MetroFocus: September 28, 2020

FRONT PAGE FORECAST SPECIAL EDITION: ELECTION 2020

The 1st of 3 debate showdowns between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the future of the Supreme Court and other late-breaking news, headline this special edition of our Front Page Forecast. Tonight Metrofocus veterans political commentator and CUNY Professor J.C. Polanco, noted author, associate professor of political science at Rutgers University and a senior scholar at their Eagleton Institute of Politics, Dr. Saladin Ambar and NY Daily News editorial board member, Laura Nahmias are back to weigh in.

TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA, PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILL STEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA STONE FOUNDATION.

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN, AND THIS IS OUR WEEKLY FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

EVERY MONDAY NIGHT WE'LL BRING YOU A LOOK AHEAD AT THE NEWS MAKING LOCAL AND NATIONAL HEADLINES, AND HOW IT IMPACTS THE TRI-STATE AREA.

TONIGHT WE'LL TALK ABOUT THAT BOMBSHELL 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' INVESTIGATION INTO PRESIDENT TRUMP'S TAX RETURNS, THE IMPACT OF THE PRESIDENT'S SUPREME COURT NOMINEE AND WE'LL PREVIEW A LITTLE BIT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE.

SO LET'S GET START AND HAD GET RIGHT INTO IT.

AND JOINING US TONIGHT WE HAVE EL ELLIS HENNIGAN PULITZER PRIZE WINNER.

WELCOME.

A LOT TO TALK ABOUT TONIGHT.

OF COURSE.

AND WE HAVE THE PROFESSOR, AN AUTHOR, ASSOCIATE PRESSER OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY AND A SENIOR SCHOLAR AT THE EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF POLITICS.

PROFESSOR, WELCOME.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

OF COURSE.

AND JOINING US AGAIN IS J.C.POLANCO, COMMENTATOR, ATTORNEY AND ON THE FACULTY.

HE WAS ALSO PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

J.C., WELCOME.

SO GLAD TO BE HERE WITH THIS CREW THIS MORNING.

ALL RIGHT.

SO, LET'S GET RIGHT INTO THIS 'TIMES' BOMBSHELL REPORT AND START WITH, I GUESS, DOES THIS MAKE ANY SORT OF DIFFERENCE?

I MEAN, IT SEEMS LIKE NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, NO MATTER WHAT POLL -- I SHOULDN'T SAY POLL, BUT INFORMATION IS REVEALED, IT DOESN'T MOVE THE POLLS AT ALL.

THIS SEEMS LIKE A BOMBSHELL, BUT IS IT REALLY?

I'LL START ELLIS, WITH YOU.

WRONG QUESTION.

WHO CARES.

WE CANNOT TAKE SPRESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT.

AND SHOUT OUT TO THE TIMES WHO BROKE THIS.

A PIECE OF OLD-FASHIONED INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING.

ALL WE CAN DO IS PUT IT OUT THERE.

LISTEN, IT'S HARD TO CHANGE ANY MINDS.

I DON'T LIKE THIS HAND WRINGING, THIS ISN'T GOING TO DO ANY GOOD.

LET'S TELL THE TRUTH AND LET THE CHIPS FALL.

PROFESSOR?

ABSOLUTELY.

WELL, THE TRUTH HAS TO MATTER IN SOME BROAD WAY AND I THINK IT DOES.

BUT IT MATTERS POLITICALLY BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT IS LOSING GROUND, HAS LOST GROUND OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS TO JOE BIDEN AND HE HAS TO MAKE UP THAT GROUND SOME WAY.

AND A STORY LIKE THIS CERTAINLY DOESN'T HELP.

SO IF IT'S THE STATUS QUO, IF IT DOESN'T MATTER, THAT ACTUALLY HELPS JOE BIDEN.

I THINK IT WILL MATTER, HOWEVER.

I THINK PEOPLE LIKE THE IDEA THAT OTHER PEOPLE IN POWER HAVE TO PAY TAXES JUST AS THEY DO.

I DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO HELP THE PRESIDENT AT ALL.

AND J.C.

WELL, FROM THE LOOKS OF MY TWITTER NOTHING MATTERS WITH THE BASE.

WHAT I'M READING IS THE FOLLOWING.

HE WAS SMART ENOUGH TO NOT HAVE TO PAY MORE TAXES THAN HE HAD TO.

