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Welcome to parts of America. I'm John Farber. I'm John. Love it. I'm Tommy Vietor. On today's pod, Tom, he talks to Maria Teresa Kumar, the president and CEO of Voto Latino. Before that, we'll talk about Donald Trump's near perfect interview with Chris Wallace, who just aced it.
We'll also talk about the administration sending unidentified federal agents to crackdown on protesters in Portland and the legacies of Congressman John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, civil rights heroes who passed away this weekend.
But first, love it.
How was the show? Great. Love it or leave it. Adam Schiff came by. We talked about. Ways we can hold Trump accountable after he leaves office. If that can happen, is he going to impeach him again?
We did not.
We did not talk about a post presidency impeachment, but we talked about what can about how to resist the pressure of moving on when we know how important it is to make sure we understand what happened during the top administration.
We had Xana to fetch you to talk about social media and the pandemic Mikail Watkins played Betsi Davos and Negin Farsad join for the monologue. Was Gracian Cool?
Also, everyone, please subscribe to cricket's YouTube channel where you can find video versions of all your favorite Kirchen Media Pods. Fantastic original series. Like Dan Fifers, campaign experts react in live streams of major political, cultural and news events.
Smash that subscribe button YouTube dot no slash Kurgan UK Smash Smash.
I love smashing that subscribe button. Finally, a little bit of exciting news here.
One year ago this week, we started a fund to help flip the Senate called Get Mitsch or Die Trying. It's a Vote Save America fund today.
A year later, over 25000 of you have raised two million dollars for 14 Democratic Senate candidates. And we've already sent checks to the following candidates. Doug Jones in Alabama, John Hickenlooper in Colorado, John Asaph in Georgia, Teresa Greenfield in Iowa, Amy Magrath and Kentucky, Sarah Gideon in Maine. Gary Peters in Michigan. Steve Bullock in Montana. Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, Jamie Harrison and South Carolina. And MJ Hager in Texas. We'll also be sending money to the nominees in Arizona, Alaska and Kansas when those primaries happen.
But we will not be done until Mitch McConnell loses his job as majority leader. So keep donating at vote. Save America dot com slash. Get Mitch.
I wanted to send a big giant publisher's clearinghouse. I did.
But who didn't come together like nobody who would not happen. I know the big Mitch Turtle and checks printed.
Come on. Where's our big cheque? Well, we also have the Unifier Dye Fund. And when that is finished out and we give the Biden campaign their money, I think we should definitely give it to Joe Biden with a big publishers clearing.
Listen, we know that look, we're not we're not in favor of quid pro quos here. But I do think it should be a kind of like push over the money you push over the candidate. All right. We'll push the money towards you. All right. You don't bring anybody come alone. You push Joe Biden towards us. We'll interview him. Then you get your money.
Just great an ideal that they are going to be more of. It's more of a ransom situation. All right. Let's get to the news. The bad stretch of polling for the Trump campaign continued into this weekend with ABC and The Washington Post finding that the president is losing to Biden among registered voters by 55 to 40 percent. Fox News has Trump trailing 49 to 41 percent. Both polls show that voters are most concerned about Trump's handling of the pandemic and race relations, as well as his dishonesty and incompetence.
And so the White House thought, let's disabuse people of these silly views by having the president sit down with Chris Wallace of Fox News for a 40 minute interview that aired on Sunday morning. Here's what happened next.
I'll be right eventually. I hope you're right. Actually, you know, I said it's going to disappear. I'll say it again. But it's going to just sit like this and I'll be right. I don't think so. Right. I don't think so. You know, why doesn't it? Just because I've been right, probably more than anybody else. Everybody was saying, don't wear a mask. All of a sudden everybody's got to wear a mask.
And as you know, mask caused problems, too. With that being said, I'm a believer in masks. I think masks are good, but I leave it up to the governors. Many of the governors are changing their more mask into. They like the concept of masks. But some of them don't agree. Is the Confederate flag offensive?
It depends on who you're talking about when you're talking about when people proudly had their Confederate flags. They're not talking about racism. They love their flag. It represents the south. They like the South. People right now like the south. I say it's freedom of of many things. Now they want to change of fourteen ninety two. Columbus discovered America. You know, we grew up. We grew up. We all did. That's what we learned. Now they want to make it to 16 19 project.
Where did that come from. What does it represent. I don't even know. So slavery. That's what they're saying. But they don't even know. Joe doesn't know he's alive. OK. He doesn't know he's alive. Let's take a test. Let's take a test right now. Let's go down. Joe and I will take a test. Let him take the same test that I took. Incidentally, I took the test, too, when I heard that you passed it.
How did you do that? Well, that's not the hardest task now, but the last picture. And it's the last. And that's an L.A. Nahida, I guess. You see, that's all misrepresenting. That's what it was on the Web. So a misrepresentation because, yes, the first two questions are easy, but I'll bet you couldn't even answer the last five questions. I'll bet you. Then they get very hard. The last five.
Well, one of them was cut back from one hundred by seven.
And let me tell you, not you couldn't answer that. You couldn't answer. All right. What's the class? Many of the questions. I get you the test. I'd like to give it, but I guarantee you the Joe Biden could not answer those questions.
At first, it's easy. At first, it's easy to take a triangle. You put it to a triangle shaped hole. But then next thing you know, you got a square.
You've got a square.
But the funny thing is that it's hard to hear is after Chris Bell says one of the questions is count backwards from 100 by seven. And then Trump starts talking in the background.
You just hear while go 93, he spots him an answer.
So I wanted to get more on the parts about the pandemic and racism specifically. But first, I just want to get your overall reactions to the interview itself. For me, it was a reminder that, like Trump's pathological dishonesty is rarely challenged with sustained questioning from a real journalist.
And when it does happen, he really falls apart.
But, Tommy, what did you think? What was your reaction?
Yeah, I mean, I think that we just saw the danger of living in your own bubble of like a right wing reality. And if surrounding yourselves with with staffers who are offering, I think, the political equivalent of palliative care. Right. They're not really trying to treat the problem here and just making the pain go away. And so I'm sure he's probably read somewhere.
I was told by a staff that Biden wants to defund the police. But it is not true. And you couldn't prove it. And it was a humiliating moment.
I think that I bet you that, like he and Jared walk around the West Wing with little coterie of advisers and they talk about how unfair the coronavirus coverage is because they're just doing more testing. But like, when you say that out loud, you sound deranged. If you have only white friends and advisers, your response to police brutality is to say, yeah, well, white people are getting shot, too, and not realize how tone deaf and broken it is.
And then, of course, he has his staff commissioning their own polls that show him winning everywhere because, you know, that makes him feel better. So, you know, I'm not saying this to be cocky or argue that the election is a done deal. Far from it. It's just you can tell how divorced he is from reality. And so the other takeaway for me was good for Chris Wallace for pushing back. The interview itself was surprising, not just because normally Fox News is propaganda.
This is also a tougher interview than CBS is Catherine Herridge did last week or David Muir from ABC did recently. I don't get why every interview isn't like this. It's very easy to fact check him. He's predictable. He says the same lies. The claims are demonstrably false and he makes news when challenged. So good for Chris, good for Fox, for poking a hole in this bubble. I wish everybody would would do it. Well, what would you think?
I watched the whole thing. You know, I know I feel like I saw that you guys were watching it in real time because you're political cutters. But I waited till it was on YouTube so that I could watch it at one point seventy five speed because he's taken enough of my time.
And I said, oh. Oh, no. But so I would say all day I had to find those clips. I watched it again last night. Yeah.
You're just now you're just a fan. Rudel You're just you're just like Chris Wallace.
