles at the triple C. There is no doubt that he is sort of a dark cloud that hangs over the entire house battlefield. And he is a problem for Republicans. Every scandal. Every tweet every new development with the Muller investigation voters are very well aware of they hear it through cable news twenty four hours a day and often they hear it through Trump's tweets. And so if he's a dark, cloud, it's constant, and it truly harms the Republicans because voters are very well aware on a daily basis of what's going on in Washington and the chaos and the harm that is being imposed by both Trump and the Republicans and sort of their their full control of Washington. So by no means is he a non factor. He's his both depressing significant chunks of the Republican voter, right. The Republican party and animating, of course, Democrats and independence and many moderate Republicans. So then you when you sort of stab list, and of course, it makes voters want a check and balance. There's no doubt that that sentiment is not out there that being said, I think that creates a lot of room for Democrats, then talk about the positive side, and what they will actually do to make voters lives better rather than just saying it's sort of like show don't tell essentially Meredith Kelly assaying Democrats don't need to talk about Trump. He's on every voter's mind already. Just a quick note. If you're listening to the show, I wanna thank you. We're doing our best one four people though issues related to the midterms. But it wouldn't matter without great listeners. Like, you would like to ask you to review the show on apple podcasts or whatever app. You're listening to maybe go till a friend or share the show on Facebook or Twitter every person you share this with one more informed. The twenty sixty presidential election was not normal. That's guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. He's been on the front lines of the Trump for years now and on top of saying smart and soothing things on podcast. He's pretty much the prototype of a political reporter, but politics of the twenty six presidential election. We're not normal and what we're seeing now in the midterms is what the new normal is. And that we removed in a lot of voice, we've Hillary Clinton's from from the equation that this and a lot of ways and the same thing that see Bannon saying who's perceptive on stuff. This is a referendum on Trump this scene. You know, whether Trump voters are happy with Trump brought happy with Trump and whether those who voted against him. Are. Thicky son think he's made America great again or want to get the heck out of there. So. Everything's Trump a main that it's about how you deal with the supping Trump's permeated, our culture. I mean, that's the things that this is a way that hasn't happened the Saturday Night Live is not just about you know, it's about Khania wearing a magic that the NFL we've had an entire football season. It's died down with healings about the effect Trump that Trump is so deeply built into the everyday fabric of American life that this this a lot of places referendum bed. And it's how folks feel about that. And how they're motivated about it because you know, voting for Trump and twenty six teen also didn't necessarily meant you liked them. It meant you for quite a few people that you disliked him lesson you just like Clinton, but the question for midterms is will Trump voters go out and vote when his name on the ballot? That's a good question on the second question is even code. But when his name is on the. Ballot will vote Republican a lot of Trump's, you know, Trump on a significant number of Democrats, and the type of districts that are going to be up and play particularly in the upper midwest, you know, that that's also the question that the Trump voters that we're talking about how many of them voted for Trump in how many of them voted against Hillary Clinton. And there's a significant number of Trump voters, Trump Democrats who voted against Hillary Clinton. That's the question the midterms is that the Republicans who voted against Trump in there, certainly a lot of them in suburban areas still motivated to vote against Trump. But no particular reason to vote against Hillary Clinton anymore. It's true. Hillary Clinton isn't on the ballot in some ways. Trump is even though he isn't a big question for Republicans is whether those voters who showed up for Trump two thousand sixteen we'll come out for them in the midterms. Just as Democrats are wondering who exactly will show up for them. Well, I think the self identified Republicans or Democrats their bases are going to turn out again for anyone who listened to our first two thirds former orange g communications director, Doug, high, certainly the democratic base is very very motivated Republicans. It looks like there's an uptick in motivation. We'll see what troubles me is the number of Republicans who aren't Republicans anymore and have left the party because they feel the party's left for them. And with the exception of a couple of issues say maybe immigration, retire, certainly tariffs. That it's more of a personality over policies. And so when they see. I was I was overseas. When when Trump was overseas with the meetings with Theresa May with the EU or shoot me with NATO and with Putin, and it wasn't Barrasso. And you know, there are a lot of Republicans who have left the party who that's why they've left is. Because of that kind of embarrassment of gosh who were even supposed to be anymore. I think the challenge for a lot of members is they'll they'll tell you that same thing privately the can't say publicly because if you look at the polling, and if you look at what members here from their from their constituents from their primary voters, which is who they primarily here from Trump's overwhelmingly popular. What high