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Charlie Cook: Thank you very much. It was only about a half dozen years or so ago, that Alex and Jonathan came by, and I met with them. Yeah, I didn’t know a thing and this new idea that they had. And I was a little skeptical and then as I listen to them it was like, wow, these guys had cracked the code of how to really use technology to track what is going on, in legislation, in terms of what members are saying or doing. A lot of people had tried that over the years, but it wasn't till they came along with Quorum, that they got it done. You know, I think every election I have ever seen, I heard somebody, whether it was journalist or politicians, say, hey, this is the most important election, you know, in American history or something. And, you know, which is obviously a ridiculous thing to say each time. But I think you can make a real case that this is an extraordinarily important election for three reasons. And the first one is kind of obvious, but I have to do kind of do it anyway. And that is that this country, you heard over and over again, is evenly and sharply divided. It’s pretty darn close to even. And I think the best way to look at it is, think of the presidential. In 2016 there were five states that, with the margin of a point and half or less. Five states. Donald Trump won four out of five. In 2020, five states were point and a half or less and Joe Biden wins four out of the five. And then you think of the Senate. This is only the second time since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, that a new Congress has begun with a Senate split 50/50, and, I mean, John Ossoff, 55 thousand vote win over David Perdue, but for that, or let’s say 24-28,000 votes, in between, and Mitch McConnell would be the Georgia leader right now, so we are talking about the population of like Fredericksburg, Virginia or Oxford, Mississippi, as making a difference between majority and minority. And what about the House? Only twice in the last hundred years has the house been this close. They were about 1930 and 1942, and it was basically 32 000 votes gathered across 5 congressional districts that make the difference from Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.

And, you know, when you look at the country, people think is third, third, third, that’s not really it. If you look at a poll, and say, 40% independent, basically 30 Republican, 30 Independents. But if you ask those independents, what do you lean, one way or the other? ¾ quarters do [lean]. And that is how they vote, and the reality is, the country is basically 45% Republican, 45% Democrat, and 10%, real legitimate Independents. And what is happening, we are getting into 2022 in just a second, what is happening is, that the country is gone very close with, almost all the people on each side, the 90%, are voting straight party tickets. You know, you remember seeing in 2016, every single U.S. Senate race went exactly the same way the state was going in the presidential. Last year, was everyone but one, Susan Collins in Maine. 96% of House members are in districts that their presidential candidate carried. And what this has done, because there is basically, each side holding firm and not, you know, and not losing serve, if you will. This has created high floors and low ceilings, nationally and in competitive states and districts, so that, the kind of that landslides that we used to see can’t happen. You know, Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, winning by 18 points and carrying 42 states, or Lyndon Johnson in '64, winning by 32 points and 44 states, or Nixon government in 72, 33 points, 49 states or Reagan over Carter, by 10 points and 45 states. You can’t have those right now, because the floor for the trailing party is too high and the ceiling for the leading party, too low. And here’s a spoiler alert, because you can´t have landslides anymore, you are not going to have mandates. Anyway, I don’t want to get way ahead of myself.

The second is just the volatility. When you think about it, going into 1992, the republicans had won 4 out of the 5 most recent presidential elections. Four out of five. The only won they lost during that time was in 1976, with Jimmy Carter beating President Ford and I think probably, the Watergate and the pardon had something to do with that. And going into the very next two years later, in the next mid-term election, Democrats had had the majority in the House for 20 consecutive elections, they won the majority in the Senate for 17 out of 20. And what happened was, the republicans basically had all but ownership of the White House, Democrats had all but ownership on Capitol Hill and, so what you have was this part of the equilibrium. As if the voters were creating this form of separation of powers. All that change 30 years ago, with that '91,'92,'93,'94 period and that’s when things exploded. Since then we had four consecutive presidents who have lost, both House and Senate majorities while there were in office. That has never happened before. So, the volatility explosiveness is the second factor and the third is the stakes and consequences. 

The Republican party was a center-right party, the Democrat party was a center-left party, there were plenty of liberal republicans, you know, when I moved to town, Jacob Javits and Chuck Percy, people like that, they were conservative democrats. The conservative Democrats, liberal Republicans, and plenty of moderates from both sides were like the balance that kept the two parties from going off into a ditch. But that started changing and if you think about it, one by one, think about Congress, one by one, every liberal republican, every conservative democrat, they died, they retired, they lost the election or they switched parties. And so, that there’s no overlap whatsoever, and basically the same thing happened with the electorate. The parties became ideologically sorted out, with conservatives leaving the democrat party and liberals leaving the republican party so that the gap between the two sides. The other thing, and you had, subcultural changes and you know, Newt Gingrich Pat Buchanan and I think Sarah Palin, affected the culture, changed the culture within the Republican party before Donald Trump came along. Just as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have sharpened the lines over, and I think, moved the needle over on the Democratic side. But it’s changed the behavior of these elected officials in both parties so that now, no win is too small to claim a mandate. And that’s kind of where we are, as Democrats are acting like they just, you know, won a mandate as they did with FDR in '32 or Lyndon Johnson in '64. That just didn’t happen.

Ok, guys, you know the mid-term history, the party in the White House has lost 36 out of 39 mid-term elections since the Civil War. The exceptions were all very exceptional circumstances, but with the Senate, the pattern is nearly as good, because out of the 26 mid-term elections, since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, 19 out of 26. 73% of the party in the White House lost Senate seats. You just have to kind of always remember that a third of the Senate is out every two years and it matters which third, because they are not all equal, they are not all the same. And in the House, think of what happened two years ago, in the Senate, what happened 6 years ago, because if a party has a really good year, one time, when does seats come back up, they are generally overexposed.

Now, why do mid-term elections behave this way? We say shorthand is a referendum on the party in the White House and it’s true. But being really specific, 10% in the middle, the true Independents, I think it's buyer's remorse. They have high expectations for whoever was who they elected and over the next year, two years, it just started cooling down. And for the party of the presidency, generally, it's satisfaction, complacency, or could be a disappointment, but milder emotions. And then, this is the most important, with the opposition party, is revenge, is anger, is wanting to avenge what happened in the last election, and that’s why the out party is almost always, more motivated, more likely to turn out in a higher rate, than the people in the governing party. The thing is, what is important with the mid-term elections to remember, that is not a popularity contest, between two parties, because its more of a referendum. If a party has the presidency, the house, the Senate, they… month, by month, month, they start assuming total ownership of all problems, whether they created them or not and whether they've done a good job or they basically are going to get ownership and will get the blame if they get worse and all the voters are not nearly as good about getting credit when you do a good job. But the presidents do get, I mean, pre-existing problems gradually become theirs and at this point, generally, they are. Those are kind of the dynamics that are drive, for the most part, going in the last thing before we get the handicapping, is, when a party has the presidency, the House and the Senate, I have three questions to ask. Is the new president, the White House team, and their allies at Capitol Hill, are they seen as getting the job done? Or are they having problems having it done? Or they are incompetent? This is separate from ideology or policy. Are the trains running on time? Are they able to move things through or not? So, that’s the first question. Is getting it done or not getting it done?

