tv U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Summit 2018 Midterm Elections CSPAN June 25, 2018 6:50pm-7:41pm EDT
howard dean and chris christie previewing the 2018 midterm election with npr rachel martin. the discussion caught up with the leadership coalition annual summit in washington. it is 50 minutes. we will show you what we can until the rally gets underway and self-reliant. [applause] >> thank you for having us. it was not lost on me in the green room that here we are. [laughter] to former governors, two former presidential candidates. there's not very much personality in these two guys. a nice girl from public radio in the middle trying to moderate the situation. [laughter] the subtitle to this is looking forward to the midterm election red blue and purple
we are going to unpack some politics and bridge the gaping partisan divide. we will try to leave sometime at the end. we will try to bridge the partisan divide. i just got back from singapore for the summit between president trump and kim jong-un and it struck me this morning i saw in the daily beast they did their own poll with a rather shocking results. according to the republicans that they pulled, those republicans now have a more
favorable view of kim jong-un than they do of nancy pelosi. so i'll just said that there, but know this is the moment we are in. it is not an exaggeration to say that we live in polarizing times. i think it says more about america than it does about kim jong-un and his opening to the world. thank you so much for being here. we're more than halfway through the 2018 primary season. there is more on the line than usual. an unusually high number of retirements in congress, especially on the gop side, democrats clearly have a chance to take control of the house. both mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer said the senate is in phase two. were these midterms about? what do they represent for where we are as a country?
>> the country elected a disruptor and the most unusual political actor in my lifetime to be president. and so, i think any conventional analysis of what will happen in the midterms probably falls short. we won't know in what ways it fall short until it actually happens but it will fall short of any type of normal predictive model. the one thing i think that both republican and democrats can agree on is that a majority of the people in the united states are disgusted with this town. their disgust comes from totally different places, sometimes the same place but they're not happy with washington d.c. and i think that's a reflection of why you see so many retirements.
a lot of people get that sense when they go back to the district but i can tell you, in my particular district had the same representative for the past 24 years. his father represented the district for nearly 30 years before that. for a brief. of time in the late '80s, early '90s they have been in congress since the continental congress. he chose to retire and a large part was the sense that he got back from his district about house upset people were about what goes on in this town on a regular basis. i think that's the conflict we need to see in this election, the real continued anger in the electorate about what
happens in washington d.c. >> i'll be a little more direct. there's a batting average of .02 which is not enough for any league, major, minor, anything else so predicting is something i've learned that i probably shouldn't do. i do think most midterms are referendum on the president. whether you like that or not. people think it's about local issues and occasionally it is, president obama lost 63 seats in 2010. that was really a referendum on the number of things that had happened to republicans and they skillfully talked about it and it was a terrible election for the democrats. this election is going to be a referendum on president trump. i think in places like new jersey and others he won't do well. we'll find out what will
happen in heartland where he is more popular. he is a disruptor. we'll get into what that means in a bit. if the democrats win the house back, which i think they will, and the senate will be incredibly close and difficult, this is the most energized this generation has ever been. this is a generation who elected barack obama. the only election in my lifetime in 2008 where more people under 35 voted. young people going into the polls were enthralled with obama. they had modern cerebral, they got him and they didn't vote in the midterms. one of the reasons i got creamed in obama's terms. i teach at a couple places, one of which is el.
the foreign-policy school is very close to west point for a variety of you reasons. i'm doing grief counseling and i know the republicans made fun of it but it was really a moment of terrible grief because every value they think is important including climate change is the most important environmental issue for them. these kids were really upset and i see a professor out of the corner my eye who just got back from west point and i turned and i said jim, what did they say it west point. he said i'm convinced the cadet corps had voted, hillary clinton would been reelected in a landslide. for my generation that's shocking because there is a huge divide between the military and young people. when i thought about it these young people in the military are globalists and hillary is a globalist and trump isn't nice and what did they say. he said sir when we get bad
news sir we do something about it served. so i looked and i said get it and i said shut up and stop lying. [laughter] let me pick up on something you said that people, this will be a referendum on president trump at your suggesting it's a referendum on washington at large. the place is dysfunctional. president trump has been in office for your half or to what degree does he own that dysfunction. >> if you ask him, he would say not at all. [laughter] he would say i hated this place when i got here and i still hate it and whenever i leave and you hate it. that's why i think this is different. i think howard is right, almost every time a midterm election as a referendum on the president. it makes for an out giving that we probably have around the same voting average on prediction.
