« The Weeds

Weeds 2020: The Bernie electability debate


Welcome to Weeds 2020! Every other Saturday Ezra and Matt will be exploring a wide range of topics related to the 2020 race. 

Since the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders has become the clear frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic primary, spurring lots of debate over whether he could win in the general election. We discuss where the electability conversation often goes off-the-rails, why discussing electability in 2020 is so different than 1964 or 1972, the case for and against Bernie’s electability prospects, and the strongest attacks that Trump could make against Sanders and Joe Biden. 

Then, we discuss Ezra’s favorite topic of all time: the filibuster. Ezra gives a brief history of this weird procedural tool, and we discuss why so many current Senators are against eliminating it.


"Bernie Sanders can unify Democrats and beat Trump in 2020" by Matthew Yglesias, Vox

"The case for Elizabeth Warren" by Ezra Klein, Vox

"How the filibuster broke the US Senate" by Alvin Chang, Vox

"Running Bernie Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity" by Jonathan Chait, Intelligencer

"The Sixty Trillion Dollar Man" by Ronald brownstein, Atlantic

"The Day One Agenda" by David Dayen, American Prospect


Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox

About Vox

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Cox at all then politically Deerfoot hello, welcome to another episode of the weeds, only bucks media packets network I met in places joined today by as recline. This is part of we are going to be doing the weeds on Saturday, at least through the election campaign autumn We still here me and Ezra, talking about campaign, two thousand and twenty in the election season, and that's going to be switching with interviews by Jane Coston, with some of the thinkers and actors, movers and shakers in the conservative world. So we are trying to do more weeds, all Is everything related to that? I do want to make a quick job announcement, which is not specifically weeds, but is a swedish set of topic, so we are airing for a politics reporter and erase reporter advocacy some other jobs up as well, but those are specifically once I wanna put. The weeds audience. Those jobs will only be open if applications for another week or two depending so go to VOX media.
Call, massage careers or just go to expedia dot com and find the careers tab and you'll see them again we're hiring for a politics or race reporter. We are open to people from non traditional backgrounds. We want people from diverse background, so if you have been Interpreting these issues, somehow, if you're a political scientist or an academic- and you want to make a jump to journalism, we do need experience in the fields, but that does not need to be specifically journalistic experience. So go check out box media com careers, whether you have the journalist experience something else. We just want somebody who's going to be great at figuring out what are some of the central topics in american life? All right, so wonder. Talk today about the primary about the Bernie Sanders. Panic- and one thing that's interesting to me- is you might have thought that people would be panicking. That Bernie Sanders is a Willy socialist who will rack the country with his
socialism and, of course Republicans well say that. But when I talk to Democrats around town or you hear the takes on the internet, that is not really what people are saying about him and said they are very concerned that he will lose the election to Donald Trump and then this elect ability conversation. I feel like wines of getting structured around excessive absolutes of language, so you'll have some people you see like James Carvel has been very entertaining about this here, like absolute, guaranteeing that Bernie Sanders can't win an election or then I read Gmail Buoy, making the case for four sanders in the New York Times.
And he has a line where he says you know some people say Bernice Unelectable, but that's wrong. He can win, and I think you know the beginning of wisdom on this- is that Bernie Sanders definitely can win. There's nobody who is on electable in the strong sense of the word were like it is inconceivable that they would win a presidential election. As are you have a good book about pullers Then there is a lot of polarisation and because of that polarization, anyone who wins a major party nomination like really might win right. Let me talk about this. Minute- because I think one thing you want to do here- is used. The Bernie Sanders like to build a conversation to talk about elect ability and how its changing and what we actually know about four for a bit. So it's important to recognise that this, rotation happens in the shadow of Twentyth century american politics, and one thing that happened a couple of different times. Twenty central american politics is the part
is it nominated somebody who is understood to be quite far relative to to their normal candidates to the left or the right person got wiped out so famously it happened to Republicans with very Goldwater weather in nineteen. Sixty four and remember they didn't just lose the presidency that year they had a on ballot massacre, where they lost a huge number of state legislatures. How seat Senate seats and are created innocent Lyndon Johnson, who got the great society done. It was the huge democratically Ladys, following that very Goldwater wipeout, but then a couple later you have Democrats and George Mcgovern, and here too you some who ends up being tarred as quite far to the left. But what happened is he went? He gets destroyed Nixon winds when the biggest landslides ever, but a big part of that is democratic, in order to support next end. There were a bunch of former governors who demagogue democratic governors who, who created a Democrat four Nixon campaign, the aid,
see I oh did not endorse George Mcgovern, which is very unusual things. He would very important democratic, placing constituency sitting out. Why The reason this what happened in those areas? Why was more plausible for Republicans, took to vote for Democrats some in the gold, but a situation, Democrats to infer Republicans and the next and situation is that when the parties were much more, mixed internally? It made more sense to vote for somebody. The other party, I mean your occasionally here now. Democrats talk about Richard Nixon's, relatively liberal domestic accomplishments things exciting. The summit should have happened at a second term too, but he at some point talked guaranteed. Minimum income and universal Health Carry signed EPA into law. He had a lot of things here, That even now look somewhat left for Democrats of of the current variety, not just of of that era, and then similarly, and send it was much more similar and and had an it protagonists. Past more conservative record there was more appealing to Republicans. So what has happened to the parties?
split, a tremendous man ideologically demographically, is it you just don't see that happening anymore and so Donald Trump when he runs and twenty sixteen those this view that that kind of thing will happen to you're going to republican civil war. Republicans will move in droves to vote for moderate extreme Hillary Clinton, but that, of course it doesn't happen, and so before you get into Anything else is really important to recognise that the volatile guilty of american presidential elections has gone way way way down over time. It used to be that an individual state might swing routinely. Eight or nine points between elections announced down to less than two points. So when we talk about whose mostly It will democratic, probably talking with them, origin of two or three percentage points in their performance down a margin of five or ten percentage points, and you know, one thing to say about the the landslide era is that you know people talk a lot about Goldwater and the Tugela Mcgovern, because those are two figures that make sort of useful polemical points.
