Who Asked You: The Squad vs. Pelosi, Campaign Spending and Tailgates?!

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This episode was recorded July 24, 2019.

MARISSA: Hello and welcome back to Who Asked You, The Daily’s first talk show. We’re your hosts, Gabby and Marissa.
GABBY: Alright, we are going to start today with some quick news hits of what’s been going on since the last time we recorded. Everyone’s favorite, ‘Who is that?’ John Delaney went in on Joe Biden saying he has, “No new ideas.” Marissa, what’s your quick react?
MARISSA: He’s not wrong. I mean, does Delaney have any ideas besides… question mark? I don’t even remember his platform. So I feel like he’s kind of punching up there.
GABBY: The big political news today, although it was a little bit of a downer, I’d say, was that Robert Mueller testified about his report. The whole thing was, like, supposed to be made for TV and just wasn’t.
MARISSA: As I tweeted earlier, I really don’t understand what’s going on with the Mueller report or anything. All I know is it’s about collusion, impeachment — some big words being thrown around — obstruction of justice.
GABBY: The most exciting part was that there’s this like, there’s this memo or something from the Justice Department that says that like a special prosecutor can’t indict a sitting president — like it’d be up to Congress. But Muller basically left the door open to indicting Trump after he leaves office. So that was basically the most interesting part.
MARISSA: Our girl Kristy, she was talking to potential voters in — where else? Youngstown, Ohio. She answered a question about white supremacy, which I thought was interesting. She kind of framed it in a way that was like, all of the things that you guys might be experiencing from income inequality and low wages and low job security, those things are all things that people of color, or other marginalized people might face, but like, not just because they have a bad situation, but also because of their color or something else. So aI thought it was an interesting parallel to draw.
GABBY: I think she did a good job talking to white people about race, which is always like, an interesting endeavor. She definitely tried to milk it with a lot of Twitter.
MARISSA: We’ll see how it carries over into the debates when they talk about race again, I would say.
GABBY: Yeah. Speaking of racism, obviously this week, Donald Trump tweeted about four freshmen members, Democratic members of the House: AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, basically saying that they hate America, they should go back to where they came from — widely criticized as racist, because it was. Like, that’s not an opinion. That’s a fact. Anyway, this whole situation of who’s going to call Trump racist, and who wasn’t. And Elizabeth Warren says she doesn’t have to look into Trump’s heart or any of his bones, which, you know, many candidates defer to about racism, to know if he’s racist, because his actions are racist. How’d you feel about that?
MARISSA: I mean, Joe Biden and his racist bone structure were quaking as she said that, especially going into these debates, we’re trying to see a lot of difference between the candidates and their platforms. And I think it will come down to being radical and who they support in Congress, and what kind of ideologies they support.
GABBY: I also like the point, it’s about actions, not like looking into someone’s heart. Because as we’ve said many times in our little anatomy lessons on this podcast, the whole notion that like some part of your body is racist — it’s stupid. It’s about what you do, so.
MARISSA: Right.
GABBY: There was a poll in New Hampshire recently, they asked a question like what candidates do you view favorably, and Elizabeth Warren was among the highest and so was Kamala Harris. But among which candidates do you like, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala were among the lowest, with just further goes to show you can think a woman is smart and view her favorably, whatever that means, but still don’t like her.
MARISSA: And there was that study that was like, ‘who would you vote for?’ A lot of people put Elizabeth Warren, for example, but then they’re like, ‘Who do you think America wants as president?’ And people really thought that like America, as a whole, was not ready for a woman president. And that is so stupid! It’s just like, if you like this person, and you think that they’re smart, and they’re capable and they’re qualified, then you should vote for them, or you should support them. It doesn’t matter what this weird, vague general notion of what America wants is, because America wants what it votes for.
GABBY: If you like them, chances are, probably other people like them. Unless you like Tim Ryan, in which case, you’re alone. Yeah, I just hate this whole trying to predict what other people are going to do is just a fruitless exercise. And I think you should just vote for the person you like the best, in reference to policy and character, and not just like, who you can get a beer with — although I do think you can get a beer with Elizabeth Warren.
MARISSA: What if she shotgunned a beer at a tailgate? That would be so funny.
GABBY: I mean, when she announced her campaign, she like Instagram Lived drinking a beer and everyone was like, “This is so fake!” Like, I think they drink beer everywhere.
