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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 Rick to the minimum number of F bombs and try to keep our kids, pets and other wildlife sounds from invading our respective bunkers.
I have finally, after several months of grinding away at Brad's future and his destiny, he has been dismissed. He has done.
Did he get fired or did he quit?
I'm trying to figure out how to talk about this because I wrote a piece about it today and the story of her running out of the house, flagging down a real estate agent and the real estate agent saying they called nine one one together. And you hear the real estate agent saying what's on your arms in the tape? And then the police come and the police say, I mean, I wrote about all this what what is on your arms? And she says, he beats me.
And then they take him on a psychiatric hold. And then on Sunday, she releases a statement that says, my words were misconstrued. He doesn't beat me.
I'm going to say this in all seriousness, with no flippancy whatsoever. She needs to get the fuck away from him. I know that's the long running comment of everybody who sees somebody in a relationship where they've been abused. But this will not end well.
Rob Porter has had two wives who both said that they had been abused by him. You have just numerous people in this administration who have Jason Miller, who impregnated AJ Delgado while his wife was about to deliver. I mean, we when Dyleski Wright, who was originally charged with a misdemeanor for grabbing a female Breitbart reporter's arm, it's a pattern that is really pretty shocking. And like one of those people wouldn't be able to survive in a real administration.
Correct. And not for a hot minute. As grim and as horrifying as the story is. The Vanity Fair piece yesterday, the Trump family is worried that Brad Proskauer will talk. Good not to wait anymore. And Brad, I just have some advice for you. Brad, the sooner you talk, the better off you'll be, because when it becomes this giant fraud investigation, the Trump family will hang you out to dry. So do you not know how this works yet?
They will fuck you sideways. I think he's not smart.
Oh, you think I'm going to go out on a limb here and postulate he is not smart?
I do love the fact that although he was born in Kansas City, has fully embraced the Florida ethos of creating the police with a beer in one hand shirtless.
The shirtless arrest is really something that we've all got the covid-19 right now. And it's hard on a campaign, hard to like go Kabulis.
So, you know, you saw him, you know, a lot of Trump rolled because Trump was all about grievances. We're saying like it was so unfair they pushed him down to the ground, right? Yes. Ten guns. Right. He's threatening and they push him down to the floor and they were mad. But if you think about the violence we've seen the police show towards African-Americans, it's sort of shocking to me that, you know, they could complain about something like that.
Truly Somalia, I have to say, I'm no historian like Jon Meacham. So Jon Meacham said this was the lowest moment in history since Andrew Jackson's racist state papers. But I have to tell you, I've been to a lot. I can't even remember of any of presidential debates of debate prep, a good number of presidential debates. I've been around this rodeo a few times. That article I wrote The Daily Beast, predicting what a shit show that Trump's debate prep must be.
I would have to say I was being a cockeyed optimist. That debate was so fucking off the rails. And the most beautiful part of it is Trump thinks he won.
Well, I don't know. Do we think he really thinks he won or do we think he's just saying that because that's his defense?
Well, a lot of the reporting of people who directly spoke with him, he thought he won. He thought he did what he had to do.
He was trying to get Biden to stutter, right? Yeah, that was that was his goal was to make Joe Biden stutter or stammer. And it didn't work. Look, Joe Biden had on his face the whole time when he was it sort of contemptuous was the look of a parent watching a child say, mommy, I made a poopy.
Tell me about the polling that you saw after it was over and the focus group stuff, because that stuff people don't know. And, you know, so that is really interesting.
It tells you absolutely everything. You need to know that the poll that the Trump campaign cited was a Twitter poll for Telemundo, which he did very well in that one.
On a scale of statistical methodological rigor or a Twitter poll for Telemundo is not exactly what we call robust now. Look, what you saw in most of this is iterated out of one of the posts we had internally and these we're seeing nationally, roughly 60 to 65 percent of people, given those various polls, thought Joe Biden won roughly 20 to 30 plus percent of people thought Trump did. Focus groups came away with words. I kid you not like crackhead, maniac, lunatic.
Can we have a minute to talk about Frank Luntz, focus group from which the word crackhead emerged, and then junior, of course, called Hunter Biden a crackhead.
But I just want to point out that for the last twenty four hours since he's called Junior, a crackhead and a little bit nutty, also confirmed he's been using it for several days, that the Lincoln project has been providing a small stream of viral video content, warning Donald Trump Jr. that if he wants to go down the path of referring to people as crackheads, this will not end well, for this will not have the outcome he believes it will have.
Because if you want to talk about people with an affinity for. He could easily have that discussion so Trump won't disavow the boys, he wants them to stand by and stand back. I love seeing Ben Shapiro try to defend that. I mean, Ben, we're Jews, baby. Like, this is not going to end well for us.
But he's he's an exception, right? Exactly.
Why won't the president of the United States disavow white supremacists? You mean or racist white supremacist, anti-Semitic group? Yeah, I'm just going to venture the wildest guess that maybe it's because. Well, let me say this first. Donald Trump. If someone said, hey, robot, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot came back from the grave along with robot zombies, Sidhom and they all formed the undead dictators for Trump Club, would you issue a statement? He would say, well, they like me.
