Who Asked You?: This week’s rundown, July 12

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This podcast was recorded July 9, 2019.

MARISSA: Hello, and welcome back to Who Asked You? The Daily’s first talk show. 

GABBY: We’re your hosts, Gabby and Marissa. So, today we’re going to talk a little bit about this week in the last week in politics since the debates and since our first show.

MARISSA: Well, a little flex: First of all, I met Elizabeth Thee Warren. I covered her town hall for The Daily. It was honestly kind of crazy. I’ve never been to a town hall before. For those who have never been to one either, she just kind of outlined her policy platforms and told her story, kind of wove the narrative. She answered three questions from the audience. And then, it was kind of weird because I went backstage like the media availability and there’s CBS, CNN, Bloomberg — all these big reporters — and I was in the back with my phone like, “Hi.” 

GABBY: Really a whole journalist.

MARISSA: And I didn’t get to ask any questions from her and I was so sad, but I waited until I can see one of her press people and just was like, “Please, please, please, I just need to ask her one question: What she plans to do to reach out to youth voters besides free college…” She slimeballs her way out of that. It’s a really crazy experience. What about you, Gabby? I feel like you’ve had some hobnobbing recently.

GABBY:I have not met any presidential candidates, but I met good old governor Ralph Northam of Virginia. I’ve seen him three times in the last three weeks. Casual listeners may know him from his blackface scandal. I know him from a few events in Richmond in the past few weeks. He is a lot more Southern than I realized, he’s got a very thick Southern accent and he looks you right in the eye when speaking sometimes, which is a little uncomfortable. But yeah, Ralph and I, you know, we now go way back — 

MARISSA: Hopefully, not too back to his blackface days — 

GABBY: Not far enough back for it to be problematic for future career opportunities. And that’s that on that. Let’s talk about the actual candidates now, just hit some of the new developments in policy from this week, so if you want to go ahead and start about Cory Booker, who released some immigration policy.

MARISSA: Yeah, he did it in English, which is a first for him. But basically what Booker said he plans to do is use some of that executive power he would have to undo some of the first two years of what has defined Trump’s administration by rolling back a lot of the immigration policy. He wants to restore all these protections for DACA immigrants and the “Muslim ban” Trump enacted. He wants to stop all construction on the border wall and also remove some of the sections of it. So I thought was a pretty comprehensive plan. Something that was missing for me was about what he would potentially do about the thousands of immigrants that are still here currently housed in private detention centers. I know he wants to abolish those types of private facilities and partnerships with prisons, but something that’s big for me is how is he going to care for people who are already here and who have already been really, really hurt and damaged by that system?

GABBY: Yeah, I will say I appreciate the efforts to release immigration policy. I feel like a lot of candidates are still working on that. But to me, this is — you know, it’s all good stuff — but it seems like kind of a return to the Obama status quo and there were still a lot of problems regarding things like creating a legal path to citizenship or ICE practices, especially in light of the recent Facebook group that was discovered by ProPublica. I would like to see from other candidates, some more for looking proposals that attempt to address things like a pathway to citizenship or like you’re saying, agreements with for-profit prisons. 

MARISSA: What about Pete Buttigieg? 

GABBY: One of the big issues he’s facing this campaign is engagement with black voters. Obviously, there was a police shooting of an unarmed black man in South Bend, Indiana, where he’s mayor. Black support for him went down between his two mayoral campaigns in South Bend. He’s polling really poorly with black voters. So his plan… there’s a few segments here: he wants to improve police training, he wants to create a federal fund for investment in minority-owned businesses (which Elizabeth Warren has also said she would do), he wants to abolish private federal prisons and he wants to ban incarceration for simple drug possession. This is especially interesting coming off of his presidential town hall. So, how do you analyze that? 

MARISSA: For someone who didn’t know really who Pete Buttigieg was beyond like, “Oh, quirky white guy,” that town hall in April really surprised me because I feel like of all the things that you could say to cement your Democratic platform, to be like, “Oh, I don’t think felons should have the right to vote.” It’s such a departure from where I feel like the Democratic party should be going. That particular moment really stood out to me. And then there was a recent poll, he’s basically polling at 0 with black people across the country. I think he should be very cautious about what seems like pandering and what is just misguided. A lot of his policies going forward will just have to be coming from black advisers. He should really learn to trust those people and put them on his team. 