you will note howard said he wasn't going to predict with any did predict that the democrats are gonna win house. he kind of slid in that backdoor prediction. i think the reason this has a chance to be different is because the president seems to have the ability, at the moment to live here for the past almost 18 months but to not completely own everything that's happened. i think we both know that having been involved in a number of elections in our lives, both winning and losing that were sitting here in mid-june and our ability to really know what peoe will think about and care about the first week of november is minimal. but, i think what the president will attempt to do is to say when people say these are really awful, he will say see, i told you how bad it was. don't make it worse.
give me the people i need so i can actually straighten it out. i'm almost ignoring the fact that he has legislative majority since he got here. he has the ability to do that. believe me. i ran against temperate i understand his ability to say something and really believe it even if there are facts that seem to be contrary. [laughter] : : : >> typically the incumbent president and his party will lose seats if it is purely a referendum on him and 9/11 was
that unusual moment in our nation's history where the country was still really very much together in november of 02 and wanted to show support to a president who had provided great leadership. if it does turn out the way i suspect it might, which is that trump will still be running against washington, and make washington the issue, rather than trump the issue, then you could have a much more mixed result, which still might wind up with a democratic majority but maybe a very slim one or slim republican majority. >> i do want to spend more time talking about president trump and his role in the elections, but i'm a news girl, and so i want to talk a little bit about a couple of issues that while you rightly point out we don't know what people will be motivated by in november, we know what they are motivated by right now in large part at least today and so i do want to bring up a couple things. first immigration, we know the stories. we have seen the pictures.
we know what's happening at the border. this is something that democrats are likely to seize on in the fall to talk about the republicans inability to push through immigration reform. the president meanwhile has said this is about convincing democrats to come to the table, a broader immigration bill, to governor christie is this policy the trump administration's zero-tolerance policy that has resulted in family separations, will that be difficult for republican candidates to defend? >> well i think you see a bunch right now who won't defend it. i think it is one of those rare times that in this administration so far where you have seen a number of republicans on television saying not for me. and actually seeing, you know, some members of the administration showing some reluctance about this. and so, listen, i don't -- i
don't believe that using this in any way politically is appropriate. and i think that what we really need to do is solve the problem. >> you think it is a mistake on the president's part to be using this as leverage to get democrats -- >> if that's what he's doing. >> he has said as much. >> well, he said as much. >> no, he said it explicitly i think. >> i don't think he said used as leverage, i think what he is saying is that he wants a complete immigration bill and without a complete immigration bill, he's going to enforce the laws that's written, and he's correct that the law as written now if enforced to its fullest permits what's happening down there. but let's pull that all aside because we're talking politics, and politics is about perception. and this is not a good perception for the republican party. it is just not. and what i would say to the president is whatever -- if in fact he's doing it purely for the leverage piece, i would say to him, it's not worth it.
it's not worth it because the damage that you're incurring because of these images, you know, is drowning out whatever other message you want to try to get across on the need for greater immigration reform and his push for other laws that would also by the way include protections for dreamers and the rest. he's talked about willing to do that if he gets certain things in return. i think the one risk for democrats in all this too is to overplay it. and this is always the risk of the minority party. we saw this in the mid 90s with the contract for america when republicans came in and then they had president clinton in their sights because of the monica lewinsky situation, they overplayed their hand. they played impeachment. they played removal and drove clinton back up into the 60s. if you overplay some of these things in the way that the public believes is something they are emotional about and they are motional about this and -- emotional about this and should be, if they think it's
being overplayed, because you play with that, it's like dynamite. if you overplay it and seen as being really political for your own advantage, then people are going to boomerang that back on you. so if i were a member of congress right now, i would be saying this -- what we're doing down there for whatever message you are trying to send to the people who come into this country illegally is not worth it. >> how do you democrats -- >> i have a slightly different take than chris on this one, in this sense. i think he's right, but i think it is a very complicated problem for trump and for the electorate. trump's base does not like immigration to put it kindly. i mean when you think about the all things that trump said about mexicans and so forth and so on, first of all, it's driven the percentage of latino vote for democrats right through the ceiling. but his base is interestingly i think somewhat divided on this.
