tv Campaign 2020 Pete Buttigieg at Univ. of Chicago Inst. of Politics CSPAN October 25, 2019 12:18pm-1:29pm EDT
politicon, the unpolitical convention is live from music city center, nashville. speakers include political pundit ann coulter and columnist david fromme, former fbi director james comey and chief political analyst for msnbc and nbc news, nicolle wallace, political commentators james carville and sean hannity and former minnesota senator al franken. watch live on c-span, any time on c-span.org and listen wherever you are using the free c-span radio app. democratic presidential candidate pete buttigieg sat down with david axelrod. they talked about the presidential campaign and foreign policy.
[ applause ] >> thank you. mayor, welcome back. >> thank you. >> you were here in february before you actually became an official candidate. and i see you're playing bigger rooms now. >> seems that way, yeah. >> do you ever stop and say to yourself, how the hell did this happen? >> every now and then. >> go from here to there. at that time, you were essentially an asterisk. >> well -- [ laughter ] >> maybe a little more than an asterisk. >> you were an asterisk plus. you were largely considered one of the flock of many small town
mayor, young guy, and now you're a contender. and what have you learned about the country, what have you learned about yourself through the journey from there to here. >> the biggest thing i learned is you arrive presenting something that's different if you're not like the others and you can get your ideas across that anything can happen. we didn't know. i believed but didn't actually have any way of knowing, as of january or february that if we did this, that we could build a following, that we could get the resources we needed to compete and that we could attract a movement. and that's proved out from the announcement in april through the debates, we've been able to advance past the first 20 or 10 of my competitors. now, there are a few of the biggest hills to climb ahead. but what it tells you is that for all of the problems, and there are many in our system,
there's still some level at which the system makes it possible for people to break through. i mean, the idea that a 30-something, gay, south bend, indiana, mayor would even be taken seriously was a bit of a leap. and i also think it tells us about the moment we're in. frankly, somebody like me doing something like this probably wouldn't have gotten this far at any other moment of the system. >> tell me what you think the moment is. >> our orthodoxes and rules have been called into question by the emergence of donald trump. but that a lot of them are actually going to have to reassert themselves. in other words, the idea is not that there are no rules. the idea is that some rules have been broken and others are going to reassert themselves. we just don't know which yet. i think we're also in a moment where there's a desire for something that is really new and
different. and yet not new and different in the way of the current presidency is new and different. but rather a response to the fact that we're in between moments in american history. i think we're in one of those moments that's hard to read precisely because it falls in between chapters. i would date the current era that's coming to an end to the election of ronald reagan, roughly the time i was born. and that has gone on for really 40 years. i think democratic and republican behavior has played within certain boundaries, the reagan area yera, neo-liberal, has blown up under donald trump, which is a symptom and a cause of this unraveling. now we have to figure out what's coming next. that means that if you arrived within where america is, people will hear you out, even if you don't have the traditional credentials of a mainstream presidential candidate.
>> what -- trump obviously looms large over all of this. what do you think that his effect is. and when you talk to people -- you know, there is this big debate, the debate about is this the time for bold -- as elizabeth warren says, and she's done well with it, bold, structural change or is it a time to heal the country and restore some sense of calm and common purpose and some of the things that have been shattered, what do you hear when you're out there? >> i hear both. >> you are a politician. >> no, but this -- this is really important. this is why i'm running. so we have to have bold change because the failure of our political and economic systems up to now is what got us here. a guy like donald trump should not have been able to come within cheating of the oval
office, take over one of the two major political parties. the fact that that was even possible, i believe, reflects the failure of our system to keep up and deliver for people. and the failure of our system to make everyday life better in america, which is why we need real changes. it's also the case that we need to heal, so i -- i'm thinking a lot about not just the need to end the trump presidency, but i'm thinking what it's going to be like the first day after the trump presidency. you may have seen in the debate. i asked voters to really picture there and not just enjoy and savor the idea of, thank god he's no longer in office. >> not even for a day? >> maybe for half of a day. but then really think about what we're going to be up against at that point. none of these problems will have gone away. the problems he exploited in order to become president. they're not taking a break for impeachment or the trump presidency or anything else. meanwhile, we're going to be
even more torn up by politics then than we are now. thanksgiving dinners will be a mine field. our communities will be that much more frayed and pitted against each other. and a big part of the job of the presidency is to get people together across all of that. i'm not saying this in some mealy-mouth, let's forget all of our differences and we're all going to get along kind of way. we have to at least agree that we're part of the same country kind of way. and the president often through the least well-documented functions of the presidency, the symbolic parts of the presidency, can uniquely help make that possible. so, the premise of my campaign is we can enact very bold reforms and also do it in a way that can unify an american majority, which contrary to a lot of the assumptions that i think democrats have beaten into
us over time, a majority of america that's with us issue after issue. if we have to choose one or the other, we're screwed. >> you talk about where we'll be the day after, and that's assuming that he's not president, and he could be president, but if he's not, there is this theory that -- and it's sort of based on experience that he might not go quietly and that he will -- that he will raise doubts about the process, and that he will stir his base to a questionable legitimacy of an election. put your -- let's imagine you are the president. how do you deal with that? you know, healing is a word, but what are the things that would have to be done to reassure people about the responsiveness of our institutions and to
reinvest people with a sense of kind of common purpose even as we have differences? >> well, i think the work that has to go on right away is to make sure our institutions actually reflect us. not that we have majority popular rule on every decision, but there should at least be some resemblance between the decisions that are being made and what american people want. you can see this across various issues but the issue behind every issue is democracy. the fact that districts are drawn where politicians effectively choose their voters. certainly the role of money in politics. i would argue the existence of the electoral college itself. all of these anti-democratic qualities, some of them that have been there all along, some of them newer, that have been used to grind our system's responsiveness to a halt, these need work right away. and it has to be -- it's never sexy. the process stuff is never sexy but that has to be done along with climate and wages and
