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[00:00:06]

Hello and welcome to the 538 Politics podcast. I'm Gail and Drew, this is not the podcast that we were planning on recording today. We were waiting for projections in the Georgia Senate runoffs before sitting down to record a podcast after last night's election. While we were waiting for those projections, pro Trump extremist's violently occupied the US Capitol. Lawmakers hid under their desks, we're told, to grab gas masks and were evacuated. They were unable to complete their tally of the Electoral College votes.

[00:00:39]

One of the final steps in the transfer of power. Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power during the election. He's primed his voters to believe that American elections are fraudulent. For years, he's focused on false claims of fraud almost exclusively over the past two months and encouraged his supporters to gather in D.C. today and then during a rally, directed them to the Capitol. He's periodically refused to condemn his extremist supporters and told them today while also asking them to go home, quote, We love you.

[00:01:12]

You are very special. There's a debate over what to call this a coup attempt, sedition and insurrection. Maybe my colleagues have thoughts on that. But frankly, I think describing exactly what happened tells you all you need to know. I try and keep this podcast fun and wonky and even keeled. But frankly, it was a shameful and sad day. And I don't think we can mince words here today bore the fruit of precisely what Trump has sown during his campaign and his presidency.

[00:01:42]

So we're going to discuss where we go from here as a nation, how our political leaders respond. And we are also eventually going to talk about the Georgia election last night. So here with me to talk about that, our editor in chief, Nate Silver, Haney Hagelin.

[00:02:01]

Also with us is senior politics writer Perry Bacon Junior. Hey, Perry at Gallup and politics editor Sarah Frostings. And hey, Sarah.

[00:02:09]

And so, you know, there's no way to kick this off with a use of polling or some kind of horserace wonky question. I'm just curious to hear from you all. We sat for hours watching on TV as something we never, I guess, imagine happening in America took place. What did you make of what you saw? How would you characterize it? What does this mean for American politics?

[00:02:35]

Easy question. I mean, I think like so much of American politics in the Trump era, maybe before that, but certainly the Trump era. It is kind of imaginable. It's a little different maybe visualizing it and seeing it play out in real time, right?

[00:02:51]

I mean, Trump during the debates and the whole run of the campaign, clearly, pointedly did not pledge a peaceful transition of power. He said, what do you say, you know, stand down and stand by the proud boys write in twenty sixteen. He was encouraging against protesters at his rallies, potentially violent action. He gave a speech this morning. Right. I mean, clearly, like none of this is that surprising in some sense that these protesters were able to breathe?

[00:03:23]

I shouldn't call them protesters, although this is a fraught thing. Right. That is, some of them are peaceful. Many of them were not that there were a group of people who were able to reach the Capitol is, I think, shocking and is a story about security around Capitol Police and whatever else. I mean, you know, I don't know.

[00:03:39]

I mean, I frankly think that, like, we're lucky that as far as we know, no members of Congress. Were killed or were injured. You know, I mean, if I was going to come to that at some point. I don't know how many more steps there were before that would have happened, I don't know the interior of the Capitol complex and what that looks like and what that would entail.

[00:04:05]

Yeah, and I should also say here that we were all covering this from our homes. And it's going to take a while before we understand exactly what happened, how it unfolded. And this is obviously a story that's going to take us many days and weeks to cover. I want to give you a chance to weigh in on how you saw what was happening just in terms of this less.

[00:04:30]

It's not quite twenty four hours yet, but I think around 12, 30, you had Reverend Warnock won the Georgia race or was called he gave a speech around 12, 30 Eastern last night.

[00:04:42]

And it definitely felt like that last night was a repudiation of Trump of sorts, the fact that he know Democrats won two sentences probably in Georgia.

[00:04:51]

So I get it today is that that sort of takes some of the windowsills and is contesting the election effort. And then around noontime, Mike Pence.

[00:05:00]

But it's not the statement in which he says, I'm not going along with this. He didn't really have a much better ability to change anything. He sort of was distancing himself from the president a little bit more than he usually does. You had the Senate floor where Mitch McConnell sort of very aggressively said Trump sort of Trump clearly lost. Let's move on from this.

[00:05:18]

And you had Republican members who like you know, like Josh Holley, like Ted Cruz, like Steve Scalise, you know, real good members still contesting, still raise the cost of the election. But I thought this had maybe petered out slightly around, say, two o'clock.

