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[00:00:02]

Next year will be a great year, unless it's screwed up by somebody that doesn't know what he's doing, which could happen, but I don't think it will. Hello from the Lincoln Project, I'm Ron Suslow and welcome back to 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 shaping the political landscape of this election. We have an incredible panel today with three of my fellow co-founders of the Lincoln Project, independent political strategist and our captain on this voyage, Rich Galen.

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Good morning, Reed, and thank you for being on again, Ron. Communications strategist and former chair of New Hampshire Republican Party, Jennifer Horn. It's great to have you back, Jennifer. Good morning, everybody. And Republican strategist, former political director of the California Republican Party and current senior adviser to the California Latino Economic Institute, Mike Madrid, who's been up since 4:00 o'clock this morning.

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Mike, how are you doing something like that? Doing great, guys. Looking forward to the discussion on today's episode. We're going to talk about Trump's wide ranging interview with Axios, Jonathan Suan that aired Monday and the threat of historic levels of eviction during the current economic crisis. So let's dive right into this axios interview, which we've all watched now. And some of us may have popped popcorn for Axios on HBO, aired an interview with Trump on Monday night that should serve as a stark warning to Americans considering casting their vote for Trump.

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The interview was such a disaster that Fox News radio host Guy Benson characterized it as terrible and said the president was woefully unprepared to answer entirely predictable and often repeated critiques of the country's coronavirus response in a Townhall.com column. The topics of their interview ranged from coronavirus response, the Russian bounty scandal and voting by mail. So we're going to play a couple of these clips so that you can hear exactly how this went down under the post, giving them a false impression.

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I think it's under control. I'll tell you what, how a thousand Americans are dying a day. They are dying. That's true. And it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it.

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So, Jennifer, how much of this is just callousness and what does it mean that the president seems to not care about Americans dying? And I would note that Jonathan repeatedly had to correct him that we are talking about the death count here.

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Right. So the question is, is the president, the United States an idiot or is he just a jerk? You know, that's that's what it comes down to. And I would suggest that he is both, you know, Guy Benson referring to him as being woefully unprepared, would suggest that there are some times when this president tries to educate himself and make it reasoned and well-informed decisions. And we know that that's simply not the case in this particular case.

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It has been shocking to me and I imagine shocking to probably that every single American, the degree to which this president has displayed his lack of concern for the health and well-being of the American people. To your point, Ron, we're talking about literally talking about life and death, people who are dying, who are losing their lives, families who are losing their parents, or are children who are losing their parents, grandparents, sons and daughters. And we're not just talking about the elderly anymore.

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Even, you know, as as completely callous as it is to suggest, as some have suggested, that if that it's just, in quotes, just the elderly, that the degree to which this is growing and expanding across our country right now was so unnecessary and under any other president of any party, if this was happening, the answer would be, my heart breaks for these families. We're doing everything we can to control the spread. We're working with the, you know, the best epidemiologists.

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We're doing everything the CDC is suggesting we do. We like this president is incapable of that. And I just think it's really important for people to understand that it's not that he's so busy solving the problems of the world that he just didn't have his act together for this interview. This is Donald Trump. He is he is not intellectually capable of processing complex information and he does not have a piece of his heart anywhere that genuinely has care and compassion for other people.

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The the extreme loss of life to this disease was completely avoidable. And there. Really is only one person who is directly responsible for the pain and the heartache and the loss that Americans are feeling, and that's Donald Trump.

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So we know read this is clearly not under control. But how are we to think about the president sort of at best trying to sell the response as well as controlling the virus? And at worst, the president actually believes it is under control. Which of those is it or is it neither? And how are you thinking about that? I think the the president is is imminently annoyed and bored with the coronavirus. He can't see it, so it's not tangible to him.

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He is, Jennifer noted, is is sort of psychologically incapable of conceptualizing what it means or realizing what it means for individual Americans. And so I think that's what you see. And that's not a surprise. I think what he is even more incapable of understanding and apparently his team is as well, is that the very instability that we're facing now lays at his feet. You know, we were you know, we're talking about schools. Some are opening, some won't.

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You know, who knows how long any of them will be open. As soon as one student or administrator or worker or teacher gets sick, you know, maybe they shut down. Whole districts know we are now facing a lot of economic things that I know we're going to talk about. But I think the more important thing to understand about why Trump did first the Chris Wallace piece and now the Axios piece is because he's he's he's. Sick of being in the shadows, and we know from looking back to the last election, he thrives only when and if he is constantly the center of attention.

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And so he is, I believe, doing everything he can to force himself back into the middle of the conversation, because, frankly, that's the only way he's going to have any chance of of winning, even as slim as that might be. And so you see that for him, he doesn't think he's capable of doing anything wrong or conducting a bad interview. He probably thinks Jonathan Swann doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. And I think that Swann should win whatever the reporter version of the Oscars should win it for that.

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Because, I mean, it's it's one thing to ask hard questions of the president, right? It's another thing to bring such a deliciously perfect Australian sensibility of, like, befuddlement, exasperation, confusion.

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I mean, you know, his his interview is is his his expressions will launch a thousand, Meems. Right. And rightfully so. And so I think it was just one more illustration. I think it was important to to note that both Axios and HBO decided to pull it from behind their paywall and make it free to view.

