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Welcome to Political. I'm Ron Suslow and this is our weekly roundup, where we bring in a rotating panel of experts to discuss the truth. You need to know behind the most important stories of the week and how they're transforming our politics. We have an all star panel today. Joining the round up is Susanville Perko, political strategist and crisis communications consultant and MSNBC political analyst. Welcome back. Suzanne, good morning. Great to be with you. Thanks for having me back.


Also returning to the round up is political strategist and our resident expert in demographics and Latino politics and a former political director of the California Republican Party, our good friend, Mike Madrid. Like, it's always great to have you on. I'm excited to be a great day to the guys. On today's roundup, we'll discuss President Biden's covid-19 Relief and recovery bill, along with the CDC's new guidance for vaccinated Americans. We'll also look at a bill that would curb absentee voting in Georgia and the mounting voter suppression efforts across the country.


And finally, we'll get to former President Trump's attempt to subvert the Republican Party's official campaign committees and how that could shape the GOP and next year's midterm elections. So let's dove in. On Wednesday, the House approved the Senate's amendments to the one point nine trillion dollars covid-19 Relief and recovery bill. And Biden signed the bill yesterday in the Oval Office. Now, provisions of this package include extension of three hundred dollars per week, jobless aid supplement, fourteen hundred dollar direct payments to most Americans and their dependents, expansion of the child tax credit for one year, 20 billion dollars for covid-19 vaccine manufacturing and distribution, and 50 billion dollars for testing and contact tracing.


Twenty five billion dollars in rental and utility assistance and about 10 billion for mortgage aid. Three hundred and fifty billion dollars in relief to state, local and tribal governments. One hundred and twenty billion to K through 12 schools and 30 billion dollars in aid to restaurants. So I just want to start here by getting your quick reaction to this legislation and what it could mean for the American people. Susan, you want to lead us?


It's going to be great for the American people in that it's going to keep them surviving. We're still in the middle of this pandemic and businesses are still being crushed.


But there were a few things in that bill that probably didn't have to be in. And when we talk about issues like funding pensions, which was an independent line item, and then the funding the schools, which I am all for, but just be honest about it, they're funding it through twenty, twenty eight.


Wow. It's they should be giving they should be saying this money is for the schools to spend now and that's what it is. So there's a little bit of that. But the fact that they're going to take half of our children out of poverty is is tremendous.


And this is a big deal. And I think, again, just because you have some problems with it doesn't mean you shouldn't have supported it. And frankly, I think the Republicans are going to really regret not supporting.


Oh, yeah. And we're going to get to that in a second. But, Mike, what's your take on this bill before we dig in?


I'm reminded of the first major pieces of legislation for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when they also received no Republican votes for Republican participation in some of the landmark legislation that they were driving forward.


This feels a little bit different. You know, those those were you know, it was obviously just as partizan, maybe less partizan an era and a time. But this seems like the one thing where people should be able to kind of come together and kind of at least get a handful of crossover votes and demonstrate that, okay, we're trying to actually be part of this solution. Nobody is going to be looking backwards and saying, you know, I really hated that bill because I should have gotten two thousand dollars instead of fourteen hundred dollars or whatever it is.


This is going to the economy is getting better. We're getting healthier. We're headed in the right trajectory politically. Why Republicans wouldn't want to lean into this and say, OK, I'm going to be part of this, makes no sense to me at all. And I don't I just I just I think it's part of the continual unraveling and shrinking of the Republican Party and its own continuing marginalization of itself in terms of relevancy in public policy. And I think that's probably the biggest failure.


Yeah. And you touched on the popularity here. And as we pass, I think that's one of the distinctions from the other major pieces of legislation from previous incoming administrations, because as we pass the one year mark of our world turning upside down, it was it was one year ago yesterday, actually, that the World Health Organization declared covid-19 a global pandemic. It's important to note how remarkably well this bill is pulling, you know, considering our country's polarization, because as I understand it, about three quarters of Americans support this bill.


And yet the bill itself received no support from a. Republican officeholder, Susan, this bill had widespread bipartisan support just about everywhere except under the Capitol dome. So why didn't more Republicans want to take this home as a major accomplishment for their constituents? You got me.


But I think the calculus that Mitch McConnell made and I think Joe Biden just totally played him, by the way, was that Joe Biden coming into office so wanted bipartisanship. He had those 10 senators and they had the negotiation. I have one point nine trillion. You offer me six hundred million. Biden did everything but begged them to come up with a counteroffer because, you know, he was willing to compromise. And I think that McConnell thought he could get a real a much smaller bill passed and that and that Biden wouldn't blink because he wouldn't do reconciliation without any Republican support.


And he got played because at the end of the day, these Republican senators didn't vote for it and they can't have the successes of it and what they're going to bring home for their state. And it's probably likely the only major piece of legislation that they're going to have.


