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tv   Former Sen. Heitkamp and Former Rep. Hurd Discuss Bridging Political Divides  CSPAN  February 18, 2021 5:00am-6:00am EST

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the republican party and i partisanship. -- bipartisanship. >> thank you for joining us. i'm a first year student in new york city, intending to study public policy.
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-- we will explore how we became so polarized. with us today our three individuals who it is a true honor to introduce. i'm thrilled to welcome senator heidi heitkamp. the former democratic senator and cofounder of the one country project. she was elected in 2013 as the first female u.s. senator from north dakota and during her six years, she worked across the aisle to deliver solutions to the people of her state. i have the honor. senator heitkamp, check those out. next, i'm excited to welcome congressman will hurd.
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former cybersecurity executive, undercover officer in the cia and republican congressman from the state of texas. years of experience in cybersecurity, congressman h urd focused on good policy for the american people, having been described as the future of the gop. we are currently at a crucial moment in our nations history. given the events several weeks ago at the capital, and with a new administration there is much to discuss. the man we all know, david axelrod, host and former chief strategist and senior advisor to barack obama. he will be moderating today's discussion with today's panel of guests. join me in welcoming senator heidi heitkamp, congressman will hurd, and david axelrod. >> thank you so much, olivia. and thanks to heidi and will, who have been sensational presences this quarter and we
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are so happy for that. the title of this particular session is healing our republic and it strikes me that you two are admiral -- admirable for the efforts you've made to reach across the aisle, to turn down the level of acrimony in our politics, but i have to note you are sitting with us and not in washington, d.c. right now and in some ways, that may be a commentary on the challenge we face. i want to give you just a few minutes to talk about where you think we are and what the hope is for turning down that level of acrimony and, in fact, healing our republic and senator, why don't we start with you? sen. heitkamp: i would love to
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tell you we are on the brink of a renaissance or new age of political discourse and dialogue. i think it is yet to be proven, but right now i am more pessimistic than optimistic about whether that is going to happen, in part because of what happened yesterday in the united states house of representatives, where 60 votes to sanction someone who voted their conscience, 10 votes to sanction someone who spews conspiracy theories and literally is poisoning the gop, so that tells you kind of where we are today in terms of trying to bring these two sides together and probably against the backdrop of what we would think would be a uniting crisis, which is the pandemic, we still can't pull it together, we still can't find that common ground. he had a brief moment on the cares act and a couple of the
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packages that were against a backdrop of an election that now that the election is no longer imminent, you see some of that cooperation -- willingness to cooperate waning. this really will depend on probably about 30 people in congress in both the house and the senate to decide whether we are going to set a different tone. there is a willingness on the part of the president to do it, but an unwillingness on the part of the president to delay doing what he thinks needs to be done for the country, so not very optimistic, in part because i think the gop is still the party of trump. david: maybe i should have started off with will. rep. hurd: [laughs] on a friday afternoon -- david: a lot that i want to unpack, but will, i want to give you your opening, your, opportunity for your thoughts.
