tv Eric Holder Arnold Schwarzenegger Discuss Redistricting CSPAN March 27, 2019 2:13am-3:18am EDT
the military challengesspeak on in the indo pacific region. mike pompeo state testifies about foreign policy strategy and the 2020 budget proposal for the state department. former california governor arnold schwarzenegger and former attorney general eric holder discussed gerrymandering. both speakers called on the supreme court to will against the practice of dust to a rule against the practice of manipulating voting districts to give the ruling party and advantage. they attended supreme court arguments earlier in the day and this is an hour. [applause]
>> good afternoon, everybody. thank you for being patient. welcome to the national press club. the place where news happens. i think some's going to happen today. i'm the 112th president of the national press club and a correspondent with national public radio. i'd just like to take a moment to remind you all to pull out your cell phones and look at the ringer and then turn it off. then put your phone away again. so that we don't have interruptions. there's a lot of cameras here. so, here is the headline for you. republicans and democrats agree. ok, so they don't agree on everything. but they don't agree on much. but some members of both parties, including our guest today, do agree that it is an gerrymandering, the practice of drawing political boundaries to benefit members of particular political parties, has to go. that's what brought former
governor arnold schwarzenegger, a republican, and former attorney general, eric holder, a democrat, here to the national press club today. governor schwarzenegger, who created the incubator, and mr. holder are here as the supreme court across towners can whether -- as the supreme court considers whether to end the practice of partisan gerrymandering, a practice that is discriminatory. however the court comes down on this issue, it will have consequences for the 2020 election. the justices heard oral arguments this morning in cases where republicans of north carolina and democrats in maryland are said to have drawn the lines of congressional districts to benefit incumbents and disadvantaged minorities in the process. our two guests today say that is fundamentally unfair. and they are not alone. the republican governor of maryland, larry hogan, says gerrymandering stifles real political debate and deprives citizens of meaningful choices.
former president barack obama says gerrymandering allows politicians to, quote, pick their voters, and not the other way around. so, we're going to get into all these issues around gerrymandering with our guests today. please give a warm national press club welcome to eric holder and arnold schwarzenegger. [applause] >> if there are questions, there are cards like these around the room. you can write them down and they will be passed on to me on stage. i am here because i wanted to listen to the arguments at the supreme court, there were two cases, one was the maryland case , where the republicans have 35% of the votes, and only got 12.5% of the representation. so obviously, heavy
gerrymandered. in north carolina, the other way around. thecrats on the got 23% of representation, even though they had 70% of the vote. i just wanted to listen to thick. and we had a rally out front and talked about how terrible gerrymandering is. i was kindly invited to come here and sit here with attorney general eric holder, and we have never really met, so this was a great occasion to meet and team up, and i am so excited that eric is also into the same thing i am income that which is, let's , andid of gerrymandering let's have true representation. i feel that ronald reagan put it hequently, in the 80's, when said it is anti-democratic and
un-american, gerrymandering, it is a national scandal. the technology has become so sophisticated that now it is really extreme. we see this extreme to the left and the right, and i think in washington, that is why nothing is getting done. i want to terminate this problem, obviously. that's why i'm here. [laughter] [applause] eric: i am here, i don't have the ability to say something cool like that. [laughter] i also went to end the practice of gerrymandering. we formed an organization all in the name of making democracy fair and to have representatives whom were reflected the desires of the people who put them in office. i think president obama is exactly correct. we have a system where politicians are picking your voters as opposed to citizens choosing who their
representatives are going to be. i have been going around the , a multirying to pronged strategy of doing away with this problem of gerrymandering. one of the things that the governor and i agree on is this idea of independent commissions to draw the lines. it is actually one of the better done.n which that can be it is a successful system that they have in california, the choiceve states, was put before the voters in five states last year and in every stage, citizens decided that was something they wanted to do. we're alsonization, supporting candidates who will stand for fair redistricting. we have also filed lawsuits against those states that have engaged in partisan gerrymandering. i am the head of the national democratic redistricting rc is not anut nd