I mean, there's talk about infrastructure, but I'm very wary about that. So they they literally have nothing now.


So can I ask you a quick follow up question to that? Because as a matter of process, and I know you follow these things, isn't it relatively remarkable that the President Biden said, I want a one point nine trillion dollar bill and he ended up with a one point nine dollars billion bill with basically everything that he wanted in it? I mean, in a small number of weeks from conception to passage, that's that's not normal. It's not.


And it shows that he has the, you know, the backbone and the will and the determination to get it done. I mean, covid relief, it was it should have been a national response like it was under President Trump when they passed two point two trillion dollars in spending with all Republican support. So this was a national response. That's why you see the polling numbers where they are, because they are helping our country nationally. It's helping everybody. There is I mean, I am particularly the restaurant money in there, I think is is critical, especially for big cities like New York.


But that is it's just shocking that they really could not come along on a patriotic way to fight to come together.


I think maybe Mitch McConnell is saying, look, we could be a strong minority and vote as a bloc. But I also think McConnell misplayed one other thing. He didn't think that he all the Democrats would go with him.


Yeah. So I think he got that.


There's so you mentioned the restaurant industry, especially independent restaurant. So it didn't take long, actually, for some Republicans to take a victory lap. Despite voting against the bill, Senator Roger Wicker tweeted out that funding for independent restaurant operators will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic. He just conveniently failed to mention that it was despite his best efforts because he voted against the bill. Mike, this has the potential of providing significant help for millions of Americans, and it's widely popular, 59 percent of Republicans supported it in a morning consult poll.


But Pew had that number at 41 percent among Republicans and and Republican leaning independents. Does the phenomenon of Republicans voting against this bill and then afterward claiming it as an accomplishment, portend a new trend in how they're going to behave in Congress?


Well, unfortunately, misinformation is not a new trend in the GOP, right? It's kind of a continuing trend. It's part of what they are going to be doing going forward. This is a more egregious step, though. This is not a single one of them going forward with it. And then even on Twitter a few hours later, people taking credit for some aspects of the bill. I think I think you are going to see more of this.


I don't believe, by the way, that the average American is going to remember this vote heading into the midterms or any of the specifics. But what they will remember is the general trajectory of the country. And if this does work, that bodes well for Democrats, even though there's just kind of this razor thin majority, a small majority in 75 years.


And if history is a guide, you know, the midterms portend very well for the Republicans, which for the life of me, I don't know why they would not jump on board with this right to kind of build votes out in some of these swing districts that they're going to need or in some of these new districts.


And somebody will be on new lines, especially especially given the trajectory of like or at least wanting to become the Workers Party. Right. And and taking on a more populist bent. Right, yeah, there's no question I mean, the idea somehow that Republicans and Republicanism is still equated with fiscal responsibility, because we were you know, it's laughable. We were never good at it in the first place, but now we're not even pretending anymore. Right. So so, yeah, that's not it's not an issue.


There's no downside to that. There's no constituency that's going to punish you for that. The only constituency is what you're not giving me. And I guess the calculation is we can take the benefit of not voting for a Joe Biden Democratic left wing crazy AOC supported bill and at the same time just lie and take credit for it going forward. It's troubling, but I don't think that that's. Look, what's really going to determine this is how the Democrats handle it.


And one thing I did learn last year is Democrats try to win campaigns by explaining policy and finding solutions. Republicans try to win campaigns by just winning campaigns. And that's the difference in the approach that both parties take. And so as long as Democrats, I think, have learned that lesson and kind of keep keep pushing these Republicans in the minds of voters of where they were not at at this time and highlight the extremist elements of it, I think they probably stand a good chance of of allowing Republicans to hang by their own.


They don't that they're setting. Yeah. As long as they have learned these lessons. But I'm not convinced that that I'm not either. Democrats are very good at losing winnable elections, unfortunately, Susan.


But there is one thing, though, that that the Republicans really are missing in this equation.


If they want to say that we're going to fight, they can't they have no line of approach against Joe Biden in the midterm elections. You're in a fight, Obama. You're going to fight Bush like they're horrible policies. They can't land a punch on Joe Biden. It's kind of like a campaign like when when Trump kept trying to think of a name to call them and nothing stuck because Joe Biden is just Joe Biden. He's you know, you could he no one thinks he's crazy.


AOC like you, they haven't been able to have they not only do they not have a good argument against, well, everything, because that's what they're going to do is be against everything.


They have no way of landing a punch. And that's where I think that could hurt them in the midterm elections, because if the election is about Joe Biden and things are going well. That's going to be very difficult because they still don't know how to pace him, and I think that, frankly, I was surprised how quiet AOC has been throughout the election and even in the last couple of months.


