tv Newsmakers Guy Cecil Priorities USA CSPAN May 6, 2018 10:03am-10:37am EDT
followed by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein talking about the rule of law a congressional oversight. later, a look at how mental illness is dealt with in the .riminal justice system >> welcome to newsmakers. the primary season is in full swing. we are pleased to welcome guy cecil, from priorities usa, a democratic super pac. michael, you are up first. news,had good unemployment below 4%. is the economy revving up create headwinds for the democratic argument in 2018? guy: there are two ways to look at the economy.
we have seen consistent job gain. 220 thousand jobs gained throughout the entire obama administration into the trump administration. we have a problem with wages. we have a problem with people not entering the employment market. a lot of us in d.c. in new york look at these things from the 30,000 foot view. how is grossed mastic product doing -- grossed a mystic product doing. product doing.ic i do not think it is completely in line with the story the administration is telling. stay on democrats to these issues. , you said you were going to commit $50 million in spending and digital ads.
you were going to be talking to vote switchers. , in thewalk us through states you have highlighted, what are you saying to romney and clinton voters, and obama trump voters? how are those messages going to be different? guy: one of the things we consistently see, we have seen it in the off year elections, almost every public poll, health care and taxes continue to be one of the top two or three issues facing the country. you will see us talk about those issues. over the last year and a half we talkingn online and about the harms of the republican health care plan and tax plan. the other thing i would point out is these voters are one part of our operation.
i think they are a particular part of the electorate democrats have the lord. they had the -- they have ignored. significantl have part of our program focused on midterm drop off voters, those voters that participant date in presidential years, and that disproportionally affects democrats. at the raise, two thirds of our program focused on turning a african-americans and people that we thought were open to voting for a democrat for the first time in a wild. those -- why do voters have not turned out? , it what happened was became self-fulfilling prophecy.
we were active in miami and fort lauderdale, and jacksonville and florida. we were active in florida and milwaukee. when you look to the i-4 corridor, the highway between tampa and orlando, there was not enough activity. it was a function of how people view the midterm. people have walked away from trying to persuade americans. nobody is convince a bowl. -- convinceable. balloteitkamp one on the despite that mitt romney won by double digits. tammy baldwints and scott walker. all we are doing is ceding the ground to republicans. we have something important to say to them.
>> we have been doing research swinghow to message voters. is there anything you have uncovered that is surprising to you? you think the sister but it is actually not? we did a group that focused on young african-americans. millennials. and in particular those who have not been part of the electoral process. they don't vote in midterm elections or they chose to sit out 2016. they are certainly counterintuitive. it is important for us to hold donald trump accountable, that it while we are doing is talking about donald trump that his motive -- that is not motivating.
in many ways donald trump is the living, breathing embodiment of why they think the system is working against them. constantly only talking about trump has a negative impact on their interest. it highlights the point of yes, donald trump is not going to let election be anything other than a referendum on donald trump. the entire conversation is about stormy and mueller. those things are important but it is not what is going to decide the election. convincing democrats we need to hold trump accountable but we need to get back to talking about bread and butter issues becomes important. >> do you worry about the attempt to make that next step. there seems to be complaints about confusion about what the brand stands for. are you worried about how voters
see the party? if the expectation is democrats are going to develop a slogan and that is going to set the world on fire and make the difference, i don't think that is what you can expect. we are more diverse. we have interest in a wider way -- a right of issues. we get in this mold of talking issues and not values. my advice to candidates running, be talking more about their values and their vision for the country. if you look at the ads running in the midterms in the off year ,lections, run by democrats they have been doing that. they are not talking about what is happening in d.c.. in real time.his
75% of our advertising was positive. it wasn't talking about accusations, it wasn't talking about donald trump. it was talking about our candidate. i think it is going to be a balance but when you get on the ground you find candidates are consistent on the issues. >> when donald trump holds his i cutally, he will say your regulations and i'm fighting china. that is what he is offering. what are democrats offering? >> our focus is simple. we want to give everybody a fair shot. raising wages, expanding jobs coming giving every opportunity they desire. how muchccasionally talk about the tax argument,
