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[00:00:00]

The senators remain in D.C., a coronavirus relief bill is back on the table, some people want to spend one trillion. Some people want to spend three trillion. I'm sure by the time this is all over, we'll be up 10, 11, however many trillion. Well, everybody is here trying to spend money. Nobody's pocketbook is safe. We will get into the specifics of each bill being proposed. This is a verdict with Ted Cruz.

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Welcome back to Verdict with Ted Cruz, I'm Michael Knowles, and I got to tell you, Senator, we're going to be talking about a lot of big numbers today. But beyond legislation, there's a really big number on this show. We're now north of 14 million downloads. And beyond that, we have four point seven out of five star reviews. That's our average rating. And I got to tell you, usually for political shows, the lefties come in and they spam you with one star reviews.

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So that is pretty good. So do you think the folks watching this one could could up that to four point eight? You know, it would it would help if they if you could just go leave a five star review on Apple podcast, Google Play Stitcher, wherever you're at. That would be terrific. You can also obviously find us on YouTube all over the place. We'll send you an audio cassette on a carrier pigeon if you like. Thank you so much to everybody who's we don't have we don't we don't have it.

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There are there are no there are no audio.

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I'm so conservative. I'm only looking back in time when we are writing it with a quill pen, though, every every episode. Do you know, by the way, that every time you argue a Supreme Court case, the U.S. Supreme Court, you get not one but two quill pens, what they give the advocates to quill pens?

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That seems like wasteful government spending, but it's very cool. On my on my desk in the Senate office is a cup holder filled with quill pens from arguments. Yeah. You've argued a number of these. I've got to go and see these these quills at some point. And by the way, you know what you can do with a quill pen? What can you do? You can hit subscribe on YouTube. It it may not work. I don't know if it'd be worth trying.

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You could, like, poke at it. We don't want any liability here for damage to your computer screen, but we do want you to subscribe. So go on and ring that bell and hopefully we'll bring that number north of fifteen million or sixteen million or maybe north of three trillion. As we talk about this coronaviruses spending, I would like to pivot a moment to something that I know is on everybody else's mind as well. The fact that you are still in D.C., it is, I think not something that senators are very happy about because the senators are supposed to be home on vacation right now.

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But you're all still in town. Well, actually, not quite yet. So we were supposed to be here anyway. OK, so so this week was scheduled to be the last week and then you go into and that. So actually, vacation is not the right phrase for it. So to be fair, look, now nobody accuses politicians of working too much. But but I will say the usual schedule of the Senate, like in any given week, in any given month, is typically you have three weeks in session and one week that that it's called like the state work period where you're back in the state.

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But if you're doing your job, you're on the road. You're traveling a state like Texas, you're traveling all over the place. So it when you're not in session, you're still working. It's not not exactly relaxing to be going all over the state. So but for the month of August, typically they're five weeks where you're not in session and you plan all sorts of different. You plan trips, you plan events, you plan all sorts of things.

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Now, in covid, it's a little weird because, yeah, scheduling anything is difficult. One of the strange things about the Senate. So we don't know if there's going to be a deal between the House and Senate.

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We don't know what's going to happen. This is specifically on a covid stimulus relief package. And so at this point, I think probably what will happen is most senators will go back to their states next week. OK, and what leadership has said as well, if there's a deal cut, we'll give you 24 hours notice. You come back, you got to come back. And it's so where does that stand? Because I know there have been a lot of deals on the table.

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Nancy Pelosi had one, then Mitch McConnell had one. Then some Senate Republicans have disagreed with the Republican plan. So who would do that? I can't imagine. What kind of rabble rousers are you? Some guys. There you go.

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I would I would never. What is I mean, even before we get into the merits of just what is in those different plans. All right. So Nancy Pelosi's is the biggest and it's a bill that the House passed a couple of months ago. And it's over three trillion dollars. About three point four trillion dollars was three trillion between four. And look, even in federal government terms, that is a crap ton of money. Yeah.