Also, this is a you know, what's the punch that they've been trying to land all along? Right. Joe Biden's a closet socialist. Right. The popularity of this bill, which is one of the biggest spending bills in the history of this country. Everybody likes it. Right, like a more relaxed, they like it more than the tax cuts. Yeah, so, yeah, it's yeah, you're right. No punches landed. I don't you know, as part of this, I want to talk about the latest on vaccines, because the rollout really is ramping up.


According to Andy Slavitt, the White House senior adviser of recovered response, roughly one in four American adults has received at least one dose of the vaccine. And President Biden announced this week that his administration is ordering another 100 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, bringing the total vaccine order to 800 million doses for the United States and ensuring that before long, every American that wants a shot can get one. Now, this comes just as the CDC released new guidance for vaccinated Americans that essentially lifts some of the social barriers we've had between us for the last year.


And this is kind of a big deal because the CDC tends to air on the conservative side for guidelines. And they said fully vaccinated individuals may visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying six feet apart, visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying six feet apart. If everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease and refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of covid-19 after contact with someone who has covid-19.


So I want to hear from both of you about how you're feeling about this. But Mike, why don't you go first. How quickly do you expect Americans behavior to change in light of the vaccine rollout?


I think it's already changed. I think considerably. And I say that as somebody in California has just kind of I live in downtown Sacramento and watching Night Life is back like people are back. Restaurants are opening in California. I mean, it's kind of kind of crazy. I think there's just a lot of fatigue after a year. People are kind of like, OK, it's done the turn the page after the Trump administration. I'm not suggesting it's in the best interest of public health, but I am also absolutely convinced and here's my kind of conspiracy theories.


I believe that we have enough vaccines to put into most people's arms right now. The problem is we're having trouble just administering it and finding enough people to literally, literally give the shot. And I think that the government's actually doing a good job by staggering and tearing it based off of the fungible criteria, which is changing every 72 hours or so. It's a smart way to prevent a mass rush towards these places to get them. But we are, you know, putting three million vaccines into people a day.


I mean, that's an extraordinary number. And the fact that we ordered a hundred million more means we're going to have a surplus of vaccine probably in the next 30, 45 days. So this is moving along really rapidly, really quickly, really smoothly, at least to this point, without a whole lot of problems. And that's something to be grateful for. I think it's really good. I do think I do think that behavior has already, again, begun to change and it will continue to change probably a little bit too rapidly.


But I think people have just after a year of so much uncertainty, there's this real pressing need to get back to some sense of normalcy, at least the way we can see.


But yeah, Susan, what are you thinking about this?


I just think it's all amazing that we have that vaccine in the arms of Americans less than a year from when we when we found out we were in the middle of a pandemic.


I mean, that is shocking to me. And it's the one thing I do give the Trump administration credit for operation warp speed as far as doing, you know, not caring if they all all the vaccines succeeded and just producing them was smart. The other thing is this, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, we think of vaccines as you need to. You only need one with Johnson and Johnson. So it's not like if you said Maidana had one hundred, that would really mean 50 because you need two shots and now you have it's a lot more vaccine.


And I think it will give us an opportunity to as we continue to produce this, which I can't see why we wouldn't, to actually get back on the world stage again as as as a real leader, because we will be selling and giving vaccinations around the world. Right now, China and Russia are the two major countries doing it, and they are getting a lot of dominance as a result of that in in these countries. And I think it's it will be a way for us to kind of come back on the global level.


But behavior is changing.


I will say in New York City, we're still a little hesitant. I mean, restaurants are open. We're moving to 50 percent in next week. But maybe because we saw those hospitals, it just it's an image that we just can't get out of our head.


But I do worry that when I listen to some of the top doctors in the world. On television and they're saying, be very careful right now. We should be very careful right now because, again, let's not forget, it is all about hospital capacity.


Yeah, if your hospitals start to surge, it's not like you could just get more space. It's not like you can rent out a room. It's that is the problem. And if they say that there's a good potential because people are being a little more Lucy Goosey, that has me concerned.


You know, I'm glad you mentioned the world stage, because there's there's there's also this astounding piece of news I just want to touch on briefly, which is that America is actually, you know, as you mentioned, killing it. When it comes to vaccinating our population against covid. We're now fourth at nine point nine percent when looking at percentage of population fully vaccinated. Israel is leading at forty five percent and the Seychelles at twenty twenty eight percent, Bahrain at 13 percent, and then us.


But we're first when looking at total doses administered with ninety five million. You mentioned China and they're at fifty two million administered. And so we have nearly twice as many doses of China at nearly four times as many as India does. At twenty six million right now are the UK, which is at twenty four. You mentioned this earlier and I think it's fair to say that the current administration and the previous one both had roles to play in the in the mass inoculation against coronavirus.


But for the first time we're hearing messaging from the very top that it's important and safe for everyone who is eligible to go to take away any credit from Joe Biden.


