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In fact, four out of five employers who post on ZIP recruiter get a quality candidate within the first day. See for yourself right now you can try as a recruiter for free at zip recruiter dotcom sites. Cricket bat zip recruiter dotcom slash cricket. Welcome to Save America, I'm Jon Favreau. I'm Dan Pfeiffer on today's Pod, the one and only Stacey Abrams talks to Dan about how Democrats can win in Georgia and all over the country. Before that, we'll talk about why Donald Trump is still refusing to concede an election he lost badly the Republican politicians who refuse to do anything about it and how President elect Biden is handling all of this.
But first, don't miss this week's pod. Save the World, where Tommy and Ben talk about how world leaders reacted to Joe Biden's victory and why British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a shapeshifting creep, which is what Tommy called him, which is now a hashtag that's just been trending on Twitter.
Tommy caused an international incident, which we love. We love cricket media causing international incidents.
Ben also talked with a former Mexican ambassador to the United States about what the election's going to mean for one of America's most important diplomatic relationship.
So check that out. Also, exciting news.
Adopt a state. Georgia is here. Control of the U.S. Senate will come down to two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5th. John USCIRF vs. David Perdue and Raphael Warnock versus Kelly Loffler.
These will be tough races. But Joe Biden did beat Donald Trump in Georgia.
So the votes are there to help us find them at both Save America, Dotcom's Georgia, where we will send you all the info you need to volunteer and support organizers on the ground.
I received word that since it launched this morning already, six thousand people signed up.
So what are you waiting for?
You received word. Was it a message in a bottle like it was? Didn't come from it was a it was a telegraph from Michael Martinez. Actually, that's that's how I got it.
I was in my inbox. Oh, that is antiquated. All right. Let's get to the news. I want all of you to know that Dan titled this part of the outline coup update. So so a coup update you shall have.
It has been nearly a week since every major media outlet in the country called the Race for Joe Biden. And most world leaders have already reached out to congratulate him. The president elect is on track to win three hundred and six electoral votes. He's ahead by tens of thousands of votes in each of the closest battleground states.
And he's on track to have the biggest popular vote margin of any challenger to an incumbent president since FDR beat Herbert Hoover.
Election officials in both parties told The New York Times there has been zero evidence of fraud or other irregularities, and the Trump campaign legal team is now over 12 and their post-election court cases.
And yet Donald Trump refuses to concede.
One Republican close to the White House told The Daily Beast, quote, It's like dealing with a lunatic on the subway. Everyone just kind of sits and stares ahead, pretends they can't hear him and waits for him to eventually get off.
A great quote, I will say, the brilliant Taniya, so many American media responded to that quote last night and said, yeah, the difference is we're all on the subway and he's driving it.
We're stuck with him on the subway right now, which is true. Dan, what's going on here?
Even if Trump is unlikely to ever actually concede, why hasn't he at least acknowledged the results and allowed the transition to begin?
Because he is a small, sad, particularly stupid, petty person, correct, let's move on. It's like there's nothing surprising about what Trump is doing. We sort of knew he would do this because, as we know, he raised completely false fraud allegations and contests the results in the election he won in 2016.
So I think we expect him to respond to an election he lost.
Undermining the integrity and legitimacy of our elections is one of Trump's favorite things to do and has always been one of his favorite things to do.
This is why, like, we're going to talk about how alarmed we should be, what how whatever level of alarm people should have. I don't know why anyone is surprised. There is absolutely nothing surprising about what's happening right now.
He accused, we heard of him as a political figure because he accused President Obama of being illegitimate. He accused Ted Cruz of cheating in the 2016 primaries in Iowa. When Trump lost Iowa, he welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election. He tried to cheat in that election. And then, as you said, when he won that election, he still said it was fraudulent.
He still made up a complete conspiracy about undocumented immigrants voting. I mean, he does this all the time.
He has done this throughout his entire career.
His favorite thing to do, one of his favorite things to do is to challenge the legitimacy of elections, particularly elections that he loses. But sometimes once he wins.
Yes. I mean, I thought it was interesting. This morning, Peter Alexander at NBC News said a top White House aide told him that Trump is, quote, very aware there is not a path to victory, but he believes the seventy two million people who voted for him, quote, deserve a fight. So he's battling as a form of quote, Feodor for them. He's putting on theater for his voters because he knows he lost, but he wants to pretend he won so that they still like him.
Well, if there's anything you can say about Donald Trump is that he is a selfless person who would humiliate himself in the present and in the history books in order to do right by the people who support him. I mean, he is he is he is putting the country through hell in service of his own fragile ego, which is also the story of the entire last four years. It is the story of the pandemic. It is the story of the recession.
It is the story of every single one of his policies. And now it is the story of him refusing to concede post-election. He is just he refuses to acknowledge reality because his ego won't let him.
And he doesn't want to go down in history as a loser, which he is a loser he lost.
So I want to talk about the consequences of Trump refusing to concede in the short term. Obviously, the transition becomes much harder for the Biden Harris administration in the long term. We can talk about this later.
There is real damage to our democracy from half the country believing Trump's lies that the election was stolen from him, severe damage.
But I think what's worrying people the most right now is the possibility that somehow Donald Trump could figure out a way to remain in office by overturning the results of the election through some combination of legal challenges, fraud investigations, the actions of Republican controlled state legislatures, or the actions of Republicans in Congress.
I want to get into the both the legal strategy and then sort of the state legislatures thing.
But, Dan, why don't you talk about sort of your overall level of concern around 2020, ending with with a coup, as we always say?
You know, my 2020 motto was worry about everything kind of kind of thing. We talked about a thousand times the way the last week has gone, as suggested that we're probably going to have to keep that edict in place for a while longer, unfortunately. Yeah, so I. I don't blame anyone for being worried about anything or this in particular, because like that, for years people have said this cannot happen and that it absolutely happens, like Trump cannot win the 2016 election and then he does.
