Hi, folks, it's Rick Wilson and welcome to The Daily Beast, the new abnormal. Hi, I'm Molly John Fast, a left wing pundit and editor at large at The Daily Beast.
I'm also an editor at The Daily Beast, a former Republican political strategist, best selling author and full time troublemaker. We're here to have fun, sharp conversations with some of the smartest people in media, politics, business and science that help make what's happening in the country and the world clearer.
I'll try to keep it to the minimum number of F bombs and try to keep our kids, pets and other wildlife sounds from invading our respective bunkers. Hi, Rick Wilson. Good morning, MaryJane. Fast. So when are BGI died? You actually called me soon after and we had a conversation about the political calculus and what this meant for the election. When we first talked, you were like, this is the end of the world. I feel like your view has changed a little bit.
I would love to know what you're thinking.
I wrote in my most recent book that one of the few exogenous events that could change the ball game and bring home a lot of soft Republicans who are leaning against Trump was for RPG to pass, and this to become about a Supreme Court fight, because that would let them say, well, I don't like Trump, but I have to vote to keep the court. And so immediately after the news broke, I started talking to the smartest people I know in polling and started talking to folks who were very, very smart about what these Republicans that are still in play for this election.
You know, a lot of the target audience that I and other groups are going after to shift them away from Trump, what their political demographics look like. And I started digging in and we discovered two things over the weekend. The first thing is that almost every voter who tells us they are going to make a decision based on the judges or the courts in about 97 cases out of 100, they are already an avowed Trump voter. They're not in my pool.
They're not in the center of the target set.
Now, we also discovered that an awful lot of the Republicans who are in there and Dave Wasserman from Cook made the point this week and he doesn't quite understand what we're doing, but he made the point this weekend and we validated it with our research and a bunch of other folks, a lot of the voters who were Trump voters, who were Obama to Trump voters or who were low propensity Republican voters or working class white Republican voters who went with Trump in 16.
They're either neutral on abortion or pro-choice.
And it was a moment where since I've had about six hours of sleep in the last week where I was a little punchy, I'm feeling more sanguine about it now for a huge reason. It is very, very difficult to get 18 to 30 year old women to go out and vote. It's a hard target.
Everyone who's always the youthful Rock the vote bullshit. The thing about young voters is it is an oxymoronic phrase. They don't vote. Young people don't vote the all time champions in our lifetimes for turning out the youth vote. Not Barack Obama, not Bill Clinton. It was those two young sexy studs, Mike Dukakis and George Herbert Walker Bush, eighteen point one four percent was the turnout that year of 18 to 30s. That was the all time record all time.
That is crazy. It is crazy. But it is true. The eyebrows. It was it was the eyebrows. I can't believe I'm losing to this guy, but we have discovered something that actually does that. And that is apparently the death of our four story of an abortion is because she had a larger than life cultural role for the last few years. And yes, abortion is part of it. And my friend Stuart Stevens and I were having a conversation yesterday about the Irish referendum on abortion and the case there was to finally legalized abortion in Ireland.
And the battle was so intense that women, expatriates from Ireland, from all over the world who could still vote, flew home by the tens of thousands and it passed overwhelmingly. OK, that motivating factor, I think, may be one of the few things and we'll see how the numbers roll in the end. But I think it's going to be one of the few things that has ever juiced that figure with young voters.
I also know that the president's pollsters over the weekend is that Rasputin, the firm of Rasputin, Putin, devil and death squads of Rasputin and Mephistopheles, even the president's own pollsters were on a conference call yesterday and on another one this morning. Thanks, guys. I know basically telling the allies of the president that, let's say this, in the 70s, 80s to 30s, object to Donald Trump making this appointment. Oh, wow. Even a plurality of Republicans object to Donald Trump making this appointment.
So what are the outcomes at this point? What it looks like is it's going to juice up younger turnout and female. Turnout, which, by the way, was already sky high. Women voters will crawl over broken glass to vote against Donald Trump and a lot of places in this country. And it's going to be a bloodbath in that demo. And this has just popped that even higher. And so I think that we're in a point right now where the folks that we're going to be ramped up by this, we're already ramped up by this.
The folks that weren't ramped up on the Biden side of the equation, they get it. If you thought it was existential before, now it's the fucking ballgame. OK, this is it. This is the big moment. Now in so far as the Senate, the politics of this go, there's a technical term that we use in polling and political science called fucked to dust.
Tell me more about this fact to dust. This has captured my imagination. Susan Collins.
The moment that the passing of RBG was noted in the news, that was the sound of Susan Collins political career disappearing in a puff of black oily smoke. It's done. She has repeatedly told the people of Maine that she heard that voice, that she's not going to do anything without you. That's not good for the state, that she's going to make these decisions independently. And what do we know about Susan Collins? If Donald Trump says this party is delicious and it's dog food, she's going to go, yum, yum, Mr President, she will do what he tells her to do.
In the end, nothing on God's green earth will stop her from voting for Donald Trump, Supreme Court nominee, nothing at all. It is a one hundred percent chance that the person could be it could be Don Junior and she would vote to confirm it to the court. That's what's going to happen.
Can you imagine, Don Junior? I wouldn't say it because I think it's going to happen this morning, actually, Mr. Chief Justice Carlson.
Well, actually, this morning on Fox and Friends, Trump was like, Ainslee, would you like to be on the Supreme Court? And he was like, you know, I could do it. You don't even I mean, I literally I listen to this. You don't even need to be a lawyer to be on the Supreme Court. Ainslee, you want to do it. And I was like, oh, my God. Because, you know, that part of him is like he knows he doesn't get to pick the judges.
