tv Running Against the Devil CSPAN January 26, 2020 6:45pm-7:45pm EST
political republican political strategist and writer in his new book writing against the devil the plot to save america and save the democrats from themselves. laying out a witty roadmap of how to dump trump's new book builds on the 2018 new york times number one bestseller everything trump touches dies. [applause] he puts forth a strategy to persuade alienated republicans and independent democrats who voted for trump in 2016 to change their vote. rick believes democrat should undermine trump's efforts to
control america's political narrative with the case that argues our 45th president is morally and mentally unwell man. ron wide in of oregon to take a great interest in politics i read the book over the weekend and i was absolutely mesmerized for the ideas of how to retire dangerous donald trump in 2020. we have liberal pundits alongside him tonight. [applause] and as the daughter and the granddaughter of howard sass coming from deep literary roots. the editor at large at the daily beast and the author of two novels the social climbers
handbook, and normal girl and also the writer of the memoi memoir, maladjusted we're so glad to have her books here tonight. without further ado please join me to welcome to the bookstore thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. >> thank you for that wonderful introduction. i appreciate that. >> they will not let my microphone beyond. [laughter]
i can ask them anything but no one can hear me. >> i like that. [laughter] >> we had a long discussion we planned out questions and i wrote them all down. [laughter] so what should i ask you? we have regime change in china. no. so i was hoping we could start talking about why should people listen to you. why now? >> for about 30 years of my career in this business, i was the guy that wrecked progressive dreams all over the place and built a very sophisticated and very complete machine for the republicans who did not ideologically or socially match people terribly well so process that for a second.
and i will say a student on - - a certain guy every giuliani and literally became the craziest person i know in america right now. [laughter] but the reason that i hope democrats will listen and read this book is that we face something so much bigger than my former party and preferences and predicates but the existential threat to this country from a president who has taken on the mantle of power and abused it in ways that are in constant threat to the country and we may not survive another four years of the sky i don't say that as an exaggeration but a very realization of what he is doing on the surface and below
the surface in washington to corrupt and destroy this country. >> i want to know what's wrong with rudy giuliani. [laughter] can i ask that? just for a moment what is wrong with giuliani? [laughter] >> let me say this. [laughter] when i came to work for rudy in 1997 running for reelection as mayor, the man that i met then had some very rough edges. but basically my theory of the case even then he was batman sometimes you hate his methods but you have to bring them out of the cave to do the tough job and i will never not be grateful that on 9/11 he did something for this country at a moment when everyone was
desperate for some sense of guidance and stability with that one press conference. and if he stopped right there. [laughter] they would name high schools after this guy. he would be viewed as someone with his civic moment to show real leadership but now he's ranting about conspiracy theories and ukraine and all this weirdness and while there are a number of theories about why he is doing this, i personally believe a very significant factor is that donald trump's influence pulls out the worst aspect of every human being around him. the darkest and most sick part of any part of them it
ruthlessly exploits them. when i worked for rudy and then in the campaign first. and then to throw a couple of extra parking passes. and on those consequential policy matters. i would never say where she is buried. [laughter] but i will confess to something now, that piece of video you have seen with donald trump and rudy giuliani in drag, i filmed that. [laughter] >> tell a little bit of back story for that please. >> i will be haunted by nightmares.
it was for the inner circle annual press association dinner so we filmed it as a lark at first but he really likes drag. one of his friends said he wants to do that character again. i said does he? no hate. [laughter] >> so how can democrats beat donald trump quick. >> you have to think about number one the hard fact a lot of democrats don't like this but the electoral college is the only game in town love it or hate it it still there and if your plans don't include winning in those 15 states you will not have a real campaign if your candidate goes to california for any reason
other than to take a giant sack of cash you are not running a real campaign. know it is not you know how california will vote you know how mississippi will vote you know how north dakota will vote you know how oregon will vote. they are in the bag for better or worse every single warm body or door knocker or boots on the ground needs to be in florida or wisconsin or michigan or pennsylvania or ohio. or even virginia. that is not as blue as you think quite yet or north carolina. and if they don't and. >> and should go to wisconsin.