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That was a bill, frankly, that she didn't negotiate with senators, she didn't talk to Republicans, she just passed it on a party line vote. And it's basically every gift she can give to to her party supporters. It's intended to be a campaign. I mean, I saw one story that she she had a handout to the marijuana industry to help cure covid. So the word marijuana appears more frequently in the Nancy Pelosi bill than does the word jobs.

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And I guess if you're high enough, you don't notice that you're unemployed again. Yeah, I mean, there is a certain kind of Nancy Pelosi Pelosi sense to it. Yeah, that's right. You know, it is. So that's that's one bill as the House version doesn't sound great. The Senate version that was drafted by Senate Republican leadership, as is only a trillion, so it's really a bargain. This deal, I mean it. And unfortunately, it has many of the same elements, it doesn't have all of the I mean, look, they throw into the Nancy Pelosi bill voting by mail, they threw all these powers have nothing to do with coronavirus, but they figured out, let's make all our special interest happy.

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The Senate version spends a trillion dollars, so it sends everyone a twelve hundred dollar check again. Does that does that again. It really keeps the people in the paycheck protection program. So it spends more on that. This is basically for businesses to keep people employed.

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It it sends about a hundred billion dollars to schools. Now, mind you, many of the schools that are saying they're not going to open, so it's not clear what they need. A hundred billion dollars to not teach our kids. Well, but the teachers unions still need money. It's and so there's all these different pockets of money. And right now. There are a couple of areas of disagreement. One is just price tag, the difference between one trillion and three point four trillion, I've joked they're going to compromise and spend five.

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Yeah, like like like that. Right. So is there an alternative to these these. Well, as it so happens, I rolled one out today and at the Senate lunch today, I addressed my Republican colleagues and I said, look, my principal criticism with both the Pelosi bill and the McConnell bill is not just the price tag on the price tag is too much, but but it's a more fundamental concern, which is neither of these bills are focused on jobs.

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Yeah. We've seen 51 million Americans lose their jobs in the last four months. I mean, you and I in our lifetimes, that's never happened last time we've had numbers like that with the Great Depression.

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Yeah, that that number is so huge. And, you know, every week it's ticked up from 20 to 30 to 51 million American workers. It's staggering. And so the most. Problematic aspect of the Keres Act, and I look, I voted for the Kharas Act, it was 96 to nothing in the Senate. So every Republican, every Democrat supported it. I supported it. Bernie Sanders supported it. Teres Act is the first relief bill. It's the first big one.

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There were a couple of smaller ones, but the Kahrizak was a big bill that had lots of elements, some that some that were pretty good, some that were not. The worst element was concerning unemployment compensation. There is a federal plus up of six hundred dollars a week now. Now, what does that mean? So we've had an unemployment compensation system for a long time where if you lose your job, you can file for unemployment and you get a percentage of your wages typically, and it's administered at the state level.

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So you don't get 100 percent of your wages. You typically get a much smaller percentage. So it's designed to help you like make ends meet, but not be comfortable. But, you know, it's not designed to be a permanent situation. Well. In the Kahrizak federal government, plus that up 600 bucks a week here in the state of Texas, let me give you some specifics. Used to be the maximum of unemployment was five hundred and twenty one dollars a week.

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Yeah. Add six hundred new federal dollars, that takes it from five twenty one to eleven twenty one a week. Now, 11, 2001, a week that works out to about fifty eight thousand dollars a year. That's about twenty eight dollars an hour. Now, look, if you're if you're a doctor, if you're making a hundred bucks an hour, twenty eight dollars an hour is not deeply attractive. But if you're working in an hourly job, if you're working at a movie theater, if you work at a bowling alley, if you're a waiter or a waitress and you're making nine, 10, 11 bucks an hour.

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No. Suddenly, the government is paying you more and a lot of instances, a lot more not to work than to work. So why do they put that in the bag? It seems to me they put that in the bill. I don't think it's a coincidence that it's an election year. So, look, shoveling money out of Washington is something the Democrats are good at. Right. And in this instance, I think it's the most cynical portion.