The second has to do with, is the party, the governing party, are they seen as striking the balance and reasonable or they seemed like going too far? Are they overreaching.? And for Republicans are they overreaching to the right and for Democrats overreaching to the left. And the thing is, nobody thinks their party or few people think their party, you know, goes too far. And few people think the other party isn´t going too far. But really talking about those Independents in the middle, are they nervous that the governing party is going too far?

And the third is just sort of a very general, how’s the country doing? Is everything working out ok or not? And, if people aren’t happy about anything, it’s generally not going to help wherever the party power. Now, obviously going through those, applying for where President Biden and Democrats are right now. The first problem to showed up was the immigration, where it looked real bad, real early. The second was the pull-out of Afghanistan and, you know, the decision should we shouldn't we, but even the time and just the visual and execution of it, that was a disaster and when you started seeing the President's numbers, they were coming down already before Kabul fell, but the thing is, the rate got a lot higher in August, right as all of that was happening. Just sort of misreading the situation and thinking, well we have months or even a year, it turned out to be hours or days. And the visual, look at the television, you know, you could argue that it made the Fall of Saigon look orderly. And then the coronavirus, and I don’t know if there’s anything that President Biden could have done differently. But the thing is, and yes, we have the splits on mandates, but, if things are getting a lot better, then he will get some credit and if things are getting worse, he’s going to get some blame, whether if he did anything wrong or not. A

And then, finally, on this point is, legislatively, Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany back in the late 1800s, said that laws are like sausages, it’s better not to see them made. Well, think of what voters are seeing this year. It’s like Americans have been given an excruciatingly long and grizzly tour of a sausage factory and are expected to try them and buy the sausages at the end of this grizzly tour and this is not a pretty sight. If somebody wanted to say it looks dysfunctional, it would be kind of hard to argue with him, going back and forth, between all these factions, between democrats, the two sides. Striking the balance, reasonable and this is where Democrats are acting like they have a mandate when they just won that election. If you think about it, Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate, you know how many FDR had when he started the New Deal? 59 seats in the senate. Lyndon Johnson, when he started the great society, he had 68 seats in the Senate, 18 more than Democrats have. What about the House? FDR had 91 more Democrats in the House and 9 more senators than Democrats have right now. So, the thing is, its sort of going and again I say, no win is too small to claim a mandate, if you don’t have the juice behind you, it’s kind of hard to make it work. One of the things that I have in mind is back to the Reagan presidency, someone quoted the phrase that personnel is policy. And we all know that 99% of the decisions in the executive branch are not made in the Oval Office or even in the White House, but down in the bureaucracy. Do you start seeing that overreach down there on the regulatory side? And that’s sort of what we are trying to focus on. And then, you know, the economy started to slow down a little bit. One of my sons texted me last night asking, is President Biden to blame for the supply chain problems? No, he is not, but the thing about it is: if things are going well, the President gets credit, if things are not, he’s going to get some blame, so, rather is fair or not, the bottom line is, his approval ratings right now, are lower than every other elected president in the history of polling, except for Donald Trump. I mean, lower than, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, at this point. Now, that’s, you know, that is a really good barometer, so, let's get down to it.

2022, the senate, if I worked for the DSCC state, I would probably be saying, "Republicans have much more exposure than Democrats do," because they are 20 republican seats up and only 14 Democratic seats up, which is true, and there are 5 Republican open seats and 0 of the Democratic side and is always harder to defend an open seat than one that’s got no incumbent. But, if you talk about what stages are competitive, basically the four Democratic states and three Republican states, so this is pretty close and actually a little bit more of exposure, but, we are going to be watching on the Republican side, the top ones are going to be the open seats in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where Toomey and Burr are retiring. And then Wisconsin we are still waiting to see whether Ron Johnson’s is going to run or not, and, you know, there are circumstances where, Missouri, Ohio, some of these might come into the play, but those are not top tier races right now. On the Democratic side, the four, are basically the two new guys, you know, Arizona, Mark Kelly, and Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and then you got Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, which is a very, very close state. So, those are the 7 core states, but at this point is way too early to start putting a thumb on the scale, I mean, the conventional wisdom in the House, as well, there’s are really, really big chance that Republicans get the majority in the House. In the Senate, I think is really too early to even make an educated guess.

On the House, you know, between the allocation of numbers of seats among the states. That could actually cost Democrats 2 or 3 seats. And then maybe another 3 or 4, so that 5 seat advantage for Democrats in the House is sort of not really there. What are the key states to watch? Republicans have a chance to pick up, maybe 2 or 3 seats in Florida, maybe 1 or 2 in Texas, this is what David Wasserman, our House guy said and Georgia 1, Tennessee 1. The best opportunities for Democrats, New York state. If Democrats really push it, they could really pick 3 or 4 seats just in New York state, maybe 1 or 2 in Illinois, and maybe one each in Maryland and New Mexico. It just depends on, you know, which side is more audacious than the other. Some people think that only republicans do that, bologna, both sides do it. Now, this is shaping of to be, certainly in the house, a textbook, mid-term election. We got 13 months to go and, but if god told me that Democrats were going to hold on to the House and the Senate and I had to suggest knowing why that might happen, I think I say the Republicans can win the House, but Democrats can lose it. It looks like it’s heading more in that direction. In terms of the House and Senate overall, if democrats hold on, I don’t think is going to be because President Biden suddenly becomes more popular or the Democrat’s agenda becomes a lot more popular, I don’t think that is going to happen. If this is safer for democrats, I’ll say there’s just one person that can save the Democrat’s majority and that’s Donald Trump. And not just him as an issue, I think that is sort of secondary but to the extent that he injects himself and affects who wins, primarily in competitive states and districts. Wherever happens in a heavily Republican state or district, matters not. What happens at least in terms of the balance of power is where it's competitive. If you remember after Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and the Tea Party movement started rising. Remember in 2010, republicans nominated Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. Basically, seats they should have won punted away. And then 2 years later the same thing happened in Indiana and Missouri with Richard Murdoch and Todd Akin. These were seats that Republicans should have won. If there are seizing defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating people that are not electable in key districts, that I think is the thing that Democrats have to worry about more, much more than anything else. 

