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tv   Campaign 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Speak at We the People...  CSPAN  January 19, 2020 4:01pm-7:19pm EST

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in your neighborhoods, in your professions, in your little communities, this is one of those weird, unique moments in american history where you all have to step up and do what you believe in. that is what i have dedicated my year to. thank you. you guys have been great. thanks! [applause] >> c-span is live in des moines, iowa, where four democratic presidential candidates are speaking at a forum on money in politics. we will hear from pete buttigieg, deval patrick and sens. amy klobuchar (mn) and elizabeth warren (ma) speak at a forum on money in politics, you're watching live campaign 2020 coverage on c-span. the decade since citizens united we have seen only 10 individuals spend $1.2 billion in our elections. we have seen secret donors spend $963 million on attack ads without telling the public who
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funds them. so it is no wonder that americans question whether their representatives are listening to them, or listening to the wealthy and well-connected heard and this loss of faith in our democracy is a real foundational problem. so it requires a fundamental foundational sponsor. we have's -- foundational response. we have seen a groundswell of support for fixing our democracy , for making a foundational change. it is making an impact. we have seen the congress take steps to reflect the energy they have seen nationwide for reforming our democracy. this congress, the house of representatives, made the for the people act their top priority. this democracy reform bill was their number one goal and they debt it, it was their hr one. [applause] -- and they did it. we want our presidential candidates to do the same, to
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prioritize democracy reform, to campaign on it, to talk about it. that is what today is all about, we want to see presidential candidates telling us how they are going to fix our system, what reforms they think are necessary to take us the rest of the way. because anyone who wins the presidency will have a real opportunity moment. they will be able to push for the for the people act. they will be able to take action from their perch as the executive to push for executive orders on democracy reform, dealing with secret money, dealing with ethics problems, dealing with voter suppression. one thing we know is that we cannot handle 10 more years like the last decade. we need to get out from under the problem of citizens united and this is how. today's forum is all about taking us back to what is really a core american value, the idea that all people are equal, that our voices matter the same, regardless of how much money we can spend in politics. to welcomet i want
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everyone to this democracy forum, those who are with us in person, those who are joining us over the livestreamed, and our candidates. i want to turn it over now to another one of the organizational partners who helped put this form together, the naacp. welcomingn me in eddie andrews, the president of the iowa nebraska naacp state conference. [applause] betty: good afternoon, i am president betty andrews of the iowa nebraska and delacey pete state branches. on behalf of our ceo derek johnson and the national board of the naacp, we are excited to take part in this important conversation. our opportunity to make impactful change is here. see --ur opportunity to to seize upon the collective energy to make democracy work
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for our country's future. there is no greater tool or device that working the collective whole, working together in unison, toward a a future forures generations to come. 2020 inch closer to the presidential election, we must and sure issues affecting our community, and our livelihoods, are brought to the table and that people of color have a voice. [applause] that means ensuring that the voting rights act is fully restored. and that finding solutions to barriers for voting are prioritized. it means appointing judges to the courts that reflect the ethics across the board, for all
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members of the court, including supreme court justices. [applause] as it means making sure that after a complete census count that districts are drawn to fairly represent all communities and not be done in ways that produce a gerrymandered district where people of color are passed into -- packed into a single district without analysis regarding the representative -- representational outcomes. [applause] no matter what side of the political spectrum our presidential candidates find ,hemselves, we must understand if america is to become a democracy reflective of its opportunity,rty, and justice for all, it cannot do so without a system that
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unequivocally embraces the rules that are set up to ensure every voice, and every vote counts. that that count toward sustaining a democracy that works for all communities. our opportunity to make impactful change is here. [applause] now, i would like to introduce chris brown, president of the brady campaign. [applause] >> hello iowa. [applause] i am chris brown, the president of rady, one of the nations gun violenceldest prevention organizations. we were formed jim and sarah brady. jim brady was shot in the line
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of duty serving as president ronald reagan's press secretary. he suffered grievous injuries but wanted to make a change. he wanted to make a difference to ensure no other american had to endure what he endured. and make no mistake, it was not easy. it took six years and seven votes for the brady law to be enacted. made atimately, it has world of difference. that law has now been in effect for 26 years. and has stopped more than 3.5 million sales of guns to dangerous individuals. [applause] but as we will learn today and why i am so thrilled brady is partnering with all of these other organizations, is that we have something wrong in america today.
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because there are few issues in american life in which there is greater consensus than on the need to address the epidemic of gun violence in this country. we have lost more americans to gun violence since 1970, then we have lost in all of america's wars combined. let that soak in. no other industrialized country experiences this level of gun violence. and it is connected to so many other issues we are going to talk about today, including importantly, racial equity. because if you are a black person in america today, you are 10 times more likely to the murdered that a white person. and you are 17 marked -- 17 times more likely to be shot. that is not in america which any of us can take pride.
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and on the eve of martin luther king day, tomorrow, as a virginian, i also want to say that we have elements in this country that belief that the second amendment trumps every other constitutional right in this country, including the right of assembly, the right to free speech, and, in some cases, the right to vote. neo-nazis,, we had six, arrested, who are going to come to virginia, intent on commit in violence, for a peaceful protest that we have done for over 20 years. so i had to come along with other organizations, call off that protest. because, ultimately, the safety of our advocates, must come first. but what i am calling off his change. because in about a month -- is change. in a month, virginia will join
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the league of many states across this country and governor north from -- governor northam will sign a package of seven bells which will put virginia first among the states to solve the issue of gun violence present in cash prevention. -- gun violence prevention. that is democracy in action. [applause] while extremists may occasionally stop us in marching for our lives, they cannot ever stop us from voting. and vote we must. [applause] i am thrilled we are joined with these other organizations today, to talk about the intersectional failurenderpinning the ,o make some of these reforms and that give me hope we will take back our democracy. thank you so much. [applause]
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kris: next, we have matt from progress iowa. matt: thank you so much and thank you also much for being here. what a great crowd and great attendance on such a cold day. my name is matson novick and i'm the executive -- matt said novick, i'm the executive director progress iowa. be one oflled to eight organizations sponsoring this organization -- this organization -- is important event i want to thank the staff here from the eight organizations. give them round of applause. , the volunteers you are here. [applause] the production company, the venue staff, the stagehands and most of those are, the
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production companies and stagehands are union members. so give them a round of applause. [applause] you will notice everything has been union printed as well, all that is important close to her heart, especially with progress iowa and these organizations that we prioritize that. so we want to make note of that as well. we are here today at such a critically important time. our 15 days away from the iowa caucus. believe it or not, we are just 289 days away from the general election. all of these issues that have been talked about by some of our great speakers and more, are going to be on the ballot. this president, who we will get the chance to vote out of office in 289 days, has pointed to supreme court justices and one
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at five federal court judges. that is 20% of our federal court judges who rule on workers rights, women's rights, climate, every issue we care about is on the ballot this fall through our courts and through ensuring our democracy is functioning. so these issues we are discussing today that all these terrific candidates are discussing omma are on the ballot at our caucus locations in 15 days and will be on the ballot in 289 days. it's important we know where these candidates stand. it's important you all are informed as caucus-goers and voters. and it is important that we carry this energy forward, in 15 days and until november, that we keep reminding each other about the importance of democracy reform as the courts. because it impacts so many of our lives in so many different ways. so thank you all again for being here. is our honor to help host this
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event. now it is my privilege to introduce karen flynn with common cause. thank you. hello iowa. [applause] it's great to be here. i am karen hobart flynn, president of common cause, a nonprofit organization that fights to make america and are democracy work for every person. we have been around for 50 years working on a wide array of democracy reforms. members andmillion 10,000 islands that are active with common cause -- 10,000 people from iowa who are active with common cause. with thrilled to be here the organizations who come together to put together this forum, one of the first i remember in my 30 years working at common cause specifically focused on democracy issues. it matters because we have a
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president who has ignored or undermined our democratic norms and values, our institutions at the rule of law. even before he came, our democracy was really facing a lot of challenges. first, we seek voter suppression showing up across the country. purges happening block voters voices in their democracy and in the election. we also see special interest money dominate in the halls of congress and in state legislatures. their voices dominates other people's voice cannot be heard about issues they care about for their communities. incumbents, we see drawing their district lines and partisan and rasul jarrett -- racial gerrymandering that deny millions of americans a voice and fair representation in their government. those are some of the reasons we want to hear candidates talk about what they are going to do
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about the problems that vex our democracy. but it is not just for democracy's sake itself. many of the reforms we are going to be discussing today are a means to an end. what is that end? a government that listens to we the people, that puts our priorities first, that answers questions and solves problems about why our health care costs more than almost any other nation. why prescription drugs cost more than any other nation. why we are not investing in our communities, in our schools, in our children's future, providing affordable college and other needs. so what we want to hear from candidates talking is not just how they weigh in on issues that vex our democracy, but also, if elected, they prioritize this for us?
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will they make this one of the things that is a must pass package of reforms, just like the reform that congress-we saw in the house of representatives passing the for the people act in march of this year. it had money in politics reforms, voting rights, protecting our elections against foreign interference. it also looked at gerrymandering, ethics and accountability and transparency. this huge package of reforms should be the first order of business for anyone elected to president. that is some of what we want to see happen. we do not have to wait for this at the federal level. one of the amazing things about the for the people act is those reforms have been tested at the state and local level across the country. common cause has been involved in moving automatic voter registration so people, when they get their license at the
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dmv, or a student registers for a public class at a public university, they are registered to vote. they can opt out if they want to but it makes it easier. she can bestry portable when they move around in a state. ultimately we would like to see this nationwide. so if you're a student in california get a job in oklahoma, your administration moves with you. also same date voter registration, so it is a great antidote to purchase. someone is purged and they do not know, they show up on election day and they can register and vote that day. to purges.antidote we passed reform across the country and counties at the city level and it states. actually my home state of connecticut, it helps people who cannot afford to run for office or are not connected to wealthy special interests, to run for office. they run differently, what? because they don't have to go
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into a back room in a restaurant to meet with lobbyists who give them special interest contributions. instead they go out and talk to their constituents about what they want to hear. we have also worked to past reforms around disclosure so we see who is funding candidates campaigns. those the kinds of reforms embodied in the federal reform. but we can do these at the state and local level. we've also taken on gerrymandering, racial and partisan gerrymandering through state legislatures, ballot initiatives or taking it to the courts. we had a recent success in north carolina. carolinians had been denied fair representation for the last decade. through the courts, we have the state legislative districts struck down as well as the congressional districts. so the first time in 10 years, north carolina and's going to be
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able to vote in districts that are fairly drawn so there voices are heard. those of the kinds of things we want to talk about today and hear what candidates have to say. so i am very excited to do this, excited you are here and thank you for joining us. [applause] it is my pleasure to introduce the huff post reporters who will be facilitating the conversations with the candidates today. amanda terkel and kevin rubble are are here and we are excited they are taking this on. kevin roa terkel and belar. >> thank you for coming. i do not the guiding this microphone so i will put it here. for coming, braving the cold.
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i sought is one degree outside wishes billy called [laughter] are really excited to have six of the presidential candidates in conversation with us. today to will be joining on livestream because they cannot be here in person. the way this is going to work is the candidates will come out. they will speak for a couple of minutes about their plans to fix democracy. kevin and i will be asking them a couple questions and then we will take a couple questions from the audience. react toage you to things, just please be respectful, no booing, no protesting, no heckling, no rushing the stage plays. because i will have to figure out what to do if you do. [laughter] -- no rushing the stage, please. i would like to first introduce senator lisbeth warren. [applause] ♪
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[cheering] use your mind and they never give you credit, it's enough to drive you crazy if you let it. working nine to five. ♪ thank you.n: i think the single fix question we face now and americas who this government is going to work for. for decades our government has worked better and better and better for smaller and smaller group at the top. and worse and worse and worse for everyone else. when you have a government that works great for those with money, and not so great for everyone else, that is corruption or and simple and we need to call it out for what it is. [applause] understand this. it is going on right now in the primaries. we have billionaires who think they can just buy an election.
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case in point, michael bloomberg, has already dropped $ dollars to make his voice heard and drown out every other voice in this democratic primary. think about what that means? and he plans to skip the democracy part of the election. that is coming to places like iowa, new hampshire, south carolina and nevada and meeting people. instead, it is all going to be set up for tv, running tbs to make it work. and here comes -- running tv ads to make it work. and he has applied to the federal election commission to delay making his federally required financial disclosures. when does he want to delay it to? until after super tuesday and we have very possibly picked our candidate by then. think about that. if yes integument's with china, serious conflict of interests,
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business interests in other parts of the world or other corporations, when are we going to know about that? not until after super tuesday. that is not how democracy is supposed to work and we need to shut that down. [applause] glad to be here with all of you, because to me, this is 2020, to buildin a grassroots movement, to make our voices heard across this nation. to say we do not want to government that just works for billionaires. we do not want to government that just works for giant corporations. or just works for corporate executives. we want a government that works for the people. that is what democracy is about, and that is what we can do in 2020. thank you all, thank you thank you. [applause] alrighty.