And you've you you follow Chris Wallace around over the summer for all of his live events.
But I know I would say all that's right. I would say to that, I think I watch it. And I tried to step back because I'd already seen so much reaction about how crazy it was. And I actually found that, like for most of the interview is just sort of like normal Trump deception. The the part about the cognitive tests does take it into a new level of almost art. But the part that I do think is was I think chilling to me was obviously, I think three parts, one where he talks about that the Supreme Court's decision on DACA is going to give him the ability to do a bunch of things with executive action like that is worrying.
I wanted out. Those are what as I said, they were about health care. They're about immigration. What are those going to look like?
Obviously, I think people are taking his usual. We'll see. We'll see to make a news cycle about what will happen if he loses and not accepting results. But obviously, that's a terrifying prospect. I think a lot of people get themselves spun up about it. But it is worth noting that he is saying now that he is not one, he is not committed to accepting the results, obviously.
And then the third thing is that final question, where he is ahead, basically, what do you want your legacy to be or what are you going to say about your presidency in hindsight needs? And he says, I was treated very unfairly. That's like the biggest, most important thing that he can take away from it. And as we're about to enter a period of time in which he's going to be doing these corona virus briefings again at a moment of incredible crisis, no matter what we do, it is clear that over the next few months he is going to waste this period of time, fail to take the coronavirus seriously and put the country in jeopardy.
And it's extremely sad. It's extremely enraging. And those were my those are my points.
Yeah, I thought I thought the same thing as you love it that the answer to the last question sums up the whole presidency and Donald Trump and it's everything you need to know about him, which is everything is about himself and how he's treated. And he can't even muster some bullshit about a second term agenda or the American people or anything. And it also reminds me that, like, he is incapable, of course, correction. Right. This is a point in a campaign where if you're down by this much against your opponent, you'd say you try some new things, you try some new messages, you try some new strategies, like none of that's going to happen.
He may win, but he will either win or lose on this message being this Donald Trump, like, you know, they announced today that he's going to bring back the briefings, like what do we think? Do we think there can be a new Trump at the briefings? These guys are taking the pandemic seriously. He's going to start what? None of that's going to happen. He's going to do this. And like, maybe this is enough to have him win.
I mean, it's not it's not so far, according to the polls, but this is who he is. This is what we're gonna get till November. Wallace started the interview by challenging Trump on his pandemic response. And this is what happened when he fact check. Trump on his live at the United States has the lowest covered mortality rate in the world.
But when you talk about mortality rates, I think it's the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world week. Well, we know we had 900 deaths on a single day. We will take this week. Ready? You can check it out. He's got me the mortality rate. Kaylee's right here. I heard we had one of the lowest, maybe the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world. You have the numbers.
Plus, because I heard we had the best mortality rate.
Number one, low mortality. I hope you show this because it shows what think this is all OK? I don't think I in fact, knows.
So it's it's really not. I mean, his message about the pandemic throughout the whole interview and in general is everything is fine. It's not that bad. Media is making it out to be more than it is. Like, don't worry about it. But it's it's not just a message. You know, he also threatened this interview to block funding for schools that don't open. Washington Post reports that the administration is threatening to block funding for testing, contact tracing and the CDC in the next pandemic relief bill.
I can't imagine Republicans who are up for re-election actually going along with this insanity. But tell me what you think.
I mean, on the school's point, the latest Navigator poll shows that I think 32 percent of the country approves of his handling of the school reopening question. And 67 percent of the country wants Trump to stay out of it and to let local communities make these decisions. So that position is already incredibly unpopular. And then he's confronted with the fact that the eight to 10 percent of funding that comes from the federal government is for poor kids, kids who have special needs.
I mean, Criswell is really. I think spells out just how cruel this little ineffective punitive approach he's taking is in the first place. And so you're not going to find a lot of issues with like 67 percent agreement period in this country.
I do suspect that a blocking funding for testing for the corona virus and for the CDC might beat it might hit like 90 percent in this environment is like nowhere in this interview.
Do you see a strategy? There's a lot of, like, buck passing. He talks. He says it's one point, like they got a lot wrong. Some of them said the virus would go away in the summer. You were the one who was pushing that line, buddy. Like that was your big thing. And so not none of this is like accountability or owning the problem, which is why I like you. I'm not at all worried about the task force briefing starting again.
I mean, yeah, it's a mess. There's no path for here. Lovo, what do you think I did see in The New York Times, there was the monthly story last night about how Republicans are starting to break from.
Or is it this is it. This is finally the time.
Is that time of year again? Yeah. Look, look, there's a good example of arguing with Donald Trump makes you dumber even when you're winning, like. Are we the more. Where are we in the mortality charts? None of that is about a process of fixing anything.
None of that is about addressing a disease that is purely about Donald Trump's ratings. Right. That's purely about how is he doing compared to other countries like where we are in that chart bickering with Chris Wallace over where we are in terms of like our line compared to other countries. It's irrelevant, a real president. That person of any kind of substance or character would say in that moment. Look, the bottom line is, Chris, we can quibble over the numbers.
The most important thing is we have to do everything in our power to to protect our people, get this virus under control so we can open up our schools. Right. There is a very clear natural moment for leadership that never comes. Obviously, we've done this a million times, so. Yeah. And then as for Republicans breaking with Trump a little bit late, you know, there's been, you know, reports that he has you know, Trump's got till Labor Day.
If he doesn't get this fixed up by Labor Day, then we're really, really like, you're going to you're going to break with him at all on the calendar. Yeah. The finish, like three, three years and nine months into the administration. You draw the line. No, it's about your own political fortunes of trying to save what's left of your Senate majority.
The conventional wisdom of no one pays attention to politics till after Labor Day.
It seems a touch off when everyone's locked inside their homes and can do nothing but watch the news in horror. But go on pundits. Yeah, we're trapped. The other notable section of the interview was about police brutality and racism. First, Wallace challenged Trump on his live at Joe Biden supports defunding the police. Let's take a listen.
Liberal Democrats have been running cities in this country for decades. Poorly. Why is it so bad right now? They've run a poorly. It was always bad, but now it's gotten totally out of control. And it's really because they wanted to fund the police and Biden wants to fund the public later. He does not look, he signed a charter with Bernie Sanders and he's nothing about defunding O'Reilly. It says abolish it says fuck. Let's go. All right.
Well, me you give me the charter plane.
All right, let's go. Let's go. Let's check out later. Let us know this. Where did where did he get charter from? It's a fucking charter. What are they? What did they say? He's a charter. No charter want to be a charter of the states. No, no, he's saying charter. He's no, he's he's holding up because he doesn't he don't you know, he's vocabulary's down to like 500 words. He's trying to big up the plans.
Right. Does want to say they have the charter because it's because it's in agreement with Bernie.
He's basically it's a charter to hand over the government and. That's what. Building toward. Right.
That's what it is. That's designed that. Well, so. So. So, yeah. The Post reported over the weekend that Trump's central message, Joe Biden now, is that he'll allow the radical left to usher in a new dystopia. I know it seems like there's a hole in that strategy, but what do you think, Joe? Is that is that a smart measures that Joe Biden is going to usher in a new dystopia?
There is a there's real there's a real logical problem in all these arguments, which is all of their all of their ads are like if Joe Biden becomes president. What's happening now is going to happen. I like what your president. Your president now. Do you, Joe? Joe Biden, he's been in Washington forever and he's going to. He's going to usher in. He's going to be with the radical left. It's like Joe Biden. More of the same radical change.
Yeah. Like, I'm like. Can't be.
