tv Salena Zito on Trump Voters at Resurgent Gathering CSPAN August 14, 2018 1:37am-2:10am EDT
the supreme court. he sat on the d.c. circuit court . and the whitesel house counsel's office. one of the most -- he worked with ken starr. just an outstanding, influential jurist. choice byrewd president trump. it will be an interesting battle. thank you very much. great conversation. i appreciate it. we will be right back. [applause]
trump would win the presidency. so i am rea >> i was excited. her to come because i know she is really busy, and she is flying in today to hang out with us and then literally has to fly back home because she has got an even tomorrow that she has to be at, so she came in just a couple hours ago and will leave again. we are not going to have an opportunity to do the cooking show i want to do with her. notve a copy and i have read it yet because i am doing phd work and i am reading lots so i have not had time for normal books, but i intend to read it. i have been reading her for years. please welcome salena zito. [applause]
>> we were having this discussion offstage about it. my wife from south georgia, i told her a pecan is something you flesh, but she is committed to it being applied. salena: we are going to do a cooking book and we should have a cooking show because he and i were comparing recipes all the time on line. >> is it true you want had a pie company? [laughter] did.a: i i was completely burned out. my kids were young. i did not want to work outside the home. soid not want to leave them, i figured i am italian. i can beg. i am a very good pie-maker. only old people will get that. [laughter] salena: but yes, so i went around to different restaurants,
and i lived an entire summer off of that pie company. my old sister, growing up, was very much a tomboy, and her favorite team of any sport ever and still is, the steelers, and she worked for the steelers, which maybe we should not talk about in texas. salena: i worked for the pittsburgh steelers. they hired me as a contract moved to -- when they from the stadium to heinz field. they had no game plan as to what to do with all the season tickets. they will just pass them out. they did not understand. does anybody have season tickets to any football team? beside thesitting same people all the time. you form relationships, you go through wins and losses together.
so they brought me in. everything up in the air and started all over and helped people re-create those communities that were so much part of the wins and losses of the steelers. >> how did you get into journalism? i read a lot of reporters in a lot of publications, and you who grew upmeone and part of america that it seems like a lot of journalists forget about. salena: i live in pittsburgh. anyone from western pennsylvania? >> we have a couple pittsburghers. parents are in appalachia -- is the biggest city in appalachia, the most cosmopolitan. [laughter] salena: i have never left pittsburgh. i have worked a variety of different jobs. i never knew what i wanted to be
when i grew up. i have a degree in human behavior. what does that even mean? thinking? i guess it is better than french literature. i apologize if anyone has a degree in french literature. i am sure that's wonderful. i did not know what i wanted to do. i came from a long history of people in the family who have journalists. it goes all the way back to the 1750's. my grandfather was a journalist. his father was. his father was worried and his father or him. -- his father was, and his father before him. i never got to that path until i my 40's., into has prime do perfectly for what we are seeing in the country now because there were not a lot of people in the media who really took the trump phenomena seriously, and i see people on twitter now who say there she goes again. they did ignore it.
i ignored it. a lot of people did. you were one of the few people saying this is a legit phenomena, guys. salena: i've been writing about it since 2006, the midterm elections, when the republicans lost. why? because they lost to pro-life, gun,ram, fiscally -- pro- fiscally conservative democrats. in other words, they did not lose to the democrat establishment. they did not lose to the democratic brand. they lost to something different. and i noticed that people were willing to listen to something different. so the first story i wrote about populism was in 2006. again in 2010, i also had it down -- 63 seats?
i went to everyone of those districts. bill johnson in columbia county, ohio, against charlie wilson -- a different early wilson. this seat has never been republican, and i kept telling going toshe is win. she is going to win big. and they laughed at me. the way i approached journalism is a little bit different than sort of the more conglomerate larger institutions. i think it is really important because smaller newspapers are starting to shed people who cover national politics. i do not fly except to here. >> thank you. salena: i do not take an interstate. i only use back roads. i do not stay in a hotel. i only stay in a bed and breakfast. i get to a town ahead of time.