[00:05:35]

And we might be at a point where we'd have a day of kind of like sort of the last gasp of this kind of Trump protest about the election.

[00:05:44]

And then we sort of move on.

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So I was just stunned to see instead what happened from like 2:00 to 4:00, where the members of Congress, of all both parties have to clear the clear the capital that almost never happens.

[00:05:58]

And where, you know, there were rumors of like perhaps those gunshots, those first two hours, the first hour from two to three was really scary.

[00:06:06]

And even now, it's sort of scary to think that there was there was a really you know, some people ended up like, I think somebody in the process where the people ended up in Pelosi's office. One of them ended up in the chair where the presiding officer usually sits in the Senate like this was an incursion. There was not there was not stopped. And just to think about it is on the day in which we are supposed to determine who wins the election.

[00:06:31]

Instead, Trump says, I don't respect that. And then his supporters kind of really did stop the process. One of the thing to note is Joe Biden around four o'clock gives a speech and he says, Mr. President, please condemn this. And the president, I guess, gives this sort of one minute video where he at the beginning at the end of the video says basically these protesters should go home, but in the middle kind of keeps inciting the by saying it was stolen, it was stolen.

[00:07:02]

So, again, we're still in America where we have we have an almost president and Joe Biden. And then we have someone who is unwilling to sort of lead the country in the right way, who has two weeks left.

[00:07:14]

And I would just add, you know, on that note, one thing we had known after the election was that there was a large level of mistrust in the results. Right. Especially among Republicans. But there had been reporting from the times. They had a really nuanced piece that kind of dug into what OK, if polls say 80 percent, 90 percent of Republicans don't trust the results, how much of that is real versus rhetoric? And I think today we saw what the repercussions of that rhetoric was.

[00:07:43]

Some Americans do not believe that the election was fair. And those are Trump's supporters. And we saw them break in to the Capitol today. And I think you know something, Perry and Juliette I, Julia Azari, were talking about earlier this week is what has been so challenging about this administration, particularly when it comes to coverage, is the way in which they break norms, makes it throws out the whole system in which you can respond and makes legitimate opposition really difficult to wield.

[00:08:13]

In some ways, what happened today was both surprising, but then not surprising at all. And I think it's the tension of that and trying to cover that, which is so difficult right now.

[00:08:24]

So when it comes to that question of how does the opposition respond or how even the president's own party respond, what do we know about that? The president has what is 13 now days left in office or fewer? What happens?

[00:08:45]

Well, I mean, this is something where by the time you're listening to this, it might seem out of date. You know, you have had calls by the National Association of Manufacturers to Mike Pence, say, hey, can you invoke. Twenty Fifth Amendment thing, which says the president is basically not fit to hold office. Apparently it was Vice President Pence and not Trump who called in the National Guard, which is there are a lot of crazy things.

[00:09:11]

That's a pretty disturbing story unto itself. There are at this very count, I think, 13 or 14 Democrats who have called for impeachment essentially moving up the ladder very quickly there probably to be some multiple that by the time you're hearing this. Right. I mean, I don't know how this ends, right. This is not normal. You know, you have this immediate question of like what's going to happen to the Electoral College certification. Will Josh Holly and Ted Cruz, who kind of pretend that you can have this kinder, gentler version of Trump and will they be disabused of that notion if you're ever going to be disabused of that?

[00:09:47]

You think today plus the losses in Georgia, the combination of that would make you pretty can disabuse unless you're really being stupid. But, you know, but you never know. So I don't know. I think I don't I don't really know. I mean, you know, I think there's scenarios where Trump does not end these final 13 days. In the White House, because this has escalated to a point where it is kind of these I wouldn't call them black swan scenario because I think people can envision.

[00:10:14]

Right.

[00:10:14]

But like, you know, we don't really kind of exactly know. What the president's doing or who's in charge, right? I mean, there's a lot of uncertainty here. Yeah, you actually we're talking about the debate within the Republican Party that was beginning even before these Trump supporters occupied the capital, which is given that Warnock was the projected winner last night. And now this afternoon, Osthoff also became the projected winner in Georgia. Given that equation and that seemingly Trump contributed to Republicans loss in Georgia, that perhaps Republicans were starting to turn a page and or at least there was a rift within the party about how to handle Trump going forward.

