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Zoom Boy, it's a hacker with a heart of gold continues. Try it now for free at Zipcar or dotcom slash crooked. If you go to Zipcar or Dotcom's cricket today to try a recruiter for free, we get credit for sending you. Welcome to Save America, I'm Jon Favreau. I'm Dan Pfeiffer on today's pod, Elizabeth Warren talks to Dan about her convention speech and her efforts to save the post office. Before that, we'll talk about some of the most memorable moments in speeches from the first three nights of the Democratic National Convention.
A few quick housekeeping notes before we start. Check out this week's POD, Save the World, where Palestinian foreign policy expert Rula Jebreal joins Tommy and Ben to explain the downsides of the US Israel UAE deal. And they also cover the Senate Intel Committee's blockbuster report on Russian election interference.
It happened. There you go.
Check out this week's episode of Missing America, where Ben Rhodes takes on the rising spread of nationalism. It's a fantastic podcast. Check it out wherever you get yours.
Also, check out the latest campaign. Experts react for the Pods of America hacks on tap crossover you've all been waiting for. David Axelrod joins Dan to break down some campaign ads on YouTube. Dotcom slash crooked media fun episode, YouTube dotcom.
The appropriate way of saying we have to say that to people to go to YouTube. So you have to do the site.
The site is Crooked Media. It's Backslash Kirchen video. I don't know. Either way, super fun to talk with Axe about new ads from the Biden campaign a the relaunched Trump campaign strategy. And we looked at a very interesting ad from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper about mask's, which is you should check it out and add up North Carolina as part of the of America, adopt a state program. Good plug.
Good plug. Finally tonight on the last night of the Democratic National Convention, check out our pod, Save America Live pre show on crooked dotcom convention. Love it, Tommy. Dan and I will all be there. Recapping the biggest moments of this year's convention. Looking back at some previous conventions, maybe even playing some drinking games, we promise it will be a lot better than anything that's on cable, though. I do realize that is a very low bar.
But join us anyway at five p.m. Pacific, eight p.m. Eastern. It is crooked dotcom convention.
We'll have the whole show. It'll be fun. John, what do Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the four of us have in common? I don't know what, but we all have it. We're all officially part of the convention program. That's right. We are.
We are in the January pre show. So, like, on one hand, we did get an hour, which is great. On the other hand, it's not streamed as part of the official convention, though. It is on the official convention program.
Yeah, we're we're we're the opening act. I'm OK with that. We started this podcast four years ago. Where are we going to be in four years? That's the question probably in prime time.
Look, we are opposite Phil Murphy and the Democratic governors who also have a pre show at 8:00.
It's a tough slot slot. Some of you fiddleheads might be over on the other stream watching that.
But, you know, if not, come check us out.
All right. We have now seen the first three nights of the only Democratic National Convention not to take place in an actual convention hall with a cheering crowd of delegates and supporters. Instead, each day has given us two hours of primetime programming. That's included a mix of pre produced videos, montages, musical acts and live speeches from locations all across the country featuring an incredibly diverse array of Americans from across the political spectrum.
Joe Biden has officially been nominated as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, and he will accept that nomination in a speech from Wilmington, Delaware, tonight, Thursday.
So, Dan, we're going to save our reflections on the entire week for Friday's bonus pot with Tommy and love it. But before we get to the big speeches we've heard so far, I have two questions for you.
OK, great. First, general reaction to the week so far, just as you've been watching this unfold.
And second, from a political standpoint, what, if anything, do you think the Democrats and the Biden campaign have accomplished so far?
So general reaction is I had no idea what to expect heading into this week, this is. I mean, truly unprecedented how they were going to pull this off and was a relatively short period of time because it wasn't that long ago that Biden was planning to be in Milwaukee largely by himself, but in Milwaukee, Kamala Harris, and would be in Milwaukee. But they had to change all of that and do the most of this together very quickly. And I think it has gone tremendously well.
I think one thing that is sort of understated in the coverage of this, and I think this is one of the things that they have accomplished politically, is there's a lot of sort of Twitter theater criticism about how how it was going and whether it was cringing. And some didn't want some of these videos. Or is it weird that Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Tracy Ellis, Ross are the ones sort of moderating this? But what I think that misses is the medium is the message here.
The abnormality of this convention is in part making Joe Biden's core political argument, which is that because Donald Trump is such a terrible president, we cannot gather in Milwaukee. So all of the weirdness buttresses that argument about how Trump has failed to handle the coronavirus, and that is to their benefit. In addition to that, and I think the organizers did a unbelievable job of putting this together. It is I think the creativity, the execution under tremendous circumstances is phenomenal.
But they went into this convention with the goal of deepening knowledge of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, to the many voters who who know them by name, but not by person and not by policy agenda. And I think they've met a lot of progress on that. It's up to Joe Biden to close that deal tonight in his speech.
I have been so pleasantly surprised and I have been happier with the convention as it has gone on each day, like there are certain things that absolutely just didn't work, partly because they tried so many unique things throughout this convention, different kinds of pieces, different locations, different kinds of people.
I mean, it really ran the gamut. So, of course, there are there are a few things here and there that didn't work.
But I think the real coup here is how they basically have tricked the media into covering a full two hours of convention material every single night. So like you and I know that and people who have seen conventions before, typically there's about three hours per night each night of a convention. The large majority of that time is spent, you know, giving every elected Democratic official who holds an office a chance to give a speech.
Usually most of those speeches, 90 percent of those speeches are pedestrian at best.
And then there are sort of highly produced videos that are supposed to illustrate something about the nominee's life, their record, their plans.
And during those videos, most of the networks will cut away to a bunch of pundits on CNN or MSNBC or FOX or whatever, just blabbing about whatever.
And they don't feel the need to show the videos or show a lot of the new stuff. That's the convention and for this week.
But none of the networks or the cable networks really pulled away for any of it.
And so all of these like really moving videos and pieces that they all put together for the convention were just played in their entirety. And it's basically every single night of this week has been a two hour infomercial for the Democratic Party and Joe Biden's campaign.
And kudos to the organizers of the convention for pulling that off and especially pulling that off when they're all in different places. There's five different studios, a million different locations. Some of it's live. I mean, it is very difficult. You know what? We can get into the specifics, but like the roll call was maybe one of the most beautiful moments, unexpectedly beautiful moments of the whole convention, where usually in a roll call vote, you're just watching inside the convention hall where each state has to go one by one, all 50 states and nominate the candidate.
And it is very boring. And people go make snacks, go to the bathroom, pundits talk, and instead they went to all 50 states and then all the territories and they had different kinds of people, a diverse group of people at each location nominating Joe Biden. And it was like a really wonderful moment that even broke through the cynicism on Twitter.
I loved it. Can I admit something? I just large portions of the roll call. Oh, man, I know. I mean, I had a good reason, which is Kylah goes to bed between seven seven thirty generally, or the next day can be an absolute disaster. And we've been keeping it the first night we kept her up because she has been watching. When Michelle Obama reads books on PBS like that is a thing as she calls her mama's boss, because how they work for us.
So with their staff to watch Michelle Obama. But we put her to bed during the roll. I put her to bed during the roll call. But I have to say I Letwin when I left the group thread was like, oh my God, this is going to be the worst thing in the world. I left in the bees teeth brushing, book reading, negotiating bed. We were in Ohio when I came back and you guys were all like, this is the best thing the world people are crying.
