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Take hiring off your plate so you can focus on growing your business. Go to zip recruiter dotcom slash crooked. Welcome to Positive America. I'm John. I'm Dan Pfeiffer on today's podcast chat with Reverend Raphael Warnock about his pivotal Senate race in Georgia. Before that, we'll talk about how soon to be ex president. Donald Trump just can't stop losing President elect Joe Biden's first set of hires. And what Democrats can learn about how Biden won Georgia.
But first, check out this week's Podsednik, The World, where Tommy and Ben talk about reports that Trump asked his national security team for options to strike Iran's nuclear facilities and has accelerated the drawdown of troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Also, Georgia's voter registration deadline for the runoffs is December 7th and votes save. America is making sure every potential voter can make their voice heard by helping the group register to vote register 300000 new voters in Georgia. That's the goal.
Three hundred thousand for every two dollars raised register to vote will be able to reach one new voter with the materials they need to register by first class expedited mail.
So if you're able to donate, help them get the job done at Vote Save America dot com register Geet that's registered to vote. Help them out. They're going to try to register 300000 new voters in Georgia for the runoff.
What was the marji? The margin, I think we're at fourteen thousand, so 300000 would be a lot, that would be more than the margin right there. That would be sufficient. That would be that that might be a big enough margin to stop the Republicans from trying to steal another election.
Don't be silly. But who knows?
But who knows? All right. Let's get to the news. Donald Trump is still trying to steal the election and he is still failing and still losing. He's now lost.
Twenty nine separate legal challenges and most of his legal team, which is now down to Rudy Giuliani and Janet Ellis, who once called Trump an unethical, corrupt, lying criminal dirtbag.
According to The Washington Post, this dynamic duo has abandoned the strategy of getting the courts to disqualify the hundreds of thousands of ballots necessary to overturn the Biden victory across multiple states.
Instead, Trump and Rudy's plan is to, quote, pressure Republican lawmakers and officials across the political map to stall the vote certification in an effort to have Republican lawmakers pick electors and disrupt the Electoral College when it convenes next month.
A couple of things here, Dan. No. One, that's not a plan, because as I keep saying, Republican legislatures don't get to pick the fucking electors. They are nuts. They do not have a role, but who knows what they will try anyway. Number two, what does it say about Trump's strategy that he put this guy in charge?
We could do like a did you all watch my cousin Vinny? You know, the movie, one of my favorite movies, because he comes from Brooklyn. And when the nice lady who said she saw and then he he says to her, how many fingers do how many things will I go to? And she says, three.
So that was Rudy Giuliani at Thursday morning's press conference with Jenna Ellis, other goons and the Trump legal team. They crowded a bunch of people during a pandemic into a small, sweaty room so sweaty that Rudy Giuliani's hair dye started running down his face.
John, were they sweating because it was hot with all their masks on? No, no, no. Probably because they have covid. Yeah.
So so Rudy stood up there, talked about how they're going to win because there's a bunch of fraud, even though in court, Rudy has admitted to judges where you can't really lie in court, that there is no fraud, that they're alleging they continue to lose cases. What's going on here? What does it say about Trump's strategy that this that Rudy is in charge now and they're just trying to pressure Republican officials to fuck with the certification process in these states?
Well, they're trying and failing thus far, at least to pressure Republican officials. We talk about some of the specific things they have done recently.
It it's really hard because we like we watch this and he does.
It's absurd. My Cousin Vinny anecdote, where he kind of even fumbles the plot of my Cousin Vinny exists. And it's easy to laugh and like me, what a bunch of fucking idiots like we know like we we know that they are going to fail. Joe Biden is going to be the next president since they are not going to succeed. So it's easy to dismiss it in the short term, but we can't lose sight of the danger in the medium in the long term, like this is a president, United States and a group of subpar JV goons trying to steal an election by throwing out legally cast votes primarily from black and brown voters in this country.
Like that's what is happening. And that seems really bad, I think. But what makes it even worse is that every Republican is going along with it, every single one of them. That is not going to change the outcome now, but it is going to change the nature of the Biden presidency in American politics going forward.
And there we are. We are watching something before our eyes that is much bigger than Rudy Giuliani being an idiot. That is quite disturbing. And it's like the thing I have been wrestling with, like you and I, we spent a lot of time last podcast trying to explain to people why we believe that this that they should not be panicked about Donald Trump stealing the election. But it's like, how do you find the right balance between that and being incredibly scared about what it all says about where we are headed as a country?
And that's sort of what I think all of this forces me to wrestle with.
My thoughts on this are people shouldn't be alarmed. They should be enraged, alarmed doesn't do anything for you. Being scared of this doesn't do anything for you being enraged, at least as you should be, towards every single Republican who is helping him tried to pull this off. You mentioned Republicans in Congress. There are only 16 Republicans in Congress who have acknowledged Joe Biden's victory. We are fortunate at this point that Republicans in a Republican state, officials and election officials in Arizona and Georgia have resisted Trump's plot to steal the election.
So far, Republican legislators in Pennsylvania and Michigan have refused to go along with this plot to steal the election. But like you said, most of the Republican. Party is there, but like what they're trying to do right now is because they have lost in court, they only have a propaganda strategy left of fear and intimidation.
All they have left is trying to get us to believe that they can steal the election and to spend everyone up with this, because if they can keep that hope alive, they can keep Trump happy and they can keep this going. And again, what clearly what the strategy is here from Trump is to. Push Republican lawmakers and push Republican politicians to a point where they either have to say, I'm going to go along with your plot to steal the election and continue to be in good standing with the Republican Party, or I'm going to stand up for democratic traditions and norms and institutions and the fair results of an election.
And then possibly you could put me out of a job by psyching your supporters on me. That's what Trump is trying to do right now to the Republican Party. And the safeguards against him succeeding right now continue to be the courts, which have almost unanimously in 30 cases. Twenty nine of them. Donald Trump has failed in court. So the courts have said. But but that is those are the safeguards right now, the law and the courts.
And like you said like this, I have no doubt that this election was any closer. If there was like a real question about recounts, if this was like 20 in Florida, they would absolutely steal this election.
Yeah, that's exactly right. That's right. The safeguards are actually, in my mind, not the courts. They're not institutions. They're not the law, the safeguards, the math. It just happened to be that Joe Biden won by enough in enough places that this was not an election that could be stolen. If this was coming down to those 10000 votes in Wisconsin or the 500 votes that happened in Florida for Gore and Bush, then this election, I think, could very well be stolen.
And I do think there is one I think perhaps a difference of opinion, or at least in how we express the opinion, the Republicans are not being intimidated into this. They were going along, going along, willing with it. These are they are not being held hostage by Trump.
Well, I think they're certainly being I mean, he's intimidating them. They might be saying, fine, I don't need to be intimidated.
Raffensperger, the secretary of state in Georgia, has been receiving death threats. That is intimidation. He has stood up against those threats.