sexual equality. >> you think you would restore unity by moving to eliminate the electoral college? >> i think that it's one example of -- no, this is important, right? think about this. if we had a national popular vote, we'd all be actually participating in the same election for president. which is actually not true right now. and we need to stitch together the way our community problem-solving processes work. the things i work with as a mayor all the way up through the national level. i'm under no illusion we can get a national popular vote overnight. but part of what i'm about, in addition to making a policy that is good, is elevate our ambition a little bit about democratic structure because it's so clear our democratic structures don't work. and perversely, even though he's making them worse, i think that trump's arrival largely reflects a sense of frustration about those structures. for example, in his campaign he said the elections are rigged. now, in one sense that was a lie
because he was saying that it was undocumented uhm grants by the bus loads showing up at precincts. i've never found anybody who thinks that happened. in another sense, if the outcome of a congressional race is effectively predetermined by gerrymandering, in a certain, naked and transparent real way, that is true. the things he was saying weren't true often rhymed with something that was true and tapped into this more general desire, i think, to burn the house down, which is why all of the racism and xenophobe yeah in his campaign found such fertile ground. it's this lethal mix. and if our institutions continue to be this entrusted and nonfunctional, then i really think no matter how clever the policies we come up with on health or climate or wages or whatever will continue to see this disconnect that will empower whoever is the loudest and promises most convincingly they're going to burn the house down. >> i'm interested in what you hear when you're out
campaigning. you do a lot of town hall meetings. you meet with people all over the country. you spent a lot of time in iowa. how often does, you know, electoral college reform and redistricting and those things come up as opposed to health care, job security -- >> it's much more likely to be about that. health care for sure. it's not just the things that are getting debated constantly, like medicare for all versus medicare for all who want it versus some other fix on coverage. but also things that haven't made it into the debate. like simple fact of affordability, how prescription drugs are paid for, the cost side of things. so, that's clearly a big issue. there's a sense, i think, that even though the economy is being described as good, it's harder and harder, not just to get ahead but to hold onto what we've got. a lot of folks are finding their pay is level, maybe up a little bit, but nowhere near the growth and the cost of retirement,
heal health, education. and there's this desire to know -- >> housing. >> certainly housing. so, these are the things i hear about. a little bit more about things like impeachment, but even now -- >> i was going to ask about how much you hear -- >> i used to hear -- >> there's obviously such a focus of a lot of the news coverage, but it's not the focus of the interactions you're having with voters, by and large. >> yeah. i used to hear it on a day full of campaign ooebts i'd hear it once across the day. now i hear it once per event but not quite. but it's not the dominant -- if you're trying -- bless you. if you're trying to figure out -- to me politics is about how the decisions made in washington -- >> by the way, that was a staffer planted there. i know these tricks. >> that's a good one. politics is about whether your
life will go different if i'm president versus somebody else. now, i actually think that will be true of democratic reforms i'm pursuing. for example, your lives would be very different if we had a national popular vote in the sense that you would have had a clinton instead of trump presidency and a gore versus a bush presidency. but more to the point, more what's on voters' minds right now, your health care, your wages, your ability to get and keep a good job, cost of housing, retirement. these are the things that are going to propel the decisions being made. >> this is such an interesting thing. when we -- when i was in the white house and the economy was recovering from this awful crash, we always struggled because there were signs of progress in the macro economy but people weren't feeling it in their lives. the president tauts, as you would advise, or perhaps he should, that unemployment is at, you know, a 50-year low and some of these other macro economic
signs, but people around feeling it. sometimes when you push too hard on that, it actually creates a backlash where people say, well, maybe it's good somewhere, but i don't feel it. >> right. think about it this way. life expectancy in the united states is going down. how is it even possible to have gdp going up and life expectancy going down at the same time? it tells you something about where that economic growth is going. and whether it's making us better off. >> i don't want to leave your own experience as a candidate. you were talking to some students earlier and you were asked what most surprised you about this and you talked about the physical toll of campaigning and you seem reasonably fit. >> thank you. >> but talk about -- >> yeah, no, it's physically demanding in a way i didn't understand getting into it. it's -- as somebody watching
news coverage of candidates, i never really believed them when they said it's a gruelling process. but now i get it. it's hard even now to explain exactly why. but something about the constancy of the motion and the -- just the sheer number of places you go and things you do in a day. it demands a lot of you. this, by the way, is also the answer to the question on age that has been surfaced. sometimes in some indecent ways, which i think is -- you believe, i think there's value in a new generation. as the youngest candidate. i will say this, if you can survive a presidential election, then you have the nfl, i think, required for the job. >> no, i think that's right. i think it's a gauntlet. i think campaigns are actually auditions for the role. part of it is, can you run all the events, can you meet the physical demands of it. and part of it is the better you
do -- we were just talking about this. you're doing better now and now the things you say and do actually get a lot more attention, which creates more pressure. >> and people are quicker to point out anything they think you did wrong. >> it's only going to get worse, brother, i'm telling you. >> no, but the pressure is healthy, right? again, as you say it, first of all, it emulates the pressure that at a different scale the president will experience. >> right. >> it allows you to dmon senaem what you're made of. people -- i'm probably dating myself here, but the scene in "officer and a gentleman" where they put him in the low oxygen environment. they're training to be naval aviators. they have to get playing cards and they get giddy and stupid because they're not getting any oxygen.
