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tv   Washington Journal 04102021  CSPAN  April 10, 2021 7:00am-10:02am EDT

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reveals his peace in the atlantic. we also take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal is next. ♪ host: good morning and welcome to washington journal. u.s. representative matt gaetz of florida is facing an investigation from the house ethics committee over accusations of illegal drug use and sexual misconduct. he has strongly denied any wrongdoing but there is an ongoing investigation by the department of justice into the allegations. he has not been charged with any crime but at least one member of the gop has already called on him to resign which the third term congressman says he will not do. our question, what do you think
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about the representative matt gaetz's sexual allegations? republicans we want to hear from you at (202)-748-8001. democrats, your line is (202)-748-8000. independents, you can call in at (202)-748-8002 and we will open a special line for florida residents. we want to hear from you at (202)-748-8003. keep in mind you can always text us at that same number, (202)-748-8003, and we are always reading on social media on twitter @c-spanwj and facebook at facebook.com/c-span. yesterday representative matt gaetz of florida came out and spoke at an event for the first time since the allegations became public. reading a little bit from the
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story from the tampa bay times to set the scene. on the same day the house ethics committee announced it was investigating its conduct matthew gates spoke to a conference of supporters at the trump national resort, vowing he would fight allegations against him which you claim are part of a deep state smear campaign to silence him. "the smears against me range from distortion of my personal life to wild -- and i meanwhile -- conspiracy theories, said the 30-year-old congressman from florida. i won't be intimidated by line media and i won't be extorted by a former doj official and the crooks he is working with." the speech, part of a four date conference, was one of his first public appearances since the new york times reported a week ago he was being investigated by the fbi over an alleged sexual
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relationship with a 17-year-old girl in exchange for payments. he became entangled with the investigation as an inquiry into the seminal former county tax collector joel greenberg who was indicted last year on a slew of federal charges include sex trafficking a minor and identity theft. once again gaetz appeared at the conference on friday and let's look at a few bits of video on what he said at the conference on friday. [video clip] >> after the russia hoax, knock ukraine impeachment sequel, and an election that was stolen as a consequence of illegal last-minute changes to the rules folks have gotten to know i will take on the establishment of both parties and i wouldn't have it any other way. [cheering and applause] we have your back. that is the sentiment i have
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heard from thousands of americans. at restaurants. , walking through public par ks, online donations and i cannot tell you how much it means. this past week has been full of encouragement from president trump, marjorie taylor greene and jim jordan, to the maga nation that shares so much love. [applause] let me assure you i have not even begun to fight for the country i love and the nations that i know benefits from america first principles. i am built for the battle and i am not going anywhere. the smears against me range from distortions of my personal life, to wild -- and i mean wild -- conspiracy theories. i won't be intimidated by a line media and i won't be extorted by a former doj officials and the crooks he is working with. the truth will prevail.
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host: let's get more information about what is going on with these allegations. for more information return to matt sapolsky, national security reporter for the washington post. good morning. caller: thank you for having me. host: give us the lay of the land. one of the allegations against representative gaetz? guest: it is important to note that he is not charged with anything. this is just an investigation and he has been very eager to say, or staff is been eager to say that no women have publicly come forward and accused him but we know the justice department is investigating that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl that may have violated federal trafficking laws. he may have paid women for sex,
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including in ways that violated federal trafficking laws because the crossed state lines. investigators have focused on a trip he took to the bahamas on a private plane that had some women on it and another florida political hand surgeon in orlando. that is the broad strokes of what they are looking at. generally speaking they are looking at whether he violated sex trafficking laws and whether he had sex with a minor at the time. host: who was investigating all these charges? is this state-level crime, federal crime, just the house ethics committee? guest: the most serious investigation is being done by the justice department. federal prosecutors based in washington, d.c. his case grew out of a different
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federal investigation run by federal prosecutors in the middle district of florida. they were investigating this local republican by the name of joel greenberg. the house ethics committee investigation is a separate matter. that was announced yesterday and more of an internal personnel thing. that is congress investigating one of its own. the more serious investigation, because he could face legal consequences, is by the justice department's public integrity section. host: you mentioned his name but tell us who joel greenberg is and what he has to do with his entire allegation investigation. guest: joel greenberg is the former tax collector, elected tax collector, of seminole county and he was a friend of gaetz. you can see pictures of them together on twitter. he is a colorful character. he got in a lot of trouble when
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he was the tax collector, generating a lot of controversy over allegations of misspending the office's money. he was eventually charged with that a campaign opponent in the tax collector race. stalking is a misleading word. he fabricated evidence of misconduct that he alleged his opponent committed. it was all a lie. he created a facebook and twitter to get this on the radar of the opponent's employer. they charged him with that. they brought a whole slew of other charges against him. he stands accused of 33 different federal charges including the stocking, stealing from tax collectors, including when he was out on bond trying to defraud a coronavirus program, and for gaetz accused of sex trafficking a minor.
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investigators believe they might have both had sex with the same 17-year-old. the 17-year-old at issue in joel greenberg's case is the same involve the matt gaetz's case. host: has greenberg agreed to a plea deal and that is what is bringing this around to matt gaetz? or something separate going on? guest: the investigation was already around matt gaetz before we learned joel greenberg it is in negotiations to possibly plead guilty. earlier this week there was just a status hearing in joel greenberg's case and a prosecutor on that case indicated we are probably not going to need the summer trial date. let's set a different date, may 15, by which we think we can come to a plea agreement. that is pretty bad news for matt gaetz.
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the way we are told from sources and the way joel greenberg's lawyer describes it, joel greenberg has potentially pivotal information that could help investigators in the matt gaetz investigation. as i mentioned they both allegedly shared this same girl for sex which would be illegal. we understand from talking to people in this world and other officials that investigators are exploring allegations joel greenberg was the guy that procured women for gaetz. greenberg has credibility issues. one of the things that first got him on the radar was fabricating evidence against another politician. he is not the person you want as a cooperator or witness because jurors, if it came to that, would not very likely believe him. but he could point investigators in the areas they may be didn't think they go or evidence they
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didn't know existed. his cooperation certainly ups the ante for gaetz but we will see if he pleads guilty, he is still just a negotiations, b, how much he cooperates and c, how honest he is. host: gaetz insists the claims are false but also talked about extortion issues. can you tell us what that is about? guest: yeah and i would think about this as a related but separate thing from the investigation into gaetz himself. investigators have been exploring gaetz on this alleged sex trafficking since last year. it was kind of preceding the pace. in march of this year a group of guys find out about the investigation. we don't exactly know how but
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they seem to get pretty specific information on it. there are three people we know to be loosely involved in this. a former air force intelligence analyst, another guy who is a florida real estate developer who has been in trouble for fraud before, and gaetz has referenced a former federal prosecutor in florida. the first people i mentioned, he didn't touch with gaetz's father and they proposed to his father, don gaetz, they write him a letter and say hey, we know about the investigation into her son and we can help make the problems go away if you give us a huge sum of money.
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it will help us rescue this long-held former fbi agent. i know this is a circuitous plot. because of the fame it will generate and the goodwill it will help your son's political and legal woes. don gaetz says this is extorted ive. he goes to the fbi and he also goes to one of these guys and he asks about these guys. don gaetz says he wears a wire and david mcgee says i am not involved in anything like that. i just represent the levinson family. i was hoping to get help for them potentially but he has
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never truly confirmed they talked about the levinsons. the fbi is investigating that separately. the fbi is concerned about someone who would throw this, at the time, nonpublic allegation of sex trafficking in the gaetz's family face. sources tell us look, none of those folks seem to have an apparent connection to the case except they found out about it. in other words they are not going to gaetz on behalf of the 17-year-old alleged victim in the case and saying you need to pay this woman money to make the allegations go away. they are referencing almost bizarre subplot having to do with bob levinson. he is also presumed to be dead. host: thank you for taking us through all of this. matt zapotsky, national security reporter for the washington post, thank you for getting
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us up-to-date. guest: thank you. host: we want to know what you think about these allegations against representative matt gaetz. let's go to the phone lines and start with dylan calling from auburn, alabama on the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. i just want to say that whatever the hell matt zapotsky, whatever his name is, this is a sham to block away from andrew cuomo. are you kidding me? you are saying matt gaetz is sex trafficking children in florida? after andrew cuomo has had nine credible allegations against him and out of nowhere matt gaetz, one of the most prominent republicans right now in the maga sphere, is getting accused
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of sex trafficking children? the media hops on it so hard but andrew cuomo has nine allegations of sexual harassment and the media just stops talking about it. but all of a sudden matt gaetz is having sex with underage kids and stuff like that. i don't understand it. host: let's go to stand calling from delray beach, florida on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. i am a little -- i don't understand. here we got the president's's son who has done everything under the earth and you never mentioned it on your program. then we have allegations, no charges, against a congressman from florida and you made up a whole half-hour program about it. i do understand that. host: let's go to milton calling
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from philadelphia, pennsylvania on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. the last two callers, i want to talk about the hypocrisy. this investigation of him having sex with a 17-year-old girl, a minor, and paying her for sex, this started under who? under barr doj. it did not start the democrats. i find it hypocritical. fox news and these other right wing medias were all over cuomo but they would cover the story. let's look at the hypocrisy with these evangelical christian ministers. when this thing happened with bill clinton they got fire and brimstone bringing down. where are they? pat robinson, you hear nothing
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but hypocritical. [indiscernible] where the rest of them at? host: we go to stan calling from silver bay, minnesota. caller: thank you. i think it is important you bring out all you can about somebody who is possibly committing crimes that are representing people in the government. i think tomorrow should have a full story about hunter biden and the graph his dad and him were taking out of china and ukraine. thank you. host: let's go to walt: from pittsburgh, pennsylvania on the democratic line. caller: the truth will come out in investigation.
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hunter biden is untouchable on your station. two years and nothing? i am a democrat. not anymore. i'm getting sick of you people. host: larry is calling from bowling green, kentucky on the republican line. good morning. caller: i am like the fella before. where is the story on hunter biden? you liberal people are pathetic. i don't mind telling you. host: let's go to martha calling from germantown, tennessee on the independent line. caller: i don't think i can say anything no one else has said. c-span has gone absolutely bias against republicans. why are you doing the border? why are you doing hunter and joe biden?
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host: let's go to rosetta calling from new rochelle, new york on the democrat line. caller: good morning. i think he is guilty. matter of fact, i know he is. host: let's go to greg calling from ohio on the democratic line. good morning. caller: morning. i believe he is guilty. host: we go to gretchen calling from montauk, new york on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning, jesse. i think it is more bad male behavior. we hear about the abuse of women from males, it doesn't matter what party. thank you. host: let's talk to linda
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calling from florida on the independent line. good morning. caller: i just want to know why people aren't standing up for what this president is doing. host: what do you mean? caller: all his -- like the border. host: tell me exactly what you're talking about. caller: why are we doing something about the border? we are supposed to be trying to get covid curved. with all these people coming in how can it be curved? how many border agents have died from covid? this is crazy. host: jess is calling -- jeff is calling from waterford, maine. are you there?