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rep. hurd: it is always wonderful being with you all. i'm glad aei is participating in this conversation and i've enjoyed exploring some of these ideas at the university of chicago so i appreciate the opportunity. winston churchill said americans will always do the right thing after we've done everything else. i think we've got a couple of more things to go through before we start doing the right thing. my dad always taught me to have a positive attitude but i'm going to have to agree with some of heidi's comments about where we are today. unfortunately, the lesson of the 2020 election was don't be a jerk and don't be a socialist, but unfortunately, both parties have not learned that lesson. publicans are trying to double down on being bigger jerks and democrats are doubling down on
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trying to be bigger socialists and we haven't learned that lesson. unfortunately in the house, republicans in the house believe that donald trump somehow is a model that we should be modern -- be following and i think that is wrong. he lost. in four years, we lost the white house, the house, and the senate and summary races around the country, republicans outperformed donald trump by a distant margin but unfortunately, the motivations and the incentive structure for a lot of folks doesn't exist to work and try to solve problems. in a district like i used to represent, even if every republican voted for me, i still lost. i had to get independents and democrats and i was rewarded for that kind of behavior and the house, specifically when you have so many seats to decide in
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the primary and a 90% of them are decided in the primary, you will have people that only think about the primary voter in every election and people at your base, the base is called america, right? we should be talking to everybody and my title was representative. that meant i represented everybody, even people that didn't like me so we will eventually get to the point, but there are structural problems. it is going to take people showing real leadership and doing policy based on our values. when we do that, republicans are going to continue to have a greater success. david: heidi, you were the last standing democrat in a state that used to elect democrats all the time. it has now become quite a red state. in the position you were in, you, like well, there was an incentive to be someone who reaches across the aisle,
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someone who tries to find common ground and so on. you did that. both of you had high scores for bipartisanship and yet you lost, so what lesson did you derive from that? not to set you up all the time to be captain bring down here. [laughter] david: -- sen. heitkamp: yeah, why did you lose? if you were so good at what you did, why did people reject you? when i ran in 2012, we had a long history of being a republican state but republicans were willing to cross the aisle and vote for democrats because they did a good job or because they demonstrated an ability to get things done and so when i won in 2012, we expected 20% of the democrat or leaning republicans would cross over and vote for me and they did. i outperformed barack obama by about 22 points.
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when i ran in 2018, when we talk about tribalism and this being the party of trump, when i ran in 2018, it was only 4%. i knew that i couldn't win by saying i'm going to support this president because i hadn't for at least two of the years i have been in. i hadn't supported him on every move he had made including the tax bill, including a supreme court justice, and i thought, well, that's not what they want. they don't want someone who is 100% with the president. my opponent, he literally stood on the podium and said i will vote with this president 100% of the time. you are talking to a state that is 54% democratic republicans, never mind the leaning -- that is a pretty big hurdle to get over if what they want is someone who is for the president
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so north dakota has become one of those states that is aligned with the republican party but i would like to give a visual. north dakota, south the dexter cota, nebraska, oklahoma, and texas, the middle of the country. it used to be 40-60 in terms of democrats to republicans,. it wasn't that long ago i was the last standing democrat in that corridor and now, you see it creeping over into the montana. we just lost a congressional seat in minnesota, so that's why i think it is so important to begin the dialogue. look at what is happening, but find out what it is about the democratic party in particular, which is the biggest obstacle if you are me running in north dakota, what it is about the
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democratic party that people find objectionable and how can you best respond to that? david: i want to reserve the backend of this conversation for what can we do. i just want to analyze where we are, but first, the point you made is important. in this last election, i think 95% of the voters voted for the candidate who reflected their presidential choice. that was by far the highest percentage we have seen. there only three senators left in each party in the senate who come from a state that voted for a different party for president and only one in the last election season -- election, susan collins so partisanship has become tribal. that is one of the things we are concerning. heidi mentioned the events of the last week with someone who wasn't your colleague, you left just as he was arriving on the
