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I to zip recruiter right now you can try zip recruiter for free at zip recruiter dotcom slash crooked that zip recruiter dotcom slash crooked. Welcome to Positive America, I'm Jon Favreau. I'm Dan Pfeiffer. And I'm Melissa M. Monica. She's back.
Here's the question. Let's just get this out the way before Thanksgiving. Is this an episode of Parts of America on which Elyssa is a guest host or is this an episode that I'm just a guest on?
That's the ticket, right?
OK, that's what I wanted to establish that early on just for the power to my favorite my favorite Poltava American miniseries since Tomizawa. Serious, smart, smart, smart. So there's been two of them on today's pod.
I talked to our friend Latasha Brown of Black Voters Matter about the history Kamala Harris has made as the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee.
Before that, Elyssa, Dan and I will talk about Joe Biden's decision to put Comilla on the ticket, the roll out over the last few days and how Trump has responded. But first, we got a few quick housekeeping notes. Check out this week's pod Save the World, where Tommy and Ben talk about Carmella's foreign policy views, foreign election interference and the massive explosion in Lebanon with Washington Post Beirut bureau chief Liz Sly. Also, if you haven't checked out, Ben Rhodes, is numpad missing America highly suggest you take a listen.
It's rocketing up the iTunes charts think it was number five in news and politics yesterday. The first episode is out now and it was all about Trump ism. So listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple podcasts. And wherever you listen to pods, it's fantastic. Take a listen.
Finally, the Democratic National Convention is next week, and we at cricket media have some big plans.
We're not going to Milwaukee. That's not one of the plans.
We will be streaming the convention live every night on crooked dotcom convention. We're going to bring back our group threads like we used to have during the debates to cover the speeches at the convention. We'll have three episodes of Positive America next week, Monday, Thursday, and a bonus on Friday. And the big one, we'll be doing a live one hour pod Save America pre show to kick off the final night of the convention on Thursday, starting at five pm, eight p.m. Eastern.
Tune in at Cricket Dotcom Convention. It's going to be fun.
That was a good reminder that I should check my schedule and be read my emails because I got a lot of news in that. OK, yeah, yeah, that's great, we're going to need you next week. Also, do I get honorary inclusion in the group thread this time?
Fuck, yes, you do. Thank you very much. I've learned how to use things, OK, tutored on slack, I, we, I my view on the group third is more the merrier because, you know, it's just boring listening to the other four fuckers just go on about these.
I completely agree. I'm just kidding. No, no. I just want to be included. I'm so lonely up here.
I'm so excited right now. You're on your end. All right. Let's get to the news. I got my two that's the ticket co-host with me to talk about Joe Biden's selection of California Senator Kamala Harris, the first woman of color, black woman and Asian-American woman to run on a major party ticket. She's also the first graduate of a historically black college and university and the first Democrat from California to run on a major party ticket. Biden announced the pick via text on Tuesday, and the two running mates held a joint event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday.
Let's listen to a clip from their remarks.
As a child of immigrants, she knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country, as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up black and Indian American in the United States of America. Her story is America's story, different from mine in many particulars, but also not so different in the essentials. She's worked hard, she's never backed down from a challenge. And she has earned each and every of the accolades and achievements that she has gained, many of them often in the face of obstacles that others put in her way but never quit.
And this morning, all across the nation. Little girls woke up, especially the little black and brown girls who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities. But today, today, just maybe they're seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as the stuff of president and vice president. And, you know, my mother and father, they came from opposite sides of the world to arrive in America, one from India and the other from Jamaica in search of a world class education.
But what brought them together was the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and that's how they met as students in the streets of Oakland marching and shouting for this thing called justice in a struggle that continues today. And I was part of it. My parents would bring me to protest strapped tightly in my stroller and my mother Shamala raised my sister Maya and me to believe that it was up to us and every generation of Americans to keep on marching. She tell us, don't sit around and complain about things, do something.
So I did something. I devoted my life to making real the words carved in the United States Supreme Court, equal justice under law. And 30 years ago, I stood before a judge for the first time, breathe deep, and uttered the phrase that would that would truly guide my career and the rest of my career.
Kamala Harris, for the people else, tell us exactly when and how you found out about the pick and what was your immediate reaction?
I found out about the pick on CNN.
And I mean, I think the two, to put it in the words of Elizabeth Warren, let's fucking go like it was great. It's exciting. You know, it's great. It's wonderful. It's a woman. Damn, it's a woman. Dan, what do you think what was your initial reaction? I found I found out about it in the American Media Channel, which is where I just go. That's that's where you find all your breaking news.
Yes. Look, I agree. The. I think. When something is expected, it's it's easy to, in the run up to it, not fully recognize how exciting it can be. You know, like if you had asked anyone a year ago and you were to say Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee, who is his vice president going to be?
I would say most people in politics probably would have guessed Caballeros, but the theoretical is very different in the actual. And it's incredibly it was incredibly exciting when the news came out. The excitement of people all across the country in the party was palpable. The you know, just even talking to people in my life who were not engaged in politics full time like us, they were very, very excited about it.
And, you know, I I am as pumped up about this election as as I have been in many, many months. I was surprised by how much it meant to me. I think you guys will probably agree. One of the downsides of being political junkies like us is that sometimes you're so caught up in the daily bullshit that you can miss the larger significance of certain moments. And I was I was thinking back to that night that Barack Obama made history as the first black candidate to win the Iowa caucuses and how one of the people celebrating in the office when they called the race was then San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who had been out knocking on doors for him a decade later, Donald Trump wins in part because of a racial backlash to the election of Barack Obama.
And now to beat him, Joe Biden, the older white guy Obama selected as his running mate, turns around and chooses Comilla, whose parents, like Obamas, came from opposite sides of the world to be the first black woman to run on a major party ticket.
And it it sort of reminded me of what our old boss said, I think, shortly after Trump won, which is that history doesn't always move in a straight line, but it moves. And I don't know, it was a it's a big deal. It's a big deal.
And I thought the video was charming of Joe Biden culloton like, oh, my God, you know, sometimes that's not done well. It can seem very inauthentic and hokey. I loved it. She's like, I'm sorry to keep you waiting. She looked like a normal person. I'm wearing my Comilla shirt because I think this is what she was wearing in her video.
I thought it was great. And you know what else really?
This is so this is music nerd of me, but I was like, fucking Bob Marley is up in heaven smiling right now. A person of Jamaican descent is the vice president of the United States.
So anyway, that's Bob Marley. Yeah, that's awesome. Not everyone thinks of Bob Marley. You do, Dan, why do you think in the end that Joe Biden chose her?
I think he believed he came to that. I've always believed that Joe Biden was looking for his Joe Biden in this process.
And by that I mean someone that he could have a real relationship of trust with, because I really believe that you can make political cases for all of the people who are on that short list and.