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house speaker nancy pelosi earlier this month at a virtual press conference talk about the allegations against representative gaetz. here is what speaker pelosi had to say. [video clip] >> given the allegations against matt gaetz do you think he should still remain a member of congress, should he step down, and if anything, should he be removed from judiciary? >> well, we have so much going on in our country that i hope we will get back to but i do think it is an important issue, the integrity of the congress. i am not surprised that is the first question. if these are true, being removed from the committee is the least that could be done. but again i think from what we have heard so far this would be a matter for the ethics committee.
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host: let's hear what our social media followers are saying about the allegations against representative gaetz. here's a post from facebook that says, democrats deflecting from real problems. a text that says, matt gaetz did nothing wrong. i have his back. another text says, sounds like a typical democrat political smear. projection of their activities on gaetz. pathetic. another text that says, blame the media, blame the investigators, blah, blah. gaetz is so wrong he is not fit for office and must resign. another text that says matt gaetz is the next victim of obama's doj witchhunt. gaetz should not step down. one last text that says, i am not sure what to make of the rumors.
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there are few facts and people willing to go on the record. i would like to know more but currently reliant information is scarce. let's go back to the phone lines and start with ella calling from corpus christi, texas on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead. caller: i think it is really funny republicans are calling it asking about hunter biden. was in it if you want to go they were about the investigation like sex trafficking? here's a prime example. whether he is guilty or not they should be invested should they? shouldn't they be asking more questions? asking about more information would clear his name. adamantly denying it and deflecting it to hunter biden, they should be surrounding him, backing up matt gaetz saying he didn't do this, show proof. it's just protect him and go
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back to andrew cuomo. it is just frustrating to hear that. host: let's go to frank calling from vero beach, florida on the republican line. caller: good morning. i just wanted to say that with all the issues and problems that we are having in this country why do we spend so much time on things like this? i understand that is the way society is but come on. it is an allegation and that's it. host: do you think allegations like this against a sitting member of congress should be investigated? caller: i am torn. i would say yes. it has to be. it is the law. like i said, there are so many
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other things going on in this country -- it's too much. that's all i can say. host: let's talk to crystal calling from west palm beach, florida on the democrat line. caller: good morning. i love the way you are keeping these calls rolling. i am really surprised the talking points from fox news keep coming in. it is an allegation, it should be investigated, just like cuomo. i think the trumpsters should be more concerned about the sex trafficking young women and the way they are legally putting candidates up and stealing elections. host: what would happen if the
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allegations against gaetz turned out not to be true? doesn't this ruin his reputation if these allegations turn out not to be true? caller: yes, i think so but that is how the justice system works. we all have to be subjected to it. that is the way the process goes and if he survives, that's a good thing and we will learn a lot from it. but for now there seemed to be credible allegations and he has to be subjected to the process and everyone should wait for the facts to come out. host: do you think he should resign or should he keep his current office and continue to fight these allegations? caller: i think he should keep his office, continue to fight the allegations, but as far as whipping up supporters, it's not fair. the justice department initiated
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the allegations. they have a credible connection with the stolen $400,000 from his buddy and central florida and there is a history, receipts. host: let's go to sam calling from redding, california on the independent line. caller: good morning. whether you have a d or r next to your name if there is credible -- whichever party you are from -- sorry, trying to think of the word -- allegations it should be investigated. i hear a lot of these republican callers talking about hunter biden and if there is credible allegations that comes out he did do something, obviously he
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should go through the same thing matt gaetz is. host: let's go to steve calling from annapolis, maryland on the republican line. caller: good morning. love what you're doing and love the show but one thing i think a lot of callers don't remember, for whatever reason, is that he is innocent until proven guilty. i don't care how credible the person is making the accusation. it is just that and they shouldn't be making accusations unless they have credible information to make that accusation. i don't hear any of that coming forth yet. host: how do we balance no wing what our elected -- knowing what our elected representatives have been accused of and not jumping to guilty because of media reports? how do you balance those things? caller: knowing that you have to
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have beyond reasonable doubt if you are going to court. if you do not have that, anybody can say anything. when people were on trial in the last couple of years they had people say well, you changed your statement. yes, i wasn't under oath and that is what is happening now. host: we go to marvin calling from fresno, california on the democratic line. caller: good morning. two quick points. the thing about republicans is ridiculous. secondly, due process and innocent until proven guilty is a political standard. thirdly, i hear that matt gaetz wants this to be over.
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host: we go to mark calling from massachusetts on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for having my call. i just called to basically say goodbye to our democracy. it seems to be going away quickly and i think the cause is that we don't have a fair, objective media anymore to watch over things and keep us informed about what is going on. host: what do you mean by saying that? caller: you know, you turn on the cable channels, the news, cnn, msnbc, and they are just giving one perspective. then you flip over to the
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conservative oen, the newsmax, and the famous fox and they just constantly -- they are brainwashing their viewers to their side and cnn and msnbc are also doing the same thing. they are telling their viewers what they want to hear. host: but when you say the freedom to be able to choose which news you want to hear would be a strong part of democracy? caller: i think it was a lot better in the 1980's when we had the fairness doctrine. do you know what i'm talking about? host: oh yeah. caller: i recently heard that term and it was very informative as to what has happened to our media in the country in the last 30, 40 years or whatever.
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i get my news from judy woodworth and the pbs newshour let. -- pbs news outlet. but the republicans just go along with trump. they might lean -- i don't know. host: let's go to brenda calling from new jersey on the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning, america. i am calling in regards to i feel matt gaetz is innocent until proven guilty. i listen to all the news stations and they pull him apart. the man has not gone to court or this person who says this is one thing. he has never done anything like
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this before or had people say anything that he has done. let's give him a chance to prove his innocence and let it ride out. host: you would agree with representative gaetz that he should not resign his seat and he should stay in congress until all of this is worked out? caller: he should stay where he is at. he a good person. he does a lot of good for fighting for what he believes in and allegations about him that this person said he did has to be proven in court. believe me i think matt gaetz is a gentleman and he would not do something like this. host: let's go to michael calling from stamford, connecticut on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning, jesse. matt gaetz's reputation is not good to begin with.
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he is trump's best buddy and rallying around doing the same talking points. people still believed trump won. when the girls come out and they are there and saying he took them down to the bahamas or whatever, are you still not going to believe him? look at him. he looks like gumby with that hair. host: let's go to mike calling from new york on the democratic line. good morning. caller: hi. i cannot believe some of these people talking about hunter biden. this investigation started under trump, under his boy barr. the woman bringing up stuff
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about mexicans coming over the border with covid, everybody is checked. cuomo is being investigated. it comes straight out of fox. if you don't want to talk about gaetz, talk about how great the economy is under joe biden for the middle class. host: house minority leader kevin mccarthy was recently asked on fox news about allegations against representative gaetz. here is what he had to say. [video clip] >> breaking news yesterday about congressman matt gaetz of florida. you have been very vocal that eric swalwell should be stripped of his ability to serve on the intel committee because of a reported relationship with a chinese spy. he serves on the national security committee and you say that as a threat. by that same law jake, will you take action to remove matt gaetz
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while he is under investigation by the doj over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and pay for him to travel with? that is something he denies but that would be a violation of federal sex trafficking laws. >> i have not heard from doj or talk to matt gaetz. those are serious implications. if it comes out to be true, we would remove him. but right now it is not true and we have no information. let's get all the information. we did have the fbi come to us and tell us about eric swalwell and he was put on the intel committee. the real challenge is that intel committee is different from any other. you get all the secrets. the problem with eric swalwell is, in the private sector, he could not pass security clearance. why would he get one in congress? there are 200 other democrats that could do that job. >> but he is on the judiciary committee and being investigated by doj.
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did you have any idea why congressman gates was the only republican to vote against the federal government in terms of the trafficking money? >> no, i have no idea. >> have you spoken to him since the news broke? >> i have not been able to talk to matt gaetz yet. hopefully i will talk to him today. we are going to a vaccination facility shortly but later this afternoon i hope to be able to speak with mr. gaetz. host: let's go back to our social media. a post on facebook says it's florida. i have no problem believing he's guilty. text that says, follow the money. there should be a thorough investigation into this matter. what goes on in the dark will always come to light. another text that says, the doj doesn't get involved unless it is serious. doj has to many other things on their plate besides matt gaetz.
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remember barr approved the investigation. another text that says politics are dirty games. another text that says, the real issue that the corruption in d.c. is endemic. both parties are using positions to enrich themselves in one way or another. one final text says this is big trouble if true. if the accusations are false, there is trouble coming for those behind the claims. accusers guilty of false narrative has its own legal act. investigation must be completed before truth is found out. dan is calling from ohio on the republican line. good morning. caller: we have seen false narrative after false mayor to the democrats are saying he is guilty. how do they know? the democrats told us they
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believe all the women. yet when it comes to democrats, they don't believe any of them. 10 women have made accusations against cuomo. if this had been a republican, he would have been gone after the first or second allegation. look at the double standard. are you kidding me? why is cuomo still in office? host: dan, first of all, stop shouting. we did a show on cuomo on march 2 as well. do you think gaetz should stay in office? caller: he shouldn't stan office with 10 allegations against him. wise he still there? host: jerome calling from pennsylvania on the independent line. caller: i am here and thank you for taking my call.
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matt gaetz already made one statement on fox that will tell you that he did it. he referred to a 17-year-old girl as a 17-year-old woman. it is really easy for republicans -- host: we go to keith: from florida on the republican line. caller: good morning. i think gaetz is innocent. i think this is more of the same from the democratic left and i would like to put out a little word about how about impeachment? why don't we impeach biden for all that he is not doing for the american people? host: while this investigation is going on for the house ethics committee i have also opened up a second sexual misconduct investigation of another commerce month and i want to bring that to you this morning.