But one of the first days I worked for Barack Obama. I remember Robert Gibbs telling me, like, the first rule of spin is it has to be believable. And maybe a hundred million dollars worth of attack ads could prove me wrong. But it seems like there are other messages that Joe Biden is senile and can't do the job. So I think what they're expecting us to believe is that Joe Biden is so senile that during the day AOC will sneak into the Oval Office and start writing executive orders.
And that's how things are going to go south. I like it. This the whole thing is ridiculous. I don't it's just I'm so burned by 2016 and scared of making predictions, but this doesn't seem like it's working in any way, shape or form.
This the squad is going to weekend at Bernie's Joe Biden. That's the. All right. And by the way. Yeah. It's just like, what are you trying to drive turnout?
No. OK. So in another exchange, the president said that he doesn't care if the military in a bipartisan majority in Congress want to rename bases that are named after Confederate leaders. And then he said this.
What the military says I do. I'm supposed to make the decision. Fort Bragg is a big deal. We won two world wars. Nobody even knows General Bragg. We won two World Wars. Go to that community where Fort Bragg is in a great state. I love that state. Go to go to the community. Shay, how do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg? And then what are we going to name it? You get to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton.
What are you going to name it, Chris? Tell me what you're going to name it.
Subtle, subtle, subtle stuff. I mean, that comment about Al Sharpton really tells you everything you need to know about Donald Trump and his particular brand of racism, which is like a very, you know, living through the 80s.
It's a New York Post. It's the New York page. It's a New York Post. New York Post. It's the wood of The New York Post in nineteen eighty four. That is that is who is president. The word, as they used to say, I guess, you know, back in the day. It's just amazing to me that he, like we all know he's he's racist, but that he is going to run to the right on race like the right of the Mississippi state legislature that took down the Confederate flag.
You got the military wanting to rename the bases. You've got Republicans in Congress. And he still has staked out this position.
I, I don't understand. Yeah. I mean, Sharpton being what he blurts out is incredibly telling. I mean, you know, a name he didn't know is Army Sergeant William H. Carney, the first African-American to win the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the civil fucking war. How about that guy? High is what Fort Bragg is renamed after because, you know, there have been thirty five hundred Medal of Honor recipients. Only 88 of them have been black.
That in and of itself is a scandal. But all of those people would do more honor to the military if they had bases named after them than like Confederate traitors. You know, he sort of gives away the game, too. And that aside, when he's like, no one even knows who Brian is. So who cares? He likes it. No, then he does. Then what the fuck is your problem? What? Well, then why do you why you want to keep the name so badly.
Is if, like Donald Trump from Queens has this great connection to the Confederacy from his days of doing reenactments useful. It's just it's he's again. Will we know what this is? We've been doing this a long time. He's talking to a sliver of the country who will either help him stay president or help him turn away and into Trump TV. And either, either way, is a fine option for him.
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No. Oh, no. Tommy, is that the background of his zoom video of a picture of me from The Washington Post profile in 2011? What a picture it is. What a picture it is. You can all go.
You know, it's funny. It's fine by me. Now, Fran Liebowitz, the writer, said that when you when you're young, you have pictures of yourself. But as you get older, you look back and you just think you look young in those pictures. And that's certainly happened for me. That's out now. And very young. Just look down. Look young there.
Maybe that maybe there's a cool new Web site.
Yeah, I can just look at pictures of yourself looking young or you or you just have a Web site where you upload a picture and then reverse ages it like 10 years and then you feel better by yourself. How about that? How about that for a Web site? I think we invented Instagram. Oh yeah.
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All right. Let's talk about what's going on in Portland where hundreds of protesters have been on the streets for more than 50 days now. Many of them protesting police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyds murder. Most of the protesters have been peaceful. But to deal with those who are not, Donald Trump has deployed. Unidentified federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security who so far have used tear gas and rubber bullets, fractured a person's skull with a, quote, non-lethal weapon and pulled people into unmarked vans where they've been detained without a warrant.
So state local officials in Oregon have explicitly asked these federal agents to leave. But the Trump administration claims they have the authority to be there because the president signed an executive order to protect monuments, statues and federal property. Tommy, are they right? How unusual and alarming is that? I think this is pretty alarming.
It's a scary precedent. It's a big deal. So the administration says that under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the DHS secretary has the power to deputize other federal agents to assist in this agency called the Federal Protective Service that protects federal property like the courthouse in Portland, like a bunch of monuments that we're all now really worried about, apparently. And so the administration has deployed two thousand officials from like CBP, ICE, TSA, the Coast Guard, in support of this agency to protect federal property so sensibly.
But what you're seeing in practice is, you know, guys jumping out of unmarked vans who are don't have clear markings of what agency they're from. And and, by the way, who would expect to be detained by CBP in Portland?
We're not very close to the border at the moment. And so the ACLU says, you know, usually when you see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping.
I think that's a pretty good point. The Oregon Department of Justice is going to sue them for civil rights abuses through these federal agencies. The U.S. senator from Oregon are introducing an amendment to stop the deployment of these paramilitary squads. It looks like they're trying to deploy 150 of these. I don't know what we call them, paramilitary DHS people to Chicago. They're so to me, this feels like a very purposeful effort to increase conflict, to create scenes of chaos on the streets.
Every time you every time protests have gone badly in the last four or five months, it's when the cops overreach. It's when there's police brutality. That's when protesters are beaten and the violence escalates. And sometimes you have to wonder if that's not the strategy because those images are what they want on Fox News.
It does seem like a purposeful strategy. Love it. And also, you know, by all accounts, it seems like the protests were dying down until Trump sent in these agents and now they're bigger than ever. It seems like he is trying to provoke these people.
Yeah, I think that's I think that's right. You know, there was an interview in the Times. Charlie Wartell interviewed Robert Evans, who has been covering this on the ground in Portland for the last 50 days. And to sort of get a feeling of what's been happening and and what that reporter describes basically. There's been a ton of overreach by the Portland PD. Right. That what the federal agents are doing with the seat, you know, basically acting like a secret police are doing is is in line with what we've seen in Portland.
But the difference is there's a kind of randomness to it and an unpredictability to it when there's been a rhythm to these exchanges, which has made, I think, a lot of the protesters incredibly wary. And, yes, it does seem as though they're looking for a confrontation. They're not. I mean, this has been a this has been a problem in Portland now for 50 days. But but it it doesn't seem like anyone on the law enforcement side is interested in de-escalation.
Right. If we had de-escalation that was effective, these protests would have died down. Instead, you know that the federal agents doing this is only brought out more protests, has only caused more unrest. It's only caused a greater response. And there has to be a greater response because you can't just allow, you know, unidentified people in fatigues to go around grabbing people. There's a whole bunch. Obviously, it's dangerous in a ton of ways.
Why should we presume that that that these are from the government? You know, if somebody is just pulled in, grabbed off the street, you know, you're you the reason police are need to identify themselves, the reason that there are procedures, the reason that this kind of thing is not allowed is because you have a right to defend yourself. You have a right to know who's picking you up, who's pulling you off the street. You have a right to know that this is that is it legal and not extralegal, which is what's happening now.
Yeah, I mean, one of the protesters said that when he was pulled into a van, he didn't know if they were federal officials or like a right wing PELLOM paramilitary group. Right. Because they've been out in these protests as well. And how would you how would you know the difference when you're just thrown into a van?
No, it's great. I mean, it's incredibly dangerous. It's incredibly scary. I also think it's a it's it's fairly stupid as a political strategy any way.