Certainly the political case for Kamala Harris is incredibly strong. She's a very, very talented campaigner, which I think we'll talk about. But he came to the conclusion and I think very much influenced by Bo's relationship with Senator Harris. He believed that they can have the same relationship of trust that he had with Barack Obama and that was going to be key to to a governing partnership.
Also, The New York Times wrote that Comilla was, quote, seen throughout the vice presidential search as among the safest choices available to Mr. Biden. I thought that was a sentiment that was echoed throughout a lot of the coverage and punditry. What did you think about that? She's a safe choice.
Fucking ask any black woman in America if they agree with that statement. Like, first of all, picking a woman. This was something that we talked about a lot, and that's the ticket. At no point has putting a woman on the ticket like that ticket is not one. There is no way that any of this is like a safe choice. Now, it was never. The vice presidential female's fault, because except this time last two times, women were added when the candidate was way, way behind.
So, no, this was not a safe choice. That's just fucking crazy to say that this was like. This was an inspired choice. It was a good choice and it was not I can't imagine that any woman who heard the news the other day was like fucking low hanging fruit. Like, that's just not what happened.
I mean, reading those stories in preparation as podcast from all the various papers that, you know, there was all counts. It was like safe but exciting choice.
Biden goes the safe route and like what has happened in American politics, not just in our the last four has been our history.
That suggests that the safe thing to do is to put a woman of color on the ticket. And it really feels like the punditry confused, expected and safe. That's what I was going to ask. Do you do you think she was the obvious choice? Yes. I mean, she but, you know, at any point in time, if you had asked anyone to place their life on the line to pick who Joe Biden would pick, you would pick Kamala Harris because she passes every single test.
She has all of the readiness and experience you need to do the job. Tremendously talented campaigner. You know that there is a foundation of a relationship between her and Joe Biden because of her relationship with Beau. And so the whole way the coverage played out speaks to how the press overvalues surprise. Right.
It's exciting if they haven't thought about it, but what they forget is they live in the same Twitter echo chamber bubble that we do, where many people were quite surprised by this choice because they recognize that in the long history of America, there has never been a black woman on a major party ticket. So it is exciting and it is unexpected because it goes against the history of this country.
Yeah, I, I don't think it was a it was a safe choice. I did. I felt personally for maybe the last three or four weeks that it was either going to be Kamala Harris or Susan Rice. I mean, I guess I thought since since the protests following George Floyd's murder, I began to strongly believe that the Biden campaign would select a woman of color for the ticket, because I do think we're in a moment of racial reckoning.
And I think that the Biden campaign and Joe Biden himself has proved himself to be someone who is willing to listen and grow and, you know, make sure that the campaign he's running is reflective of the party that he now leads and the country that he wants to lead, even if he himself and his own identity is not quite reflective of that party.
He has been very open to that.
And so I thought I thought since the protests that he would ultimately select a woman of color. And I think because we are in a moment where the next president will inherit, you know, a worst recession than Obama did a the greatest public health crisis in a century. And the fact that Joe Biden is 78 years old, he was going to select someone who had extensive governing and political and legislative experience. And Kamala Harris has all of those things. And and I think Susan also has tremendous governing experience as well.
I think in the end, another part of the calculation was, has this person been vetted and tested on the national scene in the midst of a brutal political campaign? And Kamala had because of the primary. And probably that in the end is what weighed against Susan, in my view. Yeah, I just have to say, because we all know on that's the ticket, I predicted he'd pick Susan and Phifer predicted Comilla.
So I want to say Yay Phifer but same thing. I kind of thought that because it did seem for so long, like Comilla was the obvious choice, that because and I say this let me finish my sentence before you disagree with me. It feels like it took such a long time. And I know it's because we're not doing campaign events. There's nothing else to look at. This timing is very historical for when he announced her. But because there was nothing else to think about and you have to wonder, like, how much else was there going on?
It seemed like this was their singular focus. So because they weren't announcing right away, I thought maybe there was I thought maybe Susan had like, you know, eclipsed Comilla.
But I was wrong. So I just want to say that I was wrong. I'm going to agree with you because it was longer, right? It actually, like historically, as we talked about, that's the ticket. The VP announcement generally comes about seven to 10 days before the convention and in recent years and almost every occasion except Paul Ryan 2012, it's come about essentially at this exact timing, which is right before the weekend, before the convention.
But what was different this time is the convention was later and Joe Biden got the nomination much earlier. So in addition to the absolute monotonous life that we have stuck in our homes, the actual period of time was much longer. And so it felt more painful. And, you know, it led to, you know, some dynamics that a lot of people very rightfully called out as being pretty toxic about how a lot of these women and women of color were being pitted against each other in media and by, you know, sort of political people on all sides there.
I will say there are moments over the last couple of weeks where I thought it definitely could be Susan, partly because Joe Biden so values personal relationships and he is close to Susan and his not as close to Camilla, though, certainly close to her as well. But, you know, our old boss says this all the time and has had this sort of at least in reports through the process that when he was selecting a running mate or when you select a running mate, it is very important to select someone who has been through the wringer of a political campaign.
And look, you know, I've seen some people be like, well, Camilla didn't do as well in the primary or this or that or like she went through some incredibly tough campaigns in California where being in a Democratic primary in California is very rough. And you have to be a very fuckin good campaigner to get through Democratic primaries in the state of California. And Kamala Harris succeeded at doing that multiple times.
And then she went through a presidential campaign and came out of that campaign, even though she didn't make it incredibly well-liked by most of the Democratic Party and most of the country.
And that's like that's no small feat.
So what specifically does Kamala Harris bring to the ticket? Elissa. I think she's very comfortable on social media. No, this is the thing, this is a thing because how are people communicating right now? So one, it's obviously not the biggest thing, but I've just noticed it in the past couple of days. Like, she's she's great. She can communicate in ways that you guys would advocate in the White House for. How do you communicate to all the people who aren't on Twitter and who don't want to watch cable news?
I think that she is a great person that they will be able to engage.
Also, she is like one of the greatest things to do is go back in time and watch her Grill Bill Bar and especially Brett Kavanaugh and know that so many Republicans will face that fate now, like the the idea of Comilla sort of prosecuting the case, I think, against the Trump administration.
Like she said in her announcement speech. I just think that she is she is a wonderful speaker. She's a great speaker. She's a great debater. I mean, she's one of the people in the primaries. If you sort of if I had to break down who came to the debate, all five hundred of them with a plan and executed on that plan, it would probably be she and Amy Klobuchar. Those were the two people who I thought always came not to play.
So I just think that she's USHCC and she's you know, for the first I think that we talk so much about how people don't vote for a VP. And I do think that in this case, people are going to be very, very motivated to vote early, vote by mail vote, period, because of her. Your question, yeah, in Biden's announcement of her, he talked about how tough she was, what a fighter she was, and I recognized that the fighter language is how she described herself.