Yeah, I think we're agreeing, essentially. But when I think the difference is, is we're not in a world where Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz and these guys want to declare Joe Biden the winner and put this era behind us but are afraid of getting primaried. They believe it is in their political interest to create this fiction that the election was stolen because it will help them hobble Joe Biden's presidency and help them win elections in twenty, twenty two in the runoffs in Georgia right now and then 24, that is what's happened is a political calculation that conspiracy theories and spreading these lies help them.
And I think and I think that is has real like when you say be enraged, like this is like this is the sort of depressing thing about this is. Like, even though our head told us different, like what you really want, it was we were going to beat Trump, he was going to go away things Republicans so be bad.
But we return to something I never thought he was going to go away for.
I guess it's why I've been so I've been surprised by some of the reactions from reporters, Democrats, pundits on Twitter, because it's almost like why is it even more alarming that this is happening? I'm like, why is this is the same guy we've been dealing with since fucking twenty fifteen? He has broken laws at every chance. He has been corrupted, every chance he has lied at every chance he has undermined every single Democratic norm in tradition this country has ever had.
I guess he wasn't going to go away.
I guess what I mean is that the the threat of what he represents would recede. Someone like of course, he was going to dispute the election results. We said that for years and he did it and he's done it maybe for longer than people thought he would. The fact that Rudy Giuliani is holding a press conference today, we are two weeks, two and a half weeks after the election.
Here's the reason. And we can get into this.
But the reason they're doing this now, the reason all this activity is happening today is because tomorrow, November 20th, Georgia will certify the results of their election on Monday. The twenty third Pennsylvania and Michigan are scheduled to certify the results of the election.
And on the 24th, Nevada is scheduled to certify the results of the election. If all those states certify on those days, it's over. Joe Biden has hit 270. The election has been certified. The electors will be sent to send to Washington. So they are trying to stop certification right now because it is their last ditch effort, which is why fucking Donald Trump is also invited to Michigan lawmakers to the fucking White House so he can again intimidate them and pressure them to people who have said we're not sending our own electors and the Republicans in Michigan, we're not going to do that.
Trump is bringing them to the White House so he can intimidate them into doing it. That's what's happening right now.
I also like I don't I don't think it's really helpful to tell everyone what emotion they should feel, whether it's actually like whether it's fear or panic or anger or whatever else.
Like, I think it's probably more productive to tell people what we can do. Right. And like, I don't you know, I see people saying, like, let's impeach him again.
What we think I'm just I just want to get this straight, I just want to get to say the House of Representatives going to gather together. They're going to drop articles of impeachment for Donald Trump stealing the election, which they certainly could. He's certainly stealing it. And they're going to vote to impeach him and they're going to go to the Senate.
And how hard is Mitch McConnell going to laugh at that when he gets the articles of impeachment to get a laugh? Pretty hard, right? I would if I was Mitch McConnell. What are you thinking? You think you think the Senate Republicans are going to impeach him one more time? On the way out? We suddenly have this much faith that Republicans in the Senate have shame and they're going to go, oh, no, I better I better impeach Donald Trump over this.
There's this there's a lot of like we're going to go to the GSA and tell them, like, oh, well, you must certify that he won. What are you going to do, Bill Barr's Justice Department going to go after Emily, a GSA? Is that going to happen? Of course, it's not like there's just I get that everyone's mad and everyone wants like we are not like a Nancy Pelosi press conference away from fixing this right now. We're just not like if the worst happens.
Right. We talked about last week and for some reason, Donald Trump gets Republicans to fuck with certification, gets them to send electors. And if for some fucking reason the courts don't step in, then like, yeah, we're going to have to have mass protests in the streets. That's our only other option. And we're not there yet. But, yeah, who knows? There's a small chance we could get there a couple of weeks. But like, that is literally the only option I can think of, unless you can think of other things that could actually move this shit along.
Well, as we know, impeaching him the first time put a stop to his corruption and authoritarianism and everything else. So if we do it again, yeah, no.
Stopped him dead in his tracks. Darn it. Like it is one of the hard things to do to separate what is most effective from what would make us feel good. Would Donald Trump becoming the first president to be impeached twice make me happy? Absolutely.
I would like him to walk around for the rest of time with not one, but two scarlet eyes on his chest. But that's not going to change the situation here. And and this is hard because we'd like for the course of this podcast in the beginning for media. What we have when we are trying to do is where can you have the most impact? Right here are something you're concerned about. You're worried about your anger about like what can you do?
And there are very limited levers to pull here. I mean, the most effective lever in the medium term is to win the Senate, because if we win the Senate, we can do two things. One, you can make it clear the Republicans paid a political price for fucking around with our democracy because that is the only raw political power is the only language they speak. And if they lose power by being a bunch of assholes, it may cause them to curtail briefly at least this behavior.
But also, we have the Senate. We can put in place some norms and checks and balances. They make it harder for a bunch of these authoritarian yahoos to drive trucks through the loopholes in our system. So if you're looking for something to do, I hearken back to what you did in the opening part here, which is the best thing we can do is take the Senate. Now, that is that is very, very true.
All right. I want to quickly talk about what happened in Michigan this week as an example of how sort of desperate and hopeless Trump strategy is. On Tuesday, the two Republicans on the four person bipartisan board of canvassers in Wayne County, which is the county that includes Detroit, initially refused to certify the election results, something that has never happened before. Their excuse was that some precincts had a few small discrepancies between the number of votes cast and the number of voters who participated.
Something that has happened many times in the past has always been easily addressed and has never prevented certification. One of the Republicans also said that she'd be willing to certify the results in the mostly white areas of Wayne County outside of Detroit, and the other Republican was found to have racist Obama Meems on his Facebook page.
Donald Trump quickly congratulated the two Republicans on Twitter just minutes before they caved to tremendous public pressure and voted to certify the results after all.
Then late Wednesday night, the two of them filed affidavits saying they tried to rescind their votes because Donald Trump called them after they voted to certify the results.
So, first of all, how much of a problem would it be if these two races Goober's somehow get their way?
Ultimately, it shouldn't be a problem because this will eventually go to the courts. And the courts are pretty clear that the certifying of the vote count is, as I saw in one of the articles, quote unquote, ministerial duty. It is their job. If they don't do it, the court will do it for them. Also, I would just like to note, Joe Biden won Michigan by a hundred and forty thousand votes, three percent, three percent, 14 times larger than Donald Trump's margin in 2016.
It was the battleground state, probably closest to some of the polls, three percent is big.
I mean, it's still like 19 points off the polling average by close.
Yes, but where we're talking relative these days.
So a couple of things from this. First of all, it is great that they bowed to public pressure. That's important. It shows that doing this in that shining a light on this, that good reporting that everyone paying attention to this does have an effect. Talking about things that you can do, continuing to talk about this, continuing to highlight the plot to steal the election is important because you put pressure on these people. Donald Trump also puts pressure on them, of course, but no.
So what happens now is every county has to certify the results.
So all of the counties in Michigan have been certified and Wayne County now has been certified.
