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Is that your cat? Yes, I shouldn't have to hope. I'm sorry. That's. Don't. No, I'm just joking. I would've done it anyway. I just threw him some toys. Welcome back to the third and sadly final positive, that's the ticket. I'm Dan Pfeiffer. And I'm Melissa M. Monaco. On today's episode, we're going to talk about what factors candidates consider once they have vetted potential options, how they announce their decision and who we think Biden might pick.
Along the way, we're going to talk about Dan Quayle's gaffes. So much material there and some of the most memorable moments in vice presidential debate history, as well as some more of my campaign trail antics.
Later in the pot, I'm going to talk to senior writer at 538 Perry Bacon Junior about what the polling tells us and doesn't tell us about the politics of Biden's choice. Melissa, how you doing?
I mean, buddy, first, can we talk about last episode? Sure. And how. Last week, you know, we talked about Sarah Palin and we talked about Geraldine Ferraro. And we really talked about like Ferraro being picked as the first Democratic woman on a Democratic ticket.
And Buddy, her daughter, Geraldine Ferraro's daughter, Donna Zaccaro, tweeted at us and sent us messages about how we did right by her mom and telling the story.
And I just don't know if we should just folded up and call it a day now, because I'm not sure we can do better than that.
Well, we have a lot of people who have joined us in the Zoome room to help us facilitate some sense, I think, out of respect for that. We should probably do that.
I guess so. But I can just tell you, baby feminist Elyssa was really caviling.
Every process is different. But I think every modern nominee considers the same set of factors in the running mate choice. Now, they may weigh each of those factors differently based on the state of their campaign. Their own experience is what's the backdrop in which the campaign is happening. But they still look at those factors and. First and foremost, I think among all those factors is a threshold question of readiness for the job. And Joe Biden has only indicated that this is driving his decision.
He's been saying some version of this for the past couple of months. Let's take a listen.
But all kidding aside. I have to pick somebody who, in fact, reassures people that if tomorrow lightning strikes and I die, I get.
And I've released all my medical records and I'm in. Well, I don't want to jinx myself. As my mother said, knock on wood. I'm in great shape. But my point is I've got to pick somebody who everybody looks at and meets two criteria. One, that they are younger than I am. No, I'm not being facetious. And number two, that they are ready on day one to be president. Nine states, America.
Allyson, given Joe Biden's age and the fact this campaign's happening in the middle of a pandemic. Do you think the readiness factor is even more important this time when sworn in?
Knock wood, as Joe Biden would say. He'll be 78. She's not young. And he follows probably one of the most. Now, I feel confident saying the most unfit president of all time. So I think that this has to be.
Do you mean mentally or mentally or physically? Both.
I mean, I'm not sure which on a scale of one to 10, which is he might be a 10 on both scales. I don't even know. He does not seem fits me in any way. So I think that for Biden, readiness has to be numero uno. Like, I don't think he has the luxury of making a real outside the box pick here. I think he needs someone who when they in that he announces this woman. I don't know if it's a person I can say woman when he announces this woman, everyone's like, I fucking get it.
Good for you. Readiness is an interesting question. In a world in which we are coming. On the heels of a two presidents with very non-traditional resumes, Barack Obama very, very successful. Donald Trump less.
So I'd say there's a question readiness in terms of the resumé and readiness in terms of their ability to convince the American people who are going to be choosing this ticket of their readiness.
Right. You know, the most obvious example of a CVP can't who feel the readiness test was Sarah Palin. We've talked a lot about her on the pot. You probably member Tina Fey's impression of her. But it wasn't his levels of the writers. Let us know if she was unprepared in an October 2008 poll shortly before the vice presidential debate. A Washington Post ABC News poll found that 60 percent of voters thought that Palin did not have the experience needed to be president, including 30 percent of Republicans.
Now, what I think is really notable about that is her resumé was not significantly on paper worse than Obama's. Like the public here is reflecting. What they saw of her between when she was announced in August and when those polls in October. Now someone who are younger listeners may not remember, as well as Dan Quayle, who was viewed as spectacularly dumb and unprepared for the job of president when he ran with George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992.
His most famous gaffe today is probably misspelling potato on camera in a classroom full of elementary school students in 1992.
But this was just one of his many fuckups. Here's Dan Quayle talking about World War Two.
Millions of innocent people lost their lives because of the bigotry and Hitler ism that permeated Germany and other parts of the world. It wasn't as obscene period in our nation's history, not our nations, but in World War two. I mean, we we all lived in the center. I did. I don't live in this century. But in this century's history, we did not have met effect. We fought Hitler ism, which was a totalitarian form of government.
Melissa, I consider you a student of history. Do you remember Hitler ism?
So, buddy, I was just going to say that from now on, whenever I'm feeling like I can't find my words on a podcast, I'm just going to listen to that and get my self-esteem back because he was ready to be vice president. I don't remember Hitler ism. Neither does my Omar, who lived in Germany and fled people called Nazi.
I mean, what was really interesting and it speaks to how your performance on the campaign trail dictates perceptions of readiness. Right. He had served, you know, about four times as long as his senators, Barack Obama, did when Barack Obama ran. But because under the klieg lights of a presidential campaign, he misspelled the word potato in front of a group of elementary school children. He had this perception that he was not ready. Now, Bush and Quayle ultimately won the 88 election.
Right. So does that raise the question about whether, at least in terms of the context of the politics of the campaign, we worry too much about the readiness question?
I don't think we worry too much about it. I mean, one thing that I just can't can't. One thing that I did not know until getting ready for today, I knew about the potato comment and that he couldn't spell it. I didn't know that it happened at a spelling bee, which I just thought was various.
They're incredibly just dramatic and makes it so much worse. But no, I think that readiness, when you look at quail and when you look at Palin, there's something about on paper. And I think this is what goes to the point that we've been talking about, about how important the vetting process is, is that on paper, people can look much more prepared for higher office than they are. But what the two of them lacked profoundly was any sort of world view.
Right. Like or like fundamental curiosity in how things worked or people lived or. I don't know.
But I think that. People don't necessarily vote for the vice president, but I think a vice presidential pick can scare the shit out of them. Yes, I think that's exactly right, which is Brockwell always refers to his selection of Joe Biden as the most important decision he made before becoming president, and because it says so much about their judgment, their vision of how they're going to run their government, what they value and when it looks like you're taking a shortcut.
Voters notice. Right. So Palin's a great example, which is there's an interview where Mark Salter, who was McCain's very super long time adviser, chief of staff, and said for many years, helped explain the Palin decision. And he said, and I'm paraphrasing Mark here, but that Obama personified change in McCain did not seem to add something to the ticket that demonstrated change. And Sarah Palin certainly would do that.
Now, change for change's sake is not good necessarily. Right. And maybe they should have thought that through. But it said so much about McCain's judgment, which was already under question because of his incredible, unyielding, despite years of evidence for the Iraq war, that he would choose someone who would potentially help him on the campaign. Now, at the expense of what kind of government he would have if he won and voters notice it. And it's fit within a narrative of.