It's done in it. Yes. No, not at all. I think you're right.


It's it's just because once again, Donald Trump can see, like, one thing and then he sees a shiny object and forgets that you have to wait.


You have to put the vaccine in your arm. Right. But but, you know, it was he was responsible for operation warp speed and fast tracking the vaccine development. And I can't believe I'm saying something positive about the previous administration, but there are two near miraculous events taking place in parallel.


First, you know, these vaccines are in themselves truly scientific miracles, considering the speed and methodology of the development, but also the speed and scale with which Americans are receiving the vaccine is second to none across the world, despite all of the misinformation and despite the anti vaccines and despite the hesitancy. So, Susan, how is America, in your view, considering all of our hardships and trials and failures in the last year, pulling this off?


Well, it depends where you look. How do we pull it off right now? Look at Texas. They got rid of their tax, their their mess mandate. I find that outrageous like that.


So we're responsible. And we we know that, for example, Republicans are less likely to get the vaccination. We talked about this once before, are less likely to get the vaccination than Democrats. That's absurd. And I really think that it does come to leadership at a national level. And the fact that the Republicans didn't get behind that covid relief bill, it almost says they don't care about covid like they don't recognize there's a serious problem out there. So that, I think, adds to some of the willingness to ignore what the CDC says, because if if my member of Congress or my senator doesn't think it's that important, he didn't vote for it.


It can't be that serious.


Yeah, Mike, we've talked a lot on this podcast about how the last administration's malice and ineptitude allowed us to reach a really staggering degree of illness and death that surpassed all but a few other countries in the developed world. But at the same time, you know, as we mentioned, Operation Warp Speed and the Trump administration's fast tracking of vaccine development had a hand to play here. So with all of this in mind, and I think I know the answer, what do you think President Trump's coronavirus legacy is going to be on this?


I don't I mean, in the long view, I just I can't see him being anything but a a massive stain on.


How are you thinking about that? Well, I was listening to Susan talk, and my first reaction was, again, as somebody who is watching the numbers very, very closely in this last presidential cycle, had Donald Trump just asked people to wear a mask, he would have won reelection? Yeah, he was at any point at any point during the campaign. And he had like 20 or 30 different opportunities to just say, OK, you know what?


We looked at things differently. His supporters wouldn't have cared, you know, done whatever they told him to do. It was this attempt not to look weak, which was his undoing. And so that will be his legacy. Like that will be obvious. And that's going to become more and more clear is that you had a president who was more concerned about his political standing than the lives of half a million Americans like that will be the story, the same way we still talk about Hoovervilles after the Great Depression.


Yeah, the the the just the the incompetence and the lack of concern for doing his job right is what we will remember this as being with far greater more. Haloti than any other you know, virtually any other incident in American history, so that that look, that's going to be his legacy. But I am I'm continually perplexed by the personality that couldn't make that one simple adjustment when he is so capable of changing his opinion and doing a complete 180 on virtually anything.


When he knew and we were watching this all together, you know, on our work last year with the Lincoln Project, when he when these statements are coming out in the Woodward book, he knew it was an airborne pathogen. He knew that it was deadly. He knew that it was going to be significantly destructive to the public health. And politically, he just not only completely misread it, but his stubborn refusal to shift course, when he shift course, when he shifts course on absolutely everything else is just startling.


And I think that that will really be what we remember, the Trump era, the Trump administration for. Yeah, Susan, you're nodding.


Oh, yeah. I couldn't agree more. I think that's such a great point. And I was saying it all along on any part, any day, he could have been successful in fighting this virus any day up until the last day. He could have been successful and and really changed things around.


But again, because he treated it like a political problem instead of a public health crisis, he you know, might my own saying is always, you know, good government is good politics and it doesn't always play in this day and age. But when you have, you know, forgetting Andrew Cuomo, his problems now.


But a year ago, when when you see how people responded to getting information, getting the facts, being briefed, being being treated like adults, that's what people want in a crisis. And as much as he likes to pretend he was a wartime president, he showed them nothing, zero, no leadership skills whatsoever until the end when when the vaccine did come online, but nothing.


And even when he had that, he didn't use it like he his biggest asset was science. Ironically, the biggest thing he didn't believe in was the thing that could have gotten him reelected.


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Speaking of misaligned priorities and hypocrisy, let's talk about Republicans in Georgia and voting suppression. As we know, we've discussed this a little bit before. Republicans across the country are intensely focused on making it harder for certain people to vote in Georgia. A bill we've talked about previously to restrict mail in voting has now passed the state Senate along party lines and is likely to pass the Georgia House soon. A state senator, Nikki Merrett, a Democrat, was quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution saying the purpose of SB 240 one and all of the vote limiting bills we have before us is to validate a lie.


It is to prevent massive voter turnout from happening again, especially in minority communities.


Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, what does it say that Republicans have shown the American people they are against covid relief but are adamantly in favor of a new Jim Crow era of suppressing the franchise?


Yeah, who says Republicans don't stand for anything less than the return of Jim Crow? Look, it's important in this discussion, I think is a really good Segway to this one that we've been having because the Republicans are consciously taking themselves out of the public policy space. They're removing themselves from being a rational part of or trying to even influence public policy. At this point, it's purely a political play to keep the tribe together. And when you do that with the fastest shrinking demographic in America, you have to limit voting rights in order to be successful.


That's the whole strategy if you're not going to have a conscious appeal to be engaged with growing segments of the electorate. The only other alternative you have is to have fewer and fewer people vote. Now, one of the great ironies here is this. Republicans are going to focus in large part on limiting the ability to vote by mail.


This is still the Republicans advantage. This is another thing that killed Donald Trump with limiting vote by mail. If the one few advantages that Republicans actually have and just as a practitioner who's done 30 years training Republicans to vote by mail, it's just absurd that they think that this is going to hurt minority communities.


Even the MALLIS is sloppy, even the Malazan, that they can even do bad, good and even good crooks like I think it's you know, so look, I think that, look, societal trends are that people are going to be moving to vote by mail anyway. This is inevitable that things are going to happen. Will there be some limitations? Yes, they will be. I think that there are far more look, I'm opposed to any limitation of the franchise.


I'm opposed to limiting. But I think we should make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible.


But having said that, if I if I was working for Republican candidates in the Deep South and I said, look, what's the one area that we can shoot ourselves in the foot, the quickest way to vote by mail.


So go about it. Go go get it.


So in this viral moment on the floor of the U.S. House this week, Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio, blasted Republicans for opposing the protecting the right to organize the act or the pro act, which passed the House Tuesday night by a two hundred twenty five to two hundred and six vote, would expand collective bargaining rights, increased penalties against employers who violate labor laws and would weaken right to work laws in twenty seven states. Let's take a quick listen to what Ryan said.


Mr. Speaker, one of the earlier speakers said this is the most dramatic change in labor law in 80 years. And I say, thank God. In the late 70s, a CEO made thirty five times the worker. Today it's three to four hundred times the worker and our friends on the other side running around with their hair on fire. Heaven forbid we pass something that's going to help the damn workers in the United States of America. Heaven forbid we tilt the balance that has been going in the wrong direction for 50 years.


We talk about pensions. You complain, we talk about the minimum wage increase. You complain. We talk about giving them the right to organize. You complain. But if we're passing a tax cut here, you don't get in line to vote for it. Now, stop talking about Dr. Seuss and start working with us on behalf of the American workers.


Now, Republican opposition to a labor protections bill wouldn't be at all surprising or even notable if not for the recent efforts to rebrand. The GOP, as we mentioned earlier, as a party of the working class and we also discussed that in a recent episode of the roundup, even in fact, Representative Mark Pocan, Democrat from Wisconsin, also made this point during Tuesday's debate saying, please, if you are the party of working people, then I'm a stunt double doppelganger for Brad Pitt.


I hope you join me in Fight Club, Suzanne.


If if Republicans are taking if Republicans are talking one way and voting another, what does that mean for the identity of the Republican Party? And what do they even stand for?


Well, they have no identity. They gave up any principle when they supported Donald Trump in 2016 and then voted along with him. Mike made a great point about them being a party with no policy. You can't talk your way through being for the working class or working families. If you don't give specific ways, you're going to do it. Yelling the most will not get you there, especially when you're in the minority and you need to work. If you want to do that, you work with the opposing side to actually move legislation that you can take credit for.


But without any substantial policy, they're just they might as well just be reading Dr. Seuss and nothing else because and playing with a potato head, because there's nothing in these quotes are just so good.


But that's what they are, their equivalent of sitting in a corner waiting until it's their time. And they'll just yell and yelling, yell. But they have taken no votes or any action or proposed legislation that would actually help the people they claim they want to serve.


Mike, did they think that their voters are just dumb, that they aren't paying attention, that they can continue to mislead them, that they can actually play both sides and nobody's going to notice? What like what is the calculation?


Well, it's important to understand that the Republican Party is viewed by the working class and the lower middle class as their party. And but there's an important distinction there viewed by white working class voters as their party. It's not the increasingly black and brown community which views the Republican Party as representative of their interests. And this is also important to understand.


It was you know, Congressman Ryan's speech was very eloquent and it was very emotional and very passionate. It's also, candidly, a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem. Unionization rates have been going down for 40 and 50 years. That's not because of the lack of organizing rights. It's because the economy has changed in the last 50 years. So to suggest that somehow winning the hearts and minds of union workers is going to get you the bulk of the working class in America is just an outdated notion that went out with the fall of the Berlin Wall.