organization that has been put together to gerrymander for democrats. we want to make sure the system is fair. let us make this about a battle between the ideology of conservatives, immigrants, and make that the factor -- conservatives, democrats, and make that the factor of who serves in congress, as opposed to food draws the line -- as opposed to who draws the lines the best. districts can be drawn in such a way that you can draw a line down the street. all with the aim of promoting the interests of one party and not promoting the interests of our democracy. so i am glad to have the governor as a partner in this issue. i am a lot more familiar with
him than i suspect he is a make i'm a big fan of his movies. i will get a picture with him when we leave. [laughter] governor assassinated: thank you very much. schwarzenegger: thank you very much. host: if the supreme court rules in a way you don't want it to come out what would capitol hill look like? what would change? what do you envision? there have been studies that show that even though there was a blue wave that happen in 2018 when democrats took over the house, i have seen reputable studies that show that but for gerrymandering, democrats would have got another 16 seats in congress. if the supreme court were to rule in a with in which i hope that they will, we would have more fair elections in a far greater number of states and legislatures would look
different. north carolina would look different. wisconsin would look different. the seat in maryland would look different. representational from maryland look different. the country would look different. the legislative bodies at the state level would reflect the desires of the people, and that is what we need to focus on. when itarzenegger: comes to this particular subject, of fair representation redistricting reform, i don't care if it is a blue don'tr a red ways, i about that, because there are a lot of issues that are truly people's issues. and not political issues. now, the politicians will make it a political issue, but in
reality, they are not. for instance, in california when i fought for fair redistricting and to get rid of gerrymandering, and we tried several times to get it to the ballot box, to have the people vote on it, it was voted down several times obviously because it was not a hip thing yet, people do not understand it, so we just had to communicate better, but eventually, we won. not only the redistricting reform to create an independent commission, but also, open primaries. that is had tremendous impact in california. the republicans are very angry. first, it was the democrats and the republicans who were very angry. spent 4 million dollars against us due to redistricting reform. she was telling everyone, this
is just a power grab. this is just something for the republicans, stuff like that. [laughter] that was kind of the opinion. but then when it was all done, and we now have an independent commission. common cause, of course, was very helpful. so, kathy, thank you very much for being here --, because. -- common cause. the first election after it , and fors 2012 republicans lost their seats, and for democrats gained seats. the following election in 2014, 1 republican lost a seat and one democrat gained a seat. 2018, 7 it was even, in more republicans lost their seats and seven more democrats
gained seats. so, you can imagine. but to me, i don't care. i have never thought about it that -- i have never thought about it as losing to the democratic party. what is more important to me is what is happened to california. in california, we have seen that the legislative approval rating to gone from the 20% rating over 50%, because now both parties are working together. . the. democrats will always be democrats and republicans will always read republicans -- will always be republicans. but now we crossed the aisle and get things done together because we know that only when both parties work together can we get really great results. now, the democrats are talking issues,sues -- business they are voting more than 90% with the chamber of commerce in california.
the would of never heard that before. heard would have never that before. just to show to you, now, eight democrats have voted for the , wheremental protection we reduce greenhouse gases to 25%, now they will go all out and extended to 2040. now, governor brown had eight republicans vote for that, think about how that changed. i only had one republican vote for my environmental reforms. now, governor brown had eight. this is how much it has changed. now republicans talk about immigration reform and all kinds of issues that are much more to the center. about, ahat i care more functional government. this is why we have become a model for the rest of the nation, this is why other states
were interested, this is why ohio did it. governor kasich was a friend of mine and he asked me for information about that, and ohio went through the initiative. and it passed and was very successful. utah,rse, michigan, colorado has followed, and also passed this. ballot,w put it on a people immediately vote for that because it is a no-brainer. because it is an acceptable what theoing on right now with gerrymandering. and i will just add one more thing, it is not just about the fate of one party or the other -- to favor one party or the other, but democrats and republicans are very tricky. they draw the lines not just to favor their party, but to lock themselves in into safe seats.