McCain, which was that he had bad judgment and erratic decision making process, when you say it's a vetting issue, right. I think what you're really saying, correct me if I'm wrong, is you're talking about. The judgment that Biden will eventually make and Biden's advisers will make about how they will perform once they are on Broadway on the ticket. Right. Anyone can look at the resume. And I think on every person who you know, if you look at the people in Biden short list, you have, you know, incredibly successful senators, senators who have served in statewide office.
You have people who have run cities. You have people who have been national security advisers to investors.
The you and the president like people with a wide range of different experiences, all of which have more experience than Donald Trump. But the question isn't really, will people look at the resume? It's will they look at the candidate when they are on stage and say this person is ready? The choice of this person by Joe Biden tells me that Joe Biden is someone whose judgment I will trust in a crisis. Is that right? Yeah.
And also, like, when you think about it, a very low bar hurdle could be how would this person do in an interview with Katie Couric? Because neither Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin were ready for primetime. You know, like George Bush was. So I mean, his credentials were extraordinary. And when he picked Quayle, it was almost seen by some people in the Republican Party and certainly commentators and especially people in the United Kingdom. They had a lot to say about this, that it was such a cavalier choice that he viewed himself in such a way that he picked this person who would just seem like young and virile.
It is important, I think, in the Quayle and people like these are two very different elections, having a two very different times. McCain and was a Republican senator following a Republican president with an approval rating under 30 percent. You know, I always joke that George W. Bush was so unpopular 2008 election that his speech at the Republican convention was canceled because of a hurricane in Florida. Even though the convention was in Minnesota and then they never rescheduled it. It's like that's all Barbara and Bush was following Reagan, who was still quite popular headed.
You know, after two terms. But there's also the factor that men with thin resume A's get the benefit of the doubt in a way that women do not. Right. So they like that level of misogyny is going to obviously underlie the reception to Biden's pick. Right. Which obviously will be a woman.
You know, there are two other elements of the Quayle example that I think are relevant to this election, which is, as you point out, George H.W. Bush was one of the most experienced people to ever run for president. Right. He had been vice president for two terms. He had been a senator. He had been the CIA director. He'd served in a number of positions all throughout government. He had a very expansive residents there, no question about his readiness.
And he was obviously, while not a spring chicken, he was cinephilia younger than Biden, but. There were two points during that campaign where Bush fell ill, that seriously ill but ill enough to be off the campaign trail, which raised the specter of a Quayle presidency like George H.W. Bush. Biden has an impeccable set of, quote unquote, traditional experiences preparing for the job. He worked in that building for eight years, not very long ago. And even though it feels like a thousand years ago, but also this is happening in the middle of a pandemic and so that the specter of illness, you know, will hang over this choice.
Now, I think of readiness is a gating issue. Right. The campaign to says, does this person meet a threshold on paper? And is it an our guy that they have what it takes to demonstrate that readiness to the American people on the campaign trail? In interviews, on a debate stage, can they answer a question about newspapers? All the basic things. And I think the second factor people think about is governing, right? When I think of governing, this is sort of what is the governing relationship?
And it looks like this is projecting forward to if and when I win. How is this relationship going to work? There are two different elements. That one is what is their vision for the role the vice president plays and then which of your on your short list fits within that role? And the second one is personal relationship. Right. Do you feel like you can trust this person? But, you know, there's been a lot of speculation that Biden wants to replicate that partnership in relationship that he had with Barack Obama.
What was your recollection of that model and how do you think it applies here?
So there was a real partnership, but a hierarchical partnership because the president is the president. And once the president makes a decision, you need someone who is going to help inform that decision and be a partner in the decision. But once he makes the decision, that's that. And so from all of Biden's years in the Senate, like, I think he fundamentally understood hierarchical relationships. And Podesta really wanted someone who was going to be a partner. So if you are someone who is on Biden's shortlist and you're trying to think about the kind of relationship he might want, I think it would be just like a real partnership.
Can you talk a little bit about the role that Wuensch plays and how that relationship works? So Joe Biden very much thought it would be good for the president and and Joe Biden to have lunch once a week together. And when you think about it, no matter who you are, if you don't pick your best friend. I mean, obviously, if I ran for president, you would be my vice president. And, you know.
But we have known each other for so many years. I fundamentally understand our relationship and your decision making style. And so the idea between the two of them having lunch was one, building that relationship, coming to understand each other and also being able to, I think, especially for Biden, give his sort of unvarnished feedback, not in front of a room full of cabinet secretaries.
Here's my very important question about this much. I don't know if you know the answer, which is Barack Obama, Barack seven, Almanzo Obama is a very, very healthy, boring.
He eats salmon like for lunch like six days. Yeah.
Do you do you think he made Biden meets MFL in six days a week or two? Biden gets a order of order off the menu.
So I think Biden got to order off the menu because unless it was like a big or a group lunch, usually because I do think Potosí was somewhat aware of his eating intricacies that I believe I'm going to say that Biden ordered off the menu, though, because he was such a good partner.
He may have always just said, I'll have what the president is having.
Biden has been described as, I think, accurately as the most influential and consequential vice president, American history.
And that is unusual. All right. The vice presidency traditionally has been a ceremonial position in some cases.
You know, John Nance Garner, who was one of FDR as vice presidents, once described the vice presidency as worth a warm bucket of piss, which I always thought that that quote was warm bucket of snow. It was.
But I've learned through the very excellent research skills of our producer, John Waller, that the press he actually Garner actually said yes, but the press cleaned it up to spit, to make life easier for Garner.
And because I think you probably can get piss in the newspaper by a literal example of fake news.
One thing that was interesting about the Biden Obama negotiations we've since learned is that Biden wanted. To be in charge of some things. Obviously, he did a lot of ceremonial stuff that vice presidents do, they're sort of famous for being sent to funerals for second and third tier world leaders. They often are. If the president can't do something, he'll send the vice president. And so he did all those things, obviously, and did it gladly. And he spent a lot of time campaigning and doing other things when he wasn't in office.
But he was tasked with very specific projects and he ever saw. Right. He came in and because of his experience in the Senate, he really handled passing a lot of our legislative agenda through the Senate and handled negotiations with Republicans. He was in charge of Iraq policy. Right. He was spearheading that is we were figure out how we're gonna wind down the effort in Iraq. He was in charge of the Recovery Act, write the stimulus bill to help get us out of that.
And my assumption is, is that Biden is looking for someone who can do that. Right, who we can say and he says it's on these quotes. The presidency is too big for one person. So you need someone who can take on real things and drive them. And so the question is, you think about while which of these candidates.
Will he pick? Depends on which that you know, which we don't know the answer to, is which things does he want to be able to hand off to someone else? Right. Like much like Obama had the economic cover after Biden. If Biden wanted to do that, then like you see Elizabeth Warren as someone who's worked in economic policy. If he wants to hand off foreign policy with Susan Rice, you know, it can be any range of issues, including the economy.
With Kamala Harris, you sort of go on down the line. But like the third factor that is looked at is politics.
Now, I think based on that quote we heard from Biden earlier. That is the thing I think he's going to consider at least, right? And the more he goes up in the polls, I think politics as a factor may diminish more.