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So I think you can go either to the Axios website or the HBO website and watch all thirty eight minutes of it. And, you know, if you've been locked in your house for one hundred and fifty days, you know, take, take 40 minutes and watch it. I think it will entertain. It will confuse. It will concern. It will terrify. But you won't be, you won't be under any illusion about what we're dealing with come November.

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Yeah, I think that's right. Go ahead, Jennifer.

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Just just to to to to kind of highlight something that we just said about the about the 2016 campaign and how Trump won. The people should be conscious of what he does and how he does it, because that clip that you just that you just played, how many times did the president say the word control? He does this all the time. It doesn't matter that the statement he was making was completely false and without basis and without any sort of support.

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He said he repeats that word over and over again. That's the word he wants his voters to hear. Control, control, control. Everything's under control. It's on. So it is it is a it is a it is a specific strategic approach that people take to communications across all sorts of all sorts of spectrums of life. And he does it very effectively. And voters have to be aware of what he's doing to them. To that point. Jennifer, something we haven't mentioned yet is that at the very beginning of that interview, Jonathan noted for the president that he is sort of known for his approach, that this this sort of positive thinking.

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Right. Positive thing. He's going to fix everything. And there are some some places where sort of positive thinking and some ideologies like sort of becomes a cult. And and you can tell that he is almost trying to wish it away.

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And and and at this point, it sort of shows how delusional and how completely out of touch with reality that positive thinking is to two Americans who are suffering.

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And I'm like, I want to go next to you because and actually, why don't we play this clip first? Because there are a couple of points I want to I want you to touch on. But this is where he starts getting into testing.

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There are those who say you can test too much. You do know that? Who says that? Oh, just read the manuals, read the book manuals, read them, read the books. What books?

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Like we've seen Trump repeat the claim that we're testing too much. And so I want you to talk about, first of all, how much does limiting testing pose a threat to Americans? But also dig into the numbers a bit about how Americans are responding to the coronavirus response? And are they even buying the idea that it's under control? One of the really fascinating things about this interview, I think Donald Trump is is a lot of things. But I think for the first time, what I saw was somebody who really genuinely believes that world that he lives in.

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It's a it's a it's a pernicious and peculiar form of denial. But it's also a way that he has convinced himself of seeing things in a certain way that allows him to speak with the confidence that he does and perhaps give this sense of control that Jennifer was talking about to the voters and the people that he is trying to convince.

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So when he talks about and I'm not even sure that he doesn't understand the death rate situation that Jonathan was pointing out, he just chooses to see it the way that he wants to see it, and then acts astonished that others don't understand it that way. And he does this on a wide range of topics. It's not just this. It is also with testing. I'll talk about that just a second. He does it with absentee. Ballots and mail and fraud, he he he takes things where there might kind of sort of be a smidgen of potential truth and actually makes them a reality and chooses to see the world in that way and argues it's that way.

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And then again, is astonished when the facts are pointed out. And I think a more scientific way of understanding things is articulated to him. So, look, the reason when we look back at the past four years, there is no question that what happened was we started to see the fever break amongst Republican voters when the reality of this disease is that he cannot control and could not control started to hit home in a very real impactful way, whether it was by knowing somebody who got sick, by watching this death, either on the local news or in local community neighborhoods, that reality that he could not wish away the impact fullness of death and illness and pandemic has flummoxed this president because this is not abstract.

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It's not like talking about growth or blaming the Chinese or suggesting that his tariffs actually worked. We know quantifiably that this stuff is nonsense, but it allows his voters that desperately want to believe that he's got the solutions, the ability to believe it. You can't explain away death. And that was the most important and impactful part of this interview with what Jonathan said. We are talking about death. What I'm talking about an infection. We're talking about death like that.

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Certain that's real. And that, I think is well, I know quantifiably if you look at public opinion and if you look at the decay in support amongst Republican voters, this pandemic, the reality of it, the fear of it, the certainty of it, the fact that people are in their homes and have been for the better part of months with no sign of letting up. Local news show and hospital capacity's, physicians, scientists, experts saying we're heading in the wrong direction.

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The fever began to break when he could not explain away the obvious, the apparent and what was evident on its face. As as I listened to Mike talk about the president's response to death. What what what like that is that is the greatest. That is what we all lived to avoid. Right. And we want to protect our elderly parents won't protect our children. And it just reminds us all that, that when we talk about this president's narcissism, it's not like anti Trump are saying, oh, he's so selfish.

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Narcissism is a disease is a real disorder that makes a person dangerous and incapable of any significant leadership. And when you look at this, this guy's presidency, he is incapable of understanding anything that is not directly related to him. So when people protest putting immigrant children in cages and taking them away from their families, the president, he he has no feeling for that. He can't he's incapable of it when we talk. So when we're talking about people losing their families members to this to this pandemic, he's incapable of it.

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And that's what makes him dangerous. It's not just a personality flaw. Like he's got a different personality. He is dangerous. And God forbid someone close to this president loses their life or becomes significantly ill to to this, to this to this disease. And and even as I hear myself say that out loud, he professed a great love and and and friendship for Herman Cain, who just passed away from this. And the president still came into this interview completely ignorant of the facts around the disease that just took the life of his friend.

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It's so his narcissism is not just a personality flaw. It is dangerous to our country.

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Yeah, it's incapacitating.

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It is incapacitating. Yes.

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OK, let's go to the one of the other questions that Swan asked, which was about bounties. Let's roll that clip.

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It's been widely reported that the US has intelligence indicating that Russia paid bounties or offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers. You had a phone call with Vladimir Putin on July twenty third.

