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tv   Washington Journal Jim Kessler Discusses the Future of the Democratic Party  CSPAN  February 23, 2017 9:15am-10:01am EST

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and brown boys, and some girls, as well, that have been killed and nobody has been held accountable. >> sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on "afterwords." watch c-span as president donald trump delivers his first address to a joint session of congress. this congressp: is going to be the busiest congress we have had in decades. >> tuesday and not a clock p.m. eastern on c-span and . listen on the c-span radio app. continues. journal" senior vicessler, president for policy and one of the cofounders of third way. what is third way? guest: a think tank in , andngton, d.c. center-left is probably the best way to describe us.
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we have worked with members of congress and with the obama administration in the policy space that also the political space. host: where on the spectrum of the democratic party do you fall? guest: we would be described more as centrist democrats. host: there was a recent article in the washington post, about house democrats and progressives are furious, talking about the democratic retreat. fromof the criticism came the progressive change campaign that it is aing wall street funded think tank that shows them learning the exact wrong lessons of the trump era. i want to give you a chance to respond to that and what you were talking about at that retreat. guest: what a nice way to be described.
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, actually i was treated extraordinarily well by tough democrats. every year, they do a policy retreat, and i am honored to be , and ithe guests spoke to house democrats. i was treated very well by all wings of the party. but there are some outside groups that believe there should be purity tests, that the democratic party should be 100% in one direction, a very populous direction. i think that would make the party smaller. what i spoke about that day was the need to expand our coalition and that we're becoming a regional party from virginia to new england and along the pacific coast and very few places elsewhere, and that the defeat of hillary clinton by donald trump, even though she
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did win the popular vote, it is the final indignity for democrats. democrats have lost 1/5 of our senate seats, one- quarter of our house seats. something is not working. beingyou mentioned described by your foes. our progressives the foes of centrists? guest: whenever the democratic party has been successful, it has listened to a lot of viewpoints. tnd you cannot grow this boa with one oar. it is not just the progressives, not just centrists. it has got to be both. beyond that, even within the democratic caucus of the elected
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members, it is not even so much progressives versus centrists. a lot of it is the outside groups. a lot of the progressives and centrists in congress are trying to work together. host: jim kessler is our guest from third way. democrats, 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001. independents, 202-748-8002. we will be talking about this through the end of our program today. i want to talk about the new blue contained a third way has been talking about. explain. guest: new blue is an effort to ifand that base and see progressive and centrist ideas can be more resonant in the country and to find more places where, frankly, democrats, progressives, and centrists can be a lot more competitive. outside of areas in the northeast and the west, we are
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in really bad shape. research, lot of going out to places in the interior of the country, looking at districts that voted for donald trump. but also looking for districts that voted for hillary clinton and elected republicans lower down. commonalities, and economic theme that can mix the party and democrats more together. is that weommonality will sell to those people to bring those folks back. what are they? guest: i think there are three places, kind of looking backwards, that democrats could change to make a difference. one is to be the party of more jobs, as much as they are about affair jobs. so the people know we are looking for things that put fairness in the economic system am a looking at minimum wage and pay equity, which is very important, but there are a lot of people in the center that do not see a path to them.
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to middle-class life are for the kids. be to continue to make social progress in this country, which has been very important, in a place where all wings of the democratic party have been unified. in the past, they were not unified, but now they really are on things like same-sex marriage, immigration, etc. can we do that without as much social content placed on those who are not yet with us? last, be as much about making government better as we are about expanding it. host: are you hearing messages democraticeas in the national committee chairmanship race that is underway? guest: i have not so much because that is really playing more to an activist audience. once that race is done, then i think you will start to see that
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. i think whoever is chairman, you will see that they have reach out to a broader group. host: what is your prediction with what happens over the weekend? guest: well, i got the last election wrong, the presidential. put two going to dollars down, i think tom perez is probably the slight front runner. the candidate from indianapolis. obviously, keith ellison is an interesting candidate, and he is to the left. perez and judge, you know, i know fairly well, but i do not really know keith ellison that well, but we have an open door, and i am sure he has an open door. host: donald is in kentucky. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my
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call. my question was to your guest there, where does the conservative part of the democratic party lie, and is there really a part of the democratic party that is conservative anymore? am reallyocrat, and i trying to find any part of the platform that still supports my values. if you could address that, i would really appreciate it. guest: so when democrats are successful and democrats win, 55% in ausually about presidential election, 55% of the people who voted for that democrat are either self -identified moderates or self-identified conservatives. so we have to do well with those voters.