MARISSA: Which candidate do you think would be most likely to show up at a Northwestern tailgate?
GABBY: Beto.
MARISSA: Oh, interesting. I feel like you know, I feel like he’d show up and be like “Hey guys, like what’s up?” and then just kind of stayed in the corner, and look at this phone or something.
GABBY: I saw today that apparently there was a mosh pit at a fundraiser and he was moshing. He was literally like so sweaty.
MARISSA: Is he 4 or like 70? I really can’t tell.
GABBY: The youth pastor energy continues.
MARISSA: No, literally, oh my gosh. Who would be like most out of place at a tailgate?
GABBY: I think it would be Tulsi ‘The T is for Troops’. She’d be like, “I didn’t fight for this!”
MARISSA: I feel like John Hickenlooper would literally call the cops. I mean, Kamala would call the cops as well.
GABBY: John Hickenlooper is the cops. Alright, let’s talk about the racist attack against the four Congresswoman? Marissa, I know you have a lot of thoughts about that, because the outline is sprawling. So, go ahead.
MARISSA: I mean, this situation has really just irked me from the beginning. For those who have been following the news, you’ve seen that, ‘The Squad’, which is made up of the four freshmen Congresswoman, and Nancy Pelosi was said to be at the head of it, probably because she’s the Speaker, but I’m sure it’s a lot of the more moderate Democrats as well. They have kind of been in like this infighting thing that a lot of people have said is unproductive. But I don’t think so, because I feel like we all know that everyone wants to impeach Trump —
GABBY: Well, I think their concern is, is this politically advantageous?
MARISSA: It does seem like a distraction. But I think in reality, what’s coming to head is something a lot of people predicted a few months ago, and maybe even last year, that there is a huge generational divide. And so Democrats are kind of at this impasse, where younger Democrats are kind of sticking to their principles and sticking to the whole, we want radical change, so we’re going to enact it by passing all these policies and sticking up for what we believe in, things like that. And the older generation of Democrats is kind of driven still by like a fear of going too radical and losing support, and kind of staying more moderate and stuff. And that makes sense, kind of how they were elected.
GABBY: You know, the Democrats went to the left, and then they kind of lost it all in the 70s. So I understand where that fear comes from for them. But yeah, like, you can’t hide in the center forever.
MARISSA: These four women are not the first people to be radical, and they’re not the last. And I think that especially the centrist Democrats, they need to really take a hard look at their own policies. That’s the thing that’s driving down the party, more than a few outspoken women.
GABBY: And what struck, what’s difficult for me is this concept of the median voter theory that like you have to move to the middle to attract as many people as possible, right. So it’s like, Candidate A is X point on the spectrum — it’s like -1 to 1 — candidate is at -0.3 and candidate B is at 0.5, the idea is Candidate A should win because they get more people, mathematically, on that scale. But the issue is the Democrats are still playing that median voter theory game where they’re moving to the middle to accommodate the centrist Democrats and the moderate voters, whereas the Republicans in Congress have to do the opposite. Everything they do is to accommodate the House Freedom Caucus, and the far right, who will derail their proposals. So the Republicans have to move everything to the right to accommodate the extremists. And the Democrats have to move everything to the right to accommodate the moderates. So just it fundamentally disadvantages the Democrats, by the way we’re playing this game.
MARISSA: Oh, definitely.
GABBY: And I understand Nancy Pelosi is in a difficult position to manage this entire caucus. At the same time, calling out these members of your party that are really popular and that are using social media in this way to connect with this whole new generation of voters that frankly, the Democratic Party needs, I just don’t think is smart politics.
MARISSA: No.
GABBY: So, that’s what I struggle with. And this Democratic infighting, you know, say what you want about the Republicans. When they need to get behind somebody, they will. But I agree with your takeaway. I think the centrist Democrats are the ones who need to look at themselves and say, ‘What do I stand for?’ Because if you’re standing for the middle, the middle is constantly shifting towards the right. So if you’re just standing in the middle, and the middle is moving out from under you, and you’re moving with it, what do you stand for?