But when you dig into the process, it becomes very clear that it is nearly impossible for Trump to pull this off. The logistical, political, legal, mathematical hurdles to doing it are just so incredibly high that it's a I think it's just important to put that in perspective, which was we should be concerned. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is impossible in the Trump era of politics. But some things are much closer to impossible than other things. And Trump stealing this election from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is pretty damn close to impossible.
I think it's most useful to focus not on what Trump wants to do, which is steal the election. Of course he wants to do that. But what he's actually doing and how our institutions are currently responding, I think that is probably the best way to go here.
So let's start with what can be very loosely defined as a legal strategy from the Trump campaign. Here's how Biden campaign legal adviser Bob Bauer described what the Trump folks are doing during a public briefing this week.
The purpose of the briefing today is to put in perspective some of what you're reading and hearing about, which is noise, not really law. Patrick's not really lawsuits. Dan, why do you think Bob, so confident there? I fucking love Bob Bauer.
He is the ultimate bad ass. No one ever more calmly just delivers absolute devastating derision than Bob Bauer. And he's exactly right here.
He sounds wrong because we should tell people that we have both been on many campaigns with. Yes, Bob Bauer. He is Democratic superlawyer election lawyer. He was also a White House counsel. So we've worked with Bob a lot. And he is, in fact, a bad ass lawyer.
Yes, I worked with Bob. I've actually worked with Bob on a statewide recount before. So I've been down this road with him. And there is no Republicans have no legal argument. The lawyers who are making these cases are almost embarrassed to do so. I mean, they should have been too embarrassed to take the fucking case to begin with. But as you said, the beginning, as they were over 12, they are alleging something that there is no evidence of.
They can when pushed by the by the judges to provide no evidence of fraud. And even if they could provide evidence of fraud, the margins in these states are so large that this is inconsequential. And so like it is, as Bob put out Theodore and Peter Alexander, who must have one hell of a source for the White House, also reported the other day that a White House aide told him that it is not incorrect for the Biden campaign to refer to these lawsuits as theater because they are theatrics.
And so it's a bunch of bullshit that I think is being proven to be bullshit at every step of the way. We've seen no evidence that anyone is taking this seriously.
There are a lot of really great reporters who are covering these legal proceedings, and I would really encourage everyone to pay attention to what the Trump campaign lawyers are saying in court versus what Trump's goons are saying from the safety of their Twitter feeds and on Newsmax and Fox and all of their safe spaces, because they're very different, because when you're in court in front of a judge, you can't just spout conspiracy bullshit without any kind of consequence on on Twitter and on television and at four seasons total landscaping.
You can say whatever the fuck you want, but you can't do that in court this morning. Today in court in Arizona for Sharpey Gate Lawsuit, the sequel.
We're on the second Sharpey gate lawsuit now, which I'm not even going to explain. The first Sharpey gate one. I thought it was Benghazi.
I did not make that up. Someone else said that. It's so funny. That's good.
So the Trump campaign lawyer in this proceeding in court this morning said, quote, We are not alleging fraud. We are not saying anyone is trying to steal the election. Rather, there were, quote, good faith errors in the count, which would not change the outcome.
That's what the Trump campaign is saying in court.
So like they have admitted in court that there actually were Republican poll watchers in all of these places, even though Donald Trump is saying otherwise, they have admitted some of their complaints were not about fraud at all, but about clerical errors in Michigan. They have promised explosive evidence of fraud and instead gave a list of embarrassing complaints. And David Farenthold at The Washington Post has a great story about this today that included loud noises and mean stairs.
But they thought that an election official was being too loud over the P.A. to the Republican poll watchers, that was the fraud, one of the so-called shocking pieces of evidence that election fraud was committed, according to a Republican poll observer in Michigan. Was that a Democratic poll observer told the Republican poll observer, go back to the suburbs, Karen.
That was they submitted that as evidence of election fraud.
So, like, look, I am actually surprised that they are over 12 like and I don't think and I'm preparing everyone for this.
Don't be alarmed if one of these cases somewhere, they they succeed. Right. But again, there's an appeals process. There are tens of thousands of votes to overturn in some of these states, which is far more than they're even trying to overturn in most of these cases.
So we have a long way to go. And the fact that so many of their lawsuits, in fact, all of their lawsuits have failed so far does not bode well for their legal strategy going forward nine days after the election.
Yeah, that's exactly right. It is like the thing we should prepare ourselves for is that in at some point at the end of this process, Trump is going to both complain that unelected judges stole the election from him and pat himself on the back for confirming all of these judges at the same time like that is never going to happen and no one's going to.
The other big concern is this idea that was first reported by Barton Gellman in the Atlantic back in September that Trump and his goons are pressuring Republican controlled state legislatures in states that Biden won to overturn the popular vote and appoint their own slate of pro Trump electors.
Here's why I'm not losing sleep over this theory, and I know that a lot of you have read this because a lot of you have emailed me. And to you, I'm saying people in my family, friends of mine, I'm hearing this all over the place. Here's why I'm not losing sleep over this. Just so you all know, the Constitution gives state legislatures the authority to appoint its electors in a manner that the legislature directs.
That's in the Constitution. Every state legislature in the country has already chosen that manner by passing a law that explicitly says the winner of the popular vote gets that state's electoral votes. In Pennsylvania, for example, the law says that the final vote count must be certified by the secretary of state and the final electors must be certified by the governor, both of whom are Democrats. The law that the state legislature passed does not provide a role for the state legislature in selecting electors, something that the Republican state Senate majority leader in Pennsylvania has now acknowledged multiple times.
He said there is not a role for us.
Now, what if he goes crazy, changes his mind and the Pennsylvania state legislature just breaks its own law and sends its own slate of Trump electors to Congress?
And what if, for some insane reason, a court didn't immediately strike that down, then what happens?
Well, Democrats control the House and a majority of senators have now recognized Biden as president. But if for some reason the House and Senate disagree, tie goes to the slate of electors sent by the governors who again are Democrats in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, this is not going to happen.