It's just that's just just not relevant anymore. So and that's why the Democrats aren't viewed as being a relevant party to the working class is that is their last touchstone is speaking to this dramatically shrunken Franklin Delano Roosevelt perception of what the Democratic Party used to be. That is the only constituency that they speak for. And it is a very small segment of the American workforce. So what the Republicans have done is they've said, well, we don't have any policy solutions.


We don't have an answer to this. Let's tell them Dr. Seuss. Let's sell them a culture war. Let's give them Cercas. Right. As the Romans did. Let's not we can't solve the problem. So build the Coliseum and throw some gladiators in there with a giraffe and light it on fire and entertain them while we watch the rest of the city fall apart.


Work for the Orangeman on a daily basis. Let's do it. And that's what that's what this has become. Now, it's important to understand it's a particularly acute problem with the Republican Party because they literally are selling their are people, Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head. But the Democrats don't have a solution either. Until somebody adopts a true working class agenda for this new economy that we're in, we're just going to be going through this theater of the absurd.


It will be a circus and both sides will speak to ever shrinking constituencies while people fall further, further behind. And more and more people believe government is less and less relevant in their lives because it is.


But there will be just one thing in this short period of time. After the covid relief bill, money starts getting out there. It will make people feel the economy is coming back and more working class people will be going back to work. So I think that the Democrats are more likely to get credit for that. I agree with Mike in the long term, if we're not addressing real, real problems, I would argue that we haven't done that this country in a long time.


But it is important to think, at least in the immediate need, which is all the Republicans are thinking about, is twenty, twenty two.


It just makes the. All the worse, yeah, put a pin in the emerging economy and the future of work, because you're right, we haven't dealt with that in a long time and I think we need a deep dove on that conversation. One more instance of Republican democracy that caught my eye this week and then we can move on is Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland being confirmed in a 70 to 30 vote in the Senate Wednesday? He earned the vote of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked so much as a hearing for President Obama's nomination of Garland, the Supreme Court, five years ago.


Mike, how are you thinking about Garland and the Senate coming full circle, so to speak? Well, I want to say a couple of things about this.


The first is, of course, it's poetic justice, right? As Merrick Garland, the rise of Merrick Garland. And now he's going to be in charge of prosecuting a lot of these the Trump stooges that were so problematic. But and this is not going to be popular, but I've never been much for popularity contests. Look, what happened to Merrick Garland was was complete bullshit. I get that it was not unconstitutional. And let's remember, the Republicans had the votes to shoot down the nomination.


They just didn't want to go through the political grandstanding of having to to vote somebody down who was eminently qualified and be exposed for that. Now, maybe it's because I'm a Republican in California where I've had to deal with the Democrats completely disregarding anything, anything value Republicans had to say because they didn't have the votes. To me, that was just crass politics and I wasn't surprised by the least. And so to have people who are feigning like this, you know, this this this exasperation at what happened or this outrage at just how Merrick Garland was treated, folks, that's politics.


That's what a majority gets you. And now that that's gone, this is what happened. You can now put this guy back into a place in a position of power. You get to do it, you get to do it. And that's unfortunate. But that's just the reality of governance. So stop with the faux outrage. Hopefully this closes that loop. Merrick Garland, the votes were never there. He was never going to get nominated. Was like Mitch McConnell used some weird illusionary trick in the back of the Senate chambers to to stop him from getting it.


Now, they just didn't want to put him on the stand and vote him down because they would have voted him down and taken the hit for it. So good for Merrick Garland. You know, learn from it, but realize that elections have consequences. But there's nothing unconstitutional happened to Merrick Garland, nothing unconstitutional.


But it was some procedural trickery that saved them the political consequences of the action.


Yeah, if you if you consider not holding a hearing trickery, I just you don't have to advise and consent. We can debate on what consent means. But if they don't if the votes aren't there and they don't want to bring it up, that's the Senate's purview. They're right. Sure. But they didn't advise and they didn't consent up or down. They just didn't do anything. So which I would argue is a form of advise and consent.


Oh, OK.


So, Susan, I want to I just want to get your take on this, because, you know, after the likes of Bill Barr occupying the top office of the Department of Justice, what should we be hoping to see from the department's new leadership?


I think Merrick Garland be committed to just helping heal the soul of the Justice Department, which needs it because they have been under attack for four years from the executive branch. I think he'll do everything he can in his power to re shape things. And and especially the image of independents will be very important. However, I do worry about the overall pick.


I have no problem with him or his qualifications. That's fine. But through a political lens where all we do back and forth is judge, Republican, Democrat. Everything is done through a political lens. I wonder if you just didn't give Merrick, you know, by nominating and installing Merrick Garland, the Republicans a chance to say everything he's doing is in retribution. And I don't I believe he would not do that.


He has handled himself as a man of integrity.


But we're talking about the politics of this, but we're talking about the politics.