i think women voters -- i haven't seen any polling on this. i'm sure there will be some in the next few weeks. i think women in particular because often many of them have been mothers see this business of the separation of the kids and all that in a different way than the men do in trump's base. we always see women are tending not vote for trump who may have voted for him the last time. i saw an interesting poll the other day which i think it was pew, i can't remember, where males without college degrees were 68/24 for trump, everybody else was 65/35 for anybody but trump. it was really extraordinary. so that's the real danger here. mine -- i mean trump's base loves trump because he beats up on immigration, but this is a wedge issue, this business of separation of kids, and the sooner he gets this off his plate, i don't think this business of blaming the democrats is going to work. a lot of times when he does things like that, it does work.
i don't think this is going to work. he's playing with dynamite. he's playing with a core american value that i think actually most americans share even though on very different sides of the republican democratic divide. >> you know, he has i think you would both agree people knew who they were voting for. they knew what he had talked about. he was going to take a hard-line on immigration. he's also been remarkably consistent on his perceptions of trade, and that is something that has also separated him from a lot of the mainstream republican orthodoxy. now we have not just tariffs on china, but we have tariffs on canada. we have tariffs on europe, america's closest allies. do you think this is something that animates voters? >> no. no, i mean, except for in iowa, i'm sure it will animate the ag community in iowa, pretty significantly. i think that's something that he's got to keep an eye on as we approach the fall and you have a
gubernatorial election in iowa and some real serious ag issues. i think other than the ag community, i don't think it animates voters. and i think that the president makes an argument -- you know, i have heard people say over time about president trump that he has no core principles or values. and they are wrong in this respect. he's been talking about this since like the late 80s. it's been one of the things that he's been most consistent about. first it was japan and then it was germany and then it was china. whoever we had a trade deficit with economically at that time he was talking about this doing this kind of thing. i think it is very apt the way you prefaced the question. we knew who we were voting for here. he was very clear about this even though he has changed his position on abortion over the course of time. he's changed his position on guns over the course of time where people might want to believe what they hear rather than whatever the current
position is today. this one has been really consistent. it is contrary to typical republican orthodoxy, but i always remind people of this about donald trump, and i've known him for 16 years, been friends with him for 16 years, his context is everything is a negotiation. everything. what you are having for dinner is a negotiation. what restaurant you are going to is a negotiation. >> sounds exhausting. >> it is -- well, it is funny. i remember the first time -- the first time in 2003 that mary and i went out to dinner with donald and melania, then his girlfriend, not his wife, and we got into the car, after we left dinner, we had been at dinner two hours. she got in the car, she said my god i'm exhausted. used that exact word. so going back well before he was a presidential candidate, and i was the u.s. attorney in new jersey and he was a businessman in new york and new jersey,
sometimes being with him can be exhausting, and i think that the issue here, though, this presidency, everything is a negotiation and in the context what he's done his wheel liflife -- whole life, he believes negotiations can be as rough and angry and difficult as he wants to make them but in the end the person on the other side of the table wants a deal. he wants a deal. all is forgiven if we get a deal. i don't know if that same context will work in all the different global issues he's confronting but that his context as a real estate developer in a pretty tough place in new york city. i think he thinks that very same way about each one of these problems we are talking about. when you are talking about leverage and negotiation, he believes the maximum leverage, get yourself in a position to negotiate and then settle for something less than what you said you were willing to take. >> governor christie brought up the idea of democrats overplaying their hand in the fall, an he mentioned the idea of impeachment -- impeachment.