is saying is that the Republican party is somewhat split. Yes, there Republicans who don't like Trump high himself tells us he wrote him Paul Ryan for president. But if you're a Republican the basis telling you that you have to support the president that's one of the Trump affects there's less middle ground in politics. The grip that Trump has on the party is about the personality not about the policies. And so what I try and do as an inverse of of how most voters look at all things Trump. They are fully invested in him. Not so much the wall the tariffs the tax cuts that's one of the challenges that they face. But again, ultimately, I think the question is going to be and we just don't know the answer how much are Trump voters like Obama voters in that when he's on the ballot? They are there when he's not on about they're not and part of that. I think is appealing away of Republicans away from the party. But the other are the again self identified Republican Trump supporters who aren't voting because Donald Trump's not on the ballot for them to vote for those first time voters showed up for Trump. What do they do? We just don't know one of the big questions. This election is whether Trump Republican show up if they do. Republicans have shown there's at least some pathway to victory. The most fascinating racist for me. It's Florida right now, that's Daniel Strauss. He covers governors races for politico. And if you're at all falling that covers race, it's a perfect test for the Republican and democratic basis clashing, the Republican nominee Ron to Santa's he has this ad where he's like, it's all about how he's a father and since his kid was bored. He's talked about Trump and read him books about Trump wanted to build the wall and make America great again by President Trump. He's also an amazing dad Ron loves playing the kids build the wall. He reads stories, then Mr. Trump said, you're fired. I love that part. He's teaching Madison to make America. Great again. People say Ron's all Trump, but he is so much more. This guy was not the front runner in his primary, but he won partially because of his close ties Trump and his his success. Why densification among Trump voters as? As the Trump candidate. But here's the thing that on the other side this ad is excellent for Democrats too. Because it directs their focus that this is the this is one of Trump's favorite people in the world. This is Trump's personal man in Florida. And we wanted to come out and the thing about Florida and the Florida governor's races out on the other side. The democrat candidate is some named Andrew gillum who was also not the front runner. He's handsome African American mayor from Tallahassee. Good speaker ran a pretty pretty shoestring come from behind grassroots campaign. He won. So for Democrats. They see this race as the essential showdown between someone who if you squint and turn your head to the side kind of reminds of Obama versus the proxy Trump. This is this is the best race a cycle because it pits. The the grass. Energy of both sides against each other in one of the most contentious campaign states in the country. Of course, Florida may be the most notable example of Republicans running on the Trump playbook, but every Republicans running the race on some version of Trump's methods. So what do you think Republicans have been running on? They have been running on the demonization of the other side that they are the stewards of not exactly a good economy, but sort of a a successful and a an era when America's coming back, and that they are the true allies of President Trump. I've not seen. I can't think of a candidate that actually says I don't like Trump, but you should elect reelect me they it's a lot of. I'm the true outsider. I understand your plight. I understand the opioid crisis. I understand rural voters. Those are all things that both Democrats and Republicans like to talk about. They looked at all the TV ads that Republicans had aired all year, and this this is more than four hundred thousand ads. It's more than a thousand individuals distinct commercials, and they basically don't talk about the tax Bill. That's Arthur Delaney. He's one of my colleagues at huffpost. He's my favorite reports sitting at the intersection of economic issues in politics Arthur's talking about a story that he and I didn't September that looked at all the commercials. Republicans at run we found that less than twelve percent of the ads even mentioned it. Right. So one in eight of the three hundred ninety six thousand as that they analyzed were mentioning this tax Bill. That's just a mention right in front of the beginning before Trump even took office. When after he'd been lifted Republicans knew that tax reform was top of their agenda, and the political theory of that is that it would be a huge winner because they'd cut people's taxes, and everyone would be really. A happy, and that actually made a lot of sense because when you come people's taxes, they have more money, and they like that. But then as the legislation started coming into view, this is you're not going to cut. Everybody's taxes. You say you mean, you're going to have a trillion dollar deficit busting tax Bill instill, it's not a certainty that everyone will get a tax cut. It was so weird. So the kind of by by doing a weird job of the actual policy muddied their own message very badly. I think that's the reason it's turned out not to be when it's not just that Donald Trump is like a dumpster fire. It every way possible. It's also that they're the policy itself. They kind of boost I didn't do what they said they were going to do before they started doing it. So in the absence of running on tax cuts the wall 'cause that's not being really being built. And then not even pushing for that this moment or are they are, but they're not really doing then