that's how i think the presidential campaign is. >> that's encouraging for the republic. >> in the sense that when you see somebody, for example, a candidate do something and say, that was really dumb. i could have -- i could have known better than to say or do that. and that's probably true. the question is, if that were the 17th time in a one-hour space that you'd had to do some kind of task of that complexity, could you still have done it right? and that's where i think candidates get tired or reveal their weaknesses, is just because it's not any one of the things you're doing that's hard, it's doing all of them at once every day for two years. >> i have to laugh that that's how you think you're dating yourself. when i say i'm dating myself, i mention "casablanca." so -- >> you see how few heads nodded when i brought up the movie. i had to explain "seinfeld." >> i want to ask you -- i
thought your -- maybe your best moment in the debate came in your discussion from the perspective of someone who has worn the uniform of the country. your reaction to what's taken place in syria. since that time your old friend, vice president pence from indiana, was dispatched to turkey and an agreement was reached that really seemed like a kind of capitulation. evaluate where you think we are at and what the ramifications of it are. >> well, it's incredibly disturbing because, first of all, the outcomes on the ground are troubling. it was essentially turkey getting its way. and we have very little indications of what the long-term implications will be when it comes to ethnic cleansing of the kurds and when
it comes to potential re-emergence of isis, which is why we were concerned about the region to begin with. also, beyond all of the things happening on the ground, there is permanent damage to american credibility. and the thing that hurts so much as a veteran is to think about all of the people who around the world, as we speak, are putting their lives on the line because they think aligning themselves with america is a good idea. and that often requires a lot of courage. i remember,ing deployed. not only the afghan national army folks you would see but everyday workers. there was a guy who i would swap stories with about -- i was trying to learn dahri. he was -- >> you don't speak enough languages? >> it's useful out there. >> norwegian doesn't work there? >> not very -- not very useful. actually, not very useful at all
because most norwegians speak better english than we do. so he was -- his job basically was just to clean up this building where some american and allied elements worked. i got to know him and we bonded by discussing corn because he was from a part of parwan province where they grow corn. i'm from parts of indiana where there's lots of corn. it gave us something to relate over. he was also explaining how his family was vulnerable to kidnap threats and would be much more so if anybody in his village figured out what his day job was. just not even a fighter, just a guy going about his life. mopping the floor. and he's risking his life by working with american troops. and if i were over there now, i don't know how i could look him in the eye after what we just did. that is going to cost us in so many ways that we haven't even seeny e yet.
there will be allies doing things precisely so we don't have to send troops in somewhere who now won't even want to talk to us. and if we're not a credible partner, a credible ally, we've also stripped our own service members of their honor. a lot of the comments coming back from interviews with special operators, soldiers and marines out there is about the level of shame that they feel. and if you take away the honor of a service member, there is very little left, i think. that's why this is so disturbing. it's not just that it's a terrible policy decision in the middle east for this moment. it's that it could take decades to recover the credibility that was blown up for no really good strategic reason. it's not like the president was faced with this anguishing choice, where presidents earn their paycheck. where there's no way to honor you one value without betraying
another. no way to live up to a promise of one ally without undercutting another or no way to save american lives here without endangering -- no. >> you don't think he went through that process? >> i don't even know -- the word process doesn't seem like it could apply here. and, you know, for so long, especially with more more conservative friends, the debate over whether this president is a good guy or a wise thinker or an honest man ended a long time ago. the debate -- maybe you've had this experience if you're on our side of the aisle and debating somebody on the other side. making excuses for the. the. somewhere along the debate shifted, somewhere along the way from whether he was a good leader to whether it mattered. maybe you got this kind of -- well, yeah, he's -- he's crazy or he's loose with the truth, as folks will sometimes very gently put it. but how much is that really going to matter?