they were spending time in the philly suburbs but in santa barbara california. they were in places where the race was already over and the only place where it was still going on and it is a game of small numbers so pushing people into states that are fairly low expense and high return is a really smart play. but a referendum on donald trump. do you want this guy for four more years? the only game in town. and does not have a health claire plan but his policy fit
on a trucker hat brock obama would fit on a coaster they tell pollsters all the time i'm interested in policy i want to know the plans to do this or that. that is called lying out your ass because the american voters consistently tell you they want to talk about policy and vote based on fear and love but on paragraph 714 and then to recalibrate social security i love policy nerds and i have hired many of them and then they type type type all day and then to put policy over this kabuki dance to show you are serious but voters are
shallow. they are thinking of policy options. am i scared of this guy or that guy quick. >> that was a little disappointing but i will take it. >> they elected donald trump. do you have that much faith in them quick. >> who was the candidate who is best to beat donald trump? >> i say this a lot and i really mean it. i'm not trying to pick the democratic nominee. i don't care what policies they will pursue down the line. i just want them to pick somebody that will be him in 44 states. weather that is elizabeth warren or joe biden or pete buddha judge it has to be the person who makes the race into a referendum on donald trump inconsistently that can never
back down or blink with shame or fear for that it's too rough or tough that they think for a moment to show kindness for mercy if i was so rare with my evil republican hat i would wake up every morning praying for bernie sanders because if i was doing what i used to do i would make bernie sanders the greatest comic operative of all time in 80 -year-old crazy socialist from vermont that basically just had a heart attack if you think they took hillary clinton and made her a caricature of who she was less do that with bernie sanders he has a lot more trouble against biden who was goofy but they
will take that and focus groups but he is fundamentally decent. they don't fear him. i think elizabeth warren is probably tapped out as a candidate. i think she's gotten better than she ever would be that she has reached the top of her performance level. so i don't think she will survive it. . . . .
to make sure that the social context is incredibly valuable in politics, and in 2008, barack obama discovered that when they started playing the data science politics, you may be talking to everyone you know in other places about what you know on donald trump. the story of how they really view him because america has a sort of mythological thing about new york and they love to hate and hate to love it. they have this idea that donald trump is a pinnacle of new york society and business. we all know that he is a clown who couldn't get a table at the worst restaurant in town. i have a friend that is a hedge fund guy, moderate republican, and at one point, in august of 15 i said this is bad.
trump is going to spend his own brilliance. my friend looks back and says wait a minute. he goes i am a billionaire. donald trump is not a billionaire. donald trump has never been a billionaire. he is a clown living on credit, and that blew me away because even i was a very sophisticated consumer of research and didn't bother to get through. but go back to everyone you know and it's really important. advocating for if you can manage to volunteer a swing state, if you can manage to knock on doors and do whatever you can, that's important. pennsylvania is right down the road. that's going to be one of the key battlefields this year. it actually matters a lot. and whoever the candidate with the nominee is, they are going,
not everyone can spend two weeks in pennsylvania and knocking on doors. sharing things on social media has become a current part of the field, and being engaged and an activist, what is the primary sphere of the discourse that is twitter and facebook it's been considered important for people to do, to shoot down lies and fake stories, and to do these things that are now the modern-day equivalent to the door knocking. >> you want to talk a little bit about the lincoln project. i will give you five minutes. there are a handful of us and i like to joke you could sit us together at a waffle house and most all of us started out with george bush 41, and we've all
been, we've either banished ourselves or extend our soaps from the public's. what's there today is not about limited government or individual liberty will loyal to the constitution. it is a third-round one man. fortunately or unfortunately, there is a group of us who were the architects in some ways of the machinery donald trump stole from us, the cars he stole to go joy riding. i don't mean the ideological side, i just mean the political stuff. some people happen to think we are good at doing negative ads on television, writing some good compelling messages and talking to republican even if it is a game of small numbers to win back some of the votes. so, we launched about ten days ago and went after one of the