But the political factor, you know, this is a campaign and you can't do any other things right. You can't have lunch with this person every week in the Oval Office. You can't just assign them projects until you win. So winning remains part of the conversation. And there are a number of ways in which the politics of this are considered. Right. You know, well, a V.P. nominee help them carry a state, the V.P., some state.
Will the V.P. nominee help the ticket, gain support from specific constituencies? You know how well they handled the debate. So let's start with the first one right in the traditional way you think about this. And it's talked about they say Biden should pick this person because they will help deliver this state, which will get you closer to 70. Is there any evidence that supporting the idea that a V.P. selection helps with winning their home state? And this was part of the calculus for John Kerry when he picked John Edwards.
And you're working on that process. Is that correct?
It was. And when I was thinking about this, I always like to think like, what's my first reaction to a question when I ask myself the question? I think my response to myself was met and I asked if states matter. John Kerry, like most of his finalists in 2004, were from Battleground or soon to be battleground states. There was a lot of talk about whether John Kerry back in 2004, the idea of writing off the South, I'm putting that in quotes was still a thing.
And so the appeal of John Edwards was one that by picking a Southerner, you know, from North Carolina who had working class appeal, it wouldn't seem as though he was going to write off the south. And also, there was this a law that perhaps, you know, John Edwards could help Kerry win North Carolina. John Kerry lost North Carolina by fifteen points. So I don't think that there is real. If you go through history, I don't think there's any example of there really being someone who was picked and put the candidate over the top in a state where they already weren't within a couple points or any points at all.
I mean, this is such a hard thing to judge because it's such a small sample size. Right. We've had so few presidential elections and only some subset of those presidential elections involve a vice presidential candidate from a swing state that could possibly move. And then.
How do you decouple that from the other larger factors, like, for example, in 2008, Barack Obama won Wisconsin by around 15 points.
In 2012, Romney put your friend in mind, Wisconsinite Paul Ryan on the ticket. And although he still lost Wisconsin, he lost by about half the margin that Obama won the state by in 2008. You might look at that and say, well, Paul Ryan is must be super popular in Wisconsin and therefore he helped move the state. But then in 2016, Donald Trump won the state and Paul Ryan was nowhere to be seen.
And so Paul Ryan probably was had almost no effect on that. And that is more. And what was going on? There was more about the partisan shift of that state over time. Now, putting aside states, because if you look at the people Biden is considering, right, you have Tammy Baldwin, who is from a swing state. Right. You have Stacey Abrams and Keisha Lance Bottoms, who are from Georgia, which is a potential swing state system, was obviously, even though she did not become governor, you know, has got more votes in Georgia than any Democrat in history, including Barack Obama in her 2018 gubernatorial race, which was stolen from her by Brian Kim, that guy.
But everyone, you know, Elizabeth Warren is not Biden's could be fighting Massachusetts. You know, Val Demings, you know, maybe that's impactful in Florida. You know, not super well-known with, you know, statewide, let alone nationally.
But, you know, there is a question about whether this person could help performance with a certain group. Do you think that's something Biden will consider in particularly against the backdrop of the conversation we're having in this country over the last couple months about structural racism? I think it definitely plays into the conversations that they're having within the Biden team and then with candidates as they talk to them. But even still, if you look back to the beginning, I mean and by the beginning, I mean the 1980s, Geraldine Ferraro, first woman on the Democratic ticket, we lost women by a lot.
Hillary Clinton put Spanish speaking Tim Kaine on the ticket. She did less well with Latinos than Barack Obama did. So I think that you have to put everything in its place. I do think that all of the things that are happening in the world right now are very relevant to the conversations they're having.
But at the end of the day, the world has to believe the ticket right when they come out onstage or wherever the fuck they are.
People have to be like, I get it, because the their chemistry, like, makes sense and you can see it. And I think that that gives people confidence that they're going to be a team. And so it's like if you go back, you know, all of Romney's advisers told him to pick Portman because there was actually a chance of gaining the two or three points in Ohio with Portman to have, you know, won him the state. And he was like, you know what, though?
If I have lunch with someone, I wanted to be Paul Ryan. And I do think, though, that he did. I mean, I was.
But it was okay. I am sorry. I'm sorry. That is right there disqualifying. What if you if you believe that you want to have lunch with Paul Ryan.
Oh, my God. I thought you mean I was disqualified. No. Oh, no. Then when I got scolded, if Romney scanned the waterfront and he picked his weekly lunch partner to be Paul Ryan, then I am sorry.
You are not you are less fit for the office of president.
Let me tell you another thing. That is when you pick a running mate with ill fitting suits, you reap what you sow.
Or you pick a running mate. If you are already losing because you were seen as someone who is not sufficiently empathetic to middle and working class Americans, and you pick a person who is most famous for naming a plan to privatize Medicare after themselves, then you you reap what you sow. I am sorry. I don't mean to turn this into a Paul Ryan rant.
Piles while all true and I think I think you get to what is a very important part of the politics of this, which is you can be overly tactical about it by saying, you know, this person can help us with this state and that doesn't manifest itself.
This person can help us with this group of voters. And it doesn't as it did not for Mondale and for McCain and Palin. You know, it has mattered some.
I think there's some evidence that Trump's selection of Mike Pence might have helped serve as a validation for evangelical voters who might have been confused if the imperative to support a thrice married pussy grabber, uncouth person.
I thought you did. Yes, yes. Yes.
I can't wait till we debate whether that can be the title or not. So but there is narrative, right?
Like and this is part of where the politics is. Does it help with the narrative? Like it was an if you want to communicate. So let's look at a couple of previous examples. Right. In the case of Barack Obama. Obviously, he was someone with less traditional experience. He was gonna be taking over at a time in which America was in two wars and was barreling towards a financial crisis. Joe Biden certainly compared to the other two people on the short list.
Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine represented the most standard governmental experience. Right. Particularly area foreign policy. In the case of Al Gore. You know, the Al Gore won is really interesting because he picked Joe Lieberman, which seems insane now that Joe Lieberman is he's become who he is. But at the time in that campaign, Al Gore was someone whose reputation had been sullied by association with a number of Clinton scandals, some fake and generated and some certainly real, including the one that led to Clinton's impeachment.
And he went and picked Joe Lieberman, who was the Democrat who had been most vocally critical of Bill Clinton, was seen by many as the moral voice in the Senate. And it was a pick that was designed to communicate to voters that Al Gore was breaking with some of the aspects of the Clinton presidency that they did not like. Are there any negatives you can think of that Biden would be trying to establish here if there was one issue?
A 77 year old white man might have. It might be with women. And so he's already sort of approached and tried to tackle that problem by saying, ladies, I hear you and I see you. But there's a lot more. And so I think that while. Biden himself look like everyone understands this election is about an existential threat to like the country and the world.
But Biden still has to motivate people to get out and vote because that's important. And so I think that while Biden knows that he himself does not come across as any sort of change agent. And he is not the future facing face of the party. I do think that if there's one thing that he's thinking about is like who do I pick that can understand and speak to the change that needs to happen in this country? And who is someone that can help lead the party forward?