It is also worth looking at how badly water Mondeo lost in nineteen. Eighty four Dukakis? Yes, but it particularly because Mondeo was not a left wing factional cantered. He was a former vice president of the United States. He I'm sure made some mistakes during the camp but the basic thing that happened. Ninety metaphors, that Ronald Reagan was the incumbent economy was doing well, and so we didn't just get we elected. You know, which is what you would expect at he he crushed mind right in Monday's didn't he didn't like have some crazy, new left wing ideas and he didn't lose as badly as as Mcgovern did, but that just to say that landslides were a structural feature of presidential politics at that point in time, and so they were always possible and a few strayed too far out of the bounds of acceptability. You had this real risk of getting crushed and when people bring that up today, they are just not thinking seriously
that the structure of modern politics right, which justice really important point, features so much less flexibility. The range of possible outcomes way now is is so much smaller than it used to be, and then the flip side, though, that simply making that point, I think, doesn't fully address the elect ability. Concern yeah What's it. Let's. Let me make one more point on this and we can go into the specific like to build a concern, because a point you just made is both interesting really weird serve as a great book by Francis Lee, It's called insecure majorities came out just a couple years ago. I'd I talk about it in my book in and have some chart of great chart from it and something worth appreciating. Is it we are living in by far the most competitive era in american political history, that for most of american Lastly, there has been one overwhelmingly dominant party of for most of the post war era, is republican Party and then that pose new deal array was a democratic party and only been in the past couple of decades. We ve seen routine volatility in control where in
Almost every single action you can imagine the house changing the Santa changing and the present see, changing and we to no longer have these lands sides which, having partially has to do with the parties getting polarized tickets puddings. All us common and people moving from one side to the other is a lot less common, but it's more generally there is a narrowness in how the parties are structured against each other, which is Any unusual and I've talked to a bunch of political scientists about this and try to ask them why, and it is strike but they do not know frantically will tell you that she does not know, and others will also tell you that they don't know and peep of theories maybe a more national media, which is somewhat antagonistic to those powers attends to focus on what's going wrong is playing a sort of like Thermo, static or homeliest. Role which is pushing in against whoever just one and so making these more competitive. But why things are as are as narrowly premised as they are now is? Actually it is both a truth we can really see.
In the data- and it is a mystery. But so when you think about this election coming up, one things it is going to be motivating on both sides want things it is going to pull people out and why things it is just going to be an important part of the background of it is this It is very genuinely up for grabs. The house very plausibly is up for grabs, and the presidency is very much up for grabs and that's just not always been the case in american politics where it is usually didn't, seem likely that one. I mean Democrats control the house for forty years in a row. That kind of thing just doesn't happen now, so that is put everything its raises. X on everything and it might be contributing to itself because it if you are republican in the era of democratic dominance is a little bit demobilizing for you and may be begin voting for democratic as to be able to try to influence who is power, but right now, when power as always, this close to being grabbed her, this close to being lost it is
Some other motivating for both sides. Equally wet incident. You don't, I think, once you should have established that framework election just tend to be close candidate penalty is I think our real but their their modest in scale. Then I think you know it's important to say that the eligibility question can't be fully disentangled. From the merits of people's underlying views, one of the pieces that has contributed a lot to the Bernie Electability literature, a Jonathan that article in which he says that nominate sanders, would be an act of insanity right and I think to get the insanity conclusion you half do have. No sympathy for centres is substantive agenda but which I think is is true of job. But if you like Bernie Sanders, which is what Bernie Sanders supporters do, then you know you would need to convince people who were
were fired up in and feeling the burn, not just that Bernie might have some my old disadvantage compared to a club which are but would have to be a catastrophically large disadvantage, because they, we go in your hat. Could you just make the case in both directions? I mean we ve, we ve both red or talk to people, the Santos campaign, and that we ran a good piece Greek due to want to make the what is the Bernie Sanders theory of liked ability and the like? What is the real counter, not the John a counter, but the road like Literaria counter to that, then I think this sort of two competing Sanders theories of like debility out there. You know one. Would you hear a lot overtly from the campaign? Is simply that you know Bernie, gonna mobilise all these new people and it's gonna constitute a political Evolution that changes, after a landscape and and sweeps him into power, the other
I think, is more a little more were strained and that that I have made myself is simply that look if you look at the appalling, Miss Anders is a well known. Figure is a highly recognition. His favourable ratings, while not great compared to presidential nominees of past cycles, are perfectly good compared to the presidential candidates or in the field right now. So people know who he is. People like him pretty well. His pulling match up with Donald Trump is good and he has run a lot of elections in the past, including you right now. People say hahaha Vermont, but actually, if you look back Ninety ninety ninety one, ninety two ninety may be for from almost the very slightly blue, leaning state back then, and he won several tough waste and these consistently run ahead of democratic party presidential candidates. We can talk about, That is, but I think some of it is that he has a strong reputation for personal integrity which not everybody in politics has and that he has an appeal to.