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the base, frankly, of the democratic party are self-identified moderates. don from kentucky was right, the democratic platform was the furthest left the platform has ever gone to the democratic party. us this sing it cost election, because who knows in this election, but there are definitely people who thought they were not being heard out there. i think the real thing democrats have to do is they have to show people out in the interior of the country that they are listening to them, listening to their concerns. focusing on jobs and creating a career path for people, i think that appeals to all wings of the party. host: an independent in anderson, california. caller: my comment is about changing the wording for the voting process. i am trying to get people to realize that everybody that gets into office now is just an employee.
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that is all they are, and we have to be better employers, and we have to start hiring better employees, employees that will do what their employers want them to do. and when i say hire, i mean elect. wet means that as employers, can always fire the employees that do not do the job. we also have to become better supervisors. we have to watch our employees as they work. we have to make sure they want to listen to us, otherwise they will not have a job. inave an old friend arkansas, do your job, do your job. i wanted to hear people saying, do your job or you are fired. we need to start looking at these people as they are, an employee. if you file taxes or not, you pay their and you salary. but we do not look at it that way anymore. we think they are some demagogues that we have to look up to. no, no, we do not have to look up to an employee.
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the employee has to look up to the employer. guest: it is a very interesting point. i think a challenge when you are an elected official, let's say a congressperson with 600,000 people in your district, and the of those is, what 600,000 voices are you listening to? it will be all sorts of different voices. but i think there needs to be a lot more listening going on. it seems they're listening to the loudest voices. there is a real concern in this country that, economically, part of this country is doing very of thist a lot of parts country really feel there is not a path. for elected officials, that is one of the things they need to focus on, making sure that the globalization of technology is sweeping the country and there is a path approach. host: line for democrats,
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clarence is in ohio. caller: good morning. you started out your conversation talking about the democratic party. toy completely do not listen their voters out here at all. you gave away the election. somebody needs to explain why you put out bernie sanders and let mrs. clinton:. -- let hillary go. was it because democrats wanted to get her to be the first woman? he would have wiped out this whole election. he would have won. there would have been no contest . why did you all let that happen? because that is the only reason we lost, period. guest: i think the voters made a decision. you know, this was a very hotly contested election. bernie sanders ran a terrific race. he had the advantage of running a race in which there was no
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negative ads going against him. she did not want to do that. i think that is a strategy that the race, buton if you add up all the primary and caucus votes for all 50 states, you know, she got 56%. he got 44%. a lot of the states that he won were caucus states. so she won the race fair and square. i do not think it is accurate to say it was somehow in the bag for her. host: i consider myself a progressive and want nothing to do with the democratic party after the stunt they pulled in tweet.n 2016, a how do you bring those people back? guest: frankly, i am not really sure what stunts they are talking about. people think somehow the system was gamed, the people were not
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denied the right to vote. i think, personally -- host: this is a bernie sanders supporter who did not feel the primary was run fairly. thingsto me, one of the about the primary system is that we have caucuses. caucuses are voting sessions that take several hours. if you are a single parent, you cannot participate because you need babysitter. it is not the way we vote any place else. look at the places that bernie that areon, the places caucuses, the places that the vote is the least, he did the best. in the primaries, doing a ballot the way we normally vote, hillary clinton did best. clearly need to elect somebody next time for president who is compelling, can unite the hasy, who is exciting, who
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a vision for this country and for the future that can win a lot of votes. but the problem with the democratic party, winning or losing elections, it is not just the presidential. the presidential was the last holdout where democrats were winning. we have 17 governors. republicans have 33. vermont has a republican governor, massachusetts, maryland. we do not have the senate. we are not competitive in about 25 states in senate races. the house has been republican since 2011. state legislatures have completely flipped. this is happening at every single level. i was not part of the hillary clinton campaign, but to say this is hillary's fault, we are missing something here. in international falls, republican.