why? because then, no one can challenge them. if you are in a democratic district, you have to be way to the left in order to get elected. if you are in a republican district, you have to be way to the right to get elected. if you don't stay there, you get immediately challenged. but if you stay to the left or to the right, you don't get challenge. that means there is no competition, job security. and when there's no competition, there is no action. so this is why, when you look at washington here, it doesn't matter that three decades, they have been talking about immigration reform. the republicans were in power and did not get it done. democrats were in power, they didn't get it done. republicans were in power, they didn't get it done. so it doesn't matter. they don't have to get it done, because they get re-elected. congress' approval rating is below 20% and 98% get
reelected. so it is a total fixed system. they don't have to do anything because it was no competition. that is the scandal, that nothing is getting done. this is the number one country in the world, which is what i got involved in it because as an thought i i never would be involved in redistricting reform when i came the number oneis country in the world and i said, i will do everything i can to keep it the number one country in the world. [applause] host: you mentioned approval rating. schwarzenegger: i just wanted to point out, this guy said he has wider shoulders than arnold. [laughter] rush.up, [applause]
mr. schwarzenegger: he is the white house chef. he cooks over at the white house. but that is not why i am a big fan of him. not only because of his extraordinary body, but he is really involved in afterschool programs. out to schools and inspiring kids to stay in school and do their homework, and not to go out in the streets and not get involved in gangs and violence, so this man is the real deal. i love this guy. thank you so much for being here today. [applause] holder: those are two of the largest human beings i think i have ever seen. [laughter] mr. schwarzenegger: i don't like to take pictures with this guy, i can tell you. [laughter] mr. schwarzenegger: major something about him, he does 2,222 pushups a day. why that number? because the 22 represents the amount of people committing
suicide, veterans committing suicide, a day. isn't that correct? that is why he is doing exactly that number. 2,222 pushups. i mean that's insane. course, he eats also like a cow. [laughter] i have never seen anybody eat so much. anyway, i don't want to get off subject. host: i think we already did. [laughter] host: ok, not our oil get a really boring because i am going back to gerrymandering. you mentioned approval rating for congress. it holder, how important is doing, ratherare than those anecdotes that show that if district are not gerrymandered, that they somehow to their citizens?
mr. holder: in a gerrymandered system, citizens don't have the ability to affect the position of their elected representatives. if you are dissatisfied with your congressman or state legislator but they are in a gerrymandered state district, you do have the capacity to go out there and actually get rid of the person. one of the things that i think governor schwarzenegger said , that focuses on issues, it really matters. country, 70% of people are in favor of background checks before people have the ability to buy a weapon. and yet, we have seen state after state and certainly in our who representle the wishes of the people, congressman, state legislators, who have not voted for that. and there has been no electoral consequence because they are in gerrymandered seats. i think the governor's right
also, the gerrymandering pushes people to the extremes. you are more worried about a primary than you are about a general election and the thing you guard against is a primary. therefore, if you are in the republican party, you go to the right. if you are in the democratic party, you go to the left to forestall a primary challenge. so citizens are concerned about somebody has taken in congress or in the state legislature don't have the ability to bring about change, and it cheapens our votes. host: governor schwarzenegger, you mentioned the california citizens commission and at that moment, is it the gold standard for redistricting reform? why go with a citizens commission versus an algorithm? the are talking about technology
being so good, or some other thing that might create fairness. surechwarzenegger: i am that there are many things that would work. very tell you, we were lucky in california, and i think it shows you the great job but common cause has done, because the way they selected this group, it was so complex. but kind of bullet-proof. first, it was people that signed up to become part of the commission, then there was an independent auditing panel that picked 60, 20 from the democrats come attorney from the republicans, 20 from the independents. then, they give it to the legislative leaders, minority and majority leaders to take two of each away, and they went through that process until they narrowed it down to eight. rest eight had to pick the of the six.