washington is this enormous thing, there's all these people -- now we know. now we know the deadly consequences of a president who doesn't know what he's doing, doesn't keep his word and as far as i can tell, doesn't care. people die when that happens and people are doing right now. >> let me just ask you a political question as someone who's out there in the country. you yourself has talked, as someone who has served, about the need to end endless wars. that's the argument he has made. it's their problem, not our problem. it's 7,000 miles away. he will find an audience for that, will he not, with some number of americans. >> yeah, but it's really per verse argument because the extraordinary thing that was happening in northern syria was that a tiny number of u.s. troops -- we're talking a few dozen, were able to stand between that region and the things we're seeing now, the
beginnings of a genocide and the re-emergence of isis, just by having a few people there. what's so ironic is, for those who think we have to get out of afghanistan, this is what getting out of afghanistan ought to look like is you have a skeletal presence of special operators and intelligence gathering capability. just enough to keep america safe. and to stand between that place and the worst possible outcomes. not an open-ended and large number of ground troops. this is exactly what we had in syria, which is why we didn't have to have a large mobilization of troops into syria. and he took it away. and you can see the consequences of taking this tiny number -- far fewer than the number of people in this room. and taking them out has unleashed something we may be dealing with for years. >> i want to go back to this issue of bold structural change. senator warren's term. she has a -- an array of proposals that are large-scale
proposals to deal with inequality and some of the other, you know, issues that people -- i think people in this room probably care deeply about. you challenged her in the debate where she's borrowed a proposal from senator sanders, but talk about that and why it was important to you to challenge her on that, what you think you learned or we learned and what we should think about that. >> the reason i think this is important is rooted in my experience as a mayor where you say things in a campaign and then they put you in charge and you actually have to deliver them. and i think anybody who allows the phrase medicare for all to escape their lips in campaign season has a responsibility to explain what it would actually take to get there. so i think it's striking that on the highest visibility domestic
issue in the democratic primary the current democratic front-runner has not detailed how it would work other than to speak to senator sanders' plan. and the concern there is that it effectively means within four years, we're throwing a switch, everybody on private plans uses them and there's a big hole in how it's supposed to be paid for. and the reason i think it's so important to illustrate this difference is i'm convinced we can get that same goal of getting everybody delivered. it's not like i'm proposing some little technical tweak. i'm proposing the biggest reform to health care in this country in 50 or 60 years. medicare for all who wants it, is what i call it. the idea is you take a version of medicare, you let everybody get in on it, if they want it. if you want to keep your private plan, that's okay. i think a lot of people who tell pollsters -- >> how much would that cost or how would you finance that? >> yeah, so the great thing about doing it in this way
versus having all of it go through the treasury right away, is you can do this without tax increases on the middle class. now, you will have to roll back the trump tax cuts, we're going to have to close loopholes on corporate taxes, but these are things we should be doing anyway because i don't think those tax cuts should happen in the first place. the 1% will have to pay more, for sure. both in terms of income and in terms of wealth tax. but don't worry, they will still be very, very rich. so, i'm not saying we don't have to come up with revenue. but i'm also committed to making sure that everything we propose in my campaign we explain what the revenue is going to be because i think deficits matter. republicans said they cared about deficits, especially when they were trying to stop us from investing in anything. and then they took power and it turns out, they don't care. they blew up deficits more than we have seen in recent memory
and that means if democrats don't get into the business of worrying about these fiscal questions, then nobody cares about it. maybe it's a generational thing but the longer you're here, the longer the fiscal time bombs could go off. >> you can pencil it out. you could handmy a piece of paper and say, this is what it would cost and here's how it would be paid for? >> yep. i don't have it on me. we're continuing to keep score for every promise i make so we can show there's a pay for so that it's at least budget neutral. we think our prescription drug plan will be budget positive because there will be a savings when we're negotiating with pharma companies on the price of drugs. the really important thing here is this is what americans actually want. here you have the majority of americans backing an extremely bold, progressive reform only for some of my competitors to say that we've got to do
something further, that most americans don't want. >> do you think that could cost the election? >> well, it certainly won't help. because, again, a lot of the people, including democrats, who would tell a pollster they're for medicare for all, what they mean is actually what i'm proposing. they're for medicare for all where they get to keep their plan if they want it, which is why -- and somewhere along the course of this year it became the case, at least in the commentary, that medicare for all has to mean their version, which is medicare for all whether you like it or not, which is why i started calling mine medicare for all who want it, just to clarify. the way, to to me, to get everybody health care is one that allows you to have private plans if you want. i think the more people discover that her vision and senator sanders' vision takes that away from you. the more trouble we're going to have. >> are there other issues that could create those problems? >> well, i think any -- the
remarkable moment about the moment we're in is there's a big american majority for progressive reforms. but there is a point where i think it's too far for a lot of folks. and i come at this in terms of what the right policy is but i also think the politics will follow that. you think about colleges and other areas. i think we should make college free for low and middle income students. >> by the way, what you call a very rich, we call trustees, okay? >> again, i promise you, they will be just fine. but those trustee's children, should they go to college, i think they can pay their own tuition. i don't think we need to make it free for absolutely everybody. i think we should make it free for anybody who would face this as a barrier. i just think that's a better policy. i also, though, think that it speaks to an allergy among just a lot of americans to the sense that we're going too far in the direction of free things because, of course, nothing's free. it's a question of who's paying for what for whom.
>> there is a resistance to this word of free. may i just -- this is my clinical analysis based on, you know, some years in this work, is that people -- there is a sense that people should have skin in the game. >> yeah. >> it's sort of interesting. i was talking to governor mondo from rhode island and she had a branding issue because she wantedthis, and she had a issue with this because she wanted to call it free, but the word free is offensive to some people. >> interesting. >> let me ask you about your own progress here. you are making obvious progress in iowa which is where this whole process begins, and what do you have to do there by the way to think to keep the momentum going? >> well, i think that three things matter. one is whether you have to resources to go to distance,
because these operations are expensive. we have that. and the next thing is if you have a message that is resonating, and we feel that we do, but there are a number of iowans who don't have an opinion of me or is some of the other candidates. >> maybe they are living their lives. >> and they not following the minute-by-minute blow by blow of the presidential nomination process, fwhaz have stuff going on and the third is the ground game. and so when the iowa press said that we won the state farm event. >> and this is a big event where there is a cattle call. >> and there is no objective measurement for how you win the steak fry. >> well, you buy a lot of tickets and get people there which you did which is part of the organizing task. >> and so it sounds like that the organizational thing to test drive to get it to the steak fry
is going to be turning out the caucusgoers on caucus night in iowa and putting the organization through the paces, and there is a big event and a dinner a couple of weeks that is the iowa state democratic dinner, and this is a key moment for obama as a kand dantd we will be giving a speech, and that is important for us, and we have to keep returning and cultivating and showing the support as some of the candidates fall away, and it is a much crisper set of choice, and voters who are keeping the powder dry make up their mind. that being said, i believe that the serious share possibly even a majority of the voters won't really make up their mind until the last 10 days. >> which is not unusual in the iowa caucuses. if you are getting past that, you go to new hampshire and you seem well positioned to do well there if you do well in iowa. and once you get past that, you
are now going to get to states with large numbers of african voters, and south carolina looms fourth in the sequence. you are not doing well the african-american voters and the negligible and asterisk is the best way to describe your support there, and why do you think that is? and well, why do you think that is? >> well, first of all, the voters have to feel they know you, and one of the things that is clear that we get a great response when i am addressing majority black audiences about the agenda, but there are folks in south carolina who want to feel that they really understand you and know you, and so our challenge and our task is to build that familiarity quickly. right now, the former vice president has an overwhelming advantage among these voters. but i think that one of two
things is true. either he has the best answers on the subject of race or because the trust and familiarity is playing a big role. >> and the partnership of president obama. >> yes, that is part of it. if the latter is true, then other candidates can build the trust to making it clear what they are standing for and it is the pathway forward and that is what is going to win over the audiences one at a time, and that is the other thing, that you have to show that you can win. this is especially important for voters who are skeptical of the newcomers, and so in other ways more than the commentary, it is probably has assessed up to now a big part of how to be viable in south carolina and to prove in a place like iowa that you can win. >> let me ask you two elements of this. the first is that you have a significant turbulence of the campaign earlier in the year, because of the police-involved shooting in south bend.