I’ve gone on longer than I should, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll just save if Patrick could save me 2 minutes in the end to kind of bring it all together. I didn’t make the final point, because the parties are so different now, the difference between the policy outcome of an old Democratic election versus an old Republican election, vastly more than they used to be. And now, because there’s no overlap, the ability to compromise, to reach a consensus on almost anything is almost gone. And so, we have this sort of wild swings and the floors and ceilings, it's going to be really, really competitive and as we learned in the last month, before the 2020 election, volatility, you know, where after that first debate, it certainly looked imperative, just about every Republican strategist that I know thought there was a blue wave, they saw a blue wave. But, in that last month, I think you had a slice of those independents in the middle, who started thinking, Biden is going to win, and it seems like Democrats are going to pay big gains to the Senate and big gains in the House and blue wave and all this and what is this business about democratic socialism and Medicare for all and defunding the police? I think you had a decent size slice of those Independents, they just got cold feet and they decided to go ahead and give Joe Biden the keys to the card, but not give him the credit card to full tank a gas. So, I think that is how volatility, just in the last month shifted there. I think, buckle yourself in, we got a ride coming up. Patrick?

Patrick Kalie: Hi, thank you so much, Charlie, we have a great question from Sylvia here, which is: Does Trump saying the GOP won’t turn out because of the big lie, have any impact? 

Charlie: I don’t think. I mean, a little but not a whole lot. I think his people, they are madder now, the Trump base just mad as hell. I think they are going to vote. The thing is, we are seeing more enthusiasm among Republicans than we are among Democrats. Is a legitimate question to ask and something to look for, but there are a lot of things, a lot of portions of this election and that’s one, but I don’t think that’s the dominant one that’s out there. But it is amazing that, despite the fact that, majority of federal judges are Republicans and all of the judges, including Trump-appointed judges, that looked at these cases and if you go back and look at the four years that Trump was in office, the eight years that George W Bush was in office if you look to the number of indictments and convictions for voter fraud, infinitesimal. I mean, this country is facing a lot of really, big, big, problems and voters fraud is not one. Now, confidence in the system, and respect for institutions, yeah, that is big. But, you know, there is not enough voter fraud in this country, to lose a minute of sleep over, to be honest, it’s just an illusion, I think.

Patrick: Another question is, what does the recall election in California tell you about the electorate?

Charlie: Zero. Yeah, I mean, first of all California it’s 3 points more Democratic than it was when Gray Davis was recalled. Prior to Gray Davis, the last time a recall of a state elected official, anywhere in the United States, I think was 1921, in North Dakota, when the governor, the attorney general, and the agriculture commissioner, all 3 were recalled. In fact, North Dakota is the only state in the union, that owns a bank, and it was when the bank of North Dakota was created there was a backlash and all that. But the thing is, recalls don’t tell us anything. Virginia and that is where I skipped over and I should address, I think Virginia is what you need to watch because McAullife has been a successful governor, the state did well, the state is trending Democratic. The Democrats could be winning there by 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 points and to the extent that if McAuliffe wins for 4, 5 points or more and think Democrats could say, well, ok, that is fine and if it was 1,2, maybe 3, I’ll be a little nervous. If they lose, I would go into a full-scale panic, because this is a state that is headed towards Democrats and, you know, they have plenty of money and a good campaign, but I think democrats should be very, very nervous, but that’s the one to watch, I wouldn’t pay much attention, not California, to be honest. 

Patrick: What about the Georgia runs offs? Like, after Obama was elected, Scott Brown was elected in a rather blue state and so, like the Georgia run-offs or whatever happened in New Mexico tell you anything about the election?

Charlie: No, I mean, the thing is that first of all, had President Trump not said the things he said and behave the way he said, after November 3 and before January 6. Looking back at both of the margins there, I think is pretty safe to say the Republicans would have won both of them in retrospective. I think it's the end of the stack for 2020, not really the beginning of 2021.

Patrick: Interesting, we have a great question here from Jena, which is: Do you think the low approval rates of both Trump and Bidden early in their presidencies is reflective of growing political polarization?

Charlie: Yeah, I mean, that’s what the floors and ceilings, you know, when you go back and look in 40, 50 years ago, Presidents would have pretty good jobs approval ratings among members of the other party, initially and it would take some time for them to sour. And know it's just from the get-go. There is disapproval before they got in the car at the inauguration, forget it by the end of the parade. So, absolutely, so we got floors and ceilings. It used to be, if people felt good about the economy, the President's job approval could go up or down. Now, that relationship started with Obama and then with Trump, and looks like so far with Biden, the relationship is just isn’t there. By the way, I highly recommend the book called Identity Crisis, about after the 2016 election, is really, really good, with Lynn Vavreck, Michael Tesler and, gosh I’m blanking out on the other guy, but anyway, they got another book coming out soon that looks like it’s going to be really, really good it kinds of develops the thesis that people are voting culture and identity, they are not voting their pocketbooks or the economy, the way they used to. 

Patrick: Can you repeat the name of that book again?

Charlie: Is Identity Crisis.

Patrick: Identity Crisis.

Charlie: Lynn Vavreck, it's an excellent book and, despite the fact that it was writing by 3 political scientists, it's in English, you know, you won't be running for a dictionary, it's just very, very insightful, I think the most insightful of all the books that came out after 2016, but it's about things that happened before and what happened in 2016.

Patrick: Ok folks, we’ll throw that at the engage tab at the top, there’s a book recommendation and we’ll throw it in there so you can refer back to that. We have a question here by Julie, which is: Can you discuss what to do about election integrity and all the doubts that Trump and his, I’ll say, friends, are creating on election integrity?

Charlie: Let the record show that Quorum did not refer to them as sick. It was the question of who has calling them sick. Yeah, during the entire 4 years of the Trump administration… The fact is that these stats, nobody knows them, in the 4 years of Trump administration, they got a total of 184 convictions, in the whole country. During the Bush administration, George W. Bush, at the very outset, John Ashcroft, the attorney general, challenged the 93 U.S. attorneys, Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys to have valid access and voter integrity initiative, 5-year effort and out of 300 investigations, they only charge 190 people and they only got 86 convictions. That’s barely more than 10 a year. I mean I think it has to do with where people are getting their information and they are more likely to believe conspiracy theories than anything else. But what about the 9 federal judges that Trump appointed judges involving the 2020 election. A majority of federal judges in the country are Republicans. The thing is, if this was a problem, we would see, times of it, but instead and quite frankly, I think we now have a culture and whether is politics or athletics, where the two outcomes, in any context, I win or I’ve been cheated, that’s it, losing isn’t a possibility. I frankly think it comes from every kid getting a trophy, every kid gets a ribbon. People, they don’t learn how to lose anymore, or that partisan apartheid we have that so many Americans, who they marry, live, work, socialize with, people just like them, who vote exactly like them, so they can't fathom that anybody else could possibly win the election because they don’t know anybody that voted the other way. Anyway, we got massive problems in this country, this is not one of them. The lack of confidence in this system is a crisis and to be honest, there’s not anything there. To be honest.