There's a couple of directions that Biden can go here. Right. Tell me. Good campaign narrative is a implicit counternarrative for the person you're taking on.
So, like you can see a world where Biden decides that he's going to double down on government competence. Right. We've had this Yahoo! Rally TV star who can't even be bothered to do the job in there for the last four years.
And look where that's gotten us in economic depression and a pandemic that has made America the embarrassment the world. So you're going to pick someone with tremendous amount of governing experience. You could go with sort of what you said, which is bridge to the future, where he's going to say that I recognize that I am older. I am a transitional figure. And I want my vice president to be the future. Right. You know, a whole bunch people, that list would fit that criteria.
You could say, I want to double down on Obama nostalgia, right. Where it's like you're going to you know, it sort of make America great again circa 2008 to 2016. And do, you know, do something? There's a whole bunch of different ways he can do it if he wants to focus on that.
Now, the last part, I think of the political calculus and I think probably the least consequential, although you should certainly feel free, as you often do, to disagree with me on this.
But a good vice presidential candidate needs to be able to win a debate.
One of the most notably bad V.P. debate performances came from John Edwards in 2004 when he was up against Dick Cheney. Also, some people have said I have been overly mean to you about the selection of John Edwards by John Kerry, who you worked for. I would like to just state for everyone who's tweeting us that I am not holding lists of responsible for it. B thought it was probably a wise decision at the time. John Edwards did not reveal himself to be an absolutely horrible human being until after that.
And I'm just teasing you. I wanted to Vilsack I've said it before.
I liked him very much. He was my favorite person. Also, people don't need to stick up for me when it comes to I obviously hope my own. And there's no there's no doubt about that. You know what? What happened at that debate or what you remember about the Cheney Edwards debate? So I remember everybody thinking that John Edwards, with his, like, beautiful side swept hair, was going to knock it out of the park and he just.
Did like some really ham handed sort of hackneyed things when he got to the debate. It's like this is always my thing, that when you look and there's we'll talk about Slater. But when someone lands a punch and it seems like they just came up with it, that they can pivot and think on their feet, you're like, damn, that was great. But the thing I remember was that he got on stage and tried to talk to Dick Cheney about gay marriage.
Dick Cheney has a gay daughter. He was against gay marriage. John Edwards really thought he was going to hit one home with this one. Dick Cheney was like, get off my stoop. You fly like I'm not even going to talk to you.
And John Edwards was so against gay marriage. I just it's like, well, how is that the move debate?
It just it didn't it didn't make any sense. He was supposed to come off as like this young viral. You know, I always think of like Matthew McConaughey and a time to kill that. That's what he was supposed to be. And he was not he was not Jake Brigance. He was he was No. One. You're exaggerating there.
There is obviously an expectations problem. John Edwards was a very successful trial lawyer and was sort of famous for his closing arguments in court before he entered politics. And Dick Cheney was never a politician of great talent. He had mostly worked his way up through government, although he did serve in Congress for years. He was secretary of defense. He was Gerald Ford's chief of staff. And he was sort of known for being the master of the inside game, which sadly we have not talked about in his pod.
And we probably should have.
Was that Dick Cheney ran George W. Bush's vice presidential selection process and picked him down, ended the process by picking himself, which is so maybe he is a master inside politician, but not someone who is particularly charismatic in front of camera.
But he was quite well prepared and he landed a relatively brutal hit on John Edwards is inexperienced intern Edwards into a version of Dan Quayle there. Let's take a listen.
You've got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate. Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president, the Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.
Speaking of Dan Quayle. He was also involved in one of the most notorious vice presidential debate moments when he was absolutely owned by Senator Lloyd Bentsen after Quayle was asked about experience. Let's take a listen.
It is not just age. It's accomplishments. It's experience. I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president this country. I have as much appearance in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration. That unfortunate event would ever occur. Senator Bentsen. Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.
Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. Just absolutely brutal. So here's the thing about that, again, I remembered that I've used it as a as a YouTube link on Twitter many times in responding to people. But the thing that made that whole exchange so great is that until last night, I thought that that was Lloyd Bentsen being spontaneous. Came up with it on the fly. And just like owned him. And it wasn't his advisers, including Bob Shrum, who my beloved cat was named after.
We're trying to get him to say this in debate prep for weeks because he was not saying Bentsen was not seen as a great debater. He was not terribly telegenic in his own view. I'm not judging him. And they were like, this is the winner. And so the thing is, he landed it. On the one hand, I was a little bummed to know that he didn't come up with it on the fly, but also stoked because he landed it like a champ.
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Do you think the vice presidential debate matters at all? Man, we've just given some examples like it. I don't think you think that Kerry lost in part because Jennifer's had a terrible job against Cheney and you know, Benson delivered that hammer blow. But then the Dukakis Bentsen ticket got clobbered.
But do you think, like you, how impactful you think it is, if it's impactful at all?
I think if your candidate is strong, if you're presidential candidate is strong, the V.P. debate isn't that impactful. I think if they're not doing great, how your V.P. does does maybe sway people more. I mean, like, I think that if. Mike Pence. And I mean, he ended pretty badly. I was going to make the argument for having picked Pentz and that's why they won. But like, it's not. People were just really not smart this time around.
So, no, I don't think that. I think that it's fun. It's interesting for us to watch. I think that if George Bush had not been as strong and credentialed as he was Dan Quayle, becoming the wide eyed emoji like deer in headlights would have mattered more. But like ultimately, like his wife Barb said when talking about how really terrified she was of Geraldine Ferraro, because Ferraro was so great on the campaign trail, but that ultimately people do not vote for the vice president.
So I think that if Bush had been weaker, had not been as popular, the Quayle performance might have mattered more. But I think it's interesting for people to watch. I don't know that it moves the needle that much. What do you think?
Yeah, no, I think that's right. I think it's it does not matter as much pull the debate itself.
And I think the vice presidential selection overall does not matter as much politically as people who talk about or write about politics for a living tend to suggest.
But it can matter in the margins.
And I think it's less about how it influences people's choice. And it is about momentum because the sequence of debates has been, at least in recent years, first debate for the presidential candidates. Vice presidential bayt, second presidential debate, third presidential debate. And in both the Kerry race and the Obama re-election race, that vice presidential debate mattered some because Kerry had performed very well in the first debate against Bush and was seen as having won.
So if Edwards had performed well, it would have continued their momentum for at least another week or so. But because Edwards got clobbered, it allowed Bush to resuscitate some momentum. 2012 Obama did not perform well in the first debate against Romney. He lost that debate. Hashtag Denver empanadas.
Yes. Yes, exactly. And our campaign was really and that was the first time Romney had had momentum in months and was rising in the polls, is raising more money. Republicans are getting more enthusiastic. And then that Biden Ryan debate happened. And if Biden had done poorly in that debate, it would have given Romney more momentum heading into the next debate and maybe a better chance at upsetting Obama.