when democrats talk about the republican tax plan we win the argument. it is simple. republicans have chosen to raise in the middle class are going to pay with higher twitching costs, higher premiums, with stagnant wages. we are seeing that. there is nosaid evidence that the tax credits are going to accrue to the benefit of working people. we were saying that before they decided to vote for the bill. is a message against trump. what is the positive message? educational from opportunities. letting students negotiate their rates. it includes a real infrastructure build to bring jobs back to communities that need them the most. we have announced 52
infrastructure weeks. next week is always infrastructure week. raising wages, educational opportunity. if we speak to those, we will be successful. >> your class of candidates elected and reelected are now running for reelection. if you are back at the committee , how would you advise them to run their campaigns, specifically how to run it differently than they did in 2012? at the dsc see -- dscc. which i had done, more emphasis on positive campaign ads that are values-based and
talk about your record of deliveredhat you have . we see that in montana. there is an ad out talking about what jon tester has done for veterans. that is number one. we have to make sure we have the right balance of turning out are based but not walking away from persuadable voters. they are there. , people we have done who voted for trump and president obama, a third of them have an unfavorable opinion of donald trump. have an unfavorable opinion of congress. a congress that holds the president accountable. where democrats have dropped the ball particularly in midterm elections, letting republicans define the race early. we can't allow republicans to do
that. we have to make sure we republicans go up attacking, we're up and on the air quickly. are going to be playing defense in a lot of states. he is going tod call out the incumbent. people theynst the may have voted for in the past. how do you inoculate him a credits against presidential attacks? he had toemocrats, join the administration. there is a challenge dealing with that. when you look at the place of where you are talking about deeper red states, they are smaller states. more people get to know their elected official.
they have 85% name id. viewedncumbent is favorably. every single one of these states. continued to connect yourself to the state and not necessarily every nuance happening. people will vote for heidi heitkamp and joe donnelly and claire mccaskill because they i knowhey will win -- they are there fighting for us. the more emphasis we have on that and the less on partisan on variousfocus investigations, the better we will do in those states. will of our incumbents have higher favorability ratings than donald trump and we should not run away from that. >> less talk about impeachment? the i am agnostic about debate.
there is those who are not paying attention to every nuance of what is happening. they are paying attention to television ads, going into the summer when kids are out of school. more issues on stormy daniels, to be clear, we should elect investigations proceed. investigationst proceed. the trump administration the various pieces of it accountable. that is different than choosing it as the basis for which you are running for office. the more we focus on where people are and what they care about, the less we focus on washington, the better off we are going to be in a lot of house races. , wepeaking of house races
are heading into primary season. we have a ton of crowded primaries in california, in taxes we have well-funded democrats running. we have seen your committee express interest to intervene in these races in texas where they tried to keep one candidate out. they have dabbled in california. do you think the party should be more active helping to shape these primaries so that the -- or do youidates think that will enrage activists and might be turned off? is different.a everyone is on the ballot at one time. unlike most of the country brief have a democratic primary republican primary, everyone is on the ballot. making sure that we have a democrat as one of the top two vote getters in three or four
races, war that is a possibility is the function of the d triple c. they should be making sure we have that. we are expansionist. i think we are going to win more than we lose to set the bar low. me less.ries worry if we were in a midterm in 2010 or 2014 where we knew we were going to be outspent, enthusiasm was not on our side, i would be more concerned. i do not think that is the case in this election. >> you think the house or senate will flip? >> the house is in great shape given where we are. the senate, if you would have asked me a year ago whether we have a chance, i would have said no. i would not have thought much about it. when you look at most of the
senate races so far, nbc news ,oday, their top four races three were republican held seats. the fact we have a potential pickup in nevada, arizona, in tennessee, texas is going to continually be more competitive, we have interesting primaries even though the math overall is working against us, we do have a shot. it is not the most likely thing but if we can pick up to her theory republican seats we have a chance -- two or three republican seats we have a chance. it would have been a steeper climb if we had not won that race. >> a group that spent a lot of there is alevision, sense that democrats have lost their digital edge. that the web was a democratic zone when obama came up.