how much do you think that retarded your ability to groeshgs agrow, and on that point, you had an unwelcomed story today that the former corporation council for the city is cosponsoring at a event that you are speaking at had given you the max to help you raise money to the event and you had to return the money. should that have happened? >> yeah, so, it should not. as soon as i found out about it. and to be clear, the reason that this is a concern is that this is somebody who is involved in the laquan -- >> i should have filled in the blanks. he was with the council when the city was withholding the tape of the laquan mcdonald shooting. >> and as somebody who has had angst over the police shootings, i believe that transparency and
justice for laquan mcdonald is more important than a campaign contribution. so he is much more important than a contribution. >> this is about the vetting. one of the things about raising the money is that you have to create an infrastructure to evaluate the potential donors to evaluate what is can be a growing pains story. >> yes, we have an exploratory committee in january, and -- >> how many do you have? >> at least 100 times that. and i would hire one more and put them on vetting. >> well, i agree. this is important, because it reflects on the campaign, and we have roughly 600,000 people who have contribute fod campaign and when they contribute at a
substantial level, you have to make sure that you have gone through the steps to make sure that there is no connection to the campaign with regret. >> and so getting back to the issue, you have a event here in brownsville, and the audience was predominantly white, and you have not broken through. so i wanted to ask you a sensitive question, and which i remember from marriage equality debate when i was working with the president and son, and the most resistance that we have faced was among democratic coalitions was among the older african-american voters. you are the first openly gay candidate for president. and how much of a barrier is that for you, and how do you overcome that? >> it is there. i think that there is a process going on in the black community in general in the
african-american churches in particular around this, but i can't, but i can't think about it in terms of the effects on me as much as i think of it in terms of the effect on lgbtq youth of color who often really rely on their churches as a place to go for help in difficult times. and i think that it is in the name of compassion toward youth who really need their churches to be there for them that a lot of the progress is currently happening on this issue. and o >> and one of the concerns i hear, because you took a big step forward in the debate and people are beginning to look at you and say, hmm, maybe this is possible, but the concern that you hear from people is that knowing the way that the trump operation works that he will try
to weaponize this and try to retard the turnout in the particularly african-american community in races that could be marginal. >> yeah, of course. they will find something to weaponize against everybody. if there is not something there, they will make it up and use that, and that is what they are going to do. but if we have the right message and build the right coalition, this race should not be close or within cheating distance. they are going to do all kinds of nefarious things, and of course they are. >> cheating distance is an interesting choice of words. i want to go the questions and there are microphones and there is one in the balcony and one or there will be microphone, and here they come. one down the main aisle, and so once you begin lining up. is there one in the balcony? okay. one on this side over here. so wherever you are closest, line up. i don't know, did you see
"saturday night live" last saturday? i know that you are busy. >> yeah. yeah, i saw. >> so colin jost, and it is not really fair, was it, because i have a feeling that you must, he must know you, right? you guys must have been classmates. >> yeah, i think that we lived in the same dorm and i didn't know him well, but a little bit in college. >> what did you do to him to make him so mad? >> oh, it is all in good fun, and obviously, if you are being played on "snl" something in your life is going to right way. >> exactly. i did not see steve bullock on the skit, and others, and i like steve bullock before i get into more trouble. go ahead. >> my name is nathan muns and i'm a second-year medical student here in chicago, and my question is that the racial wealth gap is due to hundreds of years of slavery and followed by hundreds of years of
discrimination and what do we to close that? >> well, first of all, we have to recognize that if you take a legacy of racist policies and structures and you are replacing them with neutral ones, it is not going to lead to equality. we have learned it the hard way, and on some level, i have learned it the hard way, and if you stop and think about it, it is clear why. think of nit terms of the compound interest. you save a dollar and then turns into 2 and then 4 and then 8. so if that is true, the value of the dollar saved, and also true of the dollar stolen. so when not just a dollar or the number of dollars, but the entire economic life of people has been stolen in generational theft going back to 1619, this is not something that will just correct itself. it compounds. and in many ways the fact that the harms have happened hundreds of years ago doesn't make it better, but worse. you add to that the fact that
some of the harms did not happen hundreds of years ago, and the exclusion, and the de facto exclusion from the gi bill, and the fact that it is more difficult for black americans to access social security benefits. housing policies, and within the lifetime of my parents in segregated neighborhoods that started out integrated in the beginning of the neighborhood, and these intentionally and through the government on behalf of the american people compounded inequities to lead to the racial wealth gap and the racial income gap, and so what do we do with that? i'm a supporter of hr-440 to investigate reparations and that needs to happen. we don't need to wait for that in order to take certain steps. so i have developed the fredrick douglass plan who demanded the country be living closer to the processed ideals. we should call a plan and name it after a person to be near the