GABBY: Buttigieg’s newness to the scene and that definitely contributes to his lack of black support. So I think he does come at issues of race from a genuine place, like I think he probably did take Sociology 110 at Harvard. I think a lot of the ways he comes at it is at a place of intellectualism, which is how he comes at a lot of things and not so much having black advisers, talking to black voters, things like that, and that’s just sort of my perception. I’m not 100 percent sure on that. I would like to see more outreach from him and less intellectual-speak about systemic racism, although obviously that’s not unhelpful. 

MARISSA: One of my favorite topics: education. Three candidates rolled out some new plans about education, Klobuchar, Tim Ryan and Jay Inslee. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

GABBY: Amy Klobuchar has released what she calls “Progress Partnerships,” which would provide incentives for states to increase teacher pay, adapt high school curriculums and adjust funding formula to improve equity. That last point is big, because funding for schools comes from real estate taxes, meaning wealthy communities have better public schools. That creates a lot of inequity. Tim Ryan wants to provide a large investment in public schools — $50 billion. And then Inslee, as per all of his campaign, has tied his education plans to climate change, so he wants more STEM education and STEM training. I think I’d like to see exactly where this is going to. I went to an event about education equity today, talking about how low-income, high-poverty schools don’t just need equal funding, they need more; that’s where most of the resources need to be going when you talk about federal funding. 

MARISSA: Definitely, like we’ve backtracked a lot with our current Department of Education, but I would hope that in coming weeks and months, we see, like you said, candidates go a little bit beyond just providing more funding for this program or that program. What we have right now is a huge, deep opportunity gap, and a lot of the schools, what they don’t need necessarily is just $100,000 here $100,000 there… While that definitely would help close some of the gaps, it’s a much larger issue than that. It’s about segregation — there’s deep-seated inequalities.

GABBY: And it’s also interesting because education is an area where like federal policy has been like for the most part on successful in recent years like the No Child Left Behind Act has largely been seen as a failure; Common Core really went down in flames; ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, was kind of seen as a conservative victory, that’s 2015, which gives more control to localities and states. It’ll be interesting to see what candidates, how candidates think the federal government should be involved in education, and to what level they should be involved.

MARISSA: OK, Gabby, I see you pulling up those policy names, OK!

GABBY: I literally wrote an article about this today at work. I literally educated myself in the last few hours.

MARISSA: And our girl “Kristi” Gillibrand, she really came out that literal Medium blog post. She’s like a freelance writer. 

GABBY: She’s on the blog scene.

MARISSA: She came out swinging. She was like, “We need automatic voter registration. We need to make Voter Day a national, federal holiday.” She’s really hammering over the fact that she is the only candidate who really wants clean, publicly funded campaigns. I mean, I’m all for, personally, automatic voter registration, federal voting holiday, stuff like that. It’s just an interesting platform choice to come out with right away. 

GABBY: This is the point that Gillibrand like tried to make during the debate and sounded kind of lost in the desert when she was saying that. It’s interesting work, it definitely differentiates yourself. I don’t know if people outside of academics and activists in this area care enough about it to change their support, and she really needs something, so I guess try anything.

MARISSA: I feel like right now, she’s kind of like a Sanders 2.0.

GABBY: Right, I read a profile of her where she used to be a Second Amendment chick because she was from upstate New York when she was in the House, and when she ran for Senate, she had to get a lot more liberal. So she’s moved to the left a ton in the last five years. 

MARISSA: So, next, our Money Minute, ka-ching! The deadline to announce second-quarter earnings is technically next week, but we just wanted to kind of give a preview about that, see where some of the biggest names are headed. A few names have not announced yet, like Booker or Klobuchar.

GABBY: Marissa wrote, instead of Buttigieg, Butt on the outline and that sums it up. He’s literally got cash out the ass, so that makes sense. He has $24.8 million over a three month period, which is comparable to both Obama and Clinton in 2007 when they were in the primary, but again, back then there were not like, everyone and their mother wasn’t running for president. It was just like Obama and Clinton.

MARISSA: Back then, we only had a few candidates, we could count them all on two hands. 