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let's do this. [laughter] so, senator, you just talked about michael bloomberg. he spent a lot of time during this campaign decrying out size influence billionaires like michael direct have on this process. bloomberg has also said he will keep spending huge sums of money to support whoever the democratic nominee for president is. if you are that nominee, do you want his help, do you want his support or would you discourage him from spending that? sen. warren: no, look, michael bloomberg wants to come in on issues, good for him. he wants to put money into getting a democrat elected, good for him. but understand this, i do not sell access to my time. i do not spend time sucking up to billionaires. [applause] i am just not there. so people want to make a contribution, that's great. but i am going to keep fighting the fight i am fighting. and that is a fight to make this government, to make this democracy work.
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for a thinner and thinner slice of the top, to make it work for everyone. that is why i am here. michael bloomberg has given a lot of money to various groups over the years, to fill some of those folks may be endorsing him because he has bought their endorsement from support over the years? sen. warren: i cannot know what is in their heads but what i can tell you is that money talks. and it talks over and over and over. you know how i know that? i watch it in washington. he wanted in every campaign. iderstand this way, while made the decision to run for president, i knew what i would be fighting for. it is the same thing i have been fighting for all my life, for hard-working family that just keep getting the short end of the stick over and over. i knew the fight i would be in. but for me was important not just what i was fighting for but how i was fighting. so i talked to folks.
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there are people who are experts about getting people elected to big offices include president. and they came to see me. they said here's how you do it. you go spend a huge amount of your time vacuuming up as much money from big dollar donors as you can all around the country. you get bundlers who are people who gather money from others and they get access to you, they promise in your name more access. they identify where this money is coming from, which industry, which interest. you gather up all that money. you make a few guest appearances in the early stage, you get your picture taken and then you run a bunch of tv ads. that is basic how works. and to meet that is the ultimate statement of what is broken in our democracy. the ultimate statement of why, for decades now, this country has worked better and better and better for those at the top.
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when i say better and better and better, think of the examples. lilly, chevron, eli reported billions of dollars in profits last year. how much did they pay in taxes? zero. zero. if you paid a dollar in taxes last year, you paid more than these corporations that reported billions of dollars in profits. how does that happen? because of loopholes in the system. how did the loopholes get there? it is not like they are moth-eaten loopholes. [applause] they did not happen as an active nature. [laughter] they happened because people kept putting money into the system. money in campaign contributions. money and lobbying. money in bought and paid for expert. money and pr firms. money in tilted think tanks. money, money, money. so i decided i'm not doing it that way.
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i said i'm going to find this thing entirely grassroots. and i am not going to my time. the consequence has been, a lot more time to be able to go do townhouse. but it also means building a grassroots movement. because this is our only chance. we are going to be up against billionaires who are reaching their own candidates or candidates who have been selected by billionaires. the only way we fight back against that is we have got to do this with a grassroots movement across this country that says we are going to make democracy work but not for those at the top, we are going to make or for all of us. [applause] so i want to ask you a bit about judges. trump has remade the federal judiciary, i think he has had almost 200 judges confirmed with the help of mitch mcconnell. part of the way his been able to do that, a lot of these people
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have extreme positions, have been rated not qualified by the american bar association. he has been able to do this in part because he is flouted a tradition known as blue slips. senatorse traditionally get approval or veto power over a judge that comes from their state. trump has not followed that tradition. as president, would you follow the blue slip tradition? sen. warren: you know i watched this on both sides. president obama honored the blue slip tradition, which meant in states that had two republicans, he could not come up with the nominee. few cases.s -- in a their view was keep this open until we get republican sitting in the white house and then because it will be open, we will be able to get more republicans on the bench. so they played blue slip game from one direction when there
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was a democrat in the white house and now that there is a republican in the white house, they play at the other direction and that is they have tossed the blue slip outcome as you say exactly and they named whoever they want to name. here's a problem we have got about the judiciary. the answer cannot be, that when we get a democrat back in the white house, which is going to happen in january, 2021 - [applause] work to make our judiciary more politicized. that cannot be the right answer. we can have a debate about whether or not blue slips make it more politicized or less politicized. and for that i think there's evidence going both ways. i do not think the blue slip is at the heart of it. i think what is at the heart of it is who you asked to be a judge, who you want on your list to be a judge. and i will tell you what the answers been for donald trump because i've seen this guy.
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homophobic, that is in. racist, that is in. sexist, oh yeah, most definitely. and, anti-voter. that has been a big qualification. he has named one person after not mean weand i do have kind of a sense that that is who those people are i mean look at the written records. look at the activities they have already engaged in. look at the fights they have been in and which side they were on. our answer has to be that we have a judiciary that truly respects the rule of law. and respects every single human being in this country. that is the job of the judiciary. it is there to protect individual rights. it is not there to protect corporate rights. it is not there to protect the folks with money. it is there to protect individual rights. as a babythe honor,
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senator, and i mean a baby senator, i had been elected, sworn in and then john kerry left to could be come secretary of state, it took me 15 minutes to become the senior senator from the commonwealth of massachusetts. [laughter] i had the honor to be able to recommend to barack obama, people to fill the vacancies we had in massachusetts. thisor me, what was key on were people who came from different backgrounds. people who had different experiences in the legal system. so the various first person i was able to nominate, a woman named indira tell waddy, who represented workers, who reppo senate people who did not have much money, who saw the legal system not just from the side of giant corporate practice but who sought from the side of people who turned to the courts because they needed help. that is the kind of people i
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want to see on the bench. and i want to see us restore a bench where everybody no matter what political party you are in, no matter who you are, if you come in front of one of our federal benches, you have complete confidence that the people who are sitting on this bench are there to uphold the rule of law. and treat you with respect. [applause] amanda: i want to get to an audience question but first want to go back to my blue slip question. forth somebodyt meets us coffee occasions but republican home state senator jack set nominee would you pull back the nominee or go forward? sen. warren: i want to see how it plays out. if it happens once it's different than if it's an organized plan to try to block everyone who comes through from a democratic nominee. i'm not going to play this game the other way either. i'm not going to be the democrat assess if the democrats are the white house will play by the nice roles and when republicans are the white house we all play for the dirty rules. i am not playing that game.
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but i will give them a chance to at least join us in having a government that works again and a judicial pointman process that works again. [applause] amanda: we are going to mark collin who is an advocate, gun owner and a gun violence survivor. sen. warren: hi mark. >> thank you for being here. i am a gun owner and someone who was previously impacted by gun violence. 20 years ago three of my coworkers were gunned down trigger robbery. it affected my desk during a robbery. it affected our community. there's a chilling parallel between a lot of those communities and those who are just proportionately underserved in our micro say, often urban communities, often majority minority communities. you see the stories all the time, voter rolls are purged,
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partisan gerrymandering is enacted and entire communities are effectively silenced. even universal background checks which has 95% approval across the country cannot get a vote in the u.s. senate. how is you as president as president ensure these three needs are heard and that issues that confront them from voter suppression to gun violence are dressed in a way that includes their voices? addressed in a way that includes their voices? sen. warren: thank you. we have a gun violence in this problem in this country. it is about mass shootings and shootings that take place everyday and sidewalks and backyards and on street corners and disproportionally affect communities of color. it sure happening. it is all the dashes that also about suicide at about the domesticolence -- and violence. and the increased that woman will end up dead if she is in
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the house with an abuser who also has a gun. reasonable background checks, getting assault weapons off our streets, strong public support. more than 90% in most of the polls i have seen including gun owners, including members of the nra. and yet in united states senate we cannot even get about. why not? because of corruption. who is calling the shots in the united states senate on guns? the gun industry. the gun industry, their money, and they are in league nra. we have to be willing to stand up against that. how do we do that? part of it is something a president can do all by herself. [laughter] that is, we need an attorney general. ,e need a department of justice that is willing to enforce our civil rights laws. that is willing to enforce the
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voter loss we still have on the books. laws that we still have on the books. that is willing to go after white supremacists. that is willing to get in the fight against those who would undermine the rights of people in this country, and particularly undermine the rights of people of color. that is part of what we can do. we cannot the right attorney .eneral and the right department of justice but i want to add another piece to this. when we think about what we need to do in washington, in congress, in the senate. we need to make changes in the laws. exactly the ones you identified. there's a lot we can do on her own but there's a lot that has to go to the senate. think about this aspect of it. we need to reform the rules in the senate and get rid of the filibuster. have a filibuster in the united states senate, that means it is going to be a
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60 bill threshold for anything we want to get done and that effectively means that the gun industry has veto. the same way the pharmaceutical industry has veto, the same way the oil industry has veto. anotherrful lobby after has veto. you know how i know this one in particular? i was on the senate floor in 2013, when we passed some sensible gun legislation and what happened? we got 54 votes, i think. and in a body with a hundred people, 54 votes was not enough. it would not carry us through because of the filibuster. and understand, this is a big issue that divides the democratic candidates for president right now. if anyone comes in and talks to you about how important it is to them to have real reform, real reform on guns, where you see
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such an active ministry. real reform -- active industry. real reform on health care, real reform on student loan debt. real reform on climate. and yet is not willing to take on the filibuster? than they will not make real change. because you kept the threshold to high. so i believe to get something done, to get the kind of fighting back against monied interest, we need to repeal the filibuster. it is time to get rid of the filibuster. [applause] those are two ways we can push back on this one. mary from deshave moines who has worked in health care for 27 years. >> . hi, senator warren sen. warren: hi, mary. hisonald trump spent presidency making clear he believes he is against the law. sen. warren: i have noticed that. [laughter] >> as that the constitution does
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not apply to him. his crimes have led to his impeachment. what would you do on day want to improve our system of democracy to demonstrate your administration will be different. sen. warren: so, thank you. actually i will talk about the same thing i start with on guns. we did the things we can do by ourselves. when you start on day one. that means an attorney general who is there to enforce the law. justice a department of with a real and functioning civil rights division. that is how we show the kind of difference we want to make. , did anyone ever take a close look at who are the ambassadors who represent you around the world? yeah. in some countries, they really are part of our diplomatic corps. you want to make sure you acknowledge that. but how did the current ambassador to the eu, sondland,
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you have seen him, right? he has been in the news lately. what qualified him to be the basilar to the eu? this is a serious post, right? -- to be the ambassador to the eu? how did he qualify? he made a million dollar contribution to donald trump's inaugural-inauguration effort. a million bucks evidently bought somebody and ambassadors post. that is something we can address right now in the democratic primary. i said on this one, quite publicly, and if he wants to contribute to my campaign, have at it, thank you very much. i'm not selling access to my time but if you want to contribute, good for you. understand this. you make a contribution to mike contribution to my campaign, i will not consider you for a bath or anywhere because ambassador ships should not be for sale.
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-- ambassadorships should not be for so. they should go to people who are qualified, who knows something about the area, to people who have worked for our state department. that is how we should run our government. when we sell ambassadorships to big donors, it is just one more way to say to all of the american people, rich people are different from you, they get different access and government, they get different ownership of government. i have made this commitment on ambassadorships. i've asked everyone else, all of the other democratic candidates to do the same, the people who are still in this race and most of them have refused. think about that. you don't even have to say people are actively trading for favors. it is how does it look? we have a notion in the not even that it is
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impropriety, it the appearance of a propriety. it is the appearance of a conflict of interest. because no one should ever have to doubt that the judge who appeared in front of his impartial that did judge you impair in front -- the judge you appear in front of his impartial. we should be running a government that says from the beginning, no, these terrific jobs are not for sale to contributors. the other thing is i have the biggest anticorruption plan since watergate. the bad news is we need the biggest anticorruption plan since watergate. [laughter] let me tell you two or three of the features because they matter, right where you are because it will matter on the first day. that is, we need to end lobbying as we know it. [applause] we need to change this. be aof this, you want to united states senator? good for you. get out there and run for office.
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or congressperson, great. or secretary of any the departments, part of the cabinet or even a president of the united states. that is great, get out there and do it. but once you have done it, there's a lifetime ban on lobbying. you cannot work in the government and beat peeking over the edge at what your next very lucrative job maybe. i am not going to fill my administration with former or -- former future lobbyists, and i think that will make the difference too. [applause] there's a lot we can do, lock the revolving door between wall street and main street. united states supreme court follow basic rules of ethics. and everyone who wants to run for federal office ought to have to put their tax returns online. [applause] kevin: senator you've talked about a lot of your plans here tonight.
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sen. warren: yes, but i have more. i'm not even 10% in. [laughter] kevin: some of these plans are going to face constitutional scrutiny. --r plant and student debt or plan to and student debt on the first day. you're going to be facing a 5-4 supreme court. sen. warren: there's a lot we do is not a constitutional issue. kevin: your wealth tax, there have been constitutional questions raised about that. i know you disagree but this conservatives on the supreme court might disagree with you. if they do, how do you persuade them to agree with you or what is the alternative route to pursue some of these? sen. warren: look, on some of the have to start out on solid legal ground. let's talk about student loan debt. i have two plans. the first start to the wealth tax, to send tax on the greatest fortunes in this country -- 82
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sent -- tax on the greatest fortune in the country. your first $50 million is free and clear in your next fit millie dollars, it you have to -- your next $50 million you have to pitch in two cents. you had a billion dollars it goes higher. childsal pre-k, universal care, raise the wages of preschool teachers, making college and technical school and two years college tuition free. we can put money into our instructor black colleges and universities and we can cancel student loan debt for 43 million americans. that is a path and that is how we get paid for. they want to fight over the constitutionality, i think i'm a very solid ground. who make the constitutional argument. here's the other half.