And I was like, what a day. It impressed me. And I made it back in time to see if Guy got the masked guy in Rhode Island holding the plate a calamari, which was unbelievable.
I think one of the reasons that worked so well is because all of us have been stuck home for six months. And like I felt the same way when I started, I was like, oh, boy, 50 states. I don't know about this, but I think what came over most people is like we, for the first time in a long time, got to see what America looks like and why we love it.
So very simple, just like it was joyful. And when at a time when not much of the news we see is joyful in any way, you know, for good reason, we're living in the middle of a pandemic and Trump presidency.
But I thought it was great.
And it's interesting sort of when it's I thought the weakest time of the whole convention was basically Monday, almost up until Bernie and Michelle spoke. There were some good parts, but a lot of it was traditional speeches from elected officials and they were giving the speeches as if they were at a convention. And for some, it was just felt a little slow to me, mainly because I don't think the speeches were all that strong. But then starting with Bernie and the rest of Monday night and then Tuesday, Wednesday, I thought even the pre primetime stuff was they had very moving videos.
I thought like it. It helps convey empathy for struggling Americans. You know, it conveyed the message that we need to take care of each other. At credentialled, Joe Biden's character laid out the state's stakes and the urgency. So I thought it worked very, very well. And I thought it was very emotional at times, too.
All right. So one of the first major speakers of the week was Senator Bernie Sanders, who spoke from Vermont on Monday night. In his remarks, Bernie told his supporters that, quote, All the progress we have made will be in jeopardy if Donald Trump is re-elected. He made a strong case for Biden's policies on everything from the minimum wage to paid family leave to climate change. And he ended the speech.
On this note, the future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine. Dan, what you think of Bernie's speech?
The context of Bernie's speech is fascinating to me, which is if you think back to that last debate between Sanders and Biden, which is one of the last things that happen when life was this is right as life was becoming abnormal because they were they were socially distanced in that CNN studio, I think, during the debate. And it was pretty it was relatively heated, that debate on substantive but heated. And then you flash forward to think that Bernie Sanders is giving a speech to the convention and there is no drama about the unity of the party.
And so I think what makes Bernie Sanders speech so interesting is everything that happened between when he got out of the race and now and that he and he and Biden together have done so much to unify the party. So I think that's the first part. The second part is whenever you look at these speeches, we're all hearing them, but we're not all the specific target audience of those speech. And so Bernie Sanders was speaking directly to it. It's a small percentage, but the some number of voters of his who are motivated and impassioned by Bernie Sanders, his agenda and message, who may be skeptical about whether they're going to vote for Biden, and he was raising the stakes for them in a way that was very, very powerful.
And it's a reminder that Bernie Sanders is a great political speaker. He makes a strong, clear moral argument without equivocation whenever he speaks. And it works whether there's a huge audience of people at a rally in Phoenix or Iowa City or in a empty room with a lot of firewood as happened here.
Yeah, I mean, look, Bernie is one of the best messengers in the party bar none when it comes to talking about. Economic issues and embracing the good version of economic populism, he is passionate about these issues in a way that is incredibly authentic.
He did a fantastic job here, spelling out Biden's progressive policies and vouching for them said that Joe Biden would make it easier for workers to join unions, 12 weeks of paid family leave, universal pre-K, affordable child care, 100 percent clean electricity over the next 15 years. He would end private prisons and detention centers and cash bail and the school to prison pipeline. I mean, just the idea that Bernie Sanders stood up there and said that Joe Biden would do all these things is incredibly valuable for the Biden campaign and incredibly good of Bernie Sanders to do.
I think what struck me the most is his repeated references and warnings that Donald Trump is leading us down the path of authoritarianism. Now, Bernie Sanders has said that many times before. It was part of his part of some of his major speeches during the primary. But what struck me as is, is I've been watching this whole week and we're going to talk about this with Obama's speech as well. From the far left of the party, Bernie Sanders to the more establishment part of the party, Barack Obama, to some of our new Republican friends who are voting for Joe Biden, John Kasich, Colin Powell.
There is a warning across ideological lines that democracy is at stake in this election and that something very dark could happen if Donald Trump wins a second term. And the unity around that warning from a broad array of people with vastly different ideological views should tell people something about how scary this could be.
And basically, you know, we can talk about sort of like the the unity in the party. But I think the unity is primarily around the fact that at least from the perspective of a lot of these elected officials, whether it's Bernie or Kasich or Obama, it from from their perspective, it's like, hey, you might be this might not be your dream candidate. This may not be all the policies that you want.
But in this election, we face a very stark choice. And if we do not make the right choice, then we are headed down a very bad path. And so we're going to have to put all of our problems aside for right now and come together to defeat Donald Trump in November. And I think that message came through perhaps clearer than any other message of the entire week.
I think that's exactly right. But I think there is an additional piece of that that also weaves through the other speeches we're going discuss, which is it's not just defeat Donald Trump. It is that we're going to have to do a series of things to fix the American political system so we don't end up with Donald Trump again. And that is where there has been really in the last several months, a merging of various wings of the party around a democracy reform agenda that recognizes that Donald Trump is the symptom, not the cause.
He is not an aberration. And that what we really is that Donald Trump is a particularly stupid authoritarian. And waiting in the wings is a whole bunch of smarter, equally racist authoritarians in the Republican Party. And if we don't do things like Uber, the filibuster pass, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, deal with the courts, we're going to have we're going to we're just going to do repeat this whole process in some number of years. In Bernie Sanders speech, I think sort of helped set the stage for that as well.
While we're talking about Bernie, you know, what's your take on? Is the party big enough for both John Kasich and Colin Powell? And a video from Cindy McCain about John McCain and Joe Biden's friendship. And Bernie Sanders, an AOC, you know, who we should note, spoke for a minute and nominated Bernie Sanders, which is tradition, by the way, that the runner up, who has amassed a lot of delegates, gets officially nominated and then releases the delegates to the official nominee afterwards.
So that was part of the process. I know there was a little confusion about that.
Yeah, I think this is a pretty. Complicated set of things, it's all happening here. So is the party big enough for Bernie Sanders and John Kasich? No, because John Kasich is not a Democrat, but to win the Electoral College and become president, you need the votes of some people who are not members of the Democratic Party. Large numbers of independents and even some number of Republicans. That is what the demographic makeup and partisan split within the states to get to 270 demands, which is why as much look, I do not like John Kasich.
I haven't liked him ever. I didn't like him when he hosted a terrible MSNBC cable show. I didn't like him when he was in the house. I really didn't like him as governor. Mean he is at best a mediocre CNN commentator right now. I appreciate the fact that he hasn't followed the Republican Party off the cliff of Trump, but. He served a purpose, he was speaking to a group of people I am not one of those people, I would rather do almost anything than watch John Kasich.
Meg Whitman, Christie Todd Whitman, or any of these other people speak who spoke in that parade of mediocre Republicans, but they're speaking, they are trying to create the right. He was trying to create a permission structure for people who either voted for Donald Trump in two thousand and sixteen or voted for a disapproving Donald Trump, who voted for a third party candidate because they couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat. They were trying to create a permission structure for those people to vote for by.
