« The Weeds

What the hell is the Republican party doing?


Ezra and Matt on Republican policy nihilism and the Kamala Harris pick.


"Kamala Harris Is Biden’s Choice for Vice President" by Alexander Burns and Katie Glueck, NYT

"How inequality and white identity politics feed each other" with Paul Pierson and Jacob Hacker, Ezra Klein Show podcast


Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

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


Jeff Geld, (@jeff_geld), Editor and Producer

The Weeds is a Vox Media Podcast Network production

Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts

About Vox

Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.

Follow Us: Vox.com

Facebook group: The Weeds

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support. For this episode comes from click up, we lose an average of three hours every day, switching between all our work apps, but you can get them back with click up a flexible platform that brings all your essential tools in one place we can prioritized. Let's collaborate in Docs chat with your team and track goals. So companies like uber and web flow use click up. Is their mission control Center, replacing every other app that we're using before click up? Even guarantee is to help you save one day a week and get more done. It's completely customizable, it's free forever! So try click up today at click up dot, com, the what the hell are, the Republicans doing hello. Welcome to another episode of the periods on the box media podcast network. I met with glaziers I'm here with as recline who is back from vacation ready to
pontificate on way. I was back from vacation last week. I think our now I forgot about it. I forget time has no meaning in the pandemic. But the way we know to live our lives is that we now have a vice president came Harris and she is the opposite of his. I'll pack. So we speculated about her a lot already. Sometimes things happen and like the inevitable? In retrospect, I had a lot of doubts about Harris as a as the best option, even though she was clearly like up there in the rankings We'll say like when I saw them up on stage to gather it felt very much not even necessarily like the pic, I would have made personally in my like hot take each kind of mode, but like the like the correct and fitting pick like together, Biden and Harris represent,
modern Democratic Party, well in a way that neither of them did allow rabbits, truly like I like a balance ticket. In that sense, I think that like brings in and that the non journalists and stuff who I know in my life seemed really happy about. This outcome and like here we go. Let's beat Trump some bunch of thoughts on the pick, and I want to start with its relationship to the arc of recent democratic candidate picks. So if you go back over the past couple, of democratic presidential Amity, so Bill Clinton and Anti ninety two toothpicks Al Gore, a white southern are meant to emphasise it built it is also a moderate white southerner. Al Gore picks Joe Lieberman, known for being one of bill. Clinton's toughest critics in the party, so arguably one of the most conservative senators who
later August primary out of the Democratic Party, officially in Connecticut in two thousand and four John Kerry, picks John Edwards White Cylinder, who at that point, he's beginning to explore some of the populist messaging. But at that point he's a moderate senator. His voting record is way to John carries right in the Senate in two thousand and eight Barack Obama pick Joe Biden Old White Guy well to his right in the party who had been like pro Iraq war will Barack Obama like randon antiwar candidacy in two thousand, and sixteen Hillary Clinton picks TIM Gana, moderate white guy southerner. I bring this up to say that in the recent past, every single democratic nominee has picked a vice president to their right, a vice president who the message of that vice pro
initial Peck was, if you don't feel great about the Democratic Party on idiotic g or a deputy grounds, but you're not totally ready for a woman or a black eye on hey look at by vice president and Joe Biden breaks with tradition. Here I want to talk about the way calmly Harris gets understood ideologically, but on every objective level, come Le Harris is way too Joe Biden left her policies are to his left. She was according to data, be nominate. The second most liberal senator, which I wanna take. Quite that's People of color in the top five was liberal senators. Joe Biden, arthritis entire career in the Senate was right in the middle his final Senate term. I think he was a twenty six. Most liberal, senator and so Joe Biden is making a pick here fitting some. What Joe Biden has done since the primary ended. The Bernie Biden task forces which moved his agenda to the left. The transition team, which is you've noted Matt, is stocked with a former senior economic advisor to Elizabeth Warren PAMELA Gia Paul's chief.