this is something that is talked about in certain democratic circles right now. can you weigh in on whether or not you think that is something that democratic candidates should be talking about -- >> i don't think anybody should be talking about it on the basis of criminal violations until we have some eviden, and we're not going to have any evidence until bob mueller report is public. so, you know, from a legal point of view, i think you can say whatever you want because you're mad at trump and the democrats are absolutely furious with trump. if you want to make a case for impeaching him because he's incompetent, be my guest. but, look, you know, that didn't work out so well for the republicans when they impeached bill clinton. the public didn't think he had done something that rose to the level of removing a president of the united states, which is actually never been done except by republicans during watergate when they went to tell nixon if he didn't resign he was going to be impeached. so my own view is until you have
a case for impeachment, you can't talk about impeachment just because you can't stand somebody. and i just think we should stick to the issues. [applause] >> let me ask you -- >> i don't know if it's good that i got applause. i would like to know who those people were who were applauding. [laughter] >> howard, i don't think you are ever going to be allowed back on msnbc after that -- [laughter] >> no, i have said that on msnbc. impeachment is the atom bomb, the founding fathers which is a phrase i can't stand now in an age of equality we hope but they basically set up the constitution for somebody like trump who is going to come run over everybody and do whatever he could outside of the institutions. we're going to find out if tin institutions were strong enough. impeachment is the atom bomb of removal. you do not use it until you have an absolute hard-line case that convinces the majority of the
american people, which the congress and the special prosecutor did in the case of richard nixon, so much so that his own party went to give him the bad news. i think everybody on my side of the aisle has very strong feelings about donald trump as do i. that is not the same as grounds for impeachment. that is a legal argument, even though it is often used politically. >> even james comey who has a pretty big bone to pick with donald trump has tried to tamp down any of that discussion. >> too bad we didn't impeach james comey when we could have. [laughter] >> can i tell one story? >> go for it. >> this is really fascinating. three weeks before the election, i was doing an event with a guy who i disagree with on virtually everything, rick santorum, in toronto, and we were pontificating on what was going to happen three weeks from now, and santorum said something, the
minute he said it, i knew it was true, he said those are the two most unpopular candidates have ever run against each other in any presidential election in our lifetime. whoever we talk about last is going to lose. at the time we were talking about the -- whatever it was -- tape about the -- you know, all that stuff, and i thought you are probably right and then comey switched the conversations back to the e-mails. so -- >> i think it is funny that rick said that because it was the exact same thing i was saying to the candidate at that time. i was like listen -- >> you were telling the candidate that he was -- >> i was telling him, i was like normally in an election whoever they are talking about on the election day is the winner. in this one, whoever they are talking about is going to lose. and you could just see that from the numbers, the numbers, you know, when the access hollywood tape came out, you know, i thought at the time, you know, there were a number of people
were suggesting that donald trump drop out. and i remember thinking at the time that might be wise counsel than any other time, but he's running against someone who is simply in my view at the time the most unpopular national candidate who got her party's nomination in my lifetime. and so the whole election was turned upside down, but i will say one thing about comey since it came up, because i worked with him, and i was u.s. attorney in new jersey, jim was the u.s. attorney in manhattan, then i worked for him when he was deputy attorney general. and i will tell you that the scene that happened in 2016 was so patently unfair to hilary clinton first and secondly has brought incredible discredit on to the department of justice. and as someone who has spent seven years of my career there and loved that department, i feel like i owe my career to the place and our country owes a great debt to the men and women who serve there, to have jim
comey and i thought michael horowitz in his report put it exactly correct, insubordinate. to have an fbi director think he knows better than the rules and better than the law -- i was saying this for months when the ig report came out -- it was going to be really bad for jim. all this higher loyalty stuff and his book, let me tell you what we used to call him. we used to call him saint jim. and the reason we called him saint jim wasn't because we thought he was saint jim. it was because he thought he was saint jim. [laughter] >> on a personal level, i really like the guy and i love his wife, and they have a wonderful family, but he got the potomac fever, one of the worse cases i have ever seen, and started to believe his own baloney and when that happens in this town, you are on the way to ruin. it took longer than i suspected it might. it is really sad.
