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tv   Washington Journal Former Rep. Steve Israel  CSPAN  April 11, 2022 1:31pm-2:12pm EDT

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1:32 pm >> washington journal continues. host: joining us from long island is former congressman steve israel, democrat from new york. israel ran the democrats >> the consolidation of both party bases, hard right, hard left districts, and then what is called residential sorting patterns, where we choose to
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move to live with people. there are 42 districts competitive going into this election. the consolidation of both party bases are hard right heart left districts. we are choosing to move with and live with people with home we agree. there may be about 40 to districts that are competitive going into this election. 25 are true tossup. the balance 21, leaning in one direction or the other. when you break it down, it looks like the republicans are in pretty good shape in terms of history. i never said i was distraught --
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the smartest member of congress, but i know my history. there are three historic conceptions to the president's starting losing c. 1998 and in 2002. what was unique to those midterm elections? in 1994, the american people thought fdr was bringing a good job of bringing back the economy and they awarded him with a pickup of seats. in 1988, american people believed the united states had bathed -- had to farm. they awarded him by picking up seats. the climate in october, november, a few months away from now resemble those americans in crisis, the democrats can hold a majority. if the climate is as it is now, that will be tough democrats
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though the majority. host: when you look at the president's approval rating according to the real clear politics average, it is 54% disapproved, 42% approved. and when it comes to campaigns 2022 with the real clear politics average, it is 43 for the democrats. how would you try to combat those numbers? guest: i gave you historic exceptions. let's talk about those numbers. they align with historic pattern. the democratic chair campaign committee, support campaigns and making sure the messaging was right and the motivation was right. there are three influences in -- approval.
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this second is between vote propensity and the third is base intensity. for most internal actions that were change elections where the majority flip significantly, presidents were in their low to mid 40's. and the majority change the lock. that is her president biden is right now, in the low to mid 40's. change propensity in those change majority elections. a swing voting approval for the president was in the mid-30's. much where president biden is now. and those changed elections, base intensity wasn't there. it was lukewarm. we do not know the base pay for joe biden in november, but if swing voter propensity is in the 30's and the president's favorability remains in the 40's, it makes it that much tougher for democrats to win.
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if joe's numbers go up, if they could go up to the mid-to high 40's, that saves the senate and it could be taking the majority from democrats. host: who represents your district now? guest: they depleted the ink in the sharpie when they drew and redrew my district. it is now represented by tom suozzi, leading congress to run for governor. he is running a primary against governor hochul. his numbers are not getting much traction according to the polls that i have seen. it is an open seat. the thing about my district, which if those of your viewers are familiar with new york, queen stretching against long
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island. it was never a democratic district. it was always competitive. donald trump did really well in 2020. he didn't win but he did ok. it is an open c. i believe democrats will move along. people are concerned about various areas. i believe democrats will win that open c. host: is there a split between so-called moderate democrats and progressive dominant -- numeral cuts. that wing of the party did not want to represent everything he did. the republicans have that split. the democrats have those divides
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right now. i believe elections are about winning. it is winning on your priorities and what you have to offer your voters. there are 25 districts that are a tossup. democrats have to win a majority of those top up. the majority of those districts are moderate. we have all the great districts to win. the key to winning a majority is winning the purple districts. winning those swing voters i refer to. districts in maine, iowa. districts in those -- voters in those districts are --. if you want to win the midterm
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and stay in the majority, you have to reflect more modern values align with moderate voters. host: we talk a lot about the swing districts, the purple districts, shouldn't all 435 be a sewing district? guest: in theory. our founders, the house will be -- in brooklyn new york, the consensus of opinion is pretty far to the left. it is a progressive district. we also have iowa which is not particularly -- you're not going
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to be able to create a swing district in every district. in those swing districts that are left, there are so few of them now because of those three elements i mentor. gerrymandering, base consolidation and residential sorting. we are now down to about 40 of those purple districts and that is where the majority rests. the next speaker of the house will be elected, whether it is kevin mccarthy or the successor, will be elected by what happens in those 40 purple districts. host: do you think nancy pelosi should have run for office again? should she be the democratic leader? guest: i have known her so well. i sat with her for extended periods of time when she was the minority leader and i was the chairman of the committee.
