The presenting sponsor of Positive America ZIP recruiter, at least 77 percent of American voters can cast their ballot by mail this fall. Let's hope so. If you live in a state that allows this, you get to make a crucial decision from the comfort and safety of your home.
Fingers crossed. You know what other key decision you can make from home deciding who to hire.
That's because finding a review and qualified candidates all happens in one convenient place. That place is zip recruiter dotcom slash cricket.
Whether you're hiring from home or from your business, zip recruiter makes the whole process faster and easier.
How? First, when you post your jobs, a recruiter sends it out to over 100 top job sites with one click, then the zip recruiters. Matching technology identifies people with the right skills and experience for your job and actively invites them to apply.
ZIP recruiter actually makes the hiring process efficient and effective, with features like screening questions to filter candidates and all in one dashboard where you can review and rate your candidates.
It's no wonder four out of five employers who posted Jobbins if recruiter get a quality candidate within that first day. Right now you can try zip recruiter for free at zip recruiter dotcom slash crooked that zip recruiter dotcom slash crooked.
Welcome to Save America. I'm Jon Favreau. I'm John Lovett. I'm Tommy Vietor. On today's Pot, I talk to voting rights attorney Marc Elias, the man who's leading the legal fight against Donald Trump's effort to sabotage the election. Before that, we'll talk about the latest in the Republican war on the post office, how Democrats are fighting back and what the party hopes to achieve at this week's national convention.
But first, love it. Happy birthday.
Thank you. Thank you. Happy thing to. Can we insert some music here? That's terrific.
Yeah. Let's do the wonderful.
How is the show this great love it or leave it, Sasheer Zamata, join Ben Rhodes, Alissa M. Monaco. Wow, what a great time.
We had a great time, a little Belarus on the show. I heard. Yeah, we talked a little Belarus. Yeah. Yeah.
We got, you know, Trump's Trump's watching Lukashenko just sort of like taking taking notes.
We're like, oh yeah, I love that. That's a go to the ballots out the window. And then for my birthday, you know, the Democratic Party got me a cameo from AMC.
Awesome. I like that. That's good.
I also love it and I are trying to be YouTube stars like Dan. We have a new series called Speechwriter's React and we have a few episodes up where we break down past convention speeches from Obama, Hillary and Biden. Talk about what works and what doesn't. Check it out at YouTube dotcom crookedly.
Dan moved into that house in Bel Air. That was a so I didn't see that one coming.
Here's the thing. Here's the thing that sucks for Dan is it seems like a good idea. But if if the if the sponsorship deals don't come in your own a ton of rent on a big mansion. That's right.
That's right. Well, you know, he's good on ticktock, so he'll probably be fine.
Congrats to Dan. And finally, the Democratic National Convention starts today and we're streaming the whole thing live each night this week on dotcom convention, starting at 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 9:00 pm Eastern. We'll be doing group threads to cover the big speeches with some of the hosts and staff here at Crooked. And on Thursday, we have a special live pod Save America pre show or we'll have some fun, take some questions, and also host the world premiere of the documentary Short Dress Rehearsal.
It's about the progressive organizers who pulled off a stunning upset in this year's Wisconsin special election, even as Republicans did everything they could to stop people from voting just like now.
It's it's a deceptive title.
It is not about a ragtag group of high school kids putting on Brigadoon, but it should have been what it should have been. It should have been. You can find all the details at Kirche Dotcom Slash convention. We will see you tonight and every night this week.
All right. Let's get to the news. Last week, the president of the United States said that he opposes funding the US Postal Service because the money would go towards making sure people can vote by mail during a pandemic. Were crowding inside a polling place could literally kill you in response to this and to increasing reports of mail delays and disruptions.
House Democrats announced on Sunday that they'll be returning early from their summer recess to deal with this looming crisis, which includes votes on legislation and an emergency hearing at which Postmaster General Lewis Dejoy will be called to testify. And as of just now, he has agreed.
Tommy, we found out over the weekend that the Postal Service sent letters to all but four states warning them that their current mail in voting deadlines may not allow enough time for the delivery and return of people's ballots.
And so those votes may not be counted. Can you walk us through some of the reasons the post office may not be able to deliver these ballots?
And I would love nothing more. John, thank you again to Donald Trump for making us talk about the post office constantly. It's all we want to do here. I think the thing to note for people to know the background is the post office is in bad financial shape and we can get into why in a minute. But they need a big infusion of cash from Congress and Republicans so far refused to do so. Trump also recently put a big donor named Lewis Dejoy in charge of the Postal Service.
That guy's mission seems to be to just gut the place bunch of management changes. So specifically, Dejoy has limited over time for postal workers. He's told them they can't take extra trips to make sure that everything is delivered on time. So things are just stacking up in these offices. And in a very subtle move, they removed six, six hundred and seventy one mail sorting machines from various facilities. He also reassigned some top executives in Washington. So that's the reason for this more recent slowdown and the reason you're seeing all these warnings that ballots might not arrive on time to be counted.
And like just stepping back, this is a little silly if you think about it, because if the post office can absorb the surge of mail around Christmas, they should be able to do like one ballot for each of us. But enough of that. So the Republicans, they want to use this financial plight. The post office is in as an excuse to privatize the whole system. They say, look, the post office, it's in one hundred and sixty billion dollars of debt.
It's a broken system. It can't work. What they don't tell you is it's their fault. In 2006, Congress passed a law that requires the post office to prefund the cost of its staff's health care benefits. Seventy five years into the future. So that accounts for one hundred and twenty billion of their one hundred and sixty billion dollar debt. On top of that, Congress set their prices and medals in their operations. So it's just a mess. So this all dovetails with the fact that Trump hates vote by mail.
And he said on the record that if we don't give the post office this funding, you can't have universal vote by mail. So Trump has married these two things, his hatred for the Postal Service, which is. Based on this inaccurate belief that somehow Amazon is fleecing them, his hatred of democracy and vote by mail, Republican efforts to privatize the system, he's jammed all together into this Megatron of voter suppression. And here we are. It's a toxic brew.
Love it, the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote today that Democrats are culpable for spinning post office conspiracies without evidence and that state election officials should just change their deadlines. So you're seeing a lot of this now that, like these are unfounded conspiracies that Trump is trying to sabotage the post office. Why is this why is this bullshit here?
So on that line of reasoning, it actually reminds me a little bit about of the pandemic. Experts pointed out early on in the pandemic that if you do the right thing, if you sound the alarm correctly and you achieve the goal you want. Right. Whether it's stopping a pandemic or preserving democracy, in hindsight, what you what you did looks like overkill. Your warnings look like they went too far. So it's like, OK, I'm glad that you're sanguine about it.
Right wing pundits. I know that you don't care what happens either way, but for those of us on the outside watching this, it's a terrifying it's a terrifying prospect that we'll discover on November 4th that we didn't do enough on November 2nd.
Now onto the actual facts of the matter. It is actually right now hard to separate three distinct problems. One, it is Trump's effort through Dejoy to purposely attempt to subvert and delegitimize the election to, as Tommy points out, implementing a long term ideological plan to burden the post office cost cut and kind of undermine the basic premise of a public good through this service and promoting privatization. Right. That's also a long term project. And then three, there is just generational failures to invest in institutions, systems, infrastructure across our society.