Death, like Joe Biden, has been on personnel and policy grounds. Any any continues here with Harris. Moving to the left after the private, which is quite unusual for four or national candidate. With cliches, they run to the centre after winning the primary like this is to the left of buying in a particular way right, so she she represents California, which is a liberal, stay and she's. Just like newer to national politics right? So Biden left the Senate in two thousand and seven was his last year. The Senator Harris First year was two thousand and seventeen, and all of american politics was very sort of different by then, where I think Harris people will say that she's, a moderate, which I think is not that well when did in anything. In particular, I mean no better. Literally you want to take DW nominate scores. She doesn't have a lot of like nope
The moderate policy views with She is, though, is body who the main donors to the Democratic Party like an contrary to what some MIKE leftists think one reason, the main donors. The Democratic Party like Common Harris, is that the main donors to the Democratic Party are pretty left wing like that's. Why they're democratic pretty My on on brace of gender issues were Harris. Is also politically left wing re premium, but. When we on everything like people, there's there's a good seventy. This gang, I worried about a one time and its woods who is that the big money donors are not as the left wing as the small the donors, but way, more left wing than the average person who votes for the Democratic Party to say nothing of the average American so win
people talk there is. There is a very intense struggle inside the ranks of the democratic path. Between folks, Bernie and Elizabeth Warren and the squire had and people in their orbit, who were sort of like that. The small donor people and people like Harris, whose very much a big donor person but the small donor people will often miss characterize the Harris type people as reflecting like a right wing of the party when, like those donors, are very left wing like that's, why they give that much money, no they're, all of course, transactional donors right the telecom companies, the pharmaceutical companies, all those players like they have lobbyists. They do parties on K Street It exists public when people say that the Democratic Party donor class is enthusiastic about Harris which they are at. That's not
because she's on the right word flank of the party. It's because donors are themselves left wing, but he does me in a difference right. You you went through all these picks and frankly, even in retrospect, little hard to understand what was happening with TIM Kaine, but most Two of them are clear efforts by the nominee to assuage voters downwards right, like elements of the mass public are supposed to be a p used by John Edwards or Joe Liebermann, or someone like that right, leg, labour the clearest example Bill Clinton to prove wings were high, but the message Lieberman Pick was that, like Al Gore gets it that it was like something skeevy about some of Clinton's contact
and I don't really worked for him. But but you see when you started getting Harris is trying to reassure people who work the base of the Democratic Party right, like the people who went to the women's March, the people who cut checks to the DE triple sea, like that Joe Biden is old, but that, like he gets it not that he gets with the median voter cares about, but that he gets what the median Democrat cares about, because he himself is a pick it was like. Democrats were compromising with themselves on by until I tried it tromp, but by and by picking Harris is reassuring. Everyone that, like the social and demographic and generational transformation of the United States, will continue a pace, even though It's like old white guy who does gaffes all the time is, can be depressed yet,
a lot there, and I want to go through some of it and in particular I want to talk about the way Harris is understood, ideologically, because I've found this very puzzle. When I try to match it to her actual record and- and I think of something really interesting care. So, as I mentioned data, nominate- and there are a number of ways of measuring congressional ideology and Harris ends up on the left, most edge of all of them. But so what you're doing is you're. Looking at how members of the Senate vote and what coalitions they vote in and using that create a dimensional space in which you can see where everybody falls and when you do that Harris is like number who behind warmth. Now it's Is it the case that Bernie Sanders is to cobble Harris's left, and I think the reason that's happening the coalition early Bernie by being accused him of more ideological than Harris's tends to make the somewhat more odd bedfellows coalitions He will occasionally have like an audit. The FED idea that Rand Paul will beyond unlike Comma Harris's it today
much more but down the line. Like liberal Democrat, like Bernie Sanders, the leftist Harris is a liberal like a very liberal democrat, and so I wouldn't really take it as a she's to his left, but she is way to the left of basically every Democrat in the Senate, so she has waited Tammy Duckworth left like that is not in doubt to Michael Bennets left. That is not in doubt to Chris Murphy's left, o Brien shots left like she said to the left of all these people in terms of how she boats, and yet when she got picked, hurt times described as a pragmatic, moderate like if you three wine, the clock a couple years and the democratic presidential candidate packs a black indian american woman with one of the few most liberal voting records in
Then it like there's no way the times is describing that as the safe, pragmatic, moderate, Peck and like part of this is american. Politics are changing and also the part of this is people judge other people's ideology by their enemies and the laughed like the actual left. Really dislikes Cobbler Harrison, This is wholly complex, a cop thing that big because round twitter does. It was a lie, of fury over the way she played healthcare. I think some of it fair and some of it unfair, but because she actually angers the left and like ends up intention with them in funny ways. The fact that her voting, Record is where he more liberal than say, as voting record as a Michigan governor governance Record or Tammy Duckworth, I actually a funny way. Harris gets more static from the left. Then people well to what of simply by being like in a weird kind of conversation with them. But the other thing There is, I think we we can be measured ideology on the single access rights,
all the way on the right of the libertarians and all the way on the left of socialist, and then everybody gets put somewhere in between there. But I actually think that when we tend to talk about this, we often implicitly have this other axis. I tend to think of it as temperament, but you can call it like system orientation like at the top of it. It's how you release to politics and the party and how you want to change things like I was he was going like like. Of illusion airy like reformist, like moderate conservative, reactionary, and the thing is it. Harris is quite liberal, but she's also link very conventional on her approach to politics and she has talked about this varies they talked about making a decision that she's going to try to change things very much from the inside. Like Joe Biden, she worked with a democratic party establishment, unlike say Bernie Sanders AOC or even to somebody with Warren. She doesn't invince a lot of discounts Comfort with the Democratic Party as an institution and oftentimes will,