it stayed that way for a while. where did democrats lose their step in what do you need to do to get it back? >> republicans caught on quickly because you had groups like those founded by the koch brothers and mercer that were consistently every day funding organizations focused on talking to people online. viewing elections as cyclical things that happen every two years. you might buy a youtube video and that would be the extent. that does not work anymore. invested in training campaign managers and digital a digitalon what campaign looks like. which is a egregious when democrats rely more on younger voters. ,e rely more on people of color
only using mobile. campaignthing is, air grid outdated. we were so focused on catching up on television, making sure we were matching every dollar for every dollar on television, we were not asking how do i reach the voter that i need to reach? tothought it was important level the playing field. , almost at house races everything, democrats were outspent by three or four to one online. that is not sustainable. we know more people are getting their news and information online than ever before. >> you laid out a list of states you are going to be active in. is there any plan to expand that? how are you making those decisions?
we started in seven states because they had races up and down the ballot. a governor's race or a senate race, multiple congressional races. they werease, competitive enough, if we know one thing, we know democrats have been terrible at winning down ballot races and we need to have a renewed focus on that. .hat is how we started we are expanding in several other states. we moved into missouri and north dakota. we will be announcing 25 races will be advertising in. in 18-20 states. we are working on the final details. it will be a large matter for us.
>> senator chuck schumer came out for legalizing marijuana. how thatwhat you think would play. is that a motivating thing for younger voters? absolutely. i do not think there is any question in the place we have seen legalization on the ballot it has increased interest in the election for young voters in particular, increased turnout. that is not the reason someone should be for it, but it is a winner in terms of the politics of it. especially with the midterm where we have seen participation rates drop. >> red states and blue states? guy: i have not seen the polling broken down by state but theonally you are with folks that have expressed interest in legalization.
>> i would be curious to get your thoughts on the way priorities share their money. you do not have to immediately report. do you think that is problematic for democrats and their argument about more transparency, getting dark money out of races, to have an organization like yours, those methods of communicating where you do not have to be transparent, is that problematic? guy: we would not have the campaign-finance system we have today, but we do. we are not going to disarm against the republicans. we have a training program for digital activists.
we have activation programs we are talking about irrespective of who is on the ballot, and the foundation focused on suing a number of states on voting rights. we are currently suing states of indiana and new hampshire on these issues. we would not design a situation the way it is. 2020 question. your view on who should be the nominee. are there characteristics or advice you would give to that giant class of potential nominees about what lessons they should take, and what you know? >> compete in wisconsin and michigan. also compete in arizona and georgia. i think we are going to have a bigger map than ever before because we have states rapidly
changing. we still are competitive. i think we are to win a lot of races. the authentic. i know it sounds trite. i think being true to your -- not trying to design for the it is one tooup, be important. have an expansionist view of the electorate. we should be talking to more people about what democrats stand for. not just a list of policy proposals. those are the things i would most focused on. if you are in econ did it -- candidate, certainly. gop,favorite target of the house members clamoring for
younger leadership. a plus three minus? guy: i think neither. not nancy pelosi, before nancy pelosi it was harry reid. if it wasn't nancy pelosi will be chuck schumer. this has been used in every election since i have been and politics. the republican national committee said the person they were going to run against most was hillary clinton. who is not on the ballot. they are going to value that education. care, it is not logical and it will not work. leaderas been a great for the party. she is the reason much of the obama agenda passed. i fully support her running again. >> thank >> talking 2018 midterm
whotions with our reporters questioned guy cecil of priorities usa. now, democrats. have the momentum going into this election what are the realities in terms of fundraising and tactical prowess for each party? >> democrats are in a candidate situation, and a great position. raised bynts were out their opponents. much higher than in traditional midterm years. from a candidate fundraising perspective, democrats are in good position. the party perspective is more mixed. the rnc has had more success with the president, the party in power able to raise money off getting things done in agenda. not had as robust of a fund-raising operation and that will be painful for them.