[00:11:04]

Does that, in combination with today, make that question easier for the party? Do they really want to turn the page now, or are there people that are still excited about the Trump vision of the Republican Party?

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I mean, obviously they are voters, but I mean, are there elected Republicans who are still excited about, you know, Trump ism? I don't think we even know yet.

[00:11:25]

So I was looking just before we came on at some of the statements made by Josh Holley, Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, some of the people who were there, Trumpy or not.

[00:11:33]

They've been the people who are supporting this, questioning the election results. And so I was looking at all their tweets were basically along the lines of we support peaceful protests, but this is getting out of hand on the capital. It should stop. So they weren't necessarily weighing in on whether this sort of certification bias should continue or not. We might know more about this by the time this podcast actually gets out to people, but that's it.

[00:11:57]

I think we're a ways away, not just two weeks. But my guess is maybe two years from knowing exactly where the Republican Party views Trump. And on some level, I don't think today that's not the question I'm kind of most focused on.

[00:12:12]

My question is more I'm looking it up now. 74 million people voted for Trump. So I don't want to condemn anywhere near 70 for me. But we don't know if seventy four hundred worth the capital. They may be seven hundred and forty. I don't know the answer to that question, but I don't want to condemn all. You know, there's a lot of Republicans who support Republican values on small government and or oppose abortions like that.

[00:12:32]

But I do I am concerned about in coming to the capital, the plot to sort of kill the governor of Michigan like we do have a extremism problem that is on the that is on the right more than the left. It is getting to actions that threaten members of Congress, elected officials.

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And we don't. And we and I know that I don't think I think Mitch McConnell has no problem condemning that. But Donald Trump is it and I think it doesn't doesn't really condemn those things the way he should.

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And for these next two weeks and then going forward, I think that's the thing I'm most worried about is like as long as Donald Trump is a prominent figure, is he going to? If not, he's not actually suggesting he's going to things that he seems to be stoking a kind of resentment that is well beyond what a John McCain or a Mitt Romney did.

[00:13:21]

And that's the kind of things that I'm bored. But it's like, you know, John McCain I was at a rally with John McCain and Sarah Palin's designate and the protesters got really aggressive criticizing Obama and John McCain himself condemned them. I just don't see there is a violent element right now on the right, and we need Donald Trump to condemn it. And I think he's unwilling to do that.

[00:13:41]

And I'm worried about it getting stronger, not weaker, unless he does this idea of what percentage of this country are we talking about where this extremism falls in? Because to this point, there are a lot of people who voted for Trump who weren't at Capitol Hill today and voted for him for very different reasons. But one example we really want to dive into, it's not a perfect analogy, but it's one of the better ones to help understand this moment is after Charlottesville, when you had another violent protest rooted in symbols of white nationalism.

[00:14:15]

How did that change public opinion? Do we see something like that going for? You know, one thing we've talked about in political science literature is it's hard to know when there will be a break in in power. And Republicans speaking out against Trump. Is this that watershed moment? If there was an impeachment push, you know, does it change in tenor? And you have Republicans join that? Those are questions we are looking at. But I think something else, you know, and we'll touch on this a little bit later here is we're thinking about Georgia results is while it is undoubtedly historic that two Democrats won in that race and that now Biden will have a trifecta entering office, there was also a very close race despite all of this going on and happening.

[00:14:59]

Right. And so it goes back to something we would have said in November about the divisions in this country that are still very raw and real, as we saw on display today, and how to how to cover that and how we start to rebuild trust in government, trust in the media and what those currents look like in society when you have a active vocal section. And that has very little trust in anything aside from what the president has said, so we've had like an expert on conspiracy theories on this podcast before to talk about some of these things and essentially what the answer was to the question of how do you get people to stop believing conspiracy theories?

[00:15:41]

It's that the people that they trust and have faith in. So even if it's not the main institutions of government, the media or even church or their family, the people that they do trust. So this would be like conservative talk radio, the president himself, you know, whatever leaders there may be in Congress that they trust have to be the people to, like, take them along for the ride. So I'm not going to ask the probably naive question, like, will Trump be the one to do that?