It was a big argument of herself in the primary. What was your reaction to that? Like it just feel we still live in this world where, you know, in order to succeed as a woman in politics, you have to pass this toughness threshold that I don't know whether it exists with voters or not, but it was just the language struck me.
So here's interesting. So his speech, coupled with Comilla speech, was the perfect circle, right? It encapsulated everything. He talked about how tough she was. She talked about her bio and how she's monola and all that stuff. So I think that if you wanted to paint a complete picture of Comilla, it happened at the event, his speech on its own. If he had said it without her giving her remarks after it, I think it might have been a little like, really, you know, like we got to be so fucking tough all the time.
And and I think that this was a better representation of her as a whole person. The two speeches put together. That's interesting, yeah, my test on this on this is always like could you imagine it being said about a male politician? I think fighter is said about male politicians. Tough is not.
It's just like you don't hear people calling male politicians tough. You just don't hear that because you assume they're tough.
Because because because there's an assumption built in. Dan, what else do you think that that she brings to the ticket?
I think illustrates what is a very and very important one, which is she is a very good campaigner in the age of the Internet. She is she has a real palpable authenticity about her. That was like a great asset of hers in the primary. And she was she was always great on late night talk shows or other formats, like when she was on the Breakfast Club and things like that.
And I think she was always she's just very good.
And it's there's like a balance between her and and Biden. And I think the best tickets are ones where when they're together, it sort of creates a it improves both of them. Right. And I think that happened with Obama and Biden. And you could see that with Kamala Harris and Biden yesterday, even though they were together, I mean, six feet apart, wearing masks, which is such as our life.
But, you know, the moment that I just like I think sort of sent chills down my spine and I thought embodied a lot of what makes Kamala Harris such a endearing and compelling politician and person was, you know, here we here it is the biggest moment of her life.
She is a you know, she's making history. And when he when Joe Biden says, let me interest the next vice president, as you can see her literally react with joy to it, like she's sort of like shrugged her shoulders and excitement. And it was just very authentic. And like that is a huge part of what I think she will bring to this ticket. And it's so much more important in a situation where you are campaigning on the Internet over a zoom or whatever it is, instead of being actually in person where Joe Biden is a phenomenal campaigner and person, you know, less so in sort of the digital space.
But I think how I can fill some of those gaps, you know, what else just is also in terms of her authenticity, is just really interesting. I think that for however many years we've been talking about this, that the media has decided what women want to see, you know, that like a woman should be tough, but she should also make a pie and like she should have quaffed hair and, like, good suit. And the thing about Comilla is that, like, one of the greatest things that you can the one of the greatest stories is that she called Cory Booker on his birthday, Senator Cory Booker on his birthday.
But she decided that he needed to learn how to make lentils. He told her that he was making lentils. So she made him go to FaceTime and she had rollers in her hair. And she's just, like, explaining him how to fucking get it done. That's like what woman relate to. You know, it's it's and I feel like she represents that in a way that it took us this long to get comfortable with.
I mean, one of the all time great Internet moments is her teaching Mark Warner so good. So good. No, I mean, I totally agree with all that. I think three things. Her brilliance, which is evident every time she's been on the Judiciary Committee, besting all of her colleagues in questioning whatever witness is up. I think her charisma, I think she's, you know, the best speaker on a Democratic Party major ticket since Barack Obama.
Anyone else I can remember? And she and the charisma is both something we see in public.
And for those of us who have met her privately, it's the same like, you know, all the candidates came to the office and I think, like hanging out with Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris were like two of the great joys that I had with all those candidates.
They're just they're just really fun and warm and just great people to hang out with. And funny to come was very funny.
We saw it in person when she remember she was the guest of the second ever positive America live show. And I was only like four or five months after she got to the Senate. And I mean, she brought the House down. I mean, it was a House full of very inebriated San Franciscans, but she brought it down.
And one other thing about what Carmel brings to the ticket that I should have brought up earlier is Carmela is a gamer. When the game is on the line, she delivers in every one of those debates and like the expectations for her going in to the Kavanaugh hearing. And she just came and brought it in the debates when her campaign was on the line. She had she had her best performances. And so when the pressure is greatest, she has delivered in really big ways.
And that's something you you absolutely need in in the in the candidate part of a vice presidential candidacy, like the debate, the convention speech, she's got these huge moments. And if she can continue that pattern of delivering, that's huge.
I also think that the the last point on this is, you know, Joe Biden has talked about his candidacy as sort of a bridge to the future of the party, and she represents the future of the Democratic Party and sort of the future of where the demographics are shifting in the country itself. Ron Brownstein always talks about and we talked about this in the wilderness a lot, the coalition of restoration as sort of the Republican coalition and the Democratic Party represents the coalition of transformation.
You know, 30 percent of our voters in the Democratic Party are noncollege educated white voters. Right. 30 percent are college educated white voters and 40 percent of voters of color. And, you know, despite the fact that we have Joe Biden in the top of the ticket, we now have a 55 year old black woman immigrant story comes from San Francisco, comes from California, who is representing the future of the party. And I do think that is incredibly important as we head into this election.
And as you know, if Democrats are going to win, it's going to be because they rack up these margins in increasingly diverse suburbs circling these major cities. So let's talk about the reaction to come on selection, which was overwhelmingly positive. Just about every elected Democrat from all wings of the party praised the pick, as well as activists and organizers who criticized Harris in the past. Of course, there has been some criticism from progressives that Comilla is too moderate or cautious, particularly her record on criminal justice from when she was San Francisco's D.A. and California attorney general.
What do you make of that criticism? What I think is as our as our colleague Denis McDonough used to say, new broom sweeps clean. Let's get on with it, progressives. Let's like you guys know, I got a Bernie bumper sticker on my car.
I got an E sticker on my car, and I'm waiting for my Biden, a sticker for my car.
But come the fuck on like Jesus Christ. The president of the United States is dismantling the United States Postal Service. And we all know, too, that we have to get them elected. But we were in the White House when people who supported Barack Obama protested outside because they were holding his feet to the fire on promises he made and changes that they wanted to see. So, like, let's just get elected and then like, let's go ahead and protest or do whatever you want to do.
But like, let's just keep our eye on the ball here.
Dan, you know, you know, I heard everything else is out there. I think it's hard when you are disappointed about something. It is hard to be told, don't be disappointed about it or you're wrong to be unhappy about it. And so I don't really know what the right thing to say is that some of those people other than to encourage them to look at. The movement that Biden has made on a whole host of issues, he's really the first candidate that I can ever think of who wins a primary and moves left as opposed to the standard way of thinking about you move.
You go left in the primary end and to the center in the general. And Biden has you know, he's made real, real fundamental substantive shifts on issues like climate and student debt and taxes and other issues. And that should be seen, I think, as a sign that even if this is not the vice presidential pick, you would have chosen that you that the progressive wing, the progressive activists, are going have an opportunity to have a real influence on the agenda in a Biden Harris administration.