You know, one one piece of news that that came out over the past couple of days is that some of the mail sorting machine shutdowns may have at least been planned before Dejoy took over. Now, does that tell you it should happen? Of course not. All that tells you is some of these problems, some of these attempts to dismantle the post office, proceed Trump and will follow Trump. That doesn't mean we shouldn't fight to stop and we have to attack each of these different problems, the long term agenda, the short term attempt at basically a coup and then the kind of generational failure to invest in our public goods.
Yeah. Is this debate, you know, is it Trump trying to delegitimize the election?
Well, yes, because that's what he's saying. Right. Or is it the long running project of conservatives to completely delegitimize our institutions by starving them of funding so that they can't deliver services? Also true. Either way, the effects are the same right now, which is there is a risk that ballots won't be counted in an election where ballots need to be sent through the mail to keep people safe. That is the effect. So the intention, whether it's typical Republican bullshit or Donald Trump authoritarian bullshit, the attention is almost beside the point at this point because the results are the same.
And I just make to two other points about this one. You know, when the Pentagon spends a trillion dollars on an airplane that can't fly in the rain, no one says the Pentagon's operating at a loss.
And then to the focus on the post office and their desire to make sure that it's on the hook for its pension and retirement liabilities, the kind of scrutiny it is under. None of that comes when it's time to bail out financial firms when it comes to the loan program, when it comes to a dozen other ways that we bail out corporations all the time, because the onus is only on the post office, because they hate the post office, because it's a public service and it is done by unions.
And that has been the agenda for a long time.
I will say the other very sinister effect of all this is it is and I think this could be Trump's intention here is that it is freaking people out about whether their votes are going to be counted. And so it is instilling a fear in a lot of voters that they maybe shouldn't even use mail in voting at all.
And, you know, you're seeing us on Twitter, too, like people are sending around pictures of post office boxes locked up, freaking out about that. And like it turns out, that is a completely normal practice that they do to stop people from stealing mail. And there's actually a mail slot in the back of the house that you can put in mail or like. So but it's understandable that people are getting freaked out because Donald Trump is saying mail and voting is fraud.
And then there are actual disruptions of service that are happening because of what Dejoy has been doing at the post office.
And what this is doing is it is you know, it is hurting people's faith that the mail will actually work. And it's not just ballots that may get delayed here.
The New York Times reports that in rural Michigan, diabetes medicine that used to arrive in three days now takes almost two weeks. NBC reports that military veterans are waiting weeks for lifesaving medications from the VA.
Americans generally love the post office. Tommy, do you think this could end up backfiring on Trump on the Republican side?
Look, I think it could. I think it's going to take a lot of work because let's be honest, it's hard to drive post office concerns to the front page of the newspaper. But I think the press needs to view this as an attack on voting rights and democracy itself. And report on it accordingly, and it drives me insane that, you know, preventing black Americans from voting has been a core strategy of the Republican Party for years in that the discourse around these questions are still softened with these euphemisms and like bullshit spin about voter integrity.
And we just need to call it for what it is. I do think that Democrats need to do a lot more work to sound the alarm about what's happening locally. Right. So find a bunch of veterans and seniors in your community who are waiting for medications, lift up their stories, find service members who serve in your district, who are overseas and are worried about their votes being counted. This is actually another instance where the total lack of local news is really bad, right?
Like normally the local paper would be highlighting exactly this kind of stuff. People would be reading it. You'd be hearing about a veteran not getting medication. Instead, we're waiting on these stories to get found and filter up in national media outlets. And we're not hearing enough about what these slowdown's view for these specific communities. So Democrats need to do all this work.
We've got to educate constituents about what's happening, why, and that this is an urgent need because, like, the perceivers is a bedrock government function. Right. I think was like the first real core thing that the government did in some ways. Like there was a while that I think a quarter of federal workers were postal workers. So it's a big deal to just kill it slowly and to try to do it in the six months before the first ever election in a pandemic.
That seems obviously purposeful to me.
A Pew poll from April showed that the post office has a 91 percent approval rating, 91 percent.
And you're right, telling me that Democrats should be doing more of the liberal firebrand.
Joe Manchin was doing what you were talking about over the weekend, going to a post office, making videos about people's mails are getting delays. So this is something like and there are reports that some Republicans, of course, they don't want to be named, are elected.
Republicans are also concerned about this, too, especially Republicans who represent rural areas, who is getting hurt by these post office delays when they don't get their medications, seniors, veterans, rural Americans, all constituents of the Republican Party right now. And I did you know, Politico's playbook over the weekend had a roundup of how this is breaking through in the local news, the local news that still exists, as you point out, because there's not enough of it anymore.
But it is like it is so important to sound the alarm, because I think one of the most important things we can get out of this is just awareness and education.
So that and we'll talk about this so that people can vote as early as possible to avoid this.
House Democrats are finally making moves. They're coming back from recess early on Saturday to vote on a piece of legislation that would prohibit the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or service that had already been in place at the beginning of twenty twenty. And then there's the hearing with Dejoy on August 24th.
Love it. What can this vote and Dejoy testimony actually accomplish and how likely is it that Trump and Republicans will agree to fund the post office?
Yeah, I mean, I think look, I think it's I think it's good that they're getting on their Conestoga wagons and having the horses slowly take them back to the nation's capitol. I think that that's terrific. Obviously, it's a harrowing journey, so I'm glad that they're making it.
It's good that look, every once in a while, Trump says something brazen, as he always does, that he's surprised to find out he shouldn't have be like.
But I tell that I say the I say the racist, demagogic, authoritarian part out loud all the time. Why does this one bother you when he doesn't really understand? But he so he's like had to walk back a little bit of his his anti male rhetoric because it's there's they want that to happen, but they don't want to take credit for it. I believe like Meadow's and the administration has signaled they'd be open to a bill just about the post office.
It seems like Republicans would be, too. I mean, like the thing about the mail is you don't have to pay attention to politics. It comes to your house or it doesn't come to your house. Right. It affects everybody. It affects people that don't pay attention. When an issue like this touches people that don't pay attention, it has some more political power. But yeah, I'm like I feel that Democrats need to get this get to Joy to testify, pass a bill with a bunch of money that has a bunch of restrictions so Trump can't hold up the money.
Dejoy can't not spend the money they need to pass a bill that tries to see around the corners to make sure that the money that Congress appropriates to the post office is spent to make sure that services continue through November and into next year. And any delays, any cost cutting measures, any efforts to relocate mail sorting to central locations because it's more cost effective but takes longer. Any of those things that Dejoy has been trying to implement should be should be paused in the law.
I feel pretty happy that he's going to testify.
But to me, it made me think I have a I have a little bit of an impeachment feeling, impeachment hearing, feeling where it's like at the end of the day we can get him to testify. And I hope that it raises public awareness. But I don't I think we're in the same spot we were we're like Democrats out of the House. We don't have the Senate, we don't have the presidency. All we can do here is really public pressure and public awareness, public pressure, public awareness.
Like I would want to get him on the record about why these. Delays are happening and then tell a story about who is getting harmed. You can also talk about how this guy is an unqualified donor who has major, major financial conflicts of interest because he is a huge financial stake in a competitor to the post office. So that's going to piss people off. But then I think I would be specifically focused on Republicans who are up for reelection in rural places.
So tell a story about someone in Montana because that is a top target. And we might be able to get Steve Daines to fold, tell a story about a constituent or a veteran in Maine because Susan Collins is up and she's floated the idea that she'd be willing to pass some sort of bill. Right. So I'm glad they're doing this. I also like that they're trying to counterprogram the Republican convention to the extent that one can do that. So, look, I respect the hustle.