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the secretary of education has a lot of power to deal with student loan debt already in the law. we have not picked up those tools and used them aggressively. but as president, i am prepared to use those tools. i am prepared to help cancel student loan debt for millions of people across this country because the law already permits it. the problem is extreme and it is time for action. so i will go either way. kevin: do you think this issue this issue ofda: unconstitutionality, do you think the obama administration did enough? sen. warren: do i think the obama administration anticipated what mitch mcconnell and the trumpet administration were going to do? who would have anticipated that. i cannot tell you how many days i've gone to bed at night and thought that is as low as they can go. then i get up the next day and they have gone not just a little lower, they have gone a lot lower. i do not think that is the way
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to look at this, backwards, what should we have seen coming from a trumpet administration. i see the other way around. given what they have done, what should our response be? sen. warren: ultimately our goal is to restore a government that works for everyone. . we talk about anticorruption, i get it. mitch mcconnell loves the system like it works, right? as it works right now. there are a lot of people who do really well under this system, and a lot of lobbyists who do really well, at a lot of corporations that you really well, because they have figured out investing a few tens of millions of dollars every year yields billions of dollars in profits for them. so they figured out, investing in corrupting your government is a moneymaking operation for giant corporations, sometimes
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for wealthy families, wealthy individuals. so when we talk about anticorruption, when i get up and talk about it, it is not just democrats who get what is broken. it is democrats, independents, and republicans. not the ones in washington, don't get me wrong. i'm talking about people all across this country. i was born and raised in oklahoma. two of my three brothers are still republicans. we can do our democratic republican talking points but when we start talking about amazon and chevron and eli lilly, what we talk about and their billions of dollars in profits, and that they pay zero in taxes, all my brothers are mad about that. they understand that is not fair. they understand someone has to keep this government going. somebody has to keep the roads paved and keep the defense active.
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their taxes and they want everybody to pay their taxes. place we can come together. give me. -- excuse me. not a place we have to be separated. we are going to start with the things people understand and want to see changed in washington. i think that starts with the anticorruption plan. amanda: thank you to senator elizabeth warren for coming today. [applause] sen. warren: thank you so much. [applause] applause]d [laughter] so now we are we have mayor pete buttigieg joining us.
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-- while khmer, thank you for joining us today -- welcome, mayor pete, and thank you for joining us. [applause] we wanted to give you couple bennetts to talk to the crowd and then we will have you join us for questions. mayor buttigieg: great. i will be brief because i want to get into the conversation. as you probably noticed, in my campaign we put democracy reform front and center. the reason it is on my day what agenda is that it is the issue of how we deal with all of our issues. as we look at all of the things that are going wrong in this country, especially all the areas where there is actually a healthy majority among the american people to get something done, but cannot seem to get majority in the merc in congress, it shows you just how twisted and how troubled our democracy is. we do not have to take that sitting down. we can take action about
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everything from the romany place in politics, to the voter suppression-often racially motivated-that is changing election outcomes around the country, to the fact that there are structures that disempower an american majority in a lot -- and a lot of u.s. citizens. including everything from the lack of statehood for d.c. to the lack of political representation to puerto rico to electoral college that affects everyone of us negatively, no matter what state you live in because the ultimate practical effect of the electoral college in my lifetime is that two times it has overruled the american people leading to a bush presidency and a trump presidency and the decisions that went on their. decisions that affect all of us a lot more than the number of campaign rallies held in the capital cities of our respective states. so i look for to talking about these issues. and i'm glad you have gathered to highlight them. it is not always an easy conversation to have. sometimes these process questions are considered unsexy.
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but i have put them front and center in my campaign because i believe the other things are not going to get better until we do it. that meansbut i have everythinge kinds of actions we can take right away, things like the reforms that were contained in the pro-democracy anticorruption hr 1 bill, what if many the past the house only to die in mitch mcconnell senate. all the way to project may take a generation to deliver, from a national popular vote to structural reform for the supreme court. the reason is important to begin making the case for those now is because it may take a while to deliver the solutions. all the more reason we need to be at work starting yesterday to build a case and get it done. that will be a central focus for me throughout my presidency. again, i will keep my mind a lot to that because i know we are going to dig into a conversation. thank you for putting these issues first and i look for to discussing. amanda: great, thank you.
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i want to start off the campaign-finance reform. everyone running for president want some form of campaign-finance reform, believes citizens united be overturned, public financing of elections. i was hoping you could lay out for us why you think campaign-finance reform needs to happen, and whether you think certain types of campaign contributions corrupt politics? noor buttigieg: there's question that there are a lot of for example,s, that consider their contributions to be nuts much of an expression up legal values, as an investment. they would not be doing it unless they believed there would going to be an outcome. it is one reason my campaign does not accept them. we need a legislative solution to deal with these issues. what we have now is a doctrine under citizens united that suggest that spending money to impact the outcome a of an election is the same thing as an
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expression of political speech. i think we have to clear that up. even if it takes a constitutional amendment to do it. see donors, corporations in particular, sometimes in a general election, sending checks to candidates from both parties who are opposing each other in the same race. i think we can put to rest the idea that that is about an expression in good faith of values. is why we need to take action on everything from setting up structures for public financing, to making clear the limits on campaign-finance, to ultimately, also term -- overturning citizens united. so we have a system where players do not believe that can impact the outcome of elections and impact the priorities of political figures through campaign contributions. so, you do some high dollar fundraisers while some of your challengers in the race have decided not to do them. but you've also decried a purity
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test saying that just because a wealthy person gives money to not necessarily in it is corrupt. you have sworn off money from the fossil fuel industry and from lobbyists. but i wonder could you explain why you will not take money from those groups but say money from wall street is acceptable? mayor buttigieg: here's where think about it. we are getting our support from individuals who believe in the progressive message of my campaign. i may not agree with them on everything. we have 700,000 donors in this campaign. so i do not even know what all my supporters believe about any given issue. but i make one promise to every contributor, weathers three dollars on pete for or something comes to a house party. the promise i make is we will take that funding and use it to build the campaign organization that is going to defeat donald trump. i will also say that you should
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not be in politics if you're not paired to do the right thing and make the right decision, no matter what. i also think any honest candidate tell you, life would be better across the country and frankly running campaigns would be better, if we had a different and better system. being the mayor of the city of south bend indiana is obviously not known as an establishment campaign-finance powerhouse. i would not be here at this stage of the campaign if we had figured out how to make sure we build a grassroots organization that has been capable of beating the odds and bringing us to this point. we also recognize the system needs to change. determined to make that happen 70 running for office, someone living a country impacted by the system that is not working. you mentioned you will not be bought by these
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interests, then why not take money from everyone, from lobbyists and the fossil fuel industries could you? why view chosen not to take money from some groups but to take money from others? mayor buttigieg: if you make a decision to draw a line take money froman be>> if you somewhere, you will be criticized. thatw money from the space makes the most sense and is compatible with being able to build the campaign organization. i suppose the only way to not be criticized at all would be to say nothing on the topic. we have worked to strike the right balance and make sure we can build the campaign organization. >> right now, you have talked a lot about reforming the campaign finances. the campaign finance laws we have had our not being enforced
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because the fcc does not have a quorum. that, republican members of the fcc have not shown much of an interest in enforcing campaign finance laws. members of the way -- the way members of the fcc are appointed, the senate minority and majority leader have a say. president, would you allow mitch mcconnell to have a say? mayor buttigieg: i think everything needs to be on the table because what we have right justn the senate is not members of different parties expressing different values. of ake an example different area, look at how they have handled supreme court appointments. in 2016 when merrick garland was up, it was a matter of principle. you would never support a supreme court justice in an
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election year. then, mitch mcconnell made it clear that in 2020, he would totally schedule a vote. they are not even pretending. that is why we need to ask ourselves, in the face of a party that will shed any norm to gain its own advantage, whether these norms are serving. i'm not proposing we become what we are fighting. we should take steps that are good for our democracy. i think the customs and deference that are shown to senators in practices like the appointment of fcc commissioners are customs that are not serving the country. a level ofot seeing good faith out of the senate, i believe we should be willing to move on. amanda: something that has come up with the trump administration is who he is taking advice from. when you are president, would you require the public
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this --re of white white house visitor administration? course orls or a golf any other place you might be? mayor buttigieg: i think that makes a lot of sense. i do not golf. obviously, you have to do it in a way that is consistent with any law or appropriateness in terms of the place you are visiting as president. if it bears on public interest, it bears on the question of who has access to the president and less transparency. amanda: i want to go to the audience. we have an attorney from des moines. feel free to face me.
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that is totally fine. i know that is weird. >> good afternoon, mayor buttigieg. he can hear you. you talked about merrick garland. i would like to hear your thoughts about the ultraconservative transformation occurring in our judiciary with president trump's appointments. the harms you see that will come from that and how judicial appointments might affect your ability to accomplish your agenda. mayor buttigieg: this is a real problem. part of why republicans have stayed on board with a president who is as offensive to their to my party.s as they feel they are getting their way in one narrow field. what we are getting are often unqualified extreme ideologues. this is going to have an impact
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for quite a while. it is one of many reasons why it is imperative we succeed and there is not a second trump term. this is also play of why we need a different approach on the judiciary going forward. in terms of the ideological balance, that is why -- that is where my appointments come. i will appoint justices and judges who espouse my values. i will also be looking for judges and justices who have a range of experience. i do not to betray my omma motter, but it cannot be that just a couple ivy league law schools should be generating disproportionately the level of control we have had over the bench. far fewer people with public defender backgrounds relative to prosecutorial backgrounds. this is also why i proposed we
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have structural reform. morenly to make the court liberal. in order to make it less politicized. what we see now is a strange twisting of what we have come to expect from our records. being designed not around making the best arguments on points of law that around the personal idiosyncrasies of the person who is considered to be the swing justice. we see justices being filled to -- justices feeling the need to depart from the bench based on who is president. the fact that every time there is an opening on the highest court, we have an apocalyptic ideological firefight. that is why i have led the field in proposing structural reform to the supreme court. not something a president can do
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single-handedly, but something i tol ask for a commission evaluate. by creating a 16 member court where five of the members can only be appointed if the other 10 anatomist agree to the idea of rotating judges to somewhat more modest solutions. we know the current system has sent the judiciary down the bath -- down the path of being viewed political institution. [applause] follow-up, you talked a little bit about reforming the court. the traditione by in which home state senators get veto power over their judicial appointments?
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mayor buttigieg: i think this is an example of a norm for custom we have observed for a long time that needs to be evaluated for whether it is benefiting the american people. i am not going to make a blanket statement, but the idea we do things because we have always done them does not conform to the realities we will be facing in 2021. amanda: now we want to go to another audience question. james simmons who is a community leader living in des moines. is mariantion for you wright edelman once wrote that democracy is not a spectator sport. there are many americans who are feeling like they cannot take part in the basic foundation of our country because of the power the wealthy. have in our elections how would you prioritize the hr one bill
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that is dying in the senate to make sure democracy reaches every american and every american has one voice and is able to use that voice to fight for themselves in that community? mayor buttigieg: this is so important because democracy is. not just a principal. -- democracy value is not just a principal. it is also a value. we have always been imperfect as a democratic society. when we havet extended access to the vote. hr one is just the beginning. some of the provisions are crucial. we talk about making it easier to vote, same day registration, automatic registration. things that worries me is there is a self-fulfilling
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quality to the damage that has been done to our democracy. we are a country with distressing low voter turnout. i remember when i came home from my deployment to afghanistan, i wanted to feel as a servicemember that part of what i was doing was upholding in some and direct way america and america's democracy. i have seen afghans put their lives on the line to vote at polling sites where there were warnings that you risk violence just to show up. my state of indiana had the lowest voter turnout rate in the country. is low isy turnout because of voter suppression. senser reason is that the of an election is it is a foregone conclusion. it is one of the reasons why all these issues are connected.
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amething like hr one is package of reforms i would be championing as president and would sign the moment it hit my desk. we need to go further than that. we need to undertake constitutional action to clear up something like citizens united. i know some folks think that sounds for out. a traditional of constitutional amendments. since the 1970's, we were doing it quite a bit. onceve in a country that changed the constitution so you could not buy a beer. minds anded our changed it back. believe we need to pass a 21st century voting rights act to get ahead of the kind of very suppression, which is often something with a racially disparate effect.
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to require states uphold voter access to get ahead of the voter id laws that are not about protecting the integrity of the elections. and to ensure there is a demonstration of freedom in the election. it will not be diminished by any action of the state. the last question related to this. you mention a lot of things that require congressional approval. what is something you could do using executive action to protect voting rights? mayor buttigieg: we know at a minimum we could layout standards. even as we are working to get legislation that has an impact on gerrymandering. it also look at what kind of executive actions could be taken around election day as a holiday. even just getting information out. we have seen three things like proposed citizenship question on
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the census how an administrative action could have nefarious effects. i will be working with scholars to see how we could have the reverse effect. and then undertaking the generational efforts like constitutional reforms around a national popular vote. amanda: thank you. thank you for joining us. we wish you could have been here in person. [applause] mayor buttigieg: thank you for having me. thank you. so now, i quickly wanted to call up tiffany of end citizens united who will be coming up. kevin and i will be joining you in a minute kid tiffany: i am happy to fill time and maybe juggle a little bit. hi. how are you doing this afternoon?