some bed and breakfasts have all the lights on. [laughter] salena: usually, when i go into a community, i go to church. i go to the elks. a rotary club, basketball so i to hang out in town, understand what is happening in the community. driving by ont intrastate, all you are going to see is the suburban strip malls, right? mcdonald's. there will be maybe if it is a high-end place, it will be -- what is that place where everyone buys the furniture? yeah. a the cheesecake factory or gas station. if you have taken those old u.s. routes, you see everything, and you see the carnage that
president trump talked about on inauguration day. people made fun of him for that. i have seen the carnage. has anyone ever been to youngstown, ohio? it's a mess. east liverpool, ohio? ford heights, illinois? i mean, we have left people behind, and instead of addressing it, we make fun of it. both parties do. there was a possibility that romney could win, because these people were wanting to do something different. a lot of these voters voted for obama twice. do somethinged to different. in mitt romney, they saw someone very similar to barack obama. it was about the multi-nationalism, multiculturalism, and about being a world citizen, and it was not being about american
first, and i think that is this little nuance that people missed , you know, in this election. in the great revolt -- has anyone read it yet? revolt, my book, inside the coalition to reshaping american politics -- it is not a book about, trump. it is a book about the people who put him into office. we break them down into seven different archetypes. very surprising archetypes. people see it. if you did not see this coming, this is a book for you. if you did see it coming, but -- and you did not want to say anything -- you will see yourself in the book. power, the girl gun suburban, married, successful women, usually with several kids, who consider themselves
feminists, and as part of being feminist, they believe the most empowering thing they can do for themselves is to protect themselves with a gun. they voted for trump. they don't like his comportment. they still don't. but the second amendment was much more important to them, so they made a pragmatic choice. sallyyrus christians -- hawkins. evangelical christians, it is the one that confused everybody, right? how could they support him? how do they support him? i can remember for years and years and years -- i know you know this, where after an of valuesand candidate wins, the chamber of commerce the bar like --, people are like why cannot they be more pragmatic? they decided to be pragmatic. they decided to go with the
meanest sob there was because they knew he would stand up for on the things that were important to them. they did not want to have someone who had shared values. they wanted someone who had shared priorities, and they believed in the -- this election that they were at a critical moment that if they did not get a conservative placed on the-- supreme court, that it was gone for probably two generations. and so, that list you put together -- he put together was byginally did -- originated mitch mcconnell. he gets a heck of a lot of credit for going out the day that scalia died and he said barack obama is not going to put a new judge on the court. he's just not.
people thought he was crass and awful. brilliant. list together with the federalist society and he gets trump to do it. the right there won election for him. [applause] [laughter] >> having gone around the country and seeing these places and people, going back to 2016 republicans, which i said that the gop was not going to hold its own side accountable for breaking the promises. the voters would, and they did. they voted for democrats who were moderate, pro-gun, and i noted into 2018 and i do see a lot of democrats like that my and i am starting to wonder if what we may see is a blue wave in already blue places, but not a blue wave in places that voted for donald trump. >> i am not buying the big blue wave thing.
you know,ory -- history outdoes itself. president always lose seats in their midterm election. the republicans are going to lose some seats. but i am not convinced that there is a big wave that. excited?rats more absolutely. i was just in ohio where the special election is on tuesday. they are really pumped up to show up for the election. ? yes what so are republican -- guess what? so are republicans. mike pence was there. i think trump was going back there tomorrow, but when i went there, they understood probably what was other voters at stake and how important it was not to show up once, but twice. they had to show up in november. that will be between the same two guys. crazy world. it seems to me, going back to
your background of living in pittsburgh, a lot of friends are really good reporters, who really understand they have bias is one way or another. they want to understand the country, yet there really is, i think in the new york media, a real herd mentality of people. for example, i know you are familiar with a friend of mine -- how many of you know someone who owns a pickup truck? .nd got extreme insults the top three vehicles in trucks, andpickup these guys don't know anybody who owns a pickup truck. salena: i am the only one in my family who does not own a pickup truck. everyone has one. here is the problem -- this is why this populist coalition is not just going to impact it. it is impacting outside. look at dick's sporting goods.