Patrick: As a Browns fan, I can say I’ve been cheated, that has to be the case. We have a great question, we ask you to put your philosopher hat on, which is: With all of this context and history, do you think our democracy is healthy?

Charlie: I asked if I could have a couple of minutes at the end to sum up, but this question helps me getting there earlier. Award-winning, amazing historian, Joseph Ellis, wrote a piece at L.A. Times, that Patrick I’m sure will find, 6, 8, 10 months ago and it says, the enduring question, stunningly simple. Is national government us or them? And what Ellis argues is that these are fights that we had since the earliest days of the country. That the central government is us, that was George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, but then there was the... central government is them and we need to worry about that, and that was Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and George Mason. These conflicts have been going on for a long time and there’s, a but here in a minute but, a friend of mine is a state senator in Fairfax County, Virginia. He has this theory, you think of the last line of the pledge of alliance, "with liberty and justice for all," and we all believe in liberty and justice, but you think of the conservatives and Republicans you know, they place a greater emphasis on liberty, freedom, self-reliance, meritocracy, go as far as your talent and works ethic and ingenuity can go. Well, every liberal Democrat you know, puts emphasis on the justice, fairness, equality, level the plain field, social safety, common good. Unfortunately, each side is more emphasis on the other, but, the country has always been like this, but the internet changed things. I’m not specifically talking about left or right, but if you have a nut job here and you have a nut job, and another 30 miles…. They probably never met and they certainly couldn’t act together, but with the internet, people are able to organize and people that really are fairly extreme, on either direction, and in politics and in a democracy, intensity can be just raw numbers. I mean, look at all those years where people favored gun control than opposed it, but who kept winning time and time again on Capitol Hill? It was the intensity that mattered and the Second Amendment folks, were the ones who have the intensity.

I do worry, to me and I hope this doesn’t come across badly, but, to me the thing that distinguishes a western democracy from a banana republic, is basically the respect to the rule of law and peacefully transition of power. Those are the two things and we had never really had to worry about that, until lately. And there are people who would rather believe in a conspiracy theorist rather than an expert. And this is just not one party, by the way, I can remember there were a lot of Democrats that were convinced that John Kerry won Ohio, your home state, in 2004. Or Stacey Abrams in Georgia. It was close, it was really, really, close, but it wasn’t stolen, she just lost a really close race. but this is where Democrats in the same way as Trump, well not the same way, but the same general direction is that they cannot accept the fact that there were more people who voted that day than the other. I do worry about it, I am concern, to be honest.

Patrick: Going off on that, quick question here from Paloma, which is: Do you think the GOP house - a GOP house I should say, would certify the 2024 presidential election if Trump or the GOP nominee loses the electoral colleague vote?

Charlie: Wow, I was sitting in a Republican member's office a couple of weeks ago and he said, "Donald Trump owns this conference, the Republican conference." And there are very, very, few people, members that would be willing to say or do anything that could rile up Donald Trump. While Donald Trump may or may not have the juice then that he had last year or that he has now, well, who knows. We are seeing some elected officials and Secretaries of State, we are seeing elected officials around the country, that are saying things and behaving in ways that I have to believe that they know better, but that’s what their base wants, that’s what their base is asking for. Prior to the last couple of years, I would have thought that was a really stupid question, and now its not such a stupid question. Look at what is happening to Republican elected officials in Georgia. More or less, to a certain extent, tried to play it straight. They have the wrath of God, or the wrath or Trump coming down, and he is going to make it a mission to beat anybody, to purify the Republican House and Senate, or anybody that has taken him on. Sadly, most elected officials, know that the last edition of "Profiles in Courage" has already gone to the printer. This is something to worry about, we all have a lot of close Republican friends, who worry about this.

Patrick: I really appreciate audience Q&A and I don’t really know if that’s a question that I would have the courage to ask if it wasn’t for the folks of the Q&A, so, we have a question from Stefany, which is: Is there any significant younger generation turn out that can impact the outcome? Are they expected to show up in the mid-terms?

Charlie: That’s a really good question. We saw in 2018 the highest mid-term elections turn out since, I think it was, yeah, it was 1914. And then in 2020, we had the highest presidential turnout, since 1900. You had two groups of people who turn out in really big numbers. Trump lovers and Trump loathers and that sort of describes 90% of the electorate and it included a whole lot of young people. You had more young people voting in 2018 and the question is, are they making it a habit? And do they see it as a real responsibility? The thing is, I don’t want to act like I’m trashing young people, because the thing is, young people… 1972 was the first time I was able to vote, I turned 18. Guys who were getting drafted and sent to Vietnam, and young people still didn’t vote and people under 30, had never voter in big numbers, they always voted in smaller numbers. The thing about it is, as people get older, they start voting, becoming higher propensity voters, as they get over 35 they start voting. But you have a lot under 30 who did vote in 2018 and 2020, so, hopefully, this is one habit that they will not break, that they will keep going. When I get pessimistic about the system, I think the best thing I can do is look for that next generation. Mine sure screwed it up.

Patrick: Do you think the connection screwed up? Alright, Will Texas become a purple state despite redistricting?

Charlie: I believe Texas will become purple; the question is how purple in… There’s a saying among economists if you are going to predict the numbers, never give a date. Part of it is the rising minority population, but part of it is the proportion that's small-town rural which is heavily Republican, is shrinking. And that we have lots of people coming in from other parts of the country, are coming in from California, places that have very different voting habits. It is getting less red, now, what’s the progression and we saw the same thing with Virginia. As Virginia started turning into purple. But these things are rarely straight lines, and it can be some zigzags, and that’s what they are worried about Virginia zigzagging this year. Here’s a provocative question - if mid-term elections are a referendum on the party in power, could there be a scenario in one state, let’s say, is it a referendum of the party in power in Washington, or the party in power in Austin? Keeping in mind that the governor… I would not make that argument, frankly, in any other state. But, in Texas, I think is the least possible that what the governor, the legislator, their agenda, nor saying good or bad, but it has been pretty aggressive. If any state was going to stand out and wear a party that doesn’t have the President, the White House, the U.S. House, and U.S. Senate, I would look at Texas first. And they think they are their own country, anyway. It wouldn’t be that out of character.

Patrick: I have a few rapid questions. 

Charlie: That means he wants me to answer them quickly.

Patrick: Do you think of polls differently after the 2020 elections?