marshal plan and have it here at home. this is one of the things that is the most discussion around problems of inequity problems like the inequity in the criminal justice system. i'm also focused on the solutions side, and solutions within the black community in entrepreneurship for example and the federal government have a 25% goal for business done with businesses led by people who have been historically excluded. it is why we are proposing a walker lewis initiative that would provide what we call the debt for jobs guarantee to remove the debt for pell-eligible students who start small businesses, and to erase what is the black tax and basically the fact that an entrepreneur of color is expected to fund relatives and support family members because of the same wealth gap that you are talking about. and so whether we are talking about the entrepreneurship, and access to credit is another piece that needs to be reformed and whether it is criminal
injustice of having a parent incarcerated is going to have someone to less likely meet the potential later on and one of the reasons that we need to decad deincarcerate and homeownership and development and all of these thing, because t thing, because the disparity is systemic, so does the solution have to be systemic. and so it is all on the website, but frankly, there is a conversation that needs to happen among the white americans and something that is not only raised as a specialty topic for black audiences. frankly, it is important to not hear about this only from the candidates of color, because there has to be a way without arousing some of the defensiveness that people have to talk about how everybody is implicated in the problem and how everybody can be part of the reparative or the restorative process to make it better in our
lifetimes. >> thank you. >> yes, up there. >> hi, yes. my name, up here. here we go. all right. hi, my name is devin wednesdayle and i'm a second-year english major and as such, i like to ask cool people what their favorite novels are, and it is not political, but if you want to give me some book recs. >> all right. first of all i'm proof that you can study literature and have a job. so, good on you for being an english major. so i have talked elsewhere why ulysses is the ultimate personal and political novel that explains a lot, because it is about the everyday even though people think of it as being about complicated things. i just re-read or read "jovonny's room" by david baldwin and a timely novel. i am just dipping into the history of rome. it is about how the republics die and it is a little grim.
one of the things in there is when the consensus building senates are ground to a halt, and that is one of the symptoms of republicans beginning to die and it is a timely book called "mortal republic." and chaston got me a book called "finnish nightmares" and it is these cartoons kind of evoking nordic social anxiety that for some reason i feel that i can relate to. so i don't know if they have that at 57th street books, but that is my picks for the moment. >> thank you. >> do you have -- yes, perhaps you want to ask about the film. >> i'm a public policy major. hello, i'm jaden and the second year in the college and nice to talk to you, mr. mayor.
and my question is related to the police that, the police tension of your city in south bend at home, and i'm not the gatekeeper for all relations of the black and white people, but it is a legitimate claim for black people to be hesitant to throw the advocacy behind you, and especially with the tenure of the police chief a while back and the comments of all lives matter, and so i would like for you the speak on those and just a little bit more and i know that mr. axelrod touched on it, but i would like for you to talk about that slightly more if you could. >> yes, so i'm a mayor of a diverse community that has a past and a complex relationship between communities of color, and especially the black community and the officers sworn to keep them safe. one of the toughest moments in that relationship came early in my tenure, and so i had interviewed three candidates to be my police chief and i wound selecting a chief
african-american chief who had served under my predecessor, largely, because he is strong in community policing. later on, we got a visit from the federal investigators about an investigation going into some of his actions and the things that were going on in the police department related to wiretapping of other officers. and so, i reached the conclusion, and even parts of it are still being adjudicated in the courts, but i reached the conclusion that i could not have him to continue to serve in the role if i had found out not from him, but from federal investigators that he was the subject of an investigation like that. it was a trust issue in our relationship. the concern that followed from that and the pain in the community really demonstrated to me in ways that before i had only understood in theory, some of the things that are at stake in the relationship. between black residents and the police.
while there is a lot of good work done, and for example to empower the citizens and residents to weigh in on policies we have a transparency portal to look up of what is used with force and complaints alongside of data with the crimesb and so that people understand what is happening under the hood of the policing. efforts that some of which are still a struggle especially around recruiting post-ferguson and recruiting minority officers has become harder and some of the numbers have moved in the wrong direction, but some things that have worked well. a level of accountability that has ar ri arisen under my watch officer, but it has not been perfect, but it has been taken together, and it is helping me to understand what is it like to have a white house and department of justice that is serious about the racial equity and policing.