Now, that is not an excuse or a reason to not give more time to Alexandra Cassio Cortez, one of the most talented messages in the party, because she also has a very important audience that needs to see her and can be motivated by her. And, yeah, John Kasich clearly doesn't want to hear her speak, which she had kept that sentiment to himself as he was arriving at our party under invitation.
But there are voters who who are deciding between voting and not voting, who AOC would be a very powerful messenger with.
We know that Joe Biden is, prior to this convention, at least underperforming with Latino voters and particularly young Latino voters, and could have been very influential with that. So we are a big tent party. We should be we should welcome we should welcome efforts to appeal to people that do not agree with us, because that's what both winning elections and governing demands. But we also should not short shrift are the base of our party. And I thought Heather McGhee, our our friend and one of the smartest guy in politics, pointed out that in the speaking program there has been an absence of progressives and particularly young progressives of color.
And that's the one place where I would be critical of the speaking agenda thus far is there could be more of that. And yes, he was giving the Bernie Sanders nominating speech, but she could have done something else. And I think that would have been good for the larger effort of electing Joe Biden.
All right. Let's talk about Monday night's final speech from Michelle Obama, which was incredibly powerful and very direct to the point, both in the case she made for Joe Biden and the case she made against Donald Trump. Here is a clip of the latter.
Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me when others are going solo. Does going I still really work. My answer. Going high is the only thing that works because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that's drowning out everything else.
We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight. But let's be clear, going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty, going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountaintop.
Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we've got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences. And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free. The cold, hard truth. So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can, Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country.
He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be. For us, it is what it is.
Dan, why do you think Michelle's speech struck a chord with so many people? Because it wasn't a speech so much of especially on that first night. The remarks were speeches delivered in an in a context, an environment that that did not feel right for speeches, people standing at empty podiums, speaking. And Michelle Obama, I think more than anyone else who has spoken in these first three nights, delivered a master class in how you communicate. In a Zoome world, which as she sat in front of a camera and had a conversation, she talked like a human to human, not like a politician speaking to a room of people.
And it was powerful and raw and it had no jargon or clichés or applause lines, which is something that a lot of these speechwriter likes. I mean, you know, this speechwriters build speeches around applause and they did that in a lot of speeches, even when there would be no applause. And Michelle Obama just spoke as a friend of mine after the speech. She said, watching Michelle Obama is like when your friend sits you down and tells you how to get out of that bad relationship you're in.
It was just like how your friend talks to you in a serious time. And I mean, it was absolutely riveting. The best speeches tell a simple story that you can remember after the speech is done. That was the case with the best speeches over the course of this week. And the people who wrote those speeches, including the people who gave those speeches, they did not write them, like you said, to get a bunch of applause. They do not write traditional applause lines.
They do not write sort of the cheap, you know, one off quotable lines. They had a conversation with the audience and told a story. Right. That was I think that was we know what we can remember what Bernie's speech was about. We can remember what Michelle Obama's speech was about. We can remember what Barack Obama's speech was about, what Kamala Harris his speech was about. We can remember what Joe Biden's speech was about. And it's hard to remember too many of the other ones because they were collections of lines and policies.
And so I do think that hers especially rose to the moment.
It was a very simple message. It was I'm one of very few people who's seen the job of president up close. It is hard. Donald Trump is not up to it. Joe Biden is. That's it. That was that was the message from Michelle's speech, what made it more powerful? As you said, she is not a politician. In fact, towards the end of the speech now, I understand that my message won't be heard by some people.
We live in a nation that is deeply divided. And I am a black woman speaking at the Democratic convention. But enough of you know me by now, you know that. I tell you exactly what I'm feeling. You know, I hate politics, but you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children. So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this.
If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can. Which again, we're getting to the Obama speech.
But, Bernie, authoritarianism, Michelle Obama, you know, some of the Republicans that spoke, it is the message that sort of connects throughout the convention.
But she she she has more authority and is more persuasive, particularly because people see her as someone who is outside politics, who doesn't really like politics. So they trust her more because people don't trust politics that much. And it is one of the reason that she was she was so effective.
The other thing she does so well is I think that she humanizes political issues in a way that most elected officials do not. And so as she talked about Trump and criticized Trump, it was all around the value of empathy, which is something he lacks. And in that way, she took on not just Donald Trump, but Trump ism. She talked about how, you know, people are in stores not wearing masks and, you know, references to people calling the police on black Americans.
And so she she sort of talked about how Donald Trump's behavior has bled into society and what's that what that is doing to our children, which is a way to connect with other people who may not like politics very much, but don't like what's happening in the country right now.
I will say one last thing about her speech. You know, people really focused on the it is what it is line because it sort of threw Trump's words back in his face in a very effective way. I thought the line that came before it, he's in over his head, Donald Trump is in over his head, was actually the most effective line of attack against Donald Trump.
And I think you know why we have talked about this before on Boards of America. We have seen a lot of research now from a lot of different places. Democratic candidates, pollsters, progressive groups, change research polls that we've conducted. And it all points to the same thing, which is that the most persuasive argument for people who may have voted for Trump but have since soured on him. The most persuasive argument is one that says Donald Trump is simply not effective, that he just cannot do the job.
And the reason that that's effective is because it doesn't pass judgment on the voter for casting that ballot for Donald Trump in the first place. It says to them, you know what? You may have thought that even though this guy was an asshole, he was going to shake up Washington. He just couldn't get the job done. He just didn't get it done. He's in over his head. He didn't fix the system like he said he would, and he has failed you.
So try someone else. And it's it's complicated because, of course, the rest of us want to say to those people, you should have fucking known from the outset he was a racist, sexist, authoritarian fucking asshole. That's what we think.
But again, to get the votes of those people which are up for grabs now, those people are saying we are disappointed with him. The best way to do so is say, this guy that you thought was going to fix your life, was going to improve your life, improve the country. He's in over his head. He can't do it. And that was the message from Michelle Obama. And I think it is very effective to not just to people who voted for Trump, but to those who are not paying super close attention to politics, haven't quite made up their mind, and yet are still considering voting in the first place.
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Let's talk about Tuesday night, which I thought was the most emotional night of the of the convention so far.
There was the roll call nomination that we talked about. There was an incredibly powerful video about health care, as well as a video from our friend Adi Barkan and his family. And then there was the video that introduced Dr. Jill Biden. Let's play a clip.
The boys fell in love with Jill, too. I'm brushing my teeth one morning and they came running in. Dad, we think it's time we married Joe. I swear to God.
She asked for maybe five times. It wasn't just my heart that was on the line. I loved the boys so much I had to be sure that it had to be forever.
Now, I'm going to ask you one more time. Will you marry me? She goes like this, I'll be OK someday. Put it together and look at it and put us back together. How awesome was that video?
I mean, one of the best biographical convention videos I've ever seen. It was just truly easily I mean, it was just incredibly heartwarming and funny. I mean, just it was it was it was wonderful. I mean, I loved every second of it.
I mean, just to talk about, like, what it actually achieved. I mean, a lot of people don't know the full story of the Biden family and the full extent of the grief that the vice president and his family live with every day.
I think a lot more people are familiar with, um, you know, the fact that Beau Biden passed away several years ago, but just sort of the origin story of when Biden was this very young, newly elected senator and his his wife and baby daughter were killed in a car accident that his two boys were in as well. And then I didn't even know when. And Jill mentioned it in her speech and in the video that she met them all at twenty six, you know, and at twenty six years old, she, you know, basically decides to marry this widower and his two boys.