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Did you bring up this issue? That was a phone call to discuss other things. And frankly, that's an issue that many people said was fake news. Who said it was fake? Quote, I think a lot of people.

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Trump claimed the intelligence never reached his desk, but it was included in the. His daily briefing, we know, and he's either not reading the briefing material or unable to stand up to Putin, which is worse read it's both.

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He likes charts and graphs and he doesn't like bad news and he doesn't like getting on the wrong side of Vladimir Putin. So it's all of those things. It's just and he's also a liar.

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Do you believe that it didn't make it to his desk? He's a liar.

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Look, I mean, that's a given. I mean, the guy to the guy is incapable of knowing truth from when you live in your own reality, there is no truth or lies.

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It is what it is. So the fact that he did this, you know, he said this. He didn't bring it up with Putin. He was never going to bring it up with Vladimir Putin. Right. And Putin knows that.

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Yeah, Putin absolutely knows that. So coming so obvious now. Well, sure, but I mean, but look, I think we have to we can never forget this, and I think this is an important thing for everyone out there to understand, like we are through the looking glass on what is true and what is false when it comes from Trump and the campaign. They are they are now actively pushing narratives, as you see, whether or not it's moving election dates, whether or not it is mail and voting versus absentee balloting, which is the same damn thing they are.

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This is what they do. Now, Donald Trump is probably not capable of bringing this to bring this stuff to fruition on his own. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot of sneaky guys and underhanded people working for him who can utilize him as a vessel. Right. To do these things. And this is just one more thing, which is we've seen since 16 a concerted effort by Republicans and conservatives to defend Russia. Right. The long standing opponent of the United States.

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I mean, we were we were uneasy allies during World War Two. We have been opponents since then. Right. And we will continue to be, unfortunately, adversaries. The Russians, aren't they they don't get along. That's not what they're that's not what they do. And so Trump and we know that whether or not it was Putin or any of these other guys is a real affinity for these folks. Right. For the strong man who's willing to sort of put down opposition and resistance to whatever it is he wants.

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And for Trump, I don't even think it's opposition to anything policy wise. He just doesn't like people saying bad things about him. And he would prefer they not they not happen anymore. So this shouldn't come as any surprise. Nothing's going to change while he's in office. It's one more destabilizing event in the long list of destabilizing events for the country under under Trump. And so, you know, the only way the only way to make it stop is to vote them out.

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And I wish I could say we could wave a magic wand and it'd be done today. But that's not how that's not how it's going to go. Yeah.

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I just want to close the loop on this, because a couple of weeks ago, Steve said that the one question missing from Chris Wallace's interview with Trump was about Russian bounties. And we got that question. And I think Jonathan did a fine job at pressing him as hard as he could. And we are still left without any kind of a satisfying answer to the question. It was more or less complete dismissal.

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And and imagine if you're a gold star mom or a blue star mom and you hear that answer from this president. Imagine that you are the wife or the child of one of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who serve in the military, who, by the way, regardless of where they are, put their lives on the line every day, every day. Imagine you're one of those folks and you hear the president dismiss the very idea of of what it means to have one of the greatest enemies of freedom paying bounties for the heads of our sons and daughters on the battlefield.

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Let me talk real quick about the practical effects of what is happening with these interviews, because, again, they do they continue they continue to shock us as they roll out the Wallace interview, the cognitive test, then the follow up test interview with with Fox and then now the Axios. Look, the Trump campaign is stuck and they've got to keep putting him out there, one to assuage his ego in a time when they can't go out and do rallies.

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Right. He needs he needs the spotlight. And he has shown time and time again that he is unable to to to generate the type of excitement that he personally requires or that has worked to serve well with his base. Right. The P.T. Barnum persona that he can do on stage and get away with is not an act. And it's it's on it's on glaring display when it's a one on one interview. And he has to actually drop the theater, drop the showmanship and answer questions, especially when there's a follow up.

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The dilemma that their campaign faces is they have no other outlet. And when they are losing and it's clear every interviewer from Wallace Swayne both said you're you're losing. What do you do about that? They know that they're losing. They have to continually try to change the narrative with a deeply flawed candidate. And so you can expect if the Biden campaigns continue to operate the way that they are. And I think that they should, they have no choice. They cannot call another rally.

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He's not going to do well on a zoom zoom, a conference call. He has to drive news by putting himself out front of one reporter instead of the gaggle of the conservative response, which is shown to be a disaster, a fiasco for him. So we are going to see this behavior iterated. Over and over and over again, and it is having the cascading effect of chipping away at his base because they are seeing this guy is incompetent, he has mismanaged this, there's very little concern.

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And the reality that is in his head, even with charts and graphs and memos, is not the reality that they are seeing in the world every day. That, again, is not a good recipe for turning this ship around their ship around in the next couple of months.

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You know, it's an interesting contrast politically, strategically, when you look at Donald Trump and Joe Biden in this moment, how their responses have to be defined by the coronavirus, the restrictions, also the grossly burdensome impact that it's having on every every American's life to see the two of them side by side where Joe Biden is being so measured. And so, you know, it's not well, it's strategic. It is strategic. But I think it's also I think it's also heartfelt and compassionate in his approach to the way he is campaigning.