So so the secretary of state, the the chair of the commission, all these other people said, like, they can try to take back their votes all they want. The results in Wayne County have already been certified and sent to the board. Right. So now and we talked about this last week, now we have a board, the state board of canvassers in Michigan that has to certify the results. Also split two Democrats, two Republicans. So what happens if those two Republicans act like the assholes in Wayne County?
That's when, as you said, the court step in and certified the election. Also, Governor Wittmer, a Democrat, has a role to play in certifying the election. Also, the secretary of state, a Democrat, has a role to play in certifying the election.
So those are all the backstops there. Now, what if Donald Trump, as he calls the Senate leader and House leader in the Michigan State House to Washington on Friday to pressure them to suddenly send their own slate of electors?
So then I don't know what happens then? Then they have to go back and get the entire Michigan legislature to pass a resolution saying we send our own slate of electors after the official certification with the official slate of electors has already been sent to the Electoral College because they went through the legal process of certifying that. So then you have a legally certified slate of electors that goes went through the legal process and then you have like a fake slate of electors that that the Republican legislature made up.
Again, that goes to Congress, tie goes to the official slate of electors certified by the Democratic governor. So all of these like this is you can see why the Trump people are doing this, because they just want to keep their hopes alive.
But like every single avenue runs into a dead end here for them.
Right, right. Joe Biden is in the United States, that is what is going to happen. Let's talk about how this is all affecting public opinion, because all of the legal strategies are sort of running into brick walls for them. But they are spending a lot of time using all of their propaganda channels to undermine the integrity of the election with their voters. And there was a new Reuters poll out this week that gauged how well this strategy is working.
On the bright side. Seventy three percent of Americans believe that Joe Biden won the election and only five percent believe that Trump won on the less bright side.
Fifty two percent of Republicans say that Trump, quote, rightfully won. And twenty eight percent of all Americans believe that the election quote was the result of illegal voting or election rigging, which is up 12 points from four years ago. How much of a problem is this then short term? And then let's talk about long term. Short term.
It helps explain the political incentives that Republicans not named Trump are abiding by when they perpetuate this fiction. It explained like they want to be in touch with their base. They believe the only way to stay in office, either through avoiding a primary or or winning a general election by firing up the base is to stay in touch with that base.
And so they're going to just ride the wave here. So that's part in the long term. I don't want to overstate the concerns about the beliefs of one part of the Republican base. Might Barack Obama had a massively successful presidency, despite the fact that something like 40 percent of Republicans believed he was an illegitimate president born in Kenya, despite the release of multiple birth certificates. Right.
It like it is there is something disturbing about the information ecosystem in America. The people who believe there are some disturbing about media literacy, about sort of the trusted institutions, all these other things in American life that is such a significant portion of our population is willing to believe such obviously farcically false information. That's not new, that's been around for a very long time. It's worse because of Facebook and social media. But just in general, it says a lot about the inability of our institutions, the media and others to give people believable factual information, to make them believe things that run counter to their political instincts, if you will.
And so, yeah, it is concerning. I think there is a Republican strategy here at play that that involves making it harder for Joe Biden to be president. And you can see that through what Trump is doing through, etc. But it's like just if you look at our country and you say a bunch of people believe that an election that Joe Biden won by a lot was stolen based on no evidence. Yeah, that's concerning. And especially in a world where the the quote unquote, mainstream media has done a really excellent job at pointing out time and time again that there is no evidence for what Trump is saying, for the Republicans are saying like they've done a good job of that.
And despite that. A whole bunch of people believe a whole bunch of bullshit, and that's concerning. It is concerning. And as you noted, it's been concerning now for at least a decade. Right. Like there is at least half of the Republican Party is willing to believe literally anything like that. Joe Biden didn't win. Yeah, of course. That the Kuhnen conspiracies. Yeah. The Democrats run a fucking pedophile ring. Global pedophile ring. Yeah.
They'll believe that to they will literally believe anything they hear from Donald Trump and from Newsmax and from Austin and from most of the primetime assholes on Fox News.
That's that's what we're dealing with this country. And if we don't figure out a way to combat misinformation and conspiracies and the right wing propaganda machine, which is very large and very powerful, you know, we're going to be in some real trouble long term.
But this is a problem. This is a problem that has predated believing in the results of this election or not. This has been a problem throughout the Obama administration. This has been a problem throughout the Trump administration.
It is maybe the greatest threat we face as a country. It may be because like like you said, it's only it might only be half of the Republican Party. That's a good chunk of people in this country who believe in some pretty crazy shit right now.
And those people have outsized political influence because of gerrymandered districts that ensure that politicians, particularly Republicans, are more concerned about a primary to their ideological flank than losing a general election.
So one more thing before we talk about sort of Biden staffing up on the transition, sorry about the transition itself. Are there any other levers that Democrats or the Biden people can pull here to pressure Emily Murphy, who runs GSA to ascertain that Biden has one and and get the transition going like we have seen this week, the Biden folks, he's had a lot of his covid-19 task force on television and he himself said this this delay is going to cost lives because they have to get synched up on vaccine distribution plans and all that kind of stuff.
And so there's a lot that Biden can do without the official transition beginning, especially because he has a lot of people who are experienced in government. But we're in the middle of a raging pandemic. People are dying and lives depend on working with the Trump administration to figure out vaccine distribution.
And they can't because Emily Murphy feels like she's being pressured from both sides reportedly about this when all she has to do is sign a fucking piece of paper.
I mean, like what can be done about this?
I mean, this is this is hard because it is another example where this is a person and a president insulated from the sort of political pressure that can often be. Applied by the population writ large, Billy Murphy is not someone who is running for office, she is not someone who Donald Trump has never run it. Well, maybe it's running for office again, but he has generally been insulated from that sort of political pressure. Joe Biden has tried to play this as.
Coolly and calmly as possible. Right, he does not want to raise panic, he does not want to make it seem like his presidency is being hobbled or stopped or sort of disenchanting his voters, many of whom are going to need a Georgia, that somehow it was all for naught because of Donald Trump and one cowardly bureaucrat who has no concept of the oath of office she took or her actual duties while at the same time sending out credible medical spokespeople to make the case for why it's a problem.
I think and I don't want to overstate the impact of this, because Emily Murphy, Donald Trump aren't particularly influenced by a lot of these things. But I do think we could, as a Democratic Party, raise concerns about the impact of the pandemic is raging. Right.
We are at OK, we cross a of thousand deaths yesterday. You're seeing huge numbers. The entire country is moving in the wrong direction. We are headed into the holiday Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which could be a series of millions of serious fucking disaster.
A, we are headed to a we are already in a disaster. We're headed to a worse disaster.
Everyone is cheering, rightfully so, that news around these vaccines are making progress. All of that is being delayed. People are going to die or people are going to get sick. Fewer sick people are going to be able to recover because Donald Trump, Emily Murphy in the entire Republican Party are stopping the government from functioning. They're ensuring that we are not going to have a smooth transition on the most important, most deadly issue in recent American history because of obstinance and stupidity in Republican politics.