Charlie: I think that we’ve long known that there were some challenges in the polling profession. I think there are two different things. One is, you know, you have these people called undecideds, occasionally, undecideds decided, you know, and if they just pick up or just move all the same direction, well, guess what, we’ve seen this before in 1980. But the second thing is, I think there is a growing body of evidence that there is a group of people who are mistrustful of institutions, they don’t trust polls and they are not likely to respond to a poll. And they are not all conservatives, not all Republicans, they are not all Trump people, but they are all disproportionately all 3, and not, Democrat, liberal, you know, Berny Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. They are more disproportionately that way. And that they did not get interviewed and so pollsters are playing some way as like, how do you make sure, you’re getting enough of those folks, without putting a finger on the scale inappropriately?

Patrick: Next question is, do you expect Joe Biden to run for re-election?

Charlie: How about this if you had somebody who was about to turn 81. Let’s take Joe Biden out of your equation. You got an incumbent president that is 81 years old. Not even knowing who he is. Not caring who he is. The odds are higher that they wouldn’t run, than he would. I personally think that President Biden and Donald Trump too, have basically told their people, "assume that I’m running unless that I tell you otherwise. I want to keep my options open," you don’t want to be a lame duck, any longer than you must and there’s no need to. If I had to bet, I’ll bet he doesn’t, but I wouldn’t bet a whole lot of money. That job ages people and you saw it age Barack Obama, you saw it age Bill Clinton, you saw it age George Bush. That’s a tough job at any age, and, you know, I don’t believe any of these conspiracy theories about the President. If he has dementia or insanity, I mean, I think that’s all-nuttty stuff. But that job does aged people and that’s a hard job and I can’t imagine doing it, you know, at the age of 78.

Patrick: I can’t imagine doing that at 26. The last question, do you expect Democrats to lose the majority status in 2022?

Charlie: I think that if somebody said that Democrats had a 1 in 3 chance of holding the House, that would be very generous to Democrats. And that’s where I get into, it would mean that a bunch of, my wife doesn’t like me calling people wacko, so we will go with "exotic" people, won primaries in key states and districts. The Senate, I wouldn’t stick my neck out, but the Senate, with people voting, Americans are voting more parliamentary. There are voting red, there are voting blue. And if you got a President, whoever the heck he is, with sub-part job approval ratings and right now, you have to say that about President Trump, President Biden, that it’s more likely than not. I wouldn’t bet on the Senate or Democrats losing the Senate, but I sure wouldn’t bet against, that’s for sure. But it’s too soon to say the Senate. Candidates and campaigns matter less, they still matter, but they matter less than they used to. We’ve got a level partnership in this country, where, let’s say I’m a Democrat. Where, for a lot of people, a Democratic candidate couldn’t suck enough that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be great enough that I would. And the same thing about Republicans. A Republican couldn’t suck enough, that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be, I mean. In that way, it's really hard, for any candidate to build their own brand, that is distinct from the party and if the party is going down, you know, the party is not doing great, you could still survive. That is getting harder and harder and harder.

Patrick: Well, thank you so much, Charlie, this has been just a blast. It has been the highlight of my week so far.

Charlie: Always an honor to be associated with anything that Quorum does. Take care. Give my best to Jonathan and Alex.

Patrick: We’ll do, we’ll do. Thank you, Charlie.

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Charlie Cook: Thank you very much. It was only about a half dozen years or so ago, that Alex and Jonathan came by, and I met with them. Yeah, I didn’t know a thing and this new idea that they had. And I was a little skeptical and then as I listen to them it was like, wow, these guys had cracked the code of how to really use technology to track what is going on, in legislation, in terms of what members are saying or doing. A lot of people had tried that over the years, but it wasn't till they came along with Quorum, that they got it done. You know, I think every election I have ever seen, I heard somebody, whether it was journalist or politicians, say, hey, this is the most important election, you know, in American history or something. And, you know, which is obviously a ridiculous thing to say each time. But I think you can make a real case that this is an extraordinarily important election for three reasons. And the first one is kind of obvious, but I have to do kind of do it anyway. And that is that this country, you heard over and over again, is evenly and sharply divided. It’s pretty darn close to even. And I think the best way to look at it is, think of the presidential. In 2016 there were five states that, with the margin of a point and half or less. Five states. Donald Trump won four out of five. In 2020, five states were point and a half or less and Joe Biden wins four out of the five. And then you think of the Senate. This is only the second time since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, that a new Congress has begun with a Senate split 50/50, and, I mean, John Ossoff, 55 thousand vote win over David Perdue, but for that, or let’s say 24-28,000 votes, in between, and Mitch McConnell would be the Georgia leader right now, so we are talking about the population of like Fredericksburg, Virginia or Oxford, Mississippi, as making a difference between majority and minority. And what about the House? Only twice in the last hundred years has the house been this close. They were about 1930 and 1942, and it was basically 32 000 votes gathered across 5 congressional districts that make the difference from Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.

And, you know, when you look at the country, people think is third, third, third, that’s not really it. If you look at a poll, and say, 40% independent, basically 30 Republican, 30 Independents. But if you ask those independents, what do you lean, one way or the other? ¾ quarters do [lean]. And that is how they vote, and the reality is, the country is basically 45% Republican, 45% Democrat, and 10%, real legitimate Independents. And what is happening, we are getting into 2022 in just a second, what is happening is, that the country is gone very close with, almost all the people on each side, the 90%, are voting straight party tickets. You know, you remember seeing in 2016, every single U.S. Senate race went exactly the same way the state was going in the presidential. Last year, was everyone but one, Susan Collins in Maine. 96% of House members are in districts that their presidential candidate carried. And what this has done, because there is basically, each side holding firm and not, you know, and not losing serve, if you will. This has created high floors and low ceilings, nationally and in competitive states and districts, so that, the kind of that landslides that we used to see can’t happen. You know, Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, winning by 18 points and carrying 42 states, or Lyndon Johnson in '64, winning by 32 points and 44 states, or Nixon government in 72, 33 points, 49 states or Reagan over Carter, by 10 points and 45 states. You can’t have those right now, because the floor for the trailing party is too high and the ceiling for the leading party, too low. And here’s a spoiler alert, because you can´t have landslides anymore, you are not going to have mandates. Anyway, I don’t want to get way ahead of myself.

The second is just the volatility. When you think about it, going into 1992, the republicans had won 4 out of the 5 most recent presidential elections. Four out of five. The only won they lost during that time was in 1976, with Jimmy Carter beating President Ford and I think probably, the Watergate and the pardon had something to do with that. And going into the very next two years later, in the next mid-term election, Democrats had had the majority in the House for 20 consecutive elections, they won the majority in the Senate for 17 out of 20. And what happened was, the republicans basically had all but ownership of the White House, Democrats had all but ownership on Capitol Hill and, so what you have was this part of the equilibrium. As if the voters were creating this form of separation of powers. All that change 30 years ago, with that '91,'92,'93,'94 period and that’s when things exploded. Since then we had four consecutive presidents who have lost, both House and Senate majorities while there were in office. That has never happened before. So, the volatility explosiveness is the second factor and the third is the stakes and consequences. 