now you have five democrats, five republicans, and for independence. independents. and in the decisions they way they drew the districts has been so well done that i recommend, of course, for someone that wants the redistricting reform to model as close as possible. now, ohio went in a different direction, that they did a really great job. in michigan, they didn't go exactly in that direction but they went close. i think as long as we go in get the power away from the politicians and give it to thenary folks that have interest of the people rather than the interest of the politicians, i think that is the way we will accomplish it. we can do it state-to-state. i think california has shown the way of how much we have improved the way things get done in
california, that other states now are interested. specifice a commission, the attorney general has, but we are going through the schwarzenegger institute at u.s.c. and working closely with common cause and league of women voters and other interest groups like beck, that wanted to have fair representation. we are working together. and i have been kind of like going around the country and put ting the spotlight on this issue and using my star power for something good like that, because i think this is where the action is and i think that we will bring politicians closer -- politicians closer together, and we will get more done in this country if we eliminate gerrymandering. mr. holder: i think each state is different and you don't have to have the same system in every state to have an effective, more representative government. but we always hold out
california as the gold standard. i talk always about california and arizona as having good systems that other states might think about in terms of replicating them. hasthen, again, michigan gone a different way, missouri will be a little different, ohio will be a little different, but the aim is the same, to eliminate gerrymandering. statesith all these taking action, do you need the supreme court to intervene? mr. holder: i think you do. it is incumbent upon the supreme court to look at our democracy and to see the reality of what is happening, and to say that there are limits. the supreme court said there are limits with regard to racial gerrymandering. the very clear precedent is there. the supreme court had never said
that there were limits when it came to a partisan gerrymandering. i would direct this to chief justice roberts who is an do you want tot, be the chief justice that is -- the head of a court that is responsible for citizens united or shelby county, that gutted the voting rights act, and have a court that there are no limits when it comes to partisan gerrymandering. that sweep of cases has had a negative impact and add this to, added a negative impact on the state of our democracy. at some point a think you have democrats, republicans, can go too far, that you can convert our democracy, and yet at some point it becomes unconstitutional. convert our democracy that at some point it becomes unconstitutional. shellfish listening to the arguments, it was clear that there were some justice some reluctant to have the court get involved. bless you.
[laughter] mr. schwarzenegger: that the court gets involved because they feel like if the court does get involved, they run into the danger of being considered political. they feel like if they make a decision that could favor one party or the other, they would this court is, stacked with conservatives and that is why they help the republicans, or the court is liberal and that is why they help the democrats. they are worried about that. but i don't think, and this is my opinion, i'm not a lawyer or anything like that, i just think that should not the a major concern of theirs because what should be the most important concern is how do we make this a fair election process? this is what this is all about. to be fair and to go and, i mean just right off the top, to me, if you have a race, you can only have a difference of 5%.
now when you have like in north carolina, 47% go to the get 23%s and they only of the votes, you say, no. you can only have a 5% difference. not that kind of extreme difference. so there is a way of coming up with some laws. that is what we are struggling with. how do we write the law that dictates to everybody what is unconstitutional? and then, the second worry i ,ave heard them talk about is when we pass the law, this will always go to judges and judges will make the decisions all over the united states, when, in fact, this is the politicians job to do redistricting reform. and of course, the ones that don't want to make any changes say, this will self-heal. what an insane statement to make. [laughter] i mean, after 200 years of gerrymandering, it will self-heal?
there is no such thing as self-healing with politicians, it doesn't exist. i have worked with him firsthand and i can tell you, it doesn't happen. to me, the important thing it's like an accident. the first more important thing is to stop the bleeding. so i think the united states supreme court should stop the bleeding, so we can come up with a way. we hope the supreme court does get involved and helps to solve this problem. mr. holder: and the court has in the past looked into questions of elections and really come up with prescriptive things. when it had to decide the one-person-one vote case, it came up with formulas it applied. the decisions did not generate huge amounts of litigation over time. people get used to what the rules are and act accordingly.
it may mean that the court will have to deal with a few more cases but i don't think the court will be seem as politicized because it is making decisions that protect our democracy. i think the justices took an obligation to protect our democracy, to interpret our constitution in an exropet way -- in an appropriate word, and i don't think they should shrink from that responsibility. mr. schwarzenegger: i just do not accept the word it can't be done or no, it won't be done. i believe what president mandela said. everything is always impossible until someone does it. now that we have done it in california, it is possible and therefore we can do it nationwide. and that's the bottom line. [applause] host: we have a couple of related questions. one says, how has gerrymandering
effect of the black community? what impact has that have? mr. holder, you mentioned the shelby county case. republican lawmakers have taken action to make it harder for some citizens, particularly minorities to vote. mr. holder: in there is a direct correlation between voter suppression and gerrymandering. you see greater voter suppression in gerrymandering states. see measures passed by these gerrymandered state legislatures to make it difficult for people to cast a ballot. there is no question that those two things are connected. you look at gerrymandering itself and how it affects african americans and other minorities, one of the chief ways gerrymandering occurs is by , oring african-americans hispanics, people perceived to
be democrats, or if it is done the other way, republicans. packing them in other districts, cracking them in other places. packing and cracking are the two terms. you put african americans in one district, presuming they are democrats, decreasing the ability of african-americans to have an influence outside that one district, having an impact on the state itself. it is something where he has really republicans have perverted the use of the voting rights act. where you are supposed to put together districts were common it is of interest have an opportunity to express themselves, and they have used it to pack districts will of african-americans which ultimately allows for the election of an african-american congressman or state representative, but really decreases the ability or the influence of the can americans can have on the larger polity.