This is very, very important. And people are very, very worried about this. And like I said, shaming people for being worried about crazy things happening. The Trump era is not the right way to handle this.
You know, of course, there's there's a there's so much confusing information out there. There's Republicans lying every fucking day.
And then there's this Atlantic article, which I contend was overwritten that has really freaked everyone out.
So I completely understand everyone's concern here.
And I think the most important fact for all of these various scenarios is Joe Biden's victory was not close. He won by a lot. Well, he put aside his five million vote, popular vote margin. Put that aside for a second. He won three hundred six electoral votes once George is called, which we're very confident will be three and six electoral votes. Let's just say hypothetically, because people are very focused on Pennsylvania. Right. Pennsylvania is a place where this could possibly happen.
Let's hypothetically say they pulled this off in Pennsylvania. The Republican leader in Pennsylvania, who was already said he does not want to do this and does not have the power to do so if he did want to do it. But let's say he did that right. And then let's say somehow this case made its way to the Supreme Court and Pennsylvania was able to send its 20 Trump electors to the Electoral College, which is meeting by Zoom right now. So let's say they did that.
If that were to happen, which is a tiny, tiny, like a million things have to happen for that to happen. Joe Biden still wins because he still has more than 270 electoral votes. Trump has to pull this off in three states. Let's say he pulled it off in Georgia and Pennsylvania, the Joe Biden's moments. Right? Like if we were, I have.
But again, I get the other big reason that everyone should feel calm here is that we have the House and Nancy Pelosi has a role in recognizing the slate of electors. And I know people are worried about the two sixty nine to sixty nine tie scenario where each state delegation gets a vote in the House and there are more Republican delegations. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the fact that as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has a role, as does the Senate, in recognizing conflicting slate of electors.
If there are ever sent, if it got through the courts again and has to get through all the courts to get to this point. But even if it did, the final role is still played by the Democratic controlled House and the Senate. And so the worst case scenario ends in Acting President Nancy Pelosi.
If there if there is a completely crazy scenario and it is frozen, the worst case scenario is Acting President Nancy Pelosi. Every other scenario is President Joe Biden.
That's how this goes, this goes and also, again, we are, like you said, we're talking about fraud on a massive scale that they would need to find. And in nine days after the election, no fraud has been discovered. No fraud is even being alleged by some of the Trump campaign lawyers in these cases. And we are headed towards state certification very soon, which again, in the states we need to hit 270. The Democrats control.
The other thing I would just give people advice is like click on the links and read the stories when you see these panicky things. So someone texted me this morning, this article from Michigan, which is Michigan, the certification process is to Republicans, to Democrats. And you did a three one vote to yes. To certify. And the headline is Republican on Certification Board will commit to certifying the results. Joe Biden won Michigan by one hundred and forty thousand votes, 14 times Donald Trump's margin in 2016.
And the headly in the lead are very concerning when you read the story.
The the person, this member certification board, whose wife is, I will say, one of the witnesses who is claiming crazy, too crazy to of seeing things, but even he says he has seen no evidence of fraud and his wife is a fraud witness. Right.
For Trump, his wife is a fraud. News of Trump. And he's like, I haven't seen anything so far. Yeah. And we see no evidence that would overturn the results. So it's we have a lot to worry about, a lot to do, like really deep into it. Make your own decisions about how much you want to worry about this. That is everyone's point of view. But there is a lot of panicky threads happening on Twitter, people being very worried.
And I just think if you dig into the process, the reasons to feel much better about how this is going to go. And so I would just encourage people to do that before getting very worried. Click the links, read things, see what is actually happening out there. And the what like the reality of it, does it muster a lot of what you're seeing people tweet about or are worried about cetera on social media? I will say my confidence is not a result of a Donald Trump and the Republicans wouldn't do something bad.
Of course they would not.
My confidence is also not a result of our institutions are so strong. I trust them implicitly, though I will say on the judicial side, on 12 is a pretty good sign that the judiciary, even as stacked as it is with right wing judges, is holding up so far. My confidence is when you get to the legislative political side, Democrats are in enough important positions in all of these states and in the House of Representatives that we should feel confident, which is which which is very dangerous for the future, I should say.
Because if Nancy Pelosi was not speaker of the House and there was a Republican speaker of the House, if we did not have Democratic governors in Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, if we do not have Democratic secretaries of state in some of these places, I would be a lot more worried that this scenario could come to pass.
And if the election was close, like I saw this myself in Florida in 2000, there is an exact history of a partisan Supreme Court stopping the vote counting in order to elect the president of their choice. We saw that happen before. The just the margin of error here is so gigantic. One of the thing I would say I think is an important fact is there are these recounts happening. People are very nervous about the recounts. As Bob Bauer pointed out, these rules are mandatory because the races in Wisconsin and Georgia in particular are very close.
The as Bob Bauer pointed out, his legal brief, which I would encourage everyone to watch. Right. It is very reassuring answers. A lot of your questions from a lot of legal questions from someone who's an actual lawyer, unlike you and I. But as Bob pointed out, there have been 31 state recounts since the year 2000. The average vote change in those statewide recounts is 430 votes. The closest race Joe Biden has is in Wisconsin, I believe, as we sit here right now, and that is over 10000 votes.
And so the idea that any of these recounts could change the outcome of the election is something to which there is no mathematical or historical possibility.
And the secretary of state in Georgia, very Republican, not a RINO, not a never Trump, by any means, said that he does not believe the recount will change the outcome of the election. And also, as they are setting that up, it is going to be open to the public. There will be Democratic and Republican poll observers to watch it. So just in case anyone is worried that when recounts happen, suddenly it's like a bunch of Trump people counting ballots.
That's not how it's going to go. It is going to be set up in a transparent process so that everyone can see them.
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So President elect Biden is handling all of this very calmly and confidently. On Tuesday, he took questions from reporters about Trump's refusal to concede. Here is a clip.