Good for them for doing this. Brian Beutler will be at least a little bit happy.
Some good oversight. It is good oversight, I do think.
And I'm going to talk with Elias about this in the interview, but I think ultimately the plan for us has to be figure out how to get around all of this shit and request ballots, early vote, early drop off ballots, as opposed to setting them through the mail massive public education campaign on the part of Democrats and anyone who cares about the mail and democracy and voting. And what what I think we have to avoid is to let Donald Trump win by making us think it's just not worth it to vote or making people think it's not worth it to vote because it's going to be rigged anyway, because that is the ultimate plan.
Right. Everyone's confused. You throw in all this bullshit at the wall and people say, I don't know if I should put my ballot in the mail. I don't know if I should vote at all. It's probably not worth it. It's all rigged, you know. And so I do think we have to get people to make a plan to vote despite whatever they may throw.
Yeah, I mean, it's worth it's worth remembering that like that Donald Trump delegitimizing the election so that he can remain in office and Donald Trump delegitimizing the election so he can leave while preserving his ego sound the same on Twitter.
Part of America is brought to you by talk space if you've been waiting months to figure out what your future is going to look like, you're not alone.
Yeah, what between the uncertainty, the waiting for answers and the everyday stressors of work, school relationships and more, it's a lot to balance.
The waiting is the hardest part, as people say. There you go.
But if anything helps reduce stress and anxiety, it's talking things out.
Talk Space has thousands of licensed therapists trained in over 40 specialties, including anxiety, depression, relationship issues and more. If you have something specific you want to work on right now, they will find someone right for you.
We love talk space. Here's part two of America. Everyone should talk to someone.
All we do is talk. We're all going through something right now.
It's just it's helpful to talk to the talk space folks. Taxpayers is a fraction of the cost of in-person therapy. But with tax base, you can send unlimited messages to your therapist and they'll engage with you at least five days a week. That means you never have to wait to share what's on your mind. The bottom line is that we all need someone to talk to and talk space wants to give the license support we deserve at a price we can afford.
As a listener of this podcast, you can get one hundred dollars off your first month on talk space to match with your perfect therapist. Go to talk space dotcom or download the app. Make sure to use the code cricket to get one hundred dollars off your first month and show your support for the show that's crooked and based dotcom Pozza. America is barraged by Squarespace. Create a beautiful website to turn your cool idea into a new website.
I love it. You look like you have a website to talk about.
I don't actually. What's killing me is I legitimately had a truly great idea for a website and I thought to myself, that is actually great. Save that for the Squarespace ad. And it's got. Wow, what a what a fucking letdown that was. Yeah, no, I know, I know maybe your website is a place where you write things down to remind yourself later you invented a calendar. Now, that wasn't it. That wasn't it. Well, it seems like that can help you in this instance that maybe what if you invented a website that sent someone to your home to pick up an item in a sealed envelope and then delivered it to someone else?
This is amazing. Amazing. What about this website? It's called Every Last Vote Dotcom. And you can go there, you can vote by mail. You can be a poll worker. You could volunteer to be a poll worker, you could volunteer or you could donate to make sure that democracy actually happens in November. What do you guys think?
I'm really glad we got every last vote, Dotcom. That's right.
We did love it. We did it directly to save America. Dotcom, another website. That is quite cool. It's a cool idea. Really cool websites. Lots of cool, cool sites.
Squarespace provide useful templates created by world class designers and four seven award winning customer support. You can head to Squarespace dot com slash crooked for a free trial. And when you're ready to launch, use the offer code cricket to save 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain.
All right. Let's talk about the week ahead. Today is the beginning of the very first all virtual Democratic National Convention. The event comes on the heels of Joe Biden's selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate, along with a number of polls that show the ticket beating Trump by an average of eight points and that most voters approve of Biden putting Harris on the ticket.
It's almost been a week since the big VP decision. Haven't had you guys this reaction yet to the pick and how it's played so far. Tommy, what do you think?
So, look, the rollout was excellent. Kamala Harris speech was excellent. Right. And when you unpack it, like the resume, when you lay it all out is so impressive. Her personal story as the daughter of immigrants, I think resonated with tons of people, especially first generation Americans. And she delivered the hell out of it. She's just an incredibly talented speaker. And the other thing she does that I noticed is that Obama was very good at responding to Republican attacks with a joke, with a smile, with humor.
It just takes the edge off the response. Harris is extremely good at this. She has lines in that speech where she was just gutting Donald Trump, but she delivers it with a smile. It lands well. It's very impressive. It's something frankly, like I'd like to see Biden do a little bit more. He's a little bit more humor when he's dealing with this stuff. Look, you know, the knock on Harris's presidential campaign was that it didn't seem like it always had a clear message or direction.
And I think they would obviously admit that, like dropping out before Iowa was not the goal. That was not what success looks like.
But navigating that huge, unruly Democratic primary is very different than prosecuting the case against Trump. And she is an expert at prosecuting a case. And we saw it already. So I was energized by it. I heard from a lot of people who said I'm surprised at how excited I am by this pick. It's wild that Biden raised forty eight million dollars in two days after the speech. There's already some polling, 54 percent of Americans like the pick. Sixty four percent of Democrats are strongly approving of the pick.
And then, you know, like stepping back because I'm being very tactical here. Like, this is a historic pick for women, African Americans, Indian Americans, Jamaicans. It's also we're a party where a lot of our leadership is pretty old. And Harris, at 55 represents generational change and it's exciting.
And so, like, I guess the last thing is there's probably listeners who wish someone else had got it or they say, you know, I have a problem with Harris's record or policy positions and that is OK. We are not here to tell you to get over it or like, hold your nose. I just think you need to remember that politicians are humans. They change, they evolve. So, you know, make a Harris and make Biden account for their records, but know that they are not bound by them.
You can advocate and push them to change. So it can be really interesting to see what the campaign does, how they deploy her.
Right. Like they're going to do this joint interview on ABC. She gives a major speech at the DNC. Then there's the VP debate. Those are the big moments. But it'll be interesting to see how they use her in between because there's no stumping. It, however, now that we've it's been almost a week since the rollout, how do you think it's how do you think it's gone and what's your reaction? But look, I agree with everything that Tom just said.
I think what was striking to me is I had come to know that Kamala Harris in key moments shines right. She in that debate with Joe Biden. Right. She sort of crushes in hearings where she really needs to have a moment and step up. She can make those moments really count and really go far. And it was striking to me just how much that energy, that capability was needed in this campaign. We have four people running for president and vice president.
She is not just the best messenger in that group. She is the best messenger by a mile. And just seeing Biden and Harris together, sitting at those two desks side by side, getting briefings, seeing her go up and give a speech, it it creates such a a contrast with Trump and Pence. And she's just so effective in those set pieces in those made for TV moments. And I think that that especially given that there aren't crowds. I mean, she gave an announcement speech with no crowd and she did it really, really well.
And so the fact that she is so adept at that is so effective in those moments, I think is why she is going to be really valuable in the big moments, but also in between. So it quickly went from calling her nasty to embracing his birther roots and saying that he heard she doesn't meet the requirements to run.
You just heard that, which is which I thought was interesting, because then his campaign walked it back over the weekend in favor of the argument that Comilla is just too liberal, like Jason Miller, some of the other ones, they said case closed for us on this.
And why do you think they don't see the birther ism as a winner this time around?