The Republican party was a center-right party, the Democrat party was a center-left party, there were plenty of liberal republicans, you know, when I moved to town, Jacob Javits and Chuck Percy, people like that, they were conservative democrats. The conservative Democrats, liberal Republicans, and plenty of moderates from both sides were like the balance that kept the two parties from going off into a ditch. But that started changing and if you think about it, one by one, think about Congress, one by one, every liberal republican, every conservative democrat, they died, they retired, they lost the election or they switched parties. And so, that there’s no overlap whatsoever, and basically the same thing happened with the electorate. The parties became ideologically sorted out, with conservatives leaving the democrat party and liberals leaving the republican party so that the gap between the two sides. The other thing, and you had, subcultural changes and you know, Newt Gingrich Pat Buchanan and I think Sarah Palin, affected the culture, changed the culture within the Republican party before Donald Trump came along. Just as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have sharpened the lines over, and I think, moved the needle over on the Democratic side. But it’s changed the behavior of these elected officials in both parties so that now, no win is too small to claim a mandate. And that’s kind of where we are, as Democrats are acting like they just, you know, won a mandate as they did with FDR in '32 or Lyndon Johnson in '64. That just didn’t happen.

Ok, guys, you know the mid-term history, the party in the White House has lost 36 out of 39 mid-term elections since the Civil War. The exceptions were all very exceptional circumstances, but with the Senate, the pattern is nearly as good, because out of the 26 mid-term elections, since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, 19 out of 26. 73% of the party in the White House lost Senate seats. You just have to kind of always remember that a third of the Senate is out every two years and it matters which third, because they are not all equal, they are not all the same. And in the House, think of what happened two years ago, in the Senate, what happened 6 years ago, because if a party has a really good year, one time, when does seats come back up, they are generally overexposed.

Now, why do mid-term elections behave this way? We say shorthand is a referendum on the party in the White House and it’s true. But being really specific, 10% in the middle, the true Independents, I think it's buyer's remorse. They have high expectations for whoever was who they elected and over the next year, two years, it just started cooling down. And for the party of the presidency, generally, it's satisfaction, complacency, or could be a disappointment, but milder emotions. And then, this is the most important, with the opposition party, is revenge, is anger, is wanting to avenge what happened in the last election, and that’s why the out party is almost always, more motivated, more likely to turn out in a higher rate, than the people in the governing party. The thing is, what is important with the mid-term elections to remember, that is not a popularity contest, between two parties, because its more of a referendum. If a party has the presidency, the house, the Senate, they… month, by month, month, they start assuming total ownership of all problems, whether they created them or not and whether they've done a good job or they basically are going to get ownership and will get the blame if they get worse and all the voters are not nearly as good about getting credit when you do a good job. But the presidents do get, I mean, pre-existing problems gradually become theirs and at this point, generally, they are. Those are kind of the dynamics that are drive, for the most part, going in the last thing before we get the handicapping, is, when a party has the presidency, the House and the Senate, I have three questions to ask. Is the new president, the White House team, and their allies at Capitol Hill, are they seen as getting the job done? Or are they having problems having it done? Or they are incompetent? This is separate from ideology or policy. Are the trains running on time? Are they able to move things through or not? So, that’s the first question. Is getting it done or not getting it done?

The second has to do with, is the party, the governing party, are they seen as striking the balance and reasonable or they seemed like going too far? Are they overreaching.? And for Republicans are they overreaching to the right and for Democrats overreaching to the left. And the thing is, nobody thinks their party or few people think their party, you know, goes too far. And few people think the other party isn´t going too far. But really talking about those Independents in the middle, are they nervous that the governing party is going too far?

And the third is just sort of a very general, how’s the country doing? Is everything working out ok or not? And, if people aren’t happy about anything, it’s generally not going to help wherever the party power. Now, obviously going through those, applying for where President Biden and Democrats are right now. The first problem to showed up was the immigration, where it looked real bad, real early. The second was the pull-out of Afghanistan and, you know, the decision should we shouldn't we, but even the time and just the visual and execution of it, that was a disaster and when you started seeing the President's numbers, they were coming down already before Kabul fell, but the thing is, the rate got a lot higher in August, right as all of that was happening. Just sort of misreading the situation and thinking, well we have months or even a year, it turned out to be hours or days. And the visual, look at the television, you know, you could argue that it made the Fall of Saigon look orderly. And then the coronavirus, and I don’t know if there’s anything that President Biden could have done differently. But the thing is, and yes, we have the splits on mandates, but, if things are getting a lot better, then he will get some credit and if things are getting worse, he’s going to get some blame, whether if he did anything wrong or not. A

And then, finally, on this point is, legislatively, Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany back in the late 1800s, said that laws are like sausages, it’s better not to see them made. Well, think of what voters are seeing this year. It’s like Americans have been given an excruciatingly long and grizzly tour of a sausage factory and are expected to try them and buy the sausages at the end of this grizzly tour and this is not a pretty sight. If somebody wanted to say it looks dysfunctional, it would be kind of hard to argue with him, going back and forth, between all these factions, between democrats, the two sides. Striking the balance, reasonable and this is where Democrats are acting like they have a mandate when they just won that election. If you think about it, Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate, you know how many FDR had when he started the New Deal? 59 seats in the senate. Lyndon Johnson, when he started the great society, he had 68 seats in the Senate, 18 more than Democrats have. What about the House? FDR had 91 more Democrats in the House and 9 more senators than Democrats have right now. So, the thing is, its sort of going and again I say, no win is too small to claim a mandate, if you don’t have the juice behind you, it’s kind of hard to make it work. One of the things that I have in mind is back to the Reagan presidency, someone quoted the phrase that personnel is policy. And we all know that 99% of the decisions in the executive branch are not made in the Oval Office or even in the White House, but down in the bureaucracy. Do you start seeing that overreach down there on the regulatory side? And that’s sort of what we are trying to focus on. And then, you know, the economy started to slow down a little bit. One of my sons texted me last night asking, is President Biden to blame for the supply chain problems? No, he is not, but the thing about it is: if things are going well, the President gets credit, if things are not, he’s going to get some blame, so, rather is fair or not, the bottom line is, his approval ratings right now, are lower than every other elected president in the history of polling, except for Donald Trump. I mean, lower than, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, at this point. Now, that’s, you know, that is a really good barometer, so, let's get down to it.