MARISSA: And that’s literally gotten us nowhere. And so it’s kind of a restructuring of the Democratic Party, or reconfiguring what that looks like — again, in a broken system, where politics is really messed up, obviously. But for what we have, the system we have, there’s going to be a restructuring of it, of the Democratic Party. And I think that if this ‘infighting’ causes more people like AOC and Omar to start running for Congress and start running for their local politician roles, I think that’s good. There’s always been like crossroads in these like, major political moments. So when, like, the Civil Rights Movement was happening, the Black Panthers and SNCC vs. MLK’s movement, or the suffragettes during the women’s rights movement, and like, women who wanted more freedom, but they didn’t see voting as a way to get that. Stuff like that. There’s always been, in large movements, people who are centrist and people who are more radical. To your point, there’s room for both of that, and maybe more sides of the spectrum, in the Democratic Party right now. But, what they need to do is get together on these large issues and say that they’re together. And I think the centrist people need to start moving to the left when it comes to like a larger sense of issues, like immigration policy, or wage equality and stuff like that.
GABBY: Or, the Democratic Party needs to not stand in the way of primary challengers. Once you get into Congress, you don’t automatically get — that’s why we have elections.
MARISSA: Right!
GABBY: You don’t just get to keep it as a courtesy, so.
MARISSA: And this movement is not unique to history in general. And I think it will mean something, like you said, in four years, in six years, when these Congresspeople are being elected out, potentially by people who look and act more like AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib. I want to be able to look back at this time, like in a decade or so if we’re still alive, thanks to climate change. I want to look back and say like, wow, that was a watershed moment for the Democratic Party: 2016 through 2020. That was a moment where people realized that more types of people could get their voices in the mix, more types of people could start fighting against the status quo and rebuild the status quo.
GABBY: And I think the Democrats are playing this political game with rules that just don’t exist anymore. One of President Obama’s fundamental missteps in his first term was, he spent way too long trying to get bipartisan support for the ACA, when that was never going to happen. And they just needed to focus on the Democratic Caucus. And that’s because that took so long and then the Democrats lost seats, he lost that policy window and then we weren’t able to get some of the big sweeping reforms he wanted. Again, Democratic policies are popular! People want to raise the minimum wage, people want to hold big corporations and banks accountable. People want to remove student loans. All these things have been poll tested and are popular. That’s where people like the ‘Squad’ are helpful because they’re great at using social media and firing people up. By sending out like wallpaper that says, like, “Boy, BYE!’, like — nobody cares about that! That’s not going to fire up the base. The momentum of young people right now, like, is progressivism. Make people excited about it. Make people want to vote. That’s why President Obama won. Get another candidate that inspires people, and that stands for something other than just like not being Trump. And then I also just want to talk about Republicans using The Jews™ as a shield with this whole racism stuff. There was an article in GQ by, I think her name’s Talia Lavin, that I recommend that makes a really good point about how like these Republican senators who are like, I will always stand up for the Jewish people. Like, literally Josh Hawley in Missouri was like, you’ll have to carry me out on a slab before I stop fighting for the Jewish people. And it’s like, literally, what?! These people, these Republicans from these like Western, sparsely populated states barely even have Jewish constituents. So the issue that you’re like defending these Jewish constituents that you probably don’t even know — it just shows what a farce this whole situation is. When they’re like Israel equals Jews, like Donald Trump literally said Israel is your country to American Jews. Like no, America is my country. This whole Republican entanglement with Israel and equating Israel to the Jewish people and being like, oh, since I defend Israel, therefore I defend the Jewish people — even though like so many American Jews are rightly critical of Israel — to me, that’s anti-Semitic. And being Jewish doesn’t just mean, ‘Oh, I love Israel from a national security perspective.’ Literally! Trump has obviously said many anti-Semitic things throughout his life. All these Republicans have been, like, very conspicuously silent, like, when there were attacks in Pittsburgh and other places, or just saying thoughts and prayers, whatever, when I’m like, I’m sure they’ve never even heard of Jewish prayer or really interacted with Jewish people other than their co-workers. So, the whole thing was just really disgusting to me. And it just frustrates me to no end.
MARISSA: My overall takeaway is that it seems like Trump is trying to use some of this power and momentum to further divide the Democratic Party along lines that probably already existed even before he got to office. Whether that means that The Squad has to maybe reconcile on certain issues or another or whether it means that the 30-40 centrist Democrats need to get it together….
GABBY: Get their priorities straight! Or have priorities other than just like being a nuisance. Please, for the love of God, Democrats, don’t nominate a centrist because that’s how we got into this mess in the first place, is placating all these centrists.
MARISSA: And we will not survive. Speaking of candidates…
GABBY: CNN really tried to milk this for ratings. It was like the NBA lottery.