[00:16:09]

But are there other people within the Republican Party? Are there people within Fox News and Newsmax, your conservative talk radio? Are there people who work within Republican politics like Ronna, Romney, McDaniel or, you know, other people like that who will take the risk perhaps to their power, to their career success, et cetera, to try to take some of these people along for the journey away from these conspiracy theories?

[00:16:41]

That's a hard question to answer. I mean, I think one thing we can point to today, you know, something Perry actually pointed out on the live blog is McConnell didn't acknowledge Biden had won the election until mid-December. That is wild. mid-December, it ended November 7th. But today in Congress, before the protests disrupted proceedings, he had given a very impassioned speech for McConnell to say, hey, this is where I draw a line. This this is this is enough.

[00:17:11]

We had a free election. The people have spoken. I'm not going to object to these results. Again, I don't know if McConnell is analogous to Josh Hawley. He's not different brand of Republicanism. But I do think the fact that someone like him and it's not just Romney or Jeff Flake speaking anymore, if you see more of that, that might be, to your point, Galen, a way in which some of the distrust started to be counteracted.

[00:17:39]

But, you know, one thing I've kept coming back to today as we've covered this, was something that the AP had published back in November. But it was saying that there was there was this sense within the Trump administration that they weren't going to win the lawsuits, but that that was fine. It was more important that people distrusted the institutions and thought Trump had been cheated out of the election. And that's hard months.

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You know, he contested the election in 2016 when he won. And so trying to counteract the last four years of that, I think is going to be a real challenge, both for GOP officials, Democrats and how they choose to handle it, really the whole country.

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I'm not sure this is totally a conspiracy question. I don't know. You know, I haven't done an interview of all the people who came to the Capitol. It may be that some of them probably do know something about math. And if we ask them seven different ways, they might acknowledge maybe by and one, they might be mad about the fact that. But I mean, I think part of it is like there is a real division about on the country.

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And I mean, some of the election discourse in Georgia, I didn't love where it's like basically, you know, vote for the corrupt senators who are going to who are trying to embezzle money and take all your money or vote for the Marxist socialists.

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So on like, you know, like the rhetoric on the right is worse. The rhetoric on the left can be bad. And it's not surprising.

[00:19:05]

The problem we have is in some ways, like, I don't know how you turn the temperature down, but when when people are talking about sort of the end of America, you know, or as you know it, if the other party wins, I tend to think that's Joe Biden is less extreme than Donald Trump in that sense.

[00:19:21]

But I think that that I don't I think that the stakes feel so we're telling people a lot of ways that the stakes of politics are extremely high. The America you know, it is you know, it might be over if so and so wins. So in that sense, you know, trying to shoot the governor of Michigan is this is a terrible response. But I think that's part of what's going on here, is not that people are missing or is not that people are believing things that are sort of there is a falsehood they're believing.

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But I also think that they think maybe, maybe Joe Biden did win and that is so terrible. I want to stop him from taking power. I think that's part of it as well.

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One quick note on what Perry said earlier in the summer. Maggie Curth and Sean Mazumdar, a freelancer here for five thirty eight, did a piece that was looking at, you know, trust in democracy among Republicans and Democrats. And one thing they had found from Pew Research from 94 to 2016 was that it jumped from 20 percent to 50 percent of Americans who said that they saw the other side as a threat. And so right when when that is what we make the stakes of our election, it kind of bubbles up inevitably to an outcome that we see like today.

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I agree with Perry that, like the conspiracy theory, misinformation just kind of seems off to me. Right. It's like Trump is encouraging violence and fairly direct rhetoric, and he has people who are very loyal to him. And if you tell people you're the president and you tell people that, like, violence is OK, then probably it's actually a minority of them. Right. But, you know, if Trump is supportive, 40 percent of the country and one tenth of those people behave violently when you have in the country now behaving violently.

[00:21:05]

Right. One one hundredth, that's still a problem if they convene in one place. So that's the issue. You know what I mean?

[00:21:12]

I want to move on and talk about the Warnaco and Asaph elections. But before we do, you know, this is going to be an ongoing story for the coming days and weeks. What kinds of questions do you all want answered?