The Federalist Society does that. But there's still a sense if he could, he would do it, especially if Ainslee. Well, duh, it's not making it. I was that's so offensive.
Remember the Demi Moore, Robert Redford Classic and Indecent Proposal?
What I love is that Rick is making it worse. That's my favorite part of this. Where is that line? Rick is already past it. Just right. Right over right. I'm going to run right over it. That's amazing.
So we have this Senate map, this amazing Senate map that's in place now. And over this weekend, ActBlue, which is the Democratic fundraising mechanism, raised close to a hundred million dollars. So clearly, Democrats are fired up about this.
Oh, you think? Look, here's my broadspectrum take on the fundraising questions right now.
You will see a tremendous amount of energy on the left and the center left and the Democratic Party over this issue.
What's important and I'm going to get all my progressive friends are going to roll their eyes now, but daddy knows what he's doing.
Oh, I'm getting worried to keep this fight front and center about the process and about the nominee. Don't turn it into a proxy war about abortion, even if it is.
Because if you're making this about Trump's nominee shaping the court in Trump's image broadly, that works in a whole bunch of areas. And of course, I have to remind Democrats that while many, most white progressive Democrats are not most, I would venture to say. Ninety nine percent are assertively pro-choice. There are an awful lot of African-American Democrats and an awful lot of Hispanic Democrats hadn't hit Florida.
Right. Who are not. I mean, look, I think you're right when it comes to Florida. And I think you're right when it comes to Hispanic vote. That said, seventy seven percent of all Americans believe in some form of choice.
Listen, I agree with you. They do, OK? They absolutely do. But America has a weird electrochemistry on the questions of abortion. And in those demographic groups, they will play a vital difference in this election. And if you want to take Florida off the table, go tell some of those brand new Puerto Rican voters who are liberal on a Jilian areas, but much more pro-life than the median Democratic voter. And again, this is one of those things where I've just got my campaign hat on, folks.
I'm just telling you how they vote. I'm not trying to tell you one way or the other what your decision should be.
Rick, why shouldn't Democrats advertise wanting to expand the courts? Because it's dumber than a fucking sack of hair, because it's like hitting yourself in the fucking head with a hammer over and over again and wondering, why is this hurt so much? It's like resting your hand on a hot stove and saying that smells like crispy bacon. It's fucking idiotic. You're giving voters something they don't know about. Don't understand. This happens time and again. It's like we're going to do X or Y when we're elected.
Is it campaign promise? We're going to do something more radical than the radical thing that your side did, because we're voters right now are desperate to get the fuck out of this era of chaos. And that is a model for chaos. That is a model to scare the shit out of voters who are not D.C. court nerd activist. And look, the polling on it and I did it this weekend. I tested it already. It's cataclysmically fucking back.
Don't give away the game. Not even a majority of Democrats agree with it. OK, it's cataclysmically that it is a boutique issue by people who are frustrated. And I'm not saying their frustration is wrong. It's a boutique approach to a problem that will have a blowback effect.
And once again, you're handing the sword to the fucking Republicans to cut off your head, because you know what? There's no second argument to that, because then, look, when we blow up norms and institutions in this country, when we blow them up, there are many unintended consequences. So the minute they pack the court and put three more seats on the court or five or 10 or whatever the fuck it is someday.
President Josh Hawley oh, don't even say it mean tax the court with twenty five more conservatives and we just go up and up and up.
And it's an escalating spiral of transgression against the norms of the country.
And I know that it hasn't always been mine. I get it.
But I agree with you. And also I hear you. I want to know what you think the Senate map looks like now.
Well, I think it looks like the beginning of the era of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Tell me where you're seeing things that you didn't see before. Iowa has gotten into play now even more so. Greenfield was edging and edging up a little bit at a time. Iowa is a state that is hotly divided on this. But the votes coming out of the pro-choice part of the state, Alaska, pretty pro-choice state overall, pretty libertarian state overall.
I think this helps doctor our man, doctor our boy, doctor our I think Maine.
It's devastating. And Maine North Carolina is a state with an extremely strong. Pro-life cohort in the western part of the state, some of the strongest in the country, I don't think North Carolina is moved, but it also has a very progressive area in Charlotte.
You think this does good stuff for Cal Cunningham or now? I don't think it's that big of a change up in North Carolina. I think it helps in Georgia. And that's two seats, even though that is still. I want to keep reminding everybody that it's still a very long shot.
Why is Georgia such a long shot? This African-American population there is less pro-choice than a lot of other places. Oh, interesting.
I'm not saying that they are heavily pro-life. I'm just saying there is a conservative African-American population outside of the Atlanta doughnut of twenty three counties, especially southwest and southeast Georgia, that has a fair number of evangelical African-American Democratic voters.
Can you talk to us about Mississippi? I know you're not going to go along with me on this Fast Furious.
Let me just say this. The space race is starting to get interesting. Mississippi's those African-American state in the country. And you've got to get as a Republican, you've got to push the white vote no somewhere around 72 percent to offset. If Mike S.B can peel down that number to sixty six or sixty five percent, that he's going to win by about 50 thousand votes. Wow.
I'm still not convinced it is in play because Mississippi. But if they're softening in the white vote in Mississippi, SP's in the fight. It's a really tough go though. I mean, I just want everybody to get like a disproportionate degree of enthusiasm on that one.
Now, let's also be very clear that my favorite Senate race this year, it's a fight now. It's a tie ball game. Now it's still a long shot. Is Jamie Harrison versus Lindsey Graham now? South Carolina is a pro-life state. By and large. It was a largely pro-life state.