I mean, you know, you look to that Washington Post ABC poll and Trump is trying really hard for sort of crime and law and disorder to be like a top issue on people's minds. It's not in all these polls. It's not the corona viruses. The economy is. And crime is way down there.
But even on the issue of crime, Trump is behind Joe Biden by nine points on who would do better handling crime and handling law and order. So the idea that Trump is now going to, you know, gain in the polls by sending paramilitary groups to liberal cities across America to crack down on protesters in disgusting ways is just, you know, is one of those things where it will not it will both not help him politically, but also sort of push us to a much scarier place as a country.
And I want to say one more thing, too, which is that, you know, I've seen people try to, you know, look at where the kind of responsibility for this lies. And I think there's people there are talking about how, you know, the abolish ice movement, you know, was predicting or at least sort of pointing out some of the dangers of having this kind of an unaccountable police force in this country. I think that's I think that's fair.
But in a broader sense, what we're seeing is like, you know, Tommy pointed out that there's this debate about the legality. You know, one of the big goals after Trump is gone has to be not just to make sure we figure out what crimes were committed, not just to make sure that the president is accountable and that there's, you know, anti-corruption efforts to make sure the president can abuse the Department of Justice as as he's done. There also needs to be a real look at some of the laws that were passed in the wake of 9/11 and some of the other powers that have been granted to the federal government and to the president in particular.
And those powers need to be devolved back to Congress, devolve back to the states, because right now this guy, you know, Chad, Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, he's making these incredibly broad statement about what his prerogative czar as the head of homeland security. And I think even though I think we are, we end up trapped in these kind of legalistic debates about what's allowed. And it's all very murky and it's all very foggy.
And it has to be the job of Congress in the beginning of the next administration to really lay down some new barriers to abuse of power in this way.
That's. It does seem like the Department of Homeland Security has some fairly broad, extraordinary powers to do some of. Yes, a little. In part because of those powers. I mean, I think you have people even within some of these agencies worrying that they're becoming this unaccountable paramilitary sort of pseudo intelligence community force that seems to only respond to Donald Trump and to nobody else. I mean, the U.S. senators from the state can't get answers about who these guys are, chucking people into vans and detaining them in their own state.
That's not a well functioning democracy.
That's not a well functioning police force or, you know, national security infrastructure. So, yeah, we got to really fix this shit. Yeah, and I think. I mean, Congress is demanding answers. They probably have to act as well. Whether it's investigations or whether it's holding up funding in whatever way they can, because I don't think just asking Donald Trump for answers is going to gonna get no.
And I think the Oregon senators, to John's point, like I think they're trying to put an amendment onto the NDAA, the Defense Department Funding Act, that would prevent the deployment of these individuals to their state and hopefully to other states if they're actually going to planning on sending these guys to Chicago, because that is not going to go well.
So there was also some sad news over the weekend. We lost two giants of the civil rights movement, C.T. Vivian, a Baptist minister and a key leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who is described as one of Martin Luther King Junior's field generals, passed away on Friday at 95. And on the same day, we also lost Congressman John Lewis, who is 80 years old.
Lewis was known as the conscience of the Congress, where he was first elected to in 1986. Before that, he was one of the younger leaders of the civil rights movement. Most famously, he led the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. He was deeply involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and he was the last living leader to have spoken at the march on Washington, which he did when he was just 23 years old. Here's some of what he said that day.
Talk about slow down, stop. We will not stop all forms of Islam. Barnett will not stop this revolution.
We do not get meaningful legislation out of this Congress, the time will come. We will not refine our march into Washington. We will not put a stop to the streets of Jackson through the streets of Danville. The that Lockhaven. What are you remarks? Well, the spirit of law and the spirit of dignity that we have shown here today. But our demand, our determination and our number. We shall get involved and talk about this together. And I commend him on board and democracy.
Not a bad wake up wake up call. We cannot stop and we will not cannot be patient.
Tell me your reflections on John Lewis.
It is truly astonishing how young those civil rights leaders were when they were. We're changing the course of history. It is remarkable.
I mean, yeah, look, I. I think that John Lewis is one of the greatest human beings this country has ever produced in that I suspect that our kids will be taught about him in school in the same way that we were taught about George Washington. And it starts it starts with the incredible bravery he showed as a civil rights leader in the 50s and 60s. And, you know, we talk about nonviolent protests a lot, but I think it's a bit of a misnomer because the response to the nonviolent protests was so unbelievably violent.
You know, we've all seen the iconic photo of Lewis being clubbed by an Alabama state trooper on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. But before that, he was he was nearly beaten to death for trying to use a whites only bathroom in Mississippi. One obit I read talked about how Lewis and a friend were staging a sit in in a restaurant and the owner locked them and started fumigating the place and nearly killed them with pesticide. So, like the courage they showed was was superhuman.
In the visual image of violence from white thugs is what changed the hearts and minds of people across the country. And I think a lot for so much change with Civil Rights Act. The other thing that's so inspiring about John Lewis is that the guy stayed in the fight for decades, right? I mean, he came out in support of gay marriage in the early 2000s, long before many others. He let it sit in on the floor of the House in 2016 to support gun violence.
So he is just a a towering human being. He was also as kind and humble and decent, a human being as I think anyone knew in Washington. And, you know, it just it made me very sad.
I went on a John Lewis related book buying spree, starting with these great ones, these March animated, too.
Yeah. So, anyway, I just you know, I'm very, very sad day. It's incredibly sad when there's a generation of people who were part of something so monumental, like the civil rights generation or, you know, Holocaust survivors.
Right. When you lose that. That living history of these moments. It's incredibly sad. And I think it's even more incumbent upon us to learn about and understand and pass along that story. And what happened so we can all learn from it.
Love it. Yeah. There was a piece in The Times by Bernard Lafayette about what it was like to fight to desegregate the buses. And there are two points that that piece made that I think we're striking. One was the fear when they split up when John Lewis got off the bus and Bernard thought that was still on the bus and they didn't know where it was safe. They didn't know what would happen when the bus got to its final destination because it was dangerous.
And there was you know, they were they were beaten. They were arrested. And what the peace talks about is what it was like to sort of look into the eyes of that bus driver and know that it wasn't safe to know that this was somebody that wasn't on their side at a time in which the law, the government was on the side of segregation, on the side of of of.
Inflicting pain on black people throughout the south and throughout the country and to Tommy's point, you know, the experience of John Lewis experience of people like Bernard Lafayette, experienced people like C.T. Vivian, of looking into the eyes of white people enforcing legal racism. How acceptable it was, how taken for granted it was. I do think it's something where we're losing as this generation passes on in the same way, as Tom pointed out, that we're seeing the last of the World War two generation.
And the other part of the piece that was striking to is talking about what it was like to be arrested before there was a national conversation around non-violent protest before it was accepted.
Right. We've all talked about the fact that the polling around the civil rights movement was. Now it is part of legend now. There's bipartisan statements when someone like John Lewis passes away. At the time, it was extremely divisive in the sense that white people were against it and it took a long time for white people to come onboard. And so, you know, we're talking about people who were arrested and beaten before they were legends, before it was lower, before it was clear what would happen, before they would be revered, when they were just taking great personal risk of their reputation, of their livelihoods, of their safety to do this.
Yeah, I the the. I remember the first first major speech I ever worked on with Obama was a a tribute to John Lewis in Atlanta on his sixty fifth birthday. It was in the winter of 2005.
And to prepare for it, because that's not one that you want to screw up. I remember reading his memoir about his time in the civil rights movement, Walking with the Wind over a weekend.
And I have been in awe of the man ever since.
And one thing that Obama always went back to on Lewis was the discipline required to sort of live a nonviolent philosophy in the movement.