Well, look, let's see. I mean, they always play footsie with this stuff, right? They throw it out there, then they get it out there into the ether and then they walk it back. They've played that game a few times. I don't know that they're walking it back means that they're not getting the mileage out of it that they want. It's obviously absurd. It's it's ridiculous, obviously. I mean, she is bored completely. It's a lie.
It's a it's a it's a.
But see, with the Obama birther, racism was a conspiracy theory that everybody was in cahoots to pretend he was eligible. The Kamala Harris conspiracy is actually just a kind of crackpot reading that nobody takes. There's no actual missing information. Everybody has the same set of facts. It's the same set of facts that apply to six or so other American president, including Donald Trump's favorite, because somebody told him once in a meeting that they were the same Andrew Jackson.
But but I do think it speaks to the fact that, like, look, you know, John, congratulations. Donald Trump retweeted something that mentioned you.
I'm sure your your mensches were just flowing, just the highlights, the whole fucking life on people. But that was it.
Yeah, but I mean, look, they you know, she's she's an antifa general and also a corporate cop, and they're going to just throw both of them at us for a long time. Well, you can see it, and we talked about this a couple episodes ago, I think on the on the new ad strategy, right. Which is to still call Joe Biden liberal, but they've sort of sanded the edges off the exaggerations that he's like antifa general.
And now it's just like he raises taxes a lot and he's super liberal and and sort of the more traditional Republican consultants around Trump right now, to the extent that there are some really do want to just be they think they need to run this campaign and just say that Kamala Harris and Joe Biden is too liberal. And so when I said last week on the pod that Kamala Harris has in fact embraced progressive policies in the Senate, she's for the green New Deal.
She had you know, she signed on to Bernie's Medicare for All Bill.
Somehow they all sat around. My comments all week is like some big gotcha on Kamala Harris.
It's like I'm sure she would admit that she is for those policies. So she's proudly for them. They're popular.
It's so annoying when Republicans like Play Act these these revelations and the media repeats them, it's like, oh, no, we said facts out loud, as if that sort of changed.
You could have Googled this, but like stepping back to the birther ism thing for a minute. Like, first of all, I didn't know I needed another reason to not read Newsweek because they wrote this big piece, this birther piece, but tread on the heels of their Jared Kushner puff piece about the pandemic response. So, you know, I look forward to never seeing it in print again, I guess. I don't know. But like, I'm not convinced the Republicans have abandoned birther ism similar to what love is said, because, you know, the thing to know about birth tourism is that is it is not and has never been about eligibility or the Constitution.
It was a way to launder racist attacks about Obama through the media. Right. That allowed them to say Obama was other. He was foreign. Fox News claimed he was educated in a madrassa. And that's spelled out in so many different ways. Right. Marco Rubio, his spokesman, said Obama was intentionally trying to destroy America. And a Rubio himself said Obama deliberately weakened. America's was just part of this otherness strategy. So I'm waiting for a version of this to come back because Trump always gets back to these fissures around race and now around gender.
I do hope that the press has come a long way on this subject because in 2011 through 16, they were a disaster. Trump was repeatedly welcomed on mainstream news shows to spread this lie. He was on The Today Show, The View, ABC News, CNN. It was like a core part of his message that like they would cursorily fact check, but it really just spreaded this birther bullshit everywhere until Trump finally walked it back in the summer of 2016.
And we were all supposed to be grateful for it. So, you know, look, hopefully it'll be ineffective. Hopefully the press will shut it down. I expected to come back.
Yeah, that is true and unfortunate.
All right. Let's talk about what to expect from the convention itself. There will be no big speeches in stages and crowds in Milwaukee. Instead, The Washington Post reports that it will involve, quote, a behind the scenes crew of about four hundred with operation centers in New York, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Wilmington, Delaware, with, quote, plans to broadcast to the nation hundreds of live video feeds from living rooms, national monuments and stages around the country.
Homebound delegates will be dialed into quick feeds of the live speeches, so their real time actions could be broadcast to the country as if they were in the same room as the speakers.
Why is the only thing before we get to the analysis, they need to make a graphic of Joe Biden holding an electric wire in his mouth like a dog that says. We'll be right back. Technical difficulties just in case.
They just need something to throw up in case one of these things they said, I'm scared for them, too.
So they they said in that story, love it.
That, like, we have not everything. In fact, most things in the convention, most pieces of the convention haven't been prerecorded and we haven't tested all this.
So like a lot of this is live and a lot of this, we're just going to like see how it goes excited any or nice person, any tech person, anyone involved in this logistics, the advanced people, anyone involved in planning this. We're thinking of you. We know how big this job is. Oh, my God, we're hoping for you. We will not do your best. Do your best junior people involved in putting this on. We're on your side.
On your side. So stepping back from that, I mean, the three of us have now been through four conventions, right, for a 12 16, we've been to a couple in person.
What do parties typically hope to get out of a convention week? And what are some of the ways this year might be different? Love it. Well, yeah.
I mean, you know, a big room filled with people celebrating the anointing of a of a nominee. Look, it's been now a long time since the nomination was truly in doubt. Right? It's been a long time since we had a real floor fight. I mean, you know, we had that moment in 2008 where Hillary Clinton called off the stop your counting, stop your counting. It's Barack Obama's. And everybody was very excited. And, you know, you know, Linda Rothchild finally gave up her foolhardy effort.
That's a deep cut cut.
But so it's really become kind of an opportunity to sort of craft a story about the race and building up to the nomination of the vice president and the nomination of the of the president on the ticket. And, you know, I would say it has been a place where you've seen, like real rising stars kind of emerge as the leaders of the party, like Barack Obama in 2008. It's also been places where people really shit the bed. So it's a mix.
But, you know, I do think the one big moment that has been deprived of Joe Biden is this is an opportunity to be on the same stage as a president, to have a big crowd in a big arena talking about big things before the entire country and the kind of scale has been taken away. And I think that that matters more for a challenger than it does for the incumbent, because Donald Trump has all the trappings of the White House.
But other than that, I think it's about figuring out how to tell that story in a way that's compelling without the trappings of a big convention floor.
Tommy, everyone's always looking for a bounce, a big, big bounce out of the convention. What makes it what makes this year maybe a little trickier for the bounce?
I mean, look, these are such anachronistic events that maybe we won't have conventions in the future. But I mean, look, you do two things, right? You want to fill in everything you can about the biography of your of your nominee and your vice president in the gutsiest, most inspiring way possible. So there will be a beautifully produced video about Joe Biden's life, his loss, his time in the Senate, his time as VP about Dr. Biden.
Their family will be similar videos about Kamala Harris and then, you know, core parts of that story in that bio. And those values will be repeated in every major speech. So by the end of it, you can't help but understand who Joe Biden is. Right. Obama's 2004 convention speech, we remember it as this coming out party about him. We remember red states and blue states. But in the middle of that speech, there was a tight, really compelling argument for John Kerry and John Edwards in what they would do for the country in 2012.
The DNC played this like seven minute like mini biopic about Obama's first term. That was about the financial crisis, the bin Laden operation. It was narrated by Biden, Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton to contextualize and tell that story associated with that story is just going to be an esteemed assault on Donald Trump and his record, which is why tonight's agenda is three crisis's pandemic, economic downturn and racial justice. And you'll hear that message from politicians, but then also these stories from real people who have been impacted by the policies.
Like I think those could even be more impressive than the political the politicians speeches. So this is weird. It's all digital. It's all remote. I suspect we'll see all kinds of calls to action for like digital organizing events or fundraising. But Stephanie Cutter was quoted saying this year's convention is 16 hours shorter than a typical convention. So in some ways, maybe that will make all the cable booking and spin and conversations around the convention even more important. I don't know.