things, one of the targets that we view as important which is evangelicals support donald trump. it's made of the president, very, very angry and his evangelical friend extremely angry. i am predicting that this someday there will be some hell broke down on me and a variety of religious confusion around the country. [laughter] today we went after cory gardner in colorado, he was the guy that should know better. he would be on paper he published the shoes every day and in fact mitchell, was up on the walking testimony so we went after him and there will be a series of them going after the voter roll basically saying you will do the right thing or the people will find somebody that can. if one is a big jump to say we
are going to do our best to take down donald trump. we have developed skills. i'm sure the liam neeson character has a very set of skills. but we will see how it turns out. none of us are going to lead thileavethis fight until the lag dies. [applause] >> they asked me if i was an independent or democrat and i said democrat. >> are you a good one? [laughter] will you talk a little bit about why, if people say that republicans are not really on our side. like he's working a rift. will you talk about that for a minute, that criticism --
>> let me address one of those criticisms that say why are you doing this you're just in this for the money. [laughter] i had a "new york times" bestseller last year. every penny i need one that was rounding from what i could have madmade an noncommercial resoure in that race, saying nothing of the presidential. it was a good business. i gave it up because the country is more important and i could have shut my mouth and every one of us could have shut our mouths and just gone in the background and done the minimum and say we could have kept our incomes and/or businesses, could have kept our very happy practices going out and causing troubles. he worked about five months every two years, it isn't really the hardest job in the world but it was more important to take a
position them as i say my ideological predicates or preferences. and no, i am not an evangelical or one of these social conservative types. i am more of a national security individual liberty conservative. >> you are becoming a democrat. [laughter] i'm just kidding. conservative democrat, senator. >> if used to be the spectrum of ideological viewpoints even inside of the democratic party coming in there used to be moderate republicans. there are still because i live in the world of numbers and data
science. most democrats outside of the areas in the country, some are still moderate democrats, they are not trying to get them up into the temple to take into the guillotine. they are not so far left that they would be unrecognizable. but they also are not they are not looking for the sweeping structural change in the world, they are looking at security moderation enabled of spaces. but in the republican party, there is no ideological baseline and the gop any more. they are all just trump. we are spending money like a drunken socialist as someone said to me today in this country. trump has produced record deficits and debt.
the bill will come due. there's no such thing as magical free money. a 2 trillion-dollar tax cut and trillion dollar deficits without individual economic consequences. the recession that is coming is going to be brutal. so, there's nothing in the gop that says anymore that we have to be fiscally disciplined. never been very good at it anyway to be honest, and there's nothing in the gop right now that believes in anything other than the angry indictment of donald trump. it isn't a political party. that is a colt. >> i think we are supposed to be two questions now. the regime change -- >> what is the question you never get asked that you would like to be asked?
it's called cheating. what is the question -- >> was a question i never get asked what would like to get asked? i would like to be asked more often how did you do it. there's a lot of demonology about people like me. they gerrymandered or did the voter suppression or they did this or that. like how did you really do it. how we really did it some great candidates that were socially and culturally like the people in the districts in the states they were going to run and we ran the nuts and bolts campaign and did so much of it so much of it isn't like the magical evil and i would come up with so much of it is blocking and tackling the basic doorknocking politics,
get your guy on the phone every day to make the calls for 500 bucks from people in your neighborhood and community and for six or ten weeks in the campaign cycle. the magic of politics is instability and speech were added. it is a process thing. donald trump has set a really terrible example. bill clinton went to new hampshire and knocked on doors so she would come in third to declare victory. barack obama walked lines and worked the business of politics. you may hate george w. bush, but he would sit in their room and talk to every single person in the room until he felt like he was her best friend. and that is the question i
thought. that is a separate book and it is not as exciting as the dramatic fight of our time, that politics is about the interconnection personally and finding out, we do better findinthat they'refinding them e in the age of digital profiles, but there's a lot of work to be done about it and a lot of personal connection being able to articulate pr and what we believe in. >> also running a green party candidate. >> by the way, a lot of the times when you see a swing district, republican and democrat pretty easily matched in the race, i hired them. it's not illegal but to say i wish you would run the green party line and we will take care of all of the details. >> frankly, and i say this in