HU, the kinds of people who are voting for Joe style. Or Gary Johnson or prosperity Ralph nadir. You know people who are not like in two to party politics, and then he also scoops up the vote of orthodox party line Democrats, who may not love him but will accept tat. You know think about people who I know who are like most anti Bernie alive them. Urgent are bitter because I feel that Bernie is not partisan enough. That Bernie, not do enough cheerleading for Hillary Clinton that he stretch things out that he should have of downplayed the threat of Donald Trump in some way but those people dont like Bernie, but they will definitely vote for him, whereas other people who don't like Donald Trump but our kind of sour about the democratic party- they will vote for Bernie and might not vote for Joe Biden nor or Michael Bloomberg. So I think that sort of
fundamentally that the case for Bernie that he may lose some swing voters at here and there to the Republicans, but that he picks up on a of other margins, both non participation but ass. A third party voted. Yes suggest to reflect that, for a minute right now in the primary. We are not seeing evidence of the political revolution. We are nothing huge numbers of first, I'm voters were not sing. Youth turn out, like we never have before. So I dont want to theirs argument, you will hear from Bernie Land that is like he will change all of american politics. Perhaps but there is actually no evidence of it. So let's not do that. But right now, but we are seeing, is Bernie Perform very well as a Democrat, compared to other Democrats that even the people you're talking about mixture of negative partisanship and fear of trump and law Bernie holds a democratic party together on Bernie and then there's this or of the electorate that more or less agrees with the Democrats or doesn't like Donald Trump, but really
not like sort of establishment, democratic party, and they might vote for Bernie to wait exactly. As you know, if you think about how does tromp wind with forty six percent, right. In some of that is the electoral college. He gets two points less than Hillary Clinton, but some of it is he gets forty six percent and its allies. Hilary got fifty four percent trade. He gets forty six and Hilary gets forty eight so who are all those other people, those people. Those third party voters exist in a kind of in between world from Can we conventionally talk about persuasion and how we conventionally talk about mobilization like these? Are people who are invested enough in the political system to show up and vote in presidential? and they are obviously not persuaded by you. The narrative that the Democratic Party is amazing or that Donald Trump is evil that you must vote for. The democratic right and Bernie seems to me of the people in the field, the one who is best suited to pick up those third party voters
no course you know, if you do, the Math you need to third party voters to make up for one demagogy, Opie Switcher, sufficient reason. People don't focus as much on third party voters and this enemy. Such a salient aspect of what happened in twenty. Sixteen is that, despite polarization, despite everything else, you might say, despite a lot of journalists saying the stakes are very high that there was a huge surge in third party voting, and I think that some in democratic seriously and sang Andrews is well designed to address. Ok. So what's the case against Bernie Flexibility, the case against Barneys Elect ability is served by Kate right one is this idea that I have heard a lot from mostly from like never tramper, now, never trump or Bernie operatives that these reams of upper are going to sink Sanders way that we are going to I see that he said something nice about the Sandinistas leaders in nineteen. Eighty, four that we are going
here that he thinks the cuban Revolution had some successes in education policy. That this is going to do, bring him down because its toxic and an American, the other that is more reasonable, is that he has taken a few policy stances during the course of this campaign, that to pull very poorly, am, I think, he criminalizing illegal entry into the United States is toxicology unpopular in every way. That I've seen in the past Opinion Medicare for all is much more mixed, but it is certainly a riskier stance, then sort of public option type stuff racking ban, which a lot of people are nervous about, actually pulls. Ok, right now, but I think there's a specific concern that its regionally bad in the state of Pennsylvania and also that building trade. Means really don't like this idea, and so it could provoke at least us
many Mcgovern ISM, where a substantial portion of the labour movement is suddenly like. Oh no, we don't. We don't like the sky, so that strikes me as a completely reasonable. To worry about all the evidence that we have is that you now taking high profile popular positions, helps you win. Elections taking high profile unpopular positions is not here full and its striking that when you see Ernie's, pollster talk to Gregg Sergeant or even when, listen to Bernie Sanders talk, he doesn't emphasise those positions right like he knows, Decriminalizing illegal entry isn't a good thing to campaign on, because you never talks about it, but he did commit himself to that position which doesn't seem super wise to me. Yet there is a broadway in which Hooligan Castro, including by me in his campaign, has been very respected, but he seems to have like in this one debate, packed the entire democratic field into one of the most unpopular positions that you can take an american politics in its work.
Noting Sanchez Bernie, who took opposition, but Elizabeth Warren and PETE Buddha Judge and basically everybody race are hand at that moment. Not Joe Biden now, not Joe Biden, some people backed off of it later, but it. But I do pregnant one. Other piece of this, which is I want to put a pen may be in this- is Bernie Gonna get against as like an air of Fidel Castro or as a tax and spent Democrat, but we so we published a piece of advice from the book aside. Is David Byrne and and Joshua Calla, and they it's a pretty interesting job of decomposing, a bunch of survey data and what they found is that when you, look at what is happening in the guts of these surveys, which are showing thus Anders performing against Donald Trump as well. Are better than the other Democrats is it Sanders? Is trading support, among likely voters for support among more unlikely butter, so that He gets very high numbers among young voters who would have to turn out at levels
Though even saunter Obama for four for that to come, true, which could happen, but also very much, could not happen whereas a lot of more reliable, suburban, moderate voters who do not like Bernie seem to two to lease of their concern and this piece which This is working off appalling data and one thing we know about campaigns that they tend to bring partisans home on where the other something Bernice pollsters has to get sergeant is there there, our voters nervous about Bernie but on the die if they laugh, they're gonna be turned up Donald Trump anyway, but that concern here is it in the mouth have a good economy where a relatively good economy, whereby a lot of people say that their specific situation, he's going pretty well their competent where the economy is going. If Bernie is me to seem like a somewhat dangerous choice for the economy like somewhat unreliable player. Trump, all flaws is sort of its. The status quo and a lot of people if you look at polling or more or less okay with status quo, and so with Bernie, it's a it's a somewhat dangerous bad that you're going to trade, these likely