HE HAD A GREAT ATTORNEY, HE HAD A GREAT ACCOUNTANT.

IT'S THE AMERICAN WAY.

FINALLY, THIS IS THE QUESTION I THINK YOUR VIEWERS HAVE TO REALIZE IS HAPPENING IN TWITTER SPHERE.

WAS IT ILLEGAL?

RIGHT, THAT'S THE PONTIUS PILATE QUESTION.

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS I CONTINUE TO SAY ON PBS, 'METROFOCUS,' THIS WILL BE DECIDED BY INDEPENDENT VOTERS.

WE KNOW WHERE DEMOCRATS ARE VOTING.

WE KNOW WHERE DEMOCRATS ARE VOTING.

WE'RE LOOKING FOR THOSE VOTING FOR OWE BAM AND THOSE THAT VOTED FOR TRUMP.

THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO DECIDE THIS ELECTION.

IN WISCONSIN, PENNSYLVANIA, WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA AT THAT, ARE GOING TO DECIDE IT.

I THINK THIS STORY MAY IMPACT HOW THEY VIEW THE PRESIDENT IN NOVEMBER.

SO THIS DEBATE IS GOING TO BE IMPORTANT.

HOW THIS PLAYS OUT.

HOWEVER, IF THIS TURNS OUT TO BE FAKE NEWS, IT WILL FALL RIGHT INTO THE NARRATIVE.

IF IT TURNS OUT THIS IS INCOMPLETE AND THERE'S MORE [ INAUDIBLE ] TAXES THAT HE PAID, YOU CAN IMAGINE IF THAT TURNS OUT TO BE THE CASE.

OF COURSE THAT WILL BE THE TOPIC, YES?

IT WILL BE TERRIBLE.

HE COMPLAINS THE FAKE NEWS NARRATIVE.

EVEN GOOD REPORTING IT'S FAKE NEWS.

WE SAY FAKE NEWS REGULARLY NOW.

IT'S ALL THANKS TO HIM.

IF THIS TURNS OUT TO BE EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF TRUTH, IF THERE IS ANYTHING HERE THAT ISN'T -- I THINK THAT'S GOING TO HURT THE PRESS.

IT'S GOING TO HURT THE TRUTH TELLERS IN THIS ELECTION CYCLE.

IS THAT A CONCERN FOR ANYONE ELSE?

NO.

OKAY.

SERIOUSLY.

LISTEN, IF THIS HAD BEEN WRONG, THE PRESIDENT WOULD HAVE SAID, HOW MANY TAXES HE PUT.

HE PUT OUT HIS TAX RETURNS LIKE EVERY OTHER PERSON WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT IN THE PAST CENTURY HAS DONE.

THE STORY IS RIGHT.

PEOPLE KNOW IT'S RIGHT.

LISTEN, THERE ARE GROUPIES OUT THERE, TRUMP-BASE PEOPLE, THEY DON'T CARE.

IT'S NOT GOING TO SWAY THEM.

THEY HIT ON THE TIMES IS PLAIN SILLY.

LET ME ASK ONE MORE QUESTION ON THIS TOPIC.

WHAT DOES THIS DO -- J.C. VERY APPROPRIATELY POINTED OUT SOME PEOPLE WERE ASKING, WELL, WAS IT LEGAL?

IF IT'S LEGAL, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

DOES THIS ERODE THE PUBLIC'S TRUST OR EVEN PERHAPS WILLINGNESS TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR SYSTEM OF TAXES?

BECAUSE THERE SEEMS TO BE AN EROSION OF PUBLIC TRUST IN ALL OF OUR INSTITUTIONS.

THEY ONLY EXIST AS LONG AS PEOPLE TRUST THEM.

SO IS THAT A CONCERN?

AND PROFESSOR, SINCE YOU DO POLITICAL SCIENCE, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU SEE HAPPENING?

IT IS UNFORTUNATE OUR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS HAVE BEEN SUFFERING OVER THE LAST SEVERAL DECADES FRANKLY.

YOU KNOW, THIS DOES PRESIDENT HELP.

WHAT IT DOES DO, I THINK IT PLAYS INTO JOE BIDEN'S HANDS TO THE DEGREE I THINK PEOPLE DO THINK HE CARES ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE THIS.

IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE JOE BIDEN PRACTICING THIS TAX MALFEASANCE AS REPORTED IN TIME.

HE CAN RELATE TO VOTERS AND MICHIGAN AND OTHER PLACES, PENNSYLVANIA, PLACES TRUMP CAN'T.

MOST OF US CAPTAIN WRITEOFF HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF DEBT AND GET AWAY WITH PAYING $750 IN TAXES.

I THINK IT PLAYS INTO BIDEN'S HAND TO THE DEGREE HE SEEMS TO BE THE GENUINE ARTICLE AS FAR AS HONESTY AND INTEGRITY IS CONCERNED.

WELL, OF COURSE WE'LL SEE HOW THAT PLAYS OUT.

I DO WANT TO PIVOT TO VERY IMPORTANTLY THE SUPREME COURT SCHOIS OF AMY CONEY BARRETT.

THIS HAS CAUSED A LOT OF CONSTERNATION BY PEOPLE ON THE LEFT BECAUSE SHE WILL BE REPLACING THE LATE RUTH BADER GINSBURG.

IT'S NOT JUST THIS PICK, BUT IT'S THE ACTIONS OF THE SENATE, WHICH SEEMS TO BE THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHERE THEY STOOD IN 2016.

BUT THEN WE'RE ALSO HEARING REPORTS, NO, THIS IS PART OF A VERY LONG GAME THAT THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT HAS BEEN PLAYING WITH AT LEAST THE REPUBLICAN POLITICS.

ELLIS, HOW DO YOU SEE THIS?

THERE ARE SO MANY PIECES.

LET'S SEE IF WE CAN UNWIND A COUPLE.

FIRST, IT SEEMS HIGHLY LIKELY SHE WILL BE CONFIRMED.

DEMOCRATS DON'T HAVE A PARLIAMENTARY MANEUVER THAT'S GOING TO DELAY IT.

THE THE HOPE THE PUBLIC WILL RISE UP TO SUCH A POINT NERVOUS REPUBLICAN SENATORS WILL CHANGE I THINK IS HIGHLY, HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

YES, IT WILL HAVE A HUGE IMPACT.

A 6-3 CONSERVATIVE COURT CAN DO UNTOLD MISCHIEF.

I THINK THE DEMS ARE SMART FOCUS YOU ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

PEOPLE DO NOT WANT PROTECTION AGAINST PREEXISTING CONDITIONS TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM.

THAT CASE IS COMING UP SHORTLY AFTER THE ELECTION.

THERE'S NO BETTER PLACE TO FIGHT THAT OUT THAN OVER THAT ISSUE.

ASK YOURSELF, IS THIS THE AMERICA, IS THIS THE COURT YOU WANT?

THEY HAVE A PRETTY GOOD ARGUMENT.

I THINK THEY KNOW THEY'RE GOING TO LOSE THIS ROUND.

J.C.?

WELL, THIS IS A VERY DELICATE ISSUE.

I SEE SO MANY PEOPLE CONCERNED OR UPSET ABOUT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AS WELL AS ROE VS. WADE BEING OVERTURNED OR ABORTION RIGHTS BEING ELIMINATED.

I WANT TO REMIND VIEWERS ABOUT A COUPLE THINGS.

REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU FEEL, IF YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, IF YOU THINK OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM, YOU HAD SENATORS WHO RAN IN 2016 AND IN 2018 ON A PLATFORM OF GETTING RID OF OBAMACARE AND VOTING ON JUDGES THAT ARE GOING TO BE PRO-LIFE.

AND THOSE MESSAGES WON THE MAJORITY IN THE SENATE IN '16 AND '18.

SO IF WE'RE LOOKING OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES OF NEW YORK, WHICH I KNOW A LOT OF US LIVE IN, AND WE RECOGNIZE THIS IS A COUNTRY, WE'RE VERY DIFFICULT VORS, THE COUNTRY VOTED FOR A REPUBLICAN SENATE THAT PROPOSED IT.

THEY KEPT IT REAL WITH THEIR CONSTITUENTS.

THE OTHERS, THE VOTES HAVE BEEN THERE AND THE VOTES WERE VOTED ON EVEN AFTER THE TERRIBLE THINGS TO JUDGE GARLAND.