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"the house ethics committee will investigate sexual harassment allegations against representative tom reed, the most senior republican in new york's congressional delegation. he is accused of sexually harassing a former lobbyist in 2017. nicolette davis said he rubbed her body and unhooked her bra while seated next to her in a bar. the congressman last month publicly apologized to davis and said he will not run for congress or any other office in 2022. " that was a second investigation opened by the house ethics committee. let's talk to kathy calling from kentucky on the independent line. good morning. caller: hello. i think everybody is throwing
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things into the super box, especially the republicans. they don't like to take authority for anything we do. where is qanon with the sex trafficking? they are all about the democrats sex trafficking. where are you? this man is a sexual predator and needs to be dealt with. host: let's go to ed: from houston, texas on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. i am very disappointed with the congressman from florida. i think he was trying to say he was very religious and honorable and maybe he wasn't. this needs to be investigated completely by the doj and house committees and republicans need to grow a pair and realize not all of their friends are
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honorable or following all the rules of god. host: we go to hector calling from boston, massachusetts on the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you doing? host: just fine. go ahead. caller: i am wondering why republicans are surrounding the wagons. i know you're innocent until proven guilty, but you look at the homestead and they are resigning. republicans are hypocrites and sinners. the talk about religion but look at the republican staff resigning over this. host: representative gaetz hired one of president trump's lawyers to defend him in these allegations and i want to bring that story to you. from bloomberg.com, "matt gaetz hired one of former president trump's defense attorneys amid a
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federal probe into the lawmaker's relationship with women recruited online for sex, including possibly a 17-year-old girl. mark mckay z confirmed he had been hired by gaetz, a staunch trump supporter. he is also at the lawyers representing the former president in a separate criminal investigation by manhattan district attorney side was at a pro by -- cyrus vance and leticia gaines. a spokesperson for the congressman and one-time contestant on trump's reality tv show the apprentice, isabel kir shner was also hired." we go to beth on the republican line. good morning. caller: i am one of his consist
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constituents and i voted for him prior to 2016. he has been to my front door twice begging for my vote and i want to know what is going on? host: since you are one of his constituents can you tell us what you think is going on right now and whether this will affect whether you can vote for him again in the future if he runs? caller: i will never vote for him again. i haven't voted for him since 2016 and only then because i thought hillary clinton was going to be president. matt gaetz is a jerk. he has done nothing since he has been in washington except make a name for himself as a big mouth and a rabble-rouser. he calls himself a firebrand. you had him on your book tv a
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few weeks ago trying to push his book and he sounded so sweet and nice and was totally different from anything he appears when he is at work. i have watched him in these hearings and he makes an ass out of himself. host: we go to amy calling from orange park, florida on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, amy. caller: good morning. yes, i really agree with the previous callers who are questioning why are the republicans circling the wagons around matt gaetz? they are really only hurting themselves and it seems like -- like he said, he is in the maga
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sphere and taking the donald trump approach by dealing with the scandal with upholding rallies. if the republicans want to circle the wagons around him like they did around donald trump, they are going to suffer the consequences. there is a reason why more and more people, more and more americans, are identifying as democrats. this is why. the republicans are not standing by their so-called values. i used to be a republican. i am from a very republican area. my district voted 70% for donald trump but they are just losing total credibility as the new generation comes up. host: at least one republican has already called on matt gaetz
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to resign and i want to bring that to you from the hill newspaper. representative adam kinzinger called for matt gaetz to resign amid allegations that he had sex with a minor and violated sex trafficking laws. in a short tweet the illinois republican wrote, matt gaetz needs to resign. it included a link to an article reported gaetz used ven mode pay and accused sex trafficker $9 million in 2018. the beast reports joel greenberg sent the same amount of money to teenage girls. greenberg is reportedly set to make a plea deal and cooperate with prosecutors in the coming days. at least one gop lawmaker has already called on matt gaetz to resign. let's go back to our phone lines and talk to alex calling from wilmington, north carolina on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning.
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if matt gaetz is guilty, he should be removed from office. i believe that. these are just allegations as of now nothing has been proven. but what about eric swalwell and the chinese spy he suppose we had a relationship? in my opinion that has been swept under the rug. host: douglas calling from washington on the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. i like representative gaetz. he is not from my area but i like him and if he is guilty, if it comes out that way, i think he should resign. i have no issue with that. but like some of the callers are saying we should look at -- biden's neighbors accused him. we should make sure we investigate everything. host: kurt calling from jackson,
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michigan on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning, jesse. i sit here and i listen day after day and republicans reek of hypocrisy so bad. i don't understand why they can't see it or smell it. they talk about hunter biden. let's get one thing straight, i did not vote for hunter biden. i am never going to vote for hunter biden. if you want the democrats to be running the news day after day, you have to take your turn. host: let's go to moretta calling from huntersville, north carolina on the democratic line. caller: good morning. one of the previous callers took my thunder. i was going to say the republicans and qanon have been searching for their sex trafficking, child trafficking pedophile for years now and here
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he is. he is one of them. the thing is these republicans, whatever it is they do, they turn around and scream that the democrats are doing it. they are great and protection. immediately after the capitol riots they screamed antifa because they knew they were guilty. usually when they screamed antifa they also include blm. it is amazing they did not include blm and they knew they couldn't do that because there were no black faces. host: let's talk to sean calling from idaho on the independent line. good morning. . caller: good morning. i am definitely independent. i follow whatever is morally and
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spiritually correct. if anybody can believe anything that is coming out of the media these days, you are on the wrong path. everything the media has thrown at you you want to think the exact opposite. matt gaetz, until we see solid proof and he has been convicted of this crime then we all need to be quiet and go on about our day. this is not a ploy for the high strung media to push their narrative. host: what proof would you need for you to make up your mind about representative gaetz? caller: for one thing nothing is tied to him personally.
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they haven't come out with anything tied to him personally. they are saying through this guy, through this guy, from this person. the timing is absolutely spot on for the media so i am just not believing any of it. host: the hill newspaper has a story saying some of representative gaetz's female staffers are defending him and i want to bring that to you now. female aides in matt gaetz's officer coming to his defense as the congressman faces a doj investigation over allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a minor and sex trafficking laws. the staffers says gates acted professionally in their presence and they have not seen the gop lawmaker act inappropriately and they stand by him. this statement was not signed by any staffers and did not specify how many women in his office had
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signed off on it. it was signed by "the women of the house of u.s. congress in matt gaetz." after the allegations last week we, the women of matt gaetz's office, feel obligated to speak out. during his time in office we have been behind the scenes every step of the way. we have staffed his meetings. we have planned events. we have traveled with him. we have tracked his schedule. congressman gates has always been a morally grounded leader and at no time has any one of us experienced or witnessed anything less then the utmost professionalism and respect. no hint of impropriety, no ounce of untruthfulness. that comes from the story in the hill newspaper. his female staffers defend him amid doj pro. let's go to the phone lines and talk to connie calling from west virginia.
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good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead. caller: i was calling because i feel with the situation we have now with this sex trafficking with these minors he is accused of, it is a horrible thing. on the other hand you have to prove whether or not he is guilty or not. i believe if he is guilty, it will be proven in court like it should be, not by people just saying that he is in the same situation with andrew cuomo in new york city. he has had nine women come out and say that he inappropriately touched them or did things to him that made them feel like they were being violated and i think he didn't have to resign. a lot of people were asking him to resign.
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when people start -- put a democrat to resign. let's charge a democrat. host: judith calling from tulsa, oklahoma on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. i wanted to say to the gentleman who suggested this was a democratic conspiracy or something, i want to remind everyone this investigation was opened under bill barr. this is not a democratic conspiracy. host: let's go to jeff calling from buckingham, virginia on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? host: i'm fine. dell ahead. caller: i was doing some independent research and the guy who called from florida not long
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ago saying he saw this lascivious coverage of what is going on in congress was a distraction. i believe that is what the media goes for. i would encourage people to look at a recent, breaking the last day, about the forensic results from michigan. michael deparno has looked at the voting situation -- host: before we get too far into this we're talking about matt gaetz right now. do you have anything on that? caller: the anomalies keep coming out and more information is being released. i was reading through it this morning. host: we would like to thank all callers who called on that segment. coming up, we wrap our week long
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podcast series with a'shanti golder who will be here to talk about her podcast "the brown girls guide to politics." later on unite america executive director nick troiano will be here to discuss his recent piece in the atlantic "party primaries musco." stayed with us. we will be right back. ♪ >> c-span's long-running series book notes is back as a podcasted, book notes plus. new episodes are available every tuesday morning. on the latest episode we take a look at the abraham lincoln presidential berry and museum. here from incoming executive director christina on the future
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of the museum and what she hopes to step into the new -- hopes to accomplish when she steps into the new role this june. subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts and get information on all the c-span podcasts on c-span.org/podcasts. >> washington journal continues. host: each day this week we have featured a podcast from across the political spectrum. this morning we wrap up the series with a'shanti gholar who hosts the brown girl guide to politics. tell us about your background in politics and what made you start to -- made you decide to start this podcast. guest: i do not come from a super political family. they voted -- that was it. i think you will appreciate this story.
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one morning when i was a young kid, i was washing tv with my mom. she got up from the couch and i did what young kids do and i changed the channel to what i wanted to watch. that is when i discovered c-span. there were all these people arguing and fighting so passionately about the country and i was intrigued. i knew i loved this thing called politics even in did not know the word for it. i was in love ever since then and i had the opportunity to work on several campaigns for candidates. i met a lot of women who believed in me and i have been able to have this amazing career in politics. one morning i got an email from a young girl looking for a mentorship. i get a lot of emails like that and i remember being that girl,
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wondering is there room for me in politics because i did not see a lot of people who looks like me. i was thinking, now that i am in this position, how can i uplift other women in the way i have been uplifted? that was a catalyst for the brown girl's guide to politics. i asked " do you want to join me in putting all our political business out on the internet?" it started with a website that has resources for women of color interested in public where we share stories. in 2019, we launched the podcasts. host: how did you get involved with emerge america? tell us about that organization and what it is you do. guest: i am the president of emerge.
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i got involved with emerge when i was the president of the young democrats. i am one of the first women to guide that organization. i got any mail asking me if i would come to an introductory -- an email asking me if i would come to an introductory meeting. i knew this was something i wanted to be a part of. i ended up being a cofounder of emerge nevada. i came back to the organization as its first political director and in 2020i stepped in -- we focus on recruiting and training democratic women to run for office at all levels. we train over 4500 women to run for office and we currently have over 1000 of our alums in office
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at all levels of government, mayors, state legislators. host: going back to the brown girls' guide to politics, what made you decide to focus on women of color as your target audience? what made you think women of color needed help moving through the palooka ranks -- political ranks? guest: i neal because i was one of them -- i knew because i was one of them. i really did not have that mentorship that i needed to have a career in politics in nevada. i had to look outside of nevada, and that is when i discovered other women. looking at them, they were the first to break so many barriers.
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when you look at women in elected office, women of color were still not heavily represented. when we want to look at today's current global climate, we talk about women of color voters, especially black women, we are seen as the ones who have to vote. get the people in elected office. there is not a lot of conversation about the fact that we could be the ones to have our names on the ballot. you do not see many women of color running campaigns during the 2020 campaign we saw many women of color in senior roles. that was a first. even when we talk about activists -- i want to shut out natosha brown here -- we can be the ones running these key organizations transforming politics in this country.