mr. schwarzenegger: i can agree, because in california, that is not the problem we had. in california, it just didn't a republicanre was district, african-american district, democrat district, asian district, whatever, it was all screwed up. it just needed to be fixed. and that is what our redistricting commission did. they fixed it. nothing is ever perfect, but we are much closer to perfection then we were then. the open primaries also helped democrats and republicans to come closer together. i think this is a very important moderateselect more than the extremes, because when extremes come to washington, the extreme right, and the extreme ,eft, they are so far apart this rubber band does not stretch far enough on to it rips
, to get together in the middle. when they are closer together, it is easier for them to get together and reach across the aisle. i think this is where america is. america in general is much more in the center, they are not that much extreme. this is why think it is important that in order to get things done, we have to elect people that are much more in the center and not to the extreme right, or the extreme left. has their if everyone representation in congress, but a whitely, it is not issue, black issue, democratic or republican issue, we need to be able to fix the illnesses, the different illnesses we have in this country. we have plenty and i think we can fix it and make -- and america, like i said, is a
really good at fixing problems. we just need to work to get things done. mr. holder: we talk about polarization in this nation, and one of the chief causes is gerrymandering. where people, again, are concerned about our primary -- you go further to the right, further to the left, which leads to less cooperation between republicans and democrats because that is seen as a sign of weakness, it makes you more susceptible to a primary challenge. so this cynicism, this polarization leads to an action which leads to people looking at their legislative bodies and having low opinions of them because nothing gets done. if you do away with gerrymandering and you have elections, you have general elections that matter. congressman, people in state legislators will be listening to the people. there will be coming up with things that are more of the
center then of the extremes. he will get more done and it will be what are the ways that we break this fever of polarization that has gripped this nation. mr. schwarzenegger: what attorney general holder just said is absolutely correct because if you at all go from the far left to the center, and a make a deal with the republicans, you get immediate we challenged and taken out in the next election. so this is exactly why i got involved in the first place, because, believe me, when i became governor, i had not the foggiest idea about district lines and redistricting, all that stuff. i didn't come from the political arena. but i had one clear intention that i wanted to make the state better. i was talking about education reform and i saw the democrats sitting with me and said , governor, this is a great
idea, but he said, you know, i can't go there. i said, why kate you go there? he said, if i do that, if i go back to my district, i am out. i would like to help you, governor, but i would like to keep my job. i said i understand that. i had an idea about the environmental issues. and i talked about it, and i said, guys, we have so many cars in california. we have to go and change the emissions standards. instead of cars getting 27 miles getgallon, we should 35 miles a gallon. maybe make a commitment to reduce the greenhouse gases, what about that? and talked to the leaders and i -- the republicans said, this is great, it will be great for my kids. kids with asthma in the central valley. but, you know, i don't think i can go there. you can't count on my boat.
i said, why not? he said, for go back home, i will lose my job in two seconds for voting on environmental issues. together with my team, and like i said, i was somewhat naive in the beginning. i got together with my team and said, how can we fix this? this is crazy. it is a great idea about they will not vote for it. this is how gerrymandering works. that is how i got into this for gerrymandering and supporting it and endorsing it, and it was really interesting that both of the parties hated it when i got involved. i mean, think about this. visualize, the governor's sitting with legislative leaders and they are having a big argument, and they are cursing at each other and calling each other all kinds of things, and
they start spitting at each other. the chairs are flying back and they are getting up and storming out of the room. then, one comes back and says, i am so sorry. was him a leg, shopped. what kind of behavior is this? -- i was, like, shocked. like, what kind of behavior is this? two hours later, i get a phone call back from both those leaders. hi, governor, how are you, we are sitting here at the bar, you should join us. is 5:00, he says, come on over here. i said, wait a minute. you were spitting at each other two hours ago, what are you doing together in a bar? they said, we fight over things. but this one thing, we have in and totally agree on. which is that you shouldn't get involved with this redistricting. [laughter] mr. schwarzenegger: i said what?