I THINK HE SHOULD HAVE GOT AN UP OR DOWN VOTE.

IT WAS WRONG.

INCREDIBLE HYPOCRISY.

JUST A REMINDER.

THE SENATE VOTED -- THE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY VOTED NOR A SENATE GETTING RID OF OBAMACARE AND ROE VS. WADE TWICE.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED, WISCONSIN HAD A TERRIBLE INITIATIVE.

THAT'S WHY THIS IS HAPPENING.

THERE'S NO OTHER REASON FOR IT.

WELL, I MEAN, PROFESSOR, THOSE ARE ALSO SOME INCREDIBLY SOLID POINTS COMING AFTER WE'RE HEARING THE NOMINATION WAS ANNOUNCED, YEAH, DEMOCRATS TOOK THEIR EYE OFF THE BALL AND THIS WAS YOURS TO MISS.

IS THAT FAIR?

YES AND NO.

REPUBLICANS SHOULD BE CREDITED FOR FOCUSING ON THE JUDICIAL BRANCH UNDERSTANDING THAT'S WHERE A GREAT AMERICAN POWER IS HELD.

THE SUPREME COURT IS AN UNDEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION.

THEY DO NOT REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES ARE NOT REPRESENTED IN THE MAJORITY HELD SEATS IN THE SENATE.

OBVIOUSLY ANY POLL THAT YOU LOOK AT OVER THE COURSE OF THE PAST SEVERAL DECADES, YOU'LL FIND THAT ROE VS. WADE, PEOPLE ARE UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT ABORTION, MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT THE IDEA OF A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

THE SAME FOR OBAMACARE.

WHILE J.C. IS RIGHT IN THE SENATE AND STATES THAT ARE GIVEN FAR MORE POWER THAN THE POPULATION SHOULD AFFORD THEM, YEAH, THEY DID VOTE FOR THOSE SENATORS.

BUT THEY DO NOT REPRESENT THE MAJORITY WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THAT'S THE REAL PROBLEM GOING FORWARD FOR DEMOCRATS.

THEY HAVE THE POPULAR WILL, BUT THE SENATE AND JUDICIAL BRANCH ARE NUND AMOUNTALLY ARE REPRESENTED MOST OF AMERICAN'S VIEWPOINTS.

THAT'S DIFFICULT THE WAY IT'S CONSTRUCTED.

PERHAPS DEMOCRATS SPECIFICALLY HERE IN NEW YORK THAT TENDS TO BE A SOLIDLY BLUE STATE GIVEN OUR GOVERNORS AND OUR STATE LEGISLATURE, WHERE DOES THIS GO FROM HERE IS THERE ANY SORT OF THING THAT CAN PERHAPS MANEUVER TO RPROTECT ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE AT THE STATE LEVEL?

OR CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE RADICAL CHANGES IN OUR LIVES IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK?

ELLIS, I'LL START WITH YOU.

WHAT A GREAT QUESTION.

BOY, YES.

THE ANSWER IS YES.

FIRST OF ALL, LET'S TALK ABOUT REVENGE FIRST.

REVENGE IS ALWAYS FUN.

IT IS NOT TRUE DEMOCRATS ARE WITHOUT ANY TOOLS HERE.

SAY A DEMOCRATIC SENATE AND DEMOCRATIC HOUSE.

MITCH McCONNELL WANTED TO USE THOSE MANEUVERS, YOU USED YOUR POWER, WE'LL USE OUR POWER.

MAYBE WE'LL PUT TWO OR MORE ON THE SUPREME COURT WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT THAT'S GOING TO GET ELECTED.

YOU WANT TO PLAY THAT GAME, WE'LL PLAY THAT GAME.

IT'S NOT PRETTY.

BUT THERE'S SOMETHING TO IT.

THE OTHER PIECE OF IT, THE SUPREME COURT DOESN'T RUN AMERICA.

IT'S GOING TO BE FOR DECADES TO COME A BASTIAN OF CONSERVATIVE POWER.

BUT, BOY, IF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT GETS TOSSED OUT, DEMS OUGHT TO GO AND PASS MEDICARE NFOR AL OR SOME OTHER APPROACH.

THERE ARE SOLUTION TO THIS THEY JUST INVOLVE VOTING AND ACHIEVING POLITICAL POWER.

J.C., YOUR THOUGHTS?