out for these unlikely voters who could storm into american politics but campaigns have been run. On the theory that they're gonna show up, and then they don't, but you said to me that you ve talked to other pollsters. You maybe aren't seeing this year. I mean this is none. A universal view among the posters that I've spoken to, I need to do more work to find it exactly what's going on, because I'm not sure they have specifically tested for this, but a number of people. I've spoken to say that in their poles the Bernie Trump match up just looked very similar to the Bernie Biden. Braid sort of conforming to I think, informing, pretty close, to an as recline view of the world like for all these hot takes, like baseline partisanship, is just swamping, absolutely everything and what see is that the candidates are lower name recognition do as well as the well known candidates, but that at least
right now, Bernie and Biden, just pull really really really. Similarly, because people have- I don't know, people have strong opinions about Donald Trump right. But is that an amazing thing I too to argue as a client view of the world right now. I wish people on all sides of this debate would appreciate more fully how, similarly, Bernie Sanders the Democratic Socialist and Joe Biden, Thee mainstream centrist Democrats has been around for ever are pulling. I mean the fact that they are both pulling typically within a point or to have each other against Donald Trump either, suggests in a Broadway vet. Idiotic she's doing a lot less work in american politics and than we think it is. I think one obvious thing about this: is that not only do we have structural forces leading to polarization, but you know, as we're gonna talk about in our final segment
the odds of like the more outlying aspects of the Bernie Sanders agenda passing seem passing, seem awfully dim right hard. It's hard to get me personally worried that Bernie has some national rent control proposal that doesn't make. Sense. But I'm not like sitting awake at night. Terrified that he's gonna get sixty votes in the Senate. For this thing, like that it doesn't. It doesn't make sense to me as a scare stories it's one reason actor that immigration enforcement strikes me as a potent line of attack? Is that something, whereas we ve seen under Donald Trump leg? What the president says, sort of matters a lot anything I want to say about this. As you know, Bernie Brow and these days is that I think mainstreamed grads because they are in stream. Democrats themselves sometimes can blind to how vulnerable their own champions are to attacks white that it's it's not that Bernie doesn't These vulnerability is but like. If job
Is the nominee Donald Trump will be able to say, he is, the only one of the candidates who has never proposed cuts to social security and Medikit, while he has proposed cuts to Medicare, just importantly, but I take it, Democrats will say he's propose. It begin only mean legged. There is a real strength to Bernie Sanders being able to say that he has always supported, preserving and accept. And in social Security and Medicare and Republicans or trying to tear down because Democrats in their own testing have shown is actually very potent to run against this Trump budget proposal on unmitigated that would enact some cuts. There's clips of Joe by, bragging about his willingness to freeze, Medicare Social Security, even veterans benefits in pursuit of a balanced budget. I'm up for electioneering
remind everybody what I did at home, which is going to cost me politically, when I argued that we should free federal spending, I meant social security as well. I meant Medicare Medicaid, I mean means, but I meant every single, solitary thing: the government and I not only tried it once I tried it twice. I tried it the third time and I tried it a fourth time. Somebody has to tell me in here how we're going to do this hard work without dealing with any of those sacred cows, and I don't want to say that an old video clip of Joe Biden is going to sink him any more than I think. An old video clip of Bernie Sanders will sink him but I would rather have an old video clip of somebody talking about obscure nineteen eighties, cold war politics in an unpopular way than about somebody talking about like actual domestic funding, priority
wait in the reason this doesn't get doesn't get read in D C, as an electoral vulnerability for Joe Biden is that support bidding entitlement cuts and supporting the Iraq war were means stream positions. It is true that the popularity of the stances you take matters devoted but what does not matter to voters and what Donald Trump has really proved is like being inside the beltway consensus of what is sensible is not something that people care about and like cross pressured. Voters are not centrists in alike. By partisan policy. Sent cut away so couple things here. One thing I want to note on Donald Trump because I think Donald Trump vowels up this conversation in a very important way. A lot of people take in the pretty Democrats have taken lesson of Donald Trump that
know anything and nothing matters and of Donald Trump can win. Anybody can win and Donald Trump could win like the most extreme candidate probably will win, and it is very important to say that if a Democrat performs into, twenty, the way Donald Trump performed in two twenty. Sixteen sixteen, because of the way like electoral geography plays out, they will get destroyed if a Democrat comes in with point, one percent of the vote to or whenever that accounts, for, as the two parties share of the vote, that is going to go very, very poorly, so it God has to win. As your thing earlier Clinton had what point, one against Donald Trump, forty six point something and she lost is going to need on average, something more like forty, nine or fifty percent compared to Donald Trump's. Forty forty six percent they have to improve Donald Trump seems to have underperformed the republican Fundamental Some a marker, Ruby, our John K, sick may vary. One the popular vote even potentially quite easily and socialist. I think it's real
they were saying that the Trump is a bad path for Democrats, because they don't get this electoral handicap that the job he gets. I, I agree with something your thing a minute ago, which is that I either I know this is the weeds, either you're getting a little too in the weeds and the sense of well Voters know that most of the stuff can get through a sixty votes on it, but other hand, immigration is an executive authority issue. I just don't think people follow procedure, and what doesn't it doesn't happen that closely? What I do think is true. Here, though, is it the kind of attacks that work on candidates tend to be a tax that fit with what people already believe the candidate. So one reason I don't Joe Biden- is actually that vulnerable against Donald Trump on Social security is, it Biden has his middle, plus Joe persona. It is served him well. The democratic Party in General is while trusted on social security, and I think, Republicans trainer. And against Democrats on social security. If Republicans make the mistake of focusing this election on social security, they will lose because
They are up and down a very poorly trusted party on this, no matter what Donald Trump wants to say, and similarly, I dont think these and Mister and Fidel Castro tax are gonna matter. I mean further wanting most Americans do know anything about the sandinistas. The thing is going to be a problem for Bernie Sanders. The two real positions he's taken that I think are gonna really matter. I dont know how to read the frightening thing because, as you say, I think it's complicated is one that criminalizing unauthorized entry on the border, notably one reason Bernie Sanders seems to perform well for very long time is he's done, something that you see in foreign countries all the time and the people talk about Donald Trump doing, but not really doing, which is compared to a lot of members of his party. Bernie Sanders is v very populous funny economics and has been somewhat more resistant on? social issues on race and gender issues. On immigration issues, I mean there are a lot of theirs lotta debating got a primary right now about the role he played in. I think it was the o seven immigration reform bill where he was opposed to it, which was