congress food stamp cuts. Again, a thing that they're pushing for. Right. What exactly are Republicans running on cultural role for stuff? I mean, it's like support Donald Trump type stuff in the Indiana Senate race, which I've paid a little attention to their the entire strategy against Joe Donnelly, the incumbent democrat, and this is a red state. They're just saying he's he's Mexico. This man is literally the nation of Mexico. They have this notion that because he previously owned stock in a company that had a factory in Mexico. Joe? Donnelly is literally Mexico and the Senate Republicans have all these ads that say Joe Donnelly ships jobs overseas, and they're sticking with this even though they're guy. Mike Bron businessman, a former state Senator or state Representative himself owns a company that imports all these products from China. So they're sticking with Mexico. Joe even when their own guy is very obviously, far more a. A guilty. I guess you could say of outsourcing jobs, and it's a disaster. It's not even working the the racist like tied in Joe Donnelly is even a head in some polls. I mean don't know who will win. But it's it's a it's a great indication of how the tax Bill seem to be an electoral savior is just a non factor. What does this all have to do with the Trump effect? Well for starters, this is the Republican playbook. Now you motivate the base with cultural right items, you scare Fox News viewers to the polls with pictures of caravans of immigrants making their way to the United States. You make it about kneeling during the national anthem in Mexico. In owning the lips. That's a big part of the Trump effect in one of the implications. From that sort of campaign is that's much tougher for Republicans and Democrats to work together. Once during combs. I came to congress. I ran against Pete stark again Representative Eric swallow who was rated as by national journalists number one most liberal member of congress, and I ran in a top two primary promised my constituents do all I could to work with Republicans. I knocked on Republican doors as a candidate and had Republican, you know, help along with a lot of Democrats to win that seat in top two primary and my first couple years here, I found it a group called United solutions caucus being in the minority got bills passed and signed into law and for me when Donald Trump was elected. I saw him as the X factor that affected relationships. I had with Republicans, you know, some of it all take blame for because I would just get so angry about not standing up to him particularly on the Russia stuff. And then a lot of I also would say that they were just they would tell me privately, my Republican friends at just one of them said when he tweets he wins and other one she told me. I can't afford to have my head lopped off, you know, publicly by this guy. So I saw that they're just afraid of him. But one pledge I've made myself, and I've talked with other democratic colleagues is if we win the majority we should really do all we can in the first hundred days to try and give a lot of Republicans who survive and onramp onto a bike to work together bipartisanship. And I think there's four issues where we can do that. And we should start with those issues, and that's infrastructure, and the president's already said he would sign an infrastructure Billy's admitted to address to congress that's the dream act. He had Republicans and Democrats the White House and said you pass the Bill I'll take the heat that includes background checks after parkland. Same thing Republicans Democrats at the White House and Senator Feinstein was giddy because she couldn't believe he was saying, you know, do background checks and then prescription drugs, you know, you had a rose garden ceremony and said we need to reduce the cost a prescription drugs. So I think we should seek to work with them where we can. I don't wanna be as vindictive as we believe they have been to us in the last two years and see if that works because I do miss a lot of the bipartisan relationships, I've had I think we can be the congressman should have been twenty seventeen and we have an opportunity someone who. There's someone who came to congress on this problem solvers caucus. No labels ethos. You certainly shifted. That's the politics really the moment. Right. Yeah. You're right. I think for me it was being so involved in the Russia investigation. I think just in my personal Zampa was I wrote the independent commission. Legislation was a twenty year old intern on Capitol Hill on September eleventh happens if you look over when you walk in my office, you see this September twelve two thousand one Washington Post that had kept the next day that framed how I looked at things, but also the unity. I saw Republicans and Democrats on the capitol steps, you know, as September eleventh one into dusk singing, God bless America. And then getting to work, I thought Russia attacked us unity will be our antidote. We'll get together and fix this. And I was just running my head into the wall time after time as I tried to get Republican cosponsors. Oh, I have every democrat in the caucus on that Bill, which is not as easy as you would think and two Republicans, and it each inflection point, whether it was the Flynn revelations about talking to Kislyak, whether it was combing getting fired whether it was Manafort getting dieted, whether it was the Trump Tower meeting being exposed I would go back to the on the fence Republicans and say, okay, like now, can we take this out side of congress and have elders states persons and experts look at this. And each time I could just see the fear of angering the president. And that just made me realize that the the only way out of this would not be changing their minds. It would be changing Twenty-three seats. Again, Mark meadows, the American