I THINK IT'S INTERESTING ABOUT PACKING THE COURT.

I DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO BE THAT EASY.

IT JUST WON'T BE BECAUSE I THINK SMART DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE KNOW THAT IF THEY WERE TO LOSE THE SENATE, LET'S SAY THEY WIN IN NOVEMBER, WHAT STOPS THE MAJORITY LEADER AND THE NEW REPUBLICAN SENATE FROM PACKING THE COURTS EVEN MORE?

EVENTUALLY WE CAN PLAY THIS GAME UNTIL WE HAVE 400 JUSTICES.

I DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO BE THAT EASY.

I DO THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE VERY TOUGH FOR A LOT OF PROGRESSIVES AROUND THE COUNTRY TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE JUDGES IN THEIR LATE 40s, EARLY 50s THAT ARE GOING TO BE VOTING VERY CONSERVATIVE, VERY MUCH AGAINST THEIR INTERESTS AND HOW THEY VIEW THINGS FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS EASILY.

THAT'S THE KIND OF POWER THAT THE SUPREME COURT HAS.

IT DOESN'T RULE THE COUNTRY, YOU'RE RIGHT, ELLIS.

BUT, MAN, THE DECISIONS THAT THEY MAKE THERE HAVE INCREDIBLE REPERCUSSIONS AND THEY LAST A LIFETIME.

SO IT'S GOING TO BE TOUGH FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE.

I THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE A RALLYING CALL FOR DEMOCRATS IN LOCAL POSITIONS.

I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF DEMOCRATS GETTING ELECTED LOCALLY IN THE HOUSES AND STATE SN SENATES IN THIS COUNTRY.

I THINK ELLIS IS ONTO SOMETHING AS FAR AS THAT GOES.

I THINK IT WILL BE DIFFICULT FOR REPUBLICANS IN BLUE STATES TO WIN EVER AGAIN IF THIS HAPPENS AND THE SUPREME COURT GOES THAT WAY FOR A LIFETIME.

PROFESSOR, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU THINK COULD ACTUALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE, THAT THERE COULD BE AN EVEN BIGGER BLUE WAVE COMING TO STATEHOUSES, STATE LEGISLATURES, ET CETERA, AS A REACTION, LET'S SERI REVENGE, BUT AS A REACTION TO THE SUPREME COURT CHOICE?

WELL, IT'S POSSIBLE.

BUT AGAIN, I WOULD ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO FILL OUT THEIR CENSUS FORMS BECAUSE SO MUCH OF WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW IS BASED ON THE CENSUS AND BASED ON GERRYMANDERING AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.

IT'S VERY DIFFICULT FOR DEMOCRATS TO WIN IN, YOU KNOW, UPSTATE NEW YORK OR PLACES WHERE COUNTIES HAVE BEEN REDISTRICTED OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS AND MUCH OF THAT HAS BEEN REPUBLICANS HAVE CONTROLLED STATE LEGISLATURES.

CAN THEY RETAKE THEM IN A WAVY ALEXIS?

YES, THEY CAN.

CAN THEY INSTITUTE MORE FAIR REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICTS?

YES, THEY CAN.

THIS IS GOING TO INVOLVE A LOT OF MASS MOVEMENT.

GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS AND ORGANIZERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO REALLY PRESS FOLKS TO BE OUT THERE BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE HAS TO BE SHOWN TO HAVE CONSEQUENCE FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS.

AND I THINK THE SUPREME COURT ITSELF IS NOT UNMINDFUL OF THAT.

PEOPLE LIKE JOHN ROBERTS WHO IS AN INSTITUTIONALIST THAN AN IDEOLOGUE.

PEOPLE HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE PEACEFULLY AND SHOW THEMSELVES DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS MOVEMENT THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND MITCH McCONNELL HAS TAKEN.

BUT I DO WANT TO SORT OF PRESS A LITTLE FURTHER ON THIS POTENTIAL AGAIN.

AND I REALLY WANT TO STRESS POTENTIAL BLUE WAVE INTO STATEHOUSES, THAT IF THAT IS THE CASE AND PERHAPS IF STATES WERE TO INDIVIDUALLY ENACT THEIR OWN MADE CARE FOR ALL PLAN OR WERE TO POTENTIALLY PROTECT ROE V.