We'll see. You're welcome, America. No kidding, 16 hours shorter, so, no, I mean, campaigns spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising. These conventions are free infomercials.
They go from nine to 11 at night. Usually they're longer than that. The cable networks will probably take them. The networks, the broadcast networks will only take them from 10 to 11 each night. So you get one hour.
So the only people that know the question about these conventions is like, who are they for? Right.
They are not for us. Like if you are voting for Joe Biden, if you are voting for Donald Trump already, this convention is not really for you. We're going to watch it and we're hopefully going be entertained by we're going to be talking about it a lot. To the extent that you just mentioned, they can be an organizing tool. They are. You know, they are for people who are already made up their minds because hopefully, you know, even if you're voting for Joe Biden, if there's a call to organize or get friends to register to vote these conventions, you go do that.
So I fully believe they should be an organizing tool. But really, what I think both parties are hoping for is that in the 10:00 hour, when people tune in on broadcast television who are not like political news junkies, like the people who watch cable news, there's basically two types of voters.
They're swing voters who haven't decided who they're voting for yet, Trump or Biden.
And then there's people who haven't decided if they're going to vote at all, who tend to be younger, who tend to be people of color, who tend to be more cynical about the process.
And I think from the Democrats perspective, we both need to reach voters who are swing voters who are going between Biden and Trump. And we and we especially need to reach voters who may not vote at all because they are tired of the system and very cynical. And so those, I think, are the two audiences to have in mind as we see all this, because a lot of it is not for partisans.
For me, like that's how I'm going to watch each of these conventions, I think is different.
I think for the Democratic convention is something, John, we talked about in our YouTube video that Joe Biden has to both, you know, reassure people who are who are looking for normalcy and reach people for whom normal was a crisis for a very long time.
And I think the big challenge for that, this convention is how you kind of tell that story. And then on the Republican side, you know, Pence gave a speech, I think, over the weekend or the last couple of days, and he, apropos of nothing, he's like, hey, and by the way, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, they're going to take away your red meat.
They're coming to your house.
They're going to take your burgers out of your house. That was crazy. And it's and it is crazy.
You know, the you know, when Sean Hannity asked Trump, like, what's your second term agenda? And he just didn't have an answer. You know, it used to be that on the Republican side, the kind of the right wing populism was the icing on a kind of like corporate country club.
Republican cake. Right. Like Paul Ryan's agenda, never going to be popular. So they do all this other all this other stuff, you know, from Reagan to Bush to Trump, they're all doing it to kind of like stir up their base and stir up the grievances to get out the vote so they can kind of push through the program the cake. And with Trump right now and Pence, like it's just the icing. It's just the fear mongering.
It's just the grievance. There's no actual program. And so I think that, like, what I'm going to be watching is, are they going to have a program? Are they going to have a positive case for a second term?
So tonight's primetime lineup is Monday. Former Republican Governor John Kasich, Senator Bernie Sanders and former first lady Michelle Obama would accrue what, a crib?
I will say that in the 10 to 11 hour, I think it's only Bernie and Michelle, but Kasich somewhere in the primetime.
Tommy, what do you think was the strategy behind that lineup?
And and do you think the big tent is too big there?
I mean, look, am I a big Kasich fan? No, he's sort of well-known. You've said that for years. He's he's like kind of well known for being an asshole.
And his politics are obviously way more conservative than mine. But, look, he did a pretty good job in 2016 of rebranding himself as a sort of softer alternative to Trump. And I think a lot of people came away from that cycle liking him. And I think the goal this year is not to say Kasich is a Democrat. It's to say this is a year unlike any other. Joe Biden's candidacy is a place you can go if you're a democratic socialist, a moderate, or a Republican who just can't stomach Trump for a variety of reasons.
And like, if we can reach and turn out all of those people, that is a very effective message. That's a lot of the country. And so, you know, our Kasich and other former GOP elected is the best way to sell it. Maybe they'll get attention because they have name ID, they have profiles. And any time someone from the other party speaks at a convention, it makes news. We all recall in 2004 when a Georgia Democrat named Zell Miller made a fool out of himself at the convention, in part because he challenged Chris Matthews to a duel, which was weird.
But before that, he gave this speech just destroying John Kerry and it was treated as big news. And so people I think, you know, Stephanie Cutter and the folks running this convention are hoping to get the same treatment. I think longer term, you know, the videos you see coming from Republican voters against Trump are more effective, like average people voted for. Trump may be largely voted Republican in their lives, explaining why this time they just can't.
And I think those messengers are really powerful. And I think you'll see those types of people in taped pieces and speeches from just sort of average citizens. And that might be more effective. But the big names are getting the attention right now. Love it, there's been some consternation that AOC only has a minute to speak on Tuesday night, whereas Kazik, I guess, is going to get five tonight, most of the speeches are very short. I think some of the keynotes are like 10 to 15 or the final primetime ones.
What do you think about this whole whole debate?
Yeah, I think AOC should have had more time. I think it's less important to make the comparison and mortar attack this question as to whether someone like John Kasich should speak at the convention.
I think one point that the activists on the left have made for a long time is Democrats have been too focused on symbols and not enough on actual substance that not too much on performance and not about enough about the undergirding policies. In this case. John Kasich speaking at the Democratic convention, is a symbol. A symbol of what? Well, I think it's for the most part, a symbol about how uniquely dangerous Trump is. If it was also a symbol that Joe Biden is moderating his policy views, shifting toward the center to get at the kind of people that agree with John Kasich, I would have a bigger problem with that.
But I think what we are seeing is that sort of two things can be true. One is that progressives and the left have successfully pulled the Democratic Party and as a result, their consensus pick Joe Biden to the left. His policies have shifted to the left. He has embraced the green New Deal. He has embraced a host of democratic reforms, economic policies that bring him to the left of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and certainly to the left of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
At the same time, they're trying to build a case that Trump is a unique danger. And again, what I said before, I think applies right. He is trying to tell a story about going back to normal while also telling a story about how normal was horrible for a lot of people. I think you can do that and have John Kasich and Bernie Sanders speak on the same night. So I don't have a problem with it. Yeah, I mean, look, if it were up to me, I love hearing as we speak, I take AC every night of the convention, right.
She's in the buther I think she's she's a rising star in the party.
Like, yet again, it's this is not for me, but like and I also, by the way, think that AOC could do more in a minute than most of the speakers this week will be able to do in twenty minutes. I just that that's, you know, that's who she is. As for John Kasich. Right. John Kasich, as many people have pointed out, is anti choice. Right. And he has a whole bunch of other pretty conservative Republicans positions, but especially anti choice.
One, we are not being asked to vote for John Kasich or for John Kasich to implement any of his policies. In fact, the opposite is true. John Kasich is saying, I am anti choice, but I am going to, in this election, vote for a ticket that is pro-choice, that is probably going to install Supreme Court judges that protect the rights to choose and pass laws that protect the right to choose for the next four years and possibly justices for a generation.
And I'm going to do that even though I don't agree with it, because Donald Trump is so fucking dangerous. So all you other Republicans who might feel strongly about certain positions like choice and stuff like that, I'm telling you, put that aside because our democracy is in danger, because Donald Trump is president right now.
So let's vote for Joe Biden.
And will that be effective? Who the fuck knows? Is it worth a try?