the president said some really unfortunate things about the department of justice which has really hurt my feelings, but when you look at it, he has given at least some basis to say some of it. i was watching a hearing before we came down here today, with the new fbi director there, and what a refreshing change, because this is a guy who you have to literally drag in front of a television camera to get him there. chris wray has to be dragged in front of a camera to speak in that way. he knows his job is to rebuild the organization so the americans of both stripes and independents have confidence once again in the rank and file of the fbi and the reason we should is because the men and women who work in the fbi, my experience deserve it. they really deserve it. [applause] >> so we know who leads the republican party ahead of these midterms, the president of the united states who sits in the oval office. governor dean, who -- now that hilary clinton has been side lined to a degree -- who leads
the democrats in this moment? >> this is always a problem for the party out of power. and, you know, the face of the democratic party is not donald trump. that's the way -- >> is that enough to not be donald trump? >> yes. everybody says oh we must stick to issues. and it is true, the best candidates and the ones that will win are not going to be running around the district talking about donald trump. you don't need to talk about donald trump. the newspapers are going to do plenty of that. nobody is going to erase the impression they have of donald trump. that is not going to change under any circumstances. of course we need to be out there talking about what we're going to do because you have to present a positive vision. you can't just be not donald trump. but that is the message of every party that's out of favor. that was the message of the republicans in 2010. that was the message of the -- that's always the message of the out party because there is no leader of the out party. you know, there's the chairman of dnc isn't, chuck schumer
isn't, nancy pelosi isn't. i mean there's a coalition of people who can work together. this is a particularly strange election because the democratic party, everybody knows the republican party is undergoing huge strains and difficulties and rebuilding and whatever. the democratic party is doing the same thing, simply because there's -- the real juice in the democratic party has nothing to do with what's going on in washington at all. it is all a bunch of 35 and youngers out there knocking on doors and running -- 15,000 candidates running all the thing we should have been doing for years, school boards, county commissions not just congress. that's how you run a party. that's what people are doing. >> many of those people were animated by bernie sanders. many of those people will say to you donald trump won by not catering to the middle. democrats have done that for too long. and we need to double down on the left. >> that's what the inside the beltway young people say. most of them don't care and they all voted for hillary after they
got done with bernie. look, these kids are on social issues they are with the democrats and they will vote with the democrats probably for the rest of their lives. they care deeply about diversity. that's a positive for them. they like immigration. climate change is the most important issue they can possibly think of. gay rights is a civil rights issue of their time. they are going to vote with us, but they are not democrats because they don't like institutions. they don't trust institutions. interestingly the republicans could have had them because they are libertarian economically. when they take over congress, which they are going to do, sooner rather than later, you are actually going to see some of the things in the traditional republican platform happen. you will see a shrinking of government programs, more outsourcing to nonprofits and things of that sort. i think you are going to see a reduction of government in general. it's not like they are hard-line libertarian, but they just don't really like institutions very
much. they think they are big. and they want some flexibility and some ways of affecting things. look, these kids are grown up -- a single person could go on-line and get 600,000 people to make the bank of america not charge for a debit card which they tried to do. or make verizon not charge to pay your bill on-line. make mike pence rescind the anti-gay bill he had in iowa -- i mean, indiana -- i knew it began with an i. pence had to rescind the law because they had 11 companies that are going to take their money now because they were afraid the millenials would not give them business. this is an incredible generation. they are changing the democratic party and i think sometimes the democratic party in washington has no idea that they are doing it. [laughter] >> we agree washington has no clue. that's the bottom line. >> we agree on that. >> that's the common ground we