[00:21:24]

Some of the questions I'm thinking about is one like what is going on at the security at the Capitol? It is a little weird that all these they didn't seem like a lot of officers there in the first place. They seemed overwhelmed quickly, too. I mean, I know the norm at the Capitol is. This is we're a free country. We want to encourage protests and I'm for that stuff, it seems like today that the security situation was not handled well, although it raises the question, I'm not an expert on this, a question about if these protesters were black or if they were Latino, was it were they treated differently because they were mostly white?

[00:21:58]

I think it's a real question to ask as well in terms of I think there are situations like exactly how is the National Guard invoked and when? I think there are questions that are like, I hope listeners ask us questions as well. Aren't there questions about what happened today? They're not just about Trump did something bad. I think that's pretty clear.

[00:22:15]

But there also seemed to be a breakdown today in exactly the on the capital property itself. It is we go around saying we're the greatest country in the world. We can't protect the certification of the election results. Maybe we should dial down our American exceptionalism today a little bit.

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I mean, this is like if you if you describe this happening to me four years ago, I would have been astounded. We can't secure the capital. When Donald Trump said, I'm going to send protesters to the capital, it wasn't a surprise invasion. So I'm shocked and sort of dismayed. Nothing was done about it and prepared. There was something like there was a lot of preparation for what happened today. I mean, I don't know if I have questions so much as like I'm just waiting to see how things unfold.

[00:23:02]

You know, just in the time we've been taping this, Trump has sent out a pretty incendiary tweet. If I had to guess. I think he's going to be banned on Twitter at some point and should be I don't know.

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I mean, you can't just kind of let the stand is the problem. I mean, also I mean, one thing you think about, too, is like these members of Congress probably felt like their life was threatened today.

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And some of them, like Mitt Romney, have also been kind of approached, you might call it, threatened by protesters in other environments, like an airport on a plane yesterday. Right.

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So they might take this a little bit more personally, you know, so I think this impeachment train might be interesting to follow.

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I don't know. And remember, if you impeach someone, you can also ban them from running for office again if you choose.

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If you impeach and remove someone, all right. Well, of course, you know, as soon as we end recording this podcast, I'm sure something else will happen. And we're going to continue to be in touch about all of these events as they do happen. But I want to talk about the election of we're not going to off before we do on the podcast. So essentially, the polls were more or less correct. We're not going to Asaph are projected to win their Senate races.

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Warnock by seven tenths of a point more than Asaph. So that changes a lot of the expectations for the next two years.

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Democrats will control the Senate. It will be obviously a tie that Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to break. So, you know, big structural changes. I guess there's a question about whether or not they can accomplish that with a slim majority. But there are things that they will be able to accomplish that without these two seats, they would not have been able to. So I'd just like to open the floor a little bit.

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How much does this change the calculus of the next two years in terms of what Democrats focus on?

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So just having a having the control of the Senate makes a big difference. So there are a lot of things require 60 votes, but three things that don't. One, Biden can probably has we'll be able to get his cabinet approved. And you saw today he announced that Merrick Garland would be his attorney. He didn't announce. But the is reported that Merrick Garland, who was a district court judge or circuit court judge, will be his attorney general. And that frees Biden up to not only replace Garland, but potentially also, you know, one of Biden promised in the campaign was appoint the first black female Supreme Court judge so that now that now the Democrats have a majority of votes, they can just get that justice.

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The black woman is going to court on the little majority. They can pick other judges. So cabinet members one, judges two. So those are big things where now the Democrats, I think they can get those passed generally on party line votes. So that's the big thing Biden can get through now. And the third thing is, is a process called reconciliation, where a lot of fiscal bills that you can you only need 51 votes for a simple majority can pass.

[00:26:03]

So I think you're likely to see kind of a big covid relief bill where say there's checks, maybe they're not to as long as maybe there was some kind of Kobie relief bill is likely to pass now that has lots of aid to states and lots more money. This is overall bigger. So basically, those are the three things where I think Mitch McConnell would be opposed to. But I'm guessing most Democratic senators will be supportive. But I still think public option, green new deal.

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A lot of the bigger ideas, I think are still are still going to be really hard to do. But I think there is much more room for now.

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Is there any expectation that Democrats would get rid of the filibuster where that slim majority and can they even without 51 actual Senate votes? I've heard some debate over whether Kamala Harris could break the tie on the question of whether or not to remove the filibuster. Is that debate basically over at this point?