You know, it's hard to know exactly how that would work, but it does. Like, it happens at a relatively important juncture and the performance does matter. So I think it at least will be something that the Biden campaign considers. Now, you take all of this and we've been through the readiness question.
We've been through the governing partnership question both of the politics. And I'm going to talk to Perry Bacon about what the data says. But, Melissa, what does your gut say about how much this decision will actually matter and whether Joe Biden becomes president or not? Now, what kind a president he'll be. But whether he actually wins the election.
Huh? Here's what I'm going to say. And I say this knocking all the wood in my house. I say it is the person who bought a raincoat before our outdoor our election night event in Chicago, because I thought by buying a raincoat, I would not jinx us for having this up to our event. I think that Biden's selection isn't about him winning. It's about by how much he wins. That's what I think. I mean, that amount of messing with I told you I knocked on everything.
I just knocked on my head, OK? I just put like, did you want me to lie? That's what I think.
Don't lie to yourself, but make sure you keep calm in the loop about the play. Carmen and I are friends.
The most important parts are about what kind of vice president this person would be in. The politics are actually directly related to that, because if you screw up the first two questions, it impacts the third question of politics. But it does matter on the margins and in in close races are won on the margins. And there is lots of reason to believe, despite what the polls say today, that this could end up being a very close race. And so.
I want to make sure we don't undermine the entire purpose of the three episodes we just did by saying it doesn't matter because it does matter, matters a lot. Of course it matters. Yes. Thank you for listening. This was inconsequential. Once the decision has been made, the final step in the process is telling the world what the decision is. You helped plan both Barack Obama and John Kerry's announcement, their vice presidential picks. What's your recollection of how they did it and whether you thought they were successful?
So John Kerry picks John Edwards. He makes the decision over 4th of July weekend, specifically because he thinks the press isn't going to be paying attention. Again, not a lot of social media. Back in 2004, so people actually did sort of like quiet it down during the holidays. So it's John Edwards. John Kerry makes the announcement on the 6th of July. The event with the Edwards is going to be on the 7th. But we had on the 6th, you know, again, like we've talked about, so much of this revolves around private planes and trying to get people around where they need to be.
So we had to have a private plane on standby. Couldn't tell. The charter company where the plane would be going, which, by the way, is a very nice charter company. That's very difficult thing to do. They had to sign and days once we were going to tell them what what city they were going to be going to to pick up the person and take them wherever they were going. This was the same in 2008. So John Kerry makes his announcement on the 6th.
The press all head over to Georgetown, where John Edwards and his very telegenic family are leaving to go to Pittsburgh, where John Kerry and his family are. It was really scripted. Edwards was not to talk to the press. No one in the family was to talk to the press. They were just supposed to, like, look great and wave and get in the car and go.
So then the next day was like the big like you made fun of me last time when I said, like, the big Time magazine cover kind of day where everyone's wearing neutral tones.
Look, they look really good and like the beautiful ticket and family that's going to lead the country. We did our big rally with Edwards and then that was that. And like I said around that announcement, so much of what we were doing was meant to be secret and be a surprise. The people who printed the placards that we have also discussed revealed three different potential choices. The Kerry, Gephardt, Kerry Vilsack, Kerry, Graham and Kerry Edwards. Even the people who printed those four versions of placards had to sign NDAA is because we didn't want them to tell anybody who the Final Four might be, even though The New York Times more than had that covered.
And then with Barack Obama, we meant a much more sort of trimmed down version because, as you know, Barack Obama does not like anything that is over the top. And the truth is, the more over the top, the harder it is to execute. Well, I know that we told people by text because I read about it, but I don't remember it. And I don't think I'd signed up for the text, so I didn't get it.
If you send your first text in 2013, if I remember correctly, right after you set up my Twitter account. That's right. Now look at me. So prolific.
And then Barack Obama, we all agreed.
Obviously, all of us had conversations that without it, even knowing if it was going to be Joe Biden. I think that we all agree that the symbolism of bringing it full circle to Springfield, you know, where we had launched the campaign made good sense. And again, charter plane didn't pick them up in Wilmington, picked them up at some small airport outside of Philadelphia and Phifer. I think there were a lot of Biden's that came with us that day.
I think that a plane full of Biden's, which was a little complicating when you're trying to be like small footprint. But at that point, like, you know, people already knew that it was them because we had texted the world about it. And again, like our event, if you look back, it was ours was much more pared down, much more simple. But still the enthusiasm and excitement that it was meant to garner. It did.
And probably some good fundraising, as I recall, so that the tax thing is interesting.
So every campaign in recent years has tried to leverage the pending announcement to get people to sign up for whatever their communications method of choice. So Kerry told everyone he was going to announce it by email to give people sign for his e-mail.
Oh, I forgot that 2008. We wanted people to sign up for text because we wanted to develop texting relations with people's. But also you want to get their cell phone number so you can add it to your database and so you can reach out to them about volunteering about, you know, registering to vote, turning out to vote all of the above.
And so we said we're going to by text. We were going to send the text first thing Saturday morning and the event with by would be Saturday. But what happened was CNN late, late into the night on Friday night, reported that it was Biden. Now, they it sort of reported it based No one in Biden world, I believe, had told CNN this, but I think the two other people on the list had been told that they were not going to be it.
So sort of by process of elimination, you know, in their their desire to keep that secret closed down greatly when there's no they know they're not going to be the V.P.. And so CNN reported it. And we had this was a huge debate that was happening among the digital team, myself and Pluff, about what we do.
Like when do you send the text? Like the thing we cared so much about. As we said, we were going to be the ones to tell our supporters first. Right. We're going to tell them before we told reporters. And so under orders of potential firing, basically said to all of us, I think as the team, you cannot confirm this to any reporter until the text goes out. And so I did not go to bed that entire night.
We eventually made the decision to send the text at 3:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. because it had become untenable. Now, Romney tried a similar tactic that he was going to announce it through his campaign app, which seemed clever on its face, but really made almost no sense. And then Donald Trump in a very on brand way, did something that had no organization value, which is he just tweeted his answer out. So having Twitter followers, does that help you win an election?
So does it help you get volunteers and voters? That whole conversation, perhaps too long and too boring about an email chain? I was on about Text's twelve years ago. Speaks to why what campaigns are trying to get this right. The first and most important thing is they want to grab the nation's attention and hold it for as long as possible, which is why you preview the announcement. You do the announcement, then you kick it off with some sort of bus tour, boat tour or some sort of planes, trains or automobiles tour across America with the two of them.
Right. Because that'll get coverage. The other thing is you want to leverage it for organization, which is why you do things like give people sign up for text and e-mails.
But I have to ask you, as the person I described as a foremost living expert on the vice presidential selection process, you have planned to have these announcements.
What advice would you give to the Biden team about how they were to make this announcement when this decision has been made?
So I obviously have thoughts. I leave these social media stuff to you, like how you would maybe, like, tee it up and actually communicate the choice. So if I were to do the event for Joe Biden and I were gonna tell him what to do when we are in July. August twenty twenty is the one hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. He is picking a woman. This is some low hanging fruit.
