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tv   Campaign 2020 Interview with Nevada Political Reporter Jon Ralston  CSPAN  July 15, 2020 7:50pm-8:02pm EDT

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>> the latest from campaign 2020. >> your calls and comments welcome. >> be part of the conversation with washington journal. if you missed our live coverage, watch anytime on demand at or listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. joining us from las vegas is jon ralston, the editor of "the nevada independent." as you look at the race campaign 2020 with three and a half months before the election, give us, in your words the political , lay of the land in joe biden -- between joe biden and president donald trump. guest: biden has an advantage, steve. the democrats have a formidable machine. they won the presidential race the last three cycles. hillary clinton beat donald trump by 2.5 points although , that was closer than it looked because the race was essentially
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over after early voting, which lasts two weeks, and the democrats had banked enough votes. biden is ahead in polls, only slightly outside the margin of error in recent polling. there has not been a lot of public polling. but the democrats have a substantial registration advantage, which they have for many years, including 154,000 voters or so in clark county, which is where las vegas is, 70% of the vote. very difficult for a republican to win statewide in nevada with that kind of firewall the democrats have in clark county. host: it seems so long ago, the nevada caucuses in which senator bernie sanders won with about 40% of the democratic vote. many people were beginning to write off joe biden. so much has changed. what about the sanders support in nevada? is it solid for the presumptive democratic nominee, joe biden? guest: it is an interesting
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question. sanders won here essentially in a landslide over joe biden. it is a caucus. they calculate the votes differently. but it is interesting that the biden team took that as a second-place finish after his disastrous showing in iowa and new hampshire, spring boarding to south carolina, and the rest is history. the progressive wing of the democratic party is not much different than the left wing of the democratic party elsewhere. i think the imperative to beat donald trump will trump, so to speak, their potential disaffection with joe biden, their disappointment in bernie sanders not being the nominee. that, of course, is going to be the key for biden across the country, being able to do what hillary clinton was unable to do, which is get the far-left excited to turn out for him. host: how important is the vice
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president pick for democrats in nevada? guest: i think all of that calculus has changed in the sense that since the george floyd killing, the african-american community and minority communities here have really been active, especially on social media, in arguing that an african-american woman should be on the ticket. i think there will be some disappointment if biden does not pick kamala harris or val demings or someone like that. i have to tell you you and i , have been around way too long. vice presidential picks generally do not make a huge difference. i think that more than any election that we have seen in some time, biden is going to be advised to follow the hippocratic oath of politics, which is due no harm with that pick. host: a lot of speculation early
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on of one of your home state senators, catherine cortez masto. she took her name out of consideration. what is the back story? why? guest: it is interesting. i have known catherine cortez masto for more than 30 years. if it can be said of a politician who was attorney general and is now u.s. senator, she is, to some extent, apolitical. i don't think she ever had any interest in being on the vice presidential ticket with biden. i think she was flattered by the attention. i think there are some good reasons to say, based on my aforementioned do no harm policy, that she would have been good. she is very smart, careful, disciplined. but she is also the head of the democratic senatorial campaign committee and has invested a lot of time in that even though that is not really in her wheelhouse. i think she did not want the distraction of being taken away from that, and i don't think it is something she has ever really wanted. she has dreamed of being a u.s.
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senator for most of her adult life. she has that job now and i think she loves it. host: of course, we preface this with a lot can happen between now and election day. when you talk to democrats in washington, a lot of speculation that they could recapture control of the senate in november. what would that mean for your two democratic senators in nevada? guest: it is a good question because catherine cortez masto and jacky rosen were just elected the last two cycles. so they are not very high in seniority in the minority party right now. but if the democrats were to take the senate, catherine cortez masto, as the head of the democratic senatorial campaign committee, would get some credit for that. i think her standing would rise in the u.s. senate. jacky rosen would be only in her
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second part of her first term, so she probably would not have that much influence. catherine cortez masto moves up in the ranks, that would help jacky rosen and nevada as well. for many years, a small state like nevada couldn't do much until harry reid became one of the most powerful people in the history of the state, becoming minority and then majority leader of the u.s. senate. i am sure he has talked to catherine cortez masto about that as he anointed her to replace him. host: is nevada a swing state? guest: it is a great question. i wrote a column after the last election saying nevada is a blue state. it wasn't the republicans who were upset with me, it was actually the democrats because if you are declared a blue state, you are not going to get as much investment from the national party. the democrats want to keep saying nevada is in play. listen, it is still 100 days or so from early voting starting
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in nevada and you can't say anything for sure, but nevada is a very heavily leaning blue state. i saw that harry reid recently was interviewed and said he advised biden to invest here, so clearly he is worried as a behind-the-scenes kingmaker and influential force in nevada that the national democrats will not invest here. the democrats dominate the state. there is only one republican statewide elected official, the secretary of state, who pretty much has to act nonpartisan. the legislature is controlled by almost super majorities by democrats. they dominate the state. so the state is clearly a very lean blue state, but the local democratic party does not want to lose the resources invested during a presidential campaign, so they will keep saying swing state. it's very difficult to make that argument anymore. host: of course a year that is
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, going to be unlike any other in terms of how the candidates campaign. so far, most of it virtually. when you say invest in the state, it is not necessarily going to mean that candidates like joe biden and donald trump are campaigning in person, but an on the ground effort, much of it done virtually or through advertising, correct? guest: you are absolutely right. all of that is really about voter registration. which i mentioned earlier the , democrats have a sizable advantage. in person campaigning is not going to do much at this point. it is going to be very difficult. as we sit here we don't know , what the pandemic is going to be like for the next few months and how it will limit or not limit campaigning. but money matters in politics, and money spent wisely, especially now. don't forget, it is still not clear whether what they did in the recent june primary, which was a mostly mail balloting, is going to occur in the general election and what the impact
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of that will be on both parties. host: you can't talk about nevada without talking about entertainment, the gaming industry, and the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on tourism. give us a snapshot of the economy in nevada as we speak in mid july. guest: the economy has been absolutely devastated because it is so dependent on that a few miles of road known as las vegas boulevard south, the las vegas strip. it was shut down for a couple of months. it has now reopened, although some places more than others. some are thinking about furloughing employees again. the legislature is in a special session trying to figure out how to fill a $1.2 billion budget hole because they are so dependent here in this state on gaming and sales taxes. i can make an argument that we have been hurt disproportionately to almost
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every other state by what has happened, because the economy is still so reliant on tourism. host: jon ralston, the editor of "the nevada independent," joining us from las vegas. thanks for joining us on c-span. guest: thank you. c-span has unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events. you can watch all of the public affairs programming on television, online, or listen on our free radio app and be part of the national conversation through c-span's daily washington journal program or through our social media feeds. c-span, created by america's cable television companies, as a public service, and brought to you today by your television provider. an update onnight,
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the state response to the coronavirus from the governors of oklahoma and florida. that is followed by a house home and safety of migrant children in federal custody. later, president trump talks about streamlining the approval process for new construction projects. governor, oklahoma kevin stitt, became the first governor to test positive for the coronavirus. andpoke about his diagnosis symptoms during a virtual news conference that began with an update on the state response to covid-19 from oklahoma's health commissioner. good morning, everyone. thank you for joining us. i want to give everyone an update on our current situation and talk about where we have been and where we are now. the first case in oklahoma was on march 6, and


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