GABBY: Today’s children will never know. 

MARISSA: Today’s children literally have to use all their fingers and toes.

GABBY: Plus the horn they have in the back of their head from looking at their phones. Yeah, this is a huge haul for Buttigieg, who has been fundraising a lot. Biden’s close behind at $21.5 million since April. Sanders is at $18 million, which is a bit of a slide for him, I think, from his initial first-quarter earnings, Harris raised $12 million for the quarter, $2 million in the day following the debates, and poor Michael Bennet has only raised $2 million. The big news to me is Elizabeth Warren, without any private dinners where you have to have like a count-a-head or things like that has raised $19 million, no PACs, entirely from individual donations. What are your thoughts about that? I think that’s pretty wild. 

MARISSA: Yeah, I think Warren is running a really interesting game, because I think she doesn’t necessarily need to get her name out there as much, like we were talking about this the first debate — she was just kind of sitting there, chilling, she didn’t really talk that much for the second half of the debate it seemed to us. She has pretty good facial recognition, pretty good name recognition. She’s allowed to not have private donors because she’s definitely like $5 or 6 million behind people like Buttigieg, but at the same time, she’s doing better than him in the polls. And so I think he needs that money and needs those private donors.

GABBY: I think this is really cool because political campaigns is an industry in and of itself and so is political consulting, and I’m going to play my “I’m from DC” card here. Political consulting is a huge thing, there’s a whole industry around it: that’s marketing, that’s advertising, that’s polling. There’s so many things involved in that, and to do everything in-house — she’s created this whole viral media thing around Elizabeth Warren calling small dollar donors because people will put it on Twitter. They donated $15 dollars, whatever, and then she calls them and it’s this whole thing about picking up an unknown number, which is a whole ‘nother millennial psychodrama. 

MARISSA: One of my friends was literally waiting on the phone, waiting for someone to call with an unknown number and it’s really like an insurance company.

GABBY: And then you got scammed. I think she’s really turned it into like this great momentum for herself, so I’m into it. Let’s move into some births and deaths. Who was politically born this week?

MARISSA: Tom Steyer was politically born this week. I personally did not know much about him. I know that he had been like, “Oh, no, no guys, like, I’m not running.” And then he was like, “Ope, just kidding. I’m running,” So we’re like, liar, first of all, not starting off his campaign to a truthful start. But he’s basically 62 years old, according to Wikipedia. He is a billionaire hedge fund manager. He’s a philanthropist, an environmentalist liberal activist and fundraiser. So, that’s Wikipedia. Do you know any more about him? 

GABBY: Yeah, all I know about him is that he runs this organization that creates all these pro-impeachment ads and stuff, but he’s very pro-impeachment. This just annoys me because like, I just cannot keep keeping track of these candidates. Like it’s too much. Obviously, it’s too much, but B) like, I hate this whole really rich people, like the ultra rich are, like, “Things are going my way, let me just run the government myself, because I don’t already run the private sector and the labor market and XYZ.” I’m like, can you literally stay out of one thing? I know you already pay millions of candidates and give money to all these political figures. Do you have to do everything yourself? 

MARISSA: You already run the government basically because you’re rich, so I don’t understand why you feel like you have to do it in public. Just keep doing it in private, like everyone knows you do, and move along.

GABBY: It’s also interesting because this big conversation in the Democratic Party right now is like, should billionaires exist? 

MARISSA: Um, no.

GABBY: Well, we know where you stand on that. Go off. Having a billionaire candidate is just weird. 

MARISSA: We don’t need another rich white guy on the stage. We have so many, just move aside. 

GABBY: We need candidates to leave, not to come.

MARISSA: Speaking of leaving, who has left us recently?

GABBY: He’s departed, he’s gone. He should be commended for his ability to leave the race. More should follow. 

MARISSA: Yeah, definitely. That’s should set a trend for other Democratic candidates. I would say maybe half at least.

GABBY: It’s our guy, Eric Swalwell. You know, Eric, you’ll always be remembered for telling Joe Biden to “pass the torch,” for saying, “I think we all have children” to Kamala Harris. You know, we hardly knew you but, bon voyage. Have a great post-presidency run life. Moving on, we’re going to discuss Joe Biden’s skeleton. Marissa, how would you characterize the quality of his bones right now? 