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He's not out there trying to grab every single flash of the of the bulb and every every you know, that it is such a glaring contrast to Trump who doesn't who shows no need to lead or solve problems, but is consumed by the need to be seen and heard and the center of. So as Mike just described and then I just I think this when you contrast it, compare it to the way Joe Biden is approaching this pandemic, the way Joe Biden is approaching, how he's communicating with the American people during this whole this whole election cycle.

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I think it's quite extraordinary, frankly. And even as a Republican who had a clearly I already I'm going to vote for Joe Biden no matter what, I think it's very much going to influence the way, you know, those Republicans who have left the president and are considering whether or not they're able to vote for Joe Biden. I think that comparison alone is going to be very influential on them.

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OK, let's move to one of the most important, I think, segments of this interview, which was about voting by mail. And we've been spending a lot of time on voting by mail. And we're going to have another episode coming up where we go really deep on the nuts and bolts of voting by mail and absentee balloting. But Jonathan Swan asked Trump to follow up on a Fox News interview in which Trump said he couldn't say whether he'd accept the results of the November election.

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Trump called Masland voting a new phenomenon.

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And we're going to roll this clip. No way you can go through a mail in vote without massive cheating.

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Now read, you know, we could do hours and hours on this. I think first, why don't you explain what we are potentially looking at after November 3rd and the delay in having a conclusive result, the potential delay in having a conclusive result that we are used to on November 4th. And also, what does it mean for the American people that our sitting president is already signaling that he may not accept the results of the election?

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Well, let me take the second one first. Trump did this in 16 against Hillary. I think back then, though, it was just to cause consternation and draw attention to himself. I don't think he ever thought he was actually going to win. So it was you know, it was as most things with him, performative. Now, I think it is it is part of a broader strategy in which he knows all things being equal. He's probably headed for a pretty serious electoral defeat, again, if all of us do our part.

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So now I think you're looking at a broader strategy that they are all employing in which, you know, they they're sowing confusion, they are sowing doubt, they're sowing instability. And I think that's you know, just as an aside, I think that's the one thing, too, is Donald Trump is the source of the instability we see now from from the White House all the way down into every city and town in the United States because of how he acts and his total failure on Korona, the economy, social unrest, whatever.

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So when you look around and you see the news and you see people in the streets and you see long lines at food banks and hospitals, remember?

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But for Donald Trump, we'd probably be in a hell of a lot better place with kids going back to school and football being played this fall. But let me get back to the voting piece. And so, you know, look, voting by mail is one of those things that, look, I live in Utah. We do nothing but vote by mail. And in fact, what happens on November 3rd?

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We've already seen a little preview here in the Beehive State, which is a few weeks ago, we had our primary election here and for the Republican primary for governor, it took about a week to determine that Spencer Cox was going. The lieutenant governor, Spencer Cox, was going to defeat former governor and Ambassador Jon Huntsman for the Republican nomination, which in a state like Utah, basically means that Spencer Cox will be the next governor. Now we're in Utah, so we're not exactly what you'd call a bunch of wild and crazy guys.

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But for a person like Donald Trump and the minions like Chad Wolf and Bill Barr, you know, I think what we're doing at the Lincoln Project is currently devising strategies to ensure that, A, we understand how all voters can participate, whether or not that's in person. If you're comfortable with that, if it's early voting in which you may go to a polling place that's probably less crowded or certainly certainly voting by mail, which again, absentee balloting and voting by mail, it's the same ballot.

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You do it the same way. And, you know, all I would say, too, is that given what we've seen with the with the post office here in the last few days, you know, if you get that absentee ballot, fill it out, sign it, always sign it, if it's a requirement in your state and send it back as soon as you can so that if it is a two week delay, it still shows up at the registrar's office or whoever your elections official is.

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And so we have to be sure that, you know, that the absentee ballot process is secure. We should be sure that the that the Election Day process is secure. And there was a headline today out of Wisconsin that said the governor up there will be using National Guard troops to serve as poll workers for next week's primary.

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That I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's certainly got to be darn near unprecedented. Obviously, a lot of poll workers tend to be older folks who are probably rightfully so uncomfortable about serving in that role. But I think we've got 80 when when this airs, it'll be 87 days left and we will be spending an inordinate amount of time. And I know Mike and Jennifer are all over this for us already, ensuring that every voter knows how they can and safely participate in, as Schmidt said, I think a few weeks ago, the only person who can prevent you from voting is you.

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And so we we will do all we can to ensure that we continue to, you know, communicate to folks what's at stake for this. And if we if we don't make this a clear blow out against Trump in November, then it's going to be a long November, a long December and a long January. And the last thing any of us wants is more instability and more unknowing, because every day that this guy's in office is another day that someone's going to die.

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Several more people are going to get sick, dozens more people are going to lose their jobs and. And certainly as we as we're going to talk about in a few minutes, people are going to start losing their homes. Yeah, Mike, I want to give you an opportunity while we're on this topic of mail in voting to just talk about the high level trends that you're seeing and how crucial they are going to be to the strategy to defeat Donald Trump and where the nature of voting has changed over the course of the past 10, 15 years.

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And some states in the country are far more advanced in recognizing those social trends than others. And it's important as background to step back and understand this for those listening, because this is going to play a very big part of the narrative going forward and especially in the month of November. And I say month for a specific reason. The first is, even though we are within 80 or 90 or so days of the election, voting will begin in earnest in about thirty five to forty days.