Yeah, I mean, look, I I interviewed Carmen when she came to Crooked, and I pushed her on a lot of her past policies and record when she was D.A. and I talked to her about her truancy policies and she said if I was to do it over again, I wouldn't have done the same thing. I think we have to understand that public officials, elected officials are products of the time that they're from that they're in. As a D.A. in 2004, she refused to seek the death penalty for a man who killed a police officer.
She was attacked by police officers and police officer associations. She was attacked for it by Dianne Feinstein. She almost lost her race for attorney general because of that. And that sort of in your mind when that happened, when you're trying to run for office back then?
I think we should. I mean, it it was hilarious to me that she is being called in all this coverage. A moderate like Joe Biden has found a fellow moderate or centrist. She supports something extremely close to Medicare for all, which Bernie Sanders acknowledged in his statement supporting her.
She's for the Green New Deal.
She has one of the most liberal records in the US Senate, like if if you want to call it Kamala Harris, his record in the Senate and her policies that she's supporting now, centrist or moderate. Great. If that's where the Overton Window has moved, then congratulations to all the progressive activists because you have fucking moved the shit out of that window that is supporting the Green New Deal.
And basically Medicare for all is now moderate and centrist.
Fantastic. I'll take it.
I also would encourage people to read and look at what some of the activists on criminal justice matters have said about this.
And they've talked about how, you know, while they have very real concerns about her record when she was attorney general or in the city of San Francisco, that she has made movement on some or maybe even a lot of those issues in recent years.
And so, like, you know, I think those are the four people who, if your concern is what her record was in the past, there are some people who are real subject matter experts in that stuff. We were talking about how it intersects with her policy positions now. And I just would encourage people to look at what a lot of those activists have had to say on Twitter and elsewhere.
Well, and I would say to everyone to like and don't take her word for it and Joe Biden's word for it. Now, if you're still disappointed, like hold their feet to the fire, if they're elected and they start backtracking and they and they do something you don't like on criminal justice reform or they don't go far enough, then then fight it, fight it hard.
But that's you know, that's I think that's the best way forward.
So I do want to talk briefly about the other candidates who made the short list and went through the very intense vetting process. We talked about Susan Rice, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Tammy Duckworth.
Also, what, if anything, do you think this process has done for these women?
You know, I think everybody, all of the women minus Elizabeth Warren, whose profile I think was quite high before before this process, I think that the process was done respectfully. And these women have bigger platforms now that they can use going forward for their states, for their districts and, you know, to run for even higher office. So I think it's all good. Dan, can I say something about our friend Susan Rice for a second? Sure.
Now, as everyone knows, we have been friends and colleagues of Susan's for a very long time, and as someone who is known to work with her, the idea for the vice president was quite exciting to us because she would do a fucking great job at it. She is about as qualified to do that job as anyone in the world.
But it was painful as someone who likes and cares about her, to watch this process play itself out.
And nothing pissed me off more than the Never Trump voters who are trying to shore up their conservative credentials by saying, look, I'll vote for Joe Biden if he pick Susan Rice, because here's what I have to say. Your argument against Susan Rice is based on a right wing fucking conspiracy theory about Benghazi.
And if you think that many of them acknowledge that many of them acknowledge is a conspiracy theory and then go on to say, I know it's bullshit, but it's out there. So I'm just going to say it's bad for her anyway if you.
Ah, so proudly this evolved Republican who is against Trump, but you but you don't have the fucking guts to stand up to Benghazi truth tourism, then your party is doomed to repeat itself. Right. Then you have missed every fucking lesson about it. It is just absolute disgusting way in order to ensure that even if you're against Trump, you can still get invited to the Weekly Standard Christmas party.
Bingo. Here's my dream, here's my dream. I I let myself think just for a moment that perhaps Joe Biden would announce Kamala Harris as vice president and then I would walk Susan Rice and he would say, this is going to be my secretary of state. And then I would walk Elizabeth Warren and he would say, and this is going to be my secretary of Treasury.
That was just I feel I just thought about all this. Maybe it's still very opposed to the cabinet before the election idea.
Now, I know.
I guess there's my eye on the ball. Eye on the ball before Twitter tells me. There are. I know.
I know there are legal issues, perhaps, but I still think he would be he would be wise to select Susan as look, I also just want to scoop parts of the world on this. You know, they're going to start, Susan, for secretary of state. Wouldn't it be great that we got to it first?
I mean, I'm having shirts made on Etsy. Is that weird, Susan? First, Susan, for sex or and at Treasury wielding tremendous power at the Treasury Department, just making Wall Street fucking lose their shit.
Never. Trumper heads exploding left and right. I was for Biden until he decided to put someone in place to fix the economy. My party broke.
Make a supportive ad about that one linking project on Treasury. Let's see you want it back. That's our price of admission.
Pottsy of America is brought to you by magic spoon. All right, there they go. All right, go, Allison.
Go ahead, Tommy. I'm getting the point where I'm a little offended by the fact that it says host note, please open with a personal story, with suggestions. Do you think I need to be told that? Do you think I need to be told to talk about how much I enjoy eating Magic Spoon again? I'm out of magic spoon because I have like six boxes and I powered through them all relatively quickly. But it's good for you. Lower carbs, the sugar.
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Your suggested intro's in a sack. Yes. We don't get them. Just hang myself. A couple of bowls of frosted magic spoon this morning.
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Elissa, I want to talk to you about the rollout, because you are the expert on all things rollouts, you've been involved in many of these. So on the announcement side of the campaign was able to break its own news via text to its supporters on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, you spoke about this. Harris's team posted a video of Biden asking Harris to be his running mate over Zoom, assume it was him.
And then on Wednesday, there is the joint event in Wilmington with two speeches, plenty of masks, no crowd.
What did you think of how this all went down? What do you think? The rollout.
So I just I need to say I never got my text message, even though I signed up, which I was sad about. I didn't know I was I wasn't supposed to find out on CNN.
So here's what I'd like to see.
You guys remember when we got to the White House and a lot of old school political people who had been the last Democrats in office would criticize us often on TV for saying that we weren't being creative enough, that we weren't taking Barack Obama to the Grand Canyon to sign legislation and all this stuff. And the problem was, is that they had not lived in a post 9/11 world and 9/11 changed everything. So I feel like for people who were talking about yesterday, you have to remember that none of us understand what it is to go through this right now.
So while I would have loved to see something super picturesque, just like a real TIME magazine cover, I thought they did a very good job. You know, they both they gave their speeches. Presumably nobody got sick. I mean, you know, it's like when you look at what the options are. I mean, Trump did his rallies and people have died. So I think that in the era of covid, they did a really a really good job.