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So in the end, the Nancy Pelosi version, it just continues that six dollars plus up just just keeps going and going and going. And there's a reason for that. I think Pelosi and Schumer have decided that the way they win in November. Is it 51 million people are still unemployed. Their objective is shut the entire country down, shut every business down, shut every school down, and have everyone sitting at home alone and broke and unemployed and pissed off and depressed and pessimistic about the future.

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And I think they think, bingo, Joe Biden wins if that happens. And so every bit of the of the Democratic bill is designed to make sure nobody goes back to work. They don't want anyone to go back to work. Now, the stupid thing about the Republican bill. Is it has the same ideas, it just spends less money. I mean, we basically take Pelosi's agenda and say, well, we're going to be cheaper, we'll do the same things right.

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We just won't fund it as well.

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But and I urge Republican senators today, I said, look at a battle to be Santa Claus. The Dems will always outbid us. There's no limit to how much money they will borrow. So and try to give away, so here's what we ought to do instead. Yeah. Is what to bring jobs back, which means we ought to be cutting taxes, cutting regulations from small businesses, millions of small businesses shut down during this crisis. A lot of them are just starting to open, but they don't know if they're going to survive.

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They're scared whether it be cutting taxes, cutting regulations so that those small businesses can open and they can rehire their employees and they can survive. Yeah. So I introduced a bill called the Recovery Act, and it is focused instead of just spending cash, it's focused on reducing taxes and reducing regulation to get people back at work. So what are some of the elements of the Recovery Act?

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Eliminating the payroll tax for the rest of the year. That has an immediate effect of giving every worker in America raise right now and your next paycheck, you get a raise and and it makes it doesn't it's not that it only gives the workers a raise. It also incentivizes the employers who pay part of that to rehire their work. So half the payroll tax is paid by the employer, half is paid by the employer. So it makes it less expensive for employers to have employees and the employees get a raise.

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And that is an incentive then for people to go work. It's an incentive for small businesses to hire employees. But not only that, the Recovery Act also says for the next ten thousand dollars you earn this year, it's totally tax free. No federal income tax. Again, that's that's it's about a marginal incentive. If you look at economics, you look at basic principles of economics. What matters are the marginal incentives, the incentives on if you do X, what is your reward or your detriment?

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OK, and it's funny because that that's a it's a technical point you're making. So I want to make sure we're getting it right, because it seems so simple, you know, in the Democrat bill or I guess even in the Republican leadership bill, it's just about tossing money out. Whereas here it's very simple, just on the margins. If you want to see an action, you need to incentivize that action. If you want more work and want more jobs, you want to incentivize more work and more jobs, make it more profitable for employees and for employers to have more work and more jobs.

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Yeah. And look, I've said a bunch of times, you know, the little book, everything we need to know in life, we learn in kindergarten. We know that. We know that our home or with our family, if you want if you want your kids to to do the dishes, you say, I'll give you five bucks to the dishes like that when you get your candy or whatever. It's whether it's characteristic. Right. What the Democrats are doing is incentivizing, not working to give you this.

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I mean, the stats are amazing. Right now, 68 percent of the people receiving these unemployment benefits are making more.

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From unemployment than they were making their jobs, 20 percent are making twice as much. And, you know, when we when we passed the Kahrizak, we actually had a Republican amendment at the time, very reasonable common sense amendment that said simply capped unemployment benefits at whatever whatever you you're making. Just said you shouldn't make more on unemployment. It shouldn't be more profitable than working. Right. Even that has significant disincentives to work. But we said, OK, look, at a basic minimum, let's not pay people more not to sit at home.

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Yeah, we had a big debate on the Senate floor. So Dick Durbin, who's really one of the smartest and most capable Democrats, he is a worthy adversary. And he and I have debated many issues many times. He's on Senate Judiciary with me. And we go round and round a lot. You know, that's interesting because I pay attention to the Republican senators much more than to the Democrats there. There are some who seem not particularly impressive.