And that's that's a whole different game. But I do think most of all, and because of Joe Biden and who he is as the president, the idea of getting independents back in the Justice Department is probably the most important thing that Merrick Garland can do.


OK, let's talk about our last segment here, which is Trump essentially hijacking the Republican Party's fundraising machine as investigations circle overhead and the favors for favors spigot is cut off. Former President Trump issued a cease and desist letter to the RNC, the NRC and the NRC. Those are the campaign arms for both the Senate, the House and the National Committee of the Republican Party for using his name and likeness in fundraising emails. And now Trump is asking his supporters to give their political donations to his new Save America PAC instead of the Republican Party's official committees.


So the rabbit holes we could go down here are endless. But, Susan, I want you to take it here first. What should we expect Trump to use his PAC for officially?


And I put that in air quotes and unofficially legal bills, a lot of legal bills, which is why he says he may run again.


So that way he can use that money.


But I think he will try to put a small amount of money to defeat some people, you know, just to show he'll put his money, which is not his but money where his mouth is. I think he'll do a few primaries maybe.


But overall, he's going to use it for himself. He'll do it. We'll see rallies of some type. We're going to see Trump events. I can't tell you what they're going to look like exactly, but we will see them. And this will fund him having a raised profile.


I think it's very interesting that Mitch McConnell is basically telling everyone the other day or saying that, oh, we outraised Donald Trump, our PAC outraised his PAC. So we're better than him. But and I don't think that Donald Trump, he'll get the small donations, but he's not going to get the corporate support that he's used to that is going to stay with the institutions of the Republican House and Senate.


Mike, if Trump is successful in choking the GOP committees, what could that mean for the other candidates? We see in twenty, twenty two in the midterms and and for Republicans chances of winning them?


Well, he is going to be successful, and I think that is important because he's going to dictate which candidates not only are going to be endorsed with the gold standard big red tea on everybody's chest, but who's going to get funded in probably in some of these primaries as well. So you get the money and the endorsement that gives him an iron grip on the party. And to Susan's point, yeah, this is about illegal fund. And it also means that, you know, we're going to start hearing the narrative that this is just a political witch hunt.


Right. They're trying to take this guy down legally because they didn't like his politics. They didn't like his style. They're trying to cancel Donald Trump, not because he committed crimes. It was criming, you know, for the past 20 or 30 years. But because they want to be canceled. And that's that's red meat for the base, which means more checks and more money and gives him, I think, some some some protection. I think it really does.


I think it gives him some leverage in the process, because the more he's able to incite to the public, which he's demonstrated a capacity to do, and control the Republican Party, I think it begins to continue to swirl down the drain here. But, look, he it's his party. He doesn't need to form a third party. He can call it the Republican Party. What he's saying is I control the purse strings. You don't use my name unless I allow you to use my name.


And I've got a very pro Trump segment of the caucus in the House of Representatives. And he also basically threw down the gantlet with Mitch McConnell during the impeachment hearing. And one, it's his party and it's not it's not a political party as we've known it. This is part of the Trump organization. And so it's going to be used as such. And we shouldn't be surprised by that. But it will continue to be a revenue generator and it will be used politically, I think the way that Susan just outlined and it is going to have a very significant impact in the twenty, twenty two midterms.


Speaking of criming, on Wednesday, we learned from The Wall Street Journal that Trump urged the chief investigator in Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger office to find fraud, saying, I won everything but Georgia and I won Georgia. I know that by a lot and the people know it. And something happened there. Something bad happened. That's all a quote.


By the way, Trump specifically told the investigator to look at Fulton County, the largest county in Georgia. Susan, there's been a slow drip of information from this and other investigations into the former president. What do you expect Trump's game plan will be to deal with these challenges politically we just discussed? But how how reliant can he be on political support as a private citizen? How much does that protect him from the law? All he's going to do is what he's always done is delay, he's going to delay, delay, delay as long as he can.


And, you know, the criminal stuff is a different story. But even there, he will use whatever he can to just let it keep dragging out.


He doesn't care if it drags out over 10 years. That's fine with him on the civil side. He'll keep getting it right now. And if he has to settle on a fine, he'll settle on a fine.


But that's where this money comes into. That we were just discussing is to pay those legal fees so he can keep delaying it. Don't put it past him to do events to to disrupt state activity, even going to Georgia and doing certain things that could force another delay in, you know, as the procedure goes on. So that's what that's all he's got. I mean, there's no magic. I mean, here in New York on Wednesday, Michael Coleman went back for his seventh visit.


Yeah, that's, you know, as a witness, potential witness for testimony or an interview, I should say, with the Justice Department. That's a big deal now that they're getting there. I mean, I think we see where where this that investigation is going and it won't be pretty. But again, he's delayed that he didn't get his tax releases done until after the election.