I would include it in my announcement in some way, at least, if it only means waiting until August 1st to say this month is so important. And I'm acknowledging it. And this woman is gonna be the first woman to be vice president. I think that would be important. The thing that you want to communicate, which will be hard and will take some finessing, is like momentum and excitement and enthusiasm. And I think that that will be very hard if they can't have a crowd, which they more than likely cannot have a crowd when they do the announcement.
Do some like big energetic speech. So if I were the Biden campaign and if they want to hear more, they can just tweeted me. I would go for something really beautiful and symbolic and something that's just going to take people's breath away. I don't know if this might sound trite, but honestly, it's when I was thinking about it, this was the first thing that came to mind. If you have Joe Biden either in downtown Manhattan or New Jersey and you have the Statue of Liberty in the background, and they do like a very serious speech about the future of America and why this is such an important pick, such an important election.
I think it could be really powerful and beautiful and symbolic. The Statue of Liberty is a statue. And so Donald Trump obviously will have feelings about that. But I think that that's what I would do.
I think that if I'm Biden, you're all the things in your announcement that Trump is not. You are dignified. You are a statesman. You are doing an event that is about you, but more about the country and sort of like a path forward. I think that's probably what I would do.
I mean, per usual. That's super interesting and super smart. It is both totally and logistically impossible to have the sort of traditional enthusiasm images that are around these pics. Right. Like huge crowds for Obama and Biden, huge crowds for Kerry and Edwards. And because like that's traditionally what you do when you get off on a bus tour and you go places like that's not available to you. So, Wolf, you know, I think you're right to swerve in the exact opposite direction, which is be serious.
But I think, like, you know, maybe this a situation where you either you find the sort of beautiful backdrop that you talk about without a crowd or even a covered version of a crowd or you do it in front of flags. Right. Like that. Like Biden. I think that Biden is in a lot of things with that traditional flag backdrop, which is supposed to signify to the viewer, into the press, like this is a serious speech by a campaign.
You put the flags up, you're doing a serious speech. And these are serious times. So so doing it that way is good.
The other two thoughts I had is, one, you would probably do a gazillion joint media interviews. Yeah. Off the bat, because the only way you're gonna be did to reach people is by being seen everywhere and often and oftentimes, like the sequence of this is you wait a week and do a joint 60 Minutes interview was sort of it.
But now you just got to jump in and do all of it because you can't toward the country like you normally would in a lot of local press.
And the other thing is, because of this sort of email, Twitter campaign ad tech sort of tempo, if at all, with campaigns, there's gonna be a lot of really terrible digital ideas, like they should announce it on tick tock.
Oh, Joe, no. Over July.
And I think that is totally off. Right. If there is a clever way, like certainly have people sign up for tax because you want to continue to build that database and other things like that. But I don't think there is some super snazzy thing to do like these are serious times and serious election.
Well, and also, I just think it's like not a medium that Biden would be comfortable in. Right. Like, that's why whether it's the flags or my Statue of Liberty idea, I have some others I'll share with you later that like you need something where he feels like completely great in his skin and like but it's like there is the fear that, you know, there's going to be some wacky digital ideas. I mean, we should just put in the in the trunk until after the good announcements over.
I mean, we're all craving the normalcy of campaigns and those aren't coming. And we should give that up because it isn't fair what we're doing right now. OK. When we come back, I want to talk to 538 Perry Bacon. That's the ticket is brought to you by Beekeeper's Natural's, Beekeeper's is on a mission to reinvent your medicine cabinet with clean remedies that actually work, starting with immune support. Their best selling product, propolis, throat spray. I use them today.
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I'm now joined by Perry Bacon Junior, a senior writer at 538. Perry, thanks for coming on. That's the ticket. Thanks for me, Dan.
I wanted to have you on.
We've known each other for a long time. But you wrote a great piece titled The Debate over Biden's V.P. pick is full of half truths and misleading arguments, which I guess we could say. That is true of most debates in politics now.
But in that article, you divide sort of the three main schools of thought. Right.
And I want to sort of go through those with you and talk about the data underlying them and what is really at stake here. So let's do these one at a time. So I want to one of the schools of thought you talk about is something called debates, the Warren School of Thought. Right.
People who want Elizabeth Warren. How do they make their argument and what data is there to back it up?
So the piece was kind of trying to argue that everybody's making an electoral claim about why their preferred candidate is best. But in reality, the electoral claim was often more contested versus they versus there's a clear sort of ideological other claim. So the Warren claim and it was, in other words, that basically she is the most popular candidate with Democrats overall and that she is basically the worst candidate with younger people and that she is more popular than Kamala Harris with younger black people.
And I think there is some evidence for those things. View, Paul, Democrats generally and ask them who is the most popular V.P. candidate? Eugene Warren is generally ahead of that. I mean, it's not fair to Keysha Bottoms. It's like his Keesha bottoms and run for president. So her name I.D. is obviously much lower, but it does suggest Warren and Comilla did run for president and warranties be a lot more popular than her. And when you break that down in terms of black voters, because we're having this sort of proxy debate where they need a black V.P. or not, and the numbers tend to show that Warren and Comilla are basically even among black voters, you ask them, who do you want to see is to B, the V.P.?
And when you break down, there's a few polls that have showed younger black voters. And for those polls often are younger people of color. And it tends to be that Warren is more popular than Harris among that group. And there's a relevant group because all the data we've seen that has really broken down black voters suggests that Biden is really strong with the over forty five crowd and sort of weak with younger black voters, really those under 30. So if if that the biggest electoral weakness for Biden potentially is younger people or maybe younger people of color.
The case might be for Warren more than any, more than Harris, particularly, Abrams tends to do well in these younger people of color polls, too. I don't wanna make too much these surveys because, again, Susan Rice, Keesha Bottoms and Val Demings did not run for president and do not have high name I.D. in that way. So I think it's a little unfair to them. But in terms of the Warren Comilla debate, I think it I think the broader point here might be that we should not assume that black voters necessarily favor or deeply inclined toward a black V.P. any more than other Democrats are.
So that gets me to the second point. Your second group, which is the case for a black woman on the candidate, as we've talked about on previous episodes of that's a ticket, Biden has pledged to pick a woman. And the question is, is it going to be a woman of color, specifically a black woman? And you wrote the piece of there's some evidence that black turnout goes up when there's a black candidate on the ticket, but some of that data is contested.
Can you explain what you mean there, what the data shows? So, look, political scientists have looked at like city council, state legislator, mayor and house, because there's just not a lot of black people that have run for senator or governor or president, obviously. So in those races in general, like like mayor, city council, House races where we had lots of black candidates in general, black turnout goes up slightly.
If there's a black candidate running compared to a white candidate, there is some and there are some scholars who say that evidence has been overstated a little bit. And they say that that that's a little bit more. That's not as confident as we think it is. And it is a little bit more. And it may relate more to the first round of black candidates who ran for things in the 70s and 80s and maybe less clear now that we've had more more rounds of black candidates.
In other words, like the first time people got to vote for a black person and they were very excited by the mayor. And that may explain some of those studies. But those studies are of a black candidate running for office. And the black candidate themselves.