And the perfect was not the enemy of the good. And we got what we needed, which was to see them together.
Ellis, are you what did you think of the lack of any crowd whatsoever, the lack of any applause during the speeches? Like, I thought my view was fine for that event, which was middle of the day.
Most of the clips are going to run on the news at night. And so it's not like a lot of people sat through, except us junkies sat through the whole both speeches.
I'm a little concerned about the convention speeches. If they are also if we have a week of convention speeches like that. And I think they might be planning something with some, but I'm not sure this.
So I thought about this yesterday. One, I actually thought Comilla was exceptional at delivering a very emotive speech without a crowd.
I thought that that was like a real plus for her, for Joe Biden.
I would say that the shorter is the better when it comes to a world without crowds where you don't get any feedback because he was not as good and I'm not being mean. But I mean, Comilla was exceptional at it. So I think that going forward.
I would probably just zoom as much as you possibly can, because the in-person events. While they demonstrate what can be done in a in a time of social distancing and wearing masks and everything in their modeling really good behavior, it's it's not that compelling. So I think unless there's something really compelling about doing a live event, that Zoom's probably just fine. Dan, what do you think? I agree with Lisa that the rollout went as well as could possibly be hoped for in this environment.
What I think says a lot about their process is, although you guys did not get the text message, I did get it. I got it after I learned the news. But the Biden campaign announced it. Right. That's a pretty amazing thing. Like in 2008, we did it. We're not the ones to announce Joe Biden. John King from CNN broke it before we were able to even hit send on our texts. And so if you or the if you're the ones who make the actual announcement of your vice presidential pick before a reporter figures it out, that's a sign of a very successful and well run process.
That's very true. I, I 100 percent agree on the applause as it relates to the convention, and I'm sure they are already working on this. But, you know, both the NBA and Major League Baseball have figured out some ways to make this seem less weird on television because you can hear applause and empty arenas. And the NBA is a very cool thing where they're having fans zoom in. So when you're watching it on TV, you can see sort of like a digital wall of people.
And so there are some opportunities for that. That look that works is not perfect. Don't get me wrong, I do think in the context of this event, there is something that is worthwhile, even if you're not getting enthusiasm. But the whole thing where they come in with masks, they wear masks, they there are the spots where they stand apart. In addition to it being the right thing to do. It is also a reminder of the situation that Donald Trump put us in and how irresponsible he is being about it.
And I think when you look at all the polling around coronaviruses, I think there is value in showing that we take this seriously and are doing it in the right way. And in that sense, the lack of applause can be a feature, not a bug, because it once again highlights that Donald Trump is so royally screwed this up that we that you were doing these political events, which would otherwise be these raucous rallies in these ways that are very understandable to Americans who are stuck in their home.
Yeah, I do agree with Elyssa that I thought I think Biden has been and he's done a few of these events without applause and he does a pretty good job. And what I think is a very tough circumstance, delivering a speech with no crowd delivering it. But I thought that Comilla was excelled at delivering a speech to no applause. And I thought her speech itself was excellent, just wasn't very, very bright. One of her one of her best speeches.
So let's talk about the reaction from Donald Trump, who welcomed Kamala Harris to the race with a combination of grace and shrewdness. Here's a clip.
She did very, very poorly in the primaries. As you know, he was expected to do well. And she was she ended up at right around two percent and spent a lot of money. She had a lot of things happening. And so I was a little surprised that he picked her. I've been watching her for a long time and I was a little surprised. She was extraordinarily nasty to Kavanaugh. Judge Judge Kavanaugh then now Justice Kavanaugh. She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing, the way she was, the way she treated.
Now, Justice Kavanaugh and I won't forget that soon. So she did very poorly in the primaries and now she's chosen. So let's see how that all works.
So we're used to Trump's freewheeling style, but we've also seen a completely incoherent reaction from his campaign, the Republican Party, the right wing media they're selling Comilla is a cop T-shirts and also calling her Antipolice. A Republican senator, George Holley, called her a darling of Wall Street while the RNC chair said she's a radical socialist. Katrina Pierson of the Trump campaign put out a rambling statement with a bunch of lies.
What's wrong with these people? Why can't they settle on a line of attack here, Dad? Because they're stupid. I mean, it's just like wish they had time.
They had so much time to prepare. Yeah.
I mean, this is not like we were caught off guard when John McCain picked Sarah Palin 2008 because she was on No. One short list. And Kamala Harris has been the leading contender for this position since the day Joe Biden became nominee.
How they're unprepared for it is so it's both mind boggling. In one sense. It makes complete sense when you look at how the rest of the campaign runs. And I think part of it is that trolling is not a coherent political strategy. And so you're just constantly looking to get some sort of reaction without any regard for a coherent message. And so, yeah, well, people retreat. The Comilla is a cop T-shirts. Absolutely. Well, that give something for Tucker Carlson to yell about.
Yes. Well, we also try to do the other thing and pretend like she and Joe Biden, they're antifa super. Yes, we'll do that. Will we default to just dumb racism because we're dumb braces? Yes, we'll do that. But that's not how political campaigns work. And they have the same problem with with Joe Biden that they have a common heritage. They can't figure out one coherent, specific narrative, which Donald Trump, for all of his idiocy and flaws, actually had in 2016 when he was running against Hillary Clinton.
Yeah, he at least landed there, Elyssa Trump's calling commo a nasty madwoman. Tucker Carlson is purposely mispronouncing her name. We get a few white right wing whack jobs who are floating conspiracy that she's not American. We got the return of birth tourism here in the Trump campaign.
Officials not like so many. Fuck, yeah, right. Yeah, we are the Trump redit for her name.
Some fake lawyer. That's Janet. Janet Ellis. Yeah. This is not America.
Elyssa, how should the Biden Harris campaign and the rest of us, for that matter, handle the racism and sexism, some overt like this, some less so, some more subtle that will obviously accompany this pick.
And already as a company, first of all, he is no longer Tucker Carlson. He's Tucker Carlson until he learns how to pronounce his name.
That's a rule on histeria. That's not acceptable. Look, this is their game.
This is all they have. Like Trump's. I have to say, I was disappointed in Trump.
I thought he was going to do better out the gate. Instead, he was some basic bitch, had nothing good to offer, nothing colorful. Like I thought he would have had some good attacks, but like Slow Joe and phony look like do better.
And I think that this is their playbook. This is what they know to do since Donald Trump was the OG birther back in the day. This is this is it. And it's just you know, I really I really do think I know that everybody goes back and forth on, like, how you're supposed to reach out to voters. I just really think that Democrats shouldn't do the shows of racists on Fox News like there are some people who maybe aren't.
But I mean, I just everyone's got to stop. They have to be put in a box because fuck that. Fuck, fuck, Tucker, fuck, Tucker. And besides, I don't see on Hannity, it's Tucker Carlson, see on Hannity and Judge Pirro.