I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly. The only thing that how can I say this tactfully?
I think it will not help the president's legacy.
I think that the whole Republican Party has been put in a position with a few notable exceptions of.
Being mildly intimidated by the sitting president, market restraint from Joe Biden almost comical at times, it's just the way that he sort of dryly put this is not helpful to Donald Trump's legacy and mildly intimidating.
What did you think of Biden's response there? Pitch perfect. It's the exact right way to do it. Do not feed into the panic project, calm in confidence and be like this entire race was defined between the stature gap between our toddler president. And our mature, experienced, cool, calm and collected president elect and keeping that right here, right like there are obviously real challenge in this, you guys talk about some of them on Monday about access to classified information, the quote unquote, ascertainment from the head of the General Services Administration to begin the formal part of the transition.
Those are very real. Joe Biden is not going to solve those problems by projecting panic. Right? He he is the winner. He looks like the winner. He's acting like the winner. And that's that's what people want. That is completely consistent with his campaign and why he won.
I should say to because I've seen a lot of people say, you know, Democrats should be more prepared, they should be more alarmed, like, be careful.
Trump's trying to steal this and like. I just don't I think the question is, what does being more alarmed get you, what gold does it achieve?
Like, I know everyone's worried, like the Republican state legislature is going to send their own electors to Congress. Well, the law doesn't allow them to do that. Right.
Like, I can send a letter to Congress saying that I've received 270 electoral votes and should be the next president it states. Doesn't mean the Congress has to take it seriously. Right.
Like, if they if if every single Republican state legislature decides to break the law and every single judge in the land decides that Republican legislatures are allowed to break the law and Donald Trump and the Republicans break every law in the country so that he stays in office, then our option then is not to, like, find a loophole in the law to be like, gotcha.
We were prepared and we made sure we figured out, you know, we stopped you in the nick of time. No, then we have to, like, flood the streets in protest and that's the only option available.
So, like, it's not clear to me what Joe Biden being more alarmed, more panicked or any of us being more alarmed would actually achieve.
At this point, panic is never the solution to any problem.
It's not like why aren't you panicking? You should never panic. What's the first thing they tell you to do in any crisis? Don't panic. There's a lot of like don't be caught flat footed. Like no one's being caught flat footed. The guy's trying to steal the election, like we all get that. But like, we have a legal strategy in place.
We have lawyers beating them in court every day. We have Democratic governors in place. We have Nancy Pelosi like we there's nothing to change about our response right now, like what is happening the way Trump is handling this, the way Republicans are going along with it.
And we'll talk about this some more, I think, but is deeply disturbing and quite dangerous. Horrible and unconscionable. Unforgivable. And and it's it speaks for a very long road ahead for our country. When you have one of our two parties and our two party system are willing to burn our institutions down for political power, that is deep and dangerous. The thing is, there is actually something productive we can do about that right now. And that is to win those two runoffs in Georgia and take control of the Senate and take all of Mitch McConnell's power away, that is the that is a constructive response to what is happening here.
We can actually make a difference. And that so it's just it's like you're totally it's totally fair and reasonable to be anxious. We sort of thought this would all be over. And, you know, I don't know why we thought that would Trump just leave it be done. We could move on. But we are in the twenty seventh mile of this marathon, and the best place to channel anxiety is into something that will actually help save our democracy, which is winning these Senate races.
So one other disturbing story this week that may or may not have anything to do with Trump's refusal to concede was his complete purge of the civilian leadership at the Department of Defense. On Monday, Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper via tweet. He then replaced three of his top deputies with three of his biggest goons, Patel, American Wapnick and Anthony Tata, who is called President Obama a terrorist and called for John Brennan's execution. He's also installed a gun of his named Michael Ellis as general counsel at the NSA, the National Security Agency.
And he's being pressured by his idiot son and a few others to fire the CIA director, Gina Haspel.
So why on earth is Trump purging all of the defense and national security people that he himself hired?
There is it no one knows for sure why there are sort of two competing theories about what is happening. One is and this is all from anonymous reporting from sort of national reporters. One is, is that Trump so much wants to get out of Afghanistan sooner than the Pentagon wants that he is making all these changes. I am quite skeptical of that one.
Donald the Dove. Yeah.
I mean, no one is really taking hold among a lot of people, but it just doesn't. And these aren't the goons you'd sent like the like these people as we're what Nicolelis people are cash are conspiracy theorists to the nth degree. They make Richard Grenell look like a man with his feet firmly planted in reality. And so the alternative theory that some people have floated is it is about finding ways to declassify a bunch of intelligence that would somehow undermine the idea that Putin helped Trump in 2016.
Which seems very possible to me. Very possible, very that we know Trump is completely obsessed with that.
I mean, the other thing to know is because this the scary theory, there's a third scary theory, which is like, is Donald Trump putting people in place in the Defense Department to help him stay in power somehow? A lot of the reporting has said that these moves were discussed well before the election. So whatever Trump's motives are, they were a sort of pre-election motives, which could be, again, either the Afghanistan theory or the some kind of cover up theory or some kind of declassification goal like it could be one of those things.
There's been a lot of reporting on this, a lot of good reporters, some of the best reporters in the business and a lot of Defense Department officials, administration officials, they're all sort of saying it's out of spite.
It's just like Trump being an asshole, Trump trying to exact revenge on people that disagreed with him, all of which is very much in line with how Trump has acted for the last four years and most of his life. That's that's what we know so far. So the only reason that we can't just ignore Trump's pathetic whining is because most Republican politicians are playing along with his deranged fantasy that voter fraud stole the election from him, from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, to just about every congressional Republican except Senators Collins, Murkowski, Romney and SACE Republican Senator James Lankford said he would step in if Biden isn't getting the presidential daily briefing by Friday.
Chuck Grassley just agreed with him as well. And Democratic Senator Chris Coons said this week that some Republicans have been directing their congratulations to Biden through him because they're afraid of doing it publicly. One Republican aide said to The Washington Post, what is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change.