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You're saying Dick Durbin is is one of the more Durbin. That's a smart guy. And one of the things that's that he's good at is he sounds quite reasonable. He doesn't sound as shrill as some of his colleagues he is, but he doesn't sound it. And that makes him more effective. So he was down there and I was making this argument on the Senate floor and he came back and he said, you know, that just shows the problem with Cruz.

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Cruz thinks that the people who've lost their jobs are lazy jerks that just want to sit on the sofa and don't want to work. And he's insulting every person who's lost their job in this crisis. Is that what you said? I am. I must have missed that. Well, and it actually was a great illustration of the argument back and forth of a lot of the differences between Democrats and Republicans, because Durbin was doing what demagogues do often, which is which is turning it into a morality play where you're saying that these people are bad and evil and shiftless.

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And I actually got up and respond and I said, no, I'm actually saying exactly the opposite, which is people are rational and they respond to incentives. And we need to think about what those incentives are. And you know what? You're a single mom.

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And let's say you're waiting tables and suddenly the government pays you twice as much money to stay home, you love your kids, so you're going to respond to that incentive. Of course you are. And it's not that it's not that you're lazy. It's like if you tell anyone, I'm going to say it twice as much to do X and Y, most people say, alright, I'll do X. Yeah, but that's not helping those individuals. It's not helping the small business.

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It's not helping the economy. But I think Pelosi and Schumer fine with that, because they don't want anyone to work right now. They want everything shut down. Right. I want to mention a couple of other elements in the Recovery Act are important. Health savings accounts, OK? So really important part of health care reform, tax advantaged account that you could save to pay health care costs. Here's the problem. Federal law makes it illegal for anyone to have a health savings account unless they have a high deductible insurance policy and most people don't.

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So the overwhelming majority of Americans are not allowed to have health savings accounts. One of the things I have in the Recovery Act, every American can have a health savings account, and that lets you look at the time of pandemic. People are worried about health care for their family. It lets them have save for health care in a way that that is tax advantage to meet their needs. I have a health savings account. I love it. Most Americans are not allowed to him.

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We can change that school choice. As you know, I'm passionate about it. I have legislation that that that provides that that you get a federal tax credit for contributions to scholarship granting organizations and K through 12 education so massively expands choice for parents, particularly for parents. Like if you're sitting there in your school is not teaching, you ought to be have the choice is to find something else to teach your kids. Right. These are policies that are pro-growth, pro jobs that that are consistent with conservative principles.

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And actually, to be fair, the school choice proposal that I have is right now in Mitch McConnell's bill. So that's an element. He took my legislation good and included it. Now, I'll confess, I'm quite worried. The teachers unions hate my bill. So I'm quite worried that the Democrats, if there is a deal, will say, hell no, and that leadership will negotiate in a way that it's basically trade bait. So they're including it, but they aren't going to fight it, fight for it.

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Right. So but that would be a very important reform. Right. Even the fact that that exists. Right. There are provisions of these bills that are just there to use as leverage when you're negotiating with the other side. Sometimes, certainly.

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Yeah. So you'll you'll be you'll either go home or you'll stick around here. But eventually the Senate will have to come in and vote on this and we'll see what's in the final.

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Well, maybe there may not be a deal. Really. I don't know. I'm not convinced Nancy Pelosi wants a deal. It's I think they've made the decision. They may have made the decision do no deal insists on give us everything. Even as bad as Republicans are, like surrendering 100 percent is too big and ask. And I think the Democrats made the political judgment will blame it all on them, will make it really tough until the election for the country and then they think they're going to win.

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If that's the case, if everyone is at home and broke. Yeah, that's how you have a terrible election. And what I'm urging the president when I'm urging Republicans is, look, I get what Nancy Pelosi wants, that, yeah, I understand the political self-interest. It's cynical. It hurts millions of Americans, but I understand why she's doing it. Why would Republicans be complicit like they're willing to help Republicans? Are we lemmings? Are we all rushing off the same cliff going, yes, please, let's crash on the rocks below?