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stacey abrams is behind me. she is my queen. i love everything she does with fair fight. we are so heavily underrepresented in politics, and i wanted bggp to be -- host: is it information for liberal women of color order do you cover the entire political spectrum because we know all african-american voters do not vote for one party? guest: black party -- black voters are not a monolith. what we do is look at women of color who are involved in politics from the standpoint of intersectionality into the social justice movement because that is what we need -- and the social justice movement because that is what we need at this
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moment. how these policies impact everyone? hello my able to implement policies based upon the experiences that i have? when you look at the women think that, especially elected officials women of color are leading the way. for women's history month, we did a collaboration with a magazine and we spotlighted some of the neo-freshman women in congress -- the neo-freshman women in congress -- the new freshman women in congress. they have hit the ground running. we are focusing on the women of color. host: let me remind our viewers they can take part in this conversation. we will open up our regular lines. republicans, you can call in at
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(202) 748-8001. democrats, (202) 748-8000. independents, you can call (202) 748-8002. you can always text us at (202) 748-8003 and we are always reading twitter and facebook. a'shanti, have you seen any change in the coverage of black female politicians over the last 10 years and what do you think of media coverage of black women politicians? guest: this is a great question and i want to focus on something very current. missouri has a new mayor. she is the first black woman to lead the city.
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even in people magazine, they ran an article about her. it was all the good stuff, celebratory, positive, but during that campaign she dealt with a lot of racism and sexism. she dealt with straight up dog whistling, but no one is talking about that. no one is talking about how hard it is for women of color when they are running for office and the negative press coverage they get. women in general have to deal with so much when it comes to double standards when they are running for office. we see it all the time. we know when you are a women of color it is harder. if you are lgbtq it is harder. if you are woman with disabilities it is harder. no one covers that part once
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they win. the press coverage for women and especially black women is still harder. even with the stacey abrams when she was running for governor of georgia, her hair was attacked, her body was attacked, the way she talks was attacked even though she is a very qualified woman who should have won that seat. when women of color get conversations about their hair, their background, are you electable? those are all code for " straight white man." we see that in press coverage all the time, but once a woman wins, it all gets swept under the rug. we need to pay attention to what kind of press coverage they get while running for office.
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host: what do you suggest to women when they come to you and ask you on the podcast how do you put up with something like that? it is something you just ignore? what is the solution here? guest: the fact is as women of color it is part of our daily lives. if you are not dealing with it when you are running for office, you are dealing with it in the workplace, in your community, in school. it is part of our everyday life having to deal with this type of discrimination. for women running for office, i tell them all the time, i wish i could take the sexism out of politics but i cannot. what i can do is make you more competent, more confident and a lot less lonely because you have this entire network of support
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that is there for you. we have had so many women on the podcast now deb haaland, ayanna pressley, and they have talked about the discrimination and the fact is they say " i remember my why." you have to remember your why -- why you chose to run, what you want to accomplish into the good you will be able to do. now they head back because they do not have to take the -- hit back because they do not have to take the lies. it is something women have to deal with but they deal with it well and that is why you are seeing more women in elected office. host: we will start with joseph calling from fort pierce, florida on the democratic line.
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caller: good morning, sir. i feel like black democratic women -- they do not support black folk. they'll surround the congress. [indiscernible] host: i think we lost him, but part of what his statement was is he does not believe black women are strong enough to serving congressional offices. would you agree? guest: no, i disagree. the fact is there are amazing black women serving in congressional office. i think maxine waters would disagree. i think ayanna pressley would disagree.
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i think cori bush would disagree . these women are extremely qualified to run for office and their skin color does not make them any less qualified than anyone else. what we just heard is another example of the misogyny black women have to face when they are in elected office. host: which brings us around to the roll up black women in politics over the past decade. one thing we know is african-american women have been historically one of the most loyal voter bases for the democratic party, yet there have not been as many african-american women put up for these offices. there has been an increase over the last election cycles. why have we not seen more african-american women running for office in the party -- guest: this is a great question.
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i got asked this a lot last year because we commemorated the hundred year anniversary of the 19th amendment and i had to emphasize that it has been 100 years for some women, not all women. a black and indigenous women were not able to exercise the right to vote until 1965 and after. it has not been 100 years for all of us. what have seen is black and indigenous women of color is -- what you have seen is black and indigenous women of color coming in. the reality is when we think about politics, a lot of people still want to go to their network, the people they know who they think should run for these seats. and you think about your network, it is mainly people who
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are right, mainly white men and that is who they are recruiting to run for office. that is way emerge does the work that it does because our network is diverse. we can also look and say "this is a seat we can target. this person is being term limited. who can we put up?" those women exist. every day we are looking to recruit women from the community who are able to run for these seats. the fact is you have to have a pipeline because when you do not have women who will step up and run for office and know they can win, you just have people going to their network. " this is who we are going to put up," and then we do not get
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that diversity in politics. that is why it is important for emerge to exist. we know women of color are there who want to run for office and they can win. host: one of our social media followers wants to know, " would you support a conservative black woman running for a republican seat?" guest: no. at emerge we focus on democratic women. i am a proud democrat. when i think about my values, they align with the democratic party. those are the women i am supporting to run for office. host: let's go to teddy who is calling from alexandria, virginia on the independent line.
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caller: good morning. i speak as a former democrat myself who identified very much with the party i voted for since 1996 when i first became a citizen. i was an ethiopian. obviously i have had a change of mind as you can tell since i am calling in from the independent line. what i see the democrats doing is no different than what the republicans are doing. there weaponizing identity politics to distract from the issues. it is the same thing that happened in africa where people are splitting apart based on tribe and did distracts us -- and it distracts us from the core issues. as a colored person, why don't you get upset when someone calls you a person of color? this is the eyes -- insanity of
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identity politics. you accept the label of democrat or republican despite the fact we are human beings. guest: i disagree with identity politics. i think that is a term that is used to divide people. my identity is as a young, black woman. i wake up every morning as a young, lack woman and the politics of this country impact me in those various ways. that is how i look at things. to say that republicans and democrats are the same in using identity politics, you are being fooled. donald trump said he didn't have to relate to black people, who called mexicans rapists, who use the term " china virus," so, no,
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republicans and democrats are not the same. my human? -- m i human 00 -- am i human? yes. but i look at who are making the decisions in this country -- i really disagree with that. host: one of the questions i have for you was the weaponization of black women's names when it comes to politics. recently this happened with vice president kamala harris where it seems like at times people were intentionally mispronouncing her name. do you see that happening to a
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lot of women who run for office? guest: absolutely. the reality is we do have a vice president named kamala. we have a mayor in atlanta named keisha. these are our names. you had other senators who are mispronouncing her name. that was disrespectful. you have worked with her. you know who she is. you have pronounced her name properly in the past. doing at this time is part of what we see as the other ring. -- the othering. why don't they have a simple name like teddy? it is to show how we are different and do not belong here. as black women, we own our name. i love my name a'shanti.
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i correct people when they mispronounced my name. it is a way to distract. host: speaking of the vice president harris, of course she is the first black woman and a south asian to become vice president of the united states. how has she done in that position so far and what is the historical significance of her being in that position? guest: the historical significance is huge. i have the opportunity to do an event tonight that the new vice president was expecting denomination nomination at the democratic -- expecting the nomination at the democratic convention. as black people who are democrats, we still had to fight for space in this party. senator harris accepting the
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nomination was a manifestation of what other black women wanted for us. to see that happen in 2020 was huge. it is a huge part of representation, which i talked about was the reason for me starting the brown girls' guide to politics. you can no longer tell women they do not belong in the white house, that they do not belong in elected office, that people will not vote for them. you can see all of the photos of young girls looking up to her. i love the fact my niece has grown up in a world where she has only seen hillary run for president, all these women run for president in 2020 and now see kamala harris as vice president.
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she is involved in everything. i really enjoy when she is a ball to get out and interact with other black -- able to get out and interact with other black women elected officials. between the biden-harris administration and what we are doing in congress, we will be able to get the country back on track. we have seen what they are able to do with the coronavirus and the fact that on april 19, much earlier we will see all of our citizens eligible for shots. host: let's go to scott calling from thomasville, georgia on the democratic line. caller: good morning. one thing that strikes me a little bit -- i am in full
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disclosure a white male, age 60. i am the guy people can call names and there is no repercussions on that. i grew up in south georgia, went to a 60% all-black school, played sports, always wanted to be a great athlete, never was, but i always admired my classmates who were, many of which were black. i do not understand how if we want to come together as a country, we are always having to label " black, brown, white, asian." the more we talk about our differences, the less we are focusing on our commonalities. my life has never gotten better because of what somebody else did for me, other than to say "
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scott, you need to get to work, scott, you need to take care of things." most of my problems come from things i have done. it has taken me a long time to figure that out. i feel like we divide when we are constantly labeled " black, white." it makes me uncomfortable. guest: thank you so much for that question. \ the reality i -- the reality is this has always existed in our law. i did not come up with the term black or asian. since this country was co-opted, all of these labels have existed. i hear this all the time from people saying " let's not use labels, let's just think of people as humans."
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the fact is, i would love that, but i have to be honest, i always hear it from white people and i always hear it from men. you are a to say something like that because you walk in this world very differently as a white person, as a man. i would love to exist in a world where there are not any labels, but those labels are part of this world and i have to speak out against the injustices that happen to us because of our labels. this is not something we created. it is something that happened to us. we have to continue to fight for representation. as you heard the one color say -- caller say, black women should not be in congress. it is not that people should not be in congress, it is that black
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women should not be in congress. host: i want to talk a little bit about the numbers of women of color who are serving right now in state offices. out of the 141 women serving in congress, 35% are women of color. of the 94 women serving in statewide elected executive offices, 19% are women of color. of the 2162 women state legislators serving nationwide, 26% are women of color. one of our social media followers asks " do you intend to run for elected office?" [laughter] guest: right now i am the behind
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the scenes person. i love this job. i love waking up every day, recruiting women for office, supporting them, talking about all the things they have accomplished, so i am right where i want to be right now. never say never, but i am very happy leading emerge and are team and -- our team and allow hims. -- our team and alums. i want to talk about those numbers you mentioned. this is a reason emerge exists, for us to make sure we are getting more women in offices. men still occupy 75% of the
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elected offices in this country, which is the reason why we see policies that do not benefit women. host: emerge is for recruiting women to politics. do you find that you have to convince women to actually run for office or are women coming to you and asking how do we do this? are you doing more recruiting or assisting? guest: it is both. there are women who apply for our program like " i am ready for this." then, there are some women who we have to convince. there was a woman who is serving in a high elected office now. our first conversation was two hours. i told her " you need to run for
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office. you have everything it takes. we will give you the skills." there are a lot of women who immediately do not see that they are the one their community needs. that is why i love what i do at emerge, to be able to point out to those women " you are the president of the pta, doing amazing things. let's put you on the school board. you are constantly volunteering for every candidate that exists. you know how to run campaigns. you need to buy a the one running for office -- be the one running for office. let's move you from the audience to the dais. those women are there -- to the dais." those women are there. other women are ready to go.
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host: let's talk to wayne who is calling from st. louis, missouri on the republican line. good morning. caller: hello. i was just wondering what you think of candidates and what it is like to bring unity -- think of candace owens? guest: i do not know candace owens, and i have lots of friends were black republicans. i want to put that out there. candace owens is not someone i agree with. i think her approach, her tactic is not in line with me. i don't want to say that is a political thing -- she is just not someone where i am going to hit her up and say " let's have some coffee."