this is an important election and you started endorsing this redistricting reform. this is bad for our party, and it is really bad for us, democrats. but my friend here can tell you what it does for the republicans. on the other guy chimed in right away on the phone, he said, oh, it is terrible for the republicans. he said, we get along really well when it comes to this issue. when they hung up, i realized they just wanted to do something that was good for the politicians. it didn't matter whether it was for republicans or democrats. that is why i got so inspired after them phone call, i was so inspired that i would go all out and do everything i can to pass redistricting reform. the following year, we won, because i remember the press kept saying to me, and the people, aren't you sick and tired of this, the people have said no and no, over and over, and i said, no.
when i wanted to bench press 700, and i grown into a 500 bench press, i tried it again and again, until the 12th time it worked and i could do 700. and never give up. i learned that from sports. so eventually we did win. but that is the conversation when the democrats and republicans did go to bed together and it got really dangerous and said yes, this is a terrible idea and don't get involved. i'm very fortunate that i had so many people that helped us that raised the money to go out and communicate well and get it done. mr. holder: the point the governor makes is very important. you have been instances where republicans have tried to gerrymandering and democrats, some democrats have gone along with republicans knowing that it will hurt the democratic party, but it will help them with regard to making sure their seat
is safe. it goes against the best interests of the democratic party and the best interests of the people they represent, but it will preserve their seats, and they will cut deals in that regard. host: is this good or bad for the power of the party? gerrymandering versus the individual politician? it is the democratic party, the democratic national committee with you, or against you? mr. holder: the democratic national committee is with us. i can't say that every democrat is necessarily with us. there will be some democrats, who are in 80% democratic districts, that might have that number of democratic percentage go down to 50%, 48%, something along those lines. from my perspective, that is a good thing. they don't need all these super
majority republican or democratic districts. some of them will naturally be that way on the basis of where that. live, things like but what we have now is an unnatural system. redistricting in virginia is on the contiguous for example, where a river is an high tide. really? they had one in pennsylvania duckwas donald kicking goofy. these two districts that were on the connected by a foot. the district are drawn in such a way that you are preserving the safety of the seat and maybe a particular person at the expense of the people. the strength of a party, it seems to me, ought to be based on the ideas the party has. let's make this a battle of ideas, of ideologies, as opposed to su who has the best drawing
skills. host: we have some young people in the room who are asking questions, first, what do you think millennials will -- what role do you think millennials will play in gerrymandering reform? is this a generational issue? holder: i like that t-shirt -- gerrymandering is not a game. i want one of those t-shirts. millenials don't exercise the power they have or exercise the power they have on the whole range of issues, and gerrymandering can be among them. i read that millenials, largest voting block in the country that don't vote to the same degree that baby boomers do. and if millennials were involved , did vote for candidates who anti-gerrymandering, that you would have an ability to do away with a lot of it.
the reality is that as bad as gerrymandering is, there are some places that you can't change without bringing lawsuits. but if you get huge numbers of people and have turnouts well above what we normally get, you have at least a possibility of changing things. i think young people ought to be involved in the issue especially if you understand that gerrymandering has an impact -- it sounds wonky, kind of a serial, but if you understand that tremendous has everything indo with every issue that people care about -- reproductive choice, saying gun laws, health care, voter suppression, criminal justice reform, all these things are directly tied to gerrymandering and we have special interests, gerrymandered special interest that event to the people from getting the things they want in
those issues, and if people understand that if you care about those issues, you also ought to care about the foundation that prevents those things from getting to a place where you want them to be, and that issue is gerrymandering. mr. schwarzenegger: i totally agree with you why they should be concerned about all the issues you mentioned. but it just want to add, they are doing things now that will affect you, young kids more than they will affect us. think about the debt. when they go to $22 trillion after both parties have promised they will reduce the debt, but now it is at a record high -- last month's numbers came out and it was like $244 billion in february alone. in five months of the expected , which meansllion
when the year is up, it will be $1.1 trillion. that means that today, it is about $350 million per household, that they own. your guys are going to pay it off -- that they owe. you guys are going to pay it off. which is why young kids should get involved in politics, especially in fair representation and in redistricting reform really heavily, because you want congress to make decisions that gives you a rosey future. now, america, basically gives you any way a great future, because it is the greatest country in the world. i can tell you that because i travel all over the world and adam have anyone who comes up to me and says, arnold, can you help me get to china, can you help me to live in middle east, can you help me to live in
africa? no. it is all about, can you help me to get to america? that is where everybody wants to go. it is still the number one country in the world, but we have to keep it the number one country in the world. and the way it is going, with the debt we have, it is so extraordinary, and you guys have it.ay for the other thing, and i know the attorney general will support it 100%, is environmental issues. i amay we are going, and not even talking about global climate change, which is sometimes very hard for people to understand, because it is a complex what will happen down the line, i am talking about what is happening today. around 7 we have desk 7 million to 9 million people who die every year because of environmental issues. and that number will go up. 7 million people from indoor
pollution, and that is going up because of fossil fuels. therefore, it is very important for you to get involved, to fight to get rid of fossil fuels, because fossil fuels will kill us and fossil fuels will create global climate change. i have studied this issue very well. it is another issue i didn't know about when i became governor but when i listened to the studies and the scientists, i became a 100% supportive of that, and that is why i am an environmental crusader around the world, to make sure we stop this madness of using fossil fuels, to start using manuel tols, to electric cars -- switchover to renewables, electric cars, and new technology. but this government doesn't do anything about it. handing oute them research and development money to the car manufacturers and saying, 10 years from now, we want all electric cars?