I think a lot of people didn't know that Jill not only was a teacher, but remained a teacher while she was second lady, which we knew working with her in the White House, that she would that her White House job, a second lady, was part time.
And that part time she was teaching at a community college in Virginia. Yes. Yeah. Which is an incredibly unusual arrangement, but one that she insisted on and, you know, was a fantastic teacher by, you know, all of her students account.
So I think it it told a wonderful story about Jill Biden, about the Biden family and about her husband and sort of the character qualities in the character that he has, which he continued to do in her speech, which she gave from her former classroom in Delaware.
And here's a clip of that.
You know, motherhood came to me in a way I never expected. I fell in love with a man and two little boys standing in the wreckage of unthinkable loss, mourning a wife and mother, a daughter and sister I never imagined. At the age of twenty six, I would be asking myself, how do you make a broken family? Hold still. Joe always told the boys Mommy sent you to us and how could I argue with her? We found that love holds a family together.
Love makes us flexible and resilient. It allows us to become more than ourselves together. And though it can't protect us from the sorrows of life, it gives us refuge. A home. How do you make a broken family hole the same way you make a nation whole with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness, with bravery, with unwavering faith. You show up for each other in big ways and small ones again and again. It's what so many of you are doing right now for your loved ones, for complete strangers, for your communities.
A lovely speech.
Dan, what did you think that Jill's speech accomplished for the for the campaign and for Biden?
I mean, in addition, obviously, to introducing her and testifying to who Joe Biden is and telling that story?
What I thought and it's in that speech, she she just she goes the step of connecting how she and Joe Biden and their family dealt with grief, how they how they use love to put their lives back together, both. Well, after the initial tragedy involving Vice President Biden's wife and daughter and then now after Beau, they connected that to what the country is going through, because right now we are a broken country. One hundred and seventy thousand of our citizens have died in the last six months, due in part to incompetence from our president, not to mention the absolute tearing of the moral fabric from having an authoritarian racist as president.
And we are going to have to heal. And Joe Biden's life story. Makes him the perhaps one of the most qualified people on the planet to help heal the country. We've talked about this before, but when Joe Biden talked about healing the soul of the nation, when he got in this race well over a year ago, I was pretty skeptical that that was a message that would work. Now, I was wrong about that because he won the night he won the nomination before we felt the Treasury.
He was right now is wrong. But right right now, the context of. As someone as someone with the empathy to heal a nation, that is what we need right now because we are a nation that is hurting. I've always thought that maybe the most important question you should answer when you're running for president is why me? Why now? And I think she answered that question more succinctly and more powerfully in that speech than we've heard the entire campaign.
And like you said, the reason we haven't heard it like that in the entire campaign is because we were in a country where one hundred seventy thousand people had died of a horrible pandemic back back in the primary. And now we are. But it was in that moment you can connect. This is like fate has led us here. And this is exactly why Joe Biden is the right person for this moment. And I do think sometimes, like Joe Biden's message, the let's all be bipartisan part of the message gets confused with let's heal the nation, because I think those are two very different things.
And you and I would disagree that there's a lot of room for bipartisanship right now with the political system the way it is.
But I do believe that a president can help heal some of the divisions throughout the country, not totally, but can sort of set an example that helps heal divisions, probably doesn't fix the fucking asshole Republicans in Washington.
But you can set an example that heals the country or at least begins to heal the country, certainly more so than Donald Trump has done.
There is a confusion, I think, around the huge emphasis on bipartisanship at this convention, both in the speaking program and the telling a story like in the Cindy McCain video was about Joe Biden being sort of reaching out to Republicans. And I think we need to separate a desire for bipartisanship as a character trait and bipartisanship as a strategy to accomplish progressive goals. They are two different things. Joe Biden is someone who in his core, believes you should reach out to the other side and try.
Right, and he and in that sense, he is where the country is, the American people want you to get caught trying to work with the other side. The question will be, what do you do when Mitch McConnell turns his back on you when the nation needs you? How are you going to respond to that? There have been some hopeful signs among Joe Biden and some of the people around him that he will take aggressive action in the filibuster.
And the filibuster is on the table. But it is the right thing politically, both in the campaign and in the White House to talk about the fact that he wants to work the other side right now. What he's going to have to manage is the expectations that come with that right. Is that this is where we fell prey in 2009, which is Obama also ran on reaching out to their side. And then he did. And then then the the press and the American people, to some extent, judged him on his failure to get Mitch McConnell to do things that did not benefit Mitch McConnell.
And so you if you're going to do you have to manage expectations. And, you know, you say this like I don't think Mitch McConnell will ever do anything to help anyone other. Mitch McConnell, I wrote a book with a section How Bipartisanship is Dead. Yet I still think Joe Biden is doing the right thing in this convention about talking about his history of trying to work with Republicans in his intention to try to do so again.
Let's talk about Kamala Harris, who gave the final address of the evening on Wednesday night when she formally accepted the nomination for vice president. In her speech, she paid tribute to the women, especially black women, who helped pave the way for her historic candidacy. She introduced herself and shared her own story, particularly the profound influence her mother had on her life.
The speech was later on direct hits on Trump, and she did focus on the positive case for herself and for Joe Biden. She ended her remarks with a stirring call to action. Let's hear it.
And years from now, this moment will have passed and our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and they're going to ask us, where were you when the stakes were so high?
They will ask us, what was it like? And we will tell them. We will tell them not just how we felt. We will tell them what we did.
Dan, what you think, a Comilla speech. I don't think any person in the history of modern American politics has ever been given a task as difficult as the one she had last night. To give that speech in that empty room with that level of expectation, with that much pressure on her to deliver that way was a tremendous accomplishment. It is this it is a fundamentally different task. Some of the pieces we talked about were recorded in advance where if you mess up, you just start over again.
You know, Barack Obama's speech, which will discuss Barack Obama is one there's only a small handful of people who have ever had to deliver a high stakes speech. In an empty room before, and those are presidents who are giving nationally televised addresses, so Obama has a lot of reps doing what he did when it from all of the speeches he gave in the Oval Office or in the East Room after big events for any other politician, this is something they've never been able to do.
And I thought her delivery was incredible. The parts about her story in the part you just played is, I think, where Kamala Harris is at her best, which is where she is motivating people to action because it ties to the activism of her parents, her history, and connects it to what is happening right now in America within the Democratic Party. And so I was incredibly impressed and very motivated by the speech. I was fired up for Kamala Harris as vice president.
I was to I think that you're exactly right that her connecting the historic nature of her candidacy with both her life story, particularly what her mother meant to her, and connecting that to all the women who came before civil rights activists and women's suffrage activists who sort of who made her candidacy possible was beautiful and stirring and certainly the strongest part of the speech. Kamala Harris, there are some public figures who make every single written speech better with their delivery. There are other public figures who speechwriters will tell you this inevitably make every written speech worse.
It's never the speechwriters fault, as speechwriters will tell you, will not well, not talk about will not talk about those public figures now.