However, the eastern part of the state, Keota Island and the eastern edge of the state, which has a lot of the vote, those folks that are living there now, a lot of them have moved there from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania. They've retired there. They've moved down there. It is reshaping the politics of the state a little bit at a time. And while the Greenberg, Spartanburg, western part of the state is Jim DeMint, country Lindsays in a weird spot.
Now, Jamie Harrison, in a lot of ways, scan's as the more conservative candidate on a couple of issues that are big in South Carolina, one of which is spending. He is a more of a fiscally restrained person than Lindsey Graham.
Work that in your head for a second. I can work that in my head.
Lindsey used to be a hard core fiscal conservative, but he has without a peep become a, you know, spending money like a drunken socialist sailor with Donald Trump.
So this whole area where Jamie has a amazing origin story, he has a decency about him. I think this is a fight that's on and he's going to have to really African-American turnout has to be through the sky. Absolutely through the fucking roof. And I think he'll get that. And by the way, the national Democrats have been pouring money into North Carolina. I can't even calculate it at this point. I think it's like 80 million dollars. And they were soft on Alaska, which is a good pickup opportunity, soft on Montana, a good pickup opportunity.
It'd be a lot of people were pooh poohing South Carolina until the last 10 days or so. I think that is going to shift as one of the most hotly contested races in the country. I think it really is. And we're going to be there. We spent a million dollars in South Carolina last week. We're going to go back again and we're going to keep punching Lindsey Graham in the head because he richly deserves having the most punchable had in Washington.
Dave Mandele is the former show runner of Veep, in addition to having credits that include Seinfeld, SNL, Euro, Trepp and the Dictator. We are so excited to have you. So the funny thing is I was watching Veep last night. There is an episode a V that is literally what we're going through right now.
The funny thing is, is I don't even think we came as close. I mean, we did a Supreme Court episode. Yes. But I think that's sort of horrible, tragic. And whatever our veep worldview was, we have lapped it, maybe even double lapped it. Yeah, just truly, truly horrifying. No, we did a very fun episode where sort of Selena, as an ex-president, United States sort of half throws her own hat into the ring for an open Supreme Court thing.
Yes. And kind of plays it to its fullest as sort of like her legacy in sort of, you know, the kind of like Taft kind of way of like the way ex presidents used to be thought of that way before all this maybe partisan stuff kind of crept in, dare I say. We came close on a lot of things, but I found my cap. I shake my whatever to Mitch McConnell. He really has outdone himself, best comedy writer of our generation.
That's how I honestly feel that way about him. Amazing.
He truly is. I've always thought about McConnell, his physical affect and his appearance is so at odds with the fact he's this bloodthirsty insider and knife fighter inside the system. But now you see him. He looks even more reptilian lately. And it's amazing someone so mild mannered is about to plunge the country into civil war.
Yeah, by the way, it's to me, it's not even reptilian. It's a cartoon version of the Italian Looney Tunes. They would draw a turtle, so to speak, not necessarily a real turtle, but a cartoon version. And he's literally about to punch the country in the penis. I mean, I'm sorry. There's no other way of saying it's not just a punch. It's accurate. It's literally a dick punch. I mean, let's just be honest.
It's not a regular punch. It's a dick punch, as would be so on brand for 20 20.
Do you think that when you are making that show, especially towards the end, I felt like Veep really grappled with the idea that ultimately politicians are really I mean, the government plays an enormous role in some of these people's lives. And I felt like there were a lot of moments where you got to that, where you got to sort of that this is all fun and games until the government fails.
Yeah, I think we were really trying, especially near the end, where we really felt, for lack of a better word, the Trump administration breathing down our necks in terms of the absurdity. It felt like we were saying something on a Sunday and then Trump was doing his version of it four days later. But I think we sort of felt like in our showing how horrible Solino was, you could see what the right thing was supposed to be and how what the things you were supposed to do.
And dare I say that perhaps a little bit in our finale with the sort of sense that in the future, Richard Splett would become president and in some ways do the proper things and sort of straighten it all out that you at least understood what was supposed to happen. And, boy, it just hasn't come close. We're going very much in the wrong direction. That's my analysis of the last three and a half years.
I know it's a very brave one thing I always enjoyed about the was Washington's conception of itself with House of Cards. And it's a guy who's lived and worked in Washington. That's what people want to think that they're doing. But it's really veep. But everyone's really Jonah. Everybody's Jonah.
And the other thing, too, is we really went out of our way. I mean, really out of our way to also, for the most part, dressed them all very poorly, like we always sort of felt like we're going to kind of our vision of Washington, D.C. is our custom woman, Kathleen Hegar. It was so wonderful about it, which was a couple of steps behind the rest of the country, but thinks they're doing a really good job.
And in some ways, fashion wise, I thought that summed up Washington in a really great way. And dare I say, House of Cards, everybody looked a little too good sometimes, you know, they were a little too smart, a little too suave, a little too chess player. And on Veep, I think we embrace the stupidity. And I think we sometimes did embrace like the one thing with Selina that I still really appreciate about her was I do think we embraced they do have that sense of like that.
They know how to street fight, you know what I mean? Like, they like to think they're playing like three dimensional chess. But as you put it, they're just knife fighting and it's crude and it's violent. I like to think that's what we captured sometimes.
That's amazing. And it's funny because I keep thinking about just I don't know how you do satire. We've actually talked about this. You and I before like how you do satire in a world that is so beyond satire.