So whatever they did before in the afterlife, now they're necromantic incarnation. They like me. So I'm not going to say anything bad because they like me. If they like him, he likes them. This is the simplest rule of the crazed, narcissistic, authoritarian horseshit that defines Donald Trump. So he can't say anything about the Cowboys because he knows the Cowboys are part of his team. They're part of his base. He likes them. They like him, blah, blah, blah.
And of course, he set this thing off, empowering them moments after this thing broke. They were ecstatic. They were flapping in the streets because they thought Donald Trump had their fucking bat signal at long last. And here's the problem. Half of these guys in the Cowboys really are the lame and so cosplay dipshits. They drive their mom's minivan to and from school. There are just every basement dwelling cliche in the world. Part of them are actual armed up, schooled up street.
The guys who were up and think that they're going to be part of this white revolution.
The point is that this is not a good group of people. And the bare minimum is that the president should be able to disavow them. You know what I thought was interesting? I thought Biden had exactly the right words for them. I don't know if you saw that a reporter asked Biden what he thought the boys should do and he said and the white supremacist and he said, cease and desist.
Yeah, that was good. I thought that was really good. I thought was very good. Here's the other thing. I think that was interesting at that moment, Donald Trump could not Chris Wallace was not going to give him a name. He just said white supremacist broadly. And then Joe Biden said proud boys and boys. I thought that was an interesting moment because the next time it happens by Trump.
But it was interesting. Biden, you know, what has I think continually helped Biden is that Trump has a Trump and Trump media continues to set the bar so low for him and he's quite sharp.
Yeah, look, this guy's four months. They have spent millions of dollars, OK? Don't forget, they have spent millions of dollars trying to say that Joe Biden is senile. Joe Biden drools on himself. Joe Joe Biden can't wipe his own ass. Joe Biden, this and all these people, they spent so much time and money and they invested so much effort to say that Joe Biden was a doddering old fool. And he walks on the stage.
He's a seasoned man, but he wasn't senile. He wasn't drooling on himself. He didn't have an earpiece. And all of this other fucking bullshit that these lunatics were postulating about. And so the debate for Biden, Trump bought him a lot of installation of this debate. And one of the things we did see in the numbers, there was a question, one survey we had to do better or worse than you thought, the debate. And sixty four percent of the people say they're better than they expected.
On the other flip side, only 18 percent said Trump did better than they expected.
Yeah, well, he was all hopped up, too. There's a certain degree of physicality on how debates look in the Joe Biden all night looked out of the audience into the camera at Chris Wallace every moment of that debate, except when Donald Trump was rolling his eyes, he was staring at Joe Biden. He was locked on Biden like a dog looking at a ham. He could not take his eyes off of Joe Biden the whole night. And his expression was this combination of anger and anxiety and disgust.
And it was fascinating to me because Biden was talking to America and Donald Trump was trying to rattle Joe Biden and it didn't work.
I also think it was interesting to me Biden really was good at not losing it with him. Like I think he Trump's whole goal was to get Biden to lose. And Biden didn't lose it 100 percent.
Correct. He wanted Biden to say, how dare you fire and lose his mind. The fact that Joe Biden's response was I proud of Hunter? Let's remember, there are millions and millions and millions of people in this country who have struggled with addiction, and especially in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin, there has been an opioid explosion in those states. And the opioid addictions in those states have had a catastrophic impact on the lives of the economy.
And Donald Trump came across as trying to play that in the shittiest way possible. Even for Trump. That was shitty. It's just. Shockingly stupid, I mean, his brother died of addiction, right? This is not is hits very close to home for them.
I think that there is a degree to which Donald Trump misapprehended the effectiveness of that hit. I'll tell you one of the things that we notice, the Trump campaign and Donald Trump that night, they threw out every bit of oppo research. They had, all of it, all of it, every bit of it. They threw everything at the wall and it didn't work. None of it moved the needle politically. None of it moved the swing vote. And it just didn't work.
No, it also, I think it read is cruel. There's so much cruelty in this administration already. And I think people don't want to elect someone who they think is an asshole. I mean, isn't the thinking you want to have a beer with them? Right.
Look, Donald Trump came across as a ranty asshole. If you saw Donald Trump at a bar, you'd move five or six stools down. You know, one of the most important things about facing a pandemic is accurate information. And I'm just curious if you would take a guess if there was a study, let's say, where Cornell University used an artificial intelligence program to study thirty eight million articles about covid. Where would you think that the greatest source of misinformation would have come in that study about COGAT?
How would people feel deceived about covid? I don't know. You tell me, would you guess that it would come from Donald Trump's administration?
It come from Donald Trump, not even the administration. This is the guy you'll remember who stopped doing coronaviruses briefings when he said that perhaps injecting UV light into the body.
You remember that good old bleach injection of a little Lysol of the veins might clean it out right away.