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What's up with that? Well, unfortunately, I think certainly for some people that that's exactly what they're doing.

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But by the way, did you ever read Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? I actually never have, albeit a classic. All right. Just for the record, that makes me far geekier than you. I was going to say, but OK, so it's three series. The second one is restaurant at the end of the universe. And there is a scene when when if I remembering. Right. I haven't read this in 30 years, but if I remember right, there's a scene where they're sitting at the restaurant and up to the table walks.

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A creature that identifies this creature has been bred with a something that talks and a cow and a lemming. So it's able to speak and it's suicidal and walks up and says, so I'm for dinner tonight and let me tell you. So my hindquarters are very, very tender. And I've been and like your dinner discusses with you which portion of the dinner to be served. And so it just with the lemming example, it that's an image of the Republican Party.

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Perhaps sometimes it's a little bit we're walking up going, OK, so which you know, here is where you should go after us here. Yeah, that's sad. But unfortunately I think and by the way, comedy is incredibly potent. Yeah. Especially because the left is destroyed comedy. Yeah. Right. Like, like you and I were talking last night.

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I love Saturday Night Live. I grew up watching Saturday. Oh yeah. There are some great eras of that show. It is. Have you watched young Eddie Murphy on Saturday was terrific when he's like 19 years old and just such a talent. Yeah. And by the way, SNL on comedy has been spectacular, but it's not funny anymore. Yeah. Because their only script is we hate Donald Trump. It's just it's a screed and it's like, okay, look, are there jokes to tell about Donald Trump?

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Sure. One or two. But when it all just becomes right. Rage. Yeah. Or, you know, after after Hillary lost, they had that nauseating sketch where they're playing Hallelujah and just crying.

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And it was it was it was the humor coming in.

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I don't you look at the late night hosts. I mean, I love listening to, you know, Johnny Carson and Leno and and I like jokes at my expense. I laugh at them. The late night host or not. The one exception I would say is, is Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy Fallon tries to be more even handed, is a little more old school about the job. But, you know, Colbert is just a unwatchable. It is liberal ID.

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Yeah, raging. And how about just be funny again? And so what that means, though, is there's a huge space for humor. Yeah. That's not Marxist. Like that's just not woak. Yeah. You know, on the topic of humor, we got a compliment from Audie's who says, first of all, both of your timely humor has gotten me through the insanity of 20/20. Thank you, Audie. Appreciate it. Seriously, it's the best way to work on your timeliness there.

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I know that was not timely. There was not at all time when Trump wins. I like the confidence that when Trump wins, do you see absolute chaos in the big cities occurring again? Is anyone preparing? I have guns. Don't worry about me. Just don't like seeing America burn.

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You know, there's there's a Freudian concept of projection that that what you're doing, you accuse others of doing. Have you noticed all the Dems and all the media saying, what if Trump doesn't accept the results of the election? I have noticed that. They still haven't admitted who won 2016. They haven't admitted who won 2000, for that matter. Well, there is that. And by the way, Stacey Abrams is a damn fine. She's won Georgia.

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She's doing a great job. Like they're literally it just this alternative reality where it did you see what was it? There was a I only read the headline, so I may get the details wrong, but it's close enough for government work.

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I guess they were doing political war games where they had John Podesta, who's chairman of Hillary's campaign. This was in New York who was playing Joe Biden and in the war game, refused to accept the outcome of the election. And they had them like, what was it, California, Oregon and Washington seceding from the union? Yeah, because Biden lost. Well, you know, when they introduced this scenario, which, you know, who am I to doubt the mainstream media, they said John Podesta, they expected in this war game for him to concede on election night, just as he did in 2016 on behalf of Hillary.