so as we were going through the painful steps in the city, during the obama administration, i could reach out to the white house or the doj for help, but right now, we have a doj who has made it abundantly clear that civil rights is not the priority and changes a lot of things both for the departments that frankly need to be enforced on when it is coming to civil rights. it is not happening to us, but a lot of cities and the departments who are trying to do the right thing, but need help and are on their own to the point that we have been actually moving to engage people who had worked in the previous department of justice and still working the issues to help us, because we know that we won't get help from washington today. those are some of the steps tha motivating the plank in the douglas plan, and so these issues will be with us for a long time and they are not starting on my watch and won't end when i leave, but if i promise that we can't been
perfect, ki promii can promise have walked with the community through pain in understanding these and what is at stake in getting it right. >> i want to go back up the other way, so go ahead. >> hi, my name is isabel and i'm a first year in the college poly-sci major and i asked david axelrod and the other fellows this question earlier on, and i am interested in asking campaigning and issues that straddle political reality and actual reality. for example, someone who lives by the mexican border who is a blue collar worker might feel that immigrants are taking their jobs even though we know that it is not true, whereas someone who is in new york welcome may be viewing to immigrants, and so what are the issues that we can run on in the election that unites us as americans and that
kind of straddles the two different realities that people live in. >> well, the best thing that we can do is to connect it with the realities on the ground. the best trajectory is the affordable care act. and we were killed over it, the democrats, because it is all on theory and the stories of the death panels and people believed it. by 2018, it was the winning issue for the democrats, because of the simple reason that it had happened and people realized they were better off and they would not allow the members of congress take it away from them. so even on the toughest social issues, i feel it is connected to somebody's lived experience. immigration is a great example actually. in south bend we had undocumented worker who was a business owner who was deported and people were furious that he was deported and by the way, from a very conservative part of
the county, and all of the people demanding that i do something to stop this, which of course i couldn't do as a mayor were conservative republicans, and his own wife voted for donald trump, because they did not see it as something that would affect somebody like him. you can say, well, what did you expect and be mad at them, but if you are on a diet of fox news and being a republican is the same as respectable in the community, you did not see this coming. but the more we are talking in terms of the actual lived experiences the stronger we get. this is the example of the election rigging, too. plenty of people think that there was a busload of undocumented immigrants who voted somewhere, but i have not met one person who believed it happened at their place, so the more we can make it realities of what we can see and breathe and see, and it is for the president who wants us to think about things that are far off and strange and whether we should buy greenland, right.
because the big problem in your life, if you are sitting at home trying to pay the bills is not that you are getting paid enough or that health care is too expensive and not that we have not bought greenland. so we have to make sure that we build that tether that allows the issue to be on the ground even when the democrats have been in the crouch like guns. and even with the overwhelming majority of republicans believe that we should do background checks. while most people thankfully don't have the experience of gun violence, they have a worry of their kid going to school. and so this is the touchstone of this if the nominee has the courage to keep this message as well as these horrifying things going around us. >> you have a nominee in mind? >> i have a thought.
>> it is important to me that israel's occupation of the palestinian territories and not in spite of the ju day yicdaism because of it, we have palestinians over whom they cannot have any accountability, and this is despicable of the principles of love and principles that i was raised on. you sthad taid that the occupat must end, but the u.s. is giving military aid to israel each year and much of which is funding the occupation, and so there is a deep complicity in the issue. >> can you get to the question. >> so my question is will you make aid to israel contingent on the end of the occupation completely? >> i think that the aid is leverage to guide israel in the right direction, and if for example there is follow-through on the threats of annexation, i'm committed to ensuring that
the u.s. is not footing the bill for that. one of the shocking things to me about the absence of american leadership under the trump administration is not just what is happening among the adversaries or the competitors or what is happening with china or rush sharks asia throwing th around in the way they do, and after all, the allies, turkey, throwing their weight around is also a nato ally and saudi arabia is doing things that would not have been permitted before and it is because we are not using our leverage as an ally with them, and the same is true with israel, because i believe in the alliance and i believe it is important, and i also believe it is in the american interests as well as the palestinian and jewish and israeli interests that israel not reach the point that there has to be a choice between either being a jewish state or democracy and there is a trajectory towards that going on
now, and i won't commit to all of the ways that the leverage can and will be used, but i will say that the policy goal is to do what you do when a friend is moving in a way that you are worried about which is to put your arm around your friend and guide them somewhere better. >> so you won't condition it comple completely? >> what is that? >> you won't condition it completely? >> i won't put that string on aid today. >> and we have a bunch of other people here. and so i take one more from there and then back to the balcony. >> i am lexi and fourth year in the college and one of less than one dozen native american citizens and president of the choctaw nation in oklahoma and do you have any plans for the native americans who are one of the most marginalized and least represented minority groups in the united states. >> yes, and thank you for speaking to this. one thing that i am very proud of is that the first time federally recognized indian
country came to the state of indian was in south bend. it was in the context of the 30-year struggle on their part and alongside the partnership that we joined with the pottawatomie nation in our land. i learned about the tribal zorn -- sovereignty, and also the tribal citizens falling out of the protections of the sovereignty and which is why we need a decision in the federal court. and so there has been a failure to recognize free and prior informed consent on the tribal lands which is how you got the free standing rock situation. i will say when i visited the obama white house as a mayor, it is clear that there was a relationship with the mayor and cities and relationship with the states and with tribes. this was considered a very natural part of
intragovernmental relationships. i believe that we need a white house that does recognize the relationships and they are extremely important for tribal citizens and american citizens, and disproportionate number who serve in the military as well. so we have a number of obligations built up over time that we will honor when i am president. thank you. >> thank you. >> we will grab two more questions. one from the balcony and one over here. start up over here. >> thank you for coming. i'm gabe, and a fourth year studying policy and statistics. i wanted to ask what differentiates your medicare for all policy from the other public policy options that the democratic candidates are proposing and why do you think it is a better policy? >> great. there are a number of features with the eye on the clock, you can read faster than i can talk so you can see the guts online. but the few things that i think is important, and you can see the approach on the affordability, and we make sure
that there is a cap on how much of your income can go towards premium, and 8.5%, and then we have the subsidies to make it possible for anybody to afford coverage, and another thing that is important is that frankly philosophically, i would like for this to guide us toward medicare for all and single-payer environment, because we need a little bit of humility to discover by doing whether that is going to be the right answer for everybody, and instead of assuming that it will be and requiring everybody to embrace it. >> so in other words, if progressives like me are right that the public alternative is going to be better, then everybody is going to opt into it, and it is going to become the single payer, but i don't want to risk other people's health care of us having gotten it right in washington, and nor do i want to have it guessed for the number of years that it will take to get there in washington. that is why it is great to create this in the alternative.