And, you know, Tommy, you were saying this, that like, it's not it's sometimes a misnomer because nonviolence is not about shying away from violence.
It's certainly not about perpetrating violence, but is actually it's about like putting yourself in harm's way.
And in many instances, knowing that violence will be committed against you. And that is actually part of the strategy.
And he also talks about the fact that, you know, you have to look into the eye of someone who just put a cigarette out in the back of your throat and think that that person is just as much of a victim of a larger system as you are, which is sort of like a just a view that is so hard to grasp.
And, you know, and nonviolence was not easy, both because he was beaten to within an inch of his life multiple times, but also, you know, later in the movement in the late 60s, you know, he leaves the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee because Stokely Carmichael and others thought that, you know, maybe violence was a tactic that we needed and that, you know, he was seen as too close to LBJ and then Martin Luther King at that time.
And so to sort of to balance this and to have the discipline that he did throughout his life, he was almost sort of the perfect example of the activist politician, someone who starts in the movement and organizes and then becomes an elected official, even as while he's an elected official, continues to protest.
He was arrested at least by, I think, five times while he was a member of Congress. There's that sort of iconic picture of him marching with with the Parkland students after after gun violence. So he was right up until the end. He was still part of part of social movements all across the country. So it is a it is a giant loss.
So, you know, as you mentioned, love it.
You know, tributes sort of to Lewis poured in from just about everyone, including elected officials in both parties. Many of these tributes were requite moving. Some ring a bit hollow. Mitch McConnell and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp praised Lewis as a giant and a hero, despite spending most of their careers fighting against the voting rights that he risked his life for. Marco Rubio's first attempts at a John Lewis tribute featured a picture of Rubio and Elijah Cummings, which, believe it or not, is a mistake that Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan also made.
Love it. Why do you think about all these new John Lewis fans?
It's very easy to praise them when they're dead because they're no longer working against you. That is that is about right. I just, you know, also. Well. Well, it's no, the serious point is only that like it is. It is a positive. You know, I talked about, you know, whatever changing polls like it is a positive. When people like John Lewis become revered in our national consciousness because it's a it's it's a model of leadership, of human virtue and values to elevate.
Of course. But the danger is in the elevation in the making of a legend. You divorce it from the actual hard substance of what they fought for. Even parts of that agenda that are either political or partisan or what have you. And just making sure that as we elevate someone like you, John Lewis, it's not denuded of the actual radicalism that he fought for, for huge parts of his career and for the continued relevance of some of the things he fought for all the way back in the late 50s and 60s is really, really important because, you know, we're in the midst of a fight over whether or not people are going to be able to vote.
And Mitch McConnell right now is sitting on restoration, the Voting Rights Act. Yeah, I know there's a lot of. Commentary on Twitter about. Why hasn't Donald Trump done a statement yet? I almost prefer Trump's relative silence to like just naked hypocrisy from Republicans. Who wants.
What are they going to do with John? John, what do you do with a John Lewis statement from Donald Trump? Well, who who needs that? What are you going to do with that? What will you do? I don't know.
I think it's a it's a threshold amount of decency to show respect for, like one of the greatest human beings in our country. And so the fact that he, you know, put out one with a typo from the golf course does speak to how little he cares about the black community in this country. And people like John Lewis.
I mean, look, it's funded dunk on Marco Rubio for being dumb enough to post a photo of the wrong person. But so many these Republicans were just gaslighting and releasing these statements. I mean, Mitch McConnell, like Lovette mentioned, it, has actively fought legislation that would end voter suppression for decades. And his statement really pissed me off. The one that might have been the worse was from Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who stole the election from Stacey Abrams and has done more to disenfranchise black voters in Georgia, maybe than than anyone else alive at this moment.
So it was pretty disgusting cynicism. They are they are clinging to the legacy of a heroic man, despite doing whatever they can to to unpack and undo that legacy. And we need to call them out for. Yeah, I just I do think it's we're talking about the best way to honor John Lewis's legacy. You know, there's a bit of a movement on Twitter to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Lewis, though, you know, Lewis himself said in 2015, that's a decision that should be made by the people of Selma.
More substantively, a lot of progressive Democrats have proposed restoring the Voting Rights Act.
Love it. What do you think? Yeah, I mean, I think take the names of of horrific racists off of bridges, replace them with the names of heroes. I think that that's a good thing, too. That seems like an easy one. I do think if there is a way in which connecting the restoration of the Voting Rights Act to John Lewis's legacy is really important and positive step that we can take. I think we should do it.
I'm also thinking about right now how we're in the midst of a fight in Florida, where despite the fact that voters in Florida voted to restore the rights of former felons in that state, there's now an effort to kind of, you know, get around that by making sure people can't vote if they have to pay fines. This is the culmination of a racist effort to disinvite, disenfranchise black people in Florida. Those kinds of efforts we need to fight all across the country and are sort of making sure we tie what's going on right now in Florida to to to John Lewis's life.
I think it is really important. But, yeah, I mean, one of the first things Congress should do is if we are able to win the win, keep the House and win the Senate and win the White House, is restore the Voting Rights Act in a way that lives up to. John Roberts is done opinion that stripped it back and it's caused a lot of these problems. Tommy? Yeah, I think that John Lewis in that generation.
But him in particular showed us the power of combining protest and direct action with an inside legislative game that was designed to pass legislation. And I talk about this in the interview today. But what's I think exciting and inspiring is that we have seen these record historic protests led by Black Lives Matter. And then in the wake of those protests, have seen registration bumps among young voters of color all across the country. So people are clearly following that path. The other thing I think that you take away from someone like John Lewis is the grace in the in the willingness to to redeem others.
I mean, the the decency, the moral certitude it takes to, you know, tell someone like George Wallace that you forgive them for what they did to you. It's just it's such a staggering amount of grace that it's almost incomprehensible to me. It's sorely lacking in the political conversation. That's sorely lacking in the way I talk about politics. And I think that's just something to emulate. And then lastly, you know, you guys both hit on this.
But, you know, when I think about month one or two of the Obama administration, I wish more than almost anything else that we had just jammed through some massive pro-democracy bill. And John, you were tweeting about this over the weekend, like, you know, automatic voter registration, vote by mail, just generally making it easier to register to vote, making it easier to get to the polls on days that aren't Election Day or make it a national holiday.
There's a million things we can and should do that will ultimately protect our democracy from another monster like Donald Trump. But we need to get to work on that on day one of the Bush administration. If he wins and he can't sit and wait to negotiate with Mitch McConnell over things like the filibuster or waste any time, like, I think we got to really move on this.
Yeah, no, I think we should go really big on this. I completely agree with everyone who's called for, you know, introducing legislation to restore the gutted provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
I think Joe Biden's first bill that he introduces, if he's president, should be the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of 20 21. And I think it should go beyond restoring the Voting Rights Act, I think to expand voting rights and basically have two guarantees in there that guarantee a guarantee for the right to vote and to the right to equal representation. And under the right to vote, I think you do, like Tommy said, automatic voter registration, including those who've been incarcerated.
It means make sure everyone has mail the ballot, making sure everyone has the opportunity to cast that ballot through universal early voting, making Election Day a national holiday, fully funding polling locations. And then I would give a second part. That's the right to equal representation. And that bill should offer the choice of statehood to the people of DC, Puerto Rico and other territories. We should do equal representation in the House by ending partisan gerrymandering, more equal representation in the Senate by eliminating the filibuster, and more equal representation in the presidential elections by ratifying the national popular vote interstate compact, which essentially gets rid of the Electoral College.