none of these decisions are made. because they are all stuck in their ideological corners. that is why they can't get together. those are issues that will affect our future generations and that is what i am concerned about. that is why i am fighting for those issues. mr. holder: people have to understand, if you have a gutsy governor like this, and this was a really unpopular stance with regard to his party, when it came to the environment. if you have a got to governor who is willing to lead, he will have people who will support him. and if you have gerrymandered legislatures, you have a governor out there by himself and thethe support, necessary change doesn't happen. the environment ought to be a primary concern to young people. if you look at all the projections, in addition to the death that happens on a year-by-year basis, the earth that we leave to the
younger generation will be fundamentally different from that that i got from the generation before, and we will have to come up with a range of things to deal with, you know, rising sea levels, with the deaths that are caused. various people, in governor positions, i think what of the first ones was arnold schwarzenegger. he he couldn't do anything, can't do anything if he doesn't have a legislature that is willing to pass the laws that he proposes. gerrymandered legislatures are to necessarily be as concerned with those issues that have an impact on your lives. [applause] host: with that, the second question, somebody asked, some cities are changing the voting age to 16 for local elections. the think that is something that should happen nationally?
mr. schwarzenegger: i am not an think thathat, but israel or problem lies. i think our problem lies by fixing gerrymandering. if you really want to improve the system, that is where the action is. i was 16, and i was 18. [laughter] mr. holder: and i think there was a difference between 16-year-old eric and 18-year-old eric. moving it from 21 to 18 made a great deal of sense. in theare able to serve armed services and potentially give your life to the country, i think that is a pretty good demarcation line. at that point i think you should have the ability to vote. host: we have people questioning basically the structure of our system.
yourody asked, what is view on eliminating the electoral for the popular vote, and another one asks, should reconsider proportional representation rather than worrying about physical, geographical districts? again, irzenegger: don't see the electoral college being the problem of our political system in america. back, i am very on saying, hasta la vista to gerrymandering, that is it. that is what i have focused on. [laughter] people bring all kinds of things around it, but it is really dialogue to get our minds off the subject. i think washington knows that there is a rumbling around the country where they want action in terms of getting rid of
gerrymandering. abouty start talking lowering the age, talking about the electoral college, all these different issues in order to get attention away from this issue. this is really the issue and i will stay with that issue. mr. holder: and i will stick with this issue, that i will say, we ought to do away with the electoral college. that is asystem now defect in our democracy. we have had in the last five elections two presidents who did not win the popular vote. the presidency is the one office in this country that represents all the people. you have a district representative, the person who represents your stage, your yourors who represents stage, and it seems to me we should have a direct election of the president of the united states. if we did that, you would have
republicans, who would be campaigning in california. the republicans would campaign in new york. a democrat would campaign in texas. some swing states, smaller states, would not get much attention as they do now, but i think the vast majority of people in this country would get a great deal more attention that they deserve. but i don't want that to take away from the focus, as the governor says, on the problem of gerrymandering. that is what i have devoted most of my post government life towards, eliminating this whole .roblem of gerrymandering host: we have time before we get to the last question. inform you all of a few of coming events at the national press club. on april 1, we have a conversation with cookie roberts on democracy politics and the press. i april 23, my birth date,
get to speak at a headliners luncheon with national economic council or, larry kudlow. on if 26, we have another headliners luncheon with the founder of an hour brad. out,y 2, we have a night in national press club-led campaign to help raise money for the location, and hopefully rescue of austin, a journalist, photographer a georgetown ya and marine who was captured in syria and remains missing. so you're all invited to come. for you, gentlemen, although i will have to get the second one because the governor knocked it over, the highly-coveted national press club mug.