You know, the thing I was surprised by with this, I thought for sure it would be Fox News that was producing the most misinformation. But it's actually true.
Yeah, it is actually Trump himself. And because he has such a giant footprint on social media and such a giant footprint on Fox's coverage of everything, it is almost certain that Donald Trump's three bouts where he lied to America probably killed an awful lot of people. If he did what Merkel has done, Merkel a better leader, a better president than Donald Trump by an order of magnitude. If we'd done what she did, one hundred and forty thousand two hundred thousand Americans would still be alive today.
But Trump never has still never come clean. No, never. I mean, that is sort of amazing. And the other thing that I think is interesting about this is I know this is such a. This is like ten thousand news cycles ago, but Trump did tell the American people he was taking hydrochloric one. Yes. Yes. I mean, we don't know if that's true or not because he's such a liar. But either way, that was a pretty insane thing to say.
Yeah, it will go down as one of the markers, the dedication of the Trump right media infrastructure to pushing hydrochloric when it continues to this very day. And the scientific community has almost universally said it doesn't work and it has potential to even be harmful in the course of this. Oh, yeah.
Nobody in the world thinks it works. It's more of just like they bought all these pills to support Trump, you know? So it's I don't know what they're going to do with all those pills. I guess we have to hope that malaria comes to the United States soon not to get too dark there. But I mean, at least you'll be able to use them for something. Right. Works for malaria. I by the way, as someone who is in a vaccine trial and had my second shot, I do not want to take that malaria drug.
It's supposed to be really horrible.
Yeah, I've talked to somebody who has taken it is it's a rough ride. It's a rough ride. I'm always for the most important thing coming up here in the next 30 days. The biggest decision that Americans are going to make is not about what their television viewing habits should be for the fall, but rather how they're going to set up a plan for voting. Do you have a voting plan?
I have a voting plan. In fact, I got it today with a guy who told me that now in New York, you can go to your polling place after October twenty fourth and vote. I was going to vote the day of the election, as I usually do, and take my poor children with me. But I'm actually going to vote before because I'm worried about the lines.
Well, I think that is a good voting plan. I will be voting absentee this year. I have requested and you already do it not for the general, but I voted absentee this year because I'm in a secure, undisclosed location. And that absentee vote, you know, you could find out your absentee voting plan, the requirements of places like for one vote dog and vote dog. There are many, many places to do that. Google, of all things, is doing a very good voting education process.
I telling people how and where to vote. And so we're in a situation. I think there's a plethora of resources out there, folks, and you can simply Google, how do I vote? And they will pop up a whole bunch of stuff for you. Vote Daughter Work has an excellent walk through on all kinds of whys and wherefores. But everybody, I want to encourage everyone out there, the sound of my voice, to go out and get your voting plan together because it's important.
What I'm curious to know, what are you guys going to do at Lincoln? How worried are you about day of voting and voter intimidation and poll closing and.
Well, Lincoln's affiliated group, Project Yellowstone is working on that front. And we're going to be bringing in legal resources and helping other. Troops bring in legal resources on Election Day in key places, and we'll be talking a lot more about that the next 10 days or so, because we're not looking at Election Day as the end of this fight. We believe that if it's a close race and it still may be a close race, that Donald Trump will fight this thing down to January.
So as we like to jokingly say, no sleep till Biden, and that means we're going to be pushing this thing through all the way to January. The January, yeah.
Sam Wang is a neuroscientist and head of the Princeton Election Consortium, and he's here today to tell us about the state of the race for the Senate and the House and how you, the listener, can affect change in the election with both your time and your money.
Hi, Sam. I'm Molly. Welcome back to New Abnormal. Thank you.
It's nice to be back. I don't know if you know this, but we're having a presidential election. I heard that.
I heard that. Although I must say I don't think the presence of a presidential candidate debate would be one of the clues, because what we saw didn't seem like the debates I'm used to.
Yeah, pretty wild stuff there. Before we talk about the presidency, can we talk about the Senate? Oh, yeah.
I am so focused on down ticket things. For one thing, it seems more substantive, seems like the less icky and also it seems really important for what's going to happen next year.
Yeah. So I if I could ask you, where can you get the most bang for your buck right now as a Democrat trying to flip the Senate.
So let's see. So my first take is that it seems pretty likely, although not certain at this point, the Democrats will retake the Senate. I think it could be anywhere between 50 and fifty five seats. Wow. We're looking at pickups in North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona and Maine. So so some of those are not for sure, but it sure looks like Democrats are ahead of those states and they're going to lose Alabama probably.
Right. That's a half or so. So if you want bang for your buck, I mean, you know, states that are close and also states that don't have a huge population so that when you give a dollar that or you write a postcard or what have you, then it makes a difference. And there are some states that are not counted that I did not count in that total. So getting past 50, the states where it's really pretty tight in individuals can make a difference in Alaska.
Al Gross, we had him on the pod, independent, independent, Democrat or whatever.
I grew up in Alaska. Native son.