So I think we do.
I think, you know, Biden is going to confront if he is president. Obviously, the pandemic, the recession, racial justice, climate. I think his ability and the ability of future Democratic presidents and Congresses to deal with any of that is going to be constrained by the reality of a system that give disproportionate power to mostly white and rural citizens.
And so there's going to be a lot of jockeying. I'm like, what's his first bill? But like, you know, the good news is the Democrats only took over the House when they passed H.R. one. That was a bill that includes some of these reforms.
Joe Biden and a lot of the other candidates, when they were running in the primaries, said that this would be one of their first priorities.
I think you've got to do it soon because you only get a couple of pieces of big legislation before the midterms come around. And once we hit 20 to 2024, 2026, like it is going to be harder to get progressive electoral victories and legislative victories when you don't have a historically unpopular Republican president in the middle of a pandemic. And the maps are going to get harder for us. And if we this could be our last chance to institute pro-democracy reforms that make it easier for everyone to vote and sort of change some of the antimilitary majoritarian institutions that we have right now.
So I think it's I think it's pretty important to do. And, you know, let Mitch McConnell let me let Mitch McConnell try to filibuster the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of of 20 21. And that would be such a perfect opportunity to finally end the filibuster on that.
Yeah, I mean, it's it's like I do think like it's we're thinking through like I think sometimes the filibuster is taken as this abstraction, like, do you support the filibuster? And it shouldn't be thought that way. There's going to be a moment where there's going to be a piece of historic legislation versus the filibuster. And I think it's worth thinking through pure politics. Like, what is the best message, Bill? To be the bill, you break the filibuster.
It might be this. It could be climate. It could be immigration. It could be health care. There's a host of big like even thing about this. It's like that the staggering. There are some there are people talking about what an inauguration might be like and we should not count our chickens.
But whatever happens like January 20, 21, even if Trump is gone, is not going to be a moment of celebration, is going to be a moment of chaos and and grief in the country and end anyway. That's all.
Yeah. No, I. Look, I totally agree.
And there's going to be a moment early on where and that's why I like, you know, seeing a lot of people say, oh, we shouldn't reintroduce the of the bill to restore the Voting Rights Act now. Yeah, absolutely. But nothing's going to happen until we have Democratic president, Democratic Congress. And then when we get that opportunity, think big. Go big. Because like this is this will be, if we get it, a very rare chance to do something big and meaningful.
And so you got to you've got to take it.
OK. When we come back, we will have Tommy's interview with Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino.
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Reauthorise, so Kumar is the founding president of Voto Latino, a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latin text voters. Thank you so much for doing the show. It's great to talk with you.
Thanks for having me on. Tell me. So I feel like I've been watching your work and following it for a long time.
Tell us a little bit just to start about about Voto Latino, the work you guys do. And then how is that work been impacted by the coronavirus?
Yeah, so we started 15 years ago and I and it's going to sound counterintuitive, but it's like we were made for this moment. Our focus is young Latinos because we recognize that they play an outside influence on their families. They are oftentimes first generation navigating America, telling their parents what you know, what where, what car to buy, to wear, what neighborhood to live in. And we said, well, why don't we use the exact same influencer and talk to them about democracy?
And we use it through. You know, we I always say we speak their language, meaning? No, not Spanish. We speak to them in English. We use technology, we use the Internets and really do mobilization online. And so when kov, it hit me, most people were devastated that they weren't able to continue their work on voter registration. And if anything, we were just able to scale in the month of June to give you an idea because of the George Floyd protest.
Look, you don't know that from experience that young people were leading it. That young Latinos were allied in the African-American experience when it comes to police brutality. And so we started serving up ads, specifically tying protest to voting, basically selling democracy. And by June 3rd, we had exhausted our voter registration and budget. We have registered like 21000 by the whole month of June. We had registered over ninety eight thousand. That's incredible. In the states that matter.
Right. But that's where we make our investments. Young people are attuned. I don't have to tell them that it's important for us. And I think we're trying to close the last mile. People, young people care about the environment. They know that it is none of your business who you love. And they know that women have a right to choose and care about gun control. And they care about, you know, honest immigration. It's that cultural shift that oftentimes is harder for older voters, not for young people.
But our job is say now let's get you to vote so that you can actually make that change.
Yeah, well, look, it makes sense that you are able to adapt. I've heard you talked about, you know, starting the starting organization, going into debt on credit cards, working at a Starbucks. So did our scrapie.
This is going. Now, I'm really going to dress up because it had high speed connection at the time.
But of course, free Wi-Fi is you buy coffee, you refill like seven times. Like, I was deeply unemployed for a long time. I spent some time in Starbucks. So, you know, the current look, it's incredible that you've had this success in the midst of the Corona virus. It's really an affirming thing to to hear that people understand that you protest and then you vote and it's all a piece of a puzzle. But, you know, the coronavirus hasn't just changed the way we're doing voter contact.
It is disproportionately impacted communities of color. Has that changed the conversations themselves that you're having? Are people more focused on the pandemic? What's the difference? Huge.
I mean, the challenge is, sadly, that the Latino community, the African-American community, are at the forefront of who the essential workers are. Oftentimes, our communities don't have the choice of sheltering in place that we are the economic engine for the rest of the country. And the biggest challenge, though, is that we are also, sadly, the leading causes of death under covered for a long time. It seems as good general hospital while Latinos are roughly 30 percent of the population.
There were over 81 percent of the covered cases at the general hospital and 20 percent of the Latino workforce has been left out of the Keres Act passed by Congress because Trump doesn't want to provide benefits to people, to American citizens who may have relatives that are undocumented, living in their own households, let alone undocumented individuals, even though we know that undocumented pay twenty seven billion dollars a year in federal taxes. And that doesn't even include what they pay for Social Security.
So the way we've harnessed that is we realize that we look Latino. We yes, we do voter registration, but we're a civic media organization. So we reach roughly about six and a half million people a month before covered in the month of June, we reach 92 million.
Wow. That, I think is. Yeah. No, I mean, but that was because we started providing people with the information they needed. Right. Like we started learning that a lot of young women were really concerned that they couldn't access reproductive health and abortion care. So we brought in Alexis McGill, the president, Planned Parenthood, and had a frank conversation of what that looks like. What is it young women need to know so that they could actually get the help they needed.
We've had conversations with Ruben Diego's and Huyen Castro around. How do you access TPP loans if you're part of a small business? Really providing people with relevant information and obviously then sneaking in that voting message that needs to happen.
Yeah, well, I'd love to talk more about the Trump administration on these policy questions in a little bit. But allow me to start with with political tactics, because that's what my brain is these days. There is, I think, understandable concern about Joe Biden's. Level of support in polling among Latino voters. I saw an article that mentioned how great polling firm Latino Decisions to the survey of six battleground states. They found that Latinos, especially younger Latinos, had a lower intensity or enthusiasm about 2020 than they did at this point in 2016.
And look, I always cringe a little bit when I hear, like, broad descriptions of Latino voters, because I suspect if you and I were making those calls for the poll, we'd hear about different issues from Cuban-Americans and Venezuelan Americans that maybe here in Los Angeles. But what is your sense of Joe Biden's enthusiasm level? And if there's a deficit, what might be driving that?
So we actually worked with the Voter Participation Center and we actually helped craft that survey that you mentioned. And it was the first one that we actually crafted because we know that the house is on fire and we were able to. One of the things that we have been seeing is that in the Latino youth community, after Bernie Sanders dropped out, there was a softness in participation. And so for the first time, Voto Latino, we endorse a political candidate.