Yeah, probably it probably is, because, again, we need two types of voters.
We need people who voted for Trump and are now going to vote for Joe Biden, who voted Republican in the past, are now going to vote Democrat.
And we need people who feel that the system isn't working for them and they might not even vote. And those are the people that Bernie Sanders and AOC can sometimes reach. And if we didn't have Bernie Sanders in AC, then shame on us because we would reach those people. And if we don't have the John Kasich of the world trying to reach the other swing voters, then shame on us there, too. You've got to do both.
I just think on the easy thing, like when people first started talking about her, when she won the primary, I thought this must be a little bit overhyped just because it was so effusively praised. And then I saw her speak at this Bernie rally in Iowa and I got it right. And it was because she told a story about needing to get a blood test and she couldn't afford it. And then she had to go to a free clinic and wait hours and hours to get the test that way.
This happened when she was running for Congress. Right. If you watch the Netflix documentary about her campaign to bring down the House, you see her scooping ice. When she's working at a bar like I've had that job, you've had that job. Billions of people have had that job. So she you see her and you think, OK, she gets my value, she gets working people. They need to make sure that they are programming enough speakers that are talking about the working class, that are talking about forging that connection.
Totally agree with voters. Right. And so with specific Doce, like on top of that really, truly authentic connection, she's just an unbelievably talented speaker. Ted Yoho learned that the hard way. So it doesn't make a lot of sense to give her one minute. I don't think we need to talk about it like Twitter has in terms of the Zero-Sum choice between AC and Kasich, because I can make an argument for both of them. And I could make an argument for a lot of kind of milquetoast, boring Democrats not speaking.
And then you give those minutes back to AOC. But these tend to be political decisions that go through lots of annoying screens that probably don't lead to the best product always. But check all the right boxes. To that point, Tommy, like the speakers I'm looking forward to, are they announce that the keynote address is instead of one person, it's going to be 17 people, is going to be Stacey Abrams and 16 sort of up and coming Democrats, very young, progressive, diverse, Democratic, elected some people who just ran for office the first time a couple of years ago.
And I do think you're absolutely right that showcasing Democrats who can say I was just like you like last year. I was I was I a working class person. I had never thought about politics before.
I was disenchanted with politics myself. And I decided to run for the first time because I was disenchanted with politics and do something about it. That's a story that's like Jamal Bowman's story. Right.
Like showcasing these politicians, I think is actually very useful, more useful than a lot of sort of the older politicians that have been around for a long time.
I ask you guys, how do you make a 17 person keynote? How does that work?
Yeah, I, I do not know how this is going to do, but I think, you know, you put up, you know, for soprano, for alto, for baritone harmony.
Five bass maybe. I don't know, bass bass.
My other question for you guys is what does an applause line look like at an all remote, all zom convention where there's no one like do you have your family applaud for you?
Do you hopefully skip them? There's going to be some clunkers.
Look, we all know a lot of the speechwriter's who are working on these speeches, and many of them are friends. Many of them are fucking fantastic. The best there is. So I have faith that they will not be writing out.
Like, I don't think you write out applause lines.
I think you write speeches without applause lines in if unless I mean, reading that Washington Post or it was kind of confusing because they said that there would be real time reaction from some people who are getting the speeches beamed live into their homes. So maybe you'll be able to hear some applause. But if I was the writer or the speaker working on the speech, I would not be counting on any applause. So I would be writing a speech that is very conversational, almost like you're doing a direct to camera kind of thing, and not that you're trying to go for the typical applause, which won't give it the power of a typical convention speech at all, but I think is better than landing some fucking clunker that someone thought was a good applause line and and then no one, doesn't it?
Yeah, I also I I've been thinking about this, too. I think not all applause lines are created equal and there are kind of jokey speech applause lines that are either snarky or cutesy that will not work like will just crumble, just terrible.
But I still think that there is power in like kind of the fury of this moment. And if there is one advantage to the fact that there are no audiences right now is it lends like a real seriousness to this moment. It really highlights how sad and broken a time it is. And that creates an opportunity, I think, for like in a speech, they would get applause there, not applause lines. They are people speaking from places of emotional personal fury.
And I think if they can bring that home, if they can do that, be really personal in their in their sort of righteous anger and sadness, like they would get applause if there were applause. There isn't, but it'll still work. That's maybe too specific. But now I think about Ann Richards, right.
Talking about how poor George Bush he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
I'm imagine delivering that to zoom in your living room. It's almost most famous, like DNC quotes of all time. But how does it work? I don't know.
Sarah Palin, like hockey mom, lipstick, dead silence, or even Obama's 2004 convention speech, like the first time he practiced it.
It was bad because he didn't figure out how to ride the applause and sort of like, keep it going in the right moments. And then it was exceptional because you could feel the momentum swelling underneath it, even if he couldn't even hear himself delivering it. Right. Like, what does that what does that speech become this year? Well, but I was just going to say, Tommy, that speech to me is an example of what Lovett was talking about, which is the difference between sort of the classic applause line that you write that can be cheap and funny versus an applause line that you get because you built it.
And what was so brave about his writing of the beginning of that speech is you didn't get applause. You didn't land in a place that you got applause until he got through the whole bio, his whole bio at the beginning of that speech.
And then it finally lands on this big applause line, which now seems normal at the time. But but at the time, that wasn't normal at all. You immediately start a convention speech, like big applause, like I'm John Kerry reporting for duty. Right. You get. Applause line. Applause line. Applause line.
Barack Obama just told the story about his life and then he lands there. So it was a hard thing to do.
And it's just like the last point that that to me it speaks to, like, OK, we're talking about the process. There's no audience to ours. It's going to be case symbiosis. Anybody involved in this, everybody involved in this does also need to step back and just sort of appreciate the scale of the moment. Just like take a moment and remember how serious this crisis is, how broken our society is right now, how much pain there is out there.
And if that motivates what people say, I think the logistics, all of that melt away. Yeah, that's a good point.
Well, we will be on group thread making fun of the times. I mean, look, I may not know how everybody is so thrown out.
No one envisioned covering this this this convention a year ago. But, you know. I guess there's snakes in my house, it's easy to get to the bathroom. As our Votes Save America team sent out that email this morning to get ready for the convention, and they wrote in the email, when we started planning the convention, one of the one of the notes taken was party bus Milwaukee Questionmark.
That was our listen to a couple of hours from now.
I should be getting my classic late night in room Caesar salad. That's like all, you know, you land, you order the Caesar. Doesn't matter where you are taken.
I didn't get to go to the convention in 2008 because someone who I won't name name rhymes with Rand Paul Phifer wouldn't let me go because they they wanted some rapid response team at the office. But in 2004, I got to go. And I was a last minute addition. Like Gibbs was like, hey, do you want to go? And I figured it all out. I ended up sitting next to this guy who was so friendly, so engaging, was asking me about myself the entire time, why I was going there.
And the very end after blabbing at this dude for two hours from Chicago to Boston, I was like, I'm sorry, why are you going to the convention? He's like, Oh, my dad is speaking. It was Hunter. Biden was just like, couldn't be nicer. Just listen to me bullshit the whole time. This overexcited twenty three year old, whatever. Super nice guy. I was at two thousand four also Tommy, but I was on a documentary crew carrying a boom mic behind Amy Goodman and so I who is who does Democracy Now?
But I was not working for Democracy Now. I was doing a documentary about Democracy Now, but it ended up with me chasing Madeleine Albright with a boom mic trying to get her on the record for war crimes.