His father. Yes. Did that Alaska refund thing wherever wherever you're in Alaska citizen, you get a check. The triggers, warm memories and older Alaska.
OK, so Dr. Outgrossed. Now what's the second one?
Teresa Greenfield in a very close race, Joni Ernst, who went very Trumpy and really sucks. But that's just my opinion.
And that and the doctor in Kansas, Barbara Bullier, I believe. Yes.
Barbara Bollier, she's in a tie, even though it's it's this guy, Roger Marshall, who doesn't seem to be so high profile this year. She's pulled it even with him. And the data is kind of variable. So when one poll shows a tie, another one shows her ahead, another shows him ahead. And then we have South Carolina. Yes. Jamie Harrison.
Yes, indeed. So these are states where where voter power. If you go over to my Web site election, Princeton Dedieu, we calculate voter power per person and these are states and they left out Montana.
Yeah. Why'd you leave out Montana?
Montana is looking pretty good. I would say it's just hard to tell because the polls have been bouncing around a bit currently. Governor Bullock is a bit behind, is in there and Montana has a sparse population. And so Montana has high voter power anyway. So these are states where per vote you can make a difference. Alaska, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina.
Can we talk about Congress? I feel like we haven't been talking about Congress enough. Sure. I think everyone's taking the House for granted. I'm not sure. Yeah, I think one shouldn't necessarily do that.
Yeah. Could you talk to us? Why? We shouldn't take that for granted. It's likely that the House is going to stay Democratic. But these days with partisan polarization. Right. People go up and down the ticket the same way. And so right now, I would say we're looking at Biden. Looks like he's going to win the popular vote by by, say, seven or eight points. People are going to vote for Congress by a margin of about six or seven points.
So those are tracking each other pretty closely. And Democrats need to win the national popular vote by about three points to keep the House. So it looks like they are above threshold for that. If you wanted to, you can certainly go and look for close races. There are close races all around the country. I mean, here in New Jersey, there's that guy, Jeff Andrew, who used to be a Democrat.
Yeah. Be great to get rid of him. Well, he's running against Amy Kennedy, I believe Amy Kennedy, and she's looking pretty strong.
So there's close races all around the country.
And so you've got to do we think Andy Kim is going to get re-elected? I think it's going to be close. But but I think he's he might he has a pretty good shot. I think that's going to really depend on get out the vote people on the ground. New Jersey is doing entirely by mail, but Democrats certainly seem motivated to vote by mail.
Sam, do you have any thoughts about what a voting plan should be and voting by mail?
I would say if you do the calculations and ask how long does it take an absentee ballot application to get in? How long does it take to get to for your ballot to get back in? People should be asking for their absentee ballots in places where they have to do that by October 13th is approximately how long it would take to make sure that your request leads to getting a ballot and then you send the ballot back because the mail's got to go. Your request has to go in.
You've got to get the ballot, then you've got to send it back. So October 13th, you better be asking for a ballot by mid-October would be a good time to have voted by. And there are a few states that are attempting to have a postmark deadline, and that's yet another court. All right, so all this is put into dozens of lawsuits and court battles where Republicans have taken the stance that that that deadline should be adhered to as strictly as possible and therefore, don't let that show up, say, three days after Election Day be counted.
So that's the stance they're taking. And all of this is working its way through the courts. But, you know, people I think people better, you know, better vote by mid-October. I think that would be the safest.
Right. God, that's pretty scary, though. Well, but, you know, there's still the option of voting in person in most states. And so there's different ways to do it. It's just that if you want to vote by mail, a lot of people are doing it. And it's actually a pretty good way to bank your vote as long as you do it in advance. Right.
A lot of us Democrats are pretty worried about this election. I don't know if you know this, but I have noticed that we've been told before that we had a good candidate who is going to win.
Why is this election all different than 2016?
Well, Biden is ahead by more than 10 to 20, 16. So Hillary Clinton was ahead by a few points. I can't remember exactly at this point of the campaign. I think she was had around four or five points. He's ahead more like seven or eight points. And so if there is a polling error as big as there was four years ago, then Biden would still win. Now, that having been said, I don't think polls are the real problem here.
I think the problem here is stuff like a close election in North Carolina or Florida where we don't know who won on election night. And then there are states that only start counting the mail in vote very close to Election Day, and that's Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And surely those sound familiar. And so those states start counting on election night or or the night before. And so it's easy to imagine a scenario where North Carolina and Florida don't get called and then let the lawsuits begin.
And so that could be weeks of turmoil. So there is certainly a scenario in which it turns into lawsuits, it turns into militias getting into the mix and it turns into less of, what, less of an orderly election. So I think that worrying about polls is the last battle. And the current battle is making sure we get an orderly election and that involves big turnout everywhere and everyone getting out and voting. I think that the way to have an orderly election is to have as many people vote as possible and make sure that that people who have an opinion this year get heard wherever they are.
It does seem to me that the Trump administration, if they if he gets beaten by a lot, that's the that will be the best way to get rid of him.