people. They do want us to work together. But this place is set up to not work together. When I got here, I was obviously, a fiscal conservative joined a group called, no labels. There was a freshman group of thirty five members. They will coming together both democrat and Republican to work in a bipartisan way, they patted on our heads and said, yeah, y'all go out and do it as freshman member will shortly after we started making progress both leaderships on both the Republican House side said, no, no, no, wait a minute, y'all shouldn't get along. And the politics of our different district started to get in the way. And so much is going to be blamed on on this president and the division there. I think that that is is really not the root cause of our difference. Essentially, Mark meadows is saying this, hyper partisanship is nothing new. I've got lots of friends on the democrat side, dear friends, and sometimes they can't admit it. And I always admitted I just shoot straight with you on that. But I've got several progressives. That in fact, one I met with just this week about how do we change congress? And so you have a progressive from Wisconsin meeting with a conservative from North Carolina to actually come together and say if we make this place work, it may mean that my measures his measures don't get done. But ultimately, we've gotta make this place work on behalf. The American people. Coming up a Republican running for reelection. But trying to split the difference with Trump. Navigate this. Where you still need. You know? You know, Republicans who voted for Trump to come out you still need Republicans who maybe have some reservations about Trump. This is seemingly perilous time even though it's New Jersey seven, and this is, you know, Hillary Clinton carried I district by thirty eight hundred votes. I carried it by thirty eight votes. Leonard Lance the five term Republican congressman from New Jersey. Lance is an interesting case because he's one of the few Republicans who voted against the GOP healthcare Bill who voted against the tax Bill was supportive of democratic efforts on the DACA immigration program. His district is lightly. Republican warned the aspects of the Trump effect is that districts lances suburban affluent and educated those areas are becoming more democratic still he thinks he can pull this out a catch up with him one night after votes. But we have a more recent indication because we had a governor's race last year. People talk about the Virginia governor's race. We had a governor's races. Well, and Kim go Donna lost the state by fourteen points, which is the same percentage by which Donald Trump had lost the state the year before she carried the district icier by thirteen thousand votes, Republican cats for state Senate carried it by twenty one thousand votes. In other words, it's a Republican leaning district. The next day, I meet with Lance in his office for more formal interview, I represent a suburban district on the east coast and the district is highly educated. And I believe that my views are the views of the overwhelming majority of the residents of the district, and I agree with the administration on certain issues. For example. I think the administration has done a much better job than the Obama administration on trying to defeat ISIS, and I give the administration credit. Tickly General Mattis, the secretary of defense strong supporter of Israel and favored moving our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and I am an opponent of the nuclear agreement with Iran, and I do not think that was in the best interests of the United States. There are other issues where I disagree with the administration the healthcare Bill the tax Bill, and I signed a discharge petition on the immigration issue. Of course to hear from land democratic opponent, Tom Mellano ski Lance isn't effectively insulating himself from criticisms that he's to align with Trump because he's not affected that. And that's what it comes down to. It's not particularly impressive to folks when he says, Well, I I wish that as it and Trump tweet lust that's his that's Leonard lances version of checks and balances. Well, I wish he would tweet less and my daughter, and my mother, and my best friend, everyone I talked to wishes the Donald Trump tweet us number one. He's not gonna listen to us. And number two. That's not your job is congressman your job as a congressman is to take action to affectively check behavior that is threatening to our country values. I also asked Malinowski but legislation to protect Robert Muller's investigation. A Bill which Lance is the primary sponsor of he has an answer for that the legislation to protect Robert Muller's go. Going nowhere. It has euro chance of passing in a Republican congress Leonard Lance supports guy for speaker of the house Kevin McCarthy who is on record as saying that about Muller should shutdowns investigation today. Sponsoring a Bill is not an accomplished. Sponsoring Bill doesn't do anything. We need sits actually going to pass bills that support our values and interests. You can't make that I asked Lance about Republicans providing that oversight of the president. What do you say someone who has been a traditional Republican in your district? But also again, once, you know, real investigations on Trump and just doesn't see that from this this congressional majority Republicans are hesitant to actually look at these matters. And if if Democrats held the majority, you know, that'd be more on the slate of priorities. I think that in the new congress whichever party controls the house of representatives. It will be the bipartisan center that will really be more influential and. It may well be that Democrats may gain control of the house. I think it will be very narrow. It's also possible that Republicans will continue to control the