have bridged today. i want to let the audience ask some questions, if you have any. i think we have a couple mics in the room. i think you have to physically make your way to one of them. we will start over here. >> hi there. i'm from wisconsin. i have a wisconsin heart land related question. there was some groups i'm thinking particularly of organized labor that went with trump in this past election. was that an anomaly, or areome of the voting blocks really shifted -- [inaudible]? >> well, i think it is hard to figure at this point. you know, a growing economy is going to invigorate private sector labor, private sector labor, in a big way. and private sector labor has over time bounced back and forth between republicans and democrats, depending on the year and the state of the economy and who is helping in their mind to produce jobs. but again, anything right now
that you're seeing, i don't think you can look at it in any kind of permanent realignment because the politics right now are so personal, and so personality driven, that, you know, i think it is very hard to look at something and say it is a permanent realignment. i think you are going to have to see how things develop over the course of the next two to six years to make that determination, but i think public sector labor has been almost exclusively in the camp of the democratic party. private sector labor has been gettable for republicans on state and national level depending on the state of the economy and some particular issues they are concerned about. >> governor dean? >> i would just add to that, i agree with that analysis, but because you are a member of a union doesn't mean that defines you as a democrat. you know, race was a huge issue in this election. and those guys are all white guys who when they lose their job can't get another one because they don't have internet
skills. that's a terrifying thing. a lot of people in rural areas are terrified of the huge social changes. i mean, look, in the last 15 years, we've had an african-american president and two men can get married. that's fine if you live in the city and you're used to all this kind of stuff, but it is not so great when you are living out in the middle of nowhere and you have chosen to live in a place where you know your place and you care about your place and it's a place about places. so you have an enormous cultural change. i actually think it's the backlash of the culture of revolution. i think the culture of revolution is essentially over. there are a lot of people are really uncomfortable wit -- with it. i think that plays to trump. an author of a book, a liberal from san francisco, she really liked these people. somebody asked me do i like trump voters? i said yes, they used to vote
for me. no, really at she said these folks see is they have been losing their standard of living and it's been tougher and tougher for working class people. she happened to be doing this, and she said they see themselves patiently waiting in line. this is how they see their lives, patiently waiting in line for things to get better, and their view they see people cutting in front of them. they see immigrants cutting in front of them. they see black people cutting in front of them. brown people and muslims cutting in front of them. they see gay people cutting in front of them and see women cutting in front of them. i looked at that these are a group of people who are losing their white privilege and didn't know they had any. it is shocking in terms of the social change in this country. i don't look at this as all these people are horrible racists. i know a lot of these people. they are not bad people. it is just when you are changing your place in life, it is a shocking thing. that's why i think donald trump got elected because people just wanted to change something
because they were terrified of what was happening. >> i want to be able to get to at least a couple more questions. we're going to go over here. >> [inaudible] -- chamber of commerce. my question is to both of you -- [inaudible] -- what is going to be the biggest issue in the up coming election? [inaudible]. who would you like to see as the president of the united states? [inaudible]. [laughter] >> i got to go first? >> yeah. [laughter] >> well, listen, i think the single biggest economic issue if it continues will be the lowest unemployment that we have seen in 40 years. you know, when unemployment is down at 3.8% now, nationally, i can remember when i became governor not that long ago, eight years ago, in new jersey, unemployment was over 10%. the idea that national
unemployment is at 3.8% is i think the single biggest economic issue, bigger than the tax bill, bigger than trade, bigger than any issues we spent a lot of time talking about kind of in the inner circle. people who couldn't get a job before are gettingob now, and because unemployment is as low as it is, you are also seeing pressure on wages starting to come up as well. that will all be i think a very big issue that will be debated and discussed. and listen, i ran for president. governor dean ran for president. i have people who ask me this all the time, about what i think of president trump. i said well he's fine by me, although i was my first choice. [laughter] >> and so, you know, i think that right now we've got a president. it's not even the midterms yet. and i see all the democratic candidates circling. i think the american people are like we're not still recovered from the last one. please don't start the next one until at least after the midterms are over. so, you know, who would i