given a choice between blowing things up a little bit more say in the settlement she made with the banks, which she sees like a really good settlement and people on the left like wanted to prosecute bankers. Harris was to the left of many a time general on a settlement and the way your programme, way to the right of where many people on the on the left would have liked to see all kinds of attorneys general go. That's true, also to some degree in her record, is a prosecutor. She is like a liberal prosecutor by the standards of that time, but like a prosecutor operation, within like the prosecutorial conventional wisdom of that moment too, and so there's a
an interesting way in which I think that heresies quite liberal it illogical. You give her a building a bill and she will vote on it. Yes, if it is a liberal bill and you look at what she proposes and tends to be well to the left of the centre of her own party, but in terms of her approach to politics, they give your somebody who want somebody who doesn't like the Democratic party. Very much doesn't like its donors. Class doesn't like feel comfortable in what it is come to represent like Harris's, not that person like she's very much like wants to be a party leader, as Joe Biden wants to be a party leader and in that way the very sympathetic, oh, she might be to his left in terms of her views, but, like he's actually quite similar to him in terms of our political approaches, coalition or processed and pro party. What I think is one of the big things that I think this coverage has gone
is that I read several different articles that sort of Marvel like who would have thought that you know a time would come when a half lack, half indian woman from California, with a liberal voting record, would be seen as the safe choice for vice president of an I grieve at it surprising that people see it that way, but like what surprising isn't that Paris became the safe choice, would surprising is that I think she's, quite electoral, less risky to its and that democratic have gotten a little bit, but wine did to those risks by some of the demographic bubbling. The college educated city dwelling professionals live in weight that, like what did we kept seeing happen during the primary? is just that the electorate is a lot older and a lot more working class than young college graduates on the internet, believe that's why
is the nominee and Harris like Elizabeth Warren. I think you know is very appealing to certain set of people made it clear that really impressively smart, successful women. Women lawyers often have a lot of appeal to like one group of people whose influential inside the Democratic Party Bays and Harris is ideologically hard edged than Warren, and so has more friends on Wall Street. More friends in Silicon Valley who, like her and it plays in the media as like all right like this is a safe choice. This is a consensus choice but she's also, as you said, as were like, she is a person without with approaches orientation Harris is someone who believes, in the institutions of America and she she exudes that right and left has this sort of, like you know, like a beat immigrant life story and end its it's all cool. And
and it's me too, like I am in that same bubble. But if you think about the groups of voters who are at the margin for Democrats right, whether that is nonsense. Going Non College white people in the north right there, like Obama, Trump voters or it younger hispanic men who have been drifting away from the Democratic Party, these are people with like low social trust low levels of like pro system orientation is Why someone like Bernie Sanders can take people by surprise. It's why something Amy, sounding like police abolition, can gain support with a younger people of all races like there is there were many
people in the United States, who do not feel that the system works not just like who feel that Donald Trump is bad, but who feel that the system is is broken and that institutions don't speak for them and Harris does really reach any of those kinds of some categories of people, and I made sure that there was a great choice available. Who too did reach them, which is one reason to pick her ultimate wake us dinner. You can't be something without thing, but it's a big risk intellect Trump has mess things up enough. That I think it's gonna be hard for him to secure reelection, but Democrats like issue as a political party is that they have stopped being seen as having a lot of appeal
Two people who feel like marginalized by the culture and by mainstream institutions, an Biden and Sanders in their different way is, I think, both struck some of that court. During the democratic, primarily by being like weird and unfashionable and Paris is very much like a like. A move back to the center of gravity the democratic party politics, but I think that that's like a risky place for the party too to be because it does in the sun enough people like that to win by default. I think I think it with my like Matt Ring on. I see what you're saying, but I on another level like ethical literally, I disagree so little implemented to cut you things apart here, one. It is that when you put Joe Biden on the ticket You're not gonna, be very appealing to the anti system. People
right. I really disagree. The Joe Biden represented, I think, what you're saying is it. There is a less ideological, less liberal, less woke older world voters out there who unlike left behind by democratic party that has got into into its engaged in polarized base and biting his good speaking, those people but like that's it Seventy two year old in Florida, Florida voted democratic but, like doesn't like watches some Fox news and doesn't like the squat. That's not, I think somebody who's actually marginalized in the system and like does he have blown up like Joe Biden is like he's like the antithesis, you two anti matter to those people like he believes in the system more than anybody who has ever been an american political system before and so He was never gonna have a vice president. Who but overwhelmed like what he represented, which is a guy who has been at the center of american politics just literally as long as anybody who is alive can remember, and so I don't think Harris is risky from that perspective,
what Biden is doing with the Harris Pick is: if you thought what he was going to do was try to provide a safe harbor to these I, let's just call what is right, like voters resentful of the way, and gender power is changing, but who also don't really like Donald Trump. He could have picked somebody who would have been more of that kind of pack and he did it and he packed Kamala Harris he's like explicitly saying to those people like this is still not your party. This is actually the party Barack Obama still not really the party of Joe Biden or, at the very least, what the parties is now is in the lineage of the Party of Barack Obama, not what Joe Biden represented fifteen or twenty years ago, and so Harris in that way is a transitional pick and is continuing. Make clear what the party is. Joe Biden is saying pretty clear like I don't represent its future. Comma Harris represents its future and if you don't like that, future You'Re- probably not going to be into this ticket, and so that does make her
some kind of choice. When I was seeing some of like the laughter backlash to the Harris peck- and there was somebody on twitter- I have heard that was always between Warranted Harris, and you know it's just recently no initially like the four hundred caught from all by reporting on US clover. Char was way ahead for a long time like she endorsed binding when he needed it. They believe she won him in and she backed up his political tendencies perfectly, but she doesn't is like him in politics It was after Minnesota and some other things at the Chiapas he fell, fell down the right things and then dropped out it wasn't. It was gonna work out it's after that was Harris, but if you thinking about what the Democratic Party is going to look like in the future and the fact Joe Biden is anomaly this year, this tells you that who is vice president accurately matters for who becomes presidential Canada, material or presidential somebody material on and subsequent elections Harris both like her.