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the only people who influence nancy pelosi about decisions like that is nancy pelosi. host: joining us now is steve israel, would you like to participate in our conversation about politics? you can see the area code, 202 748-1000, one for republicans 8002 for independence. we will put up the text, and the social media sites. if you send a text, please include your first name and your city. congressman, what are you doing these days? guest: i am enjoying life. people say, do you miss congress? and i say i miss my friends in the congress but i don't miss congress. this hyper polarized
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environment. i pursuing my curiosities in the institution of global affairs which is a lifetime -- really find consensus on critical challenges. i opened up my own independent bookstore. oyster bay was where theodore roosevelt lived and worked and died. some of his executive offices are across the street from my bookshop. we opened in november, theaters books. we specialize in history and current affairs. we also have bestsellers in children's books. everything you expect to see in a bookstore. it is one of the most enjoyable things i have ever done question -- one of the most enjoyable things i have ever done. host: are you still writing books? guest: i am in my third novel.
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i plan to reserve this entire day to finalizing my third novel. when c-span asked me, of course i said yes. host: we appreciate that. charlotte is in delaware. what is on your mind this morning. you would like to talk to former rep. francis rooney? caller: i hear a lot of democrats and other pendants come on and say things like that. while that may be true, it is the midterm elections and all that, if you are a democrat and you care, put more positives swing on that. not staying so negative.
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biden has a poor rating. negativity is not nice if you care about doing kratz. guest: charlotte, i appreciate that view. i am site if not communicate clearly enough. i was trying to make data based on -- in order to cure a problem, you have to have a diagnosis. i also noted there are exceptions. when you have moments of national crisis and economic decline, and the fall of a
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midterm, voters begin to sense that the economy is doing better than it was or the crisis is being dealt with, then they tend to reward the president in power, just as they did with george w. bush in 2002 and bill killington in 1990 eight and fdr in 1994. if the climate aligned with that kind of history, we will retain the senate majority and have ace fighting chance of attaining the house majority. one of the things i mentioned was the trump effect. president drumm -- if president trump brings in the midterm elections, this becomes a referendum on trump and not biting. i talked to my former republican colleagues and they tell me they think they are in good shape now
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but they themselves did not feel that he was again. it is 2000 maintaining midterms. host: what about the 2021 races in new jersey? governor -- is now guest: sitting in the office. guest: it is a lesson for democrats. with what the, christ did in new jersey and virginia and the suburbs of long island is they got to have their cake and eat it too. they disassociated with trump publicly. governor youngkin did not have photo ops with president trump. he tried to strategically disassociate.
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while prior -- that happened in new york, that happened in virginia. if they can manage that again in 2022 in the midterms in just a few months, it plays to their advantage. host: this tweet to you from somebody who uses the name aztec as their twitter handle, "what are some of the budget items that should be remote -- removed to rebuild and restructure? how can congress address this deceptive way of budgeting? " guest: nobody likes spending
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unless it is spent on them. i can tell you right off the bat, i don't think we should be subsidizing mash-up of oil and gas and grilling and mining companies around the world. i don't think they need the cities. $10 million a year of drilling and oiling. why are we spending taxpayer money on that? they are doing fine. they don't need a handout from the taxpayer. let's eliminate that. there are plenty of other things we can eliminate with areas of spending that are aligned with corporate subsidies and corporate entries to make sure we don't have situations where ceos are paying less in taxes than most of their workers. those are the kinds of reforms i thought, in congress, were
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desperately necessary and i continue to believe are necessary. investments in education, investments of making sure we have a adoration that can compete with china, i am all for that. host: lara is calling in from winston, salem on the republican line. good morning, lara. caller: thank you for your service to this country. i just have a couple of things. number one, i don't understand why gerrymandering and -- are so blatantly you -- blatantly use. can you explain that a little further to those of us. i have friends that work against gerrymandering and also i think it is that so many people who
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are republican who are against masks are against wearing masks and they think they do no good. yet they think a border, a wall along our southern border is going to keep people out. compare the mask to the wall. host: when it comes to redistricting, congressman? guest: we now have two tribes in congress with some exceptions. all the rest of congress spans all of its time in red district or a butte blast -- a red
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district or a blue district. they come back to washington and look at one another and say, where do you get this information? they don't understand one another. they are representing what they are hearing in their districts. how do we get distressed? every 10 years, we have a senses. it was imperative that every member of the house represent roughly the same number of people. but the decision on how to draw the districts so that you have that distribution of population was made by the state and the states realized, and this goes back to 18th century, states realized, if we are going to dry district, we can dry district that is going to protect a democratic or a republican in
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congress. it got out of hand. one of my favorite examples of a ridiculous gerrymandering redistricting is in the suburbs of pennsylvania. it was pennsylvania's seventh congressional district. it was drawn to protect republicans. when we looked at the lines, we used to call it goofy kicking donald duck. the way it was drawn, it resembled the disney caricature of those two characters. why is that? when they drew it, they said this is a democratic area so we have to circle around it to push those democrats out and then we come up and this is a great conservative republican area so we do a squiggle here and ace school there. by the time they finish it was goofy versus donald duck.