as guy talked about, in a lot of ways there outmatched in outside funding. congressional leadership fund raised more than $60 million last year, which is not record-breaking. it is a mixed bag for democrats in fundraising. >> the other difference -- republicans are spending in the center level, a time of money against each other and democrats have avoided that on the statewide level. in the house races, their costly. what is going on west virginia, $4 million, republicans are throwing at each other. none of that money will be used to attack joe manchin in the general election. there is a way democrats are enjoying the spectacle, sitting back and watching. >> priorities usa has a big focus on digital. ask the post facebook question but how are voters feeling about political information coming the a social media?-- via social
>> it is effective to reach voters. we are not suddenly going to move away from that because people are suspicious. interested in looking where ads are coming from and if facebook follow through on promises to acquire transparency in the ads, people might be more interested in doing research on their own. digital ads are not going away. their still very effective of micro-targeting to a very specific universe of voters. that is a power tv is not capable of doing at this point. digital is not going anywhere. >> the way you can deal with that -- they can change what the creative is to deal with that skepticism. a group like priorities will buy an ad to get you to know something about a candidate but it will look like a priority sad, it will be a link to a news article. add, it will be
a link to a news article. that is how it will be adjusted. we don't have a situation where people are no longer going to twitter or facebook or turning off phones. it is how to navigate the new skepticism. >> let's return to the economy. continues, the jobless rate continues to come along and favorable situations, will it impact november? >> i think guy's answer is right. even if the economy is doing well, 3% the, the stock market continues to go up, our people actually feeling it? are they getting raises, are they less worried about health care, college? half, last decade and a this story of americans getting squeezed and it will take a while to get over that. it is a question of whether people feel in a personal life, that momentum.
the wage data was not as good as employment data today. i'm not sure we're at a point where everyone is feeling great. the other thing, the economy matters in presidential years, more than in midterm years, especially when you have one party in governance. the american people have a tradition of hedging their bets. one question democrats are asking -- do you want to elect someone to be a check on republican party power in washington? even tennessee, that question -- even among republicans, they are sympathetic to the idea. we don't want just one party control. that will counteract economic. >> the change message, the check and balance will be a more powerful one since we have this prolonged sense we are being squeezed, in our personal bank accounts. this idea of a change election has been the way people have felt about it, cycle after cycle and i don't think that will be going away. >> i just ran out of time. partisans on both sides were
discounting the special elections earlier, saying they were not appropriate bellwethers. what about the ones coming up? which races are you watching over the next weeks? th i'm watching ohio 12 special election, the primary on tuesday. it is a suburban district voted for trump by about 10 points last cycle, but it is one showing all the signs that might trend a way republican -- away from republican. it doesn't like the president. it is john kasich's all-district. trump is not someone who resonates there, democrats are excited about the possibility of flipping the seat and it would give them an election into the midterm saying, we can persuade those voters to support democrats. >> we will watch that as a result.
thank you very much for being it is weak. >> thank you for having it -- thank you much for being here this week. >> the keeper having us. -- thank you for having us. q&a, author and former as where contributing editor on his new book, "rocket men." >> i began to talk to the ashen knots, what a major -- to the astronauts, what a major role the wives played. all three of them believed without their wives, they could not have pulled this off. apollo8 was the most daring mission nasa had run. it looked too many people like near certain death to go on this thing. there was rushed, very quickly, everything was for the first time. these men needed wives who were supportive but not just supportive, who also did not reveal to their husbands, just
how much they were suffering and how terrified they really were. >> q&a, tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> connect with c-span to personalize information you get from us. go to www.c-span.org/connect and sign up for email. the program guide is a daily email with updated primetime schedules, and upcoming live coverage. word for word gives you the most interesting daily video highlights, the commentary. the book tv newsletter sent weekly, an insiders look at upcoming authors and book festivals. the american history tv weekly newsletter gives you the upcoming programming exploring our nation's past. nect andw.c-span.org.con sign up today. withxt, a conversation