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senator warren and mayor pete fantastic? let's hear it for them again. i am tiffany mueller. i am the president of end citizens united our name is our mission. we want to overturn citizens united. i will take some applause for that. [applause] we have 4 million members across the country. we know that the citizens united decision was the most disastrous decision of my lifetime -- of our lifetime. it took two terrible ideas and merged them together. it's a corporations are people and money equals speech. it put a for sale sign on our democracy. i do not believe that. do you believe that? do you believe corporations are people? no.
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we know there are things we can do about it. dids talk about what it cents. i know you have heard some of these things. we will throw some more horrible facts at you. in the 20 years prior to citizens united, there were $750 outside.f spending in our elections that is a whole lot of money. in the 10 years since that decision, there were a 4.5 billion dollars of outside spending in our election. percentage increase. that is a 487% increase in the last 10 years. it has drowned out the voices of everyday americans. we are getting nothing done in congress on the issues we care about the most. let's follow the money for a bit. 95% of americans believe we should have background checks.
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the nra spent 50 $6 million in the 2016 election so that every time there is a mass shooting and we start to have this conversation, what does donald trump do? he calls wayne lapierre at the nra rather than talking to the victims and families. find thea managed to 100 50 million dollars they needed to lobby and put lobbyists on capitol hill to secure tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks. did they pass the savings on to you? not to me either. what about climate change? united, thereens were 14 instances of senate republicans joining with senator democrats to address climate change to figure out how we stop the cycle of devastating fires,
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hurricanes, floods that are impacting our community. anyone want to take a guess on how many times that has happened since citizens united? zero. we are making this audience participation. you guys have been sitting there quiet for a while. how many times since citizens united? zero. that is right. part of that is because the oil and gas sector have had seven of the 10 largest campaign contributions ever. everypend $300 million campaign election cycle. have three lobbyists for every member of congress. how are we supposed to compete with that? now, i have a little help. people have seen is that across the country are fed up. together.oining our organization is made up of 4 million people. 600,000 people have donated just
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$14 to hold republican incumbents accountable and help elect great reform champions like right here in your own district. david, aeated republican incumbent. toyou know what she pledged do it? she said, i am not taking a dime of corporate pack money. -- corporate pac money. she went to washington, d.c. hr one was one of the first thing she sponsored and voted for. we are going to come back and help reelect her in this district. she is not the only one. we saw this all across the country. we flipped 40 seats. this group of reformers was the biggest class since the
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watergate babies. i think this is about what happens when the american people take their voices back, when they speak out against the corruption that is happening. this broken system was not created by donald trump. it allows someone like him to flourish. that allows him to sit in the oval office and line his pockets while he sells a the american people. 2020 to turnnce in it around. that is why i am so excited about hearing from all of the presidential candidates today. why you are going to be excited to hear from our next candidate and there'd -- and their plan to get money out of politics and what they are going to do. they need to hear your voices. stay organized. stay involved. let's go fight the fight. [applause]
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amanda: thank you. we are back to someone in person again. now, we are going to be joined by senator amy klobuchar who i believe is here. [no audio] -- [applause] amanda: we wanted to have you give a couple minutes of her remarks, and then we will do questions. sen. klobuchar: i want to thank all of you. this is so astounding to be part of the first ever micro c forum.
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me,rst want to say that for this is the driving issue. i have committed that hr one will be the first bill i get through as president of the united states. that is because i believe all of the issues we are talking about, whether it be health care, climate change, whether it be immigration reform. we are not going to be able to get this done if outside money is flooding our system. for me, this is personal. i do not come from a lot of money. , i havece i have won when it with having the last less -- i have won with money. you've also probably heard my story that one point running for u.s. senate, i gave up trying to call people because no one could pronounce the name. i called everyone i knew and
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raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriend . -- ex-boyfriend's. a constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united. led havebills i have been in hr one. that includes stopping the independent commissions so we do not have gerrymandering, doing something about election security. the thing i want to get done right now, the honest ads act so that social media companies have to follow the rules. i guess i will end with this story because for me, it says it all. in the last presidential election, there wasn't image of an african-american woman. she has since called the senate and said that is my face. someone stole it.
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they put it on african-american facebook pages in swing districts. it was a fake hillary clinton logo. it said, why go wait in line to vote for hillary clinton? votead, you can text your to 86153. to me, that is a crime. what we in one image, are talking about. the discriminatory nature of this kind of illegal activity. it shows these outside interest who will do anything to defeat us. the number one issue for all of us to be protecting our democracy. that is it. [applause] start offwanted to asking you about judges. according to an analysis of people for the american way, you voted to confirm a little under one third of trump's judges.
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i wanted to talk to you about why you vote to confirm his judges? have supported i about 32% of the judges, it puts me in the top 10 or 15 senators for opposing trump judges. there is some wrong information out there. i appreciate that very much. for me, you look at a judge. you try your best to make a decision about if you think that judges going to be fair. sometimes that judge will not be your first pick. what we have seen from the trump administration is ideologues they are putting forward, people who do not respect the law. if you want to know where i am on judges, all you have to look is what happened during the kavanaugh hearing.
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when that nominee went and looked at me and asked me if i blacked out and went after me and i stood my ground. and then he had to take a break and apologize. the kind of judges i think we should put forward as a now.dent or on the court people like elena kagan and sonia sotomayor. notoriouseyer and the rbg. i think we should have a diverse court. put a highly have esteemed african-american judge recommended to barack obama on the federal district minnesota court. i think that will reflect on the kind of judges i put in when i am president. one thing you should know about me is i like to get things done quickly and right.
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one of the things president obama confronted when he came in, it was a lot harder to immediately put the judges up and realize what the republicans were going to do. willa some precious time. i will not let us lose precious time. there are going to be a bunch of openings. get the process moving through the senate. we do not want to lose times. these guys have been stacking the court. there are going to be a lot of openings when a new president comes in. it is time to fill them with judges who pursed -- who respect the law. amanda: when you are looking at who to nominate, are there any cases you would ask them about and you would want to know how they think about those cases? roe v. wade, obamacare, things like that. sen. klobuchar: i think it is incredibly important you know
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whether or not they will respect precedent. like, that means cases brown v. board of education. something the trunk nominees refuse to even say recently if or cases like roe v. wade. that is in the body of precedent. amanda: what about citizens united? sen. klobuchar: to me, that is not in the long body of precedent. that is a political decision that was made by a bear margin and is a much different kind of case and something that has been in law for so long like brown. amanda: are there any other that like citizens united you would consider not precedent? sen. klobuchar: a lot of the decisions made by this court have been made by political reasons. there are some things you can do. you can try to get those cases overturned. you can also change things
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legislatively. sometimes, like the citizens united story, there is only a minimum number of things. you can do some things with transparency legislatively. the best way to overturn it is with a constitutional amendment. amanda: you talked about nominating judges at a quicker pace. say mitch mcconnell still is majority. we have this tradition we have been asking about folks about -- asking folks about the day. would you under the blue slip tradition? sen. klobuchar: right now, the blue slip process is really only -- is really the only thing that is saving us from more conservative nominees. while they have gotten rid of it on the circuit court, they have thankfully left it in place for district court.
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if we were to say, let's get rid of it, they would probably do the same thing. that is why i think it is really important to continue that tradition. just like the filibuster tradition, it is leverage. they are messing around, you have the leverage of changing something. amanda: so it is something you would be willing to look at. sen. klobuchar: it is something i would always be open to. in the end, it would be up to the majority leader of the senate. moot unless we are able to win and win big. that is one of the arguments from my candidacy. i have been able to bring people with me in all of my elections. if you win big, you accomplish one very important goal. not just winning the presidency, but also sending mitch mcconnell packing. [applause]
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sen. klobuchar: to do that, you need to win the u.s. senate. governors races in kentucky and indiana. i see no reason why we cannot state oface in the iowa. we need to have people see that as a major goal. winning in places like colorado and arizona as well as iowa. even if you -- kevin: even if you do when the mcconnellit mitch still will likely be the minority leader. always say two i amy's are better than one. kevin: he or john cornyn in that case. he and party leaders have been given a lot of say over who the nominees are.
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the fcc does not even have a quorum. it was not doing much because the republican members did not have an interest. would you abide by that tradition and allow the republican leader to have influence on who your appointment would be? sen. klobuchar: these are all things we can negotiate, but the number one thing we need to do is reform the fcc. it is a hollowed out shell. --is made much worse by worse because the fec does not even have a quorum. we cannot get things done. we have a nominee the president has been stalling on. if we can get that nominee through, they usually go in pairs, and we have a quorum. the president has refused to act. i cannot tell you how disastrous
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this is going into an election. i am glad you brought it up. i just wrote a letter on this. i'm getting a number of senators involved because i am the rulesg member on the committee. all we are asking for is the democratic nominee along with a republican nominee to be able to go on the fec. guess why they are blocking it. they do not want them to be able to take action on anything. it is just like they blocked my election security bill i had with the republicans heading to the floor. support from people like lindsey graham and mark warren. what did they do? that is for the audit of elections. just when it is going to go through committee, we get got punched. administration and which
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mcconnell because republicans. this is not america. america has always believed in a democracy. it bleeds into what i am heading back to, which is the impeachment hearing. i said on the debate stage, if they blog witnesses, fa or not going to allow for a quorum on the federal election committee, they may as well give the president a crown. last time i checked, we were founded on the idea we were breaking off from a monarchy. in america, the law is king. i think it is going to become a huge issue which dovetails exactly into what the purpose of this quorum isabel. i repair it -- our -- this quorum isabel. our democracy is at stake. it is a democracy check on this nation. [applause] you reform the fec
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in the long term? how would you change the structure? sen. klobuchar: that would be part of the reform. not do anything. at least when we have a quorum, they can make some decisions on some basic cases. it cannot even do that right now. kevin: you just said they might as well hand trump a crown. he has consistently found new ways to flout tradition, ways to enrich himself as president. what new restrictions should be placed on the office of the presidency? sen. klobuchar: i actually think this is a good question. number one, all presidents should have to put forward their tax returns. that would be a nice description. ethics there is a lot of changes we should make. i do not know if you have talked about those today. office ofthis
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ethics. toi am president, i am going give them enforcement authority. we should have the code of ethics that applies not just to the white house, also to the u.s. supreme court. there is actually no code of ethics for the u.s. supreme court. there are a lot of things we can put in place that make it clear no one is above the law including the president of the united states. what brighter -- what better president to do that than someone who has been a lawyer? thesemes, you go through forums and hear all these ideas. i really think the time is right for this. there is a woman who got elected to the congress from my state in a red congressional state. her name is angie craig. showed this ad that
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people standing on bales of hay in a district that was suburban and rural. they were trying to talk. every time they opened their mouth, nothing came out. the whole theme of the mouth -- of the ad was, big money is taking away your voice. it really is a libertarian argument. i see this as a driving force. you bring people in who maybe are not always in our democratic base and do not always agree with everything that is said on the debate stage. you bring them in with these kinds of arguments. the big money interests and other people outside of our tomato see her drowning out your voice. with a theme like that. we have to keep in mind the practicality as well as what these great proposals are. if i had to pick one of my
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favorite proposals, it would be to register every kid to vote when they turn 18 across the country. if you do that, you get rid of all of the states that are messing around with registration. really, you get a social security number. that is how it works. everyone gets one in the country. et can find a pair of shoes in hawaii. i do not understand why we cannot give kids a registration number when we turn 18 -- when they turn 18. [applause] amanda: we heard senator warren talk about ambassadorship. she said she would like to have been wealthy ambassadors from being able to donate. sen. klobuchar: the vast majority of people i would put in for ambassadorship would be career people, people who have served in government.