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marjorie taylor greene and my question to you, you've been outspoken on what you think about her, including liking a tweet about putting the bullet through the head of the speaker of the house. why didn't the republican caucus -- i know the answer to this, but i wanted you to explain it. why did the republican caucus and the republican leaders not, on their own, sanction her for those comments as they did, for example, steve king from iowa when you were there, who made some white supremacist leaning comments and was stripped of his committees? why didn't the actor? rep. hurd: the short answer -- act here? rep. hurd: the short answer is i don't know. we should have acted. i applauded kevin mccarthy when he took steve king off those
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committees for his outlandish comments and ultimately, what -- the reason this happened is people are afraid of a large group of voters in their districts. to get down to the numbers, you talked about the senate races. in the 435 house races, there were really only about 34 that were from split tickets so one party the president, one the house. the number 20 years ago was over 70. 30 years ago it was over 90, 40 years ago it was over 125. these folks are worried about a percentage of the primary voters. my issue is, this qanon nonsense is crazy. everyone knows the election was one of the most secure elections. why did 131 republicans not vote
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to certify the elections? some of those, 20 of them, believe the nonsense they say, but the rest of them don't and they know it is nonsense but they go ahead with it because they are afraid. they don't want to have to defend themselves when they go back. unfortunately, i think a lot of politicians are super lazy. they are not used to having tough races. to me, every race is hard. every race i was in was a knife fight, gunfight, sword fight, so we are used to that. most people don't want to run hard races. they don't want to have to explain their votes, defend where they are at and for me, what is sad is do the right thing. people have always said you criticized the president. i've agreed with him also. i agree with president obama sometimes and disagree with him a lot of times. i'm going to agree with
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president biden on some things -- what wrong with that? why as a country have we started to identify, one of the most important things we identify ourselves with is a political party? when did that happen? tim alberta, one of the other fellows, we had a conversation. i really didn't like the guy, by the way. i was forced to be on a road trip with him. he hounded me, when did you become a republican? i said i wasn't reciting the constitution when i was in fourth grade. it was something i came to because of my experience, so now, the fact that people draw these lines and this is one of the -- instead of identifying with the community, they identify with a political party. when did that happen, because that wasn't the case when i was growing up and i think that is one of the problems. i forget what your question was now, but i hope i answered it.
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david: let me refine it and say i think your answer is right. i think it is fear of the base and the base is still responsive to donald trump, who has embraced representative green. sen. heitkamp: the second part of that answer is they are lazy. it is not just fearing the base. it is not wanting to go out and say this is what and why i made the decision. let's talk about why that was important for me and that reflects the values of the district. it is not just fear. it is what will said. it is people being lazy. think about joe mansion. joe manchin, there is probably not one state that is more pro-second amendment but he did town hall after town hall and he got reelected having
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sponsored toomey. he's not a lazy politician. he's someone who will engage with the people and that's part of it. david: we should note that there were 10 republicans who stood up and voted to impeach the president of the united states after he helped incite a riot, and insurrection at the capitol. they are now walking around with bullet-proof vest's and security and life has been unpleasant for them. not all of them. i had representatives anger on my -- i had a representative on my podcast last weekend he understood what i was getting into when i cast the vote and he
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wasn't complaining about it. i think it is fear, as well. last question and then i want to ask you about this, heidi. if there had been a secret ballot vote within the caucus about what to do about her, how would that have come off? rep. hurd: it would have come out probably close to what the votes supporting liz cheney were. you would have probably had 60 people defend her and then you would have had 140 that would have given her the heave ho off the committees. david: i mean, that tells you something right there. heidi, the democrats in the house, as we know, went ahead and they stripped her of her committee assignments. it was a highly unusual move.
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usually the caucus disciplines its own members. i have two questions about that. i think there was, personally, calls for it given the dangerous things she had said but whatever you believed, are you concerned about precedent? we've seen this sort of elimination of norm after norm in the senate, the filibuster and the abuse of the filibuster. a lot of things that were the glue that held the comity of these institutions together has been eroded. are you worried about that, and isn't part of the problem that we weaponize these things politically, because even as they were casting those votes,