He went golfing this weekend. It's not like he's plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on January 20th. He's tweeting about filing some lawsuits.
Those lawsuits will fail and then he'll tweet some more about how the election was stolen and then he'll leave.
Why do you think so many Republican politicians refuse to acknowledge Joe Biden as a legitimate winner of the presidential election?
A lot of people attribute this to cowardice on behalf of the Republicans. They don't want to anger the Trump base. They don't want to get mean tweets sent about him. I think that's incorrect. Cowardice suggests you want to do the right thing but are too afraid to do it. This is cravenness they they are doing this because they think it is good politics for them. Mitch McConnell has been very specific. He thinks keeping the Trump base hopped up on conspiracy theories, racist conspiracy theories in particular about stolen elections in minority heavy cities.
He thinks that helps him keep control of the Senate. And what is dangerous about that is it's it's about Georgia now and then is going to be about twenty, twenty two and as about twenty twenty four in each time you get out of your base more hopped up on higher dosages of racist conspiracy theories, it gets worse and worse and worse. This exact attitude is how we got in this fucking mess to begin with, where these Republicans, you know, they they they say the things that Trump says, they don't push back on the lies and push back stories of these.
And then they wink and nod to every fucking political reporter in town that, you know, privately over drinks. "You know, I don't really believe this. Don't quote me, but it's but we got to say it." But the American people aren't in on the fucking joke. Trump's base doesn't know this is all some big charade to help turn out an election or make Trump feel better. Whatever your fucking reason is. So what you end up doing is radicalizing your base, which then forces you in the next election to be even more radical.
This is exactly how they got Trump because it's exactly how they responded to birther ism to begin with. Most of them didn't believe it. Right. They like, obviously, but John Boehner and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, they kept their fucking trap shut because they thought it helped them win the 2010 elections and then Mitt Romney. So he thought it because he thought would help him win the 2012 election, got on his hands and knees and begged Donald Trump for an endorsement and then Donald Trump becomes president.
So who the fuck knows what happened the back end of this? But it is deeply dangerous because they're making a specific political calculation that this is good for them. Rant over, no one in this country has more contempt for Republican voters than Republican politicians like they have created a monster.
And the monster is not Donald Trump. The monster is the Murdoch empire and the right wing media ecosystem that is poisoning the brains of most Republican voters in this country right now.
And Donald Trump will leave the scene and they will still be riling up these voters with Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson and now Newsmax and now OAN and now all their fucking YouTube craziness and their Facebook bullshit like they will continue to get people riled up, angry and afraid, so that Republican politicians can hold power and win elections.
And if their voters believe crazy conspiracies, if their voters don't believe in things like covid and get sick and die, they do not give a shit.
They don't care about their voters. They just care about staying in power.
And now they have created this right wing media fucking monster that is just going to keep everyone angry and afraid will pass when Donald Trump leaves long past when Donald Trump leaves.
The idea that I mean, the thing is, just think about this for a second on CNN. Newsmax are two things that were created on the specific premise that Sean Hannity is too sane. And it like it is getting it is getting worse and worse, and every single one of them should be held to fucking account in the present politically and in the long term.
Historically, No one and you can blame Donald Trump and he is irresponsible. And Donald Trump is a fucking disaster of a president who was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans because he was too stupid to wear a mask. But ultimately, when you want to find blame for this, look right at Mitch McConnell. Look right at Paul Ryan, look right at Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leaders who theoretically should fucking know better, but are more interested in power than doing what is right for the country and even right for their party in the long term, because the political calculus here is their base is getting smaller.
So you need a greater increase in turnout every election to win. And so that means the political incentives here are headed in all the wrong directions. Unless the Republicans change the way they think about things and there's no evidence they have any desire to do that.
And I would say that if you are a Democrat trying to figure out how we do even better next time, how we expand our majority, how we save the House, how we flip the Senate, it doesn't matter what kind of Democrat you are, whether you're a progressive, Democratic, socialist, centrist, moderate, somewhere in the middle of the party.
If your analysis does not begin with the fact that we face a very dangerous right wing media ecosystem that is poisoning people's minds on a daily basis, then you're doing it wrong.
We cannot have this conversation even as a party about what went wrong without recognizing what is happening on the other side, and that when we propose something, we propose a green new deal. What is Fox do to it? Right when an activist talks about defunding the police, what is Fox do when someone proposes something moderate, like a public option to expand health insurance? What is Fox News do to it? Right. It doesn't matter what kind of policy you propose.
As a Democrat, we are facing a well oiled machine that has been lying to people for a long time.
And it is getting far worse with social media platforms right now.
And like that, to me, that just has to be the beginning of the conversation on what we do. But do you have any ideas?
Well, I also want to go back and I want to amend my list of people most responsible for how fucked up America is to include Mark Zuckerberg, because none of this happens without Facebook, Fox, Rush Limbaugh, all of that operated in a very dangerous dark corner. And then in order to become billionaires, Facebook pumped that right wing propaganda into the brains of millions of Americans, the 40 percent of Americans who get their news from Facebook, a place where Dan Bongino most days has seven of the ten most engaged with link posts on the whole thing.
So think about that for a second. There are so many conversations that we want to have within the party. We want to have on this podcast. We want to have in the pages of The New York Times, apparently about where we go from, because there there are some amazing stories of success in this election, Senator, primarily centered around Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning, flipping Arizona, flipping Georgia like even though things went so far worse than we expected in Texas.
Still, Texas continued its inexorable move, but. Right. We moved it more in the Democratic direction again.
But if we do not figure out this misinformation problem, we are fucked. We were absolutely fucked in the region. The thing that we have to think about here is Joe Biden was able to survive the right wing assault on him for two reasons. One, he was a particularly pitch perfect candidate for this moment.