George W Bush bill, and it was something that Democrats supported End Bernie Sanders opposed to it from the left on a sort of wages dimension, but Sanders has moved sharply left on immigration in the last couple of years, in a way that opens up some vulnerabilities from his way to say Obama soft on immigration, when he to be too Obama's right on immigration. So it is worth noting that as a way he has changed and he's actually vulnerable Cosette Fit. What people believe about the Democratic Party is a potentially apart open borders and a rising majority and so on, but the taxes I think is where centres is genuinely the most vulnerable and because the attack there is true. So if you total Bernie Sanders this agenda and Braun Brown is good piece on this in the Atlantic, it'll cost about sixty trillion dollars over ten years. Just for comparison here, the federal budget is about Four trillion dollars a year. So you do. With a massive increase. I mean an increase bigger than the entire thing that comes from bringing off budget costs on, but
and we can talk- you know we know all this, but Bernie Centres has arguably put forward. About twenty trillion dollars and hypothetical pay forest, though he's not committed to most of them, meet there being options documents you can find so what going to have is Billy. And billions and billions of dollars and adds saying that you know totalling up cost of his agenda, which is genuinely truly the cost of an agenda which is a very, very expensive and then said, what that tax increases going to be probably in a distorted way in terms of how would fall, but if you just average at texting, peace out among people, it's very, very high and so Sanders is not like to talk about when you do try to say to him, he trusts changes subject, but the reason is quite deadly attack. Is it funding mentally it sort of true. He does believe we should have much higher taxes to support a european social welfare style state. I have. I also believe that, but historically in american politics has been. Popular position and if you look we're. Bernie Sanders is very good at turning away in attacking a debate here.
Jordan early good at turning back an attack. That is not true, if you say, Your socialist and the Soviet Union was communist and socialist answer. You you're, like stolen he's like non like Denmark, but if you say you want to raise taxes gets much bigger and he tries to change the subject and so on and that's harder to do, because he can't really Just say that it's not true, he actually holds a different position than most traditionally have on like how comfortable so taxation. That's where I think is real the issues with him, but it's the one that most what's really want to talk about either, because most Democrats do support higher taxes. Silly maybe did You a little bit with him in scale, but do not want really launch an aunt. I tax argument because it it hurts basically everything on the democratic agenda. So the party, I think, has not quite no one had a test to this question but seems to, to be the fundamental one about like if there's really summits, gonna turn off like suburbia, moderate voters. Its can be this fear that super hype
increases which coolly Bernie Sanders does want to fund this agenda. Gonna hurt the economy that has worked in the past against people. Like Mondo right famously he. I tell you, I met a razor taxes. I just dead like whether or not it holds how much power Now, I think, is an open question, but that's where I think that the players weight in and you know tat to put this in context. Wade, total government spending federal state local in the United States is about thirty five percent of GDP total government spending. When in Denmark is about fifty one percent of GDP. So your talk they're about a roughly fifty percent increase in the he'd, like total government spending capacity to go from the United States to Denmark at that's cited different from the method that you got, if you tally up Bernice Particular Programme, but, as you say like,
he says he wants to make. The country like Denmark in Denmark is is great and I bought a ways. They have a lot of good things going on there. There is no denying, though, that taxes are considerably higher in the those high taxes have consequence swayed, that one thing that you see if you go to Denmark is at a meal, middling restaurant in Copenhagen is much more expensive than a similar quality meal in the United States of America. Things like an Ipad COS, more, because the value added tax people have all our cars, they own fewer cars. It's part of the fun fun bicycle culture. They they haven't Copenhagen is that consumer, durable goods cost a lot of money. So more people rely on there and their bicycles? The flip side is colleges nearly free childcare is nearly free. Healthcare is nearly free. You get all that good stuff right, but it's a! U strike a different balance between private consent,
and public services Bernie. As you say, the the power of that attack against Bernie is that it's true Bernie Sanders sincerely believes that the United States would be better off as a not just more egalitarian, but as a more public sir, oriented society and an economy, and I think a lot of people who, like Bernie Sanders agree with right. I mean in the early days five years ago. You would see stories go viral that are like Bernie Sanders says: Scandinavia is good. Here's ten recent Scandinavia is good and you know it's: it's like people both were very online, are pretty into this idea, but the reason at least one of the reasons why the american public sector is so much smaller than the nordic public sector. Is it voters? Don't you to want to make that kind of trade off in it. He's gonna be tough, you know four for him and I We think that, like one big question,
this sort of known unknown in the elect ability debate is how can or will any of these candidates sort of pivot to this There are always Mitt Romney said, shake the edges sketch when they go. The general election. Hillary Clinton really didn t wait. She spent most of our campaign talking about. How terrible Donald Trump was and then trying to convince left wing people that they should be excited about. Her and I think you know there are reasons why she took that approach. I think any nominee will be in a somewhat different, position- and I do think that to win burn- at a minimum didn't need to get back in touch with some of his, like. Oh the campaigning in rural Vermont, moderately skeptical of sort of like woke culture type stuff, because that would be his path to sort of winning back. You know: Obama from voters in the Midwest, some like tat because
inherently hazard, a tough problem on taxes. You move to the vote buster. Let's do it very much talk about the filibuster. If the last year's, how does anything it's that we don't? What will happen next, but there's one thing, I'll, be sure of the only future is one we can all share and leading the charge in building that future mercy corps. With over forty years of humanitarian work under its belt building together is a mercy course. Dna and, as the climate crisis increases their partnering with those on the front lines making resources more accessible to farmers across the globe, string in community is against escalating natural disasters and ensuring people have the tools they need to thrive mercy course doing the work of matters, but they can't do it alone. That's where you and I come in together. We all have the power to reshape the world when it seems like every day brings a new crisis when every news alert makes you want to throw your phone across the room, we may start to feel a little powerless but mercy. Is here to remind us. We don't need to Turkey