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the democratic congressional campaign committee was running ads in suburban districts trying to tie those members to her and the chairman was quite open about how they are giving away the suburban seats. that is the impression that a lot of americans have, which is that most of what they are focused on in washington is securing power for one party or the other and it felt like both sides displayed a little of that in this episode. sen. heitkamp: well, i remember back when all the ads against two former m aquatic centers -- senators were he votes with ted kennedy. every cycle has the bogeyman, the person you don't want to be associated with. what makes it so much more possible to weaponize is the speed at which we can communicate, and the pinpointing
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we can do within the social media to drill down and deliver that message. i think this is bigger than politics, though. i think when someone runs an ad holding and ar-15 and says she wants to shoot someone through the head or implies she is going to do bodily damage to democratic members, there needs to be a response to that and when the republican party fails to take the adequate measures, you can make an argument it is time for the body to step up. you had 10 people on the republican side, we are going to look at all of this and not in the heat of a moment but look back 18 months, what is the damage being done i someone like her. she has been someone, marjorie taylor greene, has become the
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aoc of the left and they weaponize this. i can have a debate about whether anything the president is doing right now is socialistic, but the bottom line is every year, we get a little more aggressive. at what point do you say stop? everybody stop, let's reevaluate. people hate government, not because they hate government, because you tell them they should hate government so we have a political structure that is all based on fear as opposed to visionary for the future. rep. hurd: can anybody else name a former republican conference chair of the democratic party, the fact that this is national news or you have a freshman congresswoman -- is this crazy
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how these issues are consuming day-to-day conversations, but it goes back to solve the problem. the reason the country doesn't trust government is because we are fighting over crazy things. by the way, the majority does rule the house and so if you violate the rule, the majority gets the move. if you are not willing to police your own folks, then it is your fault, right? that's why something should have been done and by the way, if we want to talk about winning elections, we are giving -- republicans are giving democrats something to bludgeon us over the head with. why not start talking about working together and causing some of the friction within the democratic party, the far-left and centrists and the legislation they could be able to pass. that is going to be a winning electoral strategy and not
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trying to protect someone who says absolutely crazy things. david: let me ask you, i have the quote here somewhere about the capitol insurrection and you said advanced election officials ambitions, goals of foreign adversaries. this notion of radicalization is something we haven't really talked about in american politics. we've thought about it in another context when you were working for the cia, there were concerns about riot is asian of americans -- riotization of americans overseas. talk about radicalization within our own politics because it doesn't just extend to people in the capital, who were in the capitol that day. it is bigger than that and a
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bigger concern. rep. hurd: absolutely and it has been going on for a long time. the insurrection at the capitol january 6 was the culmination of years of misinformation, disinformation, and radicalization and it is something -- and we let it happen. when you don't stand up and say something is wrong, you continue to add to it, you increase its volume and why -- if you take radicalization and islamic extremism, why did isis have the ability to radicalize folks in the united states, even when they are 6000 miles away? they had the tools and those two rules -- tools were able to be amplified. we are seeing that here. another fellow cohort has participated in a documentary called "after truth" about disinformation. one of the things in this movie
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is they talk about they talk about pizzagate and the guy that went into the pizza shop and literally thought, he truly believed there was a basement of kids being taken advantage of and he came to the realization he had been lied to. how are people believing this? how are people that are educated -- david: for a second, for the folks that don't know the background on this, this was sort of the beginnings of qanon, this notion hillary clinton was part of the global pedophilia ring and they were hiding captive children in the base -- basement of the pizzeria and washington, d.c. it sounds insane, but there were a couple million people who circulated this story, and it did activate this one person, but doesn't it also have -- and
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heidi, i'll bring you in, social media, the siloing of media, the echoing of false stories by media outlets and social media. that has a broader impact than just the people who go out and act on them in violent ways. we are having two different sets of conversations in this country. sen. heitkamp: the challenge is enormous. on the extremism, i want to remind everybody that janet napolitano when she was the head of homeland security in the first term actually fit -- issued a statement saying one of the most serious threats in america was the radicalization of law enforcement and the military, and the growth of white supremacist groups. so this is not -- everyone can