Logical thinking and the kind of parties she represents. It's just well to the left of what Klobuchar presents. It's true in terms of the State Harris I'm represents right, California, verses, Minnesota, it's true in terms of our political style, and so there other people on the list, but in sport I can tell in terms of the candidates who are really really seriously considered throughout this. I think Gretchen Whitmer was actually quite seriously considered a times. Harris was probably the don't it left where someone is actually the most liberal. I these events largely in line with with my sort of understanding of it, but I think that the club, which our example I guess there their reasons why she fell out, but the fact that Biden Eyes initial instinct was to go in that direction and then wound up with with Harris instead to be anything that like underscores what the but the risk is exactly you know, because it
easy to sort of caricature, more culturally conservative people, but like Amy Klobuchar, is a woman question. Whitmer is a woman. Barack Obama is African American, you know, but all of those people, I think, try very hard in their politics to a bone of reassurance to people who have some level of discomfort with levels of CHE Triton, often like a deliberately folksy manner. You know, did you say of anything else and Harris is not like that. You know like she is a more uncompromising face of cultural and social change right than the one Biden. Was initially going for, which, like club, which are right, is she's younger, Biden. She's of the opposite. Gender is Biden, but is very much in continuity with the
theory of politics, the Joe Biden articulated in the primary, which was like you got to try to be moderate, you got to try to get working class white people in the about for you and I who better to do that. Then somebody like what our culture who, just like winds elections in the MID West right Harris? You know she's from California bright like she doesn't get swing, voters to vote for her. She had a very tough raise in twenty ten, her first, for attorney general, because she had to run against the district attorney from L, a county where a ton of people live. He was a modern republican. He was very well liked. Twenty ten was a terrible gear for Democrats, who was, it was a horrid election, but the nature of an election like that in a sense, like California, is you win by reminding everybody that they've got to come come home? It's it's like you might heard.
Good things about this allay guy. Like he's a different kind of Republican belike know you you want to be with me: read an end: she she did it it. It worked, gives good politics she smart sheet. She knows what she's doing but if it underscores that she's never run a race like a Whittemore race or a club which our race or Biden. I mean it was like the seventies when Delaware was a swing state and by when some tough races, but like that's a different kind of politics right like getting people who often vote republican to vote Craddock instead is just like not some that's been in her career necessarily, and you can lose the election over common Harris because she's a very qualified competent person, but it's a, I think, the Democratic Party, the sometimes has an impulse towards this kind of triumphal ism,
about social and cultural politics and the Harris PIG to me, as speaks to that, to a desire to indulge that kind of triumphal ism, and it's an instinct that I think Democrats are going to have to keep in check if they don't always have like depression. Unemployment to run against. I really think that's a weird way to frame this pick. The democratic party is not base. On older white men, and so I think it is not a triumphal. A sum for Joe Biden to peck non white woman who, as we're both saying like, plays a very establishment approach to politics like yes, she is from a more liberal state like totally true but like part of the static and left is she's, not a leftist either. I don't know I take What you're saying on some level and come up in our last discussion on Harris. I think you just see her as a candidate who runs a much more.
Primarily woke strategy than its way. I understand her like I like, looking at the looking at looking at the vote returns. She runs several points. Behind Jerry Brown in all of her elections will join It is a really really distinctive politician in California. We will see. And I think is an interesting questions about when Harris you know tops it. Take it if she does in the future, but. You know, I think it was really important actually for Biden to represent the Democratic Party as it exists, something somebody's trying to do across a lot of dimensions, and so I think the question there becomes a little bed. Would it have been more represented? of a Democratic Party party of a democratic party that is changing and becoming younger, more diverse, more liberal, to go with somebody who we simply like who reflects Joe Biden particular approach to politics so closely. Nothing Harris was the only choice here in some ways like there are enough, like their interests interests our surprise, he didn't that delta didn't get more more attention.