want-to-be president? in the end if i had a choice, i would go back to the original george w. if i get washington back to provide a little bit of that i think regal nature that we need in the presidency again, a little bit of that sense of the mission of this country, i think george washington would probably be good if he could come back and give us just four more years. not eight. we will give him a break. >> governor dean? >> i think we're going to have 16 people in our primary this time around, just like these guys did last time around. and the only thing i've said is i ain't supporting anybody who is over 50. i might make it 55. [applause] >> look, our generation -- >> [inaudible]. >> there are a long list of people who are over 50 and i don't think any of them should be president. look i think we need a generational change in this country. i think whatever faults our kids may have, and they certainly do, i find first of all them to be
much more interested in listening to each other and trying to come to some agreement than we are. you know, i'm a culture warrior. i'm going to die a culture warrior. i think that stuff has got to go. i think they have a more balanced reasoned approach. i've already said i think they are socially liberal and fiscally more conservative than the left wing of the democratic party. i think that's good for the country. and they approach things differently. there are plenty of good candidates that i want to see somebody of a different generation than ours. i think we're done and we should be done. we should get out of the way and just do some teaching in our skills and so forth and let them run the world because it is their world and i think we've had a great run and that's enough. [applause] >> good afternoon. i'm a retired army officer from pennsylvania. and governor christie, i would like to ask you, is this still your republican party? if so, why, and if not, what do
you think can be done to bring it back? >> listen, unless i became president, i don't know if it would ever be my republican party; right? i mean, you know, we all have different views. look i'm a new jersey republican. just start off with that. [laughter] >> and i said to someone earlier today, like if i didn't have friends -- he said wow you and howard dean on the stage, listen if i didn't have friends who were democrats, i would be eating alone five nights a week in new jersey; right? you know, i -- my view on our party is as with howard's party, is if it's stagnant and it doesn't change, it dies. and so donald trump has brought enormous change to this party. we will be able to tell over the course of the next couple of years whether that enormous
change turns out to be positive for the party as an institution both political and governmental or whether it turns out to have been a mistake. you never know that until afterwards. i always kind of compare it a little bit to jimmy carter. even though you couldn't think of two different people for a personality perspective than jimmy carter and donald trump, but jimmy carter radically changed the democratic party. if you think about how the democrats picked presidential candidates before that, it was mostly a back room operation, where insiders decided who the candidate was going to be. jimmy carter, one term governor from georgia, went to iowa and said i'm going to win this caucus and when i do, you are going to have to pay attention to me even though nobody was paying attention to him before. when he won, i remember i was a teenager, that there was enormous joy about carter and how he was changing -- taking the imperial nature of the presidency away, opening it up to the people.
there was a great sense of joy about it. by four years later, they kicked him out in one of the biggest landslides in american history. i think it is really iffy when someone really radically changes the nature of their party. as carter did in 76, as trump did here in 2016. to try to judge now what's going to happen, i will say this, i don't feel proprietary about my party. i will end it with that. i don't feel like my ideas even though when i say them i think they are the best ideas but history has shown they're not always the best ideas. i think that's what we have to wait and see about our party as it develops over the course of the next few years and see what happens. by the way, if you don't win, it's all just talk. and this game is still always about winning first because if you don't win, you don't have a chance to go and make a change,
make a difference. put your ideas forward. then you might as well, you know, just be talking to the wind. >> good afternoon. i'm from columbia, south carolina. i will preface this by saying i don't know how to ask this question without sounding like my parents, but in terms of the overall stereotype that we hear mainly by people who haven't been involved in politics, washington is broken, it is not getting anything done and some of that coming from the actual activists who don't want, you know, their elected officials to compromise or bend. how much do you think some of that comes from not making civics or keeping government a priority in our educational system?