Oh, let's so let's talk about let's end by talking about what's next for Comilla. We got eighty two days until the election. She's got a convention speech next week. She's got a debate with Mike Pence in October. Dan, how important are those moments to the overall campaign? What can she do to succeed and what does you have to watch out for?
Well, we talk all the time about how Joe Biden is relatively undefined to a large segment of the voters who are going to decide this election. And that is exponentially more true for Kamala Harris.
So the speech on Wednesday night will be her last, best opportunity, at least before the debate, to define herself and tell her story to the American people.
I imagine that speech is going to get a tremendous number of eyeballs, in part because people cannot leave their homes in most states. So I think it's a huge, huge, huge opportunity. And for her, you know, the debate is something we should talk about, which is it has become sort of a favorite Twitter messaging strategy of Democrats to raise expectations through the roof for Kamala Harris and the debate.
And I think it's much more complex than that. And so I think we should probably have that conversation at some point. So what do you think? I think that's true. I mean, my first text was I couldn't wait to watch the debate, so I'm very much at fault on that one.
But I mean, that's one. Alice, that's fine for you to text someone in private. No, no, I tweeted it so well. No, it was my initial reaction. I know it's so much more than that. But we can tell by when Mike Pence was asked the question and had to answer and nearly put his pants, that he, too, is concerned about it.
He did nearly pull his pants right on Tucker show, or I think it was Science Show when he was asked that question about the debate.
So, no, like, I look, I get it.
I totally understand. It is the natural reaction. Kamala Harris, when you when you have seen her on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate grilling witnesses, you think this is a person who's going to kick out? She's just she's great. She's a good debater. She's excellent at set pieces.
But I do think, you know, there's obviously this silly expectation game that everyone plays in the press where you say that your candidate is terrible at debates and the other candidate is amazing. Right. Like, that's that's what you do.
But I think Mike Pence, I would not I would not be surprised if Mike Pence walked into that debate and was very gracious to her when the debate started and said something about her history making candidacy. Right. And then sort of tore into her about, you know, the liberal policies of of Biden and Harris and all that kind of stuff.
Like he is not. He has, but only that you can say about Mike Pence's. He has slightly more discipline than Donald Trump, and he will have handlers and consultants who tell him, like, you have to be very careful debating Kamala Harris and this is what you will need to do. And he will probably execute on some of that. And so I just think that is something for people to be aware of as we think about that.
And I'm sure that Donald Trump is whispering and Mike Pence is here, that unless he fucking gets covid back under control, he may not make it to the debate.
I mean, I think that is right about Pence. And I think people should go back and watch Pence's debate performance against Tim Kaine, where he was declared the winner.
You have to go back and watch it because no one remembers that it ever happened. But it did. And what it did was Tim Kaine, I think, was overcoached going that debate that he had to be an attack dog and it was not a position was particularly comfortable for Tim Kaine. And Pence did not take the bait.
And that and that was seen by the the. Figure skating judges that decide these things as a victory. My concern about the debate is not necessarily Pence's performance or Kamala Harris performance. I have great confidence in my Ursus performance.
It is how it will be covered with a black woman doing those things. And we know this from you know, you were involved with Barack Obama's debate. Perhaps there are certain tactics and moves that are of that are treated one way when done by a white man and different when done by a by a black man and be angry.
Not if you're a black person, like some of the great moments in debate history. Like if Barack Obama had done the I know Jack Kennedy. He was a friend of mine. You know, Jack Kennedy would have been treated very differently than if Lloyd Bentsen did it right. If the you know, the where's the beef line from Ronald Reagan be very treated very differently if Hillary Clinton had done in 2016 or Kamala Harris were to do it right now. And so I think we know from within the context of a Democratic debate that the way women and candidates of color were covered was very problematic.
So that's going to be quadruply so in a general election debate. And like, I think she will do incredibly well. I think it is incumbent upon everyone to try to recognize the additional hurdles that the political conversation will put in the place of a black woman in that position. And finally, I don't have the right answers for this, I say, but find ways to push back on that language in those tropes. And that's those stereotypes.
Not I remember feeling very frustrated on behalf of Obama during a debate prep session. I think it was when he was preparing to debate Romney when he was told to, like, be more passionate, be more, you know, show that you're that you care, that you're into this and get angry, you know.
And he was reluctant to do that because as a black man, he he believed that he couldn't show that kind of anger without a bunch of fucking racists out there, sort of in on Tucker Carlson show, saying that, you know, making stereotypes about this and saying that he fits the stereotype. So, no, it's a it's a it's it's something that she has to navigate, both as a woman, as a woman and a woman of color, which is which is very tough.
But I'm still excited for the debate. I think I want to see it, too. I mean, honestly, it's like just the one thing to look forward to that we know is going to happen between now and Election Day, which I also think is why people gravitated towards it. It's like people aren't necessarily excited for the speech because they don't understand what's going to happen. We know kind of what can happen at the debate. I say defending myself as maybe the first person who actually tweeted the thing about the debate.
Well, I mean, like to be like, yes, even though I said all the things, I'm still looking forward to it.
This has been it's been a dark few years in America. And some of the rare moments of joy have been Kamala Harris destroying Bill Barr, Jeff Sessions, Brett Kavanaugh, like like those have been moments of light in a dark time.
And so it is very understandable to be looking forward to it with Mike Pence, who is terrible, terrible, horrible.
Boo. All right. Well, well, that's that. When we come back, I will be joined by organizer and a co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, a friend of the pod with Dr. Brown.
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I'm now joined by organizer and a co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, friend of the pod, Latasha Brown. Latasha. Thanks for coming back on the show.
Thank you for having me. I'm glad to be here. So you've been part of a coalition pushing Joe Biden to select a black woman as his running mate for months.
How did you find out that it would be Kamala Harris? And what was your initial reaction when the announcement was made?
So I was actually honestly in my bathroom trying on new makeup. I know. I really was. I was I was in the in my bathroom and I heard and my phone kept blowing up. And then I got this call and it was like we won. I was like, what does that mean? I don't know what that means. Right. And then I could hear my TV in my bedroom. I could hear my TV set that he was selected.
It was like he selected Kamala Harris. I was like, what? And so it was interesting. At first I got the call. I hung up and I was like, oh, that's great. I was real calm about it. And maybe in a matter of minutes I started crying like I did not anticipate not having that kind of reaction. And I started crying. And I and and I could only think about at that moment my grandmother. And it's so interesting because while my grandmother was a voter, she wasn't particularly like an activist or but I know this is a woman and I share her story because she both of my grandmothers, one of my grandmas were born, was born and and grew up and grew a family in Mississippi call Mississippi was extremely racist.