But she is one of the public figures who makes every speech even better, even great well written speeches better with her delivery. She is comfortable and confident. She has an incredible amount of charisma. I mean, it's just I'm continually impressed with Kamala Harris every time she delivers a speech. And like you said, the speech she had to deliver last night was the highest stakes kind of speech in the most unusual environment possible, particularly for someone who was just nominated to be vice president and now has to face the national stage.
Usually you get weeks of prep and prompter prep and you get crowds and you you learn how to ride the applause and you have all that kind of stuff.
And it wasn't like she could give sort of the Michelle Obama speech where she's just sitting on a couch and talking directly to camera. Like, I do think it was better to have her at a party. She had to do that.
And that's she had to do that. But it makes the job all the harder to to basically pretend you're speaking to an audience that you can't see. And I think she absolutely I think she absolutely nailed it.
So it was. And look, we're talking about sort of the mechanics of the speech and how it went. But it was I was I was emotional just watching it, thinking about the history of that moment and what it meant that, you know, especially with what we had seen. I mean, there is this arc where Barack Obama, the first black president, you know, chooses Joe Biden to be his vice president, this older white guy. And then years later, he chooses, as he's running for president, the first black woman on a major ticket.
And she gives that speech right after Barack Obama on the Wednesday night of the convention. And I think it was it was it was it was a moment.
It was a moment.
There was one part of that speech that I thought was incredibly historic. And I think a little under discussed at least among sort of mainstream political commentators here. You have. A black woman accepting the nomination to be vice president in states saying the names of Brianna Taylor and George Ford and others who were murdered by the police was just such a powerful thing to do. And I think it really yeah, it spoke to the moment we're in and how we're responding to it, I think in a very powerful way.
Yeah, for sure.
All right. Let's end on Barack Obama's speech, because I suspect we both have a lot to say about it.
The former president spoke at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia in front of a display about the Constitution and delivered an urgent and at times emotional plea for people to treat. This election is a referendum on the future of democracy itself. Here's a clip.
This president and those in power, those who benefit from keeping things the way they are, they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can't win you over with their policies, so they're hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote and to convince you that your vote does not matter. That is how they win. That is how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life and the lives of the people you love. That's how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected.
How our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That's how a democracy withers. Until it's no democracy at all. And we cannot let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy.
Make a plan right now for how you are going to get involved and vote, do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote to.
Do what Americans have done for over two centuries when faced with even tougher times than this.
All those quiet heroes who found the courage to keep marching, keep pushing in the face of hardship and injustice. So I will stipulate here that.
You and I both have saw drafts of that speech before he delivered it, and the reason I want to stipulate that is because still, even though I read it many times, I was surprisingly moved by his delivery, which was I think I have rarely seen him deliver a speech like that with that much emotion towards the towards the end of that speech when it almost seemed like he was fighting back tears.
That's right. I mean, it like there is this really stupid Washington narrative perpetuated by The New York Times as recently as, I don't know, fucking yesterday that Obama has some sort of aloof Vulcan. I try so hard not to yell about that for twenty five hours.
I mean, that's what give me a platform with a couple of million listeners and I'll take my shot and that he is like this aloof Vulcan who feels no emotion.
And, you know, he is the embodiment of hope and, you know, enjoying a lot of ways when he speaks and he's funny and all of that. But there are only so many times in the thousands of times that you and I have seen him speak where you've seen him actually have to, I think, fight back choking up. And it is in times of great tragedy. No, I think most notably, infamously after the death of his grandmother right before the 2008 election, after Sandy Hook, talking about his daughters.
But that's it. As people who know him, to hear him have that level of emotion about what is happening to his country is just so powerful and bespeaks the incredible stakes of this election because that was ultimately his task here. Right. He had to tasks, I guess one was a first person testimonial about who Joe Biden is and the kind of person he would be. And the other one was to raise the stakes for the election, to speak to people who are not deciding between Obama and Trump.
But but primarily people were deciding between voting and not voting about why it matters. And like the through line of all of Obama's speeches over the years is that it's not about him, it's not about Joe Biden. It's not about Trump. It's about you, you, the voter control, what happens next.
And he's telling you it is all on the fucking line right now. And you decide what is going to happen in this country now that that was powerful and riveting and inspiring and scary all at the same time.
There are two main reactions to the speech that I sort of want to talk about as a way to discuss what he was thinking, which, you know, I'm not an expert on much in politics here, but I usually know what Barack Obama is, what's on his mind.
So the first the most shallow reaction to the speech from many reporters is he's never taken on Trump like this. He's finally let loose on Trump. So I just want to read a lead from The New York Times. Former President Barack Obama re-entered the national political debate with a scathing indictment of President Trump. Assailing his successor is a threat to our democracy. In a dramatic break from the normal deference former presidents usually show to incumbents, Mr. Obama ended a long period of public reticence with a lacerating assessment of Mr.
Trump. Then that lead was from September 7th. Twenty eighteen.
We seem to not be able to remember just two years ago during the midterms when he consistently called Donald Trump a threat to our democracy.
So we'll put that aside. I mean, in fairness, The New York Times right now, I would fail a quiz about what happened on Tuesday.
So two years does seem like a long time ago. It is also funny. I mean, he did, of course, directly mention Donald Trump. He said his name. I do think it was probably even more direct than he was in twenty eighteen. So I will give people that.
But again, even the way it's funny that just describing reality, we've talked about this before, but just describing reality the way everything is right now is seen as some gigantic hit on the person in the Oval Office. Right.
Like the way he coached it.
I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope for the sake of the country that Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously. But he never did. Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't. Again, that sort of mirrors Michel's line that he is in over his head. Right. That it is not any personal vendetta against Donald Trump. Barack Obama did not leave office thinking that Donald Trump would embrace all of his policies, would keep all of the policy.
They didn't expect that, but he hoped that maybe the seriousness of the job would weigh on him and it did not. If that is taken as a massive frontal assault, I guess.
Sure. And then, of course, he went through this list. So there are certain principles that shouldn't be Democrat or Republican, but American like not using the military against peaceful protesters, like not calling the press the enemy. That a working government depends on the belief in facts and science and logic. And he said that Trump doesn't believe in those principles.
Again, I haven't seen anyone argue otherwise.
Those are all he did. He use the military against peaceful protesters?
We all saw it. So that was sort of one set of reactions about about Obama taking on Trump.
But there was another set of reactions from a lot more people that that I do think is worth talking about, which is a lot of people said that Obama was unusually dark and had lost his optimism. And Jonathan Chait, who wrote a book about Obama and knows knows how Obama thinks pretty well, also said that it's the first time he has seen Obama express fear. And I do think it's fair to say that the speech felt different and more urgent. But I don't think I guess I would say that Obama's message and his central belief about politics in America haven't changed since 2004.
And it goes to precisely what you said about the fact.
It's not about he doesn't believe that democracy is about him or Donald Trump or Joe Biden or Kamala Harris or any one politician, but it is about us and what we can do.
And the way that we knew that is because the whole purpose of the speech as he set up top was to speak to those people who were cynical and speak to the people who have lost faith in the system.
And he particularly said, you know, I can totally understand if you're a young person and you're looking around at politics and you're saying, what's the point? But then I think the the part where he got emotional was the key to the whole speech.