No, I'll tell you something funny. This is just a comedy thing. Years ago, my first, I guess, real job job was Saturday Night Live. I worked there for three years from ninety two to ninety five. And the most fun thing to do at SNL was to do commercial. Charities, but the problem was as commercial started getting funnier and funnier. It's hard to make fun of a funny commercial because they're already being funny. You're trying to find the ones that are kind of full of themselves and have a message in those kinds of things.
But they started doing these really funny ones. And in some ways that's what happened with Veep, which is DC. It just got so unpalatable because it became such a parody of itself. It was like this weird comedy rule. You just can't do it.
That is so deeply disturbing. Like especially that. And it's funny because it's true. I mean, you don't see those commercial parodies anymore.
Yeah, they do them in the run. Certain ones come up and look, there are always things I mean, boy, here's a sentence you like. One of the great things about covid is gotten very full of themselves. You know, like they really they want to let you know, whatever the product thinks about covid and how they're dealing with it and whatnot, which I do think it will be ripe for parody, hopefully at SNL this year. But the truth is, it's, again, those funny commercials, you know you know, any of those really funny ones, it was impossible.
Nothing else to say about it.
Castrol Motor Oil. We stand with first responders.
Yeah. It's just like really. We don't care. We don't care. Yeah. I think it's interesting too. Could you imagine the my pillow guy even being on Veep. I feel like it's too on the nose now.
We always say because you know, the VP writers are still in touch and a lot of the cast, you know, we're always chit chatting and whatnot. And we we always sort of say, like, if that was pitched in our writers room, I don't know. I think I'm on a fire, dude, you know what I mean? It's just like there was no version of politics four or five years ago where someone would go, yeah, we got to get the my pillow guy to speak at our convention or the president should pose with beans on his desk.
I mean, it's like Selina on her worst day doesn't do these things. Jonah, let's go the other way. I mean, Rick, you said Jonah Jonah on his worst day doesn't do a product spot for Gore.
It's so funny because it's like I've heard the my pillow guy give two different speeches. And both times I've thought to myself, this man is shockingly unprofessional, positively, almost, I would say deranged. And yet I have sat through two full length speeches by him.
I have never seen a convention where you thought to yourself as you were watching, boy, a lot of these people seem really high on cocaine, like person after person after person. Like what convention can you think of that you could even say about? I'm not even sure you could say that about a cocaine convention that this many people like. I think at a cocaine convention, people pull themselves together for their big speech and they go like, I'll do cocaine after my speech, before I address the nation from the White House.
I mean, my lord, I mean, good God.
And clearly from like some of the screaming, it was like they must be seeing millions of people in their hallucination. What are they seeing that they're yelling so loudly into? Who what vision are they having of something?
But, my God, I mean, it's amazing. And I'm curious to know what you think. Like, if the world gets back to normal, will you be able to parody Washington, DC again? Will the world get back to normal? This is very open ended question.
I was going to stop you, which is I am, unfortunately, of the belief that nobody sort of, as the Roman Empire was falling, sort of stopped to kind of go, OK, I think we're declining. Oh, you mean there was no moment, although lately I've been having that feeling a lot like I just don't know. Do we ever get back to normal? I'd like to think so, but because I have young children that we will.
But then I also envision, like, this is the moment in the movie where then you just cut to twenty years from now and our street is overgrown and my children are wild boar hunting with bow and arrows in our front yard. Kind of a thing because that's how it's become.
And at night the children come up to you and say, Grandpa, tell us about the before times I was talking to a buddy of mine. We've now pushed back my daughter's bat mitzvah for like the second time. And he's like, well, if our clan is allowed to cross across the other clans to your clan area come a year from now, then we get a free pass for the Civil War, then that sounds fine. But now it's like I just don't know if we're going to get back to normal.
But I will be the first one out there with a civil war comedy. That'll be. Yeah.
So you wrote one of my favorite movies. Oh Lord The Dictator. Oh my gosh. Co-wrote, I like to say co-wrote with my partners Jeff Schaffer and Alec Berg at the time. Yeah, very proud of that.
My second son, my water loving second son. And I actually watch that again this weekend. It is so brilliant. But it also speaks to Trump World. Yes. Although I will say the following, which is it has one thing the dictator characters insane. He is a. Maybe a rich baby, all those things, you know, constantly executing the people, working for him, so again, very similar to the Trump world, but every now and then when he speaks as he sort of attacks democracy and whatnot, there are some really scary moments.
There are some of my favorite moments where you actually sometimes start to go, oh, boy, he has a point. And we tried to do that on VTP every now and then, too. We had some scenes with Selena, was doing some really underhanded stuff with the Chinese president about overthrowing basically getting him to back her for the presidency, which, by the way, again, has something very much to do with Trump World. And she calls it a democracy.
And he goes, you know, is it really a democracy? And she kind of goes, well, you know, and that's kind of, I think, where the dictator is the strongest, where it kind of it's so frightening. But you actually go, oh, boy, yeah, it's crazy, but it's making sense that there's nothing more scary. And the one thing that I'll say about Trump, which I guess is where I worry about the next guy, is he's so stupid and so incompetent.
There are so many things that he could have done over these last three or four years that actually we'd be so much more F than we are if he could have just managed to do a little bit of infrastructure work, I think we'd all be screwed. There'd be no chance he'd lose. I mean, if he had lifted the smallest finger with covid, we'd be screwed. You know, it's like there's so little he had to do but couldn't do.
And it just makes me worry that when Tom Cotton gets a chance to run the same playbook, we're in some real trouble. Will we be able to parry this? I don't know. Maybe in our camps where they like round us up, we'll have little place, you know, little day the clown died style to entertain the other prisoners. I don't know. He is.