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sit around and say it is not dollar -- donald trump, but with donald trump, what he did was he invited people to the table. he said yes, i think there is something there. i think you are my guy or you are my people and so the republican party became a party that needed to pander to white supremacist groups and pander to the absolute crazy conspiracy groups and that's how he built his majority. that's how he basically billed his power and that's why he said on the day of this election, he went to the camera and said "i love you? it is at -- love you." how do we walk this back? how do we do the hard work it is going to take to get back when you have lazy politicians who
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want to reflect what is happening in their district or their so-called base believes as opposed to lead people toward a better result in government. that is one of the real challenges that we have today. how do we walk all of this back, because now, they've gotten at the table and they don't want to give up our. -- power. david: i've said this a million times and you may have heard me. politicians generally follow the market. they generally follow the market. they want to get reelected, they want to retain power. it takes extraordinary leaders to show courage and breakaway. we've seen examples of it recently of people doing that, but you've raised the question, heidi. i guess i want to give you, because we are going to get to questions, will, you hit at it
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-- talk about what you think on your side of the aisle have to do. speak to democrats and will, i want you to speak to republicans. sen. heitkamp: first off, this week or last week, john kerry asked what oil workers would do, they should build solar panels. that is a siren song for insult among oilfield workers. we need to sit down and talk to working people again, democrats and not assume we know what they need. we need to figure out how we can talk to the middle of the country who may not share our social values, to try and find some common ground for moving forward. it is interesting, david. i met a young man, he went door-to-door in aisle and he has more stories and is probably
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better equipped to answer that questions. he was trained not to ask what do you want? what kind of america do you want to live in? that is where he found unity. it doesn't matter their political stance. they answered the question the same so we need to get back to a political dialogue that says what kind of america we going to be and how do we deliver it, whether it is delivered by democrat or republican's and you can't do that if you are not knocking on the door and actually asking and respecting the answer that you get and i think democrats, right or wrong, have a reputation for disrespecting people. when i started in politics, my people were elderly -- david: we have a bridge the divide program at the institute of politics. we just had our first day of the 2021 session today.
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we bring students together from eureka college, rupe college in chicago and the university of chicago and we do focus groups so they can hear how voters speak and the chicago group was this morning and when they were asked, why do so many people support donald trump? the answers were racism, white supremacy, they are ignorant, they are vulnerable, they are small, their attention seekers. sen. heitkamp: they are poor. david: there was no offsetting -- i kind of get how that could happen. i just want to say, to be fair, i know from experience because we do this every year and we get down to central illinois and we have our focus group. we will hear a lot of ugly caricatures that are headed back the other way and so this kind
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of personal caricaturing of people as part of this political storytelling that has been weaponized has driven us apart, biden said in his inauguration speech, we have got to learn to put ourselves in other people's shoes and that is not just a cliche. that is a necessity. there has to be a willingness to listen. sen. heitkamp: if i could just say, it is the fundamental of every religion in america. rep. hurd: and maybe even beyond america. david: well, you were talking before about what you think the republican party needs to do. i think there is a prevailing
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view among people who are not in your wing of the republican party that if the republican party can just dominate those areas of the country where -- that are demographically friendly, the upper midwest, parts of the south, that they can put together with texas, with florida -- or you could speak to texas, that they can maintain some foothold or some power. the party has lost the popular country -- popular vote and the demographics are changing, so what is the proper directive for the republican party in the context of what we are talking about here? about a greater sense of fellowship and comity and identification with each other?
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instead of division rep. hurd: if you want -- instead of division? rep. hurd: if you want to keep the republican party narrow, that is only a weight is to be successful in the short term. donald trump lost by as large a martian as he did, yet speaker pelosi didn't pick up any seats is a sign there is an opportunity for us and it starts with some basic things. don't be a jerk. don't be a misogynist, don't be racist. don't be a homophobe. some of those very simple things but also, we take a message to somebody. i'm a black republican who represented 70% latino district that nobody thought i should have won or ever was going to get reelected and how did i do it? because i don't care what community you come from. you want to put food on the table and a roof over your head and make sure the people you love are healthy and happy. talk about those issues.