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when i was elected to congress in 2000, there were about 100 50 competitive districts. when i shared the democratic campaign in 2011, mostly because of gerrymandering but also because of residential sorting patterns and consolidation of bases, it was down to 75. by the numbers i gave you at the beginning of this program, we were down to 40. when you really dig into that 40, it is probably more like 25. 435 congressional districts, 25 required income is on both sides of the aisle to be bipartisan to get reelected. all of the others require their incumbents to move further to the left than the right in order to survive the primary. i used to talk to my republican friends about gun safety. saying if you are on the no-fly list because you are believed to
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be a series, you should not be able to easily require -- acquire a military assault weapon. those republicans would say, i wish i could vote for that, but if i vote against that bill, i want to get primary from the right. that is what is fundamentally warping our political systems. host: what about a situation like in new york where a citizen came up with their own democratic plan party should mark -- democratic party? guest: both parties are equal opportunity offenders. i was rooting for maps that protected more democrats and made republican districts more competitive. i wanted that because i wanted to remain the majority. both parties practice this. the good news is that people are
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waking up and saying this is what is wrong with this is a. states on their own are -- in some states it is illegal. you cannot draw a district for partisan purposes. in some states, independent commissioner. some of those states have independent commission with loopholes, as would happen in new york. the one thing we can do to clean our system, reform our system, get democrats and republicans talking to one another again. finding consensus. eliminate parties with gerrymandering. if you can give me one a, take the influence of money out of politics. host: christina is in east hanover, the -- hanover, new jersey. caller: i wanted to talk to you about the national defense authorization act of 2020.
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we know historically that the government has used any crisis to drive try -- change. fdr was very much aware of the atrocities going on. we know the vatican was aware of what was going on but countries didn't act quickly enough to help. right now we know the country is in a state of turmoil and we know it is money that drives terrorism. i want to talk to all of this bitcoin that has become popular. at this point, it is untraceable currency. host: christine, you have brought in some very important issues but very quickly, tie them together. caller: is the oc going to do some kind of investigation on bitcoin, the currency? host: ok, we are going to stick
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with bitcoin. this morning there was an article in the paper about the potential regulation of some of these cyber terms -- cyber currency. guest: i will put aside christina's theories about the holocaust and fdr for a moment and focus on cyber currency and bitcoin. there is a real debate going on in congress and the industry about who should regulate cyber currency. is it security or a commodity. should the department of agriculture be considered a of polity? smart people on both sides of the aisle, members of congress are looking into this. prices sometimes drive a reaction. crisis is new and unanticipated,
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unexpected. i wouldn't say this is a crisis with the use of bitcoin and the use of cyber currency is a fairly new revolution in american finance and consumer spending. congress, and the biden administration is taking a look at it and determining what is the most effective fair and oversight regulation that would protect american consumers and business. we will develop on that in the next several months. host: valerie is calling from new york. go ahead. caller: good morning gentlemen. i am from patch new york. my caller: i haven't watched
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washington journal in months, i watch very little news lately just to know what is happening. it seems like the trenches of both parties have become mainstream. i see that more on the right there on the left. i don't know how we get to this place. i think the internet contributes to it. i think gerrymandering does. do you have any idea? guest: thanks. it is good to hear from a friend from pet shop. i worry about this more than anything else. in my view, i deal with so many. democracy has become so corrosive. discourse course has become poisonous. as a function of the things i mentioned, red districts, blue districts, gerrymandering, the residential -- you mention something that is the impact of social media.