And I think we could raise the alarm about the consequences of this one decision and put some pressure on other Republicans to say something about it. I'm not saying that this isn't going to change everything, but it is one thing that the Democratic Party writ large could do to raise the temperature on this, because there are very real consequences and we can't treat it like when Donald Trump said that he refused to commit to the peaceful transfer of power.
You know, I there's like sixty five days ago, but seems like a hundred years ago, you know, the thought was he was going to use the military to stay in the White House. And obviously that was never going to happen. What he is doing is completely undermining the traditions of how that works by making it impossible for the new president to hit the ground running. And he's doing that in an incredibly dangerous time.
And we can make other Republicans have to answer for that if Donald Trump is right and he's using the Republican Party to do that. And, you know, I mean, like, you know, X on his X Files podcast interview, Mitt Romney, I know your favorite politician. And Ann Romney was like, it's ridiculous that they're doing this in the transition. Like Romney spoke out. And my first thought was like, OK, I'm glad Mitt Romney said that.
My second thought was like, OK, what's that going to do now?
Look, now Mitt Romney says it's bad. Great. So yet there's Emily Murphy just sitting there at fucking GSA, not ascertaining the win still. So I. I think there's no harm in making a lot of noise. And I would you know, I read a political story that Biden and his team are sort of they're doing a lot of this behind the scenes where they're trying to pressure Republicans and business leaders to put pressure on Trump and to speak out about this.
I do think like Biden saying this publicly, I don't you're right. Like, he doesn't need to be alarmist about it, but I don't see the harm in him pushing even harder on this. Yeah, I think that's right. I think the idea of getting business leaders and other people to speak out is part. Putting America is brought to you by a beekeeper's natural's Beekeeper's is on a mission to reinvent your medicine cabinet with clean remedies that actually work if you're stocking up on immune support these days.
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So let's talk about President elect Joe Biden's first big round of White House hires, which includes Ron Klain, his chief of staff campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, as deputy chief of staff, longtime Biden aide Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon, his senior advisors, Biden campaign co-chair and Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Dana, as White House counsel and Julie Rodriguez as director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Dan, what do you think about these hires and what, if anything, do they tell us about Biden's approach to governing now, putting all of our biases on the table?
We are friends with many of these people. We have worked with most of them. I have worked with Ron Klain and gentlemen, Ali Dillon off and on for my entire political career. Right. I have worked with Ron for multiple, multiple campaigns, work together, multiple campaigns, work with Julie Rodriguez in the White House, work with Steve Ricchetti in the White House, known McDonnell. Like all these people we know and they're all incredibly talented. They are incredibly loyal to Biden.
And I think that's the the takeaway that I have from these announcements is that Biden is putting in place a group of very experienced.
Political and government operators who he trusts and trust him, and that is really how Joe Biden has operated in his whole career like he is, he has been very good values, loyalty a lot.
He values Leslie. He also has a very good eye for talent. He hired Ron Klain when Ron Klain was like coming out of law school. I believe Tony Blinken, who was an adviser for ever the Donilon brothers. These are people that Biden identified as very talented early in their careers and early in his career, and he kept them around for decades. Now, it's very important in a White House staff to have a balance of perspectives. You want some people who have been with you forever, who understand you understand your your style, and you want some new people who bring a fresh perspective.
And I think we will see some of that. But this is a group of core, very talented loyalists. And I think it bodes very well for a highly functioning, highly competent White House staff. Yeah, I mean, like I you know, I know all these people as well have worked with them all as well. I think I think a person I probably worked most closely with is Ron because he ran debate prep for Obama. And I got to know him during that process in 2012.
And he is just fantastic.
Thurow listens to everyone from all different persuasions, like he's just a very competent, brilliant manager. So I think Ron's going to be great there.
And like I said, Mike Donlin Meydan was a senior adviser for John Kerry when I was twenty one and a press assistant on that campaign. That's so I've been around.
Mike Donilon. I say one more thing about Ron before we move on. Yeah, there is no position more important than a White House chief of staff. They are the person who runs the government top to bottom, manages the White House, helps facilitate everything. I don't believe there's ever been a person more qualified for a job in a moment that Ron is for this one, Ron helped run the Recovery Act task force for Joe Biden in 2009, where the middle of recession, Ron, was the Ebola czar during the last pandemic and a pandemic.
Right now, Ryan worked on judicial nominations and courts his whole career. We're dealing with how to unrigged and how to deal with a rigged court system.
He's like he is sort of perfectly he was he was part of the recount in Florida last attempted coup.
So there has been criticism from some groups on the left, like the Justice Democrats, about specifically Steve Ricchetti and Cedric Richmond Ricchetti, because he was once a lobbyist before he joined the Obama administration a while back and because his brother currently lobbies for pharmaceutical companies, Richmond, because he's received a lot of donations from the fossil fuel industry. Dan, what do you make of these criticisms?
I understand that there is skepticism among a lot of progressive activists about Joe Biden's progressive credentials, and that is completely fair. His campaign was two more to the center than they were a day supported. Other candidates like I understand that skepticism. A couple of things, though, that I think are worth noting on this, which is Steve Ricchetti and Cedric Richmond were core parts of the campaign, despite whatever previous experience they had had, its core parts of the campaign that moved in the general election to a big, bold climate plan that was co-authored by AOC.
Like you, I think, is that you have to put all of these things in context, and people's pasts are not necessarily perfectly predictive of what they're going to do in office. And ultimately, White House staff is a position whereby you are facilitating the agenda of the president. And Joe Biden was very clear about what his climate plan was. And now if he does not live up to that, both in executive actions and whatever legislative efforts he can do, this should certainly be held accountable for that.
But I would I would not personally. And once again, I don't know, Congressman Richmond, I know Steve Fischetti quite well. He is a friend of mine. He's a very talented and loyal lieutenant to Joe Biden and I think will very much help Joe Biden pass his legislative agenda for his health savvy.
I think we in 2008, Barack Obama railed against the influence of lobbyists that was very important to our campaign. We had ethics and lobbying restrictions. And the White House. I understand the undue influence of lobbyists. It is bad. It is a it is a cancer on our politics for sure. I think like Steve being a lobbyist before the Obama administration started and his brother currently being a lobbyist is a bit of a stretch.
But again, I agree with you that you have to hold Joe Biden accountable for, like keeping his promises and running a government that is reflective of the campaign platform that he put out, which all of these people signed off on because they were all part of his campaign.
I do think it is very important for a president and you know this, to have people with different viewpoints, sometimes contradictory viewpoints around you. Right. If you had a whole bunch of lobbyists around you or if you had a whole bunch of people who, you know, were very friendly to the fossil fuel industry around you and that's all you had, then it's a problem because all the advice you're hearing all day is from those people.
And it might influence you that way.