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be a part of action that is based on values and explain those values and translate that into these policies. there was a saying that good policy is good politics. we don't do that anymore and i think part of the problem is you need elected officials that stop talking to the professional political class or the political industrial cartel -- sorry, ax, that drives some of these narratives. you have these politicals that want to run the same election in 20 different places and have the same message. guess what, primaries -- a lot of people don't vote in primaries. the average in the country's 42,000 people and some as low as 25,000 and when you look at the people that actually voting the general election, that doubles pretty significant. stop being lazy and talk to a
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broader swath of people and if we do it on our values, we have a better chance to win. imagine if republicans were seen in the 2020 election as taking covid seriously? imagine what our victories would have looked like then. we would have picked up more seats. despite all the craziness, despite these far-right nuts in the party, we still have an opportunity to pick up seats. that is going to cause us to change our narrative and at the end of the day, do the things we were taught as a kid. treat people with respect, love thy neighbor like thyself. be honest. if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything. at all if we can remember our kindergarten. teachings, we would be more successful. david: that is good advice for both parties, to be honest. let me just say and we are going to go to questions so i'm not going to ask for comments on
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this, we should not let ourselves as voters and citizens off the hook. there is a lot of blame for politicians and justifiably so, but it is also true that we have responsibilities not to believe everything that we hear, responsibilities to try and put ourselves in other people's shoes. responsibilities to stand up for people who are willing to be reasonable, who are willing to reach across party lines. a lot of the reason we have the situation we have is because party primaries are dominated by base voters and a lot of people who say they want something else don't participate in primaries and then there is this paradox in polling where people say i really want politicians in
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washington to get along and i want them to compromise, but then when you dig in, they just don't want them to compromise on the things they don't want them to compromise on. they want compromise as long as they don't compromise anything i care about, so there is some responsibility for voters, as well. let's go to questions and we will start with ava, who is a high school student and her question is for senator heitkamp. you are on mute. >> hi. my name is eva and like mr. axelrod said, this is directed at senator heitkamp specifically, though open to anyone. at the beginning of this session, you stated the gop is still the party of trump and expressed pessimism regarding global dispersed -- discourse. do you believe -- foresee the
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gop sticking together behind one of those sections? sen. heitkamp: there's a lot of people who think there was going to be a new middle of and i think if they could entice someone like me to join them, they would feel -- field more conservative democrats or a centerleft party. i think it is really hard to think about winning electoral races by splintering the current party. even though you have got the republicans against trump, you have the lincoln project, all these groups that were very engaged against trump and now they are engaged against people who are complicit in things like marjorie taylor greene, i don't really see an effective third-party movement yet in this country and so i think the
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republican party is going to have to sort it out and if they don't sort it out, we are going to see the democratic party recruiting more white, college-educated suburbanites and businesspeople to our party as opposed to a third-party. david: let me quickly ask you guys, do you think biden's tone will be helpful? i noticed today he is moving forward on budget reconciliation, which will would call socialism and heidi would call something else. sen. heitkamp: significantly important? david: in any case, he was asked about republicans who he met with and he said there are some fine people who want to get something done but they are not willing to go as far as i think we have to go, and i thought it was interesting because what he was saying is we don't agree on this, but that doesn't mean they are bad people and they don't want to do something positive
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and i'm just wondering. that struck me as a good note to strike. i guess i should ask will because he'd probably be on the other side of this reconciliation issue. do you think that tom will matter? rep. hurd: i think tone -- tone will matter? rep. hurd: i think tone definitely matters and i think his biggest problem is not his tone. it is going to be speaker pelosi and chuck schumer's unwillingness and not wanting to work with republicans. the fact president biden sat down with republicans, he's even said prior to today, i put forward my plan and recognize my plan may not be the thing that gets put into law and i think a willingness to negotiate, and president biden, if he wants to get something done in a bipartisan way, is going to have to jump over democratic leadership in the house and senate and try to work directly with republicans that are
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willing to play ball and we saw those tan in the senate and on any particular issue, probably 20 or 30 in the house, but i don't know if the electoral pushback for something like that is what is going to ultimately happen. you are not going to have a republican party splinter. sen. heitkamp: i want to just, because i do not believe that donald trump was responsible for what happened in georgia. what is responsible for georgia is two billionaires being unwilling to provide covid relief when people needed it the most. that got hammered and hammered. it is going to be a very tough vote, like the tax vote was a tough vote for me. it is going to be a tough vote for people to walk away from a $1400 check when they are sitting in mansions, when we have the most billionaires sitting in congress than we have ever had and saying no to