WADE FOR THEMSELVES, DOESN'T THAT REQUIRE A CONSERVATIVE GROUP TO BRING A LAWSUIT AGAINST IT SAYING SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS -- THE NEW LAW IS UNJUST, UNFAIR AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND THAT MAKES ITS WAY UP TO THE SUPREME COURT WHICH COULD THEN, THEORETICALLY -- WE ARE TALKING THEORY HERE -- COULD THAT POSSIBLY UNDERMINE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE?

THAT SEEMS TO BE, AGAIN, ONE OF THE FEARS WE'RE HEARING FROM PEOPLE ABOUT A 6-3 CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY.

PROFESSOR, I'LL GO RIGHT BACK TO YOU.

VERY QUIRKILY, I THINK REPUBLICANS MAY GET WHAT THEY'VE ALWAYS SAID THEY WANTED, WHICH IS FOR ROE V. WADE AND THE WHOLE ISSUE OF ABORTION NOT TO BE LEGISLATED FROM THE BENCH, BUT FROM CONGRESS.

AND IT MAY BE THAT IF DEMOCRATS WIN THE PRESIDENCY AND CONTROL THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE, THAT THEY WILL BE LEGISLATION PUT FORWARD TO, IN EFFECT, PROTECT THE RIGHT OF A WOMAN TO HAVE AN ABORTION.

THAT MAY WELL BE THE CASE.

AND IF THAT IS, YOU KNOW, SIGNED BY LAW, THEN THE COURT WILL HAVE A MORE DIFFICULT TIME STRIKING THAT DOWN.

SO I DO THINK WE MAY GET BACK INTO THE FACT CONGRESS HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN THESE MATTERS, CONSIDER ASHL ROLE IN THESE MATTERS GOING FORWARD.

J.C., YOU'RE ALSO AN ATTORNEY.

AM I LAYING OUT AN INCORRECT POSSIBILITY HERE?

AGAIN, WE'RE DISCUSSING POSSIBILITIES.

THE ISSUE IS WHETHER THE LAW WOULD BE CONSTITUTIONAL.

THE SUPREME COURT WOULD SOMEHOW HAVE TO FIGURE OUT -- I THINK WHEN IT COMES TO THIS ISSUE OF ABORTION, WE'VE ALREADY SEEN STATES LIKE NEW YORK, FOR EXAMPLE, CODIFY ITS OWN ROE VS.

WADE IN CASE THE SUPREME COURT DOESN'T RULE AGAINST IT.

THAT VOTE MAY HAPPEN DOWN THE ROAD.

WE MAY GET TO A POINT WHERE A QUESTION LIKE THAT COMES BEFORE THE COURT.

I DON'T SEE HOW EVERY STATE IN THE UNION WILL CODIFY ROE VS.

WADE TO PROTECT ABORTION RIGHTS IN THOSE STATES.

AS FAR AS VOTING FOR ROE VS.

WADE IN DONG, YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER WE HAVE PRO-LIFE DEMOCRATS, WE HAVE MODERATE DEMOCRATS THAT DON'T AGREE WITH THIS IDEA OF ABORTION.

THEY HAVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH PARTIAL AND LATE TERM ABORTION.

THAT'S WHEN YOU GET INTO THE DEBATE.

AS TO DOES A WOMAN HAVE A RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

WHEN IN THE SECOND OR THIRD TRIMESTER.

I DON'T THINK A MAN IN WEST VIRGINIA IS GOING TO VOTE FOR THAT.

I DON'T THINK [ INAUDIBLE ] IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA IS GOING TO VOTE FOR THAT.

YOU HAVE MODERATE CONSERVATIVES THAT GAVE THE DEMOCRATS THE MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE AND PIVOTAL IN THE SENATE, THEY WON'T VOTE FOR IT KNOWING THEY'LL LOSE THE ELECTION IN THE FOLLOWING CYCLE.

I DON'T SEE THAT BEING CODIFIED -- ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVISTS WILL HAVE A TOUGH TIME WITH THE SUPREME COURT.

THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

ELLIS, CAN A BLUE WAVE BE UNDERMINED AT THE STATEHOUSE LEVEL?

YOU'RE RIGHT.

EACH SIDE HAS TOOLS IN THIS PARTICULAR FIGHT.