the book, they are out of their mind if they don't go to arizona, nevada and texas and put a ballot line of the build the wall mexican crossing the border murders and rapists party because there would be a two or 3% lunatic fringe that would say the maga bowl party. because they are not that sophisticated. a lot of them are not paying attention. that sort of shenanigans if the democrats wake up and say to suggest there is no religious proposal, that spits on our democracy. if the bad guys are doing bad shit, you better be ready to do bad shit. i'm not saying break the wall. i'm saying, become wall adjacent. >> who do you want to have read this book, the national party --
>> i would like the messaging people in the campaigns to read it. i'd love to candidates to read it. nancy pelosi doesn't need a lot of help from me. she's running a good campaign. i wish to god chuck schumer would read it because he gets rolled by mitch mcconnell like a guy that just got kicked off of a pumpkin truck and it's terrible to watch. it's awful. but i would also like is for the democratic speechwriters and ad makers and message makers for the campaigns. because a lot of this is what would terrify me if i were still on the republican side of this equation, i would write messages that would terrify me if i heard a democrat delivering them. i would've taught them how to express the things they believe in any way that doesn't scare that shut out of the average voter that isn't ideologically caught. in the first half of the book is
a warning to everybody of how much worse it can get. i project forward a lot how they can spend four more years after that wrecking this country in a fundamental way. so, i think that there is a lot of utility in this book for a lot of different parts of the camp inside. for me, one of the elephants in the room that you haven't mentioned yet is bloomberg. so it's part of a three-part question. i'm very thankful to him for the money that he put to help the house and he is a real billionaire times 50, times whatever. it's tough to get the nomination unless you pick somebody like
abrams. i don't know how you would get the nomination, but how do you see this playing out with him? if he says he's got a lot of money, would you work for him and had you worked for him him >> here's my regret about michael bloomberg. for the five or six competitive senate races which mcconnell needs to defend this year come he's planning to raise about $200 million. michael bloomberg will burn 250 billion on a bonfire between now and super tuesday. easy come even closer to $300 million. taking the senate as an insurance policy. i'd like to see mike bloomberg put 100 million in 15 key swing
states and data project to go out and target beat obama trump voters. he may be at this point, but that takes massive resources and commitment and something that i had a long hesitation about vanity campaigns. i think that he has a ceiling. i think that he is probably already approaching the ceiling. a. i'm heartened by the fact he says whoever wins he's going to keep his infrastructure together i wouldn't trust him to organize a two-car voter.
it's a little control he's had in this process because the great gift would have been to win the appeal earlier and get it down to six or seven candidates. there is a big bakersfield to fight through, but this clown car, 22 people on the stage, he can do it. so i think that he's going to have a massive impact and i hope he keeps his commitment to giving all the things he says he is going to do to help beat trump. i think there would have been a linear way to get there. i am out at this part of the business and we disagree archaeological on the things.
i don't have a logical reason for this, but my gut tells me that he has some deficits that will not be repaired. >> so who sided with jill stein? [laughter] >> his name rhymes with vladimir putin. >> i know there are republicans that text you and talk to you and you hear all of their secrets. >> i used to hear more when the house got blown out a lot of the people that were talking to me that basically had given up on life anyway, there were a few that called me and i do the republican contest or thing and then i put the phone down and
scream in my backyard like i cannot believe you. >> i would sleep better at night if i knew you were talking to the democrats. are you talking to any democrats that are listening to you? >> yes. >> my question is what happens to the republican after trump? because i personally think that there is going to be hell to pay and a big power vacuum as well, and i actually see it almost even getting worse when that happens. >> look, trump doesn't scale. they can't go back. let's say tomorrow he drops of a heart attack and paul ryan has
to run for president and he's screwed. he's done. he can't say i'm going to run to limit the scope and power of government because they love expanding government as long as that expanded government is catching brown people crossing the border. they love the expanded government as long as it is to do things that pay off the frame in the coal industry. so, they lost their ideological predicate. so i think there will be a reset and there is a space in our public debt about controlling the scope and power of government in the lives of individuals and there is a space in the politics are those that are legitimately fiscally conservative and believe that the government has to have some constraint on its spending. it's going to be a very long road back to create such a party. but i think that the brand is permanently destroyed.