But I don't think she's in any way a like it in the old. Yet this isn't like, like the left of the poor was depending Harris and like it just like this is a choice it they thought of his very cold. All that you actually a lot of parts of the party like her now. Maybe you think too much of a party focused choice. I buy that on some level, but I dont think that it is not a guy, a choice. It is giving? I think, the parts of the party your talking about everything they want in the world like Harris's as binding, is a very compromise oriented candidate, try to hold it the coalition that is pre vast and, like that, done in California and California place other places, as do that. So my point is not like she's gonna win the election for Joe Biden or or anything else, but I wouldn't your frame her as a little bit more out of the party or under the mainstream here, the despair. Why I've been, I guess I see her as vary in the main street, like that's that that's the issue to an extent like she is like the dead censure of the democratic party. Whereas what you do
to win. Elections is appeal to people who are on some margin or other of park, so like Biden, is on the like very much on the old side for a person and He may be extends Democrats appeal to all people more than a typical person kind of would be, whereas Harris I just think, doesn't extend in any possible direction. She like, like a not the left the base of the party- and maybe that's what you need. I mean, as you say, like Biden has been trying to put together a full. In all Democratic party consensus, and it's definitely true that, like Harris is the person the party want right, like all groups like, like labour, thinks she's fine, in all all kinds of groups like they like Common Harrison and sorted. That's that's it. You get your pact. We just did this rank choice. Paul with Serbia, USA, unfair vote,
of Democrats. Independence which allowed people like also risotto choices, is people dropped outcome for not getting majority and Harris came on top of that Paul. She like one easily, notably its not klux, I think will likely so you know like pleasing the. It simply gives the people what they should. We add talk about Republicans talk about not giving the people what they want. If the last year is taught us anything, it's that we don't know what will happen next, but there's one thing we can all be sure of the only future is one we can all share and leading the charge in building that future is 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. Strengthening community is again 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
alone. That's where you and I commend 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 say to feel a little powerless mercy court, Here to remind us, we don't need to Turkey community 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 y see p S, dot org. So over them. Couple but weaker. So actually I've been trying to answer it. Question I have, which is what the hell are, the Republicans doing right now in politics, I feel like. I cannot back out any kind of policy theory on the part of the White House or
center Republicans, then in any way would lead to them like either solving. Problems that everybody agrees or problems at krona virus and the fact that the economy is in a state of mid did like collapse or just win them. The election rightly made their Publican party is facing down a terrible action. Donald Trump is down by ten points that than eight silver forecast him out the other day and it had bite in its seventy one percent to win. But his mate said, like that's uncertainty, because of how far away the election is election were tomorrow the forecasts but said he is a Navy three percent chance of winning and so, if you're, a Republican, I'm not saying that means Joe Vitamin win, but if you're a Republican, it means you're in a bad position. You don't want those to be the numbers and it's like what do they, so I've been going to all these hill Republicans and people worked on the hill. For Republicans and asking this question is something I am missing? Is there like what does Mitchell? What would Mitchell
finally even want if there was no Nancy closely to negotiate with both the White House, why? What is their fury filling if he had? Let Republicans do this, it's gonna be better and then you'd want to return them to office, and the answer I have got in universally. I want to be very clear. I do not when I do this talk to the people representing the three most semi moderate Republicans, like I try to talk to people in in the of of Republican Party. Or even on the conservative end of it, and they just use. I said there is no plan. There is total paralysis and confusion. The party is not holding together the Senate, leadership, Mcconnell and others do not feel like they can even come forward with a plan effectively strategy because Donald Troubled, as do the opposite thing the next day. So why even bother Donald Trump Administration is split between does very concerned wing that mark meadows is now leading his chief of staff, and this more
wing of Steve Nowcan, who would just like cut the old Nancy Pelosi in two hours. If you let them do it, and so they have no coherence and so the republican at this point, a Senate wing and its presidential wing, they don't have a theory of how to stop. The virus right. There is nowhere that you will find like a paper. They all agree on that says like this We would do to get a virus under control. If you just, let us do it and I suppose you blocking everything and they don't really this on the economy either. They think have a theory about starting, where policies in trying to get it down under a trillion dollars really sets would allow the conservatives want. They all seem to think this bills can become hark to point out where, like after Donald Trump loses, if they vote for it, they'll get primary out in twenty twenty two I've heard is now a couple of times, but it's crazy sitting We should, like. The republican Party has nothing even they are in charge of including report three of the four relevant. Did you
the government that actually have like day to day policy setting power and even though they are sit down the barrel of a terrible election because of their own governance. Failures like that is how messed up the party, as I can, even given all of that even given like how much they currently stand to lose, they are not able to come up with any kind of subsidy de strategy that even less so people say like we have a strategy to beat to thing this thing and get America back to work, wild, a wild collapse, capabilities governing capabilities so we're old now, and you know, I think, back to the two thousand eight election right, where it really seems like the GOP was rolling in ideologically exhausted to that race. You know, like Bush had had some notions about compassionate conservatism, but there was the judge eagerly. Oh, you know came out and he was like these guys,
Mackie of lies like they don't know what they're doing. They don't have any real face. Initiative and the economy- was collapsing and the war with a rock was a disaster and they got like they had their asses kicked in that race. You know what I mean like Democrats at sixty Senate seats after that eleven, the work has a democratic governors like the GNP was with mass and its seemed like man like these guys really need to rethink something and David from road. I think a good book at that time. That was psych man, these guys really into free, think something like that come up with something and they didn't and it took them one year I would say to come back and star winning governors races in New Jersey two years they swept control of Congress. I got so they just got the house sure. Yes, the house, but tons of state legislatures right. So then, after the twenty cents