2022, the senate, if I worked for the DSCC state, I would probably be saying, "Republicans have much more exposure than Democrats do," because they are 20 republican seats up and only 14 Democratic seats up, which is true, and there are 5 Republican open seats and 0 of the Democratic side and is always harder to defend an open seat than one that’s got no incumbent. But, if you talk about what stages are competitive, basically the four Democratic states and three Republican states, so this is pretty close and actually a little bit more of exposure, but, we are going to be watching on the Republican side, the top ones are going to be the open seats in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where Toomey and Burr are retiring. And then Wisconsin we are still waiting to see whether Ron Johnson’s is going to run or not, and, you know, there are circumstances where, Missouri, Ohio, some of these might come into the play, but those are not top tier races right now. On the Democratic side, the four, are basically the two new guys, you know, Arizona, Mark Kelly, and Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and then you got Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, which is a very, very close state. So, those are the 7 core states, but at this point is way too early to start putting a thumb on the scale, I mean, the conventional wisdom in the House, as well, there’s are really, really big chance that Republicans get the majority in the House. In the Senate, I think is really too early to even make an educated guess.

On the House, you know, between the allocation of numbers of seats among the states. That could actually cost Democrats 2 or 3 seats. And then maybe another 3 or 4, so that 5 seat advantage for Democrats in the House is sort of not really there. What are the key states to watch? Republicans have a chance to pick up, maybe 2 or 3 seats in Florida, maybe 1 or 2 in Texas, this is what David Wasserman, our House guy said and Georgia 1, Tennessee 1. The best opportunities for Democrats, New York state. If Democrats really push it, they could really pick 3 or 4 seats just in New York state, maybe 1 or 2 in Illinois, and maybe one each in Maryland and New Mexico. It just depends on, you know, which side is more audacious than the other. Some people think that only republicans do that, bologna, both sides do it. Now, this is shaping of to be, certainly in the house, a textbook, mid-term election. We got 13 months to go and, but if god told me that Democrats were going to hold on to the House and the Senate and I had to suggest knowing why that might happen, I think I say the Republicans can win the House, but Democrats can lose it. It looks like it’s heading more in that direction. In terms of the House and Senate overall, if democrats hold on, I don’t think is going to be because President Biden suddenly becomes more popular or the Democrat’s agenda becomes a lot more popular, I don’t think that is going to happen. If this is safer for democrats, I’ll say there’s just one person that can save the Democrat’s majority and that’s Donald Trump. And not just him as an issue, I think that is sort of secondary but to the extent that he injects himself and affects who wins, primarily in competitive states and districts. Wherever happens in a heavily Republican state or district, matters not. What happens at least in terms of the balance of power is where it's competitive. If you remember after Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and the Tea Party movement started rising. Remember in 2010, republicans nominated Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. Basically, seats they should have won punted away. And then 2 years later the same thing happened in Indiana and Missouri with Richard Murdoch and Todd Akin. These were seats that Republicans should have won. If there are seizing defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating people that are not electable in key districts, that I think is the thing that Democrats have to worry about more, much more than anything else. 

I’ve gone on longer than I should, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll just save if Patrick could save me 2 minutes in the end to kind of bring it all together. I didn’t make the final point, because the parties are so different now, the difference between the policy outcome of an old Democratic election versus an old Republican election, vastly more than they used to be. And now, because there’s no overlap, the ability to compromise, to reach a consensus on almost anything is almost gone. And so, we have this sort of wild swings and the floors and ceilings, it's going to be really, really competitive and as we learned in the last month, before the 2020 election, volatility, you know, where after that first debate, it certainly looked imperative, just about every Republican strategist that I know thought there was a blue wave, they saw a blue wave. But, in that last month, I think you had a slice of those independents in the middle, who started thinking, Biden is going to win, and it seems like Democrats are going to pay big gains to the Senate and big gains in the House and blue wave and all this and what is this business about democratic socialism and Medicare for all and defunding the police? I think you had a decent size slice of those Independents, they just got cold feet and they decided to go ahead and give Joe Biden the keys to the card, but not give him the credit card to full tank a gas. So, I think that is how volatility, just in the last month shifted there. I think, buckle yourself in, we got a ride coming up. Patrick?

Patrick Kalie: Hi, thank you so much, Charlie, we have a great question from Sylvia here, which is: Does Trump saying the GOP won’t turn out because of the big lie, have any impact? 

Charlie: I don’t think. I mean, a little but not a whole lot. I think his people, they are madder now, the Trump base just mad as hell. I think they are going to vote. The thing is, we are seeing more enthusiasm among Republicans than we are among Democrats. Is a legitimate question to ask and something to look for, but there are a lot of things, a lot of portions of this election and that’s one, but I don’t think that’s the dominant one that’s out there. But it is amazing that, despite the fact that, majority of federal judges are Republicans and all of the judges, including Trump-appointed judges, that looked at these cases and if you go back and look at the four years that Trump was in office, the eight years that George W Bush was in office if you look to the number of indictments and convictions for voter fraud, infinitesimal. I mean, this country is facing a lot of really, big, big, problems and voters fraud is not one. Now, confidence in the system, and respect for institutions, yeah, that is big. But, you know, there is not enough voter fraud in this country, to lose a minute of sleep over, to be honest, it’s just an illusion, I think.

Patrick: Another question is, what does the recall election in California tell you about the electorate?

Charlie: Zero. Yeah, I mean, first of all California it’s 3 points more Democratic than it was when Gray Davis was recalled. Prior to Gray Davis, the last time a recall of a state elected official, anywhere in the United States, I think was 1921, in North Dakota, when the governor, the attorney general, and the agriculture commissioner, all 3 were recalled. In fact, North Dakota is the only state in the union, that owns a bank, and it was when the bank of North Dakota was created there was a backlash and all that. But the thing is, recalls don’t tell us anything. Virginia and that is where I skipped over and I should address, I think Virginia is what you need to watch because McAullife has been a successful governor, the state did well, the state is trending Democratic. The Democrats could be winning there by 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 points and to the extent that if McAuliffe wins for 4, 5 points or more and think Democrats could say, well, ok, that is fine and if it was 1,2, maybe 3, I’ll be a little nervous. If they lose, I would go into a full-scale panic, because this is a state that is headed towards Democrats and, you know, they have plenty of money and a good campaign, but I think democrats should be very, very nervous, but that’s the one to watch, I wouldn’t pay much attention, not California, to be honest. 

Patrick: What about the Georgia runs offs? Like, after Obama was elected, Scott Brown was elected in a rather blue state and so, like the Georgia run-offs or whatever happened in New Mexico tell you anything about the election?

Charlie: No, I mean, the thing is that first of all, had President Trump not said the things he said and behave the way he said, after November 3 and before January 6. Looking back at both of the margins there, I think is pretty safe to say the Republicans would have won both of them in retrospective. I think it's the end of the stack for 2020, not really the beginning of 2021.