Another thing worth noting, of course, is that we had a black presidential candidate run in 2002, less twelve. And black turnout for in the U.S. was about 65 percent in 08 and 2012. It was around 60 percent in 2004 and 2016. So at the presidential level, a black candidate who's, you know, this one man at least was inspiring to black voters in a unique way. The challenge here is that with the weak, don't we don't really have much evidence for what is a black running mate do for a white candidate, cause we really had never had that studied any rate real way before.
The other challenges that we have, five people and it's not clear that we can even if you say we you want to have a black woman to increase black turnout, we have five different black when we're talking about here. Val Demings, Kamala Harris, Keysha Bottoms, Stacey Abrams, Susan Rice. I like Susan Rice. I respect Susan Rice. I'm not sure Susan Rice would show up here and tell you she's an increased black turnout. She's never run for office before.
I'm not sure she would be comforted to say the person. Stacey Abrams has run for governor when a state full of black peoples and countless from California. Abraham Keysha Bottoms never run statewide. So even if you said there's some kind of black female or black turnout effect, I think it'd be hard to argue it's the same for all five women in a similar way.
I mean, ultimately, one of the challenges here is being certainly at the national level is it's a sample size of one, right? In a sample size of zero when it comes to the running mate.
This might be an unfair question as it wasn't fully addressed in your piece, but is there any sense of how running mates have affected turnout in the past, whether it's among certain groups? You know, obviously, we have two examples of women being on the national ticket.
So for women, it did not. You know, there was not effect in terms of turnout or in terms of vote percentage with Geraldine Ferraro or with Sarah Palin. Those are not great examples either, though, because those are sort of Hail Mary picks where the person was sort of losing and trying to get some kind of big buzz. There is some evidence that Palin helped slightly with evangelicals in 08, sort of boosting McCain with evangelicals. So it's not so.
The other evidence we have on vice presidents is and this is a little contested as well.
But the general evidence is that you get two to three points in your home state by picking a person for vice president. Meaning? Amy Klobuchar might get Biden two more points in Minnesota. So in general, V.P. effects are very contested. But there is some small evidence. But again, I don't think there's a strong evidence. We can say much about black or Latino VPC for those groups because we've had no black or Latino V.P. nominees.
Then the third group you talk about is the not Warren Group. Right. Which essentially argues that Elizabeth Warren would be beat either because she's too progressive or too polarizing or whatever the case these people are making, saying that she would be a net negative on the ticket because of some set of voters that Biden might be targeting. Explain that.
So this part of the piece was a little bit less electorial, but I basically made the case in you know, I respect Amy Clubbish. I was maybe a little mean to her, but I made the case that when she went on that night and said, we must pick a woman of color because, you know, because of what's happening in the world, we need to heal the country right now.
I think there are a fair amount of like more centrist Democrats who are sort of uncomfortable with Warren because they disagree with her on policy. And so they prefer a more moderate person. Carmela's more moderate. Susan Rice is more moderate in their view. And I guess what I was hinting at is that maybe that they are sort of using the woman of color case to sort of knock down something they disagree with in terms of like would Warren. The ticket. We've seen a lot of polls that have sort of compared Biden, Warren, Biden, Harris, Biden, clubbish.
And those polls have all showed pretty similar results. And most of the ones I've seen have showed Warren Biden doing the best. But I think that might be, again, because Warren has higher name I.D., but there's just very little evidence in the data right now that Warren would kind of drag down the ticket. I know it seems conceptually obvious that Warren is more left. So you might lose kind of more centrist people who, like Biden, will be turned off by her.
We just don't see that in the numbers yet. And I think that might be because people sort of know the vice president is not driving policy. And so they might be fine with him for vice president, who they might have been nervous about for president.
I mean, just this basically that they have someone like you who's who is steeped in the data. But can you explain the relationship between name I.D. and how one of these Kennedys might be doing in these hypothetical vice presidential polls?
Yes. In general, in polls like, you know, using the parts of America optically, if you read 538, you probably know who Keysha Bottoms is. You might know who Val Demings is. You deaf? We know Elizabeth Warren is. But a lot of voter, a lot of people, when we poll, even Democrats do not know who these people are. So automatically, if you ask Democrats for who should be the V.P. and you include Keesha Bottoms and Val Demings and you include Warren and Harris is a little bit unfair because most of the polls show Warren Harris ran for president and Warren was very famous before that.
So they have about 90 percent of Democrats. And most of these polls know who Warren and Harris are when we're talking a Keysha Bottoms, you're talking about. I think one of the surveys I saw showed like 30 percent of Democrats had heard of her. And that may be changing as she gets more coverage. But when you have that amount of disparity in terms of name I.D., of course, Warren is going to be the favorite even among black Democrats, most black people who do not know Keysha Bottoms is.
So in that sense, it's so these polls are showing up. The people who have heard of Keesha bottom, she's doing pretty well. But if you're asking people at random on a phone call, do you support Warren for V.P. or this person you've never heard of?
They will say, Warren, this sort of gets to the larger point of your piece, which is that the data is quite hypothetical at best. Right. Anyone can find any piece of data to make their argument.
Anyone who is picked as the vice presidential nominee, whether it is Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams or Keisha Lance Bottoms or Val Demings, Susan Rice, that person is going to have 11 percent name I.D. seven days after they are picked.
And it will dramatically change how it is viewed.
But the other element of this is we've only had a pretty small number of presidential elections or very long period of time in American history and politics.
And she has pretty fast. So this is quite theoretical at best. But you say that. Yes.
So the piece was trying to say and look, 538 is a part of this more than anybody else. Probably the piece was trying to say everybody is arguing about the V.P. process through sort of electoral ism with these sort of claims about Arga has got to be better for this kind of voter. Our guys did this. And I was sort of saying, we don't really know. We have a tiny amount of evidence for these V.P. claims. Why don't we calm them down slightly?
And my argument was a lot of the black people were saying black, like Jim Clyburn is saying, we need a black person and he's hinting at black turnout. But I think Jim Clyburn really wants to see a black woman on the ticket. He thinks that a lot of black women think forget about electoral politics. We do everything possible for this party every four years, every two years. Why don't you guys give us something? And, you know, Kamala Harris, really, Kamala Harris is very, extremely qualified.
We have a black female senator who ran for president and ran a credible campaign. If the Democratic Party wants to show it values black women, here's someone. Here's a way you can do that. So that's the case they're really making when you get to the center is what they're really saying is, look, this is a country that is centrist. We want to have a centrist person kind of on deck for president after Joe Biden. We don't want Elizabeth Warren as our person next.
And then the left part of the party is saying, look, you guys pick Biden. Wee wee, wee, wee, wee Eton Biden already. Can you at least give us something for V.P. that'll get us excited? That's what's really going on. We're having sort of a shadow boxing. And Dan, you would say this. Every debate in Washington, the whole time we were there, people were masking their own views through electoral exams. This is nothing new.
Right. And it's sort of annoying at times. But I was just trying to make sure for people who who are not plugged into this, here's like what's really going on.