[00:26:58]

I don't know the answer to the same question about Kamala Harris. I'll be honest. The first question seems to be the more important I think the answers Joe Manchin has been pretty emphatic about. He's not voting in the filibuster.

[00:27:08]

So in that sense, malarious, his views don't really matter that much.

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So I think that I would be very surprised to see, you know, there's also Dianne Feinstein as Krysten Sinema. There's a lot of sort of Chris Coons, a lot of people in the Senate, Joe Biden. There's a lot of people who are who are sort of wary of that kind of big norm, breaking change among the Democratic caucus. And I don't think that's going to move very much.

[00:27:33]

Yeah, look. The Georgia runoffs were a huge deal in the long run, their. I don't know how you compare these two stories, right? In the long run, they may have as many implications, if not more, as the violence today. You know, No. One, Joe Biden is going to get to form his government, get his cabinet picks right. You probably could have done that before with Murkowski and Romney and whatnot. But now it's a lot more secure.

[00:28:02]

Number two, Joe Biden's going to be able for the current term to replace Supreme Court justices. Maybe Breyer would retire. If there's a Republican that would retire or pass away. That's seems like it's very important. Three is covered relief.

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Right, for is I mean, you know, this is where I would have to defer to Periera or whatever about what's filibustering Ebola, what isn't. Right.

[00:28:27]

There may be a pushover like election security, good government bills that will have unanimous support from Democrats and maybe enough support from Republicans that probably not the full H.R. one, the stuff that the House passed last year, but maybe some milder versions of that.

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Right.

[00:28:45]

I think you would have Republicans be more careful about what seems like pure obstructionism. I mean, the way they I mean, the problem is like, you know, Georgia alone makes Trump look like more of a loser. It's both substantively important because they lost the control of the Senate. Right. And if you look at the overall track record now, it starts to look pretty mediocre, but it's also symbolically important. Georgia is a state that maybe after Texas is a state that Democrats have been trying to win forever, had a lot of close calls and now won it.

[00:29:13]

Right. The fact that you have, you know, a black pastor like a 30 something, you know, Jewish guy elected from Georgia, neither of whom had ever been in office before. I mean, that's pretty significant. I mean, Georgia was a huge repudiation of Trump. You went from David Perdue winning by two point morality. And you would think ordinarily, well, now Biden got elected and you would think there'd be a shift against him in a midterm instead of just by a few points toward Democrats.

[00:29:41]

Right. That's pretty unusual historically. And so I don't know.

[00:29:45]

I mean, look, I think one of the implications of this joint sequence of events is like the notion of a kind of kinder, gentler Trump ism that you can harness for electoral effect. You know, I think to write, if you had some betting market, I would be really short. Josh Hawley winning the presidential nomination. And I think Trump is going to be indelibly associated in people's minds with violence and associated with he actually not being a successful electorally either.

[00:30:16]

And the combination of those two things, I think is is going to be pretty toxic, which is not to say that violence can't prevail. Maybe it will. I don't know. Right. But like, you know.

[00:30:27]

Yeah. I mean, it's also not opens up the question to what is the alternative? Because the kind of small government conservative of, you know, even when it was somewhat more moderate, like with McCain or with Romney, who is quite conservative, but more in line with democratic norms that wasn't working either. So so, you know, I think there is going to be a question for Republicans of what is the path forward that works? And if that alternative is not easily findable, we may not see the repudiation of that gentler, kinder Trump ism that you're talking about.

[00:31:03]

I think it's definitely an open question and it's up to the people involved in the process to determine the answer. Sarah. I mean, do you have thoughts on the Georgia election being seen as a repudiation of Trump ism and what that means for the Republican Party?

[00:31:17]

It makes me think of a question you are getting at last night on the live blog, Gailen, about how much it changes the 20 20 narrative, because I know for me, coming out of November, it was kind of the disconnect between where the generic ballot was and how Democrats did down ballot. And here, you know, you saw not only Republicans lose turnout in Republicans in Georgia in a runoff, which has not happened in the other runoffs. But you saw Democrats gain.

[00:31:45]

You saw the share of the black electorate in the state grow and really be responsible for both Warnock and Sophs victory in the state, especially in the metro Atlanta area. And I think what you saw last night and something Perry had done quite a bit for us on the site is like how much Georgia has shifted blue. Like, I think we can say, yeah, Georgia, it's a swing state. You know, there's still a lot of uncertainty there.