He gets emotional where he tells the story about a civil rights leader who once told him that the day Obama was born was the day he stepped into a jail cell for the first time. And Obama said, quote, Whatever our backgrounds were, all the children of Americans who fought the good fight, black Americans chained and whipped and hanged, spit on for trying to sit at lunch counters, beaten for trying to vote. If anyone had a right to believe that this democracy did not work and could not work, it was those Americans.
And yet, instead of giving up, they joined together and said somehow, some way we are going to make this work. We are going to bring those words in our founding documents to life. Throughout Obama's entire life, the struggle for civil rights has always been central to the story he tells about America. And it's not just because it made his presidency possible, it's because it illustrates to him how black Americans who've been enslaved and subjugated and excluded from democracy in every way possible are the very same Americans who've shown the most faith in the power of democracy to change the country for the better.
And if they didn't give in to cynicism throughout all those decades, then neither should you. And that's where he became emotional because and that's where he sort of has that's where he has hope.
That's where his hope comes from. Right. That like. Yes, everything is on the line. Yes. This is very scary. But all of you actually have the power to do something about it. And that is amazing. That is amazing that you have agency. Right. And so I took that part is pretty hopeful that we can do something about this. I agree with that, I don't think the speech was darker. I think it was starker than any speech before because the context is different.
We are in the middle of a pandemic where a thousand Americans are dying every single day. Most people are out of work. The president is is basically doing like Nixon pantomime from the White House with racist tropes about suburbs. Not like this is serious fucking shit that is happening right now. But what he is not like that. You're right. He he continues to believe that the solution to the problems is bottom up, not top down. And he's saying to you, the voter, this is your choice.
You have the power to do it. I believe you can do it and you will do it, but it is your choice and I think it is a it felt like I said this last night, it felt different than any speech I've ever seen Obama gives. Not not because he is different, but because he was speaking to the moment in a way that was more powerful and starker than ever before.
In context, is everything here optimism or pessimism, I think are the wrong way to think about his tone and his beliefs, because optimism and pessimism both involve predictions about what might ultimately happen. Right. And the question Obama wants us to ask is not what might happen, but what are we going to do about it?
And in that way, it's not. I mean, he said look, he said that in the 2004 convention speech, right? He was like, I'm not talking about blind optimism here. I'm talking about something more substantial in the hope of slaves sitting around campfires singing freedom songs.
And that sounded nice and hopeful and cheery in 2004 at the time.
But that idea of of slaves singing freedom songs when they were enslaved, when people were enslaved and believing that they could have a better life and then fighting for that, that is hope.
And that's not like you know, it's so funny because I saw so many people on Twitter being like, does Obama know something that we don't?
Is he worried? It's like it's not about what he knows that's going to happen. It's that he knows that if we don't vote, that if we set out that if we don't do enough, then, yes, something bad will happen if something bad is happening.
Right. It's like, yeah, yeah, we're already in it. We're fucked.
I do like obviously we love Obama. So much of what we have in our lives is because Obama hired us at one point. And so take that stipulation. We have I mean, you have written many, many of the words I've ever come out of his mouth. We have you know, we've watched and participated in most of the speech, big speeches he's given over the last decade. But when I watch them, the comment on this, I'm like, do you people listen to what he actually fucking says to people last night who were like, I thought Barack Obama said the arc of the moral universe bent towards justice.
Listen to the words he said, which is that we have a responsibility to bend it like that.
That is marriage everyone made fun of. We are the ones we've been waiting for. That's what he was fucking talking about. That's that I was back in 2008. I mean, and, you know, he said specifically, we've talked about this a million times. Democracy is not transactional. It is not about you. Give me your vote and I will fix everything. And I do think that, you know, part of the issue when Obama was elected in 2008 is a lot of people thought we have we have elected this charismatic guy who's wonderful and it gives good speech, inspiring whatever.
And he's going to fix everything to when it's over, we can go home. Barack Obama is going to take care of everything. And that's it's not the system that we have set up. Right. We don't elect a king. We don't even have a parliamentary system. We have a fucking Congress. We have state houses everywhere. We have a very complex system of democracy, a republic that requires citizens to be active every single day. It is.
And that is going to be true if, God forbid, Donald Trump wins another term. And it's going to be true if Joe Biden wins a term as well. It's not like Joe Biden wins that. It's not over. It is not. We can't count on Joe Biden to go fix everything. We have to keep this up. And that is Obama's central message. It has always been his central message. 2004, the reality has changed. These are darker times, but the central message is the same citizenship, a full time job.
That's at this point, that's it. And if we don't do our job this time, in this context, we're in big fucking trouble.
That's what the speech was about. Vote Save America dot com adopts Joanna, yeah, and Arizona. All right, final question and then we can go. Joe Biden formally accepts his nomination tonight, the final night of the convention with a keynote address to, again, like Kamala Harris, a mostly empty room. What piece of business, what pieces of business does Biden still have to get done?
Joe Biden's task is to use this huge platform. He has to explain the American people why he can fix what Donald Trump has wrought. People, we have said this before, Joe Biden has high name I.D., but he is not deeply known, particularly among the voters who will decide this election. As we know, periodic recalcitrant voters pay less attention to politics, certainly than almost everyone. And so his job, he has to, even though he has been on the national stage for a long time, he has to introduce himself to the country.
And that includes some of the some of the substance of his agenda, what he will do. But it also includes and this is what was so important about Joe Biden's speech and what Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and everyone else said about Joe Biden is the person in the policy are completely interconnected because voters have heard politicians for decades talk about their policy plans. They need to know that they are the kind of person who will execute on them. And so it is the intersection of Joe Biden's personal story, his character, his values, and then what he will do when he is elected.
And look, that's a tough piece of business. I do think, you know, if you ask people who didn't know much about Joe Biden before the convention, you're right that they want to know who he is and what he's going to do. Who he is, I think has been answered very effectively by his family through a lot of these videos, through a lot of these testimonials from people who know him. So I do think people have a lot more knowledge right now about who Joe Biden is and what values drive him.
I think that has been accomplished by this convention. What he's going to do hasn't been as accomplished just yet. I think Bernie Sanders did some of that work.
I think on on Wednesday night there were, you know, ones in it sort of talked about the stakes in terms of different issues. And I think the convention did a great job of laying out those issues and talking about what Biden wanted to do. But I think Biden's big piece of business is talking about his vision and what he's going to do as president and like you said, how he's going to get that done. And I will say the reason I think that's a tough job is because it is very easy for that to sound pedestrian and workmanlike in a speech.
And the trick of a speech is to sort of lift that up. But you should know that when he is talking about his agenda, again, not really for us, not really for the performance judges. It's for people out there who are like, I'm pretty sure I want to vote for Joe Biden, but I really just want to know what specifically he's going to do to make my life different and how we're going to get there. And he doesn't need to do that tonight.
So, I mean, this is where the absence of applause makes it so much harder, because in a normal speech, you're saying we're going to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars and everyone cheers.
And it seems great when you say that, just like there's always a danger of a laundry list doing that in an empty room.
So, yeah, like this is a very I mean, this is a very, very challenging environment to do this in. And it matters. You know, this will be the biggest audience he will have for a speech this entire campaign. So it's his best chance to make his unfiltered case to the voters about why he is the right person to be president and Donald Trump is not. That's right. All right, when we come back, we'll have Dan's interview with Elizabeth Warren.
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Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you for coming back on Positive America. It's always great to talk to you and it's always good to be with the pod.