Well, we all wish we had a fight there and what I was trying to get at and one of the things is heart like there is a incredibly strong case for representation. Right. Not just for payback for previous support, but because it is a very important way in which we can move the country forward. Right. And, you know, we. Listen, I had a long conversation about Geraldine Ferraro. Vice presidential candidacy and what that meant for a whole generation.
I mean, you can imagine how a black woman being on the national ticket would obviously change perceptions very quickly for a some people about what was possible in this country. Like I said, we can't know what will happen with turnout. Right. But then there's this other question that I think has been changed by what's happened in American the last few months, which is what if Biden doesn't pick a black woman? Right. Like, what is that conversation look like?
Do you think everything that has happened over the last few months with our sort of national reckoning with structural racism changes the backdrop for that decision for Biden? This is the hardest question I've been thinking about, because if you look at the polls, even post George Foy protests, black people are not demanding a black V.P. Would they tend to? You know, if you look at the polls, you do you care about having a black a black person of color, a black running mate?
Black voters are sort of like 30 percent say very important. The rest say somewhat in part. It's not like black people are opposed to it, but it's not as if they're sort of dry. So it's a weird norm to say we have to have a black VPC because the question is because the is the question almost assumes the black V.P. is for black people. Right. And maybe I'm wrong, but I think it sort of assumes that. And I don't think that's exactly right.
And if you go and if you went to one of these protests that I'm not in, I respect Comilla. But, you know, these protests, you're not hearing people say, let's send the prosecutor to the White House. That's not exactly the message they're giving. So even if you say black, you know, even if we really have to sort of to me with a zone in on, even if we say it might be a moment for a black woman, we have to pick one of these people still.
And I don't know. And I think the moment is more complicated for Val Demings or Comilla because of the what the protesters are really protesting in some ways is how law enforcement treats black people. And they have some concern and some of them have real concerns about what Kallum Comilla has done in particular. And they probably would not accept Val Demings, who is a sheriff as well. I think that complication is there. At the same time, it is the Democratic Party, the party where, like when Biden promised there would be a woman that was a nod to the Democratic Party is a party that is majority female.
In the same way, the Democratic Party is about 40 percent non-white. And so even before George Floyd, I would argue, is going to be awkward for the party that literally talks about its diversity all the time to have to white people.
And I do think and it might be one of the things where I would actually say that a lot of white Democrats I talked to really don't want to see an all white ticket. It may be that I think in some ways I try to think more about diversity in this way was we you see these polls. We now have the democratic parties, not just black people demanding diversity. And white people are minorities, demanding diversity and white standing there. You increasingly have, I think, a lot of white Democrats to be uncomfortable with a as uncomfortable as black Democrats, me more uncomfortable with an all white ticket than black people are.
Yeah, I think I remember seeing polling in the primary that showed white liberals the most uncomfortable with a mostly white Democratic field at the end and then black voters overwhelming supporting Joe Biden, who is most definitely white. And so, like, it is suddenly more complex than that.
I do think one more thing, and this disapproval is that black voters are somewhat nervous about electability and they're focused on that. And if you if I went down to south to win of my guess is I would find that black voters are nervous that Comilla or a black on the ticket will help Trump. Black voters have a deep cynicism about their fellow Americans racial views and are nervous that their fellow Americans may not be excited about having a black woman on the ticket like they.
That is part of what's going on here is black voters see Warren is white and the other people is not. And they think that and I've heard this disgusted. Warren is safer. And I don't agree with this. And I think the data supports that. And you guys won twice. I think I think that, you know, fellow black people are overly pessimistic about the racism, the country. But I'm not going to convince them of that. And I sort of and I think that is underlining this is like a black person is a risk.
Look how they treated Barack.
Perry Bacon, thank you so much for joining us on that. So take it. I hope everyone read your article. It was super fascinating and it real helps us explain what we know and what we do not know about what this decision means politically.
And then just to finish, I said, say I. This is the start. But, you know, I covered politics all this time, covering politics, 20 years. I met a lot of people who are very smart. I met people who also who weren't that smart, who were famous because they know their daughter went to Yale Law School. Have you? I would say this like I have been excited about Dan doing this because I covered the Obama campaign.
I covered the Obama White House. Dan and I always love my coverage. And Dan at times was quite honest about that. But usually he was right. And often he and whenever we talked, I learned a lot about politics from Dan because Dan is when the smartest people I know and understand it's him on the podcast. Dan is one of the sharpest people I know about politics. I'm excited to be on. I'm excited he's doing this. I think people have learned a lot from his thoughts these last four years, so.
Thanks very much, Dan. I appreciate it. Well, that was very, very nice of you. And I apologize for how direct my honesty was at times, even if even what it was sometimes both the product of not being caffeinated up in the morning when I sent the email and being overly crabby. So thank you so much. Thank you.
All right, Elyssa, I'm going to give you a choice. Have you ready for this? Yeah. You can do one of two things here for our listeners on this, the series finale of That's the Ticket. You can either give us your guess for who you think Joe Biden will pick, not who you think you should pick, but who you think he will pick.
Or you can right here and now reveal the name. Of the flatulent contender to be John Kerry's vice president, buddy, you know, I could never do that because that would be uncool. And the whole reason that anyone's ever given me any good shit to do in my life is because I'm discreet. Not anymore. But I was back then. So I have to maintain my oath to John Kerry of being discreet. So I will tell you that I think Joe Biden is going to pick.
Susan Rice. Whoa, what a pick. All right. We'll see if you're right. Thanks for this. Think about the ticket. Don't take me out to dry, you mother fucker. Oh, it's all fun and games. Let's just have Iliza walk the plank. Yeah. That was the plan.
Well, it's not the plan. People want to know what you think.
I have to be honest. I feel very hesitant to do this for two reasons. One, I gave up predictions like very explicitly. Like it's actually the entire theme of parts of America is that we're out of the prediction game. So I have some discomfort with that. But since I walked you down this plane, I feel like I should also jump in the deep end. If I had to guess, based on no insider knowledge, with no opinion on whether this is the right pick or the wrong pick and the context that I think that there is no one on the list on Joe Biden's list, as we understand it.
That would be a bad selection if I had to guess what Joe Biden would do. I would guess that he would pick Kamala Harris.
Well, we'll see if one of us is right. Also, all the caveats you said applied to what I said, but I just didn't use that much air to Deftest to buffer myself around a potential car mattick bad pick per usual.
You accomplish a lot more than me and less Tilo Lowell. All right, everyone, thank you so much for listening to. That's the ticket. It has been a blast talking to you all about the vice presidential selection process and.
We can't wait to talk to you again on parts of America after this choices.
I cannot wait. Hopefully it is by everyone. Pottsy of America is a crooked media production. The executive producer is Michael Martinez, our assistant producers, Jordan Waller. It's mixed and edited by Andrew Chadwick. Kyle Soglin is our sound engineer based to Tanya. So much later, K.D. Lang, Roman Pappert, Demetrio, Caroline Reston and Elisa Gutierrez for production support into our digital team. Alija Ko Na Melkonian, Yael Freed and Milo Kim, who film and upload these episodes as videos every week.