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we are getting our information, not because it is news, but because it is an algorithm designed developing our own opinions. i am an examiner of washington journal and i see people come on on both sides with the absolute truth. they believe they have the absolute truth -- why do they believe they have the absolute truth? they are only exposed to their own arguments. the network presented a liberal view, it was crude required to balance a conservative view. we now have information derived from facebook which is manipulated from twitter, which can be manipulated. from social media which has become a platform in by his confirmation.
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i believe people for believing they have the absolute truth. it takes a lot of work to find a dissenting view. i tried finding a dissenting view but it was harder and harder because of the political structures around me. those members of congress, and those constituents who take that time and remain open to the fact that they may not be completely correct in their assessments, they are the future of democracy and its resilience. host: congressman, valerie also brought up how the extremes are pushing everybody else. most people identify as politically moderate. guest: you are so right. when you take a look at national polls, the majority of americans defined themselves as moderate. some defined themselves as moderate but they are not. i have republicans who tell me
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till -- tell me they are fair balance and write in the middle. no they are not. it is true that the majority of americans nationwide are just at the center or somewhere in between. because of gerrymandering. congressional -- have been pulled away from that center. you may be moderate but you are living in bright blue district or a ruby red shirt. whenever congress goes to washington and votes with the blanks, not with the center, we need to get back to the center. host: here is some recent poll results. cost-of-living concern say family income is falling behind. 30% say they are staying even. who is to blame for inflation.
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38% say president biden. guest: we are so polarized that 40% of the elector it loves donald trump, loves joe biden -- loads -- loaths joe biden. 40% on the other side loves joe biden, loaths donald trump. these are a function of perception.
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they reveal how people feel, not necessarily the reality. politics and partisanship is affecting everything, including the economy. this 40% of the economy is awful . over 40% will say it is not that bad. the midterm election would be one with 20% in between. they are the ones that decide the majority in the house and senate. they make those decisions largely on pocketbook decisions. if in september and october, saying, we are doing ok, got a raise, able to afford some things i didn't think i will be able to afford, we are coming back from covid, i think we are ok. they would vote for a democrat. but if 20% of those are doubting
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about inflation in the cost of living and economic prospects, they will vote for a republican in those seas. as i had lunch with the chairman of the committee, my successor john patrick maloney, i asked, what are the issues going to be that are going to determine whether you lose or retain the majority? he said gas and groceries. the price of gas is under control, congress gets to spend the gas tax and the price of groceries are under control, they have a great shot of maintaining the majority. if those two things slip away from the democrats, it is going to be tough to maintain the majority.
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host: was it potentially possible to raise a lot of money from suffering or hearing nominations the last couple very contentious. guest: money is raised by the political committee, individual contributions. it is raised by member. the biggest source when i was there, online contributions, grassroots contributions. those contributions were most likely motivated by a grassroots issue. party seems to raise a significant amount of money by
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what -- and dominate the base based on nominations. caller: i have two questions mr. israel. should jay jacobs be forced to resign because of what he did recently in new york? the second question is, how likely will democrats cancel him? host: barbara in new york city. who is jay jacobs? guest: jay jacobs is the
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chairman of the new york state democrat committee. no, he shouldn't resign. he should not be forced to resign. will these democrats cancel the election because of covid? no. host: jeff in tennessee, republican. go ahead. guest: this is one of those issues i find very frustrating. broad bipartisan support for a system that offers stronger, high-tech protections and our
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border. senator john mccain was working on this with democrats. a bipartisan comprehensive format that cleaned everything up. stronger border and passed his citizenship. that is common sense and this is one example of where -- i believe we could pass immigration reform when john mccain proposed it in 2004. concerns in a comprehensive immigration return -- on the democratic side, there are those who believe that some of the
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stronger border controls, it makes it harder for people to enter illegally. we need to get back to the center and have a reasonable conversation and can't trest to do both. anybody can come into this country and we know nothing about them, that is not true. we have controls. we don't open the border. we have agents at the border. we allow people in in certain circumstances. they are required to prove they belong here. they are required to report back. are there mistakes years --


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