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host: one of our social media followers wants to know what steps your organization is taking to combat voter suppression and do you have examples of people who would be impacted? guest: great question. at emerge we focus on the recruitment and training of people running for office, but this is something we pay attention to. this is why the strategic recruitment we do is so important because we are able to get the women in those seats who can actually work to make sure that people are having their right to vote. i want to highlight the fact that emerge has four alums that are secretaries of state. you have seen many of those women on your tv's, particularly arizona. these are women who were very active last year to make sure that people had the right to
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vote. how we approach looking at the odor issues and making sure that we have women in office who are going to uplift and protect the right to vote. host: let's talk to ben who is calling from baltimore city, maryland. caller: good morning. i am independent. i am a bit disappointed when i see -- and i am not saying this specifically to the guest -- a lot of people are enamored by having a lack face, -- black face in these positions. a lot of our cities presided over by some black women and black men as well, but a lot of them are presided over by black women and they have been run into the ground. from an aesthetic value, it
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looks good to have black faces, but when you get deep into the weeds of it, a lot is not being done in the community. we have to get away from color politics, whether it be gender color politics, and it just get down to the grindstone of people who want to roll their sleeves up and do what is right for the citizens because most of our major cities are run by black females particularly and the cities are a mess. guest: the reality is there are less than 10 major cities run by black women. i want to squash the notion that all across the country lack women are running -- black women are running cities into the ground. how? there are less than 10 of them. i will not let that narrative exist that black women across
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the country are doing a horrible job. if black women are not running most major cities, that means the city's you are saying that are being run into the ground are not run by lack women -- black women. that means there are other people not doing their job. you really cannot put all that on black women. this question is another example of what women of color have to face in politics. that is his opinion that these women are not doing a good job, that the city is being run into the ground. it is very disheartening when people want to say that black women are in these jobs only because of the aesthetics, because of the look, because they want to say " we are run by a black woman! we are inclusive!"
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it takes away the fact that these women still had to run for office to win. they still had to raise money, they had to convince people that they are the one. you are not going to take that away from them and to say the only thing people saw was there skin color and gender -- heir -- their skin color and gender. the reason we see more women occupying these seats is people are looking to women as the candidates who are able to get things done. at the beginning of the pandemic last year, it was the women elected officials who had the foresight to see what was coming and start to take -- when you had male mirrors keeping -- male mayors keeping things open. in conclusion, no, black women
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are not running things into the ground. host: can you tell us about some of your recent episodes and guests that you have had on the podcast? guest: i mentioned earlier we just concluded -- for that i wanted to dive into the first 100 days of the biden-harris administration. that is something i wanted to do because for most of our listeners, especially for those who are new to politics, they were asking " we always hear about these first 100 days. what does that mean?" i went did you talk about the things happening within the first 100 -- wanted to talk about the things happening within the first 100 days especially because we saw the biden-harris administration rollback a lot of things from
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the trump administration. we talked about what was happening with covid, what we can expect with health care into the supreme court. i am really excited that we are able to pull back the curtain a little bit and digest what we were seeing and what we think we will see from the biden-harris administration. host: what is your opinion of the commission president biden put together to look at the supreme court and whether it should be expanded? guest: this will be interesting. like most of you all, i am looking forward to seeing what the commission will put out. a lot of the viewers are saying -- talking about things being politicized. the supreme court has definitely been politicized over the last 4 years. i went to see what the biden-harris administration will -- i want to see what the
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biden-harris administration will do with the report. host: do you think the supreme court should be expanded? guest: because of how it has become so politicized, i think there is not a lot of trust in our supreme court. at the end of the day that is what bothers me. it is not about having republican justices or democratic justices. i just want to know that when an issue goes to the supreme court that it will be fair. i am all about fairness. host: let's go back to our phone lines and talk to robert with calling from atlanta, georgia on the democratic line. caller: good morning. i wanted to juxtapose my comments to the interchange you had with someone else who was from south georgia. i am a 63-year-old white male,
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and i have to tell you that the me too is meant, black lives matter, what is going on with the asian community has really opened my eyes to the fact that there is such a large segment of our society that experiences such a different life experience than i have. i had never heard of what i understand is called "the talk," where young, black children are often counseled as to how to deal with a police interaction. that never crossed my mind, and i have two children -- well, they are now in their 30's. let me also say this -- i am jewish, so i have been sensitive
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to anti-semitism since day one. i happened to have a last name that does not obviously call that out. i have recognize that being right i can fly under the radar -- being white i can fly under the radar. i have experienced subtle anti-semitism and i think some of these callers are suggesting that "ok, fine, let's treat everyone equally." unless we recognize this, and i cannot tell you i am perfect, but it has really opened my eyes to the fact that there is a large segment of the population that lives in fear of being harassed, as i learned in the #metoo movement, in the interaction with law enforcement as i learned from black lives matter, the asian community being under attack. i think i am fairly well
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informed, but i did not realize the pervasiveness of it. guest: thank you. i am really touched by everything that you said. that is it. what he said is just it. there are so many people whose eyes are not fully open. even just to the injustices we have seen over the past four years. i was recently in an op-ed with another one of my friends talking about how black women and asian women are standing in solidarity because people often want to pit our communities against each other. the fact is not everyone is treated the same in this country. if everyone was, things would be a lot different, but this is our world. host: one of our social media followers wants to know " will
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you tell us which women or men were helpful to you when starting your career? did you find out people you thought were allies -- guest: rashida thomas was instrumental to me when i was at the democratic national committee. stacey abrams was so kind to me when i was just a nobody. i tell the story that when i first met her i fan girled all over her. she took out her card and wrote down her personal email and phone number and told me to reach out whenever i needed anything. there are men who have been instrumental as well. governor howard b me my first position in the democratic national party.
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a white man totally believed in me. david bounty, tons of male supporters at emerge. i have to thank them for everything they do every day. taking it off of me, this is a great time to mention that there are so many men who have uplifted our women running for office. they are the first to write a check to endorse them, to pick up the phone and say " i am not running for my seat again, i think you should run for it. let's get this going!" there are so many men who are fabulous and wonderful. there are men who are accomplices. they are not allies, they are accomplices in making sure that women get their treatment and that we get rate policies that impact women, children and
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families. host: we want to think a shot t who is president -- thank a'shanti gholar. thank you for your time this morning. guest: thank you for having me. my allergies joined us as well, but i had a wonderful time! host: coming up next, we will go back to our phone lines and ask should the supreme court be expanded? we will start with your calls as soon as we get back. stay with us. ♪ >> today on the communicators, michael powell, ceo of the internet and television association -- >> we should focus on the things that matter to consumers. let's examine the big tech
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platforms who are the ones who put their own lobbying efforts into trying to hamper the infrastructure and the neutrality role so they would be able to have unparalleled control of the internet. we are looking at the consequences of that today. >> watch the communicators today on c-span. >> sunday on u.n. day -- q&a, a look at the influence lady bird had on the johnson presidency. the lbj school of public affairs at the university of texas, austin. >> i see her as the bridge between eleanor roosevelt and hillary clinton. she has the commitment to developing a policy agenda that reinforces and uplifts her husband's.
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she has the political role -- not quite as broad because she did not have a column or radio program -- but she was out campaigning for her present -- her husband and working hand in glove to elevate her husband. i see lady bird coming in and modernizing the office of the first lady, really the first person to do that after world war ii. >> julie is why, author of -- you can also listen to q&a as a podcast where you get your podcasts. >> washington journal continues. host: we are back and we are going to open up our phone lines to you to see what you think about the idea of expanding the
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supreme court. we want to know what you think of the idea of expanding the supreme court. we have news on that that happened this week. i will redo this story from axios.com that talks about what president biden did on friday -- read you this story from axios.com that talks about what president biden did on friday. " president will sign an executive order friday that creates a -- biden has not said definitively whether he supports adding seats to the court though his congressional allies, including chuck schumer have advocated for additional seats as a response to republicans quickly filling former justice
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ruth bader ginsburg's seat during an election year." that is from axios.com. what do you think? let's start with james who is calling from matthews, north carolina. james says yes, expand the supreme court. caller: absolutely the supreme court should be expanded. it seems like the court has lost faith in their function, not necessarily the law, but fairness, equal rights, just plain fairness. the court has been so politicized that now opinions really do not matter because they are in line with the politics. host: so if you add extra seats, how will that solve the problem? caller: we have to decrease the effect of it.
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if you have got a lot of seats, you have got a lot of opinions. the opinions should not be so dramatic. they change our environment. right now, one ruling can change the abortion law. that should not be. put more seats in the courts of their evaluating a range of opinions on abortion rights. one justice can determine if people vote or not. how does that make sense? we have got to get back to justice. host: let's talk to steve calling from spring hill, florida. steve says no, the supreme court should not be expanded. caller: i agree that we should leave it alone as it has been
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for over 100 years. why suddenly is it such an emergency that we have to change the numbers? really? it is ludicrous. it is a false argument. even ruth bader ginsburg, one of the far-left justices said nine is fine. host: there is nothing in the constitution that says there has to be nine. there could be 11. there could be 10. what is the magic number nine? caller: the magic number is over 100 years. that is called president. -- that is called precedent. they are projecting onto these justices unfairly some kind of label like " they were going to
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do whatever trump wanted." we saw how that turned out for president trump. these are fine men and women, well-educated and history, and they will follow the constitution as written, not a so-called estes of the day -- justice of the day. host: let's hear from robert calling from tuscaloosa, alabama. caller: i/o is called the supreme court the supremacy court. -- i always called the supreme court the supremacy court. if i were european, as the gentleman who called before, i might feel the same way, but the supreme court was beginning -- was racist from the beginning. do you hear me? host: yes, go ahead. caller: you do have two ladies
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and the gentleman whom they want to retire, but judge thomas -- president george bush's father put clarence thomas there because he thought clarence thomas would not get chosen because he wanted to have an all-white supreme court. clarence thomas took thurgood marshall's place and there were so many more qualified than clarence thomas but george bush thought they will not see him and therefore i will have an all european male court. host: let's go to ashburn, virginia. he says, no, the supreme court should not be expanded. caller: i say no because expanding the court will be a
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cycle -- remember, the democrats when the nuclear option. secondly, i would say that president trump by not doing the construction work instead of attacking obamacare -- do not do those kinds of things again. then you can find common ground. host: last week at a speech at harvard law school, justice stephen breyer warned that alterations of the supreme court motivated by politics would undermine trust in that institution. your is what justice breyer had to say. [video clip] >> i am an optimist.