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sometimes, some of them have money. .ometimes, some of them don't number one on my list would be ambassador jovanovich. [applause] got klobuchar: i think she kind of a raw deal. i personally know her. i got to be with her when i was out in ukraine with a group of actuallyi think, elizabeth and i were on one of those trips together. i am excited about the work that can be done to fill out a hollowed out state department. it is not just the ambassador level. it is also just regular workers who have left. this is going to mean a call to peoplec service to young , but also some of the people who have left that you want to bring back. that is one of my major proposals for foreign policy. you have got to make this cool
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again. and patriotic again to serve our country. amanda: but you would not necessarily block donors from receiving ambassadorship should i am sure there are some that are qualified. there was one from my state from president obama. he went on to be one of the first people in minnesota to help barack obama. he went on to be the first jewish ambassador in morocco. i think he has pretty good experience. he did a great job. i would not block out anyone. i would make sure people are qualified. i even opposed one of the obama nominees who was a donor who i did not think was qualified. that is the best way to look at it. a lot of people who have served in the senate and congress would be great ambassadors. especially with what trump has
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done, it is going to be important to bring some gravitas and credibility into our diplomatic corps. congress,mbers of many of them after they leave congress and staffers as well, become lobbyists. do you think there should be a been on members of congress from becoming lobbyist? sen. klobuchar: by may 1 got into the senate, we put some major rules in place on time limits. i just do not understand. i would not want to use the incredible gift i have been given of being a u.s. senator to become a lobbyist. amanda: do you think it should be a lifetime ban? sen. klobuchar: yet, i think that would be better. amanda: i went to turn to an audience question. we are going to go to betty andrews. good afternoon, senator
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klobuchar. i am here standing with a member of our naacp youth council. my question is around voting. it is with his and others futures i am asking this question. the right to vote is among the most fundamental right in our democracy. it is a right that has never been fully available to some americans, especially people of color. voting today is harder in 25 states then it was a decade ago for the voting rights act was gutted. millions of people have faced disenfranchisement. texas, restrictions on voter registration drives make it harder for people to get registered in the first place. a strict voter id law makes it harder for those who registered to actually vote. a recent question to the
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legitimate of tens of thousands of citizens on the roles have cast a chilling effect on the electorate. let's not forget about here in iowa where the voter id law was recently enacted. we have the distinction of being first in the nation for the iowa caucuses and last in the nation when it comes to allowing returning citizens to vote. these and other restrictions target communities of color, part of a long history in our nation of denying voting rights to african-americans, teen knows, asian americans, and native americans. progress has been made with the passage of hr four, the voting rights act amendment. we know that that is not necessarily the law of the land. my question to you, and i know you have spoken in your opening remarks about voting, i wanted
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to know what specific actions you will take the first 100 days of office to end this country's ongoing assault on people of color's right of -- right to vote and make sure everyone has full access to the ballot box. [applause] sen. klobuchar: thank you. would start out by giving that tomorrow, we will be celebrating the life of martin luther king jr.. he once said we are all tied in one single garment of destiny. what effects one of us directly effects -- effects everyone of affects everyone indirectly. happens, it effects all of us -- it affects all of us.
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has all ofone, which the voter protections in one package as the first bill i would pass. that would include reauthorizing the voting rights act and fixing what the court did in the shelby decision, which is really the catalyst that caused all of these courts to do a bunch of bad things. some of the specific things i think would help stop the discrimination would be to stop the voting purchase. this is a bill i lead with sharad brown. as president, i would get it done. i thought stacey abrams, who should be the governor of georgia, explained best and she said just because you do not go to church or a mosque or synagogue for a few months, you do not lose your right to worship. just because you do not go to a meeting like this, you do not
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lose your right to assemble. purge names from a list, you are effectively lost. you have lost your right to vote in the election. i thought that said it best. that is why we must stop the purging. we must stop these states from doing what iowa did. again, our state had the same voting id.posal on a a former republican governor joined with a democratic governor, and they did an ad in the rural areas. it was targeted to seniors and rural people. it talked about what it would mean if you had to bring in id all the time. what that would mean to your voting. combination of forces and people, we were able to get that defeated. our state was able. i am so proud of the groups that
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worked on that. i have used other examples. you have courts, even some republican appointed judges who will intercede. but we really need is a president who sees this. i suggest you look at my plan on my website. it is a 100 day plan. i have found 137 things i can do without congress that are legal. and number of them are proposals when it comes to democracy. you need a president who is going to see that as a priority and get a lot of these things done. we need to remember that what is going on is blatant discrimination. it is discrimination we have not seen for a long time led by the person in the white house. he has appointed a number of these judges. he has gotten behind a number of these efforts in the state. just to give you a little bit of
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hope, you look at the state including what just happened in nevada and other states where when there is a change, they have done things look allowed people when they get out of prison to vote. we are starting to see that all over the country. something that is changing things. you have been able to see some court decisions on gerrymandering that have changed the mix in some of our states. when we took the house of representatives and made at the people's house again, we may change. all we need to do is change the u.s. senate. it is that simple. and put a new president in place. and you really look at our democracy, that is going to be key. i feel like with the 400 those sitting on mitch mcconnell's desk, a number of them democracy reform, we feel like we have going backwards in the u.s. senate while the rest of the
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country is going forwards on things like gun safety and voting rights. turnout in be a huge our country. it has to be a statement from states like iowa and michigan and wisconsin and minnesota and ohio. said, my plan is to build a beautiful blue wall around the midwest and make donald trump pay for it. [applause] amanda: i just wanted to follow-up on betty's question. laws that disenfranchise people who were incarcerated were targeted to black americans. you indicated you support changing that. what about allowing people to vote while they are incarcerated? sen. klobuchar: i have not supported that. there is one thing that is going on that is a good thing. sometimes when people are in
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jail and have not been adjudicated so they are actually not officially a felon, they should be able to vote because they are not even a felon. that is something they actually did in illinois that made a change. my position is you should be able to vote when you get out of prison. amanda: what is the argument for not allowing people to vote when they are in prison? sen. klobuchar: i think the argument is -- and it is shared by most of the candidates running for president -- i am not just out there on my own. one of the arguments is when you go to prison, you have committed a crime. you lose rights when you are in prison. that is the argument. i would say leading to another issue, criminal justice reform will be a big priority of mine. we got the first step act. we got that passed thanks to the
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leadership of senator booker who i wish was still up with us on the debate stage. [applause] sen. klobuchar: senator durbin and senator harris. i was always a cosponsor of that bill. i think we not need to move to the second step act and a knowledge 90% of people incarcerated or in state and local jails. need to create incentive to see the same kind of reforms we were able to make on the federal level. amanda: our last question is going to be from pastor kathy moore. >> hi, senator. we do appreciate you in iowa. i have a long question. sen. klobuchar: you never know -- with start with it we appreciate. coreu know one of the problems of our political system money has.influence
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corporations, billionaires and the way they are able to contribute to campaigns. one way to empower regular incentivize to small donor donations and forgo accepting the larger gifts. there are number of places -- in 26 different states, there have been moves made to have some kind of small donor donation campaign.ancing would you support this? if you would, how would you get congress to go along with that? been aobuchar: i have long cosponsor of that bill, to have the same federal financing you have in a number of states. i have seen it work well. you have to get an overwhelming
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vote in the country to push through legislation like this. you have to make a case to the people. i personally in this presidential campaign and not lobbyistc donations or donations. i set that forward immediately before i- immediately even got into the race. you are talking about core campaign-finance reform. you explain when all of this money works and how unfair it is, the way to do that is examples. my example is something that unites the country. that is to bring pharmaceutical prices down. there are two lobbyists from the pharmaceutical companies for every member of congress. start with that kid is it a surprise they got written into
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medicare cannot negotiate better prices for 43 million seniors? it is written in law before i got to congress. my proposal is to lift that and allow medicare to negotiate like medicaid and the v.a. does. we cannot have less expensive drugs coming in from other countries. the reason i bring this up as it is just an example of outside money. the more light you shed on it, the better. i just refuse to believe that change cannot happen. tok at what happened president trump when we look at the women's march this weekend. the day after president trump got inaugurated, liens of people marched over this country. marched in small towns and big. the next day, 6000 women signed up to run for office.
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10 days in, people spontaneously showed up at airports to protest the anti-refugee order. when he was taking on our environmental roles, people marched for science. sign, what do we want? science. when do we want? after peer-reviewed. -- when do we want it? after pure review. w. after peer revie my favorite one was a legislative in -- legislative race and age -- in new jersey. i hope they are home in time to make dinner. that guy got defeated by an african-american woman. that is the march we are all in. marchse to believe that cannot end, given we turned the house against all odds. even we held onto the affordable care act.
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,n the house of representatives we passed gun legislation sitting on which mcconnell's desk. people are with us. when you ask them, do you think it is fair that all this big money can give pharma carte blanche so they can do whatever they want, 90% of them say no. it is our job. amanda: thank you. everyone thanks senator klobuchar for coming today. sen. klobuchar: thank you. thanks, everybody. [applause]
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>> we are waiting for the governor to join us. in the meantime, we thought we would come out and discuss some of the issues going on in our state as it relates to democracy reform in the courts until he is able to call in. we have been facing a lot of the same issues that have been going on at the federal level here. the federaltracking court nominees as all of you know. ernst who is on the judiciary committee. senator grassley who was the chair of the judiciary committee when merrick garland was blocked. we feel this here in our state as we have seen nominee after nominee go through. senator ernst now fighting time
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after 2 -- voting time after americanpeople of the bar association has called unqualified. it is disappointing to see that. i want to as -- you all can ask , but i wantions too to thank you for your reporting on this and diving deep into these issues as it relates to the court. -- what have you noticed in other states especially after -- especially as the senators have voted time and time for these unqualified nominees? amanda: i do not mean to cut you off, but we actually have the governor. and, i am judging everyone who is leaving right now. we see all of you. off,not mean to cut you but we went to get to the governor. thank you so much. [applause]
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now, we have former massachusetts governor deval bigick joining us on the screen. thank you. we are sorry you could not be here. too.patrick: i am sorry i am here in south carolina. it is an amazing place. i hope we can be together soon. amanda: i think it is probably a lot warmer there. give you a couple minutes to start off with opening remarks. gov. patrick: thank you very much for the privilege of joining you and letting me do so remotely. i am here in south carolina on the occasion of the mlk weekend. a fitting occasion for today's conversation given how hard dr. king and others worked to enable our american democracy to
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function as a democracy for so many have been marginalized. for a long time, we have treated thedemocracy -- hyper-partisan gerrymandering, is in politics today. our member after the 2016 election after a report of the amount of money each campaign had spent, over a billion dollars over the course of it, and one of our daughters turning to us and saying, what i am sure we have heard from so many others. just imagine how much good that money could do in some other way. so much time tearing each other down. along comes the citizens united
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decision that has made all of that worse. the influence the influence of lobbyists and controlling and influencing legislation. democracy is, our not producing democratic outcomes. that is why we put out what we described as a democracy agenda. it is about a systemic focus on improving the functioning of our democracy, eliminating hyper-partisan gerrymandering, limiting the amount of money, so much of it dark in our politics, dealing with voter suppression, which has only gotten worse theirthe supreme court in decision invalidating large making everything better and we can move on to a bright new day. this is personal to me.
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i started as a civil rights lawyer for the naacp. i was head of the justice department in the clinton administration. we were responsible there for enforcing the provisions of all of the civil rights laws, but in particular the voting rights act. fact, got to know bill clinton when i sued him as governor clinton in a voting rights case, the outcome of which became the bones of what law whento the voter he became president. we have all kinds of ways that we have made it harder than it should be for people to participate, and i believe that we have to bear down on this. therefore, the democracy agenda would be the very first ease of legislation i would trial as president, because frankly, so much of the outcome of the big ideas that i and others have,
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that the american people have, depend on getting our democracy to function like one. i also put a provision in there to expand national service. indeed, by a short period of time, over the next decade, i would like to make that universal. why? yes, it is true that we are politically divided. yes, it is true that we seem to have a president waking up every day thinking of new ways to divide us. but it is also true that is so needed -- easy. it is so easy because we do not know each other anymore. so what i am encouraging and what i will fight is opportunities through national service, civilian or military, to bring americans together nmet national an u need, and give us the opportunity to get to know each other from different
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backgrounds, different parts of the country. because i think frankly, it is less easy to divide people who have come to understand each other better than we do today. so that is how i am thinking about making and helping and that our, frankly, democracy functions like one, that it reflects the best of who we are and the best of what we have, and i'm looking forward to the conversation because i am sure there are many, many good ideas that you have as well, and we can share from my time as governor as part of the conversation too. so thank you very much for having me. [applause] governor, a super pac has been formed to support your campaign. it has already started airing ads. most of the democrats have sworn off support from super pac's. how do you reconcile your support for campaign-finance reform with accepting help
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ultimately from a group that can take unlimited donations and was basically allowed to exist because of the -- because of the citizens united position. [inaudible]: >> governor, we are having trouble understanding you and i do not really know how to fix this. we cannot actually hear you. gov. patrick: is this better? >> that is better. gov. patrick: [indiscernible] >> hmm. so, this is not working. do we have someone who knows how to fix this? gov. patrick: good you hear me when i was -- >> we could.