Community lived outside of McCollom and some Mississippi. And my other grandmother grew up in Alabama, was born in Alabama. And both of them were disenfranchised that their families, that they themselves. And so it dawned on me that I was the the first the first woman in my family, like here we are in twenty twenty. I am the first woman who was born where I had the right to vote, that it was like I was enfranchised. Right.
And, and I, you know, I think it just stuck with me. It really just kind of it just it just took me a certain kind of way. And so while I was excited about Komla, I was actually excited that we had we had that our response that there was a response to what our request was made by Vice President Joe Biden. More importantly, I felt such an overwhelming sense of gratefulness to all the women who had been disenfranchised, who have been marginalized, who have been overlooked.
Yet they still persisted that this moment was their moment, that this moment was it the Democratic Party's moment. This moment just wasn't the candidate's moment, but this was our collective moment. And so I think I'm still still working through that feeling, every emotion that you can feel I've felt in the course of this past week. I bet I mean, before we talk about what his selection means for the campaign, I just wanted to ask you, you know, you've talked about what it meant sort of in a historical sense.
But, you know, what does this mean to you personally as a black woman, you know, just as a black woman?
I think it is disheartening that we are always on the front. I am working with other women like we are grinding. So we're grinding on it like every year, year in and year out, we grind because we know that democracy is at stake and we know that our families are at stake. We know that America is in this precarious moment. And so, you know, in light of that, to really be able but year after year to see black women get stepped over four congressional seats, to see black women who run for office, including myself, I've run for office.
Right. You know, and and to literally not get the kind of support that we would see from our white counterparts, but oftentimes from our male counterparts. Right. To see us grossly underrepresented when it comes to positions of power. But then when it comes to doing the work, you know who the majority of people I see doing the work, I see women. And so I think what this means for me and I think what I as what it means for me as a activist, as an organizer, as a woman who has dedicated a significant amount of my life doing work on terms of building democracy.
Any time that I see that there is a new break, a silly break, it opens up the just unlimited possibilities for for those behind us. And so for me, I think that it was a great move by Vice President Joe Biden. You know, I really want to commend him and I want to lift him up on making that choice, because I think it sends a certain kind of message. I sense I think it sends a message around being a transformative leader that ultimately we have to have the courage to really recognize what people are saying and really be able to respond to that.
And so I think that he hurt us. I think he responded to us. You know, I think he made the right choice. And I just want to lift that up because oftentimes our leaders don't listen to us. Right. And don't really take into account what we're asking. The second thing, though, is I think that he made a good move that nobody is going to work on the ground for him like black women. We are going we are grind.
And the moment here, the moment that he announced that, I was like, OK, I think I'll get a thousand tomorrow, you know, that ultimately, you know, he I think ultimately that decision, you know, really kind of inspired those of us that are doing this work on the ground that literally lets us know that there is something different that is happening, that there are new possibilities and new ground. I think that's the second thing.
And the third thing is I think America needs this right now. We need a ticket that is more representative, more reflective of the totality of America that we have not seen ourselves, not in the office of president or vice president. They've all been white men with the exception of Barack Obama. Right. Who is still, you know, a man.
And when you look at the majority being that the majority of the country are fifty, 53 percent women, women have not been in any of those positions, although with the majority so so over at five thirty eight, the journalist Perry Bacon looked at the data and wrote that while it's not crazy, the idea that Harris might boost the ticket with black voters, he thinks the stronger case is that she won't have much of an effect on black turnout. What do you think about that?
I disagree with that.
I disagree with that because I and I also think that that inherent in that, too, we have to unpack that, because I think sometimes there's a racist context around thinking that black people can only pull black voters. You know, at the end of the day, I think what Obama showed is that he was able to pull a broad based, multiracial, multigenerational coalition that supported him. If we look at the Black Lives Matter, for folks who have all this criticism about Black Lives Matter saying, oh, that was divisive.
The truth of the matter is that movement gave birth to uprisings in all 50 states in this country, the most diverse, multiracial, multigenerational, multicultural movement that we've ever seen in this country, that because they are leading from a place of truth, from their authentic voices, that we recognize that when you break open, open oppression for some of us, it opens it for all of us. So I actually think that not only she's going to energize and bring black some black voters to that ticket, but I also think that she is going to energize women.
I also think that she's going to energize immigrants coming that she has that her mother was an immigrant and her parents were immigrants. I also think that she is going to energize the Asian community that is often also looked over as well. And I think that she's going to energize smart people that literally want something different and know that democracy is at stake. So I don't relegate her that that the only voters that when you vote is that she can. Are black voters.
I certainly believe that there would be a particular kind of level of excitement that I myself personally feel and others that I'm talking to, but I also think that oftentimes women and black candidates are able to build these multicultural coalitions that can make the difference in an election cycle. What do you think?
If you were to advise them, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris need to do going forward to further energize voters to turn out this fall?
You know, I think a couple of things. First thing is, I think that we need to center the conversation of the election, not necessarily around the candidates. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but I but I do think that part of what has happened is that we have created almost like this. You know, in some ways, I think like the savior syndrome, that we're going to find the absolute perfect candidate, you know, and the perfect candidate is going to save us and take us on the glory when that doesn't exist.
Right. Let's just be honest. It doesn't exist. And I think part of that has actually led to the erosion of democracy where people don't see themselves empowered in the process because it's all centered around the candidate. I think what we have to do is actually center this around people's power, that ultimately this is about us protecting democracy, that ultimately that this is actually bigger than just the candidates. This is even bigger than Trump, that ultimately this is really about saving the soul of America and that all of us have a responsibility in that.
And so I think that the message should not just be around taking Trump down. I think the message has to be around one sintering that we are entering and repositioning people in this country so that the value of this country is actually her people. The second thing is I think we've got to send on a message of the possibilities that not less like the like you can't stop and we got to beat Trump, right. Because it's not like we were in Utopia before Trump was in office.
Right. I think that what excites people and I think that what folks are looking for, particularly young people that I'm talking to, they're looking for something very different. Right. And so I often say, what is your radical reimagining of America that we actually have to push, that there is a vision to go beyond where we've been to to address with some of the damage that has happened, but to actually take things forward. I think the other two points that I would make is, one, we are in a we cannot continue to step over race.
And it is not enough that there's just a there's a black woman that is on the ticket. I think I certainly I think representation matters, but we've got to we've got to lean in and deal with structural racism in this country and every aspect of it. And so I think that the campaign should not shy away from that. Right. Even though we know Trump is doing the white racist nationalist rally cry. Right. I think it is more of us.
And I mean when I mean us, I mean there are more people of goodwill who want to see America that we all imagine that is inclusive, that is just and is democratic. And so I think they need to lean into that and speak to the challenges and to speak to the need for us to deal with a root structural racism. And then the fourth thing that I think is really important is that we have got to really be able to not just step over what is happening with covid-19.