And he had exponentially more resources than his opponent. That is something that is not going to happen again any time soon. It is the first day of his presidency, this massive right wing megaphone is going to be turned on Biden. He's not going to be necessarily running hundreds of billions of dollars of ads at that time to get his message out. And we benefited in large part because Trump was stupid. He had this giant megaphone, but he was so stupid that he just used it to hit himself in the face with on a pretty close to a daily basis.
That's not going to happen in the future. And we have to figure out how to build up a progressive media infrastructure that competes. We have to figure out how to solve the Facebook problem because we cannot exist in a world where Facebook is continuing to be dominated by conservatives. And that could include pressuring Facebook to be better. But it also includes figuring out what is the progressive way that we get into that daily top 10 list of engagements that it gets closer to 50 50.
How do we do that? What is a way in which we can get our message? We can break into these information silos and these information vacuums to communicate with people, because if we do not do that, we're going to be right back here in a few years dealing with the next version of Trump, who is unlikely to be this stupid.
And I will say, as much as I believe that we need to grow our own progressive media institutions, which is why we have crooked media, which is why we will we're sticking around and will and we'll keep growing as fast as we can.
But the reason that we at media have launched both Save America and adopt a state is because I think as much as you need media to compete with their media, we also need and cannot replace on the ground organizing and face to face conversations with voters and sort of building up grassroots democracy. And that has been difficult to do, obviously, because of the pandemic. But which, by the way, we're not even talking about right now, because Donald Trump is trying to steal the election and we're in like literally the worst wave of the pandemic yet.
And people are dying all over the country.
And we're hitting crisis mode right now, which is just like one of the many things that we can't be talking about right now because Donald Trump refuses to concede the fucking election. The Republicans are helping them. But anyway, once the pandemic has passed, I do think Democrats need to get back to sort of grassroots organizing of the kind we've seen in the past, especially in twenty eighteen around the midterms, because I think, you know, and Barack Obama always used to say this, too, like when he would go to downstate Illinois or he would go to Iowa and he would meet people to face to face, they suddenly realized he was not the caricature that they saw of him on Fox News.
And I think Democrats meeting Democrats running for office, meeting people in person and having conversations is one antidote to those caricatures that people see on their television screens or their phone screens.
You're exactly right that I mean, there are a couple of elements of this. One is getting back to the grassroots organizing once it's a face to face in within communities. But I think there is a big conversation we had about how we and I talked to Casey Abrams about this in the interview at the end of this podcast is how do we build sustainable progressive infrastructure within states? Right. I sort of call it the other day, a 24/7, 365, 50 strategy where we are constantly organizing.
We're not in this feast or famine world where we're going to send a hundred million dollars to South Carolina in a four month period to try to roll back Jamie Harrison. And then we're not going to think about it again for years. That's not the way to do it, right. What state what Stacey Abrams and Latasha Brown and so many other people did in Georgia over a significant period of time is how you do that? Right. Some of that work is happening in Texas.
Beddows been doing that for several years now, but we have to do that everywhere. On the misinformation front. We are not going to solve the face of a problem or build up a megaphone anywhere near the size of the Republicans anytime soon. And the one thing we have to do in this thing is I've you know, I've been yelling to you about in every forum for years is we have to find ways to empower our activists to be amplifiers of our message.
How do we allow them to be online message organizers within their networks? Right. Everyone is walking around with this phone in their pocket with, you know, on average hundreds of contacts, whether that is in their contact lists or Facebook or whatever it is. How do we do that as a party? Because, like, we're we're the Republican message operation is top down. It is Trump to Fox News to the base. Right. And ours has to be bottom up.
Right. And we have to give the message to people and have them push it for that is the only way we're going to compete in the short term. And that's one thing that I hope we all have very serious conversations about how to do, how to build the tools, how to build the infrastructure to make that happen, because I think that is the only way we're going to compete, because we have like we have Georgia in January. We have GroupM elections in twenty nineteen.
We have perhaps the most consequential congressional races for a very long time in twenty, twenty two. And so there is a lot of work to do to take the lessons good and bad from this past election.
Well, when we come back, you'll talk a lot more about all of this and especially organizing on the ground with the one and only Stacey Abrams.
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Stacey Abrams is the CEO of Verified Action and currently leading and winning the fight to flip Georgia blue. Stacey Abrams, welcome back to Parts Save America.
Thank you for having me again. Again. Always limit. Before we get into the interview, I want to give you the opportunity to say I told you so because back last year when Kirky Media was putting forward our Adopt a State program, we picked the six states that we thought were most likely to flip from red to blue. Georgia is not one of those states. You told us we were wrong. You made a very compelling case. We did not add Georgia.
We did do some volunteer work in Georgia, but we did not add Georgia. But you're right, we were wrong. So I weighed myself on the mercy of the court.
I will take the high road of Sheldon Cooper and say, no, I told you so. But I informed you thusly. I informed you. Definitely, yes.
Well done. Well done. Well, let's talk about let's talk about Georgia and what happened in this election season.
What what do you think the key was to having George flipping Georgia from red to blue? What was the work that was done? One of the lessons we can learn from that, No.
One, this took time. I started traveling the country in 2011 with a twenty one page PowerPoint deck. That was my growth strategy for Georgia from twenty eleven to twenty twenty. Actually, it's at twenty ten to twenty twenty because we had to go from a Nader to being blue. And a big part of what I would tell people is, look, I'm not going to be able to deliver successes every single cycle, but we can make progress. But we also had to think about all of the other groups that have been toiling and working for years, but never had the investment to come to scale or to sustain their efforts in between elections.
And so a big part of what I've been working on for the last decade is bringing those resources to Georgia and save America was incredibly helpful and crooked media and making sure we were able to create this through line where the money kept coming so that you weren't in this feast or famine cycle that hit so many red states. We only get attention when we have an exciting race that someone else cares about, which means that the ability to build relationships, to build infrastructure is just incredibly tenuous.