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during your opening you were great. gov. patrick: should we hang up and call back? >> yes. we would like you to hang up and call back. ok. sorry about that. well, while we do not have him on the line, do we have anything we can throw in? we are sorry for the technical problems. getting people livestreamed in is tricky. gov. patrick: any better? >> right now. gov. patrick: so the question was about the super pac. is a just saying, look, it perfectly fair question, and it is something that candidates cannot do much about, but president patrick can. one good thing is i have understood from the flyer, or the announcement that went out, that this pac will disclose all of its donors. in an ideal world we have
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publicly financed campaigns. we limit the amount of money that an individual could contribute. i am not accepting any pac donations, corporate or otherwise, into our campaign. i have made that pledge and i'm going to keep it. are the only: you african-american candidate who is left in the race. both senators booker and senator harris said part of the reason they ended their campaigns is essentially they ran out of money. do you think our campaign-finance system right now makes it harder for african-american candidates, latino candidates, candidates who come from working-class backgrounds or poorer areas, doesn't make it harder for those candidates to run? gov. patrick: of course it does. i think there are two candidates who came in close to the new hampshire filing deadline, me
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and mayor bloomberg. and i am the only one constantly being asked questions about being too late, even though most people are undecided. i keep making the point, it is not late until you vote. we are awash with money and we keep score on who is making progress based upon the amount of money. the amount of money raised and the amount of money spent. and when i think about how much of that money has been spent in order to generate poll numbers and so forth -- polls, by the way, which we should know by now since 2016, we should not trust. to that how hard it is to get onto ballots, how varied the rules are in all the states. -- we have a democracy
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to all the talent we know exists in every community in our country. ad if we are going to build successful,. -- pluralistic democracy, we have to make that access real. ms. terkel: i wanted to go back to something you said about the super pac. he said as a candidate there is not a lot you can do about it, which is true because they operate independently so they can do whatever they want. but you can say i do not super pac supporting me, and unless i am wrong, i have not heard you say that. gov. patrick: i have not said that. for once, i think they have been helpful in not having been in the race so long. but if you would like me to say that and tie another hand behind my back, i am willing to do that. thatt does miss the point we have a great, talented field of candidates, all of whom have ideas. i have results.
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and i have results in the area of making voter -- voting easier as well. i signed legislation as governor that made it easier to register, same-day registration, and illuminated so many of the our ballot in massachusetts. that is the kind of leader i have been and will be. ms. terkel: do you think certain kind of campaign donations can corrupt politics? whether they come from certain sectors, whether it is money where we do not know the source, things like that? gov. patrick: look, i think it is important that we know the source. what concerns me is when i think about my friends in the congress or the senate, where they spent 50%, 60% of their time raising money instead of doing the people's job. and it should concern them too. to have as much transparency as possible. i do not think we should have foreign money in our elections,
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any more than i think we should have foreign influence. and i think we should have less money in our elections. but we are all going to have to do that together. it is not going to be about one party or the other, it will not be about one candidate or the other. it is about how we set rules that make sense and are fair, and that can stream the excess in terms of money and politics today. ms. terkel: i wanted to talk you a little bit about judges, and if you could talk a little about what you would be looking for, say, if there was a supreme court vacancy. what would you look for in a nominee? gov. patrick: you know, we have so many talented judges and practitioners who bring a progressive approach to interpretation of the united states constitution, which more needs to have the
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original intent of the constitution. it was always meant to be the case that there was tension between our reality and our ideals, and that would be advocates who would stand up in based on thess fact of the day that we move closer to our ideals. does not mean the constitution has anticipated everything. there are things that we need to, and we have in our history, have considered for amendment. but we have provisions around freedom and privacy that are embedded in the constitution, and i want judges -- what we have today are -- masquerading as conservatives. there's absolutely no way you can call yourself an originalist and find an individual right to bear arms or describe a
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corporation as a person for purposes -- so, i think we have to get folks who understand the lived experience of modern-day america, and who can look out beyond washington, beyond privilege, beyond your own experience, and understand that there are people in this country who are depending on our moving every day closer to american ideals, equality, opportunity, and fair footing. ms. terkel: i wanted to go to the audience now, and we have a question from sarah ferguson. >> hi. can you see me now? [laughter] i wanted to introduce myself as someone who comes from a long line of democracy seekers.
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i come from a long line of suffragettes, and freedom fighters, people who gave their lives and shed blood in world war i and world war ii, and in the civil war, for rights for a ll. a survivor fellow with every town, and i am city and state lead for moms demand action. gov. patrick: thank you. >> thank you. an honor and a privilege to be a part of that. is, being thatn my family has fought so hard, as have most people in this room likely, have fought so hard for these rights, as president, how a leader to restore confidence and participation in our elections, ending active
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voter suppression, and voter purging, and restoring the rights of formerly incarcerated people, and ensure everyone is able to cast a ballot, regardless of a past felony conviction? and if i may add, whether their social economic status prevents them from doing so as well? gov. patrick: thank you for the question. been doing this work for decades. court andn active in as an advocate on behalf of folks who have had their access to the ballot compromised. as i said earlier, i was head of the civil rights division and responsible for enforcing the voting rights act, in an administration that actually cared about the subject. and i was active in the florida
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ballot initiative, most recently to restore the right to vote to felons who have finished their sentences. saw how quickly after the supreme court's most recent voting rights decision, the number of states went right back to their same bad habits. in some cases, using even more sophisticated and insidious means of doing so. purging, asea of some sort of housekeeping matter, has struck me as shocking. when you consider the number of people who do not go to the polls because they do not feel that matters. but it does not mean that they have surrendered their citizenship or their right to vote when they feel it does. purgingwhole idea of
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always raises questions in my mind. we need to ensue -- restore and enhance the voting rights act so that it is powerful enough for today's circumstances, today's ingenuity. and i say this as a democrat who does not think you have to hate republicans to be a good democrat, but increasingly it seems republicans have decided they cannot win a fair fight, so they have just decided we will jerryrigged this whole system so that whatever outcome is people, it'she people, completely frustrating. so, i believe not only do we need to restore and strengthen the voting rights act, but the civil rights -- and all related. we need to have the resources
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and personnel and directions from the oval office to get the job done. ms. terkel: thank you. now we have one more audience question. this one will be from vern. >> hi, governor patrick. thank you for being with us, sharing your thoughts, and also listening to us. a retired minister and also university teacher. cencus, states are census, be -- 2020 states are going to be required to withdraw district. gerrymandering, as we know, worse in some parts of the country than others. a majority of people are against gerrymandering, which gives the advantage to the party that is in power, and works against the voter strength for the opposing power, or party.
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in fact, we know that seven states now have legislated so that gerrymandering is ended in those states, and they have established independent, citizen-led commissions to do the task of drawing the lines of districts. what would you do in order to also toymandering, and ensure that redistricting is done fairly? gov. patrick: thank you for the question. i thinkare right, everyone is using the same language to describe what is going on today with the elected officials choosing the voters instead of the other way around, and that has simply got to stop. oftopped short, vern, requiring independent citizen commissions for just one reason, and that is when we redistricted in massachusetts recently, we had a very transparent, very
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ofsured committee legislators who got it done. and at every stage there was input, there was bipartisan approach, lots and lots of and basically the point was -- excuse me, sorry. were neutral there principles agreed on and were enforced, and in this case the legislators responsible for it took a very transparent, as i said, and very noble and dutiful approach to it. that will not always be the case but i have seen it done, is my point. so where i want to be is to be clear about those neutral principles, and if states have different ways to accomplish that, sometimes it will be independent citizen commissions,
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sometimes it will be committees of legislators. but so long as there is fealty to those principles, i can accept that. what i cannot accept is what we have today, which is officials choosing the voters rather than the other way around. ms. terkel: thank you. everyone, thank you, governor patrick, for being with us today. [applause] left, and ispeakers am now happy to welcome entrepreneur andrew yang up to the stage. [applause] mr. yang: hello, everyone. i forgot i am amplified. hello. thank you. i know you are all here for me. back, ijoking in the
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was looking at my grades from represent us and other organizations on democracy reform, and i got straight a's. it may be very happy. we were joking in the back that if the big companies wanted someone to do their bidding, they would never have sent the anonymous asian man that no one had heard of 12 month ago. realizing --n up uprising of the people. million, allr $16 individual donors. my fans are almost as cheap as bernie's. everyday americans knowing we can do better for ourselves. donald trump is our president in part because many americans have given up hope that -- that's not an irrational concern, because the feedback mechanism truly has broken down. corporate interests and lobbyists have the ear of our legislators and we are all looking up wondering what has happened. there was a headline in a satirical publication that said
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that we should hire our own lobbyists to represent us, because that is the only way anything would get done for us anymore. money is speaking very loudly in our nation's capital, and that is what we have to try to change. i know you are here today because he believe citizens united was a grievous error that has damaged our democracy very badly, and i could not agree more. we need to overturn citizens united, but then we have to go even further. because the fact that orbit money had its run of d.c. before citizens united. so how do we counter the almighty dollar's influence in our nation's capital? what we do is we unify the people and the money. right now, 5% or fewer of us donate to political candidates and campaigns. so what we have to do is put money into our hands, democracy dollars, that only we can give to candidates and campaigns every single year. 100 democracy dollars, use it or lose it, that you can give to
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whoever you like, each calendar year. if we did this, what percentage of americans would get to candidates and campaigns? lazy,0%, americans are but you would certainly get it up from 5%. to what? 20%, 40%, 50%? we would wash out all lobbyist cash by a factor of four to one. money talks in this country. the problem is it is speaking for the companies. we have to have the money speaking for the people. if we have democracy dollars in our hands, this is how we can restore democracy to ourselves, and give us the knowledge that legislators respond to us because it is in their financial interest to do so. 10,000 of us is $1 million for that legislator, when a company says i have $25,000 for you, they say i do not want to turn off my 10,000 voters. this is the only way we will
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make our government responsive to us again. thank you very much. i look forward to taking some questions. [applause] so, you have a lot of proposals to reform government, to reform lobbying. one of the proposals that you have out there is a plan that would raise -- to be clear, the next president, not yourself, raise the salary to $4 million while borrowing -- barring them from accepting outside employment for a decade after leaving office. you would raise cabinet member'' salaries to $1 million. but how would you sell a plan that involves these high-ranking government officials a massive raise to an american public that is already, as you said, distrustful and disdainful of washington? mr. yang: as your president, about a year from now, i will
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awkward, sorryis about this. you asked me a very serious question. [laughter] pledge president, i will never to take speaking fees for any personal gains forever. if i know a company can pay me a quarter million dollars for one hour, i might go easier on that company as president. that happens with every agency regulator. as soon as you stick someone at the head of an agency in d.c., a clock starts ticking. they start thinking, ok, what is my next move after my stint at this agency ends? you know who is waiting for them? industries with bags of money saying if you go easy on us, we will hire you to pay five to 10 times what you make now. human nature is for that person to go easy on the companies. you know who said this?
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sheila bear. she said you need to make this a one-way street, because all my incentives are to be nice to the companies as soon as i get here. what i am proposing is we take her up on her advice, and make being president and a regulator a one-way street. if you do this, you cannot work for industry for years afterwards. and if you have a long enough period like 10 years, you become useless. they are not asking you for your know-how, they are asking you because you can call people up and lean on them. so, for having regulators and a president that we know answer to us, a higher salary is a small price to pay. because if you are going to say to someone you can never work for industry again after you take this job, you have to give them enough compensation so it is not a lifetime of poverty. so, and this is what sheila said up, we need to ramp
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compensation for regulators, but then we have the -- i went to high school with a guy who went to capitol hill with the best of intentions. he said he cannot stand lobbyists, would never be one. what is he today? we know how the story ends. and i do not blame him for it because after he did his time on capitol hill, it was a big company that wanted to pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby, and there were not other opportunities at that level. we have a fundamental incentives problem for both our government and industry, and we have to change it if we are ever going to have regulators that work in the public interest to the point where they will actually make enemies of the companies and know that they can never work there again. [applause] president barack obama has taken speaking fees since he left office. do you believe that was a
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mistake on his part? do you believe those speaking fees positively impacted him when he was president? mr. yang: all i will say is i will gladly take no speaking fees forever after i leave office, and that should be the standard we hold presidents to. because if you cannot count on the president to work on behalf of the american people, then it is never going to happen. cultures and organizations start at the top. if you see the boss doing something, you look around and say i guess it is ok. if we want to clean up what is happening in washington, the boss has to set the example. so i am not going to speak to past behaviors. i would just say what i will do as your president. if we codify it, that should be the norm for every president after me. ms. terkel: so that was a yes on obama then? humanng: let's just say, nature is human nature. there has to be a point in american life where we say
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enough is enough. have to be there some things that are more important than money. [applause] now, essentially nothing in american life is more important than money. if you have human lives on one side and money, which wins? the money. democracy, money, the money. families, money, the money. there's nothing that is beating money in america today, and that has to change. i am running for president because i have seen the future that lies ahead for our kids. how many of you are parents like me? if you are a parent, you realize where -- we are leaving our kids a far less secure and stable than the lives we have led, and that is because of the numbers. it is just a fact that their future is going to be much more tenuous and uncertain. that is why trump is our
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president today. and we have to change that. the only way to change that is to have a government that is looking out for people and families instead of giant companies and lobbyists. ms. terkel: today you tweeted that you would like to see 12 year term limits for members of congress. what do you think that would do? sorry.g: when we -- when we send people to congress on ou behalfr, they should do their to do work and then come home. they should not go there and think i can turn this into a lifetime appointment, i can squat here and never have to go back to d.c. so much money, the food is so good, etc. that is the wrong attitude. i am happy to say i have seen the secret, the loophole as to how we can pass term limits in congress. go to congress as your president, i will say hey, you know what would be a great idea? term limits.