they are impacting everything. >> my wife will not shop at dick's sporting goods anymore. , since 2016, long before trump, so the problem is, and this is really outlined in the book, is that it is not just politics that has this problem. corporations have this problem. the nfl has its problems. does anybody know what street the nfl headquarters is located on? park avenue. it's even worse. [laughter] salena: park avenue. do you know where i think they should have their headquarters? canton, ohio, where the hall of fame is, right? that is where your constituents and/or consumers are located. people with p at these are not going to nfl games unless they uite anding in a s
having it catered. they are not getting their face painted, 17 different shirts, all the traditions that going to football. so think of -- i will explain it in terms of politics. but also think about this in terms of corporate boardrooms. in hollywood. in the music industry. in the sports industry. in a newsroom. diversey rare to find a group of people. i am not even talking just about racial diverse city. i am talking about people that sit in the pew every sunday, people that own a gun, people that are pro-life, people that went to a state school, or people that did not even go to college. that is not in the mix. everybody is all the same. and they all have a sort of same social circle. that is what happens. this is who you live around. masshen you take that big
and put it on a bus that goes out to the airport and then goes to an airport in a smaller town, they all walk together to get a coffee at the marriott, get their points, have a starbucks card, and then they all take the same bus over to the rally, and they are in the cage -- i am in the cage, too. but i have been in that town for three days, and i got to that rally three days ahead of time, and i got to the rally four hours earlier, and i see a completely different rally. not because i have rose-colored glasses, which i think would be hideous, but because i saw people start to show up there like a tailgate party for hours or five hours earlier. people with their kids and grandkids. what happens -- i saw this in 2016.
you could put every channel on, and every one would have the same weird person as part of their package. that is what i find supportive of flight. they would pick the same seven stupid things that he said and they would say -- and this is who he is. and you are probably sitting at home saying -- they ain't going to win. those people are weird. and he is weird. what you missed was all the things that happened before during what you missed was what's going on in that community. and what you missed is his two hour-long speech. trust me, sometimes, they were two hours long. there is a lot of economics discussions and cultural discussions and foreign relations discussions in those long speeches, but you did not hear it. you just got the packets, and the package made everybody look like an oddball. >> funny how the media can shape what people think. he was able to overcome it.
salena: he was able to overcome that because people were ready. this has been building since 2006, 2005, when the republicans lost trust with voters, with the war in iraq, because they did not feel they handled it competently. also, incompetent with katrina, whether it is fair or not, that was the perception. want to keep with this. the great thing about having this conversation is we did not talk ahead of time about where this conversation was going to go, which i love, because it is much more organic. i noticed, having been a city councilmember in georgia, and now covering politics in georgia , that there really is something happening with the collapse of local journalism covering local news, and i see a lot of reporters lamenting it, but i do not see the national organizations compensating.
it is like we all get the same story from three different media outlets about the same event. salena: i will give the washington examiner and cnn credit. i worked for both of them. they really did something different in hiring me. i was in pittsburgh, appalachian, don't forget that. they took a chance with what i do and how i see the world, and you know, we do have a problem in our industry, but i do not know what the answer is. most local newspapers used to be owned by wealthy men who believed in journalism and believed in good, local coverage, and then they die off and their kids do not carry that , andsort of thing forward so, we are not seeing -- i mean, you are a city councilman. the most important thing as a journalist to be covered, water
authority, school boards -- >> the courts. salena: those are the most important things, but we are not covering them, and those are the people that most -- sorry to keep your feet held to the fire -- those are the kinds of local governing bodies that need to have watchdogs. ,hat is of utmost importance the value of the free press, not grandstanding on television. i am honored that cnn offered me a job, honestly. job, doi was offered a we have one minute for this story? >> go for it. we have nine minutes. salena: september 19, i left my newspaper after over a dozen years. there was a buyout offer and it became clear -- i am walking out of the newsroom
weeping, because newsrooms are these family things, quirky family things. i have an interview with donald trump the next day. that is great. i call the new york times, the washington post, but speed, and buzzy, and i don't forget. the atlantic took it, of all places. i interviewed trump. voters take him seriously, but not literally. the press takes him literally but not seriously. for the next six weeks, i worked for four different news organizations, writing for different stories everyday, living below the poverty line. kidding.even my health care had run out, but i wanted to at least go from september 19 until november 8. on the day before the election -- i traveled around the country. 52,000 miles throughout the country covering the 2016
election. the day before the election, i tarmac,wed pence on the wrote up a story, went home, and i cried. why? because i knew i had interviewed the next vice president of the country. i did not have a job the next day. on the election day, i showed up -- i called up the new york post. that was my last job as i was writing for the new york post. at the election night party for republicans in pittsburgh. they said you don't need to show up. he's not going to win. i am like, yes, he is. in july,tten the story 2016, where i had pointed out 10 counties in pennsylvania where all he had to do is turn out to thousand more voters, and he was going to win the election. it did not matter what happened in philadelphia, which is where the head
didn't matter if she exceed or just met obama's numbers. if he just turned out 2,000 more people in those counties he would win. michigan, owa, ohio. pennsylvania is five points more democratic than those states. i took a lot of crap for that . election night. i'm sitting at the table with all the celebrities, journalists. new york post told me after we had a fight back and forth. ok. ok. if he wins, we'll pay you. fine. i'm writing my story. i knew he was going to win. not because i wanted him to win. i don't vote in elections that i cover. i just knew it was going to happen. i'm writing my story. they are all gathered watching philadelphia. i'm watching my 10 points.