I've been privileged to be able to, you know, raise money effectively. I'm really good begger. And so I've spent the last ten years building up to this ability to invest. But I want to be very clear. This was a team effort that culminated in this election, but it did not begin with this election or even with my gubernatorial election, my election in twenty eighteen. That campaign was about proving it. We wanted to win. We should have won.
But the big piece was to demonstrate to the world this method of actually talking to every voter, engaging every community, not being driven by data to the sense that you are leaving people out, but using data to find those who need to need and want to be in that. That's how you transform the electorate and that's how you build the capacity to do victory after victory after victory. We're still working on the second and third one. But yes, right.
Yes, we're going to have an opportunity to try to get at least two and three pretty close. The, you know, a huge part of the, you know, fair fight, very focused on voter protection.
That's been a huge part of what you want. Your fight is done with working media as a fight on. A big part of this is voter registration. Something that is near and dear to your heart is what the new Georgia project that you started has worked on for many, many years. It's how we got this point. Can you talk a little bit about the amazing voter registration efforts in Georgia and who are sort of the heroes of those efforts?
Were we started voter registration twenty thirty or twenty fourteen at scale. And again, that that's the difference. So you had groups like The People's Agenda run by Helen Butler, who have been doing this work. You had groups that eventually became groups like Galio, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. They've been doing the work, Asian Americans Advancing Justice. They merged with another group that had been on the ground doing the work. The issue was doing the work at scale and doing it again and again.
And I want to be clear, the eight hundred thousand number that is being used, that number is the number of people who registered after twenty eighteen. So that was not all attributable to any of these groups. There are people who registered simply because they went in to change their driver's licenses. But what matters is that these groups have been building relationships because getting a driver, getting getting registered to vote is like getting a driver's license. But if no one teaches you how to drive and you can't get access to a car, it's irrelevant.
And so what's so critical about these organizations is that they didn't just register voters. They got into a relationship with voters, helped new voters understand this power, help them navigate the challenges. Their fight came in as a part of building the infrastructure so they could actually get to the polls. But the groups that have been doing this, voter registration, new Georgia Project, AJ Mahanta. Now, Guilio and other groups, The People's Agenda, those are all groups that have been doing this work, they just finally had the ability to coalesce and for us to be able to scale that effort to meet this moment.
We're now looking at two runoffs in in January, which will determine control the U.S. Senate and so much of what we care about, whether Joe Biden has the ability to appoint the judges. He wants to appoint the cabinet, he wants passed the legislation that he ran on and so many Democrats ran on. How do you see those runoffs playing out? What like what what are the what are the first the things we need to do over the next couple of months to ensure we have the opportunity to win those like Joe Biden have the opportunity to win Georgia.
So first we have to reject the. Anachronistic notion that Democrats can't win runoffs in Georgia, the two that people use the most often, the two Senate races whitefella in 92, Jim Martin in 2008, if you remember, Democrats won the presidency both of those years. And then neither of those years were Georgia senators necessary for the achievement of their agendas. This is much more akin to twenty seventeen and Doug Jones. This is about coalitions being built in the South to save the Senate.
And we know that can work. We know it can work because Doug Jones was able to turn out forty eight percent turnout. We know it can work because coalitions were built together to get this work done. And we have two extraordinary candidates. We have candidates who each have their own lanes but who are compatible, who have a shared vision and who are actually really good at this. And so John Osthoff and Raphael Warnock are the essential candidates that we need for this moment.
They can talk about justice, they can talk about health care, and they do so with authenticity and credibility, but they need resources. So we created a Senate dotcom. That is what that's the link that will let you contribute to both Asaph and whatnot. But it also contributes to fair fight, because we also know that the Republicans have not given up on voter suppression. That's why you see the flailing around of David Perdue and Kelly left the two senators who called on their Republican secretary of state to step down.
They did it because it worked. We were able to thwart voter suppression in real, meaningful ways and they aren't happy about it. And so they wanted we have to believe that they're going to come back and try to reinsert and reinstall those regimes that block voters. And so Fairford is going to remain ever more critical to protect the right to vote. So GasNet Dotcom is the best way to contribute. The last thing I'll say is this. We need volunteers.
We do not need the world moving to Georgia unless you already had plans to come in to establish residency. What we really need the most of is to know who you are and that you're out there ready to be called on. But you've got a lot of campaigning to do and we've got to build this up. But please, please, please do not make plans to come to Georgia just yet. This is a local election that has national implications. But we've got to do what we did before, which is start with the people, start on the ground and build our way up.
But we love your volunteers to sign up with us. And we will make sure that you get information about how to volunteer, get a fair fight. Dotcom, we can take your information and then we'll get you plugged in where we need you most.
In the history, recent history, American politics has been that when Democrats have victories that are powered in large part by people of color, Republicans double and triple down on voter suppression. What are you in for a fight looking at for the fights to come in, obviously in Georgia runoff, but down the line as Republicans trying to figure out how to reduce the political power of the people who put Joe Biden, Kamala Harris in office.
The way we were able to mitigate voter suppression in this election included getting clear rules about absentee balloting, allowing people to cure ballots when minor mistakes are made. But their votes would have been thrown out otherwise, making sure that black and brown voters weren't disproportionately given provisional ballots, ensuring that we had enough polling places that were adequately resourced, ensuring that we had drop boxes because of the weaponization of the Postal Service, making sure that people understood what was on the ballot.
Those are things that we invested in. We were also able to get legislative victories on exact match to really thwart the ability of the secretary of state to limit who could register to vote. All of these things can be undone through legislation in January twenty twenty one. And so our mission is going to be to make sure that Republicans don't double down on the voter suppression that we were able to mitigate by restoring the changes, the restoring the rules that we were able to change.
I will also point out that we were able to help direct almost 30 million dollars worth of resources to counties across the state. And I want to give a big shout out to the Center for Tech and Civic Tech and Civic Life and SSME. I think it's the other organization who really invested in nonpartisan building the election administration infrastructure that has to continue. We cannot allow a calcification of what we've accomplished to turn into a retrenchment on voter suppression.