MARISSA: So, who are we going to see on Night One?
GABBY: We’ve got Marianne “Crystals Will Heal Us” Williamson. Tim “Eye Bags” Ryan. Amy “Salad Comb” Klobuchar. Mayor Pete. Bernie. Elizabeth Warren. Beto “Tired Eyes” O’Rourke. John “Who?” Hickenlooper. John “Double Who?” Delaney. And Steve Bullock is a newcomer. And so what I’m looking for in Night One, obviously, I’m looking for anything that comes out of Marianne’s mouth, because that’s entertaining.
MARISSA: We know you’re a Marianne stan.
GABBY: That’s super entertaining. I think this is going to be critical for Beto, if he has another tired, awkward performance. He’s already starting to lose a lot of support, even in Texas, which should be his base. I think this is really critical for him.
MARISSA: Oh, definitely.
GABBY: I’m curious about that. I’m curious to see, I think and everyone’s curious to see, Bernie and Warren on the same stage. Because only one of them can really emerge as the progressive option. And Warren’s been gaining momentum, Bernie’s been kind of losing momentum. Obviously, the big difference is like, Bernie is a socialist, and Warren believes in like saving capitalism from itself essentially, like reforming within, working within the system for reform. And so I’m really curious to see how they play head-to-head. Is it gonna be a lot of agreement? Who’s going to try to come after who? And just like style, you know? Bernie is a shouter. Warren, like speaks softly but carries a big stick, I guess. She has BDE, so that’s what I’m curious about in Night One. Tell me about Night Two.
MARISSA: We have Michael Bennet, we have Kirsten Gillibrand. We have Julián Castro. Cory Booker. Biden and Kamala, the top here. Andrew Yang. Tulsi Gabbard. Jay Inslee, the environmental king. And Bill de Blasio the screamo king. Definitely, everyone’s gonna be looking for that Biden-Harris matchup again. I would think that Cory Booker is also going to try to get in on that as well. And so having like two black candidates, on the same stage, when talking about race might be pretty interesting.
GABBY: I hope they just like go in on him from both sides. I would love that. Physically, both sides.
MARISSA: I know, they’re literally sandwiching him, in terms of, like, order. So I really just hope it’s a back and forth before his non-racist brain explodes.
GABBY: His non-racist neck will be spinning!
MARISSA: It literally snapped. I feel like people like Castro have something to prove, because he definitely took a big spike after the first round of debates. And so it will be interesting to see his energy and his policy platform.
GABBY: And I think this is huge for Biden. Biden dropped 10 points after the first debate. If he has another like meandering, lackluster performance here, that’s huge. So this, like, there’s a lot of pressure on him to perform well. And with Cory and Kamala on either side of him, I think that will be interesting to watch.
MARISSA: Money Minute!
BOTH: Ka-ching! Ka-ching!
MARISSA: So Buttigieg is definitely still up there. He has cash to spare. And Warren’s still really going at it with these small donors.
GABBY: There were a few candidates who, like, didn’t even cross the million-dollar mark.
MARISSA: Womp, womp. They should use that million dollars, get themselves a glass of wine, and then sign up for the Senate.
GABBY: Get themselves some health care!
MARISSA: Also, it was really interesting, like — definitely the debates proved to be very significant. Julián Castro got a million dollars following the debate, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering he was at a million dollars before the debate.
GABBY: I’ll tell you, it hasn’t stopped him from emailing me asking me for money every friggin day! ‘Gabrielle, I need you. Gabrielle, I’m not going to sugarcoat it.’
GABBY: Time for our final segment, Something Fun. There was a Politico article that came out at 5:03 in the morning where these journalists went through the latest round of FEC disclosures of campaign charges and came across the sort of strangest things they found. So we’re gonna play a little game. I’m going to ask Marissa some questions, and she’s going to make some guesses as to who spent money on these things.
MARISSA: Basically, this is an extension of Money Minute.
BOTH: Ka-ching! Ka-ching!
GABBY: Whose campaign account paid $2,011.30 to a self-help movie company called “Streaming for the Soul” that offers titles online, including “Psychic Mediumship” and “Living the Luminous Life?”
MARISSA: Marianne.
GABBY: Yes. She paid the company for videography, editing. Alright, which candidate had the biggest bill for private jet travel. Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg?
MARISSA: Oh, Biden.