If it's definitive, then there is no way to have any bickering about vote counting. And this is going to matter for the presidency. It's going to matter for the Senate because several swing states, several super close states have critical Senate races. I mean, for gosh sake, Alaska is now a swing state because Trump and Biden are within one point of each other in Alaska, Mississippi, Mississippi.
We had Mike Spann. The party is amazing. OK, that's great.
I mean, it sounds like he's a strong candidate. It's a pretty tough lift in Mississippi because voters aren't so elastic there. And so he can get up to forty two or forty four, but getting up to 50 percent is actually a pretty hard lift. And so that's going to require a pretty major effort for the Democrats to to get over the top there. I'm certainly watching Mississippi and a lot of people are, but that's a harder race.
There's also very limited polling there. Right? So there is limited polling. There's like basically one poll that shows him and Cindy Highsmith within one point of each other. But it's just one data point. And, you know, no matter how good or bad the pollster is, one data point can always be off by a few points. That's just that's just statistics.
Right. Do you what do you just make us feel better about the quiet Trump voter, the shy Trump voter scenario?
There's technical reasons why Trump voters were missed, but it probably wasn't because of Trump voters, people, good people who did forensics on what went wrong with polling four years ago, suspected things like undecided voters or maybe not not doing a good enough job of catching white non college voters. And, you know, there are about a half as many undecided voters this year as last time. And pollsters are not fools. They don't want the same black guy as four years ago, like a different black guy.
They have looked at all their mistakes and presumably they're working pretty hard to get quite noncollege voters into their samples.
It used to be that one thought of Hispanics as an interest group or blacks or Asians as a specific demographics. And I think it just goes to show that white voters are now stratifying into different interest groups. And so pollsters have to take that into account. And besides which, the guy is now the incumbent president of the United States. And so it's far less unthinkable that he would be president of the United States. And so any effect that there was, you know, is presumably somewhat if there was one, there would be less of a risk because he is the sitting president of the United States.
This is obviously a census year. Is there any thoughts you have on how people should be thinking even more down ballot and anything that you've been seeing in that realm?
I have the strongest imaginable views on this subject. And that's why we brought you the. The presidency is for four years, the Senate's for six years, redistricting is for 10 years, and if voters want to have the most leverage possible, they will go and vote in places where bipartisan control of the legislature is within reach. And my math nerds and I have done calculations to figure out where those states are. And there's half a dozen states where bipartisan redistricting is within reach.
It adds up to ninety three House seats, which is one fifth of the chamber. And so we're talking about the political playing field for the next 10 years and one fifth of the House of Representatives. And this place is like I mean, some of them will sound like familiar swing states, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Kansas. And these are places where it's possible to be given the rules. So my guys looked at the math, the data and the rules of redistricting.
And in all those four states, the rules are such that it's possible to force bipartisanship in how the map gets drawn. And then on the on the other side, Republicans would be wanting to do the same thing in Minnesota and Connecticut. And so these are states where where it's possible to bring about both major parties having a say in redistricting in a way that, you know, my staff at the gerrymandering project at gerrymandered Princeton, Edu, we advocate policy changes, but I would say through reform laws, but I would say voters can have a direct say.
I mean, and we're talking about voters in actually and specifically in swing districts in those states. So, for instance, if you live in Dallas Fort Worth, your vote is among the most valuable in the country because there are something like 10 swing districts just in Dallas and Tarrant counties. Wow. Harris County, which is where Houston is, same story. So there is there's places where voters are really super powerful and can have a lot of say in the next decade of politics.
That brings me to an interesting thing. One of the things that I'm obviously not going to a ton of dinner parties right now, but I feel like any time I'm out and I run into somebody, my left leaning friends are all like, Jesse, where do I go if I'm going to work on get out the vote, that's going to make a difference. Are you saying, like, that Fort Worth district may be a really good place that if you're going to try to drive Democratic voters to the polls?
Like I would say, Tarrant County is is a hotspot. It's ground zero for partisan control of of the Texas state legislature. Harris County, as I said before, Dallas County, also north of Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton County and Collin County. We have all this if you go to election, got Princeton. Dediu, we have a feature called Redistricting Moneyball, where if you click on redistricting Moneyball, you'll get a map that's interactive, that shows you all these places where your vote matters.
And you can you know, I mean, if you're in Kansas, south of Kansas City, there's a place called Johnson County. And in Johnson County is is one of the many places in the country that's trending democratic. It's going from red to purple. And when the map goes from red to purple, those are new opportunities for districts to change hands.
What could be a really big surprise we might see on election night, I'd say a medium surprise would be Texas is going to Biden. Yeah, a big surprise, I think, would be South Carolina Senate. Going to Jamie Harrison would be a pretty big surprise. Yeah. How big a surprise do you want? Well, that was a good one.
Yeah. What do you think?
The thing is, his voters might come home because now he's chaired the Judiciary Committee.
Oh, and the and the there's a minor candidate there who's pretty far right. And he might get those voters back if he can deliver Amy CONI Barrett to the Supreme Court.