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There is no more. The idea that there is a November 3rd election or rather a first Tuesday after the first Monday election and everybody goes to a victory party and the polls close at 8:00 and we know who the victor is by ten or ten thirty. And everybody pops a bottle of champagne and goes home and sleeps in on November four. Those days are over. OK, that's not the way elections work anymore. Unfortunately, that's kind of the way the media narrative looks at it.

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And I'm not being critical of the media. That's just looking for an answer on how this works. Voting begins and increasingly for a large number of Americans begins within a 30 day window prior to the Election Day. And as a result, as we just pointed out, counting and processing those votes that come in by mail, it takes time. And we're going to have to start taking on a cultural value of making sure that our elections are accurate, more so than timely.

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And so to count votes in California, it takes literally a month, a month and a half to get the results of our elections because there are millions and millions and millions of ballots that come in by mail. And you've got to process them differently than day of votes. And you've got to make darn sure that they're they have the integrity and that they're counted correctly. And as more and more states start accommodating this, it's going to take longer to actually get and certify the elections.

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That's not comfortable, especially in a highly charged environment, because people want to know 10 minutes after the polls close on Tuesday night who the victor is going to be. Let me say this very clearly. We're not going to know with a with 100 percent certainty what who the victor is going to be for probably a week, depending on the size of the victory. If it's a close victory, if it's in the single digits and the small single digits, it's going to be a bumpy couple of weeks because we're going to have to certify we're going to have to process in 12 or 13 states a wide number of absentee ballots.

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And this is the environment and the conditioning that Donald Trump is preparing for to start claiming every day loudly off his Twitter feed and along with his his surrogates that there are problems and that there is fraud and that people are trying to steal the election. And the reason for that is this. Ron, sorry about that. Wind up. No, no, no. This is extremely helpful. Thank you. The the demographics of people that vote by mail are very different than the demographics of people who vote the day of overwhelmingly Republicans.

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And this is the great irony of all this. I've spent a good part of my career the past 20 years and many untold millions of dollars training Republicans to cast their ballot by mail to vote and send in their ballots. It's taken decades and decades. We're finally at a point where a majority of Republicans in California, where I do most of my work and a ballot states a majority of most Republicans are voting by mail. OK, this is was a conscious, targeted effort to train Republicans so we could bank their votes and then start doing more ground activity to drive out GOTV efforts, as we call them, and get Dariya voters to show up.

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Democrats have had a much more difficult time. Their voters tend to be late deciders. They tend to be younger, they tend to be more minority. They tend to meet all of the demographic criteria of day of voters. So what happens is you have historically Republicans, incidentally, by the way, Republicans are advantaged nominally but slightly, but but certainly through the mail ballot process because of their demographics. That's another one of the ironic pieces about this. There's really no partisan advantage.

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But if there is, it's probably marginally for the Republicans because of all this money that we've spent over the years. So what happens is Republican candidates with the first ballot counts, the first ballot count. Remember the. Early batches generally look stronger the night of in the first count, and then what happens is the vote margins narrow and they narrow for two reasons. The first is we start counting the day of votes, which overwhelmingly benefit the Democrats. And then the second is late ballots come in through the mail, which also tends to be less Republican.

[00:35:42]

So what Republicans see the Republican voters in the media reports is these large Republican victories, which then narrow over time, days and weeks. And that starts to elicit a response from Republican elected officials saying there is fraud, this can't be going. This isn't happening. The truth of the matter is, it's very easily explained through science and through the tactics that Republicans use. As you might recall, in twenty eighteen, the midterm elections, most of the early calls were that this big blue wave that everybody was predicting was, in fact, a trickle.

[00:36:21]

I was actually even saying it because the size of the margins were so different. But after two or three days of the vote counts coming in after the election, it was apparent that the blue wave wasn't just a blue wave, it was a tsunami. And that wiped out a huge number of Republican seats. That same dynamic is going to happen probably four or five fold in November. And it's important because the Democratic victory margin is going to increase every day that we count in these battleground states.

[00:36:52]

And that is going to add more and more fuel to Trump and to his acolytes saying this is fraud. They're stealing the election when it's absolutely easily explainable by simple basic mathematics and science and historical trends that we're already very aware of for 20 years, for 20 years.

[00:37:12]

So to to to put that in a nutshell, as soon as the votes start coming in, it's going to get narrower and narrower and narrower. And that's when the Trump machine is going to start calling fraud, fraud, fraud. But all of this is predictable and it's math. It's just it's just the way that just. Yeah, and it's just math. And again, if there's 20 years of history of this, because you have to understand the demographics, the parties really are very easily identified by demographics.

[00:37:42]

Now, we know that the Republican Party is an 85 percent white party, that it is an overwhelmingly older party. So older white voters have a far greater propensity to vote by mail than young African-American and or Latino voters. So the fact that those early batches are counted and have to have a Republican advantage should be no surprise, just math. Once we start to count the data vote, the the margins close. And in fact, it's one of the indicators that we look at.

[00:38:18]

If the early vote shows 50 50 Republican Democratic split in these in these states, the likelihood for a huge Democratic victory is very significant because the number is going to expand on the Democratic side. If it's a huge Republican advantage, what they're going to try to do is mitigate against the day a vote that will offset that margin. I'm sorry if I'm going too far. No, no, no, no, no. You're not at all. And Jennifer, I want to go to you in a second, but I just want to put a fine point on this, because I think that this part of the conversation is adding a lot of value to our listeners who are wondering where everyone is is filled with uncertainty right now and concerned about what is going to happen.