We endorsed Joe Biden after we we requested real serious policy changes from him. And he's you know, he we now we have the receipt, so to speak. But the reason we did that is because we recognize that there is a huge gap. And we were we wanted to know what was what was that level.
Thirty percent of registered Latino youth, actually, one will vote for Joe Biden right now at a soft. That is a code red for us because we recognize, like unlike in black and white households where the parents tell the kids to go register and vote. It's the opposite in the Latino community is the young person who are first generation Americans that are receiving voting messages. They influence their parents. Now, everybody was like, what did Bernie Sanders do that got all these folks in Nevada to vote?
They targeted young people. They used the Latino strategy. I mean, full disclosure, our mail guy for nine years was one of the guys in the side, the Bernie campaign. And those just like voteless, you know, always was on steroids, Tommy. Yeah, yeah. That's what a voter does, you know, fully funded campaign would look like, quite frankly.
But just to underscore your point, I mean, Bernie Sanders won 53 percent of the Latino vote in Nevada. Forty nine percent. California. Thirty nine percent in Texas.
You talked about, you know, he literally had an ace in the hole here with your strategist in the campaign. But do you think that strength was, Bernie, over performing with young voters generally? Was there a sustained outreach? Was it all of the above? Like, what should Joe Biden steal from that primary?
Yeah, I think so. It's interesting. So Bernie wasn't going bananas like he did among young people like he did in 2016. Right. There was actually a damply, but in the Latino community, he the focus on the gun, you know, influencers. So I'll give completely anecdotal. I'll tell you that when I started voting in my household, I would literally my aunt would arrange a call with my mother and we would go down the list of who they should be voting for.
And then they would call my relatives. Right. That wasn't just me. That was that's how it happens, is we have our own little mafia of sorts of who's going to vote for. Right. But nobody has time. But young person has time. Right. And so that is and that is emblematic of what happens in millions of households in the Latino community and in immigrant communities. That's the South Asian community. The point is usually these are very similar.
And so for for Joe Biden, I would encourage him to identify who are those influencers that can make those changes. And it's not we use a lot of Hollywood celebrities to amplify our message, but we partner them oftentimes with validators, with people who are credentials, with people. You know, if we want to talk about health care, for example, we would partner Rosario Dawson with a medical professional and so that she can have that conversation, because I do believe that we are of a generation where we don't want the glitz and the glamour.
We want solutions. And we'll use resources based to ask really smart questions. But for amplification of the facts are is that makes sense? That's the strategy. He needs to. That's a strategy. He needs to deploy, among others.
And one of the things you always hear about the Democratic Party, especially when it comes to outreach to Latino communities, the African-American community, is that it's too little, too late. Is that the primary mistake that campaigns make in your mind? Or are there are there mistakes you see over and over again when it comes to outreach that drive you crazy, that you just want to shout at people right now to stop doing.
Yes. Diversifier your team.
Yeah, right. Like, if they're Latino, all we do every day is wake up and figure out how are we going to register another voter? How are we we get another volunteer. How are you making voter contact? Because laconically, we have skin in the game. It has not gone well for us under this presidency. And this is not just under covered, but the caging of children, because Trump has created a denationalization task force to denaturalized citizens.
I mean, the outrage should be marching in the street just on these basic pieces of policy that he's done. And what I find and oftentimes in campaigns is at the center of gravity of the person who has the ear of the candidate, does not reflect the community that they want. It does not reflect the voting population as it has been since 1963. I think it is that it was the last time that the majority of white men voted for a Democratic candidate.
So who's waiting for them? Getting him into office. Right. It is a very diverse population that happens to be young. Oftentimes that happens to be women. And that has to be people of color. So that that campaign strategy should include people that look of, I would say, a whole bunch of smart young people, a whole bunch of women that have, you know, that are particularly at our mothers because we actually have different issues that we care about.
And people of color. Yes. And that's not the way it usually happens.
No, it's you know, look, it's a lot of people that look like me when the reality is that white male voters are the root of a lot of our problems.
But no. But I would say some even that they look like you. It's because he means youth in there.
So I can call you, you know, I mean.
I mean, that's I mean, what Obama did brilliantly is that he had whip smart young people of all ethnicities in his ear crafting strategy. And that we're curious. And it was not just the field organizers. It was up and down the campaign. And they transformed how we communicated because he was a digital organizing president. At the same time. Right. So he opened it up. And what I see oftentimes in these last couple of campaigns, not just with and with many of them, is that they become very insular.
And it's in that insular nature actually gives you blind spots to what is happening on the ground to be reactive. Yeah, and I think that is the challenge. I think what my concern is that everybody right now wants to create ideas like these tribal peace. Like, you know, there is a generation that is that is incredibly diverse. That actually has a vision for what the future looks like. And it's going to take all of us. And that should be reflected in the campaign.
Yeah, I totally agree. Yeah. Look at the strength Obama had was one. You know, he was an organizer by trade and two, he was he was still he and the first lady were still normal people at that point, like they had just paid off their loans. They you know, that their first condo was, you know, small, too tight for their kids. They were human beings. They could relate on different level to, you know, you mentioned administration.
I mean, this White House is full of people like Steven Miller, who seems to wake up every day and think like, how can we punish immigrants? How can we punish people from Mexico or Central or South America in particular? The family separation policy is, I think, one of the cruelest chapters in our country's recent history. I think the conventional wisdom, or least Washington, would be that should that people thought this is going to turn off Latino voters forever.
But, you know, when you see estimates, like I saw something in the Atlantic that said Trump seems on track to capture 25 to 30 percent of Latino voters. What do you think the disconnect is between that conventional wisdom and the reality of what the math may be?
Yeah, I actually I don't think that I think that they always predict folks predict high oftentimes because where they find a lot of these Latino voters and even African-American voters is they we become a subsample of places like Westchester, Connecticut. Right. If you're in Westchester, Connecticut, and a person of color, you're OK. Right. You don't have the same issues and they don't reflect the population at large. What I do, though, think that is part of the challenge and the campaign has an opportunity to demystify is that even when I speak to the community in, you know, my and again, anecdotal newquist, that is Sonoma, California, when I talk when I phone back home, they're basing saying, well, you know, the neighbors are saying that Trump gave me a twelve hundred dollar check, the Keres Act like, well, that's actually not from him.
Right. So there might be some sense that he's giving them some sort of leg up under this pandemic when we know that that isn't the case. So it's a long and it's a way of saying that everybody as a voter doesn't really turn on to a campaign until after Labor Day. And at that moment, we have to demystify and tell the truth of what has happened under this this administration. People are dying needlessly because they haven't been able to get their act together.
We had when we started the pandemic SCCA, we started the same kind of South Korea. Italy was at an all time high and then recovered. Right. They are recovering like they actually have covered under control. They have systems in place. And we have an administration that no people say that it is incompetence. I actually say it's malpractice because we have a president who was encouraging people to take lie saw as a way to combat the virus. That is encouraging someone to harm themselves with potential death.
Right. So we're not playing around with him anymore. I think a lot of times people were trying to figure out how bad was he going to be. I remember Newt Gingrich saying, well, let him be an apprentice president. And from the beginning, I was always like, he told us who he was. And nothing that he's done. If anything, he's crueler than he's already promised us he would be. And we can point to Steve Miller.
But it's Steven Miller has power only because the president allows him to. He is right. Locks up and center with what? Steve Miller is doing well and proposes and sadly, I can share with you that he starts with the document community, but it's also part of who he considers American. And I say this because, you know, the administration won't include a citizenship question in the sense of. Right. And they were like, we just want to know where population is.