So talk to me about the calculus of Amy. Call me Barrett. Like, how about the calculus five plus one equals six. Is that the calculus? That's that's that's arithmetic. Yeah. Tell me more.
You really testing that, getting invited back again? I'm sorry. I think it's all right. It's OK. I am hoping for some good natured ribbing here. It definitely helps Democrats in states like Alaska. Right. Because that's a pro-choice state.
I never been to Alaska, so I believe you since they really like their personal liberties in Alaska, right? I think so. Just to go back to twenty eighteen, the cabinet nomination appears to be associated with a slight uptick for Republicans in red states like Missouri and Indiana. Now, that was a pretty contentious hearing. And he had rape allegations or assault allegations against him and everyone was really quite angry. So this doesn't seem quite like that this time around.
Democrats are pretty torn up about Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing. Yeah, and I think it's hard to predict these things, but I think the Supreme Court is not going to be the asset for Republicans. It's been in the past. Yeah, that's a guess. But people are pretty agitated about it at the moment. On the left, I think that the happy thing would be the more Senate seats the Democrats get, the more energy there's going to be for changing the rules of the Senate to no longer allow filibusters.
And and I've heard more talk among legal scholars who used to be against expanding the Supreme. I know, but it's very unpopular, the idea. Well, I mean, it historically, it has been a quagmire that people. Yeah, but let's try again.
During the Civil War, during the Civil War, it went to 10 seats after the civil war with Johnson, who is super unpopular. He was kind of a Trumpy guy during the Johnson presidency. Then the Supreme Court contracted by a couple of seats. This is not out of the bounds of reality under times of intense national division, which is what we had during and after the civil war. And now this would be a time when people are concerned about the Supreme Court.
So I agree with you that it's that it's a pretty assumable, pretty wild idea, but I think it's becoming less crazy than it used to be.
You know, the easiest I think of all time is that there was massive abuses under the Trump era and we need to fix them.
And this is one of the ways we fix them to deal with corruption, lawbreaking. There's a phrase that Jack Balkin, who's a Yale law professor, he says constitutional right. Basically, our institutions of government have rotted. And and he said and he thinks he's an optimist. He says, well, after right. And after things get broken, then that's an opportunity to fix things. And I said to him on our podcast, I said, well, I don't know, we're halfway there and things are all broken.
So that's great. 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.
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Welcome to New London today, hot topic, would you choose to live in a utopia like Brave New World? First up, freedom or security? Jane says freedom for sure can look after myself. Thanks, Jim. Next, happy and oblivious are unhappy and aware.
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Mara Gay is a writer and member of the New York Times editorial board covering politics and all things New York. The piece you wrote about having covered just really stayed with me. So I was curious. I have a lot of questions about it. Like, one, can we talk about, like, you deciding to write about it because you come from the editorial world and to go into the personal. Not everyone does that. So I'm curious to know how you decided to talk to me about.
Yeah, sure. I think there's a selfish part to it, which is that it helps me to process what I've been through and really also start to let go of it and own that experience, something that really, frankly, has been terrifying for me and for so many people and continues to be a source of trauma and fear for way too many people around the world right now. But I think also people become journalists for different reasons. And some people love to write about fashion.
Some people love to travel or they want to be. War correspondents are adrenaline junkies for me. Public service, sticking up for vulnerable people, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable has always made me tick and got me going. And so I just felt this great urgency to tell other Americans at a time when the president was sending the opposite message that this is really a serious, deadly virus and that it's not the flu.
You got it. What month did you get it? I got it April 17th. So really early, like when people in New York were still it was the peak in New York, actually.
So it was exactly the peak. And you don't know how you got it.
Right, because that's what I really don't know how I got it. My doctors essentially say we got it from New York. You know, my boyfriend is a little bit younger. And so that's a possibility. It's also possible a couple of people in my building had covid. So it was really in that time period where we didn't know the public didn't really know how easily transmitted it was through the air. Apparently, Donald Trump knew. So that would have really helped me.
Why won't Woodward release those tapes? I mean, why wouldn't he or what for? You mean the full tapes? Now he has more tapes, too. That's a great question. I really struggled with that whole ordeal. I have a real problem with journalists keeping public information that's clearly in the public interest from the public really made me very angry, really. Also just I don't know how you feel about this, but this whole trope about the elite media, I mean, this is exactly why people talk about I had trouble kind of imagining and I don't know that this is the case, but I thought of Bob Woodward at dinner parties in Washington telling his friends, oh, make sure you get a mask while the rest of us are running blind.
I don't really make a habit of being a media critic. I just kind of bad for him. But in this case, it kind of sent me into a rage and see, that seemed obvious to me. I don't know.
So can we talk about you are super healthy. And one of the really important things about your coronavirus story is that you are not a person with a pre-existing condition. You are not on house. You're someone who's, like, super healthy and a runner. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I feel like that is such an important message.
One thing, knowing that we're on the same page about this, but it's not that people who have pre-existing conditions or disabilities don't deserve to live either.