they were able to enact the Jerry Manders. They didn't it. It's all. I get up, then Obama, one in twenty twelve Donald Trump came in and trumps ability to win that primary. It reflected that same ideological. It's like there was no like mainstream conservatives like Institutionalists were like oh no, this Trump guy is terrible but like they couldn't explain like what it was that establishment Republicans were doing like even two GOP based voters, so like some guy from reality, television who, which has be more racist, swept in it and one, but he didn't it- didn't hold them back in any particularly practised way, and then I would say something like well fine, maybe for electoral purpose You, like you, don't need ideas that or sense, or anybody who knows what they're doing going to come in, come like
going to be really hard to govern. If you just have a bunch of idiots and like shit, posters running the country- and I would say that view has been vindicated, things are going very poorly for the United States of America, but I feel like this is like sustainable in a weird way like there is just a a good shot at a comeback. So much of the electoral geography of the United States is biased towards Republicans, and you know most people Why and But what I want I want. I want to stop us from getting this far ahead in politics right. What you saying. I think it's true like, if you imagine Joe Biden? Kamala Harris win a huge victory in twenty twenty. It is very possible Republicans scanned a bunch of seats and twenty twenty two. I don't. I don't deny that at all, but Republicans are currently charge yeah, and they have no idea. One would prefer right. Mitch. Mcconnell prefer not to be-
nor any leader in January, even if the assuming he would survive that by the way, which I dont think people think he's done. A great job for all that, like he Mitch Mcconnell seems in many ways to be like a genius of obstruction and being in the minority but does not see well suited to majority governance, and I actually think that's becoming much more. That that's more like the thing I wanna like focus on here, their vote, in charge and it cannot govern and in many ways the whole thing that you're laying out here, but I think it's true, but what is remarkable about it is it here is a governing party right. They control most of the american government then is acting like a minority party before it is Lawsy election like thereat. They are beginning the I've heard this from a number report in many ways they are looking at bay. They have now priced a trump loss in most of them believe you will lose their worried that if a step too far now they're gonna like be part of the parties. A lot of them biggest can be another tea party like twenty twenty one,
Maybe there will pay right, but we're like the party would like then go through another purge of people who, like voted with the democratic big spending bills like they don't want to do that. The fact the Republican Party seems to believe, like the game is lost. I like the thing two thousand two hundred and twenty two. What you're saying bad is position yourself for a comeback. One that is really profound about how bad the situation is and two it's a fucking total disaster for the country, because I'm not going to try to do the math super cookie, we got some time laughter public, as you could be running things at least radar August brought over November December January that six months it?
If we don't do anything of active restrictive huts, what I think is interesting about this, though, is how on bothered conservatives are by their bothered by the prospect of losing the election. Obviously, they would rather win that they like to win, but you don't see they have no great ideas about how to deal with corona virus. I think you know some democratic people do better, but obviously, like nobody got into democratic party politics in order to deal with the corona virus. The reason Democrats have ideas for how to deal with clone virus is that people did get into them
party politics to tackle issues related to healthcare and various other concrete policy problems, so the party got very invested in people who can think about dealing with concrete policy problems, college professors of all stripes really like Democrats, and you don't have expertise on a range of topics, so wins a crisis emerges and it's like shit. Can we throw something together on this? Like Democrats totally? Can they have lots of capable technocrats? They know how to find experts, they respect expertise, a lot. Right. So, like you know, did we really remember that Anthony found she was an important infectious diseases expert? I don't know. I didn't like that. It's something Democrats are into like on a ragged file level and an elite level of the Republicans. I feel like, with the exception of trying to make a bit
illegal are mostly motivated by concerns that are not fully inside the political domain right so like, if forced to come up with something to say on health care. They will like reluctantly agreed to do that but they're not sitting around on their own. Like autonomously worried about the state of the american healthcare system, they are are worried about Tucker, causing very upset about being called it about mispronouncing, Comma Harris's, less name a first name and I feel like that's a very authentic, like that's what that's what worries Republicans that people with weird names are going to come around and other people are going to get upset that you don't learn how to pronounce their weird names and as somebody with a weird name myself, I'm familiar with this, and I I try to have a relaxed attitude about it. But it's not
just like, not what I would think of as a first order. Political issue, but, like literally Congress, cannot pass a law saying that nobody is allowed to get upset about mispronunciation of ethnic names like it's, not what they do right and it's convenient. I listen to. You your interview with hacker and person, I was listening the other day and you know they have an almost like conspiratorial account of this. But it's like on the actual policy domain. Republicans are just trying to help very rich people, but that's obviously nodding agenda you can take to the mass public, so they just talk about all this, like other stuff like semi nonsense, things that dont have a lot to do with the legislative process and it leaves them just not not having the people who were like interested in the idea of how to address public policy problems.
And it's very. It really shows in a crisis, spread trumps, auto pilot governance. It it worked almost surprisingly well for a little while, like better than I would have thought, but like then, eventually, like the road turns and like now we're in the second ditch. One of the ways have begun to read that the earlier in administration are so Trump is disinterested in governance on most issues He does get involved on immigration to some degree on trade, his people in this administration who are competent enough and lined with him enough to pushes agenda there, but a most issues. He he checks out, and so what happened? For, while the Republican Party, as far as I can tell, is trumpets President to use a hacker Pearson term, he was led to beat the tweets right, sending his basic tweets and the
Congressional Republican Party just took whatever they already have on the shelf down off the shelf and sent it to him design when they could so they did tax cuts. They tried to do a bomb care appeal and failed. They deregulated and let people put more poison into streams I kind of thing, but then, when you needed to do some new policy thinking right when a problem came up, there is complicated and different, and you couldn't just take your plan off. The shelf does it just show show they had no capacity to do that. There is a alignment or process between the various stakeholder groups prior to the between Congress and the White House, to do it so they have kept taking some things off the shelf right. A payroll tax got a capital gains. Tax got indemnifying corporate patients, like all kinds of things like that there are already on their? But it terms like how are we going to stop the Krona virus nothin like absolutely nothing and So what are we going to do for all these people who are screwed now really? Basically, nothing like somewhat less than the.