The a lot of people are concerned about this recount, hand recount or audit that's happening in Georgia. You explain a little bit what that what is going on there.
So Georgia was always going to have what's called a risk limiting audit to look at the new machines to make sure that they were working the way they were supposed to. Georgia law also allows for a recount and they will also do what's called a recanvas just to make sure that people voted where they said they voted. Typically when these things happen, there is a nominal change in the votes. There will not be fourteen thousand fifty seven new votes that suddenly spring up and make Donald Trump the.
Victor, he lost he lost Georgia, we won, he needs to accept it, but as someone who believes in the legal process, I say let them do it, let them follow through the rules. Just we need to believe and understand it's not going to change the outcome. There is no harm in the rules being followed. Now, what is harmful is the misinformation that's being spewed by Republicans because they are intentionally trying to gin up their voters by claiming that fraud has happened.
There has been no fraud. The secretary of state says there's no fraud. The lieutenant governor says there's no fraud. These are the Republicans saying this. And so we can't allow the misinformation to swamp communities who suddenly believe that they can't be heard if they try to vote. So the process is fine. It's the misinformation and the rhetoric that's dangerous.
And we take a step back and look at the election all across the country. Obviously, the defeat of Donald Trump, the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is of historic importance, right. Don't represented a unique threat to our democracy, our way of life, our ability, how this pandemic, everything for the Democratic Party, lower down the ballot.
There are some very disturbing science wins. We thought we were going to have we didn't have we didn't flip Senate seats in states that Donald Trump won. What are sort of the broader lessons you take from the election writ large? One, that Donald Trump is a unique cancer in our nation, and luckily enough of us believe that it needed to be excised, that we did, but we are a divided nation. And that was made manifest because of Donald Trump, but it wasn't created by Donald Trump.
The real challenges about whether access to health care is a right or a privilege. That argument continues to rage. The real conversation about how we invest in our economy to help not only those who are wealthy get wealthier, but help those who are middle or lower working class actually gain access. Those are real debates we're having in this nation. The question of justice being something that should be guaranteed. That's a real conversation. That is a real debate in our nation.
And so we shouldn't be so sanguine that we think because we were able to get rid of this grotesque example of bad, that the bad doesn't continue and just more palatable forms. Our responsibility is not to read into this, that we have to wholesale change who we are. We just have to do a better job of getting those who share our values to participate. We saw voter increase. Yes, but we have more opportunity out there and we've got to be intentional about cultivating that opportunity, not just during presidential elections, but we should start with city and county elections that are coming up next year.
We have state led races that can be happening next year and in twenty two, those are all opportunities to continue to move the pendulum in our direction because if we stop pulling it, it's going to swing the other way and we are going to be devastated by it.
The victory in Georgia and discussed we did around the country were powered by millions of people who got involved in politics for the very first time after Donald Trump. What is like what would you say to people to help keep them involved, help the people who got involved because of Donald Trump stay involved now that he is on his way out?
And that was part of what I was saying before, which is Donald Trump is a symptom. He was not the disease. He was just the symptom on steroids and in Technicolor. We need you to stay involved because what he was trying to do, they will do quietly through your school board, they will do quietly through your city council when zoning laws are made that allow poor communities and communities of color to be saddled with chemical plants. That's Donald Trump on a local level, when there is a disinvestment in your local schools in the midst of covid, that's Donald Trump at the local level.
So we have to stop focusing on his now fading example and focus on the real people who are making these choices. Because when we allied local elections, when we skip over those lines on the ballot, what we're saying is you have permission to be just like Donald Trump, only quieter, but the effect is just as devastating and just as permanent people.
After the the victory in Georgia, people have been tweeting everywhere about how Stacey Abrams should be in charge of the DNC for the Democratic Party. I'm not going to ask about any of that. But what do you think the the top two or three things the Democratic Party should do to take the success we had in Georgia and export it to states that are on the cusp of it? Texas, obviously, North Carolina, one that's been on the cusp for a very long time.
South Carolina. How do we sort of build a sustainable progressive infrastructure that you all have built in Georgia and other parts of the country?
So this is a shameless plug for my book. Our Time Is Now Power Purpose in the Fight for a Fairer America. So the first half of the book, I talk about voter suppression and voter engagement, but the second half of the book is exactly that. We have a demographic revolution that is not destiny. It is opportunity. We have to, one, acknowledge that identity politics works for us. And it's this. When you say you can see someone's community and understand the challenges they face and that those challenges may be different than your own, that's identity politics.
And that's why people vote. Number two. We have to have sustainable, consistent investment that does not rely on political candidates coming in saying we we think your county or your state matters this year. There has to be consistent investment throughout and it has to be year round and it has to be diffuse. I am proud of the work that we do, a fair fight, but fair fight is not the only group doing good work. And so part of what we're doing in this runoff elections, we're moving money to other groups, too, that we know won't they won't float high enough in the ether to get their own attention.
So we're going to make sure they get the resources they need. And then number three, we have to wash, rinse and repeat. This is a process. This is not an event we are all focused on. Ding dong, the witch is dead in the White House. But the reality is we've had to do this again and again, election after election for a decade. It's going to take time. Patience is hard, but patience met with investment and with mission is how we get the change we need and how we make it as permanent as change can be in politics.
Stacey Abrams, thank you so much for being with us. Congratulations on everything you have done in Georgia. We very much look forward to working with you to win these two runoffs and continue to turn Georgia and the rest of this country. Thank you.
Thanks, Dan. Thanks to Stacey Abrams for joining us today, everyone go to vote, save America, dot com, slash Georgia, adopt Georgia and let's get to work. Bye, guys. Bye, 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 Chadwick. Kyle Soglin is our sound engineer, thanks to Tanya Nominator, K.D. Lang, Roman Papadimitriou, Caroline Ruston and Justin Howe for production support into our digital team, Alija Konar Melkonian, Elfriede and Milo Kim, who film and upload these episodes as videos every week.