SO, HERE'S THE BIG PICTURE, I THINK.

REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVES AS THEY ARE DEFINED TODAY HAVE GAINED CONTROL OF VERY IMPORTANT LEVER OF POWER IN THE SUPREME COURT.

THE IT IS BECOMING MORE DIVERSE, PROGRESSIVE IDEAS ARE BECOMING MORE WIDER SPREAD.

THEY'RE GOING INTO STATES THAT USED TO BE THOUGHT OF AS RED CONSERVATIVE STATES.

LOOK AT ARIZONA AND TEXAS AND GEORGIA AND VIRGINIA IN A BUNCH OF PLACES THAT USED TO BE SOLIDLY CONSERVATIVE, NOT SO MUCH ANY MORE.

THE POLITICS AND THE POWER OF THE COUNTRY IS SHIFTING TO THE LEFT AND SORT OF THE LAST GAS FOR THAT OLD RIGID CONSERVATISM IS THE COURT.

HOW ARE THEY GOING TO BE TURNING OUT?

THAT'S WHAT WE'LL BE DEBATING THE NEXT DECADE OR TWO.

LET'S SET THE POTENTIAL ASIDE AND FOCUS ON WHAT WE KNOW IS GOING TO BE HAPPENING AND THAT IS THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE.

I MEAN, THE PRESIDENT HAS ASKED FOR VICE-PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TO TAKE A PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUG TEST.

THEN, OF COURSE, I BELIEVE JOE BIDEN'S PEOPLE FIRED BACK.

ANYWAY, THIS IS REALLY LOOKING CONTENTIOUS AND BORDERLINE LIKE A SCHOOL YARD FIGHT AND WE'RE AGAIN TALKING ABOUT A DEBATE BETWEEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.

J.C. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE LOOKING FOR TOMORROW?

TO SEE HOW VICE-PRESIDENT BIDEN -- FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT BIDEN HANDLES THIS GUERRILLA-STYLE DEBATE THE PRESIDENT EMPLOYS.

WE SAW IT IN THE 2016 PRIMARY SEASON.

I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT.

HE'LL THROW EVERYTHING IN THE KITCHEN SINK AT YOU.

SAY THINGS YOU WEREN'T EXPECTING.

HAVE THE AUDIENCE THROW YOU OFF YOUR GAME.

HOW DOES FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT BIDEN HANDLE THAT?

I'M SURE HE'S BEEN IN THIS 50 YEARS AND CONSIDER HIS POSITION IN DELAWARE.

HE'S USED TO A DIFFERENT STYLE DEBATE OPPONENT.

I DON'T KNOW IF THE PRESIDENT WILL KNOCK HIM OFF HIS GAME BY MENTIONING HUNTER BIDEN, BY BRINGING UP BURISMA, THINGS WE NORMALLY HEAR ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

I DON'T KNOW HOW HE HANDLES THAT.

HE HAS SET THE BARLOW FOR BIDEN.

THE BAR IS SET INCREDIBLY LOW FOR THE VICE-PRESIDENT.

PROFESSOR, IS THAT WHAT WE SHOULD EXPECT?

WELL, YES.

IF VICE-PRESIDENT BIDEN DOESN'T DROOL ON HIMSELF AND CAN REMEMBER HIS NAME, HE'S GOING TO HAVE AN UPPER HAND.

THAT'S ESSENTIALLY WHAT THEY'VE PORTRAYING HIM TO BE, SOMEONE WHO IS COMPLETELY OUT OF IT.

MORE SERIOUSLY, I THINK VOTERS KNOW THAT IS 'S NOT THE CASE.

BIDEN IS GOING TO HAVE TO PROJECT A POSITIVE IMAGE.

HE'S GOING TO HAVE TO ATTACK TRUMP WHERE HE'S WEAK, ON COVID.

HE KNOWS WHERE WE'RE HEADED AS A NATION TOGETHER.

THAT'S WHERE HIS STRONG SUIT IS.

NOT TO ENGAGE AS J.C. RIGHTLY POINTS OUT, IN THE PRESIDENT'S VOLATILITY, HIS INVITATIONS TO BE ABSURD AND RIDICULOUS.

BUT TO LOOK AT THE CAMERA AND TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHERE WE'RE HEADED OVER THE NEXT FOUR TO EIGHT YEARS.