>> fine. >> the important principle is not that the government is going to be the payer, or the insurer, and the importance is that you are getting coverage one way or another, and that is a philosophical difference for folks who feel that they want to add to the framework of the aca. >> yes? >> hello, i'm marissa and a student at the law school. so because of that i had a question about the supreme court, and i thought that some of the ideas were pretty interesting. so i think that there is concern that any new threat to the supreme court to open the door for even more partisanship, and maybe the republicans would come up with their own court-packing scheme in the next cycle, so i want you to elaborate on the creative ideas that you have floated and any concerns that it could open to door for more partisanship in the court, and how serious you are about them.
>> yes. so this is really important and the idea of reforming the supreme court is not to make it more liberal. i will make it more liberal with the people i appoint to it. but that is not what structural reform should be about. on the contrary, the purpose of structural reform should be less politicized and that has to be the core of any reform we understand take. that is why if we are going to expand the number of members of the court, the idea that i floated is one where one-third of the court can only be ceded by 2/3, and so the ten justices can be by the court of those, and then the other 1/3 ceded. and so i am not smart enough to have thought of this on my own, and there is an article in the
"yale journal" that is going to address this. >> that is a law school in the east? >> so i am told. others have floated term limits, and 18 years which is going to guarantee how many vacancies, but it is not dialing down the politic, and another is to rotate people off of the appellant bench. i am not doctrineaire, but we are going to need to reform, and it it is an option, because the supreme court has been changed many times. the supreme court changed it to eight justices until they took power again. and it is reformed in healthier ways. in the 1970s constitutional amendments were happening all of the time to improve the government. 25th amendment to change the voting age to 18, and the others, the amendments like the e.r.a., and i have not given up on it, and the fact that the fight happened had good
consequences to lead to things like title 9. so this is a moment where obviously our political structures have not kept up with the times. that means calling into action whether the united states has the right number of states or justices and maybe even whether the u.s. house will have the right number of representatives and not the make et more liberal, because that is to go out to political space and do, and argue for, and to make government more responsive, because it is unresponsiveness leads to pathologies that are even more disturbing than the trump presidency. >> did you say whether the united states has the right number of states? >> yes. >> this is not some cheap play to indiana to merge with illinois, is it? >> no, we are all set on our side of the state line frankly.
no, but the idea that if you are living in d.c. and a dishwasher and you don't have representation, and the principle there, is that it is the most african-american state in the union, and so that is an example, and the people of puerto rico decide to be a state, we should welcome that and we should not wait on that to have e llectoral votes, becae if they did, we might not have seen the disgrace of maria. and we have lost the muscle memory to do it over the past 40 years, and it is time for the new season of structural reform to the democracy. >> let me say before we let you go how much we appreciate your being here, and i wanted to say to all of you how much we appreciate all of you being here, and this is going to be an enormously consequential
election, a election, and we have through the institute of politics and now a campus-wide effort called uchi votes, because we are hoping that the decisions that are going to be made this year is going to impact dramatically on the quality of life in the future of our country that you are going to live as mayor pete likes to speak about -- what is your line when you are as old as the current president is, 2054? >> it is 2055 now. yeah, the thought is just that when i reach that current age of the current president, i want to look back at 2020 and say, that is when things start to get better. i think it is going to be decided in these years coming up if the climate is going to be
one to sustain us, whether the systemic racism is going to be wrangled down to size or if it is going to drag down the american project, and whether we can build an economy especially in the new machine age where it is working for everybody or whether the numbers on the page go up that most people don't feel, and these things are going to be worked out for us, and this is going to go down as one of the most consequential times in the history of the republic and it is why we need imagination, and a spirit of boldness coupled with unity and i refuse to accept that boldness means to beat everybody else over the head and crushing them into submission. i think that boldness means having answers that are going work and gathering that majority to get it done. this is our chance, and this is maybe our last chance and that is why i am running. >> it is all up to you, but no pressure. so thank you very much, mayor pete buttigieg.
live tonight, two candidates challenging president trump for the republican nomination. c-span is going to host the conversation of former massachusetts governor bill weld and south carolina governor mark sanford talking about the plans and the strategies and why they are running against the president. they will be taking the calls and the tweets and the facebook comments. and the campaign 2020 coverage is live tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern c-span and watch any time on cspan.org and listen any time using free c-span radio
app. ploliticon is live from nashville at 2:00 p.m. saturday. speakers are political pundit an coulter, and dennis fromme and analyst jim comey and also nbc news commentator nicolle wallace and james carville and shawn hannity and al franken, and watch live on c-span and any time on cspan.org and listen wherever you are using free c-span radio app. a house subcommittee is looking into the legislation to require employers to accommodate pregnant employees. members heard from a former emt worker who took the unpaid leave in her pregnancy, because her employer would