[00:32:10]

But, yeah, it can go blue. And to your point, as this country continues to shift, as education, geography become bigger dividing lines, I think we've seen now a path in the Sunbelt to win as a Democrat and to win as a quite liberal Democrat.

[00:32:27]

We have talked about this on the podcast before, but Raphael Warnock and John al-Assaf were not Blue Dog Democrats. The perhaps extremism of Republicans might make more knocking us off look kind of moderate, but. In the historical sense of the country and the kind of politicians that historically run in the south, we're not going to al-Sahhaf are just straight up liberals. Yeah, I think so.

[00:32:53]

Right. I mean, maybe Tilburg up here with Warnaco because, like, I think he'll get, like, coded. As a liberal, if you're black, sometimes more than if you're white, but like, yeah, I mean, they're certainly not like they're certainly not. Joe mentioned Blue Dogs, by the way.

[00:33:08]

Democrats beat two incumbents in these races to only one if it was a real incumbent because Leffler was appointed. But like being an incumbent in Georgia in this runoff has been very good for Republicans. Right. That he won actually that that, you know, the November race by two points when the plurality to lose that is like is like a pretty big repudiation and is not that easy to do and suggest that, like the GOP is. The problem is, like we talked before, like what are the role models for Republicanism without Trump?

[00:33:37]

I mean, that's part of the problem here. So the previous GOP president before Trump was George W. Bush, his second term ended very unpopular.

[00:33:47]

And Trump kind of repudiated him and ran against Bush ism in certain ways in the GOP primary. So that's why he should go back to even though Bush himself has become a little bit more popular in retirement right before that.

[00:33:57]

Well, you have all these establishment candidates who lost Romney and McCain and Bob Dole. And I'm sure I'm forgetting someone here, right? The first Bush lost his second term.

[00:34:06]

So you're kind of all of a sudden now going back to to Reagan as the kind of previous Republican who is seen as a winner. And that's like, you know, a Reagan voter who turned 18 and voted for Reagan in his second term. Eighty four is now going to be fifty eight at the next election. It really is like a generation or even generation and a half ago at this point now. So there's like not really this obvious role models, maybe some people in the states.

[00:34:31]

I mean, there are lots of fairly popular and successful Republican governors. You can kind of imagine, you know, it's like a Mike DeWine or somebody. Right, kind of running on. I'm not a moderate.

[00:34:43]

I'm not just you know, again, I really think this maybe it seems.

[00:34:50]

I don't know. Too much of a heartache, I really think that these last thirty six hours, I guess is really twenty four hours, right, Will? Really caused people to re-evaluate the politicians who are seen as not having enough distance from Trump, that's not saying they can't win. I'm just saying if you had, like factions, I'm predicting it. And you had explicitly Trump in semi Trump is an anti Trump, right? I would short the explicitly Trump vice presidents, presidential candidates after after today.

[00:35:25]

I mean, I don't think I quite agree with you yet, but, you know, we have time. We have time.

[00:35:30]

They just lost they've just lost Georgia. They just lost Georgia for like something which was only kind of one third as bad as what we saw today. Right. I feel like people are.

[00:35:39]

But in order to keep in order to keep turnout up, I feel like it's those kinds of messages that resonate. And so it's just it's still a real risk to sacrifice all that turn out to try something new. You know, I do think the Democratic base is that interested in think about this, but I don't know that the conclusion that they'll come to is that the whole Trump experiment. Failed to be honest, do you really think that Josh Hawley is going to turn out that Trump voter anyway, Tom Cotton, to his credit, is against this this, but Josh Hawley is not.

[00:36:19]

He's a pretty boy from Harvard. He's not going to turn out the working class voter and.

[00:36:23]

Well, that's what I said, Kirsti.

[00:36:24]

No, I didn't say Josh Hawley, OK, but like Trump, I mean, the celebrity appeal part of Trump is non-trivial, right? The fact that he had this kind of built in name recognition from years of being a personality and being on television and being famous for being famous. Right.

[00:36:44]

That's pretty unique and hard for other people to replicate.

[00:36:52]

And that's where I think, you know, the kind of muga base. It's not the GOP base. There's a little bit of that. It's not a huge. Part of the ven diagram, right, but there is some there and among people who just think that Trump is an outsider, I think that Trump was a savvy businessman think that Trump is funny.