at 8:45, filed my story. i knew it was over. i knew it was done it made the front page by the way. [applause] the next day, i am like well, i don't have a job. there is a french bakery next door to my house. i thought i can have a pie business. i'll just go write for them. like french and pies are the same thing. they are not. i'm walking down the street to apply for the job and in my mind get an interview and i get a phone call from jake tapper, a producer and they were like hey krks you be on the show today? i want to talk to you about a segment. i said sure. can you tell me what the subject is? i might be tied up for a couple of hours. they said you're the subject. i'm catholic. right? what did i do wrong?
[laughter] immediately i'm like did i tweet something bad? did i tweet in my sleep? what did i do? the only reporter that accurately called this election even though you took a ton of crap. by the way, we want to hire you. cried again. because in that moment, in that morning, i felt like a lot of trump voters. i was 57 years old. my industry had died. it is still dying. our industry has so many problems. and i knew that i would have to work at least two jobs. it is something i had never done before because you know, nobody honestly nobody wanted me anymore. and knew how a lot of people felt in that moment. that was the first time i really understood how -- i was very apathetic with people. but it came home in that
moment. and then the washington -- hired me a week later and i interviewed the president for them. where i got my cowboy boots. i got a picture of my cowboy boots with the resolute desk. >> her face is not in the picture. just her boots and the desk. salena: it is awesome. every president from gerald ford to donald trump. if there is any moment that stands out for you, what would it be? >> all of them are very unique. all of them love the country. you might not like them politically but all of our presidents love the country in their own unique way. they are all elected for different reasons in different moments in different crisises or different high moments. it is hard to answer that. you know, there were ones i didn't like as much.
but because -- personalities. but it is always clear that they love the country. i think that is the most important thing. >> what is next for you? salena: well, i now -- it is going to be another book. we're going to do a cookbook and y'all are going to buy it. by the way, y'all can all go on your phone on amazon now and see "the great revolt". hit send. home. buy one for a family member too. it will be great. i teach a class at harvard. i take my students. >> wait, wait. from virtually unemployed to cnn, the washington examiner. i teach a class at harvard. salena: i'm still a columnist for the new york post. all of my columns are now sipped indicated. they are in like 16 newspapers
across the country. i have a radio show called main street meets the belt way. i teach a class at harvard. question just did a class. it was amazing. kids have to compete to be in the class. i took 30 students to different parts of the country. no planes. no interstates. go back roads and stay in bed and breakfasts. they went to church with me. . bocch in a d played ournament. they made their own plates. it was so much fun. but they also got to meet people that were really different from them. and they were so -- the point of the class is if these are our next leaders in the country whether it is in corporations or in government, we can't continue to isolate ourselfs
from each other. the point was they have an understanding who the rest of the condition is. and their feelings about it were so heart felt. some of them had never met anybody that was a blue collar worker. never met anyone ho had lost their jobs. never met anybody who had voted for trump and we're bowling with them. we went to youngstown, ohio. we went to -- no, we're going to dearborn in the fall. london dery. and they we want to -- >> nice. nice salena: i took them to the gun range. the first thing they saw were women under the age of 45 at target practice. i'm like it is my girl, gun power. there was an n.r.a. instructor there. these guys were awesome with
the kids. spent hours and hours and hours with them. the kids walked away -- the kids had never ever been that close to a gun and they were really just so impressed with how people put safety into it. why people have a gun. and they had spent the day, just three days earlier with david. these kids were really willing to open up their minds to do something different. >> salena thank you so much for coming. we will write our first book. it will be glorious. thank you so much. announcer: tonight at 8:00 p.m., a mother jones reporter at the brooklyn historical society talking about voting rights. >> a month after the supreme court decision, john roberts said racial discrimination was a
thing of the past, north carolina was one of the most progressive states, they passed a sweeping rewrite of election laws. and required voter id, cut early voting, eliminated same-day registration, eliminated citizens awareness month, which the state ran to encourage people to register. all of this a month after the supreme court and the voting rights act. announcer: listen on the free c-span radio app. >> this morning on "washington journal," we were joined by sean duncan, whorne served in the obama administration. we show you the interviews together in their entirety. there about two hours. our next guest served as this administration's first press secretary. sean spicer.