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the rule of law has weathered many threats, but it remains uncertain. i hope and expect the court will retain its authority, and authority that was hard-won, but that authority like the rule of law depends on trust, a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics. structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that latter perception, further eroding that trust. there is no shortcut. trust in the courts, without which our system cannot function, requires knowledge. requires understanding. it requires engagement. in a word, it requires work, work on the part of all
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citizens, and we must undertake that work together. host: let's see what some of our social media followers have to say about the question should the supreme court be expanded. here is one text that says " yes, expand the supreme court. let it be known that these underhanded tactics will have a response." there is a tweet that says, " i am all for reforming the supreme court. let's see what other reforms are proposed aside from additional seats." " scotus should be expanded. it was packed by an ideologue with ideologues." " yes, there should be parity with a number of lower courts." " no, it is only wanted to be
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changed for partisan reasons." let's go back to our phone lines and see what you have to think -- have to say about the question should be supreme court be expanded. mark says, yes. caller: for me it is a matter of numbers. all 340 million of us americans are depending on the decision-making skills of nine americans. if we had a larger court, more people would have more equal representation on the court and they could take on more cases. more importantly, all 330 million americans are depending on the decision-making skills of nine people. host: what would be the magic number for you? 11? 15? caller: let's just pick one out of the hat.
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we could go up to 21 and i would have no problems. it would allow them to take on more cases and make more decisions. the chief justice does not necessarily have to be involved in the nuts and bolts of each case. he can oversee each case by the -- but he does not have to work on every case. host: robert says no. caller: we do not need -- i do not understand our country anymore. everybody wants to fight, destroy, be at each other's throats. i think -- i do not care what color you are. if you do it for the country, not the people or the world,
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let's get this country back where it should be. i am 84 years old and ii am wain because that's the only solution we've got. host: melton from redwood city, california. he says yes, expand the supreme court. caller: good morning. i just quit the republican party after january 6. at heart, i would be a bob dole republican. dwight eisenhower republican. nelson rockefeller. the republican party is not for democracy. i have taken a lot of flack for being an african-american. i believe it should be expanded. they do have demagogues that were invented by the federal
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society -- vetted by the federal society. the roberts court has voted 23-0 in favor of big business. when it comes to the death penalty, the african-american gentleman from louisiana was ruled in favor of the supreme court. when it went to the u.s. supreme court, they ruled down straight down ideological lines after the district attorney totally had a history of not sharing information with the defense that would have been favorable for the suspect, the defendant. they are doing that right down the line. amy barrett has ruled in favor against truck drivers, overtime
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and everything. they want america to be like russia. host: president biden signed an executive order on friday to start the commission to study the supreme court. what has he said about court packing in previous times? there is a story in new york magazine that talks about what he has said about it. during the primary last year, biden said he believes democrats would rue the day they expanded the court. it could come back to bite us. in a debate he provided his most direct answer. "i would not get into court packing. next time around we lose control, they add three justices. we lose any credibility the court has at all." a year later, biden has been careful to give nonanswers on the topic.
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"whatever position i take, that will become the issue," and a master example of saying nothing. he told reporters they will know my opinion when the election is over. that is what biden has said when it comes to packing the court. president biden put out an executive order on friday setting up a commission to study court reform which could include expanding the court. what do you think about the supreme court? let's go to stan from staten island, new york. good morning. caller: good morning. i think what would be great -- the reason i say no is because i have read a variety of books on the justices. the amount of work that goes into listening to the case and sitting down with the justices to decide who is going to take the lead and the final decisions
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that are made, it is overwhelming. i think what would be interesting is if there was a way for c-span to do a session to educate all of us on how the supreme court works, as well as its history. how they go about taking decisions. that would be absolutely, positively wonderful, because c-span is the only place you can go where you get a lot of useful information and you treat all the listeners with ultimate respect. host: let's go to andrew from california. he says yes, expand the supreme court. caller: i did not say yes. i am far more concerned with the term that the people sit on the supreme court. they should have term limits, 25
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years. i think, you know, that is what i think. if we expand it, the republicans will expand it, then the democrats will expand it. 25, 27, 29 people on the court. that is what i think. host: if you're interested in finding out more, you can go to our c-span webpage and click on our supreme court page where you can find several of the justices talking about what they do at the court. you can find a video that explains how the supreme court works. once again, that set c-span.org. click the button that says supreme court. you will find videos with sitting and previous justices telling you how the supreme court works. watch those videos now at c-span.org.
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wanda calling from chico, california. she says no. good morning. caller: if they do that, increase the number of judges, that is all the congress will be doing is improving judges. we will not get anything else done. he will be on the media 24/7 -- it will be on the media 24/7 and cause more trouble. host: congress has expanded the supreme court in the past. this would not be the first time they would be doing this. what would be the difference between them doing it in the past and now? caller: apparently it did not work in the past. they did not stick with it. i wonder why. host: john calling from woodmere, new york. he says yes, expand the supreme court. caller: good morning. thanks. i believe number one it should
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be expanded. i will tell you why the number 13 works. they should also have term limits. basically we somewhat expect changes in our world. the fact that when they started, the life expectancies were not so long. no one anticipated people sitting there that long. if we made it 13 and at the same time agreed every two years one would retire and a new one -- they could be reappointed after serving because they replaced someone. after working 26 years, that would give them a 26-year tenure. every two years we replace one regardless of who was the president. it would be a big enough number
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and the timing would be such that it would remove all the politicization from it. like breyer was saying, at first it would seem like it would be a political move. i think it would be welcome in the short time by virtually everyone. host: earlier we heard from supreme court justice stephen breyer, who at 82 is the oldest member of the court and one of three remaining members of democratic presidents. he is getting pressure from some liberal organizations to retire and ensure president biden gets a chance to pick a supreme court justice during his first term. yesterday during the white house briefing, press secretary jen psaki was asked about calls from liberal activists for justice breyer to retire. here is what she said. [video] >> what is the president's view
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of the call for justice breyer to step down? >> he believes the decision justice breyer will make when he decides it is time to no longer serve on the supreme court. i think i can speak to what the president's view is of the supreme court justice's ability to make his own decision. host: allen from wilmington, delaware. he says yes. good morning. caller: good morning. i am in favor of expanding the court and also term limits for supreme court justices. after all, supreme court justices are not infallible. you had cases like the dred scott decision, plessy versus ferguson, john roberts and the voting rights act. these are all things that are
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mistakes by the supreme court. i am in favor of expanding and term limits. host: let's look at our social media followers and see what they are saying about whether to expand the supreme court. here is one tweet that says, "it was expanded several times in the first century to include more voices to represent the country. we had nine supreme court justices when we had less than 40 million people. time to catch up with our diverse nation." here is one that has expand. one member for each state. expand the supreme court. "our judicial fate should not be left in the hands of so few people with lifetime authority. more justices which represent more americans." "no. the supreme court should be downsized. go back to five. how many opinions do you need?"
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" how would dems feel if it was a conservative president in office and conservatives work asking this? ask yourself that." let's go back to the phone lines and talk to thomas from san diego, california. thomas says yes, expand the court. caller: good morning. my question is -- they might need to expand because perhaps the second-generation of dreamers are being introduced to the united states right now. something that complicated the issue with a new generation of dreamers, the supreme court would definitely need more people to decide that issue. do you think so? host: maria from washington, d.c. maria says yes, expand the supreme court. caller: yes. i would say yes.
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i will make it short and sweet. obama wasn't able to get his selection. that is the reason why i am looking to say yes, at least by one. host: mark calling from the bronx, new york. mark says yes, expand the supreme court. caller: that's correct. host: why? caller: i think we need to expand the courts to look like america. i think maybe three more supreme court justices would do us right. host: if we add three more supreme court justices during president biden's administration, what would stop the next president from adding three more to that? caller: we should also adapt term limits -- adopt term limits. host: you think future president
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should be able to add even more supreme court justices as long as they are term limited? caller: test correct. host: ok. we would like to thank all of our callers for that segment. coming up next, unite america executive director nick troiano will be here to discuss his recent piece in the atlantic magazine, “party primaries must go." stick with us. we will be right back. ♪ >> book tv on c-span2 has top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, columbia university law professor jamaal green looks at individual rights in his book, "how right went wrong." tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern, bowling green state university philosophy professor talks about free speech and the free exchange of ideas in his book,
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"white is ok to speak your mind." sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on afterwards, illinois democratic senator tammy duckworth talks about her life and career in the military and the u.s. senate. watch book tv this weekend. be sure to tune into in-depth sunday, may 2, at noon eastern on book tv on c-span2. ♪ >> american history tv on c-span3. exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. today at 2:00 p.m., leon ellis talks about his time serving in the vietnam war and as a prisoner of war for five years.
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today at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war, they look at confederals on the mississippi -- confederates on the mississippi. tonight, american university professor joseph campbell on the cronkite moment and its effect on public opinion towards the vietnam war. on sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern, u.s. army veteran david vasser taylor reflects on his time serving as a clerk during the vietnam war. sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency, a look at newly elected presidents' first addresses the congress, with george w. bush and barack obama. exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> washington journal continues.
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host: we are back for our weekly spotlight on magazines segment. today we have nick troiano, the executive director of the unite america. we will talk about his article in the atlantic magazine, “party primaries must go." good morning. guest: good to be with you, jesse. host: tell the viewers what unite america is and what unite america does. guest: unite america is an organization working to enact nonpartisan electoral and congressional reforms in order to foster a more functional and representative government so we can solve the big challenges facing the country. we are building a cross-partisan philanthropic community to support the work. we support campaigns that are doing the work. we are leading that work in several states. host: what exactly does unite america -- where exactly does unite america get your funding?
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guest: we disclose all donors on the website. they are philanthropists who understand we need a functional government to solve any of the problems we care about. our donors may not agree on politics and policies by the agree we have to have a healthy democracy. the u.s. government spends more than 20 times the amount of every charitable contribution on an annual basis in the country. there is a large return on investment to making sure government is functional to solve other issues that for a lamp of his -- that philanthropists care about. host: let's talk about your article. “party primaries must go." what is the primary problem in american politics? guest: i sat down to write this in the aftermath of the january 6. i see it as a watershed moment in our country's history. there was a violent insurrection at the seat of our government in washington, d.c. to disrupt the
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counting of the electoral college votes. there is nothing more fundamentally american or important to our democracy than the peaceful transfer of power. it was attacked that day. i don't think we can go back to politics as usual after that. what was revealing was hours before the insurrection, president trump was on the national mall. what he said to his supporters was we have to get our people to fight. if they don't, we primary them. it was a demonstration of how partisan primaries have become weaponized by the political extremes and are pushing politics to the edges. if there ever was a moment to respond and a way to fix the political system, it is now. it is by abolishing partisan primaries. what we saw that they was 147 republicans voted against or objected to the electoral college vote for fear of the small amount of voters who will determine their reelection in
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the primaries. that is why we believe partisan primaries are a primary problem fueling division and our political system and 90 reform. -- and they need reform. host: isn't getting rid of a partisan primary kicking political parties out of the election process? guest: no. elections ought to be serving the public, not the party. parties have important role. they could nominate and endorse candidates. they can support those candidates and develop policy ideas. none of that changes. what it does change is our electoral system ought to be one where every vote is heard and every voice is heard. the problem with partisan primaries today is the -- as the unite america report found is in 83% of congressional districts the election is not the general election where most people vote. it is actually the primary.