merely based action. We can make change. We are nothing if not in this together What's next is up to all of us, learn how you can be a part of what possible at mercy core dot. Org, that's our see why c, o r p s dot org, ought to play something from less democratic debate, because I thought it was the best answer of the debate. But Nobody does moved on from it almost immediately. I've been in the Senate when I seen gun saved, legislation introduce get a majority and then doesn't past because of the filibuster under stand this. The filibuster is giving a veto to the gun industry It gives a veto to be oil industry. It's going to give a veto on immigration and We are willing to dig in and say that, if Miss MC com
is going to do to the next democratic president, what he'd threats to President Obama, and that is trying to block every single. Thing he does that way are willing to roll back to filibuster, go with a majority vote and do what needs to be done, but the american many people on this stage. I do not support rolling dagger filibustering use until we're ready. Senator that I can't say I would allow senators. So I'm a bit of a broken record on this point But we haven't done that many weeds, certainly not as many as like on the filibuster. So I think now is the time, because I think that a boycott of primary gone a little crazy and the sense of how much of it is focused on the differences between the plans of the candidates cannot pass as opposed to one There are plans to pass anything actually are, but what's really gonna matter the next democratic president is functionally how many votes do they have in the house or setting
and then how many votes do they need, which is to say one of the rules governing we do need a majority, a super majority etc. There's a certain amount of present can do for executive authority and I've seen you know the american prospect at a package of big things. It can do like dancing I'll student dead people disagree on this, but a huge amount of these plans. The green new deal plants Medicare for all plans, etc. They all go through legislation. So you need to figure out how you're going to pass out legislation. I want to give a quick, so a capsule, filibuster history here, because I think a lot of people don't quite recognize How unusual the arrow we're living in on this dimension is so the filibusters not cry, did by anybody, it is not like a rule in the Senate. It happens when remember after of killing Alexander Hamilton, which might have heard about in a musical when Ehrenberg pictures of send it to like change its robotic and says you're a great body you've, but but but you're ridiculously over structured as they get rid of something called. The previous question motion so by the way they are in the house and the previous question,
and it's simply a motion that basically allows you to move back to the previous question, to shut down what you're talking about now and go on to something else, so they get rid of that and it is decades before anybody figures out the filibuster, now been created. There is now no rule that lets you stop somebody from talking for a long time. This isn't that big of a deal people You said that often and when they do it really is. The sort of Mister Smith goes to Washington approach. That is just procedural war about how long somebody's talking on the floor. My favorite story like this in nineteen o eight Thomas Gore, whose assented and he's blind is filibustering. A currency bill any as support from another Senator William Stone, I'm Igor, tries to yield the Florida stone but does not notice, because he is blind that stone has left the room. And so in that moment, dissenters, I ha ha and takes a vote and ends this filibuster because he didn't have somebody to yield to. So it's not until nineteen. Seventeen on closer comes into play on. That's because had been filibusters tooth,
of which Wilson's efforts to begin to engage America in World WAR. I he calls a special session of the Senate, convince him to create the culture rule. The culture rule at that point requires a two third Further the Senate, it's an until nineteen seventy five that it goes down to its current professor sixty votes number and even for most of this period, the filibuster is very a very rarely used. So, according to official records from nineteen seventeen nineteen, seventy the Senate took in total in total forty nine votes to break filibusters an average of slightly less than one each year and for most disappeared. The filibusters being used by southern Democrats, two blocks of rights efforts from twenty thirteen to twenty fourteen just those two years. It had to take two hundred and eighteen votes to end filibusters,
the twenty seventeen to twenty eighteen sessions of the most recent session had one hundred and sixty so there's been this unbelievably huge rise and how often their filibusters and how often their votes to break filibusters. So we now live in the world which we did not used to live in, where it used to be that most things in the Seneca Pass with fifty one votes and the except like civil rights were rare and were often awful, but they were rare, Medicare. There's this great memo from inside Lyndon Johnson Administration talk about how they expect Medicare can pass with fifty five votes after the nineteen sixty four election, because you don't expect it to be, Le Bustard evidence a passable even more than that. So this thing where we now have a six threshold on everything is new, and it means basically that almost no party ever has a capacity to pass anything. There are a couple ways to get around a filibuster like can do a budget reconcilation bill once a year which is very constrained and has all these weird problems, but there is no version of a democratic, big democratic agenda. That's going to pass in a Senate with the
the buster I'm, but a lot of long time. Senators like the filibuster, including democratic senators, Bernie Sanders, he said, he's not crazy the idea of ending with filibuster, Joe Biden likes to filibuster, Amy Club, which are likely to filibuster, Senator Chuck humour that minority leader says he began Even a small amount Democrats did weaken the filibuster in twenty thirteen. So it's that's one, a part that she's pretty aggressively trying to urge people to get rid of the filibuster. But this is something done: don't do that. All these debates about their legislative agenda are basically boot, because our either knock send it all. They can gonna fifty one fifty two votes, which is give them nearly enough power to best anything like what they're talking about. Yes, other that fact that the filibuster will prevent them from an eating and Elizabeth worn agenda is, I think, one of, reasons why democratic senators will be happy to keep the filibuster right. I mean when I have spoken to a couple of members of the United States Senate, and they
we'll say very clearly that they are not excited about enacting the Me Sanders sixty trillion dollars in new spending that we were discussing previously, but that they also would not want to fight for, and sanders about all that, but they are very comfortable with a reality in which he is the president. He gets to keep talking about how he believes healthcare should be a right and there is no bill because you know they're just can't be that that suits them very well and, in fact, makes them feel more. We ashore and about being able to campaign for the ticket- and you know be happy Democrats knowing that all this stuff is kind of move right. I think Lee regrets about Democrats curbing oh buster, for executive branch appointees and introduce Laplante is, is a little different. That's just a plain like shoes on the other foot kind of thing right like when broke a bomb, was President Truman