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keith ellison's state. caller: good morning to both of you. i enjoy coming here and getting to listen and to learn. but i have called in many times, and before the election even started, i said that there is no chance hillary is going to make it. in another call after that, i said, you know, the democratic party is dying on the vine. they keep doing the same thing and thinking they will get different results. well, they are not. it is really sad because i want to see a vibrant, healthy democratic party. but i do not call them progressives. they are regressive's taking over the party. this is not the party of labor anymore, not even close. you are going to take another 2018.cking in the senate will be even more divided. well, more control to the
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republicans. they will probably get past the 60-vote threshold on that one. but the democrats control basically from 1955 to 1995, 40 years straight, in the house. they basically did this to themselves, and other party has been hijacked. it is really sad. are you goings, to continue doing the same thing and try to get a different result? guest: i think we do have to do some indifferent, brad. long time, really for the last 15 years, democrats have had a theory of how to win elections, a rising electorate of nonwhite voters, millennials, single women. more and more of them are in the electorate, and the party can move further left because those groups tend to be more progressive and tend to vote
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democratic almost automatically. that was the belief. i think that is what the party did for the last 15 years. the truth of the matter is that has not worked. do, and party needs to needs to broaden its message, broaden its vision, broad in its scope about, you know, the map and where it will look to get support in voters. this area where the democrats are doing well, it is the part of the country that economically is the strongest. it is the part of the country were technology and globalization is wind at your back, not at your face. the challenge for both parties is, can you turn that wind around? can you make it so if you are in ohio, parts of pennsylvania, minnesota, wisconsin, that this is not going to be, that these forces are not going to keep you from your dream? host: in terms of where
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democrats are looking for that support, i think a lot of democrats are looking at the mass protests since the election and since donald trump became president. washington post, it was asked, can democrats harness this uprising? it looks at how little it had to do with the democratic party. effort is more broadly motivated by a is diverse worldview in both philosophy and experience. second, can this be organized into a potent electoral force at a time where party in epute?anship is in disrespec guest: i have participated in some of these demonstrations
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myself. yeah, there is massive energy out there, very good thing. i think it is a great thing for this country and good for the democratic party. can the party harness this? of hadaway committee kaisha and, he is a -- communications, he did a project for the consultants. the party tends to take the activism of the people and say, here, we're going to throw you some red meat, donate to us, and we will give you the candidate. whoever the democratic national committee chairman is going to be, the question is, what are you going to do that will help these peoples' voice be heard louder? not just give them money, but how do you help people be more
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engaged in democracy and in having their voice heard? i think the next chairman of the democratic party, if they can help people out there have a louder voice or more effective voice or amplify them in some way, i think that would rebound to the benefit of the democratic party. but i think we have to offer some into these people besides saying, give me your check, and we will give us your vote. host: pennsylvania, you are on with jim kessler. caller: i would like to put my two cents in. i have lived in milwaukee, wisconsin, and montgomery county, pennsylvania. first, milwaukee, suburbs, the key there is to put the emphasis on good jobs. the white population and the black population have suffered from the industrialization. the problem in milwaukee is racial tension. how you address that is beyond
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my level of knowledge, but i think it has to be taken into account. a third point on milwaukee, is thenear madison copilot of the plane that landed on the hudson, and he is a progressive, a democrat. if he ran for something, he would be great. montgomery county, pennsylvania, it is mainly quality-of-life issues, education costs, senior living options, those kinds of things, good solid middle-class appeal. and you'll get democrats in montgomery county. guest: thank you. host: research from some key districts. guest: and what are the odds, i am from montgomery county, pennsylvania. that is where i was born, so wonderful. i agree. there are three circles. how do you win in places like