Let me write the pilot, you know? OK, well, if there's a way you and I can request, like sort of like camp buddies or classrooms to be in the same concentration camp, I would love that. I think they really want to. I mean, you're just one of my favorite writers. And I have to say, I often think about this. One of the things that Rick does that gets me the most upset is when he talks about the Tucker Carlson presidency.
I mean, why not? I hate to say twenty twenty four to twenty fifty eight.
The Tucker Carlson presidency. Don't you sit idle moments will be recorded in the Tucker bunker.
You know, just him writing the part where I don't even know who is bombing him writing the bomb into New York City. I guess he'll be bombing New York because it certainly won't be the Russians. I think we know that. By the way, pick your poison. Is that the worst? I don't know. Is a VANKA. The worst is Tom. I mean, I can't even tell anymore. Like, it's just horrible upon horrible.
I mean, the things I think you have to fear are these guys like Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley and Baako who want to take Trump driving in the car wash and clean it up and say we're still nationless populist authoritarian status. But look, we got a fresh coat of paint on this baby. What can I do to get you into this authoritarian nightmare today, little lady? That's what I wonder about. If this are they going to end up putting them a slightly cleaned up version of this out there that sustains this fucking nightmare?
And you're not going to want to hear this record. Maybe you do. I don't know. I'm going to say it anyway. In some ways, though, isn't each proceeding or each previous administration sort of post Nixon a little bit of just a kind of a whitewash? I mean, not that different. It was only about ten minutes ago that Reagan was basically defending Nixon even after he left office. I mean, it's a lot of the same players over and over again with an audience that just doesn't learn the difference.
And there's a moment in one of my favorite SNL sketches that I think was written by Jim Downey and Al Franken during the Dukakis debate. How about this guy? Yes, exactly. I can't believe I'm losing to this guy. How is there are two hundred thousand dead Americans and Biden isn't winning 90 to ten. And that has nothing to do with Biden. It just has people that they know and they don't care. I don't know what that represents.
The racism trumps the dead or the I don't know. It's just horrifying. The the embracing of stupidity is just beyond me. And I'm not talking about college education versus not. I'm talking about proud of a lack of common sense, proud of not checking sources, proud of just believing what you're told. That's what just frightens me.
There is a very new aspect to this, though. Now they've adopted what I call the fuckwit Alinsky ism of this era. These guys are now like they constantly what a game, everything. There's no recognition that they're of hypocrisy. There's no level of shame anymore. It's the rules exist for the other side, not for me. It has become the there can be no common ground on any thing at all. And I think that that is a post 2010 post Tea Party era effect of the GOP.
I won't fight you on that. I mean, there's you know, let's go back to McConnell for a second. And I'm not saying this would have made it better, but when they were basically not allowing Obama. To bring Garland to the Senate floor, because obviously we were so close to the election and B, two hundred and seventy nine days, one hundred and seventy nine days, but you have to multiply that or I guess divide it by a Democrat, divide it by a black president.
But when they were doing that, if they had just said we're in control, it's the other party, you know, screw you. I don't know. There's a clarity to that that at least I would have appreciated. But because they wrapped themselves in this whole we're so close to the election, we need to let the American people decide they wrapped themselves in their own bullshit. That, of course, now, of course, we're all sitting here going, well, you said you said you said they don't care what they fucking said.
We all know that. But they didn't even have to say it in the first place. But they chose to because they don't have any scruples. That's the crime, I guess. Talk to us a little bit about RPK. God, I wish I could say I wish I knew more about the law as sort of like honestly.
Also, like, I feel like RBG is a meme. She's a cultural icon in a way that other members of the Supreme Court are not. I agree with that. I think she really understood. But even before she was on it, I mean, let's go back to what little I know about the case cases she did. She was such a pioneer in defining basically the fact that women were people in the eye of the law. I mean, it sounds crazy to say, but it was just so such a radical thought.
And yet she was so ahead of it in terms of like seeing it and making it happen. And I think when she was on the court, she was smart enough to realize someone has to let themselves be a meme. And I don't mean that she made herself a meme, but she embraced the role of fighting all of this, that she wasn't going to just let it happen the way. And I don't mean this about it's not that other justices are letting it happen, but someone's going to have to step into her role because someone has to be the flag bearer.
And she was willing to do that. And the fact that she could do that and not only in sort of inspire our side, but let's go one step further, but inspire so many women on our side is just an incredible thing that I guess the Times called for in just a way that, again, in that post Tea Party world, we needed her. It's that sort of the hero we needed kind of Batman movie thing. I don't know how else to say it.
I'm sure I'm you know, you're reading a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking, although she should have resigned years ago and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. No. By the way, I'm happy to address term limits under a Democratic Senate and a Biden presidency, along with a couple of other points in a bill about the Supreme Court. But she was a standard bearer. And I just I couldn't imagine the court without her, even if we're now are in this predicament.
But just a great loss because she was truly willing to fight the fight.
I agree. Washington isn't for big characters like that these days. It's built for smaller, shittier people than a lot of ways in 2016.
The election, there was a part of the election that was an angry hostility towards Hollywood that I have never seen before. And a lot of people said that, like certain celebrities were the undoing of Hillary, which I don't think they were. But I'm curious to know what you as a member of the cultural elite like myself, think about that. Look, it's very clear that there are a tremendous number of people that just it's very easy to hate Hollywood.