i think the brand is permanently done. >> the genius of roger ailes is that he understood how to build a product that americans wanted that was outside of the traditional media space of new york and los angeles media. he understood there was a desire for the service of a television network that addressed the grievances of a lot of people who felt like the coasts were looking down on them. roger created that. what did we know about these
people? what do we know about the network film, it is twice the viewers of everything else and there's a reason for that. they produce a shallow salty taste the product and the people out there in middle america like that product. i shouldn't eat fried chicken that i would eat popeye's fried chicken every day if i could. they are salty and tasty and that is what they produce. they were never about news, they were about getting people a place to feel like their grievances were being hurt. the merger of trump and fox were so cataclysmic. they hear nothing else at all. they will not hear a single word out of the debate other than it is processed for them by fox and
the creative team at fox and the debate will be turned from something on healthcare policies, medicare for all into the commies are coming and into manhattan. >> you talked about the fringe third-party candidates. is there room for those like hasek in ohio just spoil? >> there may be. the ballot access problem right now in the same party, many of the states parties get a vote in who gets the ballot line. so you can do it. i tried to tell you it was hard and we didn't have the legal views to put it together on time. i think you may see some third-party sacrificial candidates out there and you may
they will not view this as a legitimate election and there's a reason for that. the election is being manipulated. you will see some deep fake scandals that will blow your mind. >> a question you said the idea is to tell the voters who trump really is but how do you convince people who say i know who he is but we have been
losing the cultural war for so long. the squad is gone. you are not going to move evangelicals. executive orders trumps supporters are realizing republicans used to lose their mind over barack obama and executive orders. i used to say all the time i don't think that it's wise for the president, for obama to govern by executive order because someday a republican
will be in office and that is exactly what happened. the trump voters are starting to realize that and he's communicating that to them saying they will overturn my executive orders. now, that is what the executive orders are insane crony capital giveaways and the friends and family. even though these they already population in this country they feel like they are the tiny minority that is being crushed under the godless masses for the liberal elites and that is a message that he has used very well and effectively.
>> growing up, my father was a republican. what happened to the republicans? >> they can't all have taken that much money. >> i can tell you what happened. roger ailes talked rupert murdoch into giving him $60 million in starting a cable television network. it became the most successful network in history and the normative force shaping the republican party. that normative force became oppositional and narrowly tailored it is the choice between good and evil.
however, they love three things on this earth, they love their power, they love holding their office, and they love being alive. they are terrified. i have a and that is a member of congress and i told the story in the first book is a town hall meeting in february, february or march of 2017 not long after the inauguration. a guy stands up and says are you going to deal with them 100% of the time? and he gives the true answer. i'm going to make sure we do everything we can to work with the president, but it's something he proposes i is that the district i'm going to fight for the district. if something he wants is bad for you i'm going to fight for you.
there are death threats to his kids school because he didn't support mr. trump 100% of the time. these people are crazy and he knows it. he knows the fear that is generated in the minds of the congressmen and i know what elementary school your kids go to. they are terrified of him and terrified they will say something about him and he will get a primary opponent and was the position and terrified someone will come in and actually build a bomb and get them. they do not believe in him, they do not love him. a few of the jackasses do. there's a great piece of knowledge.
there is an opportunist of the highest order. he's a hustler, opportunist, game player he thought he was going to ride that pony, and he doesn't believe in shit. he believes in nothing. this is a show for them, but the vast majority of them are not the hustlers, they are not the true believers, most of them are just absolutely fear of mean tweets and it is a constant in their lives. >> after three and a half years of death threats coming to my house and threatening my kids i am a concealed permit terri holder and firearms handler and
i carry guns. people walk up to me in grocery stores and waits outside the tv studio in florida. the joke about 911 takes ten or 11 minutes, how long do you think that crazy person is going to wait. it is something that i've become very accustomed to. in 30 years of doing politics against the democrats, have the occasional jackass leave a voicemail. now i get death threats of people taking pictures from the road of my house like i can see your wife and draw a bull's-eye on it, that kind of crazy stuff is not really -- you reassess your security after a while. on guns it's the most wonderful
thing and everybody wants gun control right now and i can't tell you how many i've beaten democrats on on that issue because every white male democrats outside of new york and boston and washington, they hunt. go to wisconsin and michigan, minnesota, ohio and every white male democrat i can find him and identify him on the voter file. [inaudible] >> i will tell you i have killed coyotes that have beaten my dogs
but that is a story for another day. [laughter] last question here. it would require people to watch pbs. [laughter] the hard truth of it is americans want to be entertain entertained. news is a narrow product for a limited audience about 15 million american watch the news to watch the news, there's about 35 million more that watch the news to watch fox. but it's not easy to convince americans to have considered policy discussions. it's just not how they are wired anymore. >> thank you so much for the
good evening and welcome to the hudson institute policy center. i'm john walters chief operating officer and i'd like to welcome our audience here and pennsylvania avenue headquarters and our c-span audience to the first ever podcast taping that is both live and marks the second season premiere of podcast of the second season of "realignment"