But like, if you're if you have a diversity of views around you all the time as president and you stay true to your own beliefs and the platform that you campaigned on and the policies that you promised, then it's OK to have like people with views that don't necessarily line up with everyone else in the administration.
So it's like I do think I do think like let's look at the whole cabinet. Let's look at the whole White House staff. I'm sure there will be progressives, there will be moderates. There will be people who've worked for industry before. They'll be people who worked for labor. Hopefully there will be a broad diversity in every sense of the word in Joe Biden's administration. And then let's see what moves he actually makes and criticize the substance of those moves.
If they weren't criticism or applaud them, if they weren't applause.
One other point on the lobbyists stuff, which is Joe Biden is going to put in place, as Barack Obama did, a series of rules to ensure that his White House staff are not under the undue influence of lobbyists or part of the revolving door or can advocate for people for which they had past or future financial connections to. And that that is that is the right thing. And, you know, if there is any evidence at any point in time that anyone violated those rules, then that's a huge problem.
But we shouldn't presume that is what is going to happen. Or these people are inherently corrupt because they made career choices in the past before they went to go work for the Democratic president with the boldest climate plan in history. Right. Like that. Like, I think. I think all these things require context and like there should absolutely be political pressure, as you point out, based on what Joe Biden says and what he does and whether it matches up to his promises.
But I would not read too much into his choice of longtime loyal aides on his White House staff.
Again, what we saw during this campaign is that Joe Biden's views have changed and evolved over time, in many instances to become more progressive than they used to be.
So it follows that that is very possible for the staff he hires to evolve and change in the same way their views from the past. That's just, you know, they might not, but we can at least hold open the possibility that they may, you know. All right. So all the people we just talked about are White House staff, which means none of them have to be confirmed by the Senate. The president elect's cabinet appointments are a different story.
And sources close to Mitch McConnell told us a few weeks ago that Republicans may try to block nominees. They're too progressive or even if they just don't like them. For example, some Senate Republicans have already said they try to block Susan Rice's nomination if Biden asks her to serve as secretary of state. Dan, why do you think they're so focused on Susan?
I don't know, John. It's going to be something really obvious, like Susan maybe being a black woman in a party that celebrates racism and misogyny.
Yeah, I mean, it's it may maybe the same reason that they focused on her more than anyone else during the Benghazi episode, even though she had no actual connection to anything to do with it, the least to do with that of anyone. Yeah. Now, that's not so that's not very surprising how they feel about Susan Rice. So what can Biden do here if we don't win the two Senate seats in Georgia? Because if we do, we can tell Mitch McConnell to go fuck himself just about every day for the next two years.
It'll be very hard if that's not motivation enough to open up your wallet and give some time. I don't know Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton and all these people are bitching about Susan Rice and we say, hey, fuck you, we don't care.
I can't hear your voice does not count. You have no power to win Georgia anyway.
OK, but let's let another scenario where Mitch is in control of the Senate and end and Joe Biden needs a cabinet.
I mean, this is it's challenging, right? Because you're trying to build momentum as you go forward. Right. And you don't want to take losses early on, but also for the same reason. You don't want to obviously avoid fights. You want to be intimidated from doing something that you think is right for your government in the first day. So there is a longer conversation about using something called the Vacancy Act to insert the people you want in there.
But that is something I think happens a little bit further down the line. You start to make a decision about how you are going to what are you going to do? I think it is there is probably no better candidate to be secretary of state than Susan Rice. It seems from all the reporting we read, which take with 17 grains of salt, is that this is someone that Joe Biden, who he trusts and likes his work before, would very much like to be secretary of state.
So how do you do? Is close to he was close to making her vice president. That's right. So if I gave it reasons that this is something he would want to do, you're making a political decision about. Is it better to pick someone that Mitch McConnell kind of sort of science often enough to give you some handful of votes? Or do you press the issue and you make the Republicans say, because almost every single one of them is going to have to vote no?
We are like, that is a situation we are in is you're going to need to get 90 percent of Republicans to vote no to do it. I think it is in cases, particularly in Susan's case and obviously with all of our biases, that she's a friend of ours, that you should have that fight.
Having that fight is the right thing to do, because I think the political consequences of walking away from that fight and the governing consequences of walking away from that fight exceed the the consequences of of taking on that fight and losing it.
I agree, and I think, look, Joe Biden has promised a cabinet that looks like America and that means a cabinet that is diverse, that means a cabinet that is not just does not just have moderates, but progressives as well. And so naturally, at some point, whether it's Susan or someone else, there's going to be someone that pisses off Republicans.
So you're going to have to have one of these fights at some point. You might as well pick a few.
And I think Susan is obviously one where you have there's no question of qualification or anything like that. So. Yeah, so before we get to my interview with Reverend Warnock, let's talk a little bit about how Biden won Georgia and what that might tell us about how we can win these two runoffs in January.
Nate Cohn at The New York Times just dug into the precinct level results and found that Biden's win was made possible by, quote, huge gains among affluent, college educated and older voters in the suburbs around Atlanta.
He also said that while black turnout and white turnout increased, both the black and white shares of the electorate fell while the Hispanic and Asian share of the electorate rose by a few points.
He also noted that unknown race also rose by a few points as a share of the electorate just to get that all out there.
So, Dan, was there anything in Nate's analysis that was surprising to you?
On it, on its face, when you say that the black share of the electorate is at its lowest level in a number of elections, that feels distorted from the conversation that has been happening for the last couple of weeks about how the work of Stacey Abrams and Latasha Brown in New Georgia and everyone else deliver the election.
And while those things seem in conflict, they aren't actually, because, as you point out, turnout was up. It wasn't up as high as other groups in the electorate, but it was up. And that was the difference. Right. And that is a group that was organized and registered in the face of overwhelming voter suppression from a secretary of state, then turned governor who said voter suppression is his platform. Right. That is his reason for being and always say this is surprising.
But once again, the quote unquote suburbs and the democratic surge in the suburbs in the post Trump realignment are what delivered a state. And like the surprising part, maybe not what is in the details, but it's the fact that Georgia fell before North Carolina or Florida in the sort of shift of the Sunbelt. I think that is interesting. So a few things, the black share of the electorate falling slightly is only surprising until you then see that the white share of the electorate also fell.
That was the that's the whole thing. It's like so the and the reason that happened is because the biggest surge in terms of increasing your share of the electorate was among Hispanic and Asian voters.
And again, Lauren Gorga runs for fight, works with Stacey Abrams very closely. She pointed this out to the fact that unknown race rose by a few points as a share of the electorate, and that could be a mix of black voters, Hispanic voters, Asian voters, some combination. The fact that that rose when you when you put together unknown race, rising a share as a share of the electorate, Hispanic and Asians increasing as a share of the electorate, then it is a story of non-white voters registering and turning out in massive numbers and actually increasing their share of the electorate vis a vis white voters.