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ordinary people and i think joe biden understands that. yes, there is tone but he also understands that he has a side to play to. rep. hurd: this $1.9 billion think, someone else suggested a $1.9 billion covid passage -- package and that was donald trump. you are putting words in my mouth. i let it go a few times. i may have already voted on a $1.9 billion package, so like i said, reconciliation is a tool. republicans should have passed a budget when we could so that president biden doesn't get two bites at the apple. he gets two reconciliations. he's going to use one for this and that was a bad move on republican leadership. i know we get in the weeds and strategies, but -- david: yeah, we've got to get to these questions and just in from the university of alabama, who
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is probably still celebrating a national championship down there, but justin, go ahead. >> my name is justin. i'm from the university of nebraska. david: we want alabama. sen. heitkamp: we want nebraska. david: we will take alabama. >> i'm still celebrating a national championship. you all were close. >> we were robbed. that's what we should be talking about. >> think you all for coming here and talking to us today. i'm the council president for the aei council at alabama. i have a question for representative hurd. your district after you announce retirement was written off for republicans as a safe democratic
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seat and it ended up being won i a republican pretty handily. what do you think led to that and also, what do you think led to the minority voters, someone in your wing of the republican party, how that happened with donald trump on the top of the ticket? rep. hurd: three things were involved. the reason it was tight in 2018 was because of the guy whose name rhymes with beto o'rourke. his turnout in the 23rd was something i had to overcome and my opponents thought he hurt her, but he helped her. the other two issues, defund the police and the aggression against the oil and gas industry. along the border, about 40% plus of miles -- latinos are connected to law enforcement and another 40% have connection to
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the energy sector so when you have a narrative that those two issues are potentially impacted, you are going to see people go vote to make sure they protect their ability to put food on the table, so those were some factors that were unique and in play in 20 that a lot of folks talk about. . by the way, we made it easier for people to pull a lever for republican and the sky didn't open up and they didn't get struck down by lightning bolts. they had a few examples of being ok and being proud of that vote. sen. heitkamp: if i can add to it, the democratic party is incredibly unsophisticated as it relates to hispanic voters. they think all you have to do is say kids at the border, isn't this terrible what has happened? and everyone is going to fall in line and they will get 90%. they really need to understand the economic issues that will
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just outlined. every location in the country, the economic issues for hispanic voters are different and you are going to see these results. rep. hurd: by the way, you've got to get out and campaign. you can't sit in your house and do this by zoom. that's another thing democrats learned in georgia is stacey abrams said the guys, you've got to knock on some doors sometimes rather than just texting everybody. that was another factor. david: lazy politicians are taking a beating here. thanks, justin. >> thank you all. david: can you step up? >> yep. senator heitkamp, representative hurd, thank you for your time. i am a first year at the college, university of chicago. representative hurd touched on the effect of primaries where
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candidates are incentivized to push more radical policies and rhetoric to distinguish them to the base. in that 20 primary, andrew yang and tulsi gabbard garnered clout from republicans but the primary process doomed their chances. how can the primary process, either in the case of either party, be changed to incentivize cross party cooperation? rep. hurd: campaigns are real simple. id your voters, turn them out. that is the responsibility of the campaign and the organization to do that, so if you can't get someone in a close primary, if your message is not powerful enough to get that person to be like, i'm going to do something different, then your message isn't powerful enough.
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in texas, we have open primaries, so you've got to id those voters and turn them out. guess what, social media and cable news is not the only indicator of somebody's success, so i think in this day and age, it is the one thing we can monitor and we use that as a show of strength, but it doesn't always translate into electoral success and so structurally, yeah. if i had a magic wand, the way i would fix things is to make all districts competitive. the senate is different because it is the state, but make all seats plus or minus six, plus six r, 6b, otherwise it is a jumble. david: that would require state legislatures to act in ways they may not feel is in their interest. rep. hurd: they are not going to
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do it. democrats and republicans in power don't want to change it. that's why i said it was a magic wand. sen. heitkamp: i think there is this one phenomenon here. primaries like california, where everybody is in the primary and then you take the top two, that may be a reform you want to look at if you are looking at -- otherwise, people who identify as democrats are going to pick their democratic camp. david: there's more to be said about this, but i will move on because i see the second justin, we will see if i can get him back. justin from nebraska, where are you? >> we have a few national championships in alabama. i'll ask my question really quick. they queue, i name is justin, i'm a senior studying economics.