[00:38:59]

And I think you just painted a really clear picture about what they can expect, not just in terms of the vote totals and how they will how they will narrow and why they will narrow, but also the kind of rhetoric we can expect to hear from the Trump campaign as it begins to narrow. And Jennifer, I wonder if you could speak to that a little bit. And let me kind of go on a minor little tangent here of something that Mike just said that I think is so important.

[00:39:26]

And I say this to my my friends in the Republican Party more strongly than anything, the degree to which this president has already destroyed our party. When Mike talks about the demographics of the Republican Party being primarily older white people, I don't I don't know if if our current Republicans understand how critically damaging that is. Party dies when there are no young voters to come in and fill in the void. We are offering nothing to college Republicans, to young Republicans, to young professional women Republicans.

[00:40:01]

Donald Trump has truly destroyed any ability at all for the Republican Party to speak to those demographics. And there is nobody, for example, in the Republican majority in the Senate who is speaking to those demographics. So if there are people out there who actually still. Care about, in quotes, saving the Republican Party, it's not going to happen with this guy, but more importantly to something that Reid and Mike have both alluded to. You know, I write this little column for the New Hampshire Union Leader on Wednesdays and yesterday.

[00:40:37]

This is what I wrote about Donald, the way that Donald Trump is talking about mail and voting. Does it just undermine the Democrats or undermine Joe Biden, it truly undermines democracy. And if we allow that to happen there, I don't know if there's any going back from there and they think that that I think voters have to understand. And again, my friends in the Republican Party, what I wish they could understand, we as Republicans have spent decades talking about ballot integrity and and the foundation, the cornerstone of our republic being everybody getting out there, every everybody voting, the fact that they are standing silently by and allowing this president to take an axe to the credibility and the the integrity of a cornerstone of democracy and not just in our country, but around the world.

[00:41:35]

It's extraordinary and it's intentional. They have to understand it is intentional. This is what Donald Trump wants. So, you know, and I'm so I'm so caught up on it, Ron, that I forgot what your specific question was. No, it was just yeah. It was just really putting a fine point on on on what voters get because it's about uncertainty and the anxiety that everybody's feeling going into November. And Mike just painted a really clear picture of what we can expect in terms of the numbers and also what we can expect in terms of the rhetoric that that will be coming from Trump and the campaign and how damaging that is.

[00:42:13]

And I think you're starting to speak to that.

[00:42:15]

And that's exactly right. That's how damaging it is. And there's kind of two pieces of to what people, you know, as you talk about them kind of preparing for this one, be aware that is what's happening when you hear it, when you start to feel nervous, scared, doubtful, you know, in fear. That is what Donald Trump wants you to feel because he wants you to be lead by doubt and conspiracy and fear. Don't let that happen to yourself.

[00:42:44]

And the way you don't let that happen to yourself is by simply becoming informed. The Lincoln Project is going to do as much as we can to make sure that people understand how they can legally and safely vote wherever they are. And there are a number of other organizations out there that are going to do the same thing. So when you start feeling that fear and that doubt and you're starting to question whether or not the conspiracies might be real, turn it off and get on Google and find the real information.

[00:43:12]

Find out how we have to take responsibility for ourselves, for our vote and for our country. If we allow this president to lead us in fear and division from each other, then the underpinnings of democracy will be destroyed.

[00:43:31]

OK, let's switch gears to something that isn't isn't completely unrelated, but is going to affect all of this across the United States. There are about twenty three million people who are at risk of being evicted, according to the Aspen Institute. And when the coronavirus outbreak shuttered the economy in late March, many states placed a moratorium on evictions. But nearly 30 states have allowed those to expire since May. Now, nationally, over twenty five percent of adults said they were unable to make last month's rent or mortgage payment or have little to no confidence they could pay next month's rent, according to the Census Bureau household survey.

[00:44:11]

So read after the six hundred dollars a week, enhanced unemployment benefits lapsed at the end of July. Democratic leaders in Congress and senior White House negotiators, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin haven't been able to reach a deal.

[00:44:30]

So how is this protracted negotiation negotiation, if you can call it that, impacting Americans in their everyday lives?

[00:44:39]

In the coming weeks, it will start to impact them and that they won't have a place to live or find a way to pay for pay for food. So I think it's going to be a real issue for for millions of Americans.

[00:44:50]

I think also, you know, it's it gives you a sense of, I think, what the Republican Party has really become in Washington, D.C., which is you have now Manoogian and Meadows and a lot of Republican senators who have nothing to run on when they go home, desperately searching for some way back to a conservative belief set for their for their voters, for their base voters. And so now they're talking about fiscal responsibility and going back to the tropes of don't pay people to do nothing.

[00:45:25]

And so what it shows me is one is that they they have no conception of what it's like to be a real American, you know, dealing with real issues and to it goes to show you that they will sacrifice the well-being of citizens and their constituents for a very thin reed policy wise to be able to take home. Because, you know, if you've stuck yourself to. For three and a half years, not a lot to go on, right as far as what you brought home.

[00:45:58]

And so, you know, this is this is where bad governance and and a political party without belief or direction gets you, which is when the time comes to make a decision about what's best for your constituents, for the American people. You take a very narrow political view of it, which is either have to do this for my immediate electoral concerns or as we get past the Donald Trump era, I have to scurry back to some pre pre Trump place on the on the American political spectrum and say, well, look, I was really always I was really always a fiscal conservative when these guys have been drunken frat guys with their dad's black card for however many years.