So I want to start with your speech last night. Obviously, when you imagine the convention speech you would be giving at the 2020 convention and probably involved people, how did you go about preparing to give a speech under these very unusual circumstances?
So actually, the part for me was not as much about the people. I mean I mean, look, because you've just readjusted your brain, so that's not what this is going to be. We're going to find another way to talk to a lot of folks.
I only had five minutes. So sure.
I'm just going to describe everything that, you know, I think we ought to be working on it. Why?
I think we ought to be hopeful and the places you know, why we have to to get rid of Donald Trump.
So it was up how to make a coherent argument, to get in key pieces and to be able to make it personal, because that is what this is about.
This election is about making the the opportunity. And I really wanted. To tell the story of what so many parents are going through right now and have gone through before the pandemic hit and now that the pandemic has hit, I feel like we need to have a federal government.
That is on the side of human beings, that's on the side of folks out here who are just working so hard to keep it together day to day. So that's what I wanted to be able to do and do all that in five minutes.
Never easy. You know, obviously, your audience was everyone tuning in, but did you have a particular segment of the electorate that you were trying to persuade or motivate when you were giving the speech? Sort of a target audience, if you will?
Yes. And it was it's two separate segments that I really cared about. One segment is Mommy's Mommies and Daddies. OK, folks with children who are struggling through this to say, I hear you, I see you, Joe Biden hears you and sees you.
Kamala Harris hears you and sees you.
And we need you in this fight. This fight matters in a very personal way to you.
But the second half is all the people who don't have kids, all the people who see their kids are grown or they don't yet have kids they never thought about or they don't like kids. The reason I wanted to reach them is that's what the argument I wanted to make was about.
Child care is not like some favor that we should be doing for mommies and daddies who are struggling.
Child care is how we keep our economy going. And we invest in roads and bridges and power and communications also that this economy can go forward. Also that people have an opportunity to get out and and take on a job and and make their families financially secure.
But we still build an economy as if there is one full time stay at home parent. And that's just not reality in the 21st century.
So so I really feel like it's both of those and it's a layer into that.
I've heard so many moms and dads who are so worried about their kids, school age kids.
Can schools open safely? Little babies on the campaign trail.
I heard about child care in my town halls. I heard about it in the cell phone lines, not from the press, but I heard about it from the people who were there.
And I just think that's why it's important to to speak to them directly. What's your level of optimism that a Biden administration could make addressing the child care crisis in this country a centerpiece of their economic agenda?
Well, notice your verb that they could do it. Are you kidding? I think the moment is ripe. I mean, I just so many people who are at home with school age children, with little babies and moms trying to hold down a job, two mommies are trying to hold down jobs.
Both parents are trying to do this, have suddenly realized, damn, the system just doesn't work. I mean, talk about it is time to declare a broken big time. This is it. And that means people are moving. You know, actually, I hadn't thought about this.
But do you ever think about part of how we got the CFP, the consumer agency, with President Obama?
Enough people have been cheated and enough people had looked around and said, I don't want this anymore.
We're. We got to make change here, so this is a moment we get a Democratic Congress, it's going to take both Democratic House, Democratic Senate and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House.
Or this could happen.
You bring up the country you lead into was my next question is, is how like, you know, whether it was in Joe Biden has talked about this and I think imagine inform some of the many conversations you guys have been having a policy is he wants an FDR style presidency to respond to this crisis, the Affordable Care Act, the CFIB, Dodd-Frank was a response to the 2008 financial crisis.
How do you think this the combination of crises we're facing right now between the pandemic, the the the large national debate we've been having about structural racism, the the effects of climate change that we're feeling in California, what's happened what happened in Iowa last week? How does all that combine to create an environment for big, bold, progressive action with a political system and into some sense, a Democratic Senate that has in the past included some incrementalism as the way in which it approached these issues?
So I think like anything, it's the moment we couldn't have passed the CFP the year before the 2008 2009 crash.
We just couldn't have it. Just there wasn't enough external pressure and there wasn't enough internal attention, notwithstanding the fact that George W. Bush was president and so on.
But I'm just I'm just saying. Right. The moment wasn't there. And I'll tell you the truth, the moment wouldn't have been there two years later.
It was the moment when people were feeling in a very tangible way, in other words, the outside was ready, but also inside attention and pressure on this, because President Obama, God bless him, and his team were trying to to rescue a broken economy and farsighted enough to say, let's put in place the pieces to make sure this doesn't happen again in three years and again three years after that and again in the three years after that.
And so it was that moment. It was you know, we talk about the Overton Window that you shift what is possible.
But this is a little different now.
I don't I don't know that has a name should I don't know what I call it. What do we do it. Let's let's let's let's get our own name going for this.
But the point is, the moment when there's enough outside pressure and when there's enough inside attention, you know it.
Here's the other part.
Part of when I talk about what creates the right moment.
Look how many young people are engaged. Now, I am so inspired by young people because they're so policy oriented, you know, on a Pressley always teaches teases me and says policy is your love language.
You know, that this is what it is.
And and we've got so many young people now who care about the details. They care about what a police reform bill looks like. They care about what climate policy looks like.
These are our future elected officials, our future volunteers, our future small dollar donors, they care about big change and they are creating this moment where we can make big change.
Enacting a policy agenda. Right, this is how we fix the country is an intersection of what and how. Yep, right. And you need both suits and ties, right? That's right. And the what is often to a lot of people, somewhat evident.
It's the how that gets tangled up to do any of the things you're talking about. We cannot depend on eight to nine of Mitch McConnell's friends to agree. How optimistic are you that you'll be able to convince your Senate colleagues to join you in the in eliminating the filibuster if we see what we expect, which is Republican obstruction?
So we've got a Democratic majority in the Senate.
I think when Mitch McConnell starts to block our first actions, which I think we're going to be very popular actions, important things to get done, I think as soon as that happens, we're going to have a lot of senators who are going to say we need to get rid of the filibuster and notice it's already happening. I mean, having President Obama come out and say we just cannot be. But the the Senate of a dozen years ago doesn't exist anymore.
We we cannot have filibuster block everything that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want to get done. Having President Obama say that was very important. And I'm so glad he did that.
And I think that was it helped a lot of other senators. I mean, you know, we already had a cabal that was really into this.
But I think it helped a lot of other senators shift over and say, yeah, we've got to be realistic because, look, people are not going to get out there and fight the next 75 days to elect someone, only to have nothing change if they're in this fight. Sure. Because they don't like Donald Trump. They're in this fight because they do like Joe and Kamala, but they're in this fight for change. And that's what we've got to do.
And, you know, look, I'll put the question back to you.
You've been vocal on filibuster you and the pod guys.
So that's inside. Outside. That's what it's going to take. I'm meeting with folks on the inside.
I'll keep talking about it publicly that you keep talking about it, too, because this is like one of those key pieces to make real change.
And if you're not willing to get rid of the filibuster, then you just you're not there on change.
Well, I promise you that our our To-Do list is help get people to defeat Donald Trump and then help get people to defeat the filibuster in that order. Yep, yep.
And I'm kind of I want to pull you in at some point. It's all the economic things we talk about, but it's also dealing with corruption.
Yep. We just got to Barack Obama moved presidential candidates in the right direction on funding, put in some restraints on lobbyists.