felt that making it easier to get his appointees confirmed was a good idea now, the Donald Trump as president- and he can't do anything- to sort of force trumpeted rain himself in he kind of regrets it. By the same token, like Democrats again, we really be whether its centres are Warren or Biden or whoever else that they can staff and executive branch if they control the Senate. But you on legislation, its books, the moderate senators like the idea of not being put in the hot seat and also interest groups, are risk averse right. So pro choice groups have been very sceptical available. Performers over the years and one reason they're skeptical came up just this past week, where it's like, like without the filibuster a twenty ago portion and would have passed the Senate and would have been signed by Donald Trump, and so they say you know, thank God, for the US. And you know their, but further the grace of God go us too
it seems a little and compelling I mean it's like well. The filibuster makes it impasse for us to enact our popular ideas when we win, but in exchange they also can't enact your ideas like that I don't know, I'm not sure I have like political political, your explanation, but that's a shitty way to think about politics like nobody can ever, do anything and no matter how many elections they win or how popular their ideas are. I is that that's a basically your view to re yeah, so What things on their so one is that the way think about this is your choosing between the problems of paralysis in the problems of governance. So a problem of governance might be that governing coalition passes something you don't like and then, if your dick, like of it is unusual, and most people, like it dear, not gonna, win that fight, but one thing that is nevertheless true, I think, is that the problems of governance a clear resolution mechanism than the problems of paralysis or right now, there's em
fighting over. Why things it didn't happen and it's very hard for the public to find out why something didn't happen. I'm most people, don't flow this stuff very closely. They they don't what what are are being considered a definite know what procedural mechanisms are being invoked to those bills from moving forward, and so what happens is people into office office and they get all excited a a of years later. Nothing has happened problems are solved in the country is indifferent and they get a solution and to get frustrated. Does huge amounts of inter left fighting. Is about. Why didn't Barack Obama get more done, and the answer often was the filibuster, Republicans, arguable, You care a little bit less at times of getting these things done. So maybe some of it is bite them a little bit less hard but nevertheless like there's a lot, the Donald Trump has not gone and done, including his wall. Including changes to the legal structure. Statutory structured emigration in this country, including all kinds of republican ideas on health, in all these other things, and so the question of why
I didn't get done, is something that they could. You know people he calls out the obstructionist Democrats. I just think it is wrong to say that the of paralysis are better better problems of governance because away a small democracy which we at least sometimes pretend. Be on off days is supposed to work. Is it a coalition? Gets did to power and note that to get undivided power in, U S, governance nowadays intense require, you to win elections in two different cycles because of the way we divide power. So it's pretty hard to get the house, the Senate and the White House, and even beyond that, potentially the Supreme Court. And so, but if you're able to do it, then it seems to me that what you should do is you should be able to pass your agenda and then the public can decide that they like what happened. Something you'll hear from them That's all the time is it if there wasn't a filibuster, maybe Republicans could have repeal the affordable care act and on the one hand, I think this wrong because they tried to do through budget reconciliation and failed to get even fifty one votes like and I can make the art.
Meant that if they had had the weird but a reconciliation rules, they could have crafted more popular pact. And maybe God in fifty one votes for it. But to that point I think you have to ask yourself: do you think health insurance for tens of millions of people is important to them, in which case taking it away from it is going to matter in their politics and matter and who they vote for and matter in terms of the incentives of the system. Or do you think it doesn't matter? And if you don't think it matters that much to people, then maybe it's actually not unimportant in the first place and it's gonna true all way down. I think this is true for a lot of issues, run, choice and and other things. Now I recognize you. People worry about tyranny of the majority she's. What if you have any? She sat where it is popular, but the popular thing is going to impinge on people AIDS. I will say we have a number of protection through the constitution and the and the legal system. We are
so have all the other veto points of american politics and divided government. My argument, the filibuster, is it it just it's one thing to many: it's a super majority requirement on top of all that other stuff, not a move to a direct democracy, approached her how you construct human affairs, so I just I just genuinely find it we're but I think that you know in the Senate gives individual senators more power and the other argument, I should note here is the argument that the Senate is biased against Democrats, which it is because of the then. I think you at a peace on this data for progress report, that the average state is three points to the right of the average voter. So let's call to three point lean for Republicans, on it, so wouldn't making majority governs and send it easier, just make it the Republicans more powerful, which in some ways might actually be the outcome. Although, on the other hand, if Democrats ever want to do the work that is going to make the Senate more fortunate in terms of who represents like making DC importer weaker states, because that's both the right thing to do,
and will also lead to more democratic senators. They would need to get rid of the filibuster, because I would always be filibuster by republicans under the current situation Civitas leave things exactly where they are. Maybe you don't like risk your problem getting much worse, but you definitely make it possible to make it any better. Yes, I really thought The one thing that I do want to come back to, though, is that It is good that Elizabeth Wine Warren is making these points because she's correct about them, but for thing is a weird thing to raise and a presidential campaign, because this is not like up to the president even remotely But nothing is you ignores legislation way, but I mean it really isn't. In this case, sprightly gets an internal Senate rules issue that that I think you know anything like you would lead in the Senate. You would have more efficacy and reform, but more broadly, I do think. Like filibuster reform will come someday
so irrational and it keeps getting overloaded over that the circumstances of time. But when it comes, it's gonna have to be framed, something other than one of the furthest left or for this right. Members of a political party really wants to get rid of it so that they can pass their extremely expensive agenda because this is actually the feature of filibustered that that the members of the Senate, like, as I was saying before, is that you know, like Republicans in the Senate, don't really want to take a vote on some of the loop beer aspects of the sort of Trump conservative agenda and in it lets them duck it. When reform has come it's because it it speaks to items that in the farm consensus of the party. So I wish Joe Biden was a filibuster reformer because actually Abiden presidency, that would pose this question in the square as possible way like men.