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my question is i was disappointed with the republican party before, the past two months, and now i am despairing over what to do. some smart folks i respect have given up. specifically my question for representative hurd is what would you advise young folks who don't like the direction of the party, what would you advise us to do? should we stay in the party? should we leave the party? what are your thoughts about how we move forward here? rep. hurd: thanks for the question and for being honest, right? shame on all those that have let you down. my point is stay in the party and help reform it. yes, donald trump probably still has the greatest influence in the party right now but he is not the only one and if we don't stay and fight and try to reform it, it is going to be a problem for the country. everybody should care about
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having two strong parties because the problem -- we are facing a generational divide and struggle with the government of china. this new cold war and a race on who is going to achieve global supremacy and advanced technology is going to define our economy, the global economy. we are in this war right now and the only way we are going to solve this problem is if we actually talk about these issues in a bipartisan way and try to solve problems together, so we need a strong republican party. we need a strong democratic party and we need young folks like you and your friends that are willing to dig in and do some things. , the people you believe in continue to support them. reward them. there are some good folks who are still pulling weight. peter mayer placed your boy justin amash. justin is a friend of mine. i think he's always been a libertarian.
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i think he has finally confirmed that. you've got justin amash, adam kinzinger, my homegirl liz cheney. there are a lot of folks that are trying to reform the party and we need people like you. david: thank you, justin. the last question will be from giuliana rossy, a third-year student at the university of chicago. >> hi. i'm a third-year in los angeles. one thing i've heard a lot about his people talking about the empathy gap between the parties. what do you say to americans who don't actually know how to talk to each other on big issues that need to be solved like covid and how do we engage with those people to get a better result in our government, even if we find some of those views objectionable? sen. heitkamp: i think the first thing is you don't lead with politics. who is your grandma?
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how is your grandma doing? is she having some trouble? you do what joe biden does. joe biden does this very well. i have seen him work rope lines, people protesting, wanting to know who they are and what their family is struggling with. lead with where people are and then talk about politics. the mistake people make is you need to listen to me. i've got all the answers. you are voting against your interests. they don't think that. they think they are casting in a vote that makes sense to them and to me, you've got to get to know people, get to know people where they are and then you can form alliances that lead to a more unified american identity. rep. hurd: i love the phrase empathy gap. thanks for that. i'm going to start using it, and seek to understand before being understood.
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i think that is what my friend senator heitkamp is saying and that's what we need to do. it is also the recognition that the other person you are probably talking to cares about the country and wants to see problems solved as much as you do, so if we can accept that, and we can also recognize we don't always have to agree, and i always ask people, do you agree 100% with your spouse or your boyfriend or your girlfriend? and they are like, of course not, so how much do you agree on? why are we trying to expect more from our elected officials than we do in our own individual lives? those things we learned in card -- kindergarten, the simple four, treat people with respect and if we try to love our neighbor as ourselves, we will go a long way and it sounds pollyanna-ish, but trying to live that is hard and it starts with each one of us making that decision and doing that in our own lives because if we can be
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an example to somebody else, then maybe that catches on and grows. david: let me say that both of you are great examples and models for that kind of politics and it is a pleasure to be around you. it is a pleasure to hear from you and it is a pleasure to know that you are not giving up, that you are fighting the good fight and trying to model a better kind of politics for your parties and for the country. so that is something that gives me hope along with all these young people who joined us this morning, who will have a greater say than anybody, any of us, about what the future of this country looks like so thank you to you guys for this, for your time here at the university of chicago. we love having you and to all of you who have joined us today. sen. heitkamp:
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