THE MIDTERMS: AMERICA VOTES

In less than 24 hours a nation divided by politics and party goes to the polls to vote in the midterm elections. We are also highlighting the races to watch nationally.

Aired on November 5, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD 'ING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.' I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

> VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS TOMORROW ACROSS THE NATION TO CAST BALLOTS IN WHAT'S EMERGES AS THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL MIDTERM ELECTION IN MODERN AMERICAN HISTORY.

VIEWED BROADLY AS A REFERENDUM ON PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERFORMANCE, DEMOCRATS ARE FOCUSING ON RESTORING CONTROL OF BOTH THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE.

ALL 435 HOUSE SEATS ARE UP FOR GRABS WHILE 35 OF THE SENATE'S 100 SEATS WILL BE DECIDED.

THE BALANCE OF CONGRESS ISN'T THE ONLY MATTER AT PLAY.

35 GOVERNOR RACES ARE ON THE BALLOT THIS YEAR, WITH A RECENT POLL FROM COOK POLITICAL REPORT FINDING MORE THAN HALF OF THOSE CONTESTS ARE RATED AS COMPETITIVE.

A SURGE INNERRY VOTING AS SEEN MILLIONS CAST BALLOTS IN UNPRECEDENTED NUMBERS HEADING INTO ELECTION DAY.

A LOT IS AT STAKE, AND TO PUT IT INTO PERSPECTIVE, I'M PLEASED TO WELCOME JOURNALIST AMY HOLMES AND ELLIS HANNIGAN.

WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

SO WE HAVE A LOT ON THE TABLE FOR TOMORROW.

DO YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT?

I DO FEEL THE EXCITEMENT.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I ACTUALLY DO.

THAT NEVER HAS SEEMED TO BE THE CASE FOR MIDTERMS.

SO GOING IN, WHO HAS THE WIND AT THEIR BACKS?

WELL, IT SEEMS THE DEMOCRATS DO IN TERMS OF THE POSSIBILITY, THE POTENTIAL OF TAKING BACK THE HOUSE.

MOST FORECASTERS, NATE SILVER, 538, ALL THEM SHOW HOUSE DEMOCRATS IMPROVING THEIR SEATS.

THERE ARE SOME OPTIMISTIC REPUBLICANS WHO SAY THEY CAN KEEP THEIR LOSSES BELOW 23.

23 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER.

IF DEMOCRATS GET 23 PLUS, THEY GET CONTROL.

IT LOOKS LIKE -- I'M NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY HARD AND FAST PREDICTIONS, BUT THAT'S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

ON THE SENATE SIDE, REPUBLICANS ARE OPTIMISTIC THAT THEY'LL NOT ONLY KEEP CONTROL BUT MAY PICK UP A COUPLE OF SEATS.

BUT IT'S A NAIL BITER DOWN TO THE WIRE, AND THAT'S WHY THE TENSION IS SO HIGH.

TIP O'NEIL SAID ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL.

WRONG AGAIN.

ALL POLITICS IS TRUMP IN 2018.

SO YOU CAN CAST YOUR GAZE ACROSS THOSE 435 RACES AS WELL AS THE SENATE ELECTIONS AS THE GOVERNORSHIP.

BUT IT REALLY IS IN ALMOST ALL CASES ALL ABOUT TRUMP.

AND THAT'S TOUGH NEWS FOR REPUBLICANS.

WHAT'S INTERESTING IS IT BEING ABOUT TRUMP, TRUMP WANTS IT ALL ABOUT TRUMP.

WE SAW HIM CAMPAIGNING --

WE'VE SEEN PRESIDENTS STEP BACK AND ALLOW THESE THINGS TO OCCUR AS LOCAL CONTESTS, BUT NO, NOT DONALD TRUMP.

HE IS SUCH A HUGE PERSONALITY.

THERE'S NOBODY LEFT IN AMERICA THAT HAS NO OPINION ON DONALD TRUMP.

SO DEMS HAVE THE ADVANTAGE, BUT BELIEVE ME, THEY CAN STILL BLOW IT.

WHICH I BELIEVE MIGHT BE SOME SORT OF SLOGAN SOMEWHERE.

GIVEN THE FACT THAT THE PRESIDENT IS SUCH A HUGE PRESENCE IN ALL OF THESE CONTESTS, THERE ARE SOME HE'S SPECIFICALLY ENGAGING WITH, SOME OF THESE CAMPAIGN EVENTS HE'S GOING TO AND SOME THAT HE'S INTENTIONALLY SKIPPING.

AND STEPPING BACK.

ONE OF THEM INTERESTINGLY IS CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING FROM IOWA.

NOW, STEVE KING IS IN A BIG CONTROVERSY OVER, ONCE AGAIN, UNFORTUNATELY, SEEMING TO PROMOTE WHITE ETHNO NATIONALISTIC POLICIES.