It's very easy to hate people. I'm the first to say this. I am among the many that are overpaid for what we do. And dare I say, let's go one step further than take it upon ourselves to try. And at least again, I like to think of it as we're trying to also fight the fight. But it drifts. It does drift into, quote unquote, telling you what to do. And I like to think I never tell anyone what to do.
I state my opinion. I say here's something I'm backing. Here's why I think it's important. I say, please join me, but I don't ever go. You have to. And by the way, you can turn me off. But I think it's also an easy target. It's sort of the way about a week or two ago. I don't know if you were guys were paying attention to this. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin did this wonderful event where they did a table read of The Princess Bride to raise money for the the party in Wisconsin.
And I believe it was Ted Cruz, of course, because you can't have the statement of some asshole did without including Ted Cruz, but someone else, too, jumped in, probably. Was it Rubio? I don't know who the other guy was, but basically jumped in on a whole, oh, the Hollywood elite, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It was a bunch of people reading The Princess Bride around a zoom call to raise money.
So yes, they were raising money, but nobody telling you what to do. You can like the Princess Bride. You cannot like the Princess Bride. But basically he thought this is a target. This will be easy. And of course, what he did do was I think they broke like records in fundraising thanks to his. Basically, because he's just that horrible and despicable, but it's an easy target. It's sort of like why everything is always Nancy Pelosi and poor associates.
It's everything's going to be AFSC for the next 20 odd years. It's an easy, horrible target. I will say this.
There is a thing Molaim talked about this before, but it's deeply, deeply, deeply ingrained in the Republican Party of today. This is a longer arc, but the Republican Party is beset with a sense of cultural inferiority and educational inferiority that has been weaponized by Fox and other and other people in that world for a generation. More now. And so every time that you get a Scott Baio who comes out as a Republican, they just lose their show. Oh, my God.
Finally, we're breaking through. And their hatred of Hollywood is their insecurity, screaming out at, you know, it's shocking and it's so evident. It's so out there.
I'm always really impressed at the level of misogyny coming from that guy. Will there be more political satire? I look, there's incredible satire right now in terms of I think the nightly shows I try and never miss. When Seth Meyer does, his closer look at the John Oliver show is must see, you know, as far as I'm concerned. But, you know, especially in terms of, dare I say, sometimes interpreting and putting together not just the joke, but sometimes especially with like John Oliver, who has sometimes does those bigger stories or the weekly stories, the opportunity to really, like, look and call out the patterns where you're not just making fun of the funny word he mispronounced or that typo in his tweet, which, by the way, it's funny, but you're looking for these larger patterns of the misogyny and whatnot and the absolute just financial plundering of the government by the Trump companies, you know what I mean?
So when those things are called out to me, they are as wonderfully effective as like a great like David Farenthold piece in The Washington Post. So I do believe satire is alive. I just think right now, a show like Veep, I'm just not sure I would want to watch a half hour of that level of like, I guess just venality. I don't know if it gets hard to watch, because sometimes when you're trying to show how bad they are by acting as bad or worse, it just it gets to you.
And by the way, I do think right as we were getting off the stage with Veep, I was glad we were getting off the stage because it was just getting hard. It was just hard. At some point it's like, look, I'm going to always make jokes about you and me in the camps together. There are some people that don't want to hear that joke, and I understand that I'm still going to make it, but I understand why you don't want to hear that joke.
So I do believe there is a place. There must be a place. My God, there are still on a weekly basis some great just even political cartoons where you just go, oh, man, this guy has really summed it all up, or this woman is really summed it all up in one image. So there is a place for it, but I don't know what the next different new form of it will be. Before we get into things, we have a fun little treat.
There are so many insane things happening in the world right now and two episodes a week just aren't enough to cover it all. So the new abnormal is going to release a limited run series of bonus interviews over the next few weeks for beast inside members only. We'll release a new one each Sunday. But listen carefully. Only beast inside members will have access to these. So head over to the new abnormal DOT, The Daily Beast dot com to become a beast inside.
No, now that's new abnormal dot the Daily Beast dot com. Alexis McGill Johnson is the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and she's going to talk to us today about our BJ's legacy and how women can save Roe. OK, first of all, talk to me about how you got to Planned Parenthood and a little bit about your background first.
Oh, my goodness. Sure.
So I would say I came to reproductive rights late in my life, not just my career. I was born actually. I'd like to say I'm as old as Roe. I was born in nineteen seventy two, but I was born into a race family where we really focused a lot on being a part of the civil rights generation, the black power movement, just engaging around all issues related to black folk and political scientist. I'd started some work around just race and gender and brain science, and I happened to be walking down the street in New York City, in the West Village.
And I looked up and I saw this billboard and it said it was this cute little black girl's face. And underneath it, it said the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb. And I was and I got closer because I just was clearly not with it.
Then I got closer and I saw the Operation Rescue kind of genocide posters and I completely lost my shirt.
I had been in politics for a little while. As I said, political scientist. I'd been doing a lot of organizing with artists, hip hop artists and getting folks out to vote. And I see all I met up with Cecile at a dinner and I oh, she's fabulous.
Amazing. And I said to her, I was like, let me tell you something. Let me tell you what's going on out here in this world.
Do you know what people are saying, what they do? Have you seen this billboard?
And I just like went on for like a half an hour and I was like, you need to do something about that. It's me who said, no, you need to do something about that. And she recruited me to the board and it just was literally just writing sidesaddle or whatever it is, and learning just how much I had been missing and the bubble that I was in in New York and and how much work there was. So I kind of went all the way through.
I was ten years and on the board. And last year we had a leadership transition and the board chair called me and said, would you mind stepping in in this moment? And I just felt like we have to do this this year and staying through twenty twenty. And the more I did, the more I realized how much more work and how much I really felt like I could make a contribution. And so here I am talking to you.