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milwaukee and philadelphia? a lot ofry diverse, issues having to do with jobs and the industrialization. then there are places like montgomery county, pennsylvania, suburban, more affluent. then there are places like luzern county, pennsylvania, they used to vote for democrats but are now voting for republicans, and they are in an area of the country where economic opportunity seems to be shrinking. can y agendaou have an feel like they are being heard -- can you have an agenda in these counties where they feel like they are being heard? areach of these areas, they looking at slightly different things, but they are not necessarily contradictory or mutually exclusive. host: wilmington, delaware, line
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for independents. for obama, i voted the first time but not the second because i did find him, you know, not what he presented himself, and he did lie and kept getting caught in his lies, but he thought we were done enough to believe him. so second time, he was out. here is my problem with it the democrats. when donna brazil was caught cheating and giving the questions to hillary during the debate, why wasn't she removed, like debbie wasserman schultz was removed? i have never understood that, and i would appreciate if you .ould answer that question secondly, the problem i am seeing right now is that the joinedts have like forces together, the powerful
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ones, that waters woman and and theoman, name-calling in this stupid statements they are making, i mean, they're showing themselves. it is pitiful, really. they get dates wrong, names wrong, and they are trying to convince people. you know, what is the problem? they cannot get younger people out to speak for the democrats. but i do want you to answer that question if you would not mind about donna brazil first. guest: i am not part of the hiring and firing process. donna brazil, she should not have sense that email. that was wrong. i am glad that she took responsibility for it and apologized, but it should not have been done. donna brazil has spent decades and decades in democratic politics. there is a saying that somebody said, i don't know who, we are
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not as good as we are on our bad days and not as bad as we are on our worst days. i will take donna brazil on her worst days over most people on their best days. i think she has deep integrity and has been very important to the democratic party. she made a mistake, and she paid for it. she did not lose her job, but you know. politicshe anger in that the caller from wilmington theght up, the anger over last 10, 15 years, it is discouraging. look, i am part of it, too. i am angry with the donald trump world. i think anger makes people not as good of voters, not as good of citizens, husbands, wives, not good drivers. both sides trying to stoke anger on the other side is generally not a beneficial thing.
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sometimes i am guilty of it myself. abouti want to ask you joe biden. there is an article in the new york times today about him helping a candidate in a special election for a seat in the delaware state legislature, delaware state senate. what do you think his role in the democratic party going forward will be? guest: almost all the elected officials in delaware are fantastic. crawford is a great senator. there is a new woman elected to the house who seems very promising. the governor, jay carney, is very good. and then there is joe biden. is he going to run for president in 2020? he is not a young guy. there is a lot that democrats can learn from joe biden. roots,his scranton working-class roots, and he is also an intellectual. he's able to balance both and
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has a natural affinity for the middle class. he relates to people very well. one of the things that is also very important about him and that we can learn from him is he knows how to make a mistake and move on. there is always like the biden gaffes and that sort of thing, and he moves on. i actually think voters like the is unscripted, and that he brings office and sisi -- and that he brings authenticity to it. he should definitely be involved. that a lot of viewers like the authenticity about donald trump. guest: sure. you know, they might get a little tired of it over the course of the next four years. , i think, wasrump successful because he appeared to be an independent candidate who made a hostile takeover of the republican party.
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and if you kind of take away all the offensive tweets and things he said, if he had decided after the general election that he was going to govern as that independent who had taken over the republican party, i think he had the potential for a successful presidency. he has not decided to do that. he has moved in a decidedly ultraconservative direction, and to the point that i think is frightening. i think he has stumbled, and i am not sure his authenticity is going to save him. with about 15 minutes left jim kessler of third way. to check out the new blue campaign we have been talking about. this, there is a national security event. you have about 15 minutes to call and ask jim kessler a question.