HE GAVE AN INTERVIEW ENDORSING A PARTY WITH NAZI ROOTS.

SO PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HIS ADVISERS SAID STAY AWAY FROM THAT RACE, STEVE KING, IT LOOKS LIKE THE LAST POLL SHOWS HIM ONE POINT AHEAD.

MY ADVICE FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS, IF YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE HOUSE, CLEAN HOUSE AND SHOW HIM THE DOOR.

LISTEN, WE TALK A LOT ABOUT THE TRUMP BASE.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE LEARNING IN THE MIDTERMS, THERE ARE SEVERAL SLICES OF THE TRUMP BASE.

THE OLDER, WHITE GUYS, AND THE SLOWER, EDUCATED FOLKS -- WHAT'S A NICE WAY TO SAY THAT?

NON-COLLEGE DEGREE.

THEY'RE HANGING TOUGH.

WE'LL CIRCLE BACK --

WE'LL INSULT THEM IN A MOMENT, BUT THEY'RE HANGING TOUGH AND SEEM TO BE VERY REVVED UP, LIKELY TO TURN OUT THE PLAYS TO THE CARAVAN, THE KAVANAUGH.

HOWEVER, ANOTHER PART OF THE TRUMP BASE, WHICH IS SO SUBURBAN WOMEN WHO REALLY DID TURN OUT FOR TRUMP TWO YEARS AGO, SEEM TO BE GETTING THE WILLIES A LITTLE BIT AND THAT'S WHERE DEMOCRATS ARE MAKING GAINS.

I WANTED TO GET INTO THE ISSUES WE'RE SEEING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

WHILE PEOPLE WHO ARE CAMPAIGNING WITH THE PRESIDENT HAVE VERY MUCH WANTED TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE SEEN AS ALIGNED WITH THE PRESIDENT AND ALL OF HIS POLICIES, EVERYTHING THAT WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, WHEN IT COMES TO DEMOCRATS, THEY SEEM TO BE REALLY FOCUSED ON HEALTH CARE, ON MEDICAID, ON -- WHAT ARE THE ISSUES THAT WE'RE SEEING THAT ARE RISING TO THE TOP?

WE SAW EARLY ON WITH DEMOCRATS THAT HEALTH CARE WAS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE THEY WERE CAMPAIGNING ON.

IF YOU LOOK AT LOCAL ADVERTISEMENTS, IT'S ALL ABOUT HEALTH CARE.

AND POLLING SHOWS THAT'S SMART.

THAT THIS SPRING, ACROSS THE BOARD AMONG REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC VOTERS, HEALTH CARE WAS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE.

IF YOU REMEMBER, WHEN REPUBLICANS AND THE PRESIDENT WERE FIRST IN OFFICE, IN 2017, REFORMING OBAMACARE WAS THEIR FIRST AGENDA ITEM.

AND THEY FELL FLAT ON THEIR FACES AND DIDN'T DO IT.

PREMIUMS ARE STILL HIGH, DEDUCTIBLES ARE STILL HIGH, PEOPLE ARE STILL VERY WORRIED IF THEY CAN MEET THEIR HEALTH CARE COSTS.

SO DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN VERY SMART ABOUT THAT.

YEAH.

AND THE QUESTION REALLY IS, DO YOU TAKE THE BAIT ON THE HOT BUTTON TRUMP STUFF?

RIGHT?

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE HARSH IMMIGRATION RHETORIC, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THAT WHOLE ME TOO, KAVANAUGH THING.

DEMS HAVE STRUGGLED WITH THAT.

INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, MICHAEL AVENATTI OF KAVANAUGH FAME, HE TWEETED HE THINKS THE DEMOCRATS SHOULD HAVE BEEN STRONGER ON THE CARAVAN SAYING WE NEED TO STOP THEM BEFORE THEY EVER ARRIVE AT THE BORDER AND PUT PRESSURE ON MEXICO.

A LOT OF DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANTS AND ANALYSTS ARE SAYING DEMOCRATS FUMBLED THAT ISSUE.

REALLY?

THE OTHER THING IS THE PRESIDENT HAS INSERTED HIMSELF INTO A LOT OF THE CULTURE WAR ISSUES.

THAT'S WHAT HE'S DOING.

AND BY THE WAY, DON'T FORGET THESE GOVERNOR RACES.

THEY'RE KIND OF THE THIRD TIER HERE.

IF WE'RE TAKING THE LONG VIEW HERE, NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAN HAVING DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS ACROSS AMERICA.

BECAUSE THAT'S GOING TO LEAD TO BE WHO DRIVES THE REAPPORTIONMENT ISSUES, THE QUESTION OF WHAT THOSE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS ALIKE, WHETHER THEY'RE FAIR DISTRICTS OR WHETHER THEY'RE JERRY MANLDER -- GERRYMANDERED AS SO MANY ARE.