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legislators would be more dynamic, more people coming in, be more responsive to the people. he would not have this entrenched culture that builds up. so here's what we're going to do. 12 year term limits for every member of congress, but current lawmakers are exempt. do you think they will pass that the next day? oh yeah they would. they would be like, we do this for the american people. [laughter] because they would be grandfathered in. they would be like, check this out, i can become one of the last people standing around here. but eventually those people lose or age out, and then we end up with a legislature that is actually responsive to us. o of theis is waysne -- one of the ways we can change things in washington. it is a zone of agreement where you are not asking people to shoot themselves in the foot to that degree. these people are setting
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restrictions on the people that will come after them. 12 year term limits, what do you all think? if you cannot get something done in 12 years, you should come home. ms. terkel: there are some states that have term limits in legislatures. states like virginia. what people say end up happening is you still have an entrenched culture, except it is in the favor of lobbyists, because lawmakers are not there forever but lobbyists can be there as long as they want. so they can manipulate the system because legislatures do not have the history and the know-how. mr. yang: just look at what is happening in d.c. today. do we really think lobbyists are losing because we have so much experience in the legislature that they are outsmarting the a lobbyists at every turn? of course not. we got rid of the office of technology assessment in 1995, 25 years ago. congress has literally been getting zero guidance on technology issues for 25 years. you know who tells them about
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technology issues? the technology companies. so are you really telling me that if you keep congress people around lay will be able to resist lobbying better? it is not born out of experience. ms. terkel: i want to turn to audience questions, and we have our first one. a retiredg i'm teacher and i have a question on voting rights. i believe that the right to vote is something that should never be taken away. if elected president, will you commit to ensuring full voting rights for every american citizen, including those who are currently incarcerated, on parole, or who have prior felony convictions? mr. yang: first, thank you for teaching our kids. our educators make the world go round. as a parent of two children myself, i have one autistic and
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one in public school. i will 100% commit to full voting rights for all americans including those who are incarcerated and have prior felony convictions, with one exception. if they have deprived another american of the right to vote permanently, then they cannot vote themselves. other than that, even if you are in jail, you should be able to vote. we have to try to help people reintegrate into society. there are any things we can do to make voting rights easier. we all know what is happening right now. we are saying to everyone great news, you can vote. then we put up all these obstacles. so among the things we should do, one, make election day a national holiday. [applause] have automatic voter registration when you get your drivers license or any other government documentation. vote by mail. just try to make it easier
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instead of harder. i am not making any news here, but this is something that americans are just waking up to. we should lower the voting age to 16. hear me out as to why we should do this. the earlier you vote, the more likely you are to vote throughout your life. it would turn every public school into a political hotbed where they would actually be talking about politics junior and senior lear -- senior year. and 16, you can pay taxes for work, and you're going to be on the planet longer. the primary counter argument for this is that 16-year-olds are not well-informed enough and their brains are not fully formed enough to be able to vote. to which i would say it is not like we are giving pop quizzes to people who are voting now. you know? we know people are showing up to vote that have not exactly gone
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through copious white papers on candidate positions. to to me, i think we need trust our young people and empower them and have them feel like they are part of the palooka process from day one -- of the political process from day one. another thing that people do not talk enough about, i would support local journalism. it is very fact is hard to vote, particularly on community matters, if you did not have a local paper covering things anymore. almost 2000 local newspapers have gone out of business. why? all of their revenue floated up to the internet, and here in america, the market rules all. so if the markets as you no longer have a local paper, you do not have a local paper, and democracy suffers. as your president, i will put billions of dollars in matching grants to help communities transition to sustainable public-private models of journalism that could be headquartered in public libraries to try and move us to
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a point where everyone knows what is going on in their community, because you cannot have a functioning democracy otherwise. [applause] ms. terkel: thank you. we have one more question from you, from victoria who is also from des moines. >> thank you for being here, mr. yang. i am a retired civil rights lawyer, so, i think it is good to be following a teacher. teachers taught me everything. the gerrymandering process is never fair. it is was contrary to our democracy. gerrymandering is one of the many reasons people feel that their vote does not count. it is a tragedy that should be addressed. what will you do to make our voting districts fairly drawn and not subject to gerrymandering? mr. yang: thank you, victoria. a civil rights lawyer, that is tremendous. that is incredible work. [applause]
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this is such a pro-democracy group. [laughter] gerrymandering is a massive problem. and someone put it best, voters should be choosing politicians, not politicians choosing voters. so, i would back up what eric holder and barack obama had been working on in terms of anti-gerrymandering provisions that are based around objective criteria for these voting district lines, and not some politician coming in and saying if i drawn the line this way, the people that like me will be here and not the people who do not like me. one of the me, clearest examples of the need to safeguard our democracy. as president i would say we should be following these objective criteria instead of letting politicians choosing their voting lines. i also want to talk about what we are all here to medically to reverse, which is the citizens united ruling. there are a couple ways you
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can reverse citizens united. one is a constitutional amendment, very difficult in this day and age, because you need two thirds of states, two thirds of congress. really hard. we all know what the other path is, right? the supreme court overturning itself. now, that sounds like it might be very, very difficult, but that is actually the easier path here. now, i have a couple of major reforms for the supreme court. one, we need to shift to 18 year terms instead of lifetime appointments. if you think about lifetime appointments, they make no sense at all anymore. when they wrote the constitution, people did not live as long as they do now. and people stepped down for a variety of reasons. they did not stay on the court until they were at death's door. really. if you look at what we are doing now, literally you're looking --
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this is literally how america works today. they appoint a justice and it is like, ooh, this person is in their 50's, they will be here a while. everyone is like, oh, ooh. does it make sense that you will put someone in place who will literally be influencing policy 30 years from now? we should have senior term limits. it would reduce the political firestorm that accompanies these decisions. because if you lose a president election, you know the other party gets, let's say two justices, and it is not based upon whether or not visionary and is well or unwell. toht now it will be rational follow ruth bader ginsburg around and scrub doorknobs that she would touch. that would actually be a fairly rational move right now. and that is not the way we should be running our country or our legal system. and number two, after you have 18 year term limits in place, which is bipartisan. republicans should be on board with this, because it does not hurt either side.
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two, this is something that is controversial but is the only way we can overturn citizens united. there is nothing in the constitution that says the number of supreme court justices. it has been higher than nine and lower than on. i believe we should increase the number, with the argument being that this too would decrease the politicization of the court. if you have a higher number then is a justice rotates off it is not as big a deal. one byproduct of increasing the number of justices under my administration is that the composition be such that we will have a realistic chance to overturn citizens united during my first term. but we would have to get real, because the other side has been playing very, very, very dirty on this. and if you are in a fight, you cannot tie one hand behind your back and complain while they are stabbing you with a knife. you have to get out and say i get it, this is a knife fight. here is my bazooka. [laughter]
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and that is how we win. [applause] ms. terkel: ok, we are all set then. mr. yang: let's win this thing! [applause] thank you all. ♪ ms. terkel: thank you all for sticking around. we have one more speaker. final speaker of the day. making sure we are already. -- we are all ready. one second. that is fine. totally fine. so, i wanted to do now welcome our final speaker, former congressman john delaney. ♪
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[applause] thank you for being here. we wanted to give you a couple minutes to give opening remarks. mr. delaney: good evening, everyone. thank you for having me. thank you for moderating. i want to thank all these wonderful organizations for organizing and convening such an important discussion about our democracy. because in reality there is nothing more important for us to be talking about during an election season than how our democracy functions. we spend a lot of time talking about issues and policy, but underpinning progress on any of those issues or policies is actually getting our democracy functioning. so, tomorrow we will be celebrating the extraordinary life and legacy of dr. king. and all of us will probably
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reflect on how we can better model our lives after the great dr. king. how we can be more decent, how we can have a greater commitment to service, how we can have the kind of determination and fight that he showed throughout his life, and how we can live our lives with the kind of sense of grace that he brought to everything he did. but we also need to remember these words. and one of his most famous expressions is the ark of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. and i believe this is an absolute matter as part of my faith, but i also believes it relates to our democracy and the progress we can make. but the thing we have to remember is it does not bend on its own. it takes good-minded people
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serving for the common good. actuallyocracy that represents the will of the people. and across the last several decades we have seen extraordinary progress as a world. in fact, the facts do favor the optimists. we have lifted billions of human beings out of poverty in the last several decades. we have seen diseases that used to be terminal, now they can be chronic or even keyword. world, seen across the the life expectancy has been extended. things like child labor, even though it is amazing that still happens, is slowly but surely getting eradicated around the world. we can connect with human beings all over the world with devices in our hands and opened up societies. -- open up societies. but in the last 10 years we have seen progress start to grind to a halt.
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we have stopped doing things for the common good. we see it in our citizens, the suffering. 40% of our citizens cannot afford the basic necessities. we are not dealing with the existential threat of climate change. why is this happening? it is because we have allowed our democracy to be broken. i think there are two things behind it. one is a sense of selfishness and politics, where people come to the table as one issue voters. by definition, if you want to do the kind of work that dr. king so advocated for, you could not a one issue voter. you have to serve for the common good. i say this to friends of mine, particularly people of faith like myself. you could not be a one issue voter and try to serve for the common good. but it is also because we have allowed the institutions in our decide -- our society to be eroded. and that is what you are here to talk about and we are here to talk about. we are here to talk about the corrupting influence of money in politics. the 10 year anniversary of the citizens united decision,
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something that in my judgment should either be overturned or repealed from a constitutional amendment, or at a minimum we should pass laws in congress limiting it and requiring disclosure. it has been deteriorated because of insidious forces like gerrymandering, which clearly bend the will of government away from the common good of the american people, which is why while i was in congress i led the effort with a bill called open our democracy, which ends gerrymandering by requiring independent commissions to draw districts, makes election day a holiday, and calls for open primaries. it has been deteriorated because of the assault on voting rights, which is why we need to pass the voting rights amendment act right away to ensure that everyone in this country has the sacredof the safe -- franchise that people have --
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it has been deteriorated because congress does not work anymore. we have allowed the executive branch of this country and judicial branch of this country to run our nation, because congress has been so neutered. so, these are the things that are important to getting our democracy working again, so that your elected officials can actually fulfill their most fundamental responsibility, which is to leave the world better than we found it, to work together for the common good to make it happen. and we know we can do it because we have done it. but it just involves getting democracy working again, which is why i am so grateful to be here with you tonight and have this important discussion, so thank you. [applause] ms. terkel: you talked about voting rights and avoiding rights act. what are some things he would do right away that do not require congressional approval on this? mr. delaney: well, i think there is a lot of things that can be done with executive authority,
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including enforcing the laws we have now, supporting change at the state level, using the power of the presidency to actually try to make change occur at the state legislature where a lot of these things are happening. but at the end of the day we have to get out of this mindset that change happens only with executive authority, because as i said in my comments, in reality what has happened to our country -- because congress is so broken, we run the country to a president, democrats and republicans, doing things with executive authority, and then it being challenged in the courts, and the courts determining whether they have the ability to do that. that is basically how we are functioning as a country right now. and that is so fundamentally flawed, because we really cannot create the kinds of protections around the right to vote unless we actually, in my judgment, pass the voting rights amendment act.
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the supreme court directed the congress actually to do this, and that is what we really have to have to do, because otherwise we are never going to be able to have the kind of enforcement mechanisms we need to ensure that people can vote. obviously if i were making the enroll everyd auto voter as soon as they are of voting age, so that we would not have the ability to limit people. i would not require identifications. i would not do the kind of things happening at a state level. but the only way we can ultimately prevent those things from happening his pass laws in congress. mr. robillard: when the dodd frank bill was being written, after it was passed and they were writing regulations, president obama ordered all agencies implementing those relations to publicly disclose all the meetings they had with consumer groups, with lobbyists, with financial institutions, anyone trying to influence the law. would you require your administration's agencies to do the same when having meetings
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that would influence rules that were being made? mr. delaney: yes. i just think you have to lean into transparency, because transparency creates accountability. and unless we have transparency -- and people should not be ashamed about who they are meeting with, or they should not meet with them. seriously, right? if you are not comfortable with who you are meeting with, you probably should not be meeting with them. and if you have that position in the public trust and you are sitting in an office paid for by the taxpayers of the united states, presumably doing the public good, you want to be completely comfortable disclosing that. and so yeah, i would absolutely require that. ms. terkel: we just heard andrew yang say he thinks there should be 12 year term limits on memories of congress. as a former member of congress, what do you think of this? mr. delaney: when i ran for the first time i called for 12 year term limits, which means every
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u.s. senator would have to terms and every member of the house of representatives would have six. i think democracy would function much better. people argue against it who say we lose institutional knowledge, etc. the issue with it is you have to amend the constitution. so, i think we should be honest with ourselves. when we talk about various ideas to improve our democracy, it is important that we categorize them in things that can be done by executive action, which you should get a commitment for a president to do right away, like put the daca law back into place so dreamers are protected, recognizing that the only way to actually give them permanent protections is pass laws in congress. we have to think of issues as we can do by executive authority, by legislation, and what you have to do with a constitutional amendment. look at what happened with virginia, the historic ratification of the era, the 38
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th state to ratify it. but there's no argument against the era. there is literally no coherent argument i have ever heard against the equal rights amendment. yet we have been trying to amend the constitution to do it for almost 100 years. so i think we have to be clear eyed about some of the challenges around term limits. iam all for term limits, but think under the category of being honest with people, which is what i have pledged, i have always pledged it, in particular around the campaign -- that will take a long time. and there are a lot of things we can do -- like end gerrymandering, which is not require a constitutional amendment. pass a law which says super pac's cannot receive any more money than a candidate's campaign. because right now the most anyone can give my campaign is $2800.