i will give this one to general holder. we, together, will recover that one. [laughter] mr. schwarzenegger: thank you very much. host: from her last question, i think we all heard quietly that the chef over here, can bench press -- is that true? my question today, what can you bench press? [laughter] mr. schwarzenegger: since my shoulder injury, i haven't done bench presses for the last 10 years. but i work out regularly, i do my weight training. we worked out together in goes jim, we had a great time. he just used more weight. for everybody.is this is something that i feel very passionate about. environment, training, fitness, the whole thing. [laughter]
for the last 50 years, i have been on the citizens crusade talking about the importance of exercising. luckily, the crusade has worked and there is a gymnasium in every hotel today, in every military installation, every fire station, in police stations, and capitol hill, in the white house. it has been very successful and i think a lot of people doing it, is really great. i know you are working out regularly, you keep in good shape. mr. holder: i try. and obamazenegger: works out every day, and he is in good shape always. that is my thing. [laughter] mr. schwarzenegger: before we leave, i just want to reiterate aren that this subject we talking about, the very fact that both of us are sitting here today is because it is not a partisan issue, it is not a democratic issue or republican issue, both parties have gerrymandered.
it is the politicians, not the party. this, the power of drawing the districts, away from the politicians and give it to ordinary people, so we can create some coherence in the whole thing. i am going to go to both states with the cases today, to maryland and north carolina, and , tovite you to come with me share this idea that it is not a partisan issue, it is a bipartisan issue. it is an american issue, the people's issue. that is all i want to leave you with. we need to work together and be successful in that, people power. mr. holder: i have never bench pressed, so i have no idea what my capabilities are, but looking , skinny little arms, i don't know what else i can do. i have no basis for comparison.
700 pounds, i know that is beyond my capacity. our democracys, is at stake. our is that stake. the kind of nation we want to have, the kind of democratic system we want to have will be decided by all of us. we have the capacity to make change, and to perfect the system. it is the greatest system man has ever known. but it is not yet as good as it can be. we have to look for these weects that always -- have to always look for these defects and try to make it better. gerrymandering is a problem the nation has let go for too long and has now reared its ugly head in such a way that is dividing us as a nation and causing us to have an inability to deal with really consequential things. the ones that evan has talked --ut -- education, climate
the ones the governor has talked about -- education, climate, a range of issues we cannot address because we don't have the systems in place. change is possible. you have a limited amount of time. redistricting will occur in 2021. a limited amount of time, but i that we have enough time people will stand up like this governor and say, i am not for a particular party, i aim for a better system, as i have tried to do. , it is about having a fair system. if we can work across party lines, i think we can have a better america are weird that is what i think we owe the next generation. [applause] host: thank you.
transgender members on the armed forces. watch the house on c-span. on c-span two, the senate considers whether to officially begin debate on emergency disaster spending. in the morning on c-span3, members of the armed services committee here from commanders on national security challenges in the indo pacific region. at 12:30 p.m., secretary of testifies about u.s. foreign policy strategy and the 2020 budget proposal for the state department. ♪ >> the only thing we have to fear is fear itself! >> ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. >> and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. >> c-span's newest book, the
presidents. >noted historians rank america's best and worst chief executives. true stories gathered by interviews with noted presidential historians. explore the life events that shaped our leaders, challenges they faced, and the legacies they left behind. published by public affairs, the book will be on shelves april 23. but you can preorder your copy as a hardcover or e-book today c-span.org/thepresidents wherever books are sold. next, israel he prime minister benjamin netanyahu on the final day of the american israel public affairs committee conference. he spoke by video and praised president trump's decision to recognize the golan heights as is really territory. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and senate foreign relations committee ranking me