[00:46:40]

And, you know, it's all bullshit now. And of course, the problem is, is that their bullshit is going to cost real people in real ways food, housing, life, school, whatever the case might be. And so one more reason why is we see this coming down to the final stretch that these Republicans who have stuck by Trump, they're not conservatives anymore and they're not Republicans anymore. They're trumpet's. They have sacrificed every last piece of what used to be the Republican belief system at the altar of him.

[00:47:14]

And they don't deserve they don't deserve the title of senator or congressperson or whatever it is. And that's what we see. This is, as we talked about earlier, political decisions have consequences. The voting for Donald Trump and for these these people four years ago, six years ago, are now having real consequences on real Americans. And we should not let them get away with it.

[00:47:36]

This is a good Segway. I'm going to ask Mike a question, but I also want to hear whether you think that the senators that you are talking about are aware of of how this is going to impact the electoral numbers. So, Mike, sort of piggybacking on what Reid said that did it today. We saw the 20th consecutive week with over one million people filing for unemployment and there are about 30 million Americans still unemployed. And this this economic crisis has an electoral consequence.

[00:48:12]

And and and also going back to the the likely eviction numbers and even people who aren't about to be evicted but are going to move proactively so that they don't get evicted. What are you looking at in the numbers, as we talked about earlier, absentee balloting, early voting? This seems to me to be a population that is particularly at risk of not being able to cast their absentee ballots, their mail in votes because of this economic damage. And so I wonder first if you can speak to that and then also read I am curious as to whether you think that these senators are aware of that electoral implication.

[00:48:55]

That's a really great question. And there is a historical roadmap to what has happened in the past. If you look back at the 2008 economic crisis, the Great Recession, as we call it, and you saw a massive wipe out with evictions and renters losing their place as homes went back to the banks with the meltdown of the secondary market. One thing that we saw was this extraordinary loss of registrants, registered voters. The reason is there's a very direct correlation between homeownership and having an address, frankly, just even as a renter, a solid address and voting.

[00:49:33]

It's actually one of the most important data points for propensity, as we call it, which is the likelihood to vote when you move by force or by choice shortly before an election. The likelihood of your reregistering at that new address is diminished considerably. And when we're talking about millions of people having to leave again by force or by choice, and this is already beginning, by the way, the chances of people reregistering is is actually quite low, especially with particularly hard hit communities.

[00:50:13]

And that was what, again, we saw in 2008. Latino voter registration and black voter registration efforts saw 10 years of their work wiped out in the midst of the meltdown of the housing crisis. What we're talking about is the scale of something two to three times that, because this is not just a foreclosure process, which in many states takes three, four or five, six months. This is just straight up evictions. There's a moratorium could be just completely wiped out.

[00:50:42]

And even if a fraction of those people, a fraction of these numbers don't reregister at the house or location where they are now living the chances. Of that impacting the election are quite significant, in fact, I would say that they're far more likely than they are not likely. And again, a lot of this is going to be dependent on whether a moratorium is reinstituted, whether there is some sort of cash sustenance for for for people to stay in their homes.

[00:51:12]

If nothing is done, the the natural policy outcome is going to be people are going to be displaced and mass. The practical political effect of that is there's going to be a depression in the estimated voter model by at least a couple of percent. I don't see that there's any way around that read given that these lawmakers are currently debating and Republicans are stonewalling the extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits that might prevent this kind of displacement en masse, do you think that they're aware of the political the the electoral implications?

[00:51:46]

I wouldn't give them that much credit. I think they live in a pretty cloistered world. As my dad used to say, these people would all wear togas if they thought they could get away with it.

[00:51:55]

So, you know, I don't think so. I mean, maybe somewhere someone does. I doubt that any of them are sneaky enough to connive to do this to prevent, you know, underrepresented communities from casting their ballots. I think it's probably a much simpler sort of. Apathy that's at work, which is, you know, for them, it doesn't appear to work out politically in their calculus, therefore, you know, you know, let them eat beans from the from the from the food bank.

[00:52:29]

You know, it's just there's a total disconnection. And I think it's the same kind of disconnection and inability to understand their constituents that got us where we are today. Right. We should be clear that this is all of a type. Right. Washington's disconnectedness over several years got us to a place where people like the system is rigged against me. You know, Hillary Clinton's probably more of the same will take a shot at this guy, Donald Trump. Well, Trump is now the establishment, whether or not he wants to believe it, and the Republicans are now the establishment, whether or not they want to believe it.

[00:53:03]

So all of their rhetoric about fighting the system and everything else, they are the system. And what they're telling the American people by these actions is the system doesn't care about you and the system's willing to let you be out on the street, not know where your kids are going to go to school, how you're going to go to school, and where your next meal is going to come from or what you're going to do when you lose your job.

[00:53:22]

And don't forget, Ron, that because of the coronavirus and and the restrictions that we're living with and the extraordinary high levels of unemployment and the inability of people who normally would generously help their community, they're not able to anymore. When we start looking at evictions and people don't have a roof over their head and they cannot put a meal on the table for their children, the the agency and the community organizations that are normally there to provide a safety net are not going to have the resources to take care of the number of people that we're talking about.