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those districts are so heavily democratic or republican. in the primaries, turnout is very low. those elections don't get a lot of attention. some of it is because the rules have excluded voters from it, including more than 10 million independent voters nationally. in the primaries you don't even need to win a majority of the vote. you just need to win a plurality. only 10% of eligible voters in america wound up determining 83% of congressional seats. the tail is wagging the dog. it disenfranchises voters, distort representation, and are fueling division standing in the way of our ability to solve the problems the country cares about. host: you identify two problems. i want to go back to each one to see if we can talk more specifically about them.
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what do partisan primaries have to do with gerrymandering? is one the result of the other? the second thing was voter turnout. we saw a voter turnout -- great voter turnout for the national election. what does it look like for the primaries? is that a problem there as well? guest: gerrymandering is related to the primary problem in the sense that when politicians are choosing their own districts and drawing their own district lines, they draw them in a way to protect themselves. to crack or packed districts so the general elections aren't effective. the reason we have so many uncompetitive seats is not because of gerrymandering. it is because of our own self sorting geographically with urban areas trending more democratic, rural areas trending more republican. even if we solve gerrymandering, we would not solve the primary
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problem. that will persist. the way we can solve for the fact there are overwhelmingly red and blue districts is to ensure all voters get to have a say in the election. the primary election is not the only election that matters, but the general election is too. that gets to voter turnout. most people are paying attention when november comes around. we want to make sure those elections have a say in who gets elected. the solution is a nonpartisan primary system. host: you brought up the very next question. what is your solution to elections if you get rid of partisan primaries? how would you run elections? guest: nonpartisan primaries will replace both parties' partisan primaries. they will be a single ballot in which all candidates and voters get to participate.
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the top finishers go to the general election, which should be the top five. in the general election voters will have an option of ranking them according to preference so that whomever wins is ensured to have majority support in an instant runoff election. the advantage of this system for voters is they will have more choice, and they will have a vote that counts. the advantage to our political system is that our leaders will be liberated from partisan primaries that threaten their election only among a small group of voters, say if they compromise on a piece of legislation. what i think the most powerful aspect of the system is, it is that there are no lesser of two people contests anymore. one democrat versus one republican where it is a zero-sum, binary, black and white race to the bottom. when there are more than two
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candidates, candidates have to campaign on their ideas, not just their identity and the other side is horrible. here is what i stand for. i think that can have a transformative impact on our politics. host: to make sure i understand what you're saying, you would've limited the democratic party primary, republican primary, the independent or green party primaries, and make those candidates run for the same office at the same time in a primary and then take the top vote getters and run them in november? guest: that's right. it is called final 54 final four voting -- final five voting or final four voting. the voters in alaska embraced this system because they want to have more choice and voice in their elections and see greater competition. the impact was evident already in the case of senator lisa
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murkowski, it was up for reelection and been 22 -- in 2022. after january 6 where she voted to impeach, they wanted to primary her. that does not become possible anymore under this system. it will reward rather than punish leaders for active political courage. -- acts of political courage. and the democratic side as well. there are groups like justice democrats who are trying to source more progressive challengers to leaders putting country over party in congress. this will have a positive and pragmatic effect on a political system that is by itself being torn apart. host: let me remind viewers they can take part in this conversation. we will open up the regular lines. republicans call (202) 748-8001. , (202) 748-8000 --democrats,
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(202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 748-8002. you can text us at (202) 748-8003. we are always reading on social media, twitter and on facebook. without separate party primaries whatever social media followers points out the battle would be as long as a house built. -- bill. a lot of people running for the same office on the same ballot. wouldn't that give the advantage to candidates who have greater name recognition? meeting if you're a tv star are already serving in the office people know who you are and they can find you on the ballot. how do you get around the problem of having great name recognition to get into office? guest: the issue of ballot cluttering is a legitimate
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concern. i don't anticipate it will become one. when you look at the primaries that already take place, give 151 districts -- in 151 districts there was no competition and the dominant party primary. no voters had a say in who was being elected. by combining the party primaries into a single nonpartisan primary, it will incentivize more competition, but not an overwhelming amount. the primaries will serve its public purpose, to take a wider field of candidates and narrow it to a few choices in the general election. host: you mentioned alaska has recently adopted the nonpartisan primary. how many states use the nonpartisan primary for their elections for congress, for statewide office, for local office? guest: there are four states to
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use nonpartisan primaries for state or federal office. in the first three states, they have the top two nonpartisan primary. all the candidates run and the top two finishers go to the general election. studies have shown that is correlated with increased participation and competition in those elections and having less extreme outcomes. what we think is an improvement on that system is advancing fou or five candidatesr so voters have more choice. the idea of final five voting was promoted by a board member of unite america name catherine gail, founder of the institute for political innovation. she and her co-author michael porter analyzed the political system as if it were an industry. what they found was that the politics industry isn't serving its customers.
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this two-party duopoly is largely serving itself and rigged the rules to its on benefit. they concluded we need healthier competition and a final five voting system can help us get there. it is not the ellie reform needed and -- it is not the only reform needed but it will solve the primary problem. it is a solution that is possible to enact. now we are working to help spread that to other states. host: in an earlier segment we had a conversation about the supreme court. some people said the supreme court has been the same way for a long time. why change it? partisan primaries have been part of american politics for a long time. i want to read from your article about your response to the question. this is from the article, “party primaries must go." "partisan primaries may seem like a natural part of the american political system but
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they are relatively new phenomena. for much of american history party leaders would pick their party's candidates without public participation at all. that changed in the progressive era when reformers sought to crackdown on political corruption. wisconsin became the first day to allow voters to directly nominate candidates for each party through primary elections in 1904. within a decade, a majority of states were doing the same. rather than empowering voters, direct primaries enshrined a role for political parties which are private entities in a publicly funded electoral process. in doing so the party bases became the new party bosses." you point out partisan primaries heavily been existing since 1904. go ahead. guest: we often take for granted the system has been like this forever and can't be changed.
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let's not forget 100 years ago, following another period of dysfunction, we made sweeping changes to the way we held elections to give voters more choice and power. among those changes was taking the power of nominating candidates out of the hands of party bosses and putting it into the hands of the voters. where that has gone wrong is that enshrined a role for private organizations in the political process. we can improve upon that. we have learned lessons and can continue our tradition of continuing to innovate and improve the way we elect. the bottom line is that americans are dissatisfied with the representation we are getting today or not getting today. cap of us identify as politically independent. nearly two thirds would like to see a new party. seven out of eight last elections were changed elections, but we are not seeing much change. things are getting worse. we are focusing on who we elect
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rather than how we elect. it is the systems of our election that shape the incentive that determined the behavior of the elected officials. if we want different outcomes, we have to change the way we elect leaders so they build a broader coalition of support rather than pandering to the base of their party. we have done this in the past and can do so again. host: let's let the viewers take part. randy who lives in pell city, alabama. calling it on the democratic line. good morning. caller: i don't agree with changing that. i think we should leave it like it has been. we pick who would represent our party and we don't need five or six different people. if you don't vote in the primary, you don't get to vote in the general. that is the way i feel about it. i don't like that young man's idea. host: go ahead and respond.
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guest: things won't change in the sense you will still be able to vote for your most preferred candidate in the primary. you can still vote for your most preferred candidate in the general election. it will change voters who disenfranchised by the current system. if you are an independent in pennsylvania, you cannot vote in the primary. even if that is the only election that matters in your district. why should you have to be coerced to affiliate with a political party to have a voice of who represents you? that is not right. the system will bring more voices into the process and lead to better outcomes as a result. no longer is it 10% of voters who are leaders -- are leaders have to worry about pandering to for fear of getting a primary challenger. table represent all the people. the impact of that is that they can actually work together to solve problems. we will reward rather than
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punish that kind of legislative behavior we see not enough of today. host: one social media follower has a question. why already pushing for public funded elections? it would eliminate special interest funding and expand the possibility of a candidate to run for elected office. is a publicly funded election something that would stop and open primary? -- an open primary? guest: no. there are many changes we need to the political system. that is why we are building support for nonpartisan election reform at a state and federal level. the ballot initiative that adopted final four voting in alaska also prohibited dark money in their elections. there is more transparency as a result. these ideas can happen together.
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there is a movement around different reforms we need to fix our politics and campaign finance is among them. host: rick from homestead, florida. republican line. caller: hello. i want to say this is ridiculous. i am a proud republican. i don't want some willy-nilly rhino representing my brand and party. this is where we get to choose. we get to choose our beliefs in the primary for a strong candidate. the socialist democrats can put of their candidate. whoever wins, wins. this mumbo-jumbo, people better toughen up, buttercup. fight the fight and whoever wins, wins. enough of this pandering stuff. host: go ahead and respond. guest: the nonpartisan primary
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was challenged in the supreme court. clarence thomas wrote the first amendment does not guarantee political parties the right to nominate and aim candidates on a primary ballot. they very conservative supreme court jtice -- a very conservative supreme court. parties can still recruit and endorse a candidate through whatever process they want, a private convention or you name it. randy can still participate in the process. for the rest of us who want to elect a representative, not just a republican or democratic leader, this system will serve the country better. that is what the goal is. how do we have a political system that narrows our differences to produce outcomes in the public interest rather than exaggerates them because we are fighting on two teams? we have to remember when our constitution was written in the
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government was created, there was no mention of political parties. the founders feared the rise of factions and the domination of one against another as washington warned. this system returns us to the roots of what republican government is supposed to look like in electing leaders that have the public interest over partisan or special interests. host: the parties when the primary. get a nonpartisan primary process, who runs the primaries? the states, the cities, the federal government? guest: right now it is the state/government that runs partisan primaries. publicly funded elections are now being used to run primaries for these private organizations. that is what we are aiming to fix. that system isn't serving the voters very well.