And we've got to deal with issues of poverty and working class folks that oftentimes when these conversations get on the national level, what you hear, you hear a lot of conversation about protecting and saving the middle class. And while I support that and find myself as one person among among that group, that ultimately we have to recognize that all of us make America right. All of us deserve to really be able to get the opportunities that the purpose of most of us that were that are now attach ourselves better black or white or Asian and the middle class that many of our families were not in the middle class, but there were programs from the New Deal on that actually focused on how to lift poor people that created the middle class.
And somehow we've forgotten it. And so I think we still need that kind of level of of conversation to that. This conversation just doesn't get stuck in in the middle class and upper class, but that we actually have a message specifically for the working poor and poor people who have not benefited from the wealth of this country. So you spend most of your time on the ground talking to voters, as you know, because you've graciously participated in our Vote Save America trainings, we have thousands of organizers will be talking to voters over the next few minutes.
John, I just want to tell you this amazing. I just I hate to cut you off. You were amazing. That was it was. So the TSA people on your organizing, I'm like, this is like organiser's gold mine. This is like going to organize. I haven't. But anyway, well, you were the biggest head of all the trainings.
People were going crazy, so you really pumped everyone up. What's your advice to to organizers when they encounter voters, particularly maybe young voters or voters who haven't been involved in the process a lot or maybe haven't voted in a few elections who say, I don't know that Joe Biden is progressive enough or I have a problem with Kamala Harris, his record as a prosecutor, and they're just not sure. What's your message to those voters to listen?
And I'm serious to listen that oftentimes what I have found is that we're so busy trying to evangelize people that we're not hearing them, that oftentimes when people come up to us, we tell folks that we don't meet people that's apathetic. I've never met a person that just didn't care about anything. Right. I didn't I I've met people who are frustrated with the process, don't see themselves in the process, don't feel recognized, valued or listened to. And so part of what we do when people say that when we run across a voter, a person, they say, well, I don't want to vote because I don't think that it matters.
And we actually acknowledge that. Well, why do you feel that way? Right. And they start to tell us and we ask, what what do you care about? We don't start talking about voting. Oh, well, you need to vote because X, Y, Z, what do you care about? And then what? You engage in that conversation and they start sharing what they care about, then you can start helping them to make the connection of how voting could possibly be one of the tools to actually impact that what they care about.
And so it becomes a conversation has really been informed that it centers them what they desire, what they need. And it comes from and they know that you are listening to them. And so even in a process when they said, well, I vote and I haven't seen any change, I don't argue like, you know what, I feel that way, too. There's often times I feel that way. You're right. You're not crazy like our firm.
You that. Yes. I not only have I felt that way, but I've seen that. But I don't want it to continue to be that way. And so, so and so this is what I do to actually make it change. And so I think that part of what we have to do if we want to see a robust democracy, we have to have the orientation to shift the paradigm of how we're engaging people in the conversation we have.
We engage people in the conversation like the only thing that matters. And all the time they matter if they participate in the system. The truth of the matter is we should start with the conversation is that you matter regardless. You matter because God created you, that you are a living human being and you have value. And to the extent that we see that and recognize and hear that, let's talk about what it is that your vision is for your life.
What is it that you want to see? And then we back into voting could possibly be a tool that can actually help you. Like if someone says, well, I'm tired of police and I don't want to see police brutality, do you know how a police chief is elected, is in power like? And then we talk through the process oftentimes nine times out of ten. I always tell people I've never lost a vote. I'm just like that, like at the end of the day.
Right. But I've also never forced an eight untrue and a false frame on people that when people are saying they don't trust the system. I understand because there are times that I don't trust the system either, that when people are saying that they they feel like they're things that don't matter when they vote. I felt like that. And if we're all honest, we've all felt that way. So we have to actually help people have a authentic conversation for people to really understand that we recognize the limitations of voting, but we also recognize it's power.
So Donald Trump this morning openly admitted that he's sabotaging the mail in order to stop us from voting. And, you know, I saw a lot of folks on Twitter, people are coming to me and saying, you know, I'm terrified. I'm feeling pretty helpless and powerless right now. Like, what's the use of all this hard work if he's just going to cheat? And how do we fight this? He's going to steal the election. What's your advice to these people who you watch Donald Trump doing this kind of stuff and are just terrified about what's going to happen in November?
Well, the first thing I did right was the day I started to fight. Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on. Hold on.
I just wanted to start with that, because at the end of the day, I love it that you have to really get centered around what? Keeping your eyes on the prize that black people in this country. We have never been given the time or the space to be tired, that we have fought for our very existence from the time that we were brought over here in slave ships, that there are folks in my family that literally are living right now that were sharecroppers picking cotton.
Yet they still persisted that ultimately, if this nation is going to change, we've got to change it. And this is a moment we have to know what moment we're in. And so I understand when they're saying they're tired. Lord knows. I understand. Do you think I want to talk about racism? Imagine I'm tired of talking about racism. Imagine how I feel about dealing with it. I don't. Right. And so so at the end of the day, like but I have no choice because ultimately I believe that I can create the kind of environment, the kind of nation that we deserve.
And that's what I have to tap into when my body is tired. I have to tap into that spirit that led to like those folks singing those people like John Lewis, Representative John Lewis and Vivian Amelia Boynton on that bridge that did not have government. You talk about Trump like Trump is one thing. These are people that didn't have government on their side that were actually beaten right in front of us in Iowa and marched alive and and for the most part, racism.
That was that was the flavor of the day. Right. Openly, right. And so my point is we don't have the privilege to say that I am tired and I don't work that. Yes, we will acknowledge that this is a pretty tough time. But the only thing that I can say and I often use this example, is that, you know, the way that dynamism, John Dime are made all the time and is as a piece of coal, it is a piece of coal that, under extreme pressure over a period of time, became a diamond.
And how do we know a diamond between the coal? A diamond creates clarity. The value of a diamond increases with the amount of clarity that it has. And so what I am saying is in this moment of extreme pressure, what we need to be focused on is getting clarity. We got to get clear. We got to get clarity around why we've got to eliminate sexism and racism and homophobia and all those forms of oppression that keep us from being our greatest selves.
Right. We have to literally find a way to do this, a more excellent way that we are actually centering the value of human life over every single system. And to the extent that systems are not honoring that those systems must be replaced, reformed or abolished. And I got that from the U.S. Constitution. Latasha Brown, you are incredible, you are incredible. Please come back like every week and give us a point. Well, I'll do a lot better.
Thank you so much for joining. Thank you for all the work you're doing. You were fantastic. I appreciate your time. Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Melissa, thanks for joining us. Thank you. Thank you both for having me. You're welcome.
On this final episode of That's the Ticket.
Maybe we can have you on again before the election, John. That would be lovely.
I'm obviously talk to our favorite everyone by. God Save America is a crooked media production. The executive producer is Michael Martinez, our associate producer is Jordan Waller. It's mixed and edited by Andrew Chadwick.
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