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i do not take any money from corporations or anything. and they have to disclose where they live, what their occupation contribution that to my campaign. people canuper pac, give $200 million and they do not have to say who they are. so we can clearly pass along right now in congress that says if you want to give money to a pac, you can limit it, and you have to disclose who you are. so those of the kind of things we can do right away with congressional action. so i am all for term limits, i ran on them the first time i ran for congress. a lot of people do, because everyone loves the concept, but we have to be clear eyed about the challenges of getting it done. ms. terkel: a lot of your colleagues when they leave congress become lobbyists. do you think there should be a lifetime ban on members becoming lobbyists? mr. delaney: i do not think there should be a lifetime ban, because it should apply to members of congress and their staff.
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to be honest i have no problem on a lifetime ban for members of congress, but i'm against a lifetime ban for people who work on capitol hill. because there are some good minded people who work on capitol hill and then become a lobbyist for an environmental advocacy group -- ms. terkel: or a bank. mr. delaney: well that is the thing about free speech. you cannot pick and choose what is free speech. i think that is a dangerous place to go. so, for members of congress, fine. them.lobbying ban on i have no issue with that. but for people who work on the hill, i think we should have longer cooling-off periods than now, but not a lifetime ban. you can have someone working on the hill when they are 25 years old, they could work for a couple years, and then they want to dedicate the rest of their lives to some of the amazing things you are all fighting for, and in that capacity they kinda
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become lobbyists, and they should not be banned from doing that. [applause] ms. terkel: i want to make sure we have time for the audience question. i first wanted to go to a des moines litigator acting in the des moines legal community. >> hello. you mentioned -- mr. delaney: what was your name? >> shayla. you mentioned the power of the courts and how they have an elegant -- located in fighting our loss. if you are elected president, how do you deal what has happened to the appointments and the courts, now we have interesting political decisions coming out of them? and what do you do to fill the courts, to make sure you have reasonable diversity and someone on the bench who will protect not only our civil rights, our reproductive rights, but also just our human rights as cases come before them? mr. delaney: it is a really important question. what i meant by this notion that the executive and the courts
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really are deciding policy in this country, let me give you an example of that. in 1972 it was, i think we passed the clean air act, which was a remarkable piece of environmental legislation. and president obama, decades later, wanted to make progress on climate change. of course. and he tried to do it legislatively. he was not able to do it. so he used executive authority to interpret the clean air act to effectively cover greenhouse gases, which were not there were actively -- which were not directly addressed by it. he was sued and it went to the supreme court. and the notion that public policy around climate change is being decided by the supreme court, i am sure -- i have not talked to any of the justices about this, but i am sure if you ask them if they think they should be deciding whether co2 or greenhouse gases are
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actually covered by the 1972 law, the clean air act, they would say absolutely not. that is the job of the legislative branch of the country to actually pass laws and be engaged in policymaking. so that is what i mean when i say that congress is broken and we are kind of being run by either the executive branch or the courts. and i think we are all paying the price. so i would support judges and put forth judges that are willing and have a demonstrated track record of putting people first, ahead of special interests and corporations. i would only nominate a justice who would want to protect and have a demonstrated track record of protecting important progress that we have made as a society. and you mentioned some of them. important progress we have made around women's reproductive freedom. important progress we have made around equality. so, as president, looking at
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what this president has done in packing the court with a combination of judges that do not represent that worldview, and in many cases, are completely inexperienced -- because that is another thing that has actually happened. the relative experience of judges who are being put on the bench for lifetime appointments is shockingly low. and it is a national tragedy. so what i would do is i would put forth and appoint and nominate judges who have a demonstrated track record, have real experience, and who, in my judgment, are going to fight for people over special interests, and who are going to protect progress we have made as a society. so that would be the standard that i would apply. thank you. [applause] now i wanted to turn to ms. howard, a mother of
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two who lost when she was 16 years old. she continues to share their stories to help save lives. >> good evening, congressman. 17, it marked 20 years since i lost my older sister, she was only 16. at that time, i was only 11. fast-forward, it has been seven years since losing my younger brother, he was only 20 both due to gun violence, one decade apart. we know that democracy is imperfect, but our government continues to marginalize honorable communities -- vulnerable communities and the
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same communities are the ones affected most by these policies. and the policies that are decided increasingly by a small segment of the population that does not even represent our community. [sighs] andee tragedies of death injury. i have personally seen treasuries of death and injury myself, with my own eyes due to gun violence, which every has spoken of, but we are still in crisis every day. how do you ensure that special interest money such as money from the nra that is stopping actions and allowing the cycle
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of violence to continue in our communities, is removed from decision-making so that the issues threatening the safety of our citizens, your citizens, are properly addressed, and peace and hope is restored? [applause] you for sharing that this evening. more important, thank you for the courage you have obviously shown in taking this unspeakable personal tragedy that it is hard for any of us to really comprehend unless we have walked in your shoes, for us to even understand the kind of internal strength and commitment it takes for someone like you to step forward and be an advocate and share your stories. because that is what is actually making a difference and will continue to make a difference.
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issue, the center of your question, was about the tragedy, the unspeakable tragedy of gun violence in this country. something that is so shocking that if you go anywhere in the world, they can't even begin to comprehend how we have let this happen to our nation. the scar of this and the effect it has had on so many lives, who have been directly, like you have and your family, affected by it and suffered that personal loss. but also the shock it has to so many families around this country. iremember about six month ago was in new hampshire and i was about to go on stage and i was talking to a police officer and i was asking what was going on in the community. he is stationed at an elementary
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school every morning. he said, you know, the number one item in schools this year for these kids, at an elementary school, was not a new toy or a new era of sneakers, it was kevlar, bulletproof backpacks. that was the item that moms and dads sitting at their kitchen table thought was the most important thing for their child to have going to school. and the thought of that blows your mind, to think about how many people have been affected by what we have allowed to happen in our country. and there is no issue in this country, there is no issue in this country that tragically demonstrates as well as this issue, how the will of the american people has been bent
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away from the common good because of money. because of money in politics. money that encourages legislators to lie to keep getting the money, and encourages them to vote in a way that is not in the best interests of their constituents. youssue after issue, and look at things like universal background checks, 97% of the american people support universal background checks. you can barely find an issue that 97% of the american people support, and yet on this issue, we have that kind of support, and yet nothing happens. the good news is, we are making progress. last year for the first time, groups that advocate for common sense gun safety legislation like universal background checks , like limitations on high-powered military style assault weapons, things like red
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flag laws, things i fully support, and the overwhelming majority of the country supports, for the first time groups that were supporting elected officials actually did nra.on the ground than the -- and thefirst time thing about this issue, and we can't wait this long, but the thing about this issue is young people are so overwhelmingly supportive of progress on this issue, that it is inevitable we will make progress. but we cannot wait for that to happen. but it should give us a sense of optimism. because when the generation of people -- i have four daughters and my youngest daughter is 12 -- you take 12-year-olds to 30 or 35-year-old, they are so overwhelming in support of gun
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safety legislation that it is inevitable that we will get it. the question is how do we get it now? at the end of the day, it is by winning elections. we have to win at the ballot box on this issue. we can't be afraid to run on this issue. we can't run away from this issue. we have to take the case to the american people, talk openly about what we want to do and why we want to do it, and we have to share stories like you shared with us today. personal stories about how it affects individuals, their families, their communities, and what we are trying to do to make a difference. but this is a battle we will win -- all of the issues we just talked about, whether it be voting rights, whether it be overturning citizens united, whether it be broader campaign-finance reform, all of these issues affect this issue. gerrymandering. you know, the relationship between money in politics and
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gerrymandering, in my opinion, has been particularly negative for this issue. so many congressional districts in this country aren't safe because of gerrymandering. 85% of the districts will vote republican or democrat and it almost doesn't matter who is on because they have been gerrymandered to create that dynamic. in those districts, if they are republican, the primary is really where the election is determined. and we have very low turnout in primaries. which is unfortunate and we have to change that, but in a low turnout primary, where there is no general election threat, money can play a huge factor in a primary could that is what has happened. gerrymandering on this issue in particular given the nra a playing field in their favor. but it is starting to change. change, anding to
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it is going to change because of people stepping forward sharing their stories, having the courage to do it. the story you told moves minds and hearts more than anything an elected official can tell us. more than anything any elected official can tell you. that's why i am so grateful you stepped forward and are here doing what you are doing. thank you. >> thank you, congressman. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. you [applause] --we have one more speaker more? two more speakers. please stay in your seats, we have a washington liaison for moveon. ♪ >> hello?
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first rule of politics, know your audience. chiefs are going to the super bowl. no more applause than that? give me a break. [applause] >> spoiler alert. >> sorry, you can see the epic win. on behalf of moveon political action, members in iowa and across the nation, we are proud to stand with public citizens forthe naacp, people american way, common cause and huffington post to talk about reform from the intellectual reframe -- intellectual frame. money and entrenched interests are more interested in keeping the status quo than the will of we the people. there here today to say to
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special interests, your days are numbered, we will not take it anymore, shout out to twisted sister. [laughter] progressive,a multi-issue rapid response campaign organization devoted to advocating for a world where all of us can thrive and live with dignity. a place that cares about our environment and fights to protect it, a place where communities and schools no longer live in fear of gun violence, a place where all votes are counted and included and not purged or otherwise suppressed, and to that end, a place where corporations are not people and money is not free speech. [applause] times may be trying, but that doesn't mean we stop trying. did you hear me? i will say it again, it is sunday. times may be trying, but that doesn't mean we stop trying. [applause] the pitmly believe to
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of my being that 2020 will be remembered as the year that we the people up in this room, our friends watching online, and people we haven't even met yet that we are going to bring into our coalition, we will organize, mobilize and bring them along to say we the people will not stand for this anymore and we will bring our nation more toward the perfect union we all strive for. [applause] >> this is mlk weekend, so i would be remiss if i did not mention our saint, so i will close with the off mention quote, the moral arc of the universe is long and bends toward justice. but i will add that we are the ones who bend it. it's not just going to happen. we will bend it by organizing, we will bend it a coming together, and by having hard conversations with people we might not agree with. onm a lead strategist impeachment and we are talking to conservative republicans.
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people that we would not necessarily talk to, because we have to bend our moral arc toward justice. reach out to people you may not agree with and let's change our nation for the common good. [applause] >> to bring us home, i would like to introduce marge baker from people for the american way viewed -- way. >> thank you for being here. i am the executive vice president for policy and program at people for the american way viewed we are a national progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right wing extremism and for democracies values, freedom, equality, opportunity, and justice for all. on behalf of our 1.5 million members across the country, we have been so proud to sponsor this forum. it has been incredible, this is historic. a whole forum hearing from presidential candidates on democracy. i want to thank the candidates
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who took time to be here with us. i want to thank our incredible moderators, give them a hand. [applause] >> they were amazing, thank you so much. i want to thank all of the partner organizations reggie mentioned. it has been an honor and privilege to be part of that. i mostly want to thank you here in the room, i wanted thank you here on livestream. this is important. this is about democracy. thank you for participating in the forum, thank you for participating in democracy. this is what democracy looks like. absolutely. [applause] just very briefly, four people for the american way as an organization, for nearly 40 years, we have fought for fair courts. is incredible to see the melding of these issues, the fair courts issue into the democracy reform movement. it is incredibly important
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because you can't have one without the other. no matter what a candidate says about what they plan to do, what their promise is, commitment is, if the courts are stacked against their agenda, it is not going to happen. that is what we are seeing right now, we are seeing courts stacked by this administration filled with ultra extreme, ultraconservative jurists, judges and justices, who serve the wealthy, serve corporations, serve the powerful. they don't serve all of us. we have to put an end to that , thaterm agenda to create exist to create an ultraconservative hold on the courts. the only way we do that is with presidential candidates who build that agenda into their priorities. what does that mean? that means a commitment to nominate fair-minded constitutionalists who understand the law and constitution are there for all
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of us, not just for corporations, the powerful, and wealthy. it means prioritizing, as we heard candidates today say, prioritizing the nominations, nominations from the get-go, not period period -- waiting -- not waiting. it also means educating the public so that they understand the significance of courts to our daily lives. whether we have access to affordable health care, whether we are free from discrimination housing, inlace, in education. whether we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. whether we have the right to vote and to the road to marry the person we love. whether we can hold government officials accountable and whether we can end racial bias
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in our criminal justice system. you aret enough to say for justice for all. you have to put on the bench judges and justices who will deliver justice for all. so we totally appreciate the fact that this is part of a democracy agenda. i want to thank all of you for being with us and all i can say is keep on supporting democracy, keep on showing up, and making sure you vote. thank you for being here. [applause] >> thank you.
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[indistinct conversations] >> our live coverage of the presidential candidates in iowa continues monday. at 4:30 p.m. eastern, senator elizabeth warren, followed by senator bernie sanders at 5:30 p.m. watch our live campaign 2020 unfiltered coverage of the presidential candidates this atkend on c-span, online, or listen from wherever you are on the free c-span radio


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