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independent, go ahead. caller: i belong to a small think tank in wisconsin. wins hoping that ellison the dnc, democratic national convention, hoping he will be the person they get. he says the base of the democratic party are african-americans, and that is what they are going to build on. every time he speaks and every time we see riots in our think tank, more democrats come to our side of the situation. we're very happy to have that. another thing is the democrats lost the election but keep blaming everything -- like she thet --he vote -- she won vote -- i study that. states forowest
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population, california, 50 million. they did not even campaign and 15 states -- in 15 states. christians won this election. i will tell you something, the broadcasters, jim bakers, john viewers -- million nine channels everyday preaching for donald trump. you ought to see it. they won the election, christians. what are you going to do now? thank you very much. guest: thank you. host: that was a call from wisconsin. tommy thompson, former republican governor. guest: they do not make republican governors like that anymore, i think.
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small -- actually, i think there is a bench out the re. first, yes, hillary clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million. i would certainly like to see the electoral college disappeared because of that. threee truth is she won states, california, new york, and massachusetts by nearly 7 than oneotes, by more million more than obama did in 2012. she underperformed obama in the other states by 3 million votes and lost those 47 states by 4 million votes. ,o where you live matters a lot and if we continue to do better in places where we are already
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winning, it does not really have that much of an impact. we have got to broaden that map and expand to other places. he also said african-americans are the base of the democratic party. they voted for hillary by a margin of 88 to 8. they are hugely important for the democratic party. you cannot win a lot of races without them. there are also brought parts of the country were the african american population is tiny. we need to also do well there. on the bench, the decks have been cleared. so if there is a silver lining to this election for democrats, it is that we are through the clinton era. and the obamas are gone now, too. and whatever is going to be coming next, it is coming up
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from the leaders. i do not think you are going to be seeing family members of previous democratic presidents be running anytime soon, and there are some very exciting people out there. mark warner of virginia. tim kaine of virginia. andrew cuomo, new york. cory booker, new jersey. john hickenlooper, colorado. michael bennet, colorado. a person from california. there are some new folks coming up. elizabeth warren, of course. it is very important that we start looking at these new faces, and these new faces do not necessarily have to mean that they are 40 years old or 45. you can be in your 60's and be a new face on the national scene. host: florida, line four republicans. m a republican.
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i voted for hillary, because the democrats vote for our environment. i was afraid of trump, and look to be picked for the epa. and listen to me, democrats, on why hillary lost. the democrats have turned their back on the working man and woman. they want to make all the illegal aliens citizens so they will vote for the democratic party. they are just as selfish as the republicans. the republicans a selfish because they want more money, and that is why they back the polluters and big oil, etc. and the democrats, they just want power, and that is why they want to make all the illegal aliens citizens. host: jim kessler? guest: thanks for your vote. you look at how people voted and how white working-class people voted, i think they felt
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the democratic party was not going to answer their concerns. so that is how voters feel. if that is how voters feel, there has to be some accuracy to that. on immigration, i think it is a shame that this issue has become so hot. there was a bipartisan immigration bill put together by the gang of eight in the senate, including watch wrote republican fourors -- including republican senators. it was led by chuck schumer from new york. were onhin and others that bill. and it passed by overwhelming majorities. basically, it would provide a path to citizenship for those already here, but they would have to earn it. you would have to earn your way
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into this country and go through lots of hoops, and it would also strengthen border security and do things for employers to make sure that they are not hiring illegal immigrant labor in the future. so we need to do something to settle this question in america. the idea that we are to have mass deportations of 11 million immigrants in this country, i think, is heartless, cruel, bad economically, on every level. as we go to a path of legalizing and providing paths to citizenship for these folks that are here, we have to show, without a shadow of a doubt, that people who are concerned that so many people were able to come into this country undocumented and could stay here illegally, that they have been heard and we will make sure this does not happen again. but this is one of the open wounds happening in politics