And the white share of the electorate in Georgia has been falling steadily from election to election to election. So I do think that's an important part of the analysis. The other part you should all read, Perry Bacon at five thirty eight, did a great analysis of Georgia as well on five thirty eight. And you know, he talked about how this is a story about Atlanta and its suburbs turning really blue and then the exurbs beyond those suburbs, which are traditionally Republican strongholds turning purple.
So Joe Biden lost by less and some of those Republican strongholds and then just crushed it in Atlanta and the suburbs.
And the other thing is we we we think about and we talk about this a lot in the wilderness, the Southwest episode of The Wilderness this season. Go check it out. Everything holds up quite well. People think about the suburbs still as a bunch of white middle class people. And those are not the suburbs. Those are especially not the suburbs around Atlanta right now. The suburbs are incredibly diverse. Half or less than half the population in the suburbs around Atlanta is white.
There is an increasing Asian population, Hispanic black population, so that the truth about what happened is like is always much more complex than a lot of these takes. And I do think that when you look at what happened in Georgia, it is a story of these diversifying, growing suburbs becoming more democratic. Now, the question is why?
So when we know how we know like what the what change in Georgia to deliver Joe Biden to win. But why did he win over these groups of voters? Why did he win this state? What do we know about that?
From both Nate's analysis, Perry's analysis and others was that Joe Biden benefited from this is related, I think, in part to the exurban areas becoming more purple.
Joe Biden benefited in part from some more conservative voters, former Republican, soft Republicans, independents who do not like Donald Trump, which is why Joe Biden, both in Georgia and frankly, in many places in the country, ran ahead of other Democrats.
That's the thing that we really have to explore going forward is.
Are those voters available to Democrats not named Joe Biden, not running against someone named Donald Trump? Right. Is Georgia, Virginia or is Georgia, North Carolina? So Virginia went blue in 2008 and just kept going blue to the point it's not even competitive anymore. North Carolina went blue in 2008. Barack Obama, like Joe Biden, benefited in North Carolina, around the country from a number of more conservative voters who were fed up with George Bush, the Iraq war, Katrina, et cetera.
And then it receded back to the mean. And Democrats have not won it at the presidential level since. And it's sort of been actually status quo. It has not been in this inexorable trend. Blue, which way does Georgia go is a really interesting one. Now, that is not just about whether these slightly more conservative voters can become Democrats outside of this election is also about whether you get even more black turnout going forward. You get more young people turn out or get more Latino turnout.
But that like that is sort of the the issue. And it's the thing that is gives us some great excitement that Georgia is now a purple state. But is it purple for a long period of time or is it purple trending blue quickly and that that we don't know the answer to yet?
Yeah, I mean, there's two main sources of Joe Biden's victory in the state. One was what you mentioned, vote switchers, people who voted for Trump or Republicans and now they vote Democrats. The other source of victory is the demographic change in the electorate and the higher participation of some of the fastest growing groups in the electorate as well. So what does that mean? A lot of people have moved to Atlanta and the suburbs over the last several decades.
Those people are both more diverse and more Democratic leaning. And so some of the victory is just because the state itself, the population of the state, has changed, particularly in Atlanta and the suburbs.
As more younger people move, as more liberals move, as more people of color move to the state. Once those people move, groups like Stacey Abrams, groups like worked really, really hard to register those new voters, turn out those new voters, register voters who have been in Georgia for a long time and haven't really voted that much. Make sure they turn out. So that's like one part of the story. And then the other part of the story is a bunch of Trump Republican voters who decided to change sides.
And I think the key is we don't know exactly the proportions of each of those sources of victory. But like that is going to be the question going forward is like, how do you keep how do you both keep the vote switchers to stay Democrat? But also how do you harness that demographic change, registering new voters and making sure they all turn out? And you got you have to do both. There is just it's not a choice. And I think that's I think that's probably the case in every single one of these Sunbelt states.
Yeah, that's exactly right. The story of how Biden won Georgia is very similar to how he won Pennsylvania, which is strong showing in the suburbs and losing the exurban rural counties by a little bit less in a lot of places than Hillary Clinton. And that adds up to a win. The thing that's different about Georgia and Arizona, very similar, is they have you know, what we used to refer to in the old days as an elastic electorate. There are a lot of unregistered potential Democratic voters to go get there.
Also, to be clear, a bunch of unregistered, likely Republican voters, Republicans go get. But, you know, some states, particularly the ones in the in the Midwest, some kind of a locked in electorate, there's not a lot of population growth, not a lot of interstate migration. They've been battleground states forever. So they've been sort of registered to death. Like there aren't these huge pockets like there are in Georgia and Arizona, North Carolina, Texas obviously is like this.
And you know how Democrats figure out the ability to add new likely Democratic voters to the rolls, keep turnout among our base constituency up and hold on to some of these votes, which is what is ultimately going to determine our ability to not just win national popular vote elections is we're going to do that for a very long time. I believe it's how are we going to be able to do that in ways that help us win? Both tough Electoral College victories and win Senate seats, which is even harder in some of these states, that winning at the presidential level, as we know from the performance up and down the ballot.
Well, speaking of which, in the most immediate sense, what, if anything, do these analyses of Georgia and how Biden one tell us about how to win the Georgia runoffs?
You know, I you know, I read Nate's article, which is actually read his article. That's excellent. They don't the answer sort of is everything and nothing. Right. Like the formula for winning these is the same formula everywhere. Right. Which is turn out your voters and try to get as many people in the middle as you can like. It's that's it. And both strategy. What is very clear from looking at what happened on Election Day in 2020 is they are winnable.
They are very winnable. We can absolutely do it. There is this sense that Democrats are bad at run strictly in Georgia. There is a history of this in 2008 and 1992 where after Democratic victories, we lost runoffs in in Georgia despite having good election days before that. I think that is different now. And one of like a question we're going to see, we don't know the answer to this yet, but some of the shift within the Democratic base to include more college educated suburban voters possibly could mean that we become a party that includes more reliable voters than it used to.
It used to be. You know, the entire thing was Democrats are better presidential years and we benefit from mobilization. Republicans do better in midterms because they are a higher percentage of their voters are reliable voters who vote in every election. There are just fewer of them. Overall, I think this election might have turned that on its head. The fact that we had such huge turnout in twenty eighteen, does it tell us exactly what will happen in 2022?
Because it was sort of a wave election and we've seen that and for Republicans in 2010. For Democrats in 2006. But I think there is a world in which those voters who helped deliver Georgia to Biden are more likely to vote in this runoff than we otherwise would have assumed, because it is a group of more reliable voters who are going to be more engaged with politics going forward than previously made up the Democratic base. Does that make sense?
Yeah, because college educated voters tend to be the highest propensity voters that turn out the most. No matter what and turnout in off year elections and special elections and in runoff elections, midterm elections as well.
And so, like if if college educated voters used to be more Republican and now they're more Democrat, then the advantage moves to the Democrats. Right. And lower propensity voters that tend to turn out in presidential elections are both non college educated white voters and to an extent, black and Hispanic voters. So that's more even.