But the world around, you know, it's the kudzu has been growing and we've really got to come in and hack it back. I hope the the gardening metaphor. Yes, they're OK.
Yes. I'm not sure I know entirely what kudzu is, but I use context to figure it out.
It eats up. It seemed insane back. Yes, that's right.
If you don't attend to it, it actually will take down a house there.
There are examples of, OK, this seems like a very well done metaphor. It does perfect to describe lobbying and it's a yes.
Is there anything that you are particularly looking to here for Joe Biden as he prepares to address the convention tonight? So my sense of it is two things.
First, Joe will be the human being that we have missed for the last three and a half years now, Joe Biden is a decent man who's in public service to serve the public, not to flatter himself, enrich his family and his friends and spend all his time worrying about his ratings and his new version of his reality TV show. So but I think this matters.
I mean, it's not just I'm not just here to throw insults at Donald Trump, although I'd be glad to.
I could do that. But I really mean it as I think about this in leadership, it's not just leadership. It's not just getting every decision right.
And people look and say, I like that decision. I like that it's feeling like people care about you and that all the decisions you don't understand came from are coming from the right place you have.
Can I tell you a quick story first around this?
My grandmother was she was born in the late eighteen hundreds and my mother was born, as they used to call it, very late in life to her. I was born very late in life to my mother. So my grandmother is really old. And when she was in her nineties, when I was a little girl, she used to talk about the Great Depression and she said she loved Franklin Roosevelt.
And I kind of think I'm not sure they were very political ever before then.
She never talked about it much after that.
But she loved Franklin Roosevelt. And I can remember asking her why.
And she said, well, she said Franklin Roosevelt made it safe to put money in banks paws.
And I'm sure he did a lot of other good stuff, too. And I always say that by way of saying.
If you do things, you want to know that somebody is fighting on your side. So I think that's number one for Joe Biden and then number two, that he really does have plans to do things that that it's not going to all be.
Yes, I have a good heart that I'm going to just stand by. No, it's yes, I have a good heart and I'm going to use that good heart and my brain and all of my energy and Kamala and all of my friends to make the changes we so desperately need to make so good heart and a determination that's concrete.
Here are changes we're going to make.
You've been helping lead the fight to deal with the pluralization of the Postal Service. You wrote a letter calling for an investigation from the inspector general. What do you hope to learn from that investigation?
Is there any chance that we would get findings by the election?
So, you know, I'm a huge fan of inspector general.
I was actually long before Barack Obama came along, and I was I was really glad that I had sent a letter to the to the IG saying, whoa, hold on here.
Just a minute. This guy owns stock in companies that compete with the post office.
He's doing business with the post office. This looks like a bunch of conflicts of interest here to me. Will you do an investigation? And actually in a pretty timely way, the IG stepped up and said, yes. Now, that hasn't stopped Dejoy. He's out there speculating and Amazon stock evidentally and all kinds of stuff.
But partly it is the reminder to Dejoy we're watching and there are things here that are illegal. So partly that's what I want. So I just want the IG to stay on it. He will he will get an answer.
But I also have questions for Dejoy tomorrow. We want to think about those. I do. I would love to hear about this. Yes.
So I don't get to ask questions because it's a it's a House hearing. I kind of think Mitch McConnell is not going to do a hearing in the Senate.
But look, we all know what Donald Trump has said.
He has been spreading lies and conspiracy theories about and voting during this pandemic because he doesn't want people to vote.
He knows that if everybody votes, Donald Trump loses.
So this is one of his voter suppression techniques, is to keep people from voting. And he puts Dejoy in, I believe, to try to shut down the the post office.
So the question I want to ask him is, has the president or have any of his staff ever requested or suggested that Dejoy take any action based on Trump's opposition to mail in voting or to make it more difficult for people to vote by mail?
I want to I want to know what kind of conspiracy we have going on here.
I want to you know, Dejoy had, what is it, six hundred and seventy one mail sorting machines removed by the end of September that can sort over twenty million pieces of paper an hour. I don't want to just hear. Oh, I'm not going to take out any more. I want to know is he going to replace the mail sorting machines that he ordered the USPS to remove.
Same kind of thing on overtime. I want to know if Dejoy is going to commit to approve all the requests for overtime between now and the election. You know, so. That's just a few of them for but but I got a lot of questions for this guy because.
Because I think there's a lot he needs to answer for, he's not only destroying or trying to destroy one of the the Central American institutions, our post office, but he's also trying to destroy the upcoming election and he needs to be held accountable for that.
More importantly, he needs to be stopped.
I'm curious about whether any of your Republican colleagues have expressed some concerns about this.
Prior to this election, Republicans in many states benefited at a greater rate than Democrats would vote by mail. And it's not we we tend to talk about the election in the ballots because that's what we focus on. But, you know, as you know from all your constituents, there are veterans not getting their prescriptions. There are people not getting paychecks, not getting bills that are delayed. And obviously, the tendency of many of your maybe all of your Republican colleagues in the Senate has been to sort of abide silently by Donald Trump's.
But, yeah, this seems like a pretty big bridge politically.
You know, even if we put aside the morality and legality of all of this. But politically, to be on the side of delaying prescription drugs to veterans to steal an election seems bad.
Any any chance you could be bipartisan pressure put on Trump here?
You know, my view on this is that the post office is very nonpartisan.
Right. And has been forever rural areas and in both in states that have urban and rural and states that are entire almost entirely rural, they count on those post offices, as you said, people having prescriptions delivered pension checks, getting delivered on time.
This is going to hurt, in my view, it's going to hurt Republicans as much as Democrats. But here's the thing I appreciate your asking about.
Do they say things quietly on the floor of the Senate or out in the hallway? To me, that's not what this is about, this is about are you willing to stand up and say it out loud?
You know, Trump told us what he is doing. He didn't say it behind closed doors. It wasn't leaked in The New York Times.
This wasn't a well-known secret around Washington that was thinly sourced. He told us flat out that if people vote by mail, he is going to lose and the Republicans are going to lose.
And where were all those Republican senators and representatives who stood up and said, wait, you have now gone too far?
We cannot shut down the post office in order not to have ballots counted and in order to for people to feel like there's no point in casting a ballot. Now, they stood silently by.
And to me, that's enabling Donald Trump. And I'm I'm cut no slack for any of them on this.
And this is why. I think we need to push so hard that seventy five days. We not only have to keep up why we've got to get everybody turned out to vote, but we've got to keep up the pressure on access to that vote, and that includes keeping up the pressure on the post office.
Well, Senator Elizabeth Warren, that seems as good a place to end as any. Thank you so much for being here. It is always wonderful to talk to you. And we will talk to you many, many times between now and Election Day.
Thank you so much. So let's do it. Thanks so much, Dan. It's always good to talk to you.
Seventy five days. Seventy five days.
Thanks to Elizabeth Warren for joining us today.
We'll see you tonight for the the big preshow go to cricket dot com slash convention.
We'll see you there and we will see you guys again tomorrow for our Friday bonus pod with the two of us.
And love it. And Tommy, you cannot get rid of us.
We are everywhere. We're here.
We're here and there. Of course, there's another group thread tonight to groups. There's a pod on my name pod next Thursday, maybe some group of content. You are stuck with us people. You can't leave your house and we are coming to you.
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