Talk to me about this weekend for you.
Oh my goodness. I mean, Friday, you know, you're not going to get many weekends, many days in this period of an election cycle. And kind of just one weekend where I thought we would just not much on the calendar and our addictions texted our is gone. And I wasn't popping up on my phone. It wasn't popping up on anything. And and when it did, it just wrecked me. Right. I mean, I got to meet her about two or three weeks before the June medical decision, she was speaking at Union Theological Seminary here in New York City and she was being interviewed by Bill Moyers about her faith.
My God, it was unbelievable. So to be interviewed about kind of the role that her faith played in how she was a jurist and how difficult it was to kind of reconcile some of the increasingly challenging decisions that were happening and the when she was in the minority. And I remember he asked like something very pointed about, like, OK, like when it's just crazy and it's just so egregious, like, how do you reconcile, like what's happening with the Trump administration?
And she quoted Thomas Jefferson. She said, when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. Yeah. And that just was so powerful to me because it's like it just made me she's just such a she's been such a force of resistance, such a force of dissent. And everything that we have, particularly as women, is like because she decided to resist and because she decided that she was going to use her powers and service to be such a force.
And so I'm devastated. I still am.
See, I happen to think from the response I've gotten just anecdotally from my friends, that feeling this seat, which we know Mitch is going to do and we know he's going to pick Amy, me, Barrett, and we know she is from the People of Praise Group, the group that inspired The Handmaid's Tale. I feel pretty fucking galvanized. And the text messages and emails I've been getting have been from my not so political friends who are freaked out.
Yes, yes, yes. Agreed, agreed. I think it's mobilizing people like never before. And first of all, like to say we're not just going to accept that the seed is going to be filled. We are not going to let people go. A new president inaugurated. We are going to hold our senators accountable to McConnell's own precedent. Right. So let's be clear. And I think part of how we will do that is exactly what you said.
I have people coming out of the woodwork on social media, on tag on everything who really actually understand and understood what she is. Meant particularly for women, right? We wouldn't have the right to sign a mortgage without the right to have a bank account, without a male cosigner, right to, like, just be pregnant, have kids in the background while we're zooming without all of the work that she did on equality. And so it is, as we know, right?
The personal is the political. And I think people are really connecting the dots between where they are sitting and how much we need to do for the next generation. I think that's real. Have you guys raised a lot of money this weekend? Look, I think that resources are pouring in across this fight.
I saw ActBlue raised one hundred million dollars this week, and that's what I was thinking about.
Well, I mean, look, a lot of folks are they understand that the election is so critical right now that there are people who are investing in candidates, investing and making sure that not only are we making sure that they hold this nomination until after Inauguration Day with a new president, but also that we are doing everything we can to make sure that we have a working Congress at a Senate that is a pro-choice majority and as well as the White House.
So I think that people are energized. We are already in Election Day. People are already voting, people are in line. They are getting their ballots.
And so we're in the fight for 30 something days out, but we're actually already voting, which makes it all the more crazy that they're trying to rush this process through while we are in the midst of and, you know, the president, it's been 80 years since they filled Supreme Court seat during an election year.
Right. And let's just remind everybody that Merrick Garland, his nomination came up in February, March, February. Two hundred and seventy three days.
Exactly. And here we are, four days out. And so it's just insane. And I think that the intensity, the increase of interest of like new volunteers, folks who are signing up to participate, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, we have 16 million members who have been taking actions and engaging their network, which is one to say maybe three and a half times more than the NRA.
So but this cabinet with a few lawsuits, suits to. Right. And no money from Russia. What can an average citizen do? Yes, first of all, they should be calling their senators. They should be regardless of where they are, because the Democrats need to hear this message as well as the GOP. They need to understand that we are not accepting this nomination being rushed through. So I think that is clearly the biggest piece. We want them to stick to the precedent that they set in twenty sixteen and make sure that the voters have a chance to weigh in.
Just to kind of clarify that as well. We need more votes. We need all of the Democratic senators, plus we need four Republican senators. So we have to be vote counting and making sure that we are applying pressure.
And there are a lot of vulnerable Republicans now.
There are those vulnerable Republicans should be doing they should actually be thinking about spending as much energy on getting some comprehensive covid testing instead of ramming through this nomination like they have actual real work to do. We need another Kahrizak. We need economic relief. And if they can find the time to hold hearings and to whip votes around a judicial nominee, and they can't find the time to actually save American lives when we are over two hundred thousand American deaths because of their failures, then that's just pathetic.
And they all need to be voted out.
So one of the main complaints of the Trump areas that were overwhelmed with him sucking up the news cycle all day, I feel like a lot of us and my friends I've talked to, we really can't keep up with how abortion laws are changing and the closures and how far people have to travel to get abortions. Can you talk to us about how we stay up to date with that?
So, look, attacks, as I said earlier, like attacks on access to abortion have been certainly intensified over the last ten years. We saw even just during the beginning of the pandemic, with all of the executive orders coming about by governors in states that coincidentally were states that have been part of putting over three hundred restrictions on access to abortion in twenty nineteen. So, you know, I think it's really important for people to both recognize the fact that what we are up against kind of in this fight is obviously critical in terms of making sure that we get a justice who represents the will of the American people.
Most people support access to Roe, but also to recognize that state by state, there are many states in which where the right exists. But because of the bans and because of the impact on what certain legislatures have asked of health centers or providers shaming them in many ways and denying them access to resources has impacted on a broad access to abortion rights. And we have the right. But accessing that right definitely still dependent state by state. We have an abortion access to Planned Parenthood's website that tells you the restrictions by states on access to abortion.