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But he didn't. People forget this. He didn't concede on election night on behalf of Hillary. He came out and he said, we'll wait to see what the results are and say, why didn't Hillary speak that night?

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She I think she was probably a little upset in whatever hotel room she was when I do you know of any other campaign where the the candidate doesn't speak, where you send to. I mean, that's weird. Just like for the record, John Podesta's exact words were, you know, Hillary, you know, Hillary's he or she thanks you so much for being here for her because she's always here for you. And I thought at the time I said, except right now, when it's most important for her to show up on stage, she refused to do it.

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Where was she at? Listen, I. I have been in campaigns where I want I've been campaigns where I lost. By the way, winning is much better. I've heard that even close. But, you know, in every instance on election night, you come out and talk to the people like like that's a pretty basic social compact. So if Trump wins re-election, yeah, which I hope he will, I think he will, but I think it's very volatile.

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I'm worried about this election. If Trump wins reelection, I think the left will go in paroxysms of part of how they've rationalized the last three and a half years as they view it as a crazy fluke. Yeah. And their resolve never to let it again. But but their rage, I, I think they lose their minds. Yeah. If he wins and I look at do you see more violence from them. Probably we're seeing violence now.

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I it see I see it as an implicit threat when you have very prominent Democratic politicians, including Joe Biden, who have said we can't take four more years of this. They're referring to the left wing violence in the streets. That sounds a little bit like a threat today. There's reason to be worried. There's reason to be worried. I was hoping you'd make us feel so much better about, but, you know, the reality of it is there's reason to be here and here's the reason to feel better.

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Truth prevails over time. Look, I am an optimist through and through. And I believe that, you know, you and I a couple of weeks ago are out in L.A. with a bunch of iPods and radio shows. Yeah, one of the most interesting is you and I together. Did Dennis Prager show? Yeah. Now, now Dennis is so brilliant. Oh, yeah. So encyclopedic. I got to say, by the way, is an interesting observation.

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Doing the podcast is spoiled me. Yes, I know, because the radio format you had just these little snippets of four or five minutes and then you broke for a commercial. I was like, what do you mean for like six minutes of commercials? But it was just you can't you can't get into it has done a ton of radio before and I never really noticed it until we've done podcast. Or if you don't talk about an issue, you talk about an issue.

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Yeah, but Dennis and I and I think the world of Dennis, but we had actually a substantive disagreement where I made a reference. I said I agree with with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that that that the arc of history bends towards justice. Yeah. And Dennis said, well, I don't think that it'll actually hold on. Michael does a great Dennis Prager impression. So forgive me, Dennis. Now, Senator, I.

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I hear you, but I disagree. I do not believe the arc of history bends toward justice.

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That's wrong. I need a little more time. So he said and he came back and he said, well, where was the arc of history in 1939? Germany. Yeah. And he said, where was the arc of history in the Soviet gulags? Yeah. And I actually came back he had said earlier in the interview, he said, well, well, you know, Ted, disagree with me if you want to. And I said, well, actually, Dennis, I'm going to come disagree with you on that.

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Yeah. You asked where was the arc of history in 1939? Germany. It was on those stark cliffs when our boys scaled the impossible heights and led the world in defeating the Nazi menace and freeing the globe from that evil, where was the arc of history in in Solzhenitsyn's gulag in the hell hole that was there? It was standing before the Brandenburg Gate when Ronald Reagan said, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. Yeah. And and I believe, look.

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Truth doesn't win every skirmish, it doesn't win any bat, every battle it doesn't guarantee. The results in this election. Yeah, and. If Biden and Schumer and Pelosi win this election, we will go through a dark couple of years of some terrible policies.

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Yeah. But I believe over time, truth prevails, and so that's a reason to be optimistic, and there is just in a very basic Christian sense, you know, there is a happy ending to this story. Trouble is, things can get very dark before you arrive at that happy ending. But I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, Senator, that's all the time we have on Michael Knowles.

[00:29:05]

This is verdict with Ted Cruz.