GABBY: Buttigieg. He spent $299,000 on private jet travel. Biden spent $256,000. One of the big takeaways from the article is, there’s a lot of payment to digital spending. So like, $4 million total was spent in to direct payments to Facebook for ads, but one candidate decided to spend $100,198 on billboards. And it was also this candidate’s single biggest expense. Was it Amy Klobuchar or Tulsi Gabbard?
MARISSA: Ohhhh, I want to say Klobuchar because Midwest billboard culture is like none other. So I’m going to go Amy.
GABBY: It was Tulsi.
MARISSA: Nooooo! You’re kidding!
GABBY: As someone who’s scared of Illinois signs that say, like, ‘Buckle up or Die!’, I understand where you’re coming from. Yeah, this is the thing that Tulsi spent the most money on — her entire campaign is billboards.
MARISSA: Like billboards in like mainland or in Hawaii?
GABBY: Unclear. All over the place. So, a lot of candidates stick to hotels when they’re traveling. Three candidates spent money on Airbnb. One candidate only spent $1,900, but one candidate spent $13,000 and another candidate spent $16,000. Which three candidates, and I’ll give this to you correct if you can get two out of three, use Airbnb instead of hotels?
MARISSA: Okay, I know I’m gonna get all these wrong. Is Andrew Yang on there?
GABBY: Yes! He was number one. $16,000.
MARISSA: Oh no. Oh my gosh. Okay.
GABBY: One of them is pretty surprising.
MARISSA: Okay, I feel like a surprising person would be like Sanders or Biden or someone for me.
GABBY: One of those.
MARISSA: Was it Bernie Sanders?
GABBY: Yes! He was number two. $13,000. Wow, you’re on a roll.
MARISSA: Okay. Is this person surprising as well?
GABBY: Um, this one’s less surprising to me.
MARISSA: I’m going to assume it’s not one of the smaller candidates. So let’s go.. (mumbles).
GABBY: Pick one!
MARISSA: I feel like a centrist Democrat right now — really straddling the fence. Um, I’m gonna go, Gillibrand.
GABBY: Beto.
MARISSA: Oh!
GABBY: That was impressive, though. That was very impressive. Which candidate spent $550 on books at Barnes and Noble, charged to their campaign account? The titles included “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond and “Frederick Douglass” by David Blight.
MARISSA: Is it not Hickenlooper?
GABBY: Yeah, it’s Bennet. Which candidate spent $699 on a single cake from the Smith Island Baking Company. Was it Tulsi Gabbard or John Delaney? That’s enough cake to serve 170 people.
MARISSA: Well, considering that’s the amount of supporters that John Delaney has, I’m going to go with that.
GABBY: John Delaney. Correct!
MARISSA: Yes! He bought one for every single one of his supporters.
GABBY: This is a good one, too. Which candidate charged their campaign account $500 for car repairs? Cory Booker or Steve Bullock?
MARISSA: As Steve Bullock was driving his campaign into the ground by running, I feel like he damaged his car along the way. So, Steve Bullock. Wait, no, okay. With the Jersey traffic, I feel like it might be Booker.
GABBY: It was Cory Booker. But it was to a Washington, DC-based auto body shop. So, interesting. Which candidate spent $12,075 on paella? Was it Marianne Williamson or Joe Biden?
MARISSA: Marianne?
GABBY: No, it was Joe.
MARISSA: What?!
GABBY: He spent $12,000 on food from the Los Angeles-based “Got Paella?” after he launched campaign for a fundraiser in Southern California. Which candidate spent $112,890 at the Hilton Miami downtown during the first debate? Was it Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg?
MARISSA: Well, I would hope it was Pete Buttigieg because he’s a lot more money.
GABBY: It was Pete. That’s because he brought out, like, his entire campaign and stuff. And they stayed there for like a bunch of days and did a bunch of planning. Which candidate spent $328 at a minor league baseball game? Eric Swalwell or Beto O’Rourke?
MARISSA: I feel like Beto would have done it to, like, try to appease the masses that don’t exist because he thinks that baseball is still America’s, like, sport, even though it’s not anymore.
GABBY: You are correct. It’s because he ran a promotion inviting fans to watch “Field of Dreams” after an Iowa Cubs minor league baseball game.
MARISSA: Are you kidding me?
GABBY: I don’t know why that was a thing.
MARISSA: Well, we’ll see you guys next time during the debates.
GABBY: Literally 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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