[00:54:00]

It is just another layer of of the of how tragic this is and how, you know, to Reid's point, completely disconnected to what the reality, you know, are the senators and the president is what the reality is for people. When you get evicted, when you don't have the money to pay your rent and you are evicted, you have nowhere to go. It's not you turn around and go rent something cheaper. You don't have the money, you know.

[00:54:30]

So I just it is extraordinary to me the degree of the the degree to which the Senate lacks compassion and understanding of how the American people are genuinely suffering right now, hiding behind the veneer of fiscal conservatism, which is only when it's convenient.

[00:54:52]

Right. Suddenly, let's let's be clear. This president and the Republicans in Congress have spent like crazy people since Donald Trump took the White House. And now suddenly when people are getting kicked out of their homes and they can't feed their kids, now they want to talk to us about saving money. No way.

[00:55:13]

OK, let's go to the stories that you all are watching this week as as we prepare. Jennifer, what are you looking at? Well, I'm going to tell you, there's I mean, there are a lot of stories out there that we're all watching. I'm going to take a different approach to this question this week, though, because what I was just talking to one of the members of our leadership team that we're building on the political side earlier today, and we were talking about kind of what what I just alluded to, the degree to which the American people are genuinely experience burden and heartache right now, whether it's clinical depression or just a general sense of fear and unease and confusion, those that have loved ones who have been sick or lost their lives, those who don't, just it for so many people.

[00:56:05]

I think it's reached a point where it just it feels so overwhelming. They they literally don't know what to do with themselves. So I'm going to focus today because it's a commitment I just made to myself after this conversation. I'm going to find a time every day to go out there and find one good news story. And there are a ton of them out there. And I think that in this moment when we we all need to be educated on what's happening, we need to know when and how and where to vote.

[00:56:34]

We need to be clear. We need to be clear about who this president is. But I think we also just need to take a minute and remind ourselves that the world is mostly full of really good people. There are sisters in Pensacola, Florida, who have made it their mission to make sure every student in their community who goes back to school has a mask. I think that's awesome. What a great you know, what a great effort that they've taken on.

[00:56:58]

There's an eight year old boy in South Carolina who's going out there mowing lawns for first responders in his community who don't have the time or don't have someone else in their family who can do it. There's a nine year old boy in Florida whose father drove into the sound and didn't come back up. And this nine year old. In after him and got his father, who had broken his neck out of the water, and these are all stories from the last 24 hours, there are really great people doing extraordinarily generous, kind and loving things out in the world and in these days of Donald Trump.

[00:57:32]

We have to remind ourselves of that, Mike.

[00:57:36]

What are you looking at this week? I'm looking at a story that just broke while we were taping, it appears that the New York attorney general has filed a lawsuit with the intention of dissolving the National Rifle Association primarily for self dealing and corruption charges. Wow. Yeah. This is this is going to be a big one. It sounds like. And again, I've just just destroyed literally just happened while we were while we've been talking. Look, this is going to be framed as an attack on Second Amendment rights and an attack by kind of, you know, left wing blue state politicians trying to take away people's guns.

[00:58:13]

The truth of the matter is the National Rifle Association has been complicit in a lot of this corruption himself dealing a lot of it's been evidence on its face. But the story regardless, is going to kind of draw people into their own political partisan foxholes. And it's certain to have ramifications from now through the course of the next few months. Read.

[00:58:33]

What are you looking at? And by the way, I want to mention everybody that reads look ahead. Last week was actually the eviction story that we talked about this week. So what do you got for us? Well, I take that as an unfortunately dubious distinction, but I would say what I am hearing is maybe the most concerning thing I've heard since we got going.

[00:58:57]

I'm hearing way too many stories are from around the country about complacency on the part of too many people who should know better. And, you know, for all of the football fans out there, we all know that the fastest way to lose a football game when you're up is to start playing prevent defense. You know, I think we need to think about it more as like football game football teams, if you're up 30. Right. Make sure you're up 45 by the end of the game.

[00:59:26]

This is not the time to be conservative, small c conservative in campaign strategies. This is the time to say where are the places we know that we can win? We can at least make competitive and, you know, continue to push Donald Trump's numbers back down or continue to keep them down, I should say. Right. He's at like thirty six percent nationally. It's got to stay that low. And I think we need to start seeing some more upward lift under Biden's numbers.

[00:59:57]

You know, I think we need to see him, you know, ideally by Labor Day above 50 and a lot of these states. And so I think he can get there. But if we're all going to sit back and say, oh, we've got this one, Trump's a disaster, you know, it'll all work itself out. That's not how these things work anymore. Maybe it's never how they worked. But I'll tell you this is that, you know, for all those folks who think that Trump is done and this is one, we've got a long way to go.

[01:00:21]

And as we all say here at the Lincoln Project, this mission isn't over on November 3rd. It's not over until Joe Biden takes the oath of office. And the harder we work now, the more certain that'll be then you're here.

[01:00:33]

Thank you, Reid, Jennifer Mike, for being on the show today. And thanks to all of you at home for listening. You can find more information about our movement at Lincoln Project. Got us. Now, if you have any questions or comments or you want to give us some advice, please do so you can reach us at a podcast at Lincoln Project that us and even if we don't respond to you, please know that we read everything we get and we appreciate it.

[01:00:59]

If you haven't yet, it would really help us if you would subscribe rates and review the show wherever you get your podcasts. This helps new voters find us and join our mission to beat Trump at the ballot box for the Lincoln Project. I'm Ron Suslow. I'll see you in the next episode.