But the especially like, you know, college educated white, black and Hispanic voters do tend to turn out reliably in most of these elections.
And so if especially around college educated white voters, which we used to lose, if we're winning them now, then it's a little bit better for us. But again, you know, we also had an election in Georgia in twenty eighteen, mainly because of voter suppression, which, you know, Brian Kemp narrowly won because he also got a lot of turnout among a lot of reliable voters for Republicans then and that plus voter suppression got him that victory.
So we should expect that a lot of these voters could still turn out even if Donald Trump's not on the ticket. They turned out for Brian Kemp in twenty eighteen.
But we should also know that our votes are there.
We just found out our votes are there because Joe Biden won them. And yes, there is a gap between Joe Biden's vote and John ourselves vote and the combined votes on the Democratic side in the war, not race. There is a small gap and we have to figure out, like, how to close that gap. Right. Are there people who voted for Joe Biden but also voted for Loffler and Purdue?
There are also probably a group of people who just voted in the presidential and didn't even vote down ballot. We know that because there were forty five thousand more votes cast in the presidential than there were in the Senate races.
So there's some combination things going on there that I think Democratic organizers and progressive organizers on the ground in Georgia will probably be trying to go figure out and and and go get those votes that Biden got.
Yeah, it's I mean, they are winnable. And it is basically the only thing you can do in this situation from our perspective, is ensure the campaigns have the resources to do it. They're all raising a lot of money and these are going to be very, very expensive, which is why it's important that USCIRF and worn out campaigns have the resources they need because the Republican special interests understand what is at stake here. Right. Their tax rates are at stake.
Right. They do not want to pay more taxes.
Did you see that Karl Rove said this? Karl Rove told a donor who was complaining about spending all this money on Georgia. Open your pocketbook now to protect your pocketbook later.
Yeah, it's this is a strategy. This is at the heart of Republican fundraising. And spending is it's a business expense. They are paying to keep themselves richer and more profitable and corporations.
So they're going to be the resources to turn out our voters. And if we do that, we have a shot to do that. What is interesting about this one, which makes it not a perfect test case or what comes down the line is. This is a I mean, it's a unicorn event of two runoffs, having at the same time they have control of the Senate and these campaigns, there's going to be hundreds of millions of dollars spent between now and the and the runoff guaranteed.
And so people are not going to be a lot of that. What happens, a runoff as people are unaware it's happening so they don't vote. Their people are going to have many opportunities if they have access to a television to know when this runoff is happening. Yeah, OK.
Well, I will talk to one of the candidates involved in that runoff, Reverend Raphael Warnock, after the break.
Oh, so it's not Kelly Luffler, I thought to lost Loffler.
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It's nice to get it right. Reverend Raphael Warnock is the Democratic nominee and Georgia's special election Senate runoff on January 5th.
Welcome to the show. Thank you. Great to be here with you. So you were chosen 15 years ago as the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a successor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. How did you go from that to getting involved in this crazy business?
Well, listen, it's great to be here with you. I came to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, as you point out, 15 years ago, and every year since I came to that pulpit, I've had the honor of being engaged with the issues that I think matter. Fight for voting rights, working to make sure people have access to affordable health care, fighting for the dignity of workers. One of the fun things about being a pastor is that I get to spend my time really focused on things I would be doing anyway, and I'm able to really commit my life to service.
And so this step into a race for the United States Senate, it may seem a little strange to some, but for me, it's not a huge leap. It is a continuation of my lifelong commitment to service.
Can you talk a little bit about how your faith informs your activism? Sure, everything that I've tried to do is an expression of my faith, and it's simple for me as the gospel of love, your neighbor as yourself. One of my favorite passages is the one in which Jesus is quoting Isaiah or reading from the book of Isaiah when he says that the spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has invited me to preach good news to the poor, to open the eyes of the blind, to set the captives free, to preach the year of the Lord's favor or the year of the Lord's Freedom.
And so that's what my ministry has been about. And when I say my faith informs my work in the campaign, I don't mean that in any narrow sectarian way. I believe God is worshipped in many houses known by many names, and I have deep respect for those who claim no faith tradition at all, but certainly work to to act as people of moral courage and integrity in the world. What I mean is that my values are derived from my faith and these are values that I think show up in all of the great traditions, moral and religious justice, compassion, empathy, love of neighbor.
I think that there are there is some expression of this basic idea across faith traditions. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And so my work in this sphere is about making sure that that shows up in our public policy. And right now, for me, that means that in the richest nation of the world, in the world, everybody ought to have access to affordable health care. We ought not call essential workers essential workers without paying them an essential wage, providing for them essential benefits.
And young people, regardless of their zip code, ought to have access to a good quality education, the enrichment of their young minds in such a way that they can become prosperous and productive members of society. That's the work I've been doing before I was running. And what I hope to do now is to bring those same values to the United States Senate.
So a lot of reporters and data nerds are trying to figure out how Joe Biden won Georgia and how the state may be on the cusp of electing two Democratic senators. What's your take on what happened in the general election and what lessons are you carrying with you into the runoff?
Well, what people need to understand is that it didn't just happen automatically in the general election, that was the. Fruit of years of labor, we've been working working hard in this state for about a decade because we understand that you have to work hard to give people an opportunity to have their voices heard in their own democracy. And so over the last several years, I've been working with Stacey Abrams and others. We've registered hundreds of thousands of new voters in this state.
I was chairman of the board of the new Georgia Project, and prior to that I was its spokesperson says 2014. That organization registered four hundred thousand new voters in the state of Georgia. And so that kind of on the ground, grassroots outreach, voter mobilization, coupled with the emergence of great candidates who put forth a message that allows voters to see their own stories, their own concerns is what is creating this exciting moment in Georgia. And so, you know, Secretary Clinton did not win Georgia, obviously, in 2016, but her race, coupled with the work we were already doing, began to transform the electoral dynamics on the ground, to decrease the Republican majority so that in 2017, John Osthoff ran didn't win the congressional district that he was running for, but again, began to close the gap so that when Lucy McBath ran the following year in twenty eighteen, now Congresswoman McBath was able to win a seat held not long ago by Newt Gingrich.
And this was a part of the wave that we saw in Stacey Abrams. Amazing. A historic one in twenty eighteen. And so Stacey Abrams, the two thousand eighteen came within fifty five thousand votes of winning the gubernatorial seat while running against the man who was both her opponent on the field and the umpire calling balls and strikes and with his thumb firmly on the scale, he barely stood by her.
And the good news is that since twenty eighteen, we've registered in this state. The new voters. Forty nine percent of them are people of color. Forty five percent of them are under 30. And so when you see them, when you see Georgia, you see the new south, it is more diverse, it is more inclusive, it is more forward looking and hopeful. It grasps toward the future rather than, you know, imagining some some mythic past.
And Georgia is the tip of the spear.
So control of the US Senate and Joe Biden's entire legislative agenda rests on the outcome of your race in John Ashcroft's race. No pressure, but I'm curious as to how you're framing the stakes of this race to the people of Georgia.