We want to do, but maybe not zero has tended to be to be the answer. Everybody has spoken to reporting this peace thinks it after rob, but there's going to be this war in the party for its future between legacy, Congress right now, there's this wing of say, head crews, Rand Paul, like that that group of conceit, like tea party, conservative Republicans, who don't bend anything and like they're attacking everything is like big government, and it's like it's like Reagan is never died, and then you have the sort of wing of light Rubio and Holly and cotton and to some degree Romney and some of the others who want to go and like. I would long call sort of the reform icon direction of like trying to do more, for people are down and out who see like Trump is being, practice. That they're, not gonna, like define into an ideology with his conservative but and the problem is one problem. Is that because Donald Trump not make a choice between those wings. There's total paralysis and actually having that fight
there is no view on either side of who'd all trouble side with or even if he will side with somebody or he will just a balanced back and forth between attacking the tooth sequentially as something becomes unpopular, or he sees a different fox news segment, and so their ability to have this actual fight about where the Republican Party should go is totally paralyzed, I was talking to Brian model, who is senator, Rob Portman, Senator of Commis for six for six years he's at the to do to do now, and this he's pretty sharp. He said you know what happened here. Is the Democrats pass or bill two months ago? Republicans then took months to respond after Democrats said the terms of the debate and the part of the issue I said is that Republicans are suffering from chump exhaustion and they feel the word emasculate keeps coming to divide a lot of the Republicans. I talk to you seem almost emasculated by the White House. The present do what he's going to do any strategy come up will be undermined tomorrow by a tweet. Their fate is tied to president. They can't control or even influence, saw them
Who is push for changes on the edges and hope for the best? That's why Congress seems so weak that he won't play along with our strategy. And like that, on the one hand, is a huge failure of leadership on Mitch Mcconnell's part, because Trump is weak in a different way and probably would take something if they sent it to him, but nevertheless like it's subject was a total collision. Right now, between party that doesn't know what it wants and a president who will not shoes. Direction, to settle that fight, but is nevertheless popular enough among the base. Ninety one percent, among Republicans that. No Republicans want to be seen crossing him and so like what you got. There is total paralysis and a kind of like like up we're just gonna write, this out is probably gonna be bad and on the other side, we can fight over with apart he should be once Donald Trump- is not standing in the way of there being a resolution. But here's where I started to get into the future is because, like I think some of the
grounded policy, oriented people and the conservative movement will say to me that, like this fight is coming right that like when trumpets off the stage then we're gonna have it out and I might be sharpen our tools, you now in and then it's gonna happen, and I think it is going to happen like. I think that there will be a like you, you you, you mentioned reformer, comments right and like there was a thing, that existed, I mean they're real people. I have met the reformer cons, some of them. I like quite a lot, but he was as of but nominal, and it was largely a media right like it was interesting to write about the battle of ideas taking place inside conservative politics, and so there was a lot of coverage of it, but in a way it it just
I wanted to not that much, because it's not what the Republican Party is oriented towards not just to their specific solutions but to the whole idea like taking that seriously ride so like Tom COM is, is an ambitious sky A smart guy he's are, I think he probably doesn't have the charisma to be president, but he's he's going for it right he's, like he's he's trying to be a leader, and you look at his trajectory over the past few months and starts with ok, he's gonna say we should dispatch troops into Americans He is to stop bright spry, and so he does that are bad for the New York Times business He would cry cry about it. Bennett gets gets fired so then cotton could pivot from from that, like
really be like the law and order guy who comes out with like proposal after proposal, like the up that the murder rate has gone up like a lot in twenty twenty. I think Tom cotton could be talking about is his ideas for getting it down, but instead what he pivoted too after that was some kind of bill tools make cancel culture illegal on campus and he got mad about the one thousand six hundred and nineteen project which came out like a like a year ago. And he didn't get mad about it in the sense of like doing for tweets why he disagrees or like recommending Bernard Balance book he just passed away recently. Unlike here's a different interpretation, this, like a lot of ways, you could express disagreement with some of those essays. He won't like a law like an act of Congress, whose point was to say that this magazine special feature from a year ago was bad and like theirs
fucking, twelve percent unemployment. Thousands of people are dying every day in a pandemic, but like that's what he is, what he is doing and that's like where it's authentically, where conservatives ah I think it's like they want to argue with left wing college professors and it's just not conducive to saying like to have a policy argument. You have to decide that the stakes in the policy dispute are actually like worth getting mad about and then worth trying to find your way to a compromise to on- and it's like, it's very painful like Democrats have done so much like so much blood, sweat and tears on health policy for the generations with like people get upset.