[00:37:07]

Um, you know, I mean, I used to remember I was like, listen to boxing like other celebrity Maranello.

[00:37:12]

They'd be really cool, right? I mean, there are people like they were not as into politics, not as politically engaged and like and they may be disruptive, might not be able to capture that back with a pale imitation of Trump.

[00:37:23]

But I guess on that question or that point, like something you've argued for a long time. Right. It's like Trump's base was never enough for him to win. Right. He needed to expand his base, like, where do these people go now? And that returns back to what Galen was talking about earlier. And, you know, do different people in the Republican Party come forward and repudiate what Trump has done? Does that help fix some of the divides?

[00:37:47]

But it's hard for me to picture that they just kind of sit back into the background now with the levels of distrust that we see present. And that doesn't mean that I think the brand of Trump ism is well and strong and continues to be something that lives well within the party. But I guess what I'm trying to say is it feels a little too early or premature for me to tell because such a strong ardent faction of the party does believe this in some form.

[00:38:16]

The future of the party lies in the primaries. We talked about this actually at the beginning of 2020. We did the primaries project, which if people can remember all the way back, feel like five years ago. What kind of candidate can get Republicans to turn out in significant numbers during a primary? And I don't know that that's Mike DeWine, but I could be proved wrong.

[00:38:39]

But I figured somebody who has a little more, you know, red meat to toss to the base, honestly, we're going to have a lot more of these discussions and we're going to talk to people in the parties and strategists and so on and try to understand where they are headed over the next two to four years.

[00:38:59]

Can I give you one answer? Maybe a little off the wall, but like what about non-white Republicans? What about Nikki Haley? What about Tim Scott? Because Trump did have some success in increasing his share of the non-white vote. And if I were a Republican, I would be intrigued by that.

[00:39:20]

After listening to talk about Marco Rubio for two years and the run up to the Republican primary in 2016, I remain skeptical.

[00:39:29]

But I'm open like some people are not revising their priors enough based on the events of the past twenty four hours.

[00:39:35]

Just in terms of this Georgia thing, just looking back, we had a podcast like right after the November election and I sort of said, like, we have to dutifully cover this Georgia race a ton that everybody sort of knows the republic is going to win the race.

[00:39:49]

You know, I so and I and I and I saw the polls were closed and I did a lot of coverage of it. And I was open to the idea the Democrats would win. But all my friends asked me if I would be like, you know, I'll get 51 percent less, we'll get fifty fifty point five. It'll be much ado about, you know, to be close. But, you know, the Democrats just lost Senate race in Maine, for goodness sakes.

[00:40:08]

How are they going to win two of them in Georgia? So I'm still like you like the polls were closed and I was. But I'm still getting up processing. A black pastor of Milkis Church won a Senate race in Georgia is still worth pride. He had never held office before. And then a Jewish man in his 30s who's who runs a documentary film company was elected as a senator in order to I mean, these are still like these are still their unusual senators from anywhere, but particularly from Georgia.

[00:40:42]

So I'm still processing. I understand how they won. I know Atlanta is getting more left. I read about these things, but these are still like the Republican Party, put everything they could into winning these two races and the Democrats did, too. But basically, Stacey Abrams, Ralph Warnock and John al-Assaf beat Mitch McConnell. I'm still kind of flabbergasted by this happening. And it is a it's a huge story about how American politics can be be not shocking, but surprising how dynamic it can be.

[00:41:14]

Yeah, no, I think that's a really good point. And I think that's the point that we'll end on. We have lots more to talk about, as I mentioned, probably three times during this podcast. So we will have more podcasts and we will talk about it. But it is getting late and we've been up for a long time and we're going to be up early tomorrow. So I'll let you all go. But thank you, Nate, Perry and Sarah, for competing this evening after a long, difficult day.

[00:41:39]

Thanks, Gail. Thank you. My name is Galen Droog. Tony Chow is in the virtual control room. You can get in touch by emailing us at podcasts at 538 dotcom. You can also, of course, tweeted us with any questions or comments. If you're a fan of the show, leave us a rating or review in the Apple podcast store or tell someone about us. Thanks for listening and we will see you soon.