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that is driving some of the anger. host: murray in new jersey, democrat. caller: good morning, sir. years old, a half senior citizen, upper 10 percentile of the world, i believe. what a called for is i have been a democrat all my life. i was born, i was six years of age when the war broke out, and i experienced a victory, experienced going across the street to get the flour and sugear, nso what my democrat president, fragrant delano roosevelt, did, creating jobs for people. of theseccc, many things. people listening on the television today to this program , you're going, where did this guy come from? we don't know our history and
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what a great country we are, we will be, and we will be increasingly better every day if we work towards the same goal. all the democrats and all the ofublicans, the presidents the united states from the i am not, i believe -- a historian, but we can only blame her give them credit, because they lead as to where we are. i believe we should all work together, all work together for a common cause. that we have clean water to drink, clean food to eat, sewers that are not being poured into streams and rivers which we gete, and when it got to together and work for all of us. we are only here for a short while. we are going to leave the same way we came. that is i can tell you what that is but
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off air, because you will probably censor me. the call from ohio, the gentleman was right on. the gentleman that is their right now -- the gentleman that is there right now, i believe you should watch this program, get a transcript or whatever, and see how you answered those people. i knew in my heart of hearts the bernie sanders would be next president of the united states. he talked to us. people i knew who were 18 years of age, i worked out at the local y, and they wanted somebody to leave them. and debbie wasserman schultz and this pelosi, their time is gone. get on a horse and ride into the sunset where they belong. host: i want to give jim kessler a chance to answer. guest: there is clearly
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dissatisfaction with where the democratic party has been. i think that one of the things he said when he talked about fdr, it was jobs, jobs, jobs. i think there is a feeling in this country that the economic trajectory of people has changed and that whichever party is able to answer the question, especially for the interior of the country which is not benefiting as much from globalization and technology as the coast, that is the party that is going to dominate and lead. one last thing in conclusion, we have had six election cycles since 2006, and there has been change in five of them. there have been very dissatisfied voters, and they have been seeking out somebody and replacing them with somebody else. that sort of thing. what we're trying to do with new blue is fine something to bring folks together, economic
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messages that will work in all regions of the country. hopefully they will be compelling. host: just a few minutes left. dave has been waiting for a while in irvine, california, line for independents. caller: thank you very much. first, i want to say thank you to that guy. he is a great democrat. the reason democrats lost was because they do not take bernie sanders and they are against guns. when you are against guns, most people out here that i know that voted republican, they want their guns. so you have got to keep the guns. we are in a sad situation now because we have a person like donald trump in the white house. that guy does not care about the middle-class. he put millionaires in there. he is mentally ill. i wish a doctor would call in and tell everybody that this guy is crazy.
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he will get us all killed. healthinimum wage now, care now. he wants to take away social security, medicare, and medicaid . he is no good. he is for the rich here he said he was going to drain the swamp, and all he is doing is putting billionaires in there. host: a lot of issues. guest: on the issue of bernie sanders would have won, i do nothing that is true. people have their own a kenyan -- own opinion. there were other candidates that ran, one who was is supposed to win a race in a red to blue district, but she lost by 10 points in that district in new york state, and she performed worse than hillary clinton. feingold was supposed to win in wisconsin. that was supposed to be an easy seat. he was very liberal and lost.
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he performed worst than hillary clinton in that state. and some of this interests did not win either. the party needs to do a lot of soul-searching from the left, center, etc., to be more compelling. host: teva, florida. make it quick. caller: i wanted to say that i think hillary is getting a bad deal. there is not a woman who ever or nominated for president to be president of the united states. and the media, the democrats need to do a better job with the media. no coverage. everything they said they should have done, we did do but did not get the coverage for it. she went so out of her way not to be negative about bernie sanders, and i saw an article in and the man did an excellent article about what
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would have happened had bernie sanders been the candidate and what donald trump would have and the information they would have ran against him. i think the democrats, if they would be a little more tougher, get on the right side of the media, they would be fine. guest: i agree with her. let's face it. hillary clinton wins, and we have the russians that going on, she wins that race, and i do think the counter facts about bernie sanders would have won the election, i do not see that as a realistic outcome of this race. but, you know, no one really knows. jim kessler is senior vice president for policy a third outorg if you want to check their new, blue campaign. that will do it for our program


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