And then people making up again in trying to find compromises and, like Republicans, I think, don't care enough about concrete public policy. Problems too, father, putting in that kind of work yeah. I I mean there's clearly something to that, On some level, like there's, no great answer this, but I will just say, like it's like my final point here, that the All of this is not that, like the GEO Peace Heart, is not coming up with economic support bills. I'm somebody told me both venues besides I'm Crasser born to come up with multi. A dollar stimulus is like that is what they get into politics to do. This is always going to be a tough life. Republicans like it's not where they like to be public. Health is not their issue. Just like anything where you need massive government effort. Being across crossing coordinating across many many many different agencies either like this is it. This is a tough issue. Further, given the very
Many have got into politics. That said, we normally think of politicians is re as self interested to their own political interest, and that is disappointing function of our electoral system that faced with the possibility of a huge wipe out You will do what you need to do to avoid that, and that is a good thing right. That is part of like how he keep a system that some sense and an MP people interested in governance, is both just going by rolling and being on Fox news and people. Always say like Mitch. Mukamba guy just sit, cried those Alec Nicholas's the title of his like many bio of Mcconnell. The cynic only wants to do is wind power, whole power and get more power and here he is not doing anything that seems likely to get. In any of those directions, and so it s really speaks. I think to the Republican Party: just isn't a governance
institution at this point or any more. It was a huge disaster. Last they had a precedent in power with George W Bush, that's been a little retconned, but by the time he was leaving office, I'm using the twenties his prevaricating, like you, accuse him much. Shape in many ways, and Trump is right now and now you Another poem present it's another disaster. They have no idea what to do and just everything I think you said true and it won't necessarily stop them from winning elections in the future, because grievance politics are powerful, but unbelievably fundamental weakness of our public and party. Is it every time they get our they cause a disaster and we'll see what happens in twenty twenty, but that, like critter vulnerability for them to lose it like american Geography is stopped in their direction like they come into this. What I got like a power up and they keep losing or not because they didn't win it and have the opportunity to govern, but because when they do cover
It's either a disaster because of what they do or disaster because of what they don't do like the demographic tell of the country is not going to keep them alive long like it is going away, not super rapidly, but yeah Texas is in play in Texas, was in play. Georgia becomes play like this begins to change really fast, and so it's a weakness right now. They have a party that can win power, but can't govern, but also just like a thing to really know to really know that the they are. The theory was Republicans were acting the way they were from the minority because they weren't responsible for the kids. The country if there are obstruction and like lack of theory, of how to respond to the financial crisis failed to produce a recovery like Barack Obama is going to take the blame for that, and he did cases now they are in charge there take the blame and they haven't nothing more like they, the Heath they.
Do not act with more sense of responsibility or more sense of urgency and agency, and that may be distinct to Donald Trump like if we were in Mitt Romney. Term. I do believe things would be different if we're in Marco Rubio's first term. I think things would look different, but faced with Donald Trump, like the congressional party, does not have the strength to do anything different, even as they face the prospect of losing a tremendous amount of power in the fall that's why I mean if you and I were both like, like hipster fans of the early phase, the people to judge presidential campaign. That was like very focused on political process type staff, and I don't think that's at all. What Biden administration stretches gonna prioritize, but I wish that they weighed because if I think about America, there discreet discrete policy problems, but one thing we've seen is that it's very hard to like solve problems with an airplane with only one wing you know like if you pass an affordable care.
Act, and then years and years later, Republicans aren't trying to like put a more free market spin on it or somehow tweak it to address. Like the concerns of people who think contraceptives are against God, but they're like trying to just like trash it and sabotage everything it doesn't. It doesnt work and the only way to get of that would be if you have no filibuster if DC and Puerto Rico are states, if you have, strict anti gerrymandering rules in the house. If you forestall decide to judicial system stronghold from which policies can be sabotaged then Republicans need to run
we raise the way Larry home again and Charlie Baker, Brian, which works right. It's like do the Republican Party when pressed to, because every state in America contains rich businessmen and those which businessmen would prefer to see Republicans run the state like somehow or other they and they find ways to make it happen when they're like press to it, and it normally involves putting forward candidates who seem like they know what they're talking about and who I don't know what they like bother to put in the work to try to do a good job. But it's like too easy, like you said, Republicans, have a power up, but it's like is like if you only ever play the game uneasy mode than any time. Something goes wrong.
Is it. You have no idea what to do and you have to. We have to raise the bar for what it takes for Republicans to win an election so that they have to put in some more work likely do some rap slight figure out like like what are we doing here, because this whole We're like tromp can just like tweed. Unlike say he doesn't like Mexicans and get forty six percent of the vote, and then everyone's like well, This is the soul of real America. It's very it's like it's like intellectually deadening and were even so. The consequences are very literally lethal against the boy stand, our aim, I'm feeling cranky today because Frank there are thousands and thousands of weeds listeners have not yet prepared in my book one billion Americans coming out September fifteenth, but you really shed tweet about it.
To enter the lottery to pick a weeds white paper. So do it it's going to be awesome, thank you as as always to our producer, Jeffrey Guild, and we will be On Tuesday.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-18.