Well, the Supreme Court struck the census question because they were able to find on the GOP operatives email and email that literally said that they wanted the census question because they wanted to create white, non Hispanic Republican districts. At that point, they don't even want Republicans. They just want a very specific. They have a very specific world view. And so when people say, well, you know, it's just rhetoric, is it? It's his policies that we actually have during the pandemic.
He wanted to cut SNAP, which is a food program for mostly for women and children, because it was going to disproportionately be for brown people. Right. That's that's cruelty. When we know he and then you say, well, what's your how do you translate it to the general population? He's actively trying to cut health care, the ACA, while we have an all time high of health crisis. I mean, none of it makes sense.
Yeah, no, you're right. It's cruelty is the policy. And it's not just even Millard's. It's the Ill-fitting man, the ill fitting suit at the top. Apologies for jumping around a little bit. But, you know, we've been we just went through what are still going through in some places, this extraordinary protest movement after the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Has that protest movement and the success of it in the power of it changed the way your organization, the people you work with, think about ways to create change or how they want to conduct themselves now until the election?
Absolutely. So we have we were part of President Obama's 21st century policing task force because we recognize that while the African-American population, sadly, is the most targeted Latino when he's not far behind. One of the biggest challenges in the Latino community is that we know that we suffer police brutality. But because most precincts, Tommy, only record race based on black or white, there's no Asian and there's no Latino, depending on what shade scale you fall in. That's how they record it.
But we know that it's a problem. And so when the George Floyd protest started happening, we started specifically talking not just about voter registration participation, but we also had a kind of a come to Jesus moment because twenty four percent of Latinos identify as black, and that is because Latinos come from different parts of the Americas. My family, my grandmother, she is Afro Colombian. She's you know, she is. That is her heritage of where she comes from.
And so it was an opportunity for us to have a very blunt discussion of what was happening in the Latino community, even based on just on policing. But I ship about race conversations that we need to have with our parents to unpack it. And it provided I think it's also an opportunity to just speak truth and to and to figure out how do we move the needle on policing itself. In the survey that you mentioned with Latino Decisions, one of the questions we asked was specifically that.
And one of the things that we learned was the top three issues for Latinos. First is health care. The second was jobs. The third one was social and racial justice for blacks and Latinos. That was huge revelation. I mean, we we knew it instinctually, but for older Latinos to be part of that, it speaks to how much awareness that is created for us to actually give voice to know that those are those are very hopeful answers, too.
By the way, other things we will care about.
So like a lot of people listen to this show are activists in their own life. They make phone calls and they text on the weekends. And I think sometimes when people think about voter contact and persuasion, you imagine this scene where you come to a door and you knock on it and you talk to a Trump voter and by the end they change their mind. And that's not really how a lot of feel. That's right. A lot of it is like, how do you turn a non-voter into a voter?
Are there best practice says that you've learned over years of doing this that you think are broadly applicable that people can steal from you?
This is the wildest thing. So in the last two election cycles. Forty nine percent of registered Latinos never received a voter contact. Wow. That's terrible political party for it. It's absolutely terrible. They only registered. Right. Right. Right. And so the biggest thing you can do is actually talk. And the reason being is because young voters and Latinos specifically as well don't have a voting history. And so the way candidate like to work is like, well, these folks are sure bets with some of the shore best have no.
Are no longer part of our party like they went to the Republican side. So your voter contact by default becomes for the other side. I would encourage you to look, you know, your listeners to look for organizations that deal specifically with young voters and that talk to communities of color. And, you know, when you talk to Doug Jones, what he did. He's like, no, thank you to the African-American community, the Latino community in the Jewish.
And happy Hanukkah. That was his like his thinking message. But you said, well, what did you do? I contacted every voter. Yeah. And every voter is on our side, you know.
And for relational organizing, you people want to volunteer with us. You know, Texas volunteer to seven three one seven nine. And we will put you to work to text every voter because the numbers are on our side. Tommy, our job is to ask. And one of the things that we know, at least from best practice, is that when you ask a Latino to register and ask them to vote, they turn out. Seventy nine percent of the people we register vote.
It's because no one's asking them, because if if anyone doesn't do who are registered. Let alone the opportunity. It's so basic.
We make it so hard. So basically, it's like everybody's like, well, you know, it's a exam. People like, well, what should we do? Like just register and talk to them, because we actually have for the very first time, we're gonna have 12 million more young voters than baby boomers. That's a huge opportunity because for the first time in the midterm election, generation X, Y and Z outvoted older voters and we brought in the most diverse Congress.
And when people say, well, so what? I'm like, look, we have 400 pieces of legislation. And that speaks to our values as a result of this diverse Congress that was ushered in by a new generation of voters. All of that is exciting. We need to finish the job.
Yeah, I saw an incredible statistic that was said in a news article by you, which was that of the quote me, please, of the 32 million Latinos eligible to cast a ballot in 2020. Four million of them turned 18 after the 2016 election, which is speaks to how young and how powerful this emerging crop of voters is. That's a huge number. Yeah.
So when we started fifteen years ago, there was thirty thousand Latino street, 18 every single month. Now, it's a million every single year in that tsunami. Latino voters won't crest for 10 years. It's on. I mean, it's also why they they decide to get the Voting Rights Act to procreate. All these voting barriers, because they saw a huge new young group of not just on the scene, but literally a new generation of voters. The millennial generation is larger than baby boomers.
Generation Z is our largest generation and they are coming into power. And with deeply beautiful about this generation is that they are clear eyed, they don't platitudes, but they want solutions and they're rolling up. There are. They're there. I can finish. So this is where my ESL comes in. You know, I love to say these idioms and I always fail at them. Slaves and slaves think it was like bootstrap. I think that's not right.
Words like that, too, is actually better.
I know what they want to get people who will work on their behalf. Yeah, it's good.
It is good. Last question for you. I mean, I'm sure there's a lot of people listening who who hear about Voto Latino. They want to get involved. They want to or maybe, you know, they want to work with you or maybe they just want to support you directly. Where can they go? What what should they do?
Yeah. So you go to Voto Latino dooring. They can register to vote and they or they can donate 20 bucks and pay it forward. We're really good at registering voters. We're registering them roughly at twelve dollars. And with the extra three dollars, we basically get them out to the polls. So that's amazing. Yeah. And then then finally, please volunteers if they Texas volunteer to seven three one seven nine there. We'll put you to work. That's not a problem.
I love it. Well, we have a lot of listeners who are scared to death. And so I imagine you'll get some text from this. Thank you so much for doing the show. Thanks for your work you're doing with Voto Latino. And, you know, I guess we all just works or anxiety goes away until November. That's the deal now.
Yeah, well, I think that there's you know, people are paying attention, and that's good. I mean, the fact that we saw such a surge in voter registration is that people are fed up. Yeah. And our job is to close that gap and folks flood the zone. We there are one hundred twenty three million of us sat it out last time, flood the zone. And that way we send a clear message not just to this president, but also to the Senate that they have to get their act together, that we're paying attention.
A man, Senator Joe Biden, get rid of the filibuster. We're not messing around this time. Thank you again. Great talking with you.
It's a pleasure. Very well. Thank you. Thanks to Maria Teresa Kumar for joining us today. And we'll talk to you guys later. Bye, everybody. Pods Save America is a crooked media production. The executive producer is Michael Martinez. Our assistant producers, Jordan Waller. It's mixed and edited by Andrew Chadwick. Kyle Ségolène is our sound engineer. Thanks to Tanya So Mutator, Keelung, Roman Pappert, Demetrio, Caroline Reston and Elisa Gutierrez for production support into our digital team.
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