But we were sort of couched in this idea that if you were healthy, you would be healthy and that it's not true.
What people need to know is that you're rolling the dice with this because you do not know how your body is going to react by just turned thirty four and healthy. I'm a runner and psychologically and emotionally, it's just been very difficult because I've been made aware of my privilege as a healthy person. And things that you don't think about require a lot more energy and thought, talking on the phone, going for a run. I'm back to that now. But I really have wanted at times to just like crawl out of my body and I'm getting stronger and stronger and I'm expected to make a full recovery eventually.
It'll be six months tomorrow. But I'm still living with some symptoms that I mean, breathing is pretty elemental, too, right? It's scary. And it's also just it gives you a lot of grace for what other people go through. So, you know, when I see people without masks on the street, if I had the lung capacity, I would scream at them like I don't get you know, I want to wear a button. It's like asking, why aren't you wearing that?
It's so funny because I had a similar experience. I lost one of my vocal cords just through a series of weird. One of my kids got strep throat. He gave it to me. It infected the vocal cord, which is this thing that happens in like one in a zillion people. My vocal cord got paralyzed and like, died. Yeah. And I couldn't speak for like seven months. I mean, I would be able to whisper, but that was it.
And then slowly my other vocal cord came back and took over. But it was so weird. It took so much more energy to talk and it just change the calculus of my entire life in a really interesting way.
That's that I'm really glad that you have obviously recovered. We know that you have your voice back in a multitude of ways, which is wonderful, but I know how scary that is. I actually had not to get to medical jargony, but I had a terrible reaction to a steroid in August and I was on for my lungs and it caused. Essentially like thrush, like babies get in my throat, and it triggered vocal cord spasms that went on for seven days, so I can totally I mean, it felt like I was being choked from the inside so I can totally relate.
And it was terrible. And then it stopped. But, yeah, it's like you don't think about these things. And I think in this case, the thing that's really frustrating to bring it back is like this is an entirely preventable disease, if not an act of God or nature. I think the idea that some people refuse to wear masks so that others can live or be healthy is at the heart of what is wrong and sick in this country right now.
No, I totally agree. And I want to talk for a minute about the piece you wrote about paramedics, because this is like an obsession of mine, too, because I feel like anyone who lived in New York in March and April knows what these paramedics have been through. But I'm curious to know what it was like, how they're dealing. I mean, this group has taken so much abuse in a way.
Well, you know, it's really interesting in this country who we think of as essential and who we give respect to. And for a long time, it's been the military and rightly so cops and firefighters, especially after 9/11 in New York City. And I have a lot of respect for those groups as well. But I think it became clear in the pandemic that there's a whole constellation of other folks that we rely on to keep society moving who are doing jobs that are also sometimes dangerous, even like sanitation workers and EMS workers and MTA workers.
MTA workers are another great example. And they got hit extremely hard. All those groups did immigrant day laborers. The list goes on. Nurses, not just doctors, nurses, EMTs are already EMS workers. Paramedics and anti's are already in group in New York that, in my opinion, don't receive their fair respect or fair do. So I've actually been writing about them for several years now, really been pushing hard for pay parity with firefighters. The EMS workers in New York are part of the fire department.
And as fires have actually decreased in the city over the years, medical calls have increased and the level of skills is just extremely high. And yet they don't have the same benefits or make the same salary or really get the same respect as firefighters. And so I had already kind of been plugged into that scene. And then when the pandemic hit, seeing people who I've interviewed and have actually like gotten to know a little bit over the years, seeing these workers, many of whom, by the way, it's a majority female and a majority minority for single parents.
These are working class people who really are passionate about what they do. They're helpers, first responders, seeing them have to go out on the front lines without the proper protection because the Trump administration just left us to die. I just have a like anger over that that I still am trying to kind of process. And in fact, one of the women that I have focused on I've written about several times was on a ventilator for two months, Crystal Cadet, that she's actually she survived and is recovering just like me.
So I think we're going to be unraveling all the ways that this is affecting people and all the trauma for some time. Oh, yeah, no question.
I think that's definitely true. I mean, I think about this all the time. There's going to be like an enormous population in America that is going to have issues for a long, long time.
Totally. And all kinds. I mean, kids who lost parents. Right? People who need medical care, people who need flexible work hours. It just the list goes on.
Yeah. I mean, I just think, like, I lived in New York during 9/11 and I'm I'm a little older than you and I'm about I'm eight years older than you are. So but I was twenty three when it happened and thirty one hundred people died and we spent so much time mourning them. And this is an order of magnitude more. I can't wrap my head around that.
Yeah, well that's right. And the trauma is ongoing. So we haven't even been able to stop as a city or a country other than a moment of silence and pay respect and mourn. And I think one of the really painful tragedies about this pandemic is especially as a New Yorker going through something so horrible and not being able to be with one another, even as a larger community. People who live in New York City, I think it just attracts a certain kind of person who a lot of people here we enjoy talking to strangers.