No, I don't know if I got her.
I almost couldn't get in to see. I think it was Edwards or Kerry's speech because they start like closing off all the doors. So I'm with a friend of mine were like sprinting around, like trying to find an entrance that's still open. And I see a bunch of people going through this one area to get to the Loja, to get down to the floor, whatever the hell I was.
And I finally run up to it and they're like, are you with them? And I'm like, guess I'm with them and I need him in her. And right now we get up and we realize somehow we just talked our way into being with the road crew for the Black Eyed Peas. And then we just escaped from there and went to the floor and watched.
Very fun. Well, tonight, we'll all be on our couch. Do you remember I'm not done. Do you remember trading badges to get further and further in? Yes, yes, yes. You've get the yellows added to the blue badge, the purple badge. I finally got the right badge so that I could see Obama know for.
No, huh? There you go. All right, guys, well, it the right moment, the moment pandemic, the moment, um, well, I'm looking forward to it should be it should be interesting to see how they're going to pull this one off.
When we come back, I will be talking to democratic election attorney Marc Elias.
Party of America is brought to you by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah this election season, there's more fake news out there than ever, whether it's the failing New York Times, the clueless Washington Post or phony Fox News. But why settle for fake news when you can have the fake news?
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is bringing you all the election coverage you can barely stomach from now until November.
Trevor and his team of correspondents will break down the issues and answer 20 20 biggest questions, such as Will Donald Trump just cancel the election?
Doesn't seem like a funny question. Will Joe Biden figure out zoom in time for the convention? Which candidate will let down the Black Lives Matter movement the hardest?
How can Joe Biden win over Kuhnen voters again pretty close to home? When will Donald Trump cancel the election? Will Mike Pence shock everyone with an October surprise rapture? And how will James Comey screw it all up this time?
Good stuff. Plus, catch Trevor's exclusive interviews with artists, activists and leaders in the fight for social justice for perspectives you won't hear anywhere else. November is coming fast and The Daily Show will be there for you every step of the way, from the conventions to the debates and right up until Donald Trump cancels the election season.
So tune in to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. They covered the election. You cover your face. New weeknights at 11:00, 10:00 Central on Comedy Central. Pottsy of America is brought to you by Beekeeper's Natural Rate. John, John, ready?
What was that?
What was that sound with some throat spray for kids? It's the same stuff. Propolis, buckwheat, honey, throat spray.
Apparently this version is for kids. You're a kid at heart kid or a kid at heart. Tommy, Tommy. Just use beekeeper's natural product. It'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 products, which you just heard, sprayed propolis throat spray is your daily defense when it comes to supporting your immune health, including sore and scratchy throats.
Never heard of it. You just heard sprayed. You just heard spread. Never heard of propolis before. It's an antioxidant rich biproduct with powerful germ fighting properties and it's quickly becoming a medicine cabinet staple. Although if you're like Tommy, you're like me. You just have it right at your desk.
You don't even have to go to the mat. Sometimes a listener is asked, do you guys really use these products? Fuck you or spray you if you ask that again.
Is can't get close enough to get you to get close enough to him these days probably is a byproduct with medicinal use dating all the way back to three hundred B.C. bees make propolis out of plant and tree resins.
It's packed with antioxidants, which we've already said the stuff is not honey.
It's made and used by bees to defend their hive from germs. It's the hives immune to the hive. You can use it. It's the hive.
Oh my God. Wow. Yeah. Didn't make that.
It wards, it fends off anything and we'll cut the shit out of you if you come near it here that love it. Use it for every day immune support.
OK, listen, I have nothing but admiration and respect for the hive and their incredible memory.
He's actually genuflecting as he says this.
It's very strange. Yes, go on. This is this all this over down to my benefit. I'll tell you I'll tell you the reason I love it is so come right now. And talking about this, he's been eating some beachball, honey. Great Segway, which is another product we love from Beekeeper's Natural's.
We're all stressed right now. If the nonstop breaking news has got you pulling your hair out, wouldn't it be nice if you could just grab a dose of chilled? That's where Beashel Honey comes in. It's naturally powered by raw honey and hemp extract. It's a delicious spoonful of Zen that won't leave you feeling drowsy or high.
Take the edge off when you're scrolling through Twitter looking at your mensches or when you're tossing and turning at bedtime trying to find some peace. Be chill, honey. Comes and sticks. You can eat the sticks.
They're delicious. Peaches, honey, comes and sticks.
Thank you for that crazy sex drive. It is. The sticker is a sticker right off the top of the stick. And there you go. Yep. That's it.
Wigram, we get on. You're in business.
Oh no. We could all use more support right now. Propolis throat spray is your daily defense beach. Your spoonful of come to upgrade your medicine cabinet with beekeeper's and save 15 percent on your first order. Go to Beekeeper's Natural's Dotcom slash crooked.
That's beekeeper's and you are less dotcom crooked to get 15 percent.
Spelled that wrong. Meet your new. I did. I just want to piss you off.
Fuck yeah. Spray it in me. Your new medicine cabinet with Beekeeper's Nadra.
I am now joined by attorney Marc Elias, the leader of the group Democracy Dockett. Marc, thanks for joining us.
Thanks for having me. Between Trump and the post office and Republican officials all over the country, there's a lot of election shenanigans going on, to put it mildly, sometimes too many to keep track of.
What are you most worried about? Which is how I know what we should be most worried about. So I'm most worried that we are going to have a situation in the fall where people are not going to be able to vote easily, so I'm worried about poll consolidation and poll closing that will lead to long lines and confusion. And that's not something people are talking a lot about. But I think we're going to hear more about that. Remember, in the primaries, we saw long lines everywhere as we saw covid preventing polls from being open.
And then I'm worried about the postal service and the problems that we're seeing in the delays in absentee ballot applications going out in absentee ballots to be going out and absentee ballots coming back. So let's start with the poll closings first, then what is sort of your strategy, legal strategy in regards to handling that?
Yeah, so, you know, a lot of attention has been focused on the litigation that I and my president are sponsoring a round around vote by mail. And we have litigation in 17 states trying to make sure that there's adequate adequate vote by mail. But at the same time that's been going on, we're also litigating around in-person voting opportunities. Well, we were suing Georgia over a long line to prevent that from happening again. We're suing North Carolina to ensure that there is more adequate in-person voting.
So we've been we've been attentive to this. But I but I expect that the Republican shenanigans, as you say, will creep up as we've seen them, even when the sun is shining and skies are blue and everyone's healthy in past years.
So your legal strategy is focused on what you've called the four pillars to safeguard vote by mail. What are those four pillars?
So the four pillars are, number one, that the state should pay postage so that voters don't have to. It turns out that requiring voters to pay postage has a really negative impact on return rates, particularly among young voters and voters of color. Number two is ensuring that all ballots that are postmarked by Election Day count, even if they received a few days afterwards. One of the ways to combat a slow post office is to simply abide by the same rule that most people experience in their daily lives, which is if something is due on Election Day, as long as it's postmarked by Election Day, it counts.
And even if it comes in a day or two later, it still gets counted. And a number of the states require ballots to be received by Election Day. And that really disenfranchises lots of voters. And it allows for the kinds of opportunities for the postal service that we see the Trump administration involved in. The third is to make sure that signature action laws, these are the laws that when absentee ballots come in, they compare the signature on the envelope with the signature on file, making sure that those signature matching laws are applied in a uniform and fair manner so that we don't have a circumstance in which black and brown voters and young voters face higher rates of rejections than older voters and white voters, and also that anyone whose ballot is rejected has an opportunity to be notified and contest and say, hey, that was my signature, or to cure it and prove that it was their signature.