IF HE CAN DO THAT AND COME OFF AS COHERENT AND KNOW THE FACTS, BUT ALSO HAVE A POSITIVE VISION FOR THE COUNTRY, I THINK PEOPLE WILL GRAVITATE TOWARDS THAT.

AT THE END OF THE DAY THESE DON'T MATTER A WHOLE LOT, BUT THEY MATTER IN TERMS OF FUND-RAISING AND PEOPLE FEELING CONFIDENT ABOUT THEIR CANDIDATE.

BIDEN DID SUFFICIENTLY WELL TO FEEL GOOD AND CONTRIBUTE MONEY.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT THIS IS REALLY ALL ABOUT AT THE END OF THE DAY.

ELLIS, YOUR THOUGHTS.

FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR SETTING THE BARLOW FOR ME.

I HATE IT WHEN YOU HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS.

FIRST OF ALL, I LOVE DEBATES.

IT IS UNSCRIPTED POLITICAL THEATER AT A TIME IN OUR POLITICAL HISTORY WHERE IT IS A FOCUS GROUP, ON A PROMPTER.

IT IS A MOMENT WE GET TO SEE THE CANDIDATES AGAINST EACH OTHER WITH VERY LITTLE BIT OF A NET.

HOWEVER, THAT SAID, IT'S HARD TO FIND A DEBATE IN RECENT YEARS TO MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE.

FOUR YEARS AGO HILLARY CLINTON WAS WIDELY THOUGHT TO DESTROY DONALD TRUMP IN THE FIRST DEBATE.

DESPITE ALL OF TRUMP'S RAZZLE DAZZLE.

I GUESS YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO 1960, BEFORE I WAS PAYING ATTENTION, FOR ONE OF THESE THINGS THAT HAVE REALLY SWAYED AN ELECTION.

SO YEAH, KEEP THE BARLOW, HOPE FOR THE BEST AND PROBABLY WHERE IT IS NOW IS WHERE IT WILL BE A WEEK FROM NOW.

WE'RE COMING UP ON THE END OF OUR TIME, TWO MINUTES.

I WANT TO ASK HOW IMPORTANT WILL IT BE FOR REAL-TIME FACT CHECKERS OR MORE IMPORTANT TO FACT CHECK AFTER THE FACT?

J.C., I'LL START WITH YOU.

REAL TIME OR AFTER THE FACT OR WILL PEOPLE BE LOOKING FOR FACT CHECKERS AT THIS POINT?

HE WITH WANT TO SEE REAL TIME FACT CHECKERS ON BOTH SIDES.

IF YOU SEE IT ON ONE SIDE, YOU'LL MAKE EVERYONE THINK IT'S FAKE.

IT GOES RIGHT INTO HIS NARRATIVE OF HOW THE PRESS IS AGAINST HIM.

PROFESSOR ON BAR?

THE PRESIDENT MAKES IT HARD ON FACT CHECKERS.

IT'S WELL DOCUMENTED.

IN TIME, REAL TIME FACT CHECKING TO BE SURE.

HAVE UNCOVER A VARIETY OF UNTRUTHS THE PRESIDENT TELLS.

THAT'S THEIR JOB AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITY AND I THINK IT WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE FACT AS WELL.

ELLIS?

IT'S NOT THE JOB REALLY.

IT'S FOR EACH OF THEM TO FACT CHECK EACH OTHER AND FOR US IN THE MEDIA TO COME OUT AFTERWARDS WITH THE LIES.

IT WILL BE GREAT THEATER.

I THINK IT WILL BE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT AND PERHAPS INFORMATIVE ONE HOPES FOR THIS DEBATE TOMORROW.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK MY ENTIRE PANEL.

ELLIS HENNIGAN, PROFESSOR UMBAR, POLITICAL SCIENCE AT RUTGERS, SENIOR SCHOLAR AT EAGLE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS.

J.C. POLANCO.

AND, OF COURSE, THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND HELPING US TO UNRAVEL ALL OF THE NEWS THAT HAS BROKEN AND THAT WE'LL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WEEK.

SO THANK YOU.

GREAT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

ABSOLUTELY.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA, PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

JODIY AND JOHN AAREN HOLT.

MILL STEIN FAMILY.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA STONE FOUNDATION.

Funders

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

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