You see, I who work at the bodega as your friend and your neighbor, your doorman, et cetera, et cetera. And so we can't even, like, mourn together. No.
I mean, I remember 9/11 like hugging people on the street, and you can't do that. It feels to me I agree. It's interesting to meet this mayoral race. Can we talk about the mayoral race for a second? So twenty, twenty one is going to be a huge deal. Do we think my while he's going to get in the race, do you have thoughts about how this is shaping up? I do think she'll get in the race.
I actually feel super. I don't know if excited is the right word. I feel really good about where the city is at in terms of who's running and the kind of people we have who are vying to be mayor. In some ways, the bar has been set so low by Donald Trump, like it makes even Bill de Blasio look good, like he's coached on that for like a long time. But it's there. But actually, in this case, you have folks.
Who are well known or not, Katherine Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, looks like she's running. That would be amazing because sanitation is such an issue in New York.
Yeah. Also, just like the idea of a woman mayor, a female mayor is cool. She's a good manager. You have folks like Maya Wiley, who I think are going to really elevate the race. You have Eric Adams and Scott Stringer again.
Right. I know I have a lot of respect for him, but he is like I do remember in high school, he was running for mayor. The funny thing about Scott Stringer, I would say, is like, don't underestimate Scott Stringer, because years ago, back in twenty thirteen, the good old days, I was working at the Daily News my first year at City Hall. I was covering the mayoral race, but I was also covering Scott Stringer's race against Eliot Spitzer.
And Eliot Spitzer had a ton of money, obviously huge name recognition and wildly popular with black voters. And I just watched Scott Stringer just eek it out. I mean, I watched voters like he's a great retail politician. He's been to every community board meeting. I think the more the merrier in this case, because I think competition is great for the city. But I just think it's great because you have civically minded individuals with bigger ideas who really love New York.
And I don't know that de Blasio loves New York. And I feel like. So this is like we're in good shape. You know, I don't really have a horse in the race yet, but we'll see if it is true.
I mean, it is so weird to have a mayor who doesn't love New York.
It's just strange to because it's like New York is not an easy place to live. I've never really understood that. You have to really love it to live here and then, like, let alone to be mayor, he doesn't go to any of our restaurants. Root sports teams like candy, eat pizza with a fork. There was the whole groundhog episode. I just seem to be a bad fit.
He killed the groundhog. And then what else? What are you working on this week? Can you tell us?
Oh, gosh. Well, I just. Yeah, I mean, I just put up a couple of pieces this week, one about the ballot situation in New York. We really want this is actually important. If you guys could include just as any New Yorker who is able to and really I would say anyone in the country who was able to if you're able to do so safely, please vote in person. And if you are able to do so early, please vote early in person.
How do you vote early in New York?
So starting October twenty fourth in New York, you will be able to walk into your polling precinct just like you would on a normal November Election Day, and you'll do the exact same thing that you always do. And you can just look up your polling precinct at NYC dot gov and you can find it right there and it's super easy and there shouldn't be any crowds. And so that's really the best. It's new in New York, but other states are way ahead of us.
And so if you're able to do that, that's that's really the best thing to do. And if not, I'm definitely doing that. Then just make sure you do it early, do your absentee ballot early and make sure it's got the right information on it.
Jesse, we're definitely doing that vote. Doug has a place where anybody could sort of go on and plan to vote is vote. Doug was the brainchild of Obama. Right.
But there are a lot of great groups that are doing this work. Just make sure you're not going to, like, vote Russia or be good to go.
So who's your fucked up guy for today?
Oh, it's the caucus of the stupid Eric Swalwell, a big friend of the pod, did a resolution for the peaceful transition of power, basically saying, let's just do what's written in the Constitution. And the caucus of the stupid voted against it. It was unanimous agreement except for the caucus of the stupid, which is Louie Gohmert, Thomas Massie, Steve King, Matt Gates, Clay Higgens.
When your stupidity is too much that you're even abandoned by Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy.
Pretty damn. That's pretty fucking dog. Kind of amazing. I would like to go ahead and give my fuck that guy this week to miss Mendacity, who has just two days since the debate ended lying to reporters as she has what to do about things like finding ballots in ditches and rivers, which was apparently a completely made up horseshit story that Donald Trump saw on someone sent it to Gateway Pundit from from a website called Something like Patriotic Patriots, Eagle for Moorgate, nine thousand biz dot gov.
Are you? And standing up at the podium absolutely denying the most amazing terms, the president's continued flirtation and my flirtation. I mean, they've been at a cheap hotel room fucking for three days with white supremacists. It is an astounding display of just how corrupt this White House is.
Yeah, it's amazing. Well, and then also she lied about she said that Amy Amy Barrett was a Rhodes scholar when in fact, she had gone to just Rhodes College, Rhodes Scholar, Rhodes College, you know, same def.
Yeah, except not not not the same at all. Except not even a little.
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. 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 John Fast and he is the Rick Wilson. Thanks so much for listening. And we'll see you again on the next episode.