Mike, I think the one thing on everybody's mind right now with this conversation is, is it going to work? Trump's delaying. Yeah, I mean, everything we just discussed with what he's going to do with the money raising it, the rallies, the witch hunt. Right. He has the ability to manipulate public opinion. He just does. Right?


Yeah, it's going to work. Look, I do I believe I believe it's going to work. It's going to keep him out of legal trouble. Like, what is what exactly is going to work? Well, look, I think what he deals in disruption, that's that he's a chaos candidate. And in many ways, look, he's a he's a real estate developer. Anybody who's worked in land use, there's two things that you do, right?


You disrupt the process as much as you can because it gives you a little bit more control on a difficult governmental process. The other thing is you if you want a 30 foot 30 story building, you asked for a 50 story building and then you negotiate there. And it looks like a lot, but you really got what you wanted. This guy's in legal trouble all over the place. But what he does have is he has a remarkably resilient segment of the American electorate that will literally burn down the Capitol for him.


He knows that's an asset. And that disruption, I would argue, gives him significant leverage in this legal process where no one wants to say that no prosecutor is going to acknowledge that. But what they will do is he'll be able to negotiate that because there's a very significant leverage piece. But it's more than just that. He literally runs and owns as part of the Trump crime family, the second largest political party in America. It's his and he's going to have basically the capacity to raise millions and millions of dollars to engage this as the number one fight in the country, because you're going to see the leader in the House and the leader in the Senate, Republican leaders back whatever play he is going to want to pursue or push in that when he get when things get really tough during these legal proceedings.


And is it going to work? I would argue it is. And here's why. I don't think he's got that much time left. I mean, what's his time horizon here on the planet 20 years through? Can you run it out that long with a few million bucks and controlling a huge segment of the party? I mean, by the time he is able to be incarcerated, he'll be too old to go to jail and then negotiate that and just stick him in Trump Tower as part of his, you know, home confinement.


So, yeah, I mean, look, is it justice? I think his legacy is going to be squandered. I think his kids are probably in deep trouble. But for Trump. Yeah. Himself. Yeah, I don't think he's going to he will suffer some consequences. I think he already has. But the man has no capacity to accept ownership or responsibility for anything. He he lacks the capacity for shame. And when you lack the capacity for shame, you can always continue to go forward in your fight, no matter how ridiculous the odds and no matter how clear it is that you're not going to get anywhere with it except for what you're not going to get right.


You can negotiate back to a position if you're if you're positioning further out front. Now that we're up to speed on the major stories of the week, I have one more question to close us out with, which is what stories are you following that may have flown under the radar or that our listeners might have missed, but also that will influence our politics in a way we might not expect, Susan, to want to go first.


I think one issue the Republicans are going to use is the surge of people at our border.


We're seeing it. It's real.


The Biden administration knows it's real. They are very concerned.


Obviously, they are doing it with much more humanitarian way of trying to handle it. But this is significant and it does give one thing that they can harp on and Fox News will run and they will. That's where they will change it. And that's that is the one place where they still have a solid peg with their constituency and potentially independent voters to.


So it's really going to be on Biden to get that, you know, whatever they can do to do it quickly and somewhat tamper it down. It's hard during a pandemic.


I think the natural thing would be for Biden would be to try and do it in the home countries and get more aid there, et cetera, which is the you know, the way you handle problems like this, at least in a in a bigger way. All right. It's one part of the solution, I should say. But I think this is something that Republicans are going to grab on. And by next week, we're going to see stories of Caravan's again.


Oh, boy. Here we go, Mike. Now, I'm interested in that topic, too. She's exactly right.


Another topic I'm talking with Susan on pretty much daily is the changed fortunes of the governors of New York and California from where they were sitting out a year ago to see what's happening to them both now is quite remarkable.


So the recall issue in California is going to be a big deal. It is going to dominate at least some of the national coverage. I don't believe Gavin Newsom's in threat of actually losing his seat at this point in time, but the recall will qualify. We should know by the end of next week, over two million signatures have been gathered. It's a significant milestone and I think it's going to drive part of the discussion about tactics being used by the Republican Party, even in the deepest of blue states.


Before I let you go, where can people find you on the Internet, like on Twitter at Madrid, underscore Mike Squirrel Hunter, squirrel hunter, dotcom.


I'm going to lock up that.


You will actually show up on Twitter del Perciasepe and I'm on Twitter at Rod's Deathlok. Mike, Susan, as always, thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation. And I want to thank everyone at home or on the go for listening. If you have questions or advice for us or if there's a topic you'd like to see covered in a future episode of the round up, you can reach us at a podcast at political dotcom. And if you learn something in today's episode, be sure to follow or subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.


It would also help us tremendously if you could write and review the show because that helps new people find us. I'm Ron Suslow. This is Political Junkie. I'll see you in the next episode.