house in that would be by a narrow margin. And that I think strengthens those of us who are in the sense both center doing what is I think in the best interest of the American people based upon the views of the American people again Malinowski has an answer for that. To voters are not interested in the positions that we take they're interested in the results that we achieve and it's not particularly satisfying. Ten percent of the time. Our Republican congressman tweets out, disapproval of something that Trump has done when we know that Trump doesn't give a damn what our congressman things he has no ability to to track this behavior in most of the time. He doesn't even try. So if anyone in this district is concerned about the direction. Trump is taking the country. Many people are what they're looking for is a congress that connects or size. It's constitutional responsibility to apply checks and balances, and if we have if the win the mid-term number one broadly seen as victory for the administration. Number two. We will have a house of representatives that is incapable and unwilling of of exercising checks and balances. So what difference does it make if ten percent of the time our ombudsman expresses disapproval in the tweet still Lance things Republicans are providing that check he again, not favors them alert investigation in prepared to quote, let the chips fall as they may land says an divided congress. It'll be the center which has the influence to get things done in the district. I serve the most important issue is by partisanship pervades other issues of national importance and the people of north. Central New Jersey want us to work in a bipartisan capacity. They do not want government too far to the right or too far to the left, and I think in the new congress those of us in the sensible center will have greater influence because whichever party controls the house of representatives. I think it will be by very narrow margin. But even with Lance acting as a relative moderate in the house GOP voting the healthcare Bill in the tax Bill. Tom Malinowski says Lance really isn't that moderate so on healthcare voted more than sixty times to repeal or gut the Affordable Care Act and for years end bragging about the people's him. Now trying to. Different position. And it just it exemplifies people the district how this guy has convictions principles. It doesn't actually make them see principle because again, he ran for years on taking down the Affordable Care Act on DACA voted dream act when he's up that was what? To shore up his Republican base. Now, he says he's for the dreamers because he scared losing reelection to a democrat. It's not the kind of behavior that engenders respect from either Democrats or Republicans. It makes them seem like a weathervane. We all know that weather vein. Can't change the way the winds blowing people in this district wanted to change the way the wind is blowing. What does this mean? What's Trump effect on these midterm elections in politics in general? Well, we're seeing Trump's affect right now the closing argument for Republicans is not the record on employment or their tax Bill. It's fear. It's a cultural war. It's a caravan of immigrants over a thousand miles away from the US border. Some Republicans try to navigate Trump by focusing on local issues or just ignoring the President Trump is in effect nationalizing races using his old playbook of demagoguery and Democrats said so I let Trump is normal divisive self betting that their voters will show up to the polls in a key number of the Republicans who ushered Trump into the White House will not. Democrats are also betting. The voters are changing we've been seeing this trend for a few years now, but the suburban affluent educated voters voters who are once lumped together as country club Republicans, they're moving away from the Democrats think they can take back the house by winning those districts districts like Leonard lances, Lance may have tried to insulate himself from Trump and the rest of the GOP voting against the biggest pieces of legislation to move through congress last two years. But it might not matter voters don't seem particularly discerning when it comes to Republicans right now, particularly forgiving, the funny thing is the lesson. Republicans might learn from Trump is that they ought to be more like him. The Republicans who tried to split the difference ones like Leonard Lance, Mike Kaufman in Colorado. Those lawmakers look like they're in trouble. Where's a lot of Republicans and other moderate districts lease Elden on Long Island? Claudia Tenney upstate New York. They embrace Trump looked likely to win. There's so many aspects of the Trump effect that we could talk about we could talk about how the parties are moving away from each other bipartisanship is dying or simply how lies or normal everyday part of our politics now. But the overarching Trump effect to me is that the GOP is Trump party now and there's not much mill. In voters are acting accordingly. On our next episode. We're gonna talk about another key demographic shift women and how they're flocking to the Democratic Party. We like to think congressman Eric swallow, Mark meadows and Leonard Lance. We'd also like to thank Tom Mel ski Jake Sherman Daniel Strauss, Ben Jacobs, Arthur Delaney, Meredith, Kelly, tow law and Doug height. The wave is produced by Chris Bonnie. Oh, Jeff the pod glummer and me that fuller from huffpost. If you like this podcast subscribe to the wave down for future episodes Jugo. Huffpost new podcast, cut the noise launching soon. The music you heard this episode's from brake master cylinder. Jim Garin force burglar. If you like some of the songs, we use you can check out Jim zach's music giving isthmus in the lists. A sonic universe.

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