YOU HAVE YOUR EYE ON FLORIDA.

GEORGIA AND FLORIDA.

THOSE ARE THE TWO THAT GOT THE MOST ATTENTION.

ANY OTHER GOVERNOR RACES FLYING BELOW THE RADAR BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT?

GOVERNOR KATE BROWN IN OREGON.

SO OREGON, OF COURSE, BEING A BRIGHT BLUE STATE IN PORTLAND, AND YET, SHE IS IN THE FIGHT OF HER POLITICAL LIFE.

SHE WAS ELECTED IN A SPECIAL ELECTION IN 2016, AND HER REPUBLICAN OPPONENT, IT LOOKS LIKE IS NECK AND NECK FOR WINNING THAT GOVERNORSHIP.

AND INTERESTINGLY, THIS IS A RACE WHERE IT IS ABOUT LOCAL ISSUES.

AND A LOT OF DEMOCRATS IN OREGON ARE SICK OF THE CRIME, THE HOMELESSNESS, AND OREGON ARE RANKED 47th IN EDUCATION WHEN IT COMES TO HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.

SO THEY'RE LOOKING AT THE GOVERNOR, THEY SAY SHE'S MISMANAGED, SHE HAS HAD VERY HIGH UNFAVORABLES, AND SHE'S TOO FOCUSED ON SYMBOLIC IDENTITY POLITICS AND NOT WILLING TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS.

INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, IN OREGON STATE, YOU HAVE PROGRESSIVE 2KR59 DEMOCRATS WHO ARE WILLING TO GIVE THE MODERATE REPUBLICANS A CHANCE.

THAT'S FASCINATING YOU'RE SAYING THAT ABOUT OREGON AND NOT NEW YORK STATE.

I THINK DEMS ARE SMILING MORE ABOUT THOSE GOVERNOR RACES THAN THE SENATE.

FLORIDA REALLY IS -- FLORIDA IS SUCH A SWING STATE, SUCH A BELL BELLWETHER.

AND ESSENTIAL TO 2020.

THE CHOICE CAN BE NO MORE STARK THAN IT IS THERE, WHERE MAYOR ANDREW GILLUM, PROGRESSIVE, A FRANKLY OPENLY PROGRESSIVE AGAINST RON DESANTIS, WHO MAY BE THE ULTIMATE TRUMP SURROGATE.

FOR THE MOMENT, FINGERS CROSSED, GILLUM LOOKS LIKE HE MIGHT PULL IT OFF.

WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME, BUT I WOULD BE REMISS IF WE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT THE YOUNGER GENERATION.

DO WE HAVE ANY IDEA?

YOU WERE TELLING ME BEFORE THE SHOW 'THE NEW YORKER' DID A PROFILE, AND SOME MILLENNIALS SAY MAILING IN THEIR BALLOT OR GOING TO THE BALLOT IS TOO STRESSFUL.

WE HEARD ALL KINDS OF ISSUES WHY SO MANY DON'T WANT TO VOTE, BUT WE'RE SEEING -- I DON'T KNOW IF THEY COUNT AS MILLENNIALS, BUT THE TEENAGERS WHO JUST TURNED 18 WHO ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING TO THE POLLS.

HOW CRUCIAL IS THAT VOTING BLOC?

HUGE, RIGHT?

I WOULDN'T SAY IT'S CRUCIAL.

IT TENDS IN THE MIDTERMS, IT'S AN OLDER VOTING BLOC AND LEANING MORE REPUBLICAN.

BUT THAT DIDN'T NECESSARILY HURT DEMOCRATS IN PREVIOUS MIDTERMS WHEN THEY'VE BEEN ABLE TO WIN BACK CONTROL OF THE HOUSE.

IT HAS MORE TO DO WITH INTENSITY, GETTING YOUR BASE OUT AND SOME OF THE SWING VOTERS, THE SUBURBAN WOMEN.

THERE'S AN ANSWER.

LOOK AT TEXAS, WITH BETO O'ROURKE WITH HUGE MILLENNIAL TURNOUTS.

HE'S FLAT LINED TO 44%, 45%.

THAT'S A TOUGH RACE.

IF HE GETS ANYWHERE NEAR --

EVEN WITH $70 MILLION.

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A MORAL VICTORY?

GUYS, UNFORTUNATELY, WE'LL HAVE TO LEAVE IT AT MORAL VICTORY.

I'M NOT SURE HOW THAT WORKS WHEN WINNING IS THE POINT.

BUT THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

SO MUCH MORE TO TALK ABOUT, BUT WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME.

GO VOTE.

GO, ALL OF YOU.

EVEN THE OLD PEOPLE.

THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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