Just so people know, because obviously it is a lot of it has changed just in recent years. And certainly there may be questions lingering around the pandemic. But the real issue is there are 17 cases that are one step away from the Supreme Court that could undermine access to abortion. There are cases like most egregiously around. Like a 20 week ban, we also know that the ACA will be looked at during the October Skoda's term. So I think that we're in a place where access to abortion, where health care, where voting rights, where all of what we've been kind of grappling with around this this national reckoning around race, all of these things actually at some point will be touched upon in our courts over the next few years.
And so while access to abortion is obviously a key piece of work that we are leading and organizing around, we look at all of this through the center, through the lens of our patients, and our patients are grappling with all of these other issues and they're living incredibly intersectional lives. And I think the work that we need to do is to really strengthen the infrastructure around intersectional movement that's being led by our reproductive justice partners to make sure that we are connecting the dots between their lived experiences and how the courts are going to impact them.
And so educating our friends around how all of these things work together and then helping them build those coalitions and intersections around the work is, I think, the biggest thing we can do to kind of sustain our movement moving forward.
It feels to me and I again, this is just anecdotal. It feels to me like with Cavanaugh, Mitch McConnell was on the floor this afternoon saying that Democrats were too mean to Cavnar and this is payback. OK, whatever. But I definitely felt like during Cavitat, my friends and I and young women my age were in a rage. And this feels like that.
Yes, absolutely. I mean, we were enraged. We were traumatized. Many of us were triggered. Listening to Borzi Ford, we were outraged by his responses and just the blatant power grab of Mitch McConnell in the Senate. And cabined, I think, was just the tip of the iceberg. It is the infrastructure on the federal judiciary that he has built that over two hundred judges who have been given lifetime appointments on the federal bench. Some of them like Usera like who don't even believe in IVF so much as hostile to abortion, like IVF.
Are you kidding me? So this is when they say it's just about abortion or it's just about this? Actually, no, it's never about that. It's about control. It's about who gets to own our own bodies. And I think that's why when I think about the intersection of what's happening with all of these movements right now, it's because the central question at the heart of these movements is the same. It's our bodies, our own. Do we get them?
Are we seen? Do we belong? What are we willing to lay on the line to make sure that we are free? And how are we going to protect our freedom?
Are you guys planning protests or anything? I would say keep the week of October 17th raring to go. We're going to be engaging with lots of folks in the last couple of weeks of the election cycle to make sure that we are everybody's mobilized, they have their voting plan and they know how to support all those folks.
OK, Rick Wilson, who is your fuck, that guy, my fuck, that guy is returning champion to the interior minister, Bob Carr.
What's it like living in an anarchist controlled health care? He an anarchist? It's terrifying. Just absolutely terrifying.
Are you hearing the sounds of the rioting crowds taking the tumble down the street with the aristos headed to the execution center?
Well, you know, there's just so much smoke from all the fires, right? No, it's ridiculous.
Everything is normal here. It's totally silly.
Well, as an anarchist jurisdiction, you join Portland and Seattle. My reason for saying the Bill Burkett deserves a Fucka guy for this is very simple. This is a further politicization of the Justice Department. It is a campaign stunt and it has no force of law. And the fact that he's doing it this way is one more thing, where they're going to break institutions, one more thing where they decide that they're going to break tradition and precedence and all of these other things in order to help Donald Trump's re-election.
There it is. I would say it's astounding, but it's no longer astounding. It's just fucking par for the course, thus bulbar.
Fuck that guy. My fuck. That guy is Lindsey Graham. He is just the worst. I'm sorry. I mean, that clip of him in 2016, I put out an ad about it yesterday, right. Where he's like, you can use my words against me. Oh, right. So my fuck that guy is Lindsey Graham. The thing that's interesting about Lindsey Graham is because he talks so much, there's always a clip of him saying something that's completely different to what he's saying.
Now, I saw the headline today from one of his local papers that said he's very flexible.
I prefer not to think of Lindsey as flexible, but more sort of just rot, just like a maggot infested animal corpse rotting in the hot sun. Someone should make an ad about that.
But anyway, I do think that Lindsey Graham's hypocrisy is kind of amazing and sort of spectacular.
Well, what Lindsey is the lowest form of life in Washington. And here's the thing. Lindsey, for years was John McCain's wingman and this flip of character to being Donald Trump shoeshine boy and Donald Trump's golf caddy. And Donald Trump's lickspittle has left his Senate colleagues horrified. A lot of them who are even a lot of them who are Trump fans are disgusted by the way Graham has behaved and disgusted by the idea that this guy is such a scummy, shitty human being.
And Lindsey is complaining a bit because he doesn't feel like he's getting enough love financially from Mitch. But we'll see. It'll be a disgusting race to the end.
It'll be interesting to see what happens. I do think that there would be a lot of happy Democrats if Lindsey Graham loses his seat.
Oh, they will. There'll be a lot of happy Republicans, too, because everybody hates him. On that note, we'll wrap up this episode of The New Abnormal for The Daily Beast. In future episodes, we'll be talking with smart folks from The Daily Beast and beyond, from media, culture, politics and science to help us understand what's happening to our country and the world.
We hope you'll subscribe to us on your favourite podcast app and share the show on social media. We're just getting started and don't want you to miss an episode if you'd like to follow us on Twitter. I'm Molly Chang, Fast and Historic Wealth, and thanks so much for listening. And we'll see you again on the next episode.
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