>> i think it's an enormous problem. i mean, that is something that's been a huge failure since i was in school, 643 years ago. [laughter] >> i really don't think most of the people in this country have any idea how any of this works. now, in fairness, i don't expect them to know the fine details of the electoral college and all this, but i mean, just the basic notion of the checks and balances, they are not -- i don't know why civics isn't taught much anymore. my thesis is that it became controversial because depending on what kind of civics and people had strong feelings about teachers teaching this or that, depending on the kind of political views of the community, so the school board threw up their hands and just didn't teach it. i think it is a huge problem. we have a group of citizens, about 300 million of them that really don't particularly understand government, and therefore they don't value it. the solution, and of course we'd like to teach civics, the real solution though is let people understand they have a responsibility, not just to
vote, but to run for office, which i see an up tick in among the younger generations. local government is how you teach people how government works. i can understand why they see washington as a way most people do, but if you impress upon people that they really do need to serve on their school board and their county legislature and so forth and so on, they get an idea about how this all works. and that's the biggest failure is that we -- i have to say this, this is a mistake that my generation has made, we spend our time talking about rights and haven't spent enough time talking about responsibilities. there's a responsibility of being a citizen of democracy and if you don't exercise your responsibility, not just your rights you are not going to live in a democracy much longer. that is a lesson i don't think we imparted to our children as much as we should have. [applause] >> i would say quickly too that
mary and i are going through this situation contemporaneously. we have a 9th grader and 11th grader. and what i found is extraordinary is that they are self-conscious about how much they know. they've grown up in this, right? i mean my 9th grader is 14 years old. she doesn't remember me as anything but governor. she was 5 years old when i was elected. she has no recollection. so she lived it, those talks around the kitchen table the stuff she would hear her siblings talk about and her older brother too and so they have come back home and told us that every time a question is asked in class about either a current political event or about something about civics in government, all the kids in the class stare at them. and the teacher looks at them. they are like i don't have to answer every one of these, do i? what they have come to conclude is their classmates don't know anything about this, and my
daughter said one time, she was a little bit concerned about what her teacher actually knew about it, given the question that was asked. there's no doubt that howard is right. i think the responsibility piece is a huge piece of it. that's by the way why i'm concerned real quickly about some of these bills where no matter what you do in government -- in new jersey now has a bill that if you go to any government agency and ask for a service, any government agency, you automatically get registered to vote. that bill just got signed. not motor voter if you go for your driver's license and you check the box, you can be registered to vote at the same time without any other interaction, this is you don't even have to check the box. it seems to me that it is not that much of a responsibility to ask somebody to actually check a box to say you'd like to be registered to vote because that then at least begins the responsibility part that howard was talking about, which i think is absolutely right, that we have a responsibility to do this
stuff, not just an idealized view of what democracy is, but a responsibility to participate in every way that you feel comfortable participating and even in the ways that you don't feel comfortable. >> i actually disagree with that. i would -- this is never going to happen because this is the most libertarian country in the face of the earth, left people don't like to be told by the government, right people, nobody in between likes to be told by the government in america, i would make it a law that everybody has to vote. i see it as a responsibility, and i know it is -- it will never pass because americans hate to be told what to do. but i think it is a responsibility just like paying taxes and everybody needs to do it. >> by the way, i wouldn't necessarily disagree with that, but i think you should at least show the initiative at the beginning to say i have a responsibility to do this. >> right. >> and then after that, to get the train rolling, you know, making sure that people know that it's the responsibility to
participate. but now, like my children are registered to vote, they are into it because they know this stuff, but most kids don't even know that they are registered. what's the import and the impact of it? and i think, you know, that it's done for a whole bunch of different reasons that we don't have time to talk about, but i don't think it's done for what they say it's being done for, which is to encourage more people to participate. if you don't even know you are doing it, how does it encourage you to participate? i went and i asked for, you know, advanced job training when i lose my job and i go to a workforce development center and i fill out the form for job training and they didn't even tell me by the way we just registered you to vote. it doesn't tell you. it just happens, and you wind up on the rolls. that to me just takes away the piece that howard talked about, although if we got past that, i would be happy to negotiate with him on the mandatory piece because it's mandatory in our house, i can tell you that much. not a lot of debate there.
it is definitely mandatory. >> unfortunately, there's a word in front of me projected on the screen that says time is up. i know. i apologize to those of you who are still standing in line. i think it is a very nice note to end on as we approach these elections, thinking about our individual responsibility and the next generation that will be coming down as they make these decisions to preserve the democracy. governor dean, governor christie, thank you very much for your time. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> thanks, howard. a lot of fun. >> thank you. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and
around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> so we had planned to bring you live coverage of president trump from columbia, south carolina, starting about 40 minutes ago, the situation is there are thunderstorms in the area. we're told air force one has been circling waiting to land safely. the rally is standing by for the president, although we're also having trouble with the satellite feed due to the severe weather there. so here's what we will do, our very very best to get the president on for you if we can live or by tape later tonight as conditions warrant. in the meantime, let's take you to the white house briefing today from earlier this afternoon with press secretary sarah sanders.