MARISSA: You know, I’m no doctor here. But I would say that they’re pretty hollow, in the fact that like something could be in those bones like, I don’t know. He keeps saying he has no racist bone in his body. Speaking as someone who goes on WebMD frequently, the racism is in there, it’s somewhere in his body. So it’s got to be somewhere — his eyes, his brain.

GABBY: If you thought bones were emotionally value neutral, you are wrong. They’re either not racist, or they’re just like fuming with the fire of racism, there’s no in between. They could not just be like bones — there has to be a value judgment on their racist character. And Biden’s are not racist. Even though he did praise segregationists, support busing legislation and sign the crime bill, but no. No bones are racist. Don’t make that mistake. What did he do this week? 

MARISSA: Well, he brought himself and his bag of bones up to CNN. And he basically had this interview where he was just saying that he didn’t really expect Kamala Harris to attack him during the debate because he was like, “Oh, Harris knows me and my family really well. I didn’t believe she was capable,” like blah, blah, blah.

GABBY: Which just seems like poor preparation on the part of his campaign. They had to know somebody’s gonna attack him. Like he made himself so vulnerable to attack. 

MARISSA: I think he said he kind of knew race would come up as an issue and I was like, “OK, Biden,” but he’s like, “Oh, I never expected it from Harris.” I’m like, OK, like, that seems like painting her in the villain when you are really the villain in the story, if we had to pick one. 

GABBY: He apologized for sort of his whole rhetoric on race in the last few weeks, I thought was pretty thin. He was like, “I’m sorry if my words somehow offended people,” which doesn’t seem like you’re taking ownership of the fact that they did offend people, and like, it’s pretty easy to see how they offended people. I would like to see more accountability from him. 

MARISSA: He just has so many skeletons in his closet, hopefully ones with no racist bones. 

GABBY: The bones have no racism of the skeletons in that closet.

MARISSA: So all of these non-racist skeletons are in his closet. And I’m just like, how are you going to get past this? I mean, we’re going to talk about polls right now, but I don’t see how if he continues to literally put his non-racist foot in his mouth, opening that non-racist mandibula. I don’t understand like, how he’s going to get past all of this, you know?

GABBY: Yeah, it’s not looking great. And I don’t think he’s doing a lot for himself to make it better. And I see him really continuing to fall unless he has a great debate performance, so we’ll see. But again, he does have that big support base and, as you want to go into, he’s still leading in polls, but he took a pretty big dip. 

MARISSA: Yeah, definitely. According to a CNN poll, (with) you know, 5 percent margin of error, but it’s still pretty significant. A lot of the polls I’ve seen fall along similar lines. He dropped almost 10 points since May. So he’s at 22 percent about right now. Kamala Harris jumped up after the debates and she’s around 17 ish percent right now in most polls, Warren is not too far behind. It’s kind of a tie almost between second and third for Warren and Harris, depending on the poll. Sanders is a little bit behind them. He dropped a little bit after the debate. Pete Buttigieg is a bit up but still kind of wavering around 4 or 5 percent, Cory Booker behind that, Beto behind that, and Amy Klobuchar behind that. So it’s kind of establishing itself to be a top five, six situation, although, as we saw with last election, polls don’t mean everything. 

GABBY: I think it is going to get narrowed down to those kind of top five to seven by this fall, I would hope. I think after the next debate of people don’t do well, they’re going to drop out because they don’t have the money. 

MARISSA: I would hope so. 

GABBY: Yeah, I mean, we can only pray. I was looking at people who’ve already qualified for the next round of debates. Interestingly, Marianne Williamson has already met the requirements for the debates, so we’ll get more of her.

MARISSA: She got a lot of free Twitter press. People who had never heard of her were making memes which I think says something about something. I’m not really sure what, but it says something.

GABBY: Something was said there. We’re going to end today with our little “something fun” because we like to think of ourselves as fun people. This week in honor of The Lion King coming out and that Mulan trailer dropping — shout out to that — each candidate has like a walk on suddenly, so walk on to rallies if they had to use a Disney song, what would be the most appropriate? 