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under nonpartisan primaries it will remain the case the state will run these primaries and determine the rules and so forth. host: let's go back to the phone lines and talk to james from georgia on the democratic line. caller: yes. here in georgia, if somebody districts -- they would be very little participation by blacks. the caucasian would carve it out and dilute the power of the black vote. how would you address that? guest: one of the benefits of the nonpartisan primary with ranked choice voting is it will lead to better representation, including for minority candidates. because right now in our system of elections votes can get split between many candidates. that is a blocker for getting a
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more diverse candidate pool and electing a more diverse set of legislators. if we are able to rank our candidates and use rent choice voting, we will prevent the kind of vote splitting that lease that outcome. we will see more diverse candidates run and get elected as well. host: you talked about the states that already have the nonpartisan primaries. are there states thinking about it for upcoming elections this year or in 2022? guest: two weeks ago, there was a group, a bipartisan group of 20 legislators in wisconsin that introduced a bill for final five voting. there are other states now that are considering ballot initiatives for this reform in 2022. there is a groundswell. it helps when people can see the reforms actually get enacted elsewhere and make a difference. back when we first established
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party primaries a century ago, wisconsin was the first date. within a decade a majority of states adopted. wouldn't it be great if a majority of states adopted rent choice voting and ended -- rent choice voting it ended gerrymandering. -- ranked choice voting. it is sorely needed when you look at polarization and division that is threatening not only good governance but democracy itself. host: talk about what's going on in georgia. right now georgia's new voting law says it will require ranked choice ballot to be sent to military and overseas voters. along with a standard ballot. the right choice ballot will be used -- counted an event of a
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runoff. talk about what's going on in georgia? guest: many states already use ranked choice voting. in states that require a candidate to win over 50% and have runoff elections, if you are living overseas, you don't have the ability to get your ballot in time to participate in a runoff. rankedchoice -- ranked-choice voting is used so you can rank according to preference. if it's not the person they get 50% plus one, your second preference will count rather than having to go back to the polls. it's an interesting use case about why ranked-choice voting is a better, cheaper, faster way to hold an election. we would like to see it not only be used for overseas and military voters, but all voters ought to have the option. in last year's presidential
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election, there were hundreds of thousands of voters who cast ballots for candidates who subsequently dropped out of the race before election day. had they had the opportunity to rank their second or third preference, their voice would have mattered. that's another advantage of a ranked-choice voting system. host: with a ranked-choice voting system, but that illuminate the need for any runoff in any election? -- eliminate the need for any runoff in any election? guest: the benefit is that the person who wins will have majority support. we want to have leaders and elected officials who have broad support across the electorate, not just from a sliver. what we saw in the primaries last year was in many open seats were you can have 5, 6, 7 candidates, then about a quarter of them we had winners who did
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not get majority support. one example is in georgia with marjorie taylor greene. she won with 40% of the vote in an election in which only 14% of eligible voters in the district participated. we get people elected to office. once they are there they will stay there, and get there was just a sliver of support. same case in 2010 with alexandria ocasio-cortez, who won with just 5%. the point of these reforms is to ensure not only more voices are heard, but those who win have broad support among the people. host: let's go back to the phone lines and talk to lynn from mount vernon, new york on the democratic line. caller: good morning. i think it is a wonderful idea. i think people would remain ignorant rather than incorporate new change.
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this would allow people to vote for their interests more than their party. host: go ahead and respond, nick. guest: that's exactly right. it is a reform that gives voters more power to have greater say in their elections and find someone who represents them. one advantage is that it levels the playing field for new competition. in the current system because of vote splitting, you have probably been in a situation where you like to vote for an independent or third-party candidate but you fear voting for them would take away from your second preferred candidate and wind up electing your least preferred. this would do away with that and allow people to cast ballots for those who they actually prefer so we might see better people and different people run for office. that's a good thing in a democracy like we have, which
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right now is gridlocked between the existing choices we have. host: one social media follower has a scenario they want you to address. without party primaries you will have shenanigans. you have republicans voting for weak democratic candidates they never will be beatable in the general and vice versa. you want to vote in the primary, kick aside and join them. you can always -- pick a side and joined them. you can always change back. how would this be resolved? guest: the system is more susceptible to that currently that under a final five system. to the extent that it is, we don't see much of it in the states with open primaries. how the system is gamed by very
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small, narrow interest groups. because so few voters are participating in the primaries they can raise and spend a modest sum of money and have great influence in those elections. not a lot of people are participating or paying attention. the current system is being gamed by those who are profiting from division, those who raise money off it and get votes and drive ratings. the point is we are being played by the current game. if we want to change the outcome, we have to change the rules of the game. that is what these reforms can help us do. host: joe from staten island on the republican line. good morning. caller: i disagree. governor cuomo has troubles. he signed the bill to make it
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easier to reregister as a democrat or republican, green or libertarian. the problem it is hard to get third parties on the ballot. that's a problem. thank you. guest: i think he raises other good points about how the system is broken. the barrier to entry for new competition is so high. that is one of the things both parties agree on, it's difficult for any new competition. i faced that when i ran as an independent candidate for congress in 2014. not only do other candidates have a harder time getting on the ballot, but also we have something called sore loser laws in 47 states. if you're running as part of a major party and you lose your primary, the state prohibits you
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from the ability to get on the general election ballot. examples of states for the don't have that is connecticut, where senator lieberman lost his primary but got on the general election ballot and wind up winning. states that have this rule include delaware, where back in 2010, mike castle lost and was able to get on the general election ballot. the other candidate wanda winning. -- wound up winning. these rules behind the curtain are meant to maintain the power of the current political establishment and keep out those who would try to disrupt it and disrupt the system that is not working. that goes back to the point that if we want to change the outcomes, we have to change the rules. we can do so in a way where we can work together and transcend the current divisions to advance these goals. even if we don't agree on a
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particular candidate or policy. we can all agree we want a system that represents us. host: there was an argument against nonpartisan primaries in the huffington post. i want to read a couple of paragraphs and have you addressed concerns that they bring up against nonpartisan primaries. "why should anybody not part of a political party had any voice in deciding who will be the leaders to represent that party in the contest for political office? if someone doesn't want to affiliate, they can participate in the general election which is open to all registered voters, then choose among the options divided by the parties. they get to choose among the candidates put forward by those citizens who, unlike them, have come together to achieve some common goals for the organization of their political party. i am not a member of the writing for -- rotary club, lyons, or
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any organization, and i would not claim any right to tell them who their leader should be. why should a democrat or independent have a right to tell republicans, for example, who their leader should be? what is your response to that? guest: we should have a congress of 535 americans. people who represent all the people in their states and districts, not just their own party. parties have an important role to play. folks like that writer can still participate in a party organization to support or endorse their own candidate. for the rest of us, the rest of voters, we should all have a say. and 83% of congressional districts the election has already occurred by november. you can cast a ballot in the general election, but in most places that decision was already made months prior. no election system is perfect but we have to realize the flaws
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of today's election system. do you like the outcomes we are getting in washington right now on any issue? if not, we ought to be open-minded to what changes we would like to see. i offer immigration is one such issue. we have seen how it is now on the political agenda. it is a perennial issue, but it has not been solved because of how the system has been designed and pushes people to the extremes. back in 2013, the senate passed a bill but it was not even brought for a vote in the house because speaker boehner new he cannot get a majority -- knew he could not get a majority in his caucus to vote because they feared about the primaries. eric cantor was primary and defeated largely because of his stance on immigration. it was an issue in 2013 because democrats did not address it when they had full power in 2009 and 2010. some issues are worth more
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unsolved to continue to rally their base and solving it. immigration is an example where 74% of americans agree there ought to be a path to legal status for the 4 million dreamers brought to our country. yet we continue to have no solution. there is a human price to pay, and economic price to pay, but no political price. that's the problem. if the system rewarded problem-solving and the americans agreed on issues for 74%, you can bet it would have been done by now. but because of the way the system is engineered we will not be able to solve immigration or any other issue. the national debt, health care. these things are not going to get unstuck until we fix the system. host: let's talk to bob from raleigh, north carolina, democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. nick, in a democratic primary,
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kamala harris got less than 1% of the vote. she could easily end up being president of the united states. i don't think they can be any major reform without campaign-finance reform. thank you. guest: what is true on the republican side as well is president trump less than 50% of votes in the republican primary in 2016. another case of a wide candidate field and go sledding leading to plurality. if we want to have leaders that represent a broader section of the electorate, we need to get rid of plurality voting and move to majority voting and systems like rent-choice --ranked-choice . host: jean, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call.
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i disagree with your guest. my daughter moved from illinois to california and voted in the primary as a republican. with the results came out, there were nothing but to democrats that had won. there was no option for a republican to vote in the general election. to make things worse, what happened is the democrats had the leading candidates and then they go to washington and they voted in a solid block with the democratic party. we have no say as republicans in the state of california. thank you. guest: she raises a good point because in that district, likely, as many others in california, if it is a blue district, it is going to elect a democrat no matter what. whether nonpartisan primary, it allows for voters to say do you like this flavor?
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one may be more progressive and one more moderate. the advantage of a top four or top five system is if you don't want to weigh in on the likely party candidate who will win, you can vote for the candidate from your own party. that is why we are supporting a system that advances a few more candidates to the general election. it goes back to the point around how most districts are solidly blue or red. most voters don't have a say and ultimately the candidate that wants of being elected. -- winds up being elected. host: ed on the independent line. caller: i'm just calling -- all these people call in to complain about how the voting system goes. i have been voting for 62 years. i am not a party voter.
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i vote for the person i think that does the job the way he is supposed to. if these other people would get away from being a party voter [indiscernible] host: i think we lost ed. go ahead and respond. guest: i think we will have healthier politics if more voters have the opportunity to vote for the best candidate, and not just against the party they really don't like in the general election. that is one of the goals of this reform. host: barbara calling from missouri on the democratic line. good morning. caller: that is cape girardeau. i agree with the huffington post. this guy just wants to eliminate political parties. he wants to take the power away from the people who join the party. host: do you agree?
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do you want to get rid of political parties? guest: no, parties play an important role. the parties should play a role in the election system. i think that is consistent with the original design of the constitutional framework and will lead to better outcomes for the country. the report we released call the primary problem, covered with my -- if you go to uniteamerica.org, you will see how pernicious the system is in giving extreme outcomes and where the country is at. two thirds of us consider ourselves to be in. the "exhausted majority." how is it we keep getting a congress where most members are elected on the fringes? where the approval ratings are under 20%, but more than 90% of
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them get reelected? that disconnect is because there is an incongruity between what it takes to govern and what it takes to get reelected. the current system perpetuates that flaw. we need to fix it if we care about actually getting to problem-solving more than we care about what team is in power. host: a quick question. we talked a lot about congress, state and local elections. are you pushing for nonpartisan primaries for presidential elections? guest: these reforms would impact all federal offices. i don't believe the presidential election. i think those will remain where the party puts 40 candidate. -- puts forward a candidate. host: should we have ranked-choice for the presidential election? guest: i think we should have
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ranked-choice voting in the general election. many are familiar with ralph nader from 2000 or gary johnson and jill stein from the 2016 election. many voters desire to vote for a non-democrat or republican. it will serve all voters if we are able to prevent those splitting and ensure a majority winner, which ranked choice voting would do any residential election. in 2020, howard schultz explored running as an independent and ultimately did not. the spoiler effect, vote splitting, was the main reason why that potential candidate did not get enough air. we should be a country and a system that embraces new competition and new ideas. the correct rules don't allow it. that's another reason why we should change it. host: we would like to thank
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nick troiano from unite america, for talking about his article “party primaries must go." thank you so much. host: thank you for having me -- guest: thank you for having me. host: continue to wash her hands and stay safe. c-span is your unfiltered view of government, graded by america's cable company in 1979. today, brought to you by these television companies, who
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