And then the last one is to allow third party groups, community organizations to collect and deliver voted sealed ballots. We know that in many parts of the country, for example, on Native American reservations, there is not regular mail service. So the the the ability of groups to collect voted seal ballots and drive them to the local post office or drive them to the county election office is critically important.
So are you currently in legal battles to sort of make sure that all four of those pillars are upheld? Can you, like, Sue to make sure that states pay for postage for or do these have to be sort of legislative strategies as well?
No, we believe that that there is a constitutional right to each of those four, which is why we identified them. And it's why we are right now suing in. We've sued in 17 states for four pillars cases. There's actually a section on the Democracy website we want to see it that's entitled Four Pillars Litigation. And they could see what the four pillars are. They can also look at their own state and see in their state how many of the pillars their state meets.
But we are litigating in all of the battleground states right now to ensure that all four pillars are met.
Can you talk about some of the recent wins you've had lately? Yeah, so we've had a number of of important wins. And so just on Thursday of last week, Pennsylvania agreed to litigated against us on the Election Day cut, moving from a received by to a postmarked by a deadline on Thursday. I was thrilled to see that the state reversed course and agreed has now agreed with us on the postmark by this follows Pennsylvania a few weeks earlier agreeing to do prepaid postage.
So that's a victory for voters in Pennsylvania. In Minnesota, we we were able to sue successfully to allow third party ballot election to strike down their state's witness requirement for November, which is another barrier that voters face for absentee voting. They also as part of that lawsuit, we achieved a postmarked by rather than received by deadline. So that was a win for voters in Minnesota. We won a case in Montana on ballot collection because it's very, very important in a state like Montana.
South Carolina sued and they've agreed to prepaid postage, so so, you know, it's mix and match throughout the battleground states, but we've been we've been doing OK.
Do you have any lawsuits that are directly related to some of the steps the post office has taken to disrupt service, slow down service so we don't have any lawsuits against the Postal Service or the Trump administration or on the Postal Service?
And, you know, there will undoubtedly be others who bring those kinds of lawsuits. I stick to the voting rights arena and what I'd say is that for my part, and it doesn't mean it's the only part. But for my part, you know, we are we are bringing cases that that are going to help ameliorate that. For example, if you had a rule that said that a ballot postmarked by Election Day is going to count, then the fact that the Postal Service is delivering mail slower really doesn't affect whether that vote counts.
Right? It may it may delay the results, but it's not going to disenfranchise the voter. If you if you prioritize allowing requiring states to prepaid postage, you actually get people to vote their ballots earlier because they don't sit on their ballots while they go figure out where to get postage. And obviously, allowing third party ballot collection is a way that voters can get their ballots in without having to go through the mail. So. What can people do to make sure that they can cast their ballots safely without having to rely on the US Postal Service?
Yeah, so I recently posted an article on democracy document that listed four things that people can do if they want to vote without the Postal Service. Let me first say that there is some good information about this going around and there are some bad information about this around. The bad information is the information that suggests there is a one size fits all solution. Different states are going to have different laws that are going to allow some of these or others. So, for example, as you know, John, from your your background in our work together, early in-person voting right now, like, you know, everyone who is in a state that has early in-person no lines, you know, lots of days take advantage.
That's like forty one states at this point.
Right. Early in-person voting. Yeah.
So like early in-person voting is like a super convenient way to vote that doesn't require the postal service. The second is many states have drop boxes, you know, where the counties put out these steel boxes that allow people to put their ballot in. And those those those don't go through the Postal Service. They get directly picked up by the by the by the state. As I mentioned, in some states, there are community organizations that will that will come pick up your ballot and hand deliver that will do ballot collection.
And that's that's that's a solution around this. And and in some states, you can go directly to the county or the polling site and hand in your absentee ballot. Again, not every state has all four of those. Some states have won. Some states have three. It's important to check your your check your state, if you look at the article we posted, actually has links for each of those for you to confirm for your state what what what's allowed what's the what's the competitive swing state that you're most worried about in terms of not having enough of those options for voters?
So it depends on how you define it. I would point you to to North Carolina. Is probably the state that I am most concerned about because it has fairly restrictive vote by mail rules and as you know, there is a very, very high reliance on early in-person voting, particularly among African-Americans. So if you asked where am I, where do I worry about the rules, I worry about North Carolina because we need to make sure that that people are not being disenfranchised in the vote by mail process and that there is adequate in-person voting, which is part of why we are suing for more of more in-person early voting.
And we are also suing to on the four pillars. You know, if you looked at the the the the traditional or non-traditional, we look at the Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan frame, I'd say that Michigan is probably where I'm focused most of my attention. Pennsylvania has made some strides on on on things as a result of our lawsuit. Wisconsin is being heavily litigated. But the other thing about Pennsylvania is that the Trump campaign is suing Pennsylvania to ban Dropbox's, which is like actually, if you think about it for a second, it's kind of incredible.
Like who would be against Dropbox as well? I tell you, the Trump campaign. Well, I was going to ask you next, I mean, Trump this morning, as you saw, I'm sure he's tweeted about ballot boxes, about drop drop boxes.
How do we how do we ensure that there are more ballot drop boxes? Is this a state by state legal fight? Yeah.
So it's, you know, again, on the things that you didn't have on your Trump crazy bingo card at the beginning of the year, you know, attacking the Postal Service would have been one, but certainly going hard, negative on Dropbox's would not have been something that you would have singled out as something the president, the United States which would engage in. Unbelievable. Mark, you've won so many of these lawsuits already. I think people, not enough people know how hard you guys work and how and how successful you are.
What can people do to support your legal work and everything else you're doing to fight voter suppression in the upcoming election?
Yeah, so a few things. First of all, if you go to our website, democracy like a dot com, you can sign up and be kept informed on what we're what we're doing. There are links to donate to five Lunceford for the Democracy Action Fund that supports some of our litigation. But but beyond. And hopefully you can get some really good information as well by being there. But beyond that, you know, particularly on the Postal Service, as you know, John, the Postal Service is quite popular throughout this country.
It's popular in red states and blue states, popular in red districts and blue districts. In fact, it may be more popular in the red areas, in the bluer areas. So this is one of those places where really calling your member of Congress, calling your senator may make a real difference. You know, sometimes we're sometimes where we're jaded about that because you figure, OK, well, you're not going to move a Republican to oppose the Trump administration or the Postal Service is more popular than Donald Trump.
The Postal Service is a lifeline for veterans getting medicine. And so I urge people to call their member of Congress and make sure that they stand up for the postal service. Mark Elias with Democracy Dockett, thank you for joining us and keep up the good fight out there. Thanks a lot, John. Thanks to Mark for joining us today, and we'll see you tonight on a group thread. We'll see you tomorrow, Thursday for another pod. Friday for another pod.
Thursday night for our show.
We'll be seeing you a lot this week as drew by. God Save America is a crooked media production. The executive producer is Michael Martinez, our associate producer is Jordan Waller. It's mixed and edited by Andrew Chadwick.
Kyle Soglin is our sound engineer, thanks to Tanya Nominator, K.D. Lang, Roman Papadimitriou, Caroline Reston and Elisa Gutierrez for production support into our digital team, Elijah Konar Melkonian, Yael Friede and Milo Kim, who film and upload these episodes as videos every week.