How much of your pitch is about the national implications of what will happen?
Well, it's primarily about what's going on on the ground here in Georgia. I mean, the pundits are talking about the politics because that's what pundits do. But the people are talking about their problems. As I move all across the state, folks in Georgia are concerned about whether or not they're going to be able to continue to have health care if they have a preexisting condition. We've got one point eight million Georgians in this state who have pre-existing conditions. And we should make sure that that word never becomes just one more phrase in our political lexicon.
When we say preexisting conditions, we're talking about people who have hypertension, diabetes, who've had a stroke or heart attack. We're talking about cancer survivors. Heck, we're talking about covid-19 survivors. We're talking about almost anybody, because the fact is you may not have a preexisting condition, but there are many circumstances under which tomorrow your situation would be different. And if the Republicans have their way of Kelly Leffler has our way, insurance companies will be able to deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.
And because we've hammered them so much on this question, she rolled out a fake plan a few days ago claiming that it covers pre-existing conditions, a pronouncement is not a plan. If you read through the plan, you will see that there are loopholes in it big enough to drive through a Mack truck, which allow the insurance companies to get off the hook and deny people coverage. I think that would be terrible at any time, but it is especially terrible during a pandemic who gets rid of people's health care in the middle of a pandemic?
She thinks that's right. I think it's wrong. And the people of Georgia have a choice to make. So Donald Trump is still trying to steal this election. David Perdue and Kelly Loffler have been openly supportive of his efforts. They've attacked the Republican secretary of state who is now getting death threats for not go along with their scheme.
Is this part of your message to voters? Do you think Donald Trump's attempted coup here should be an issue in this campaign?
How do you see this? Honestly, I'm tired of talking about him. Me too. Me too. He's on his way out, whether he recognizes it or not. What's unfortunate is that Kelly Lefler has sided with him rather than the people of Georgia. But we shouldn't be surprised because she told us that. So she's there to represent. She has said over and over again, I'm one hundred percent Trump. Now, as I understand as I talk about that, I'm really not talking so much about whether or not you support him.
I want the people of Georgia. The people of America to think about that. A sitting United States senator who was sent there to represent the people of her state is confused. She thinks she's there to represent the president. And and she says one hundred percent, which is such a bizarre thing for someone to say about anyone. Heck, I disagree with myself every now and then. I don't have a 100 percent record of agreement with me.
I think people send senators to the Senate to represent them and to represent their interests. And I think it is unfortunate that she is joined in this very raw and crude attempt to diminish the voices of Georgians and to undermine confidence and trust in our electoral process, which is just basic to our democracy. It will not stand. And I think the people of Georgia are going to rise up come January 5th and reject it wholesale.
So outside Republican groups are spending untold amounts of money on attack ads, mainly against you, which you anticipated with a very clever and heartwarming ad predicting that they'll say you hate puppies.
I love that ad. But Republicans, national Republicans, not just Loffler, they're going all in now on attacking your faith, trying to say you don't support our military because you quoted the Sermon on the Mount. They're trying to say you hate Israel because you criticize the Israeli government. They even dragged Reverend Wright into this, which is real PTSD for me. I worked in the Obama campaign. How are you planning on responding to these attacks, which are only going to get worse over the next month?
Well, I think the attacks show how desperate they are. I mean, look, I'm the challenger. She's the one who has been in the Senate for 10 months. And I think it's so sad that a sitting United States senator clearly doesn't have anything good to say about herself and why she should stay there and what she's been doing for the people of Georgia. She's spending her time attacking me, adding a kind of toxicity to this race. And I think that the people of Georgia are already like people all over this country, suffocating in the form of a once in a century pandemic, an economic turn down the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Recession.
We've got big problems that we need to address in this country. And again, I think they're going to reject the politics of distraction and division, people who have no vision, traffic and division. Kelly Leffler knows she can't lead us and so she's trying to divide us. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to stay focused on the young man that I ran into recently down in Columbus, Georgia, Tony Hill, who is a relatively young man, but he suffers from congenital heart issues and he had to get an artificial heart.
And for him, this debate about health care and getting rid of health care is not a political debate, is a death sentence. I'm going to be thinking about the folks of Cuthbert, Georgia, that I ran into a few weeks ago, who in the middle of a pandemic watched the hospital, the only hospital in the area close. And as that hospital shuttered its doors, that dealt an assault not only on the rural health care system in that area, but it means jobs were taken away.
I'm going to be focused on them. If money could buy, this election could buy this seat. Kelly LeFlore, the richest member of Congress whose family literally owns the New York Stock Exchange. And that's not a figure of speech. It is the actual literal truth. She would have bought this. She would own the seat by now if she could buy it. I'm going to we will be outspent or she's outspending me right now. But I intend to do what I've spent my life doing, and that is speaking truth.
And I believe that truth is its own power.
So you put out an ad of your own a while ago about how racial justice issues aren't theoretical for you. It got into how you were accused of shoplifting and dragged out of a store as a kid just because you had your hands in your pockets.
How much progress on race do you think we've made as a country since you were a kid? And how do we make more at a time of such polarization in this country?
There's no question that we have made progress on the question of race in our country. Look, I'm a kid who grew up in public housing. One of 12 children in my family, I'm number 11 and the first college graduate. I know something about life's challenges. I know what it's like to experience racial profiling, to be singled out not only in a grocery store, but in a classroom. And yet I was able to navigate all of that because my community embraced me and reminded me that I'm a child of God.
I think my parents poured something in me, a kind of love. A community and a kind of deep self-regard that, frankly, served as a kind of vaccine. Against the worst ravages of racism and because they in some sense inoculated me against self-hatred, I was able to go on, earn four degrees, become the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr. and now I'm running for the United States Senate. Against the wealthiest member of Congress whose family literally owns the New York Stock Exchange, only in America is my story even possible.
So that represents progress. The American dream is alive and well, but it is slipping away from far too many people. The divide between the haves and the have nots is a growing chasm. And black people feel that. Brown people feel it. But you know what? Poor white people in the rural areas of north Georgia and across the state, they feel it, too. Opponents are hoping to do is to appeal to identity politics rather than the politics of progress.
I intend to represent all the people to put forward a kind of public policy that raises all boats, that is honest about the complicated story of America and yet embraces America, because we know that the great thing about this country is that for all of its flaws and challenges, we always have a path to make the country greater. Well said.
Reverend Warnock, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck to you out on the campaign trail. And and we'll we'll see you soon. Take care.
Thank you. Good to be with you. Thanks to Reverend Warnock for joining us today, and I hope you all have a great weekend. We'll talk to you next week by everyone. Hotei of 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 Chatwin. Kyle Soglin is our sound engineer, thanks to Tanya commentator Katie Lang, Roman Papadimitriou, Caroline Ruston and Justin Howe for production support and to our digital team, Elijah Konar Melkonian, Elfriede and Milo Kim, who film and upload these episodes as videos every week.