MARISSA: We came up with some really good ones, y’all. I’m pretty proud of us. 

GABBY: You guys, if you disagree, you’re wrong.

MARISSA: So to start — Elizabeth Warren, “I Can Go The Distance” from the great movie, “Hercules.” Honestly, that entire movie soundtrack if you really look at most of the songs, this can all be attributed to Elizabeth Warren.

GABBY: Bill de Blasio, we’ve got, from the classic “Mulan,” “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” Bill de Blasio has this paternalistic, masculine “screamo” energy, where he’s like, “This is how it’s gonna be, I’m going to lay down the law, everybody follow.” It really came out of his screaming. Marissa went deep on this next one so I hope everyone pays attention. 

MARISSA: “Be Prepared” from “The Lion King,” that’s the one where Scar is talking to the hyenas and they’re being dumb. Okay, let’s play a game: Guess if this is Scar from The Lion King or Bernie Sanders from the Democratic primaries: “Just listen to teacher/I know it sounds sordid/But you’ll be rewarded/When at last I’m given my dues/And injustice deliciously squared/Be prepared.” Now, who said that, Gabby? 

GABBY: Well, it sounds like Bernie Sanders talking about the Democratic party giving Hillary the nomination.

MARISSA: Wrong! That was Scar! Guys, I will link the lyrics in the transcript. This is exactly — like, the second half of the song was written by Sanders himself. 

GABBY: Literally the Bernie Sanders campaign wrote — I mean, he’s old enough to have written it, when it came out. 

MARISSA: No, please listen to this song right after you finish listening to this podcast, it’s accurate. 

GABBY: If anybody has seen “Pocahontas,” it’s racist, meanders a lot, but there is a song that slaps called “Colors of the Wind.” Who would that be besides our very own Marianne Williamson? That’s probably her hype-up song before she goes out into the debates and talks about whatever it is she talks about. 

MARISSA: Tulsi “T Stands For Troops” Gabbard — definitely “A Girl Worth Fighting For,” from “Mulan” as well. Beto O’Rourke, the classic “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” from “Aristocats,” like… “Everybody wants to be a cat/Because the cat’s the only cat/Who knows where it’s at.”

GABBY: Broadway, someone put her on Broadway!

MARISSA: Beto, that song screams that to me. I don’t know why. 

GABBY: And this next song could also apply to Beto, but we gave it to Pete Buttigieg, it’s “Just Can’t Wait To Be King” from “The Lion King.” So this whole idea that I think both of them encompass, that they were born to do this their whole life has just been leading them to this moment, they’re just like little kids like, “Oh, I want to be president, it’s my destiny, it’s in the stars, no one’s gonna tell me what to do.” It’s this like younger white guy, this was written in the stars energy. 

MARISSA: I mean, it kind of was for them because they are white men but… 

GABBY: John Hickenlooper is “Circle of Life,” because, you know, it moves through us all, it should move him to drop out of the race. 

MARISSA: It should move him out the door. Jay Inslee strikes me as an “Under the Sea” kind of guy only because he only talks about climate change, and so I feel like he’d be singing “Under the Sea” but like, “Guys, like, there are things in the sea, things in the ocean, we have to clean up. Like, I will clean it up with my own two hands, personally. With the $3 I have raised, I will buy a shovel and just start sweeping out trash from the ocean. It’s choking poor Flounder right here.” 

GABBY: “It’s not like everything’s better down where it’s wetter, you have to understand,” like this is his desperate, crazed plea. Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney — basically any sort of centrist candidate who’s very interested in the working class, whatever that means, “Heigh Ho” from Snow White, you know, just the working man going off to work doing this daily work. That’s who they’re trying to support — 

MARISSA: But it’s only old white men, nobody else. 

GABBY: White men with beards. Thanks, everyone for listening. You can catch me and Marissa in the next iteration of this podcast when the debates happen, and you can catch Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar and John Delaney in an off-Broadway play called “Snow White Working Class.”

MARISSA: Thank you, everyone, for tuning in. Nobody asked us but here we are.

Email: mmartinez@u.northwestern.edu

Twitter: @mar1ssamart1nez

Email: gabriellebirenbaum@u.northwestern.edu

Twitter: @birenbomb

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