Wage increase is very. Very popular. Democrats have now all talk themselves into the idea that it's a good idea on the merits were publicans would block it anyway and them Democrats will be sitting around to themselves saying why. Why should we accept this right? Why should we have to go back to our voters in the mid terms and be like we didn't liver on anything for you when we have all these these kind of popular ideas, and so it's it's gonna have to, I think, ultimately be legislators from the more moderate wing who take that tack and it's gonna require them to. Let go of the illusion that the filibuster generates bipartisan compromises because that's what they think, or at least what they say happens here. That when you need sixty votes, which you then get is like consensus, legislating and the clock has been taken had for a really long time, and we just don't see it right, there is no better big middle out. Compromise is happening on the big issues facing the United States.
Yeah. I think that's very important it to two things about that one is. It is possible to that used to be true, it's a little bit hard to tell but very possible that, in the era of more mixed parties, were compromises are more frequent, that the threat of filibusters actually did create this capacity to do compromises or or push towards more compromises, but we just can look at it, now we have a record high number filibusters viewed historically and we have more power, feline boats and let's compromise governance, and basically ever until it's like we know it's not true, and the reason is not true- is a very straightforward set of political incentives. But the way you might think about situation like this is a dead, a politicians. Incentives run in roughly this order. They want yet reelected. They wanted in power and then they want to govern. If you make it is such that there are not going to be able to kill a bill which one then get into power, then maybe they're incentive is like they wanna get reelected, so they need to show their constituency there on the bills on, but
That is what we are trying to do with filibuster, as if help us has been away, not the you create compromise but the EU actually kill legislation. You kill the governing parties in power. Agenda in an effort to become the governing party yourself. That's what happens when the filibuster moves from something at individual senators due to something parties. Do it's not about an inch Did you send it are registering and dissent or trying to become part of a bill? It's just like. It is a way parties. Hamstring, the other, We should also I mean not that picked up this other issue, which she said. We don't have what people think of is a filibuster. It's not a talking filibuster people do not stand up and speak. It is a procedural objection that is communicated in procedural perm. Tween the leadership offices from one to the other. I've heard a lot of people who say that you know what we should do is create a talking, filibuster, Bernie Sanders is actually said this a different points with the idea just being, if you're going to filibuster should have
talk on the floor, I think one thing that MRS, is the reason we typically don't have talking. Filibusters right now is often that the party being filibustered does not force them. You could force people to talk to you his path watch even under current rules, is to some degree, but the issue is that it Are you gonna do by doing that is give them? I know party, so the hours? Were you burn? Your time is a majority and they get the c span. Cameras on them to make the case about how your horrible endlessly that accidents and help you at all, so that the party being filibuster doesn't want to talking filibuster go some way to make it so that the individual's could do it like it and and would do more often, I think that's fine Bernie Sanders very famously did do a talking filibuster for a while, I'm in the arts and and thus part of it, Jim into prominence, but its it doesn't help. You like the sixty vote threshold is the thing that I think is really toxic here. I think it's important it to deal with now to do just one other big point you made Matt, which is that this is a Senate pro
oh my god, I think that's totally true. I am a little less convincing. You are that the reason it holds that way is that senators, one o constrain own party. When I talked to members of Senate about this, if both parties they're worried about the opposition first and foremost, and then secondarily it is it completely good point that to talk about what presidential candidates are telling the Senate to do, is a little bit ridiculous and on the other hand, that is the exact same. On legislation and everything else, so presidential campaigns, operate in a weird fantasy land end. I think you're, like US journals are always in a little bit of a bind on mother, not we're going to play by the rules at sea, land or we're just gonna say, while the president doesn't have any of this power, and so we are working to refuse to cover debates headed and speeches. I think we should say, though, that like presidential campaigns, this are a half hour, labelling for central campaigns were not always as like. Here's my bill oriented as they have begun, and I feel like in a lot of people.
Mind, like you and me, and vocs and want bog, are somehow causally responsible for this turn and it whatever extended. That is true like if you were out here. Listening like I dont. Either, as our eye are calling for presidential candidates to run, unlike totally implausible legislative blueprints, it's good to have the campaigns like talking about the issues and what they wanted do. But if, if I could tell like turned back time and gotten the It is for office in twenty twenty to speak about presidential authority in a more realistic way like I think that would have been great It would have avoided some of the weird Elect ability pitfalls because, like we'll talk about when we talk about vulnerabilities is exclusively like Sanderson.
Other candidates committing themselves to ideas that couldn't possibly pass Congress, and so why even bring this up fantasy legislating has had a powerful impact on this twenty point primary and for no really good reason. I agree with that advocates pie. Good placed her clothes are we'd special here, Ok, fantastic Swedes, election special, we're gonna be having Saturday weeds. Is every Saturday alternate between me and Ezra. Talking about the election and Jane Costin interviews, thanks Ezra thanks for sponsors, thanks listeners out there, thank you to Jeff GEL the weeds is producer and the weeds will be back on Tuesday.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-20.