Patrick: Interesting, we have a great question here from Jena, which is: Do you think the low approval rates of both Trump and Bidden early in their presidencies is reflective of growing political polarization?

Charlie: Yeah, I mean, that’s what the floors and ceilings, you know, when you go back and look in 40, 50 years ago, Presidents would have pretty good jobs approval ratings among members of the other party, initially and it would take some time for them to sour. And know it's just from the get-go. There is disapproval before they got in the car at the inauguration, forget it by the end of the parade. So, absolutely, so we got floors and ceilings. It used to be, if people felt good about the economy, the President's job approval could go up or down. Now, that relationship started with Obama and then with Trump, and looks like so far with Biden, the relationship is just isn’t there. By the way, I highly recommend the book called Identity Crisis, about after the 2016 election, is really, really good, with Lynn Vavreck, Michael Tesler and, gosh I’m blanking out on the other guy, but anyway, they got another book coming out soon that looks like it’s going to be really, really good it kinds of develops the thesis that people are voting culture and identity, they are not voting their pocketbooks or the economy, the way they used to. 

Patrick: Can you repeat the name of that book again?

Charlie: Is Identity Crisis.

Patrick: Identity Crisis.

Charlie: Lynn Vavreck, it's an excellent book and, despite the fact that it was writing by 3 political scientists, it's in English, you know, you won't be running for a dictionary, it's just very, very insightful, I think the most insightful of all the books that came out after 2016, but it's about things that happened before and what happened in 2016.

Patrick: Ok folks, we’ll throw that at the engage tab at the top, there’s a book recommendation and we’ll throw it in there so you can refer back to that. We have a question here by Julie, which is: Can you discuss what to do about election integrity and all the doubts that Trump and his, I’ll say, friends, are creating on election integrity?

Charlie: Let the record show that Quorum did not refer to them as sick. It was the question of who has calling them sick. Yeah, during the entire 4 years of the Trump administration… The fact is that these stats, nobody knows them, in the 4 years of Trump administration, they got a total of 184 convictions, in the whole country. During the Bush administration, George W. Bush, at the very outset, John Ashcroft, the attorney general, challenged the 93 U.S. attorneys, Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys to have valid access and voter integrity initiative, 5-year effort and out of 300 investigations, they only charge 190 people and they only got 86 convictions. That’s barely more than 10 a year. I mean I think it has to do with where people are getting their information and they are more likely to believe conspiracy theories than anything else. But what about the 9 federal judges that Trump appointed judges involving the 2020 election. A majority of federal judges in the country are Republicans. The thing is, if this was a problem, we would see, times of it, but instead and quite frankly, I think we now have a culture and whether is politics or athletics, where the two outcomes, in any context, I win or I’ve been cheated, that’s it, losing isn’t a possibility. I frankly think it comes from every kid getting a trophy, every kid gets a ribbon. People, they don’t learn how to lose anymore, or that partisan apartheid we have that so many Americans, who they marry, live, work, socialize with, people just like them, who vote exactly like them, so they can't fathom that anybody else could possibly win the election because they don’t know anybody that voted the other way. Anyway, we got massive problems in this country, this is not one of them. The lack of confidence in this system is a crisis and to be honest, there’s not anything there. To be honest.

Patrick: As a Browns fan, I can say I’ve been cheated, that has to be the case. We have a great question, we ask you to put your philosopher hat on, which is: With all of this context and history, do you think our democracy is healthy?

Charlie: I asked if I could have a couple of minutes at the end to sum up, but this question helps me getting there earlier. Award-winning, amazing historian, Joseph Ellis, wrote a piece at L.A. Times, that Patrick I’m sure will find, 6, 8, 10 months ago and it says, the enduring question, stunningly simple. Is national government us or them? And what Ellis argues is that these are fights that we had since the earliest days of the country. That the central government is us, that was George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, but then there was the... central government is them and we need to worry about that, and that was Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and George Mason. These conflicts have been going on for a long time and there’s, a but here in a minute but, a friend of mine is a state senator in Fairfax County, Virginia. He has this theory, you think of the last line of the pledge of alliance, "with liberty and justice for all," and we all believe in liberty and justice, but you think of the conservatives and Republicans you know, they place a greater emphasis on liberty, freedom, self-reliance, meritocracy, go as far as your talent and works ethic and ingenuity can go. Well, every liberal Democrat you know, puts emphasis on the justice, fairness, equality, level the plain field, social safety, common good. Unfortunately, each side is more emphasis on the other, but, the country has always been like this, but the internet changed things. I’m not specifically talking about left or right, but if you have a nut job here and you have a nut job, and another 30 miles…. They probably never met and they certainly couldn’t act together, but with the internet, people are able to organize and people that really are fairly extreme, on either direction, and in politics and in a democracy, intensity can be just raw numbers. I mean, look at all those years where people favored gun control than opposed it, but who kept winning time and time again on Capitol Hill? It was the intensity that mattered and the Second Amendment folks, were the ones who have the intensity.

I do worry, to me and I hope this doesn’t come across badly, but, to me the thing that distinguishes a western democracy from a banana republic, is basically the respect to the rule of law and peacefully transition of power. Those are the two things and we had never really had to worry about that, until lately. And there are people who would rather believe in a conspiracy theorist rather than an expert. And this is just not one party, by the way, I can remember there were a lot of Democrats that were convinced that John Kerry won Ohio, your home state, in 2004. Or Stacey Abrams in Georgia. It was close, it was really, really, close, but it wasn’t stolen, she just lost a really close race. but this is where Democrats in the same way as Trump, well not the same way, but the same general direction is that they cannot accept the fact that there were more people who voted that day than the other. I do worry about it, I am concern, to be honest.

Patrick: Going off on that, quick question here from Paloma, which is: Do you think the GOP house - a GOP house I should say, would certify the 2024 presidential election if Trump or the GOP nominee loses the electoral colleague vote?

Charlie: Wow, I was sitting in a Republican member's office a couple of weeks ago and he said, "Donald Trump owns this conference, the Republican conference." And there are very, very, few people, members that would be willing to say or do anything that could rile up Donald Trump. While Donald Trump may or may not have the juice then that he had last year or that he has now, well, who knows. We are seeing some elected officials and Secretaries of State, we are seeing elected officials around the country, that are saying things and behaving in ways that I have to believe that they know better, but that’s what their base wants, that’s what their base is asking for. Prior to the last couple of years, I would have thought that was a really stupid question, and now its not such a stupid question. Look at what is happening to Republican elected officials in Georgia. More or less, to a certain extent, tried to play it straight. They have the wrath of God, or the wrath or Trump coming down, and he is going to make it a mission to beat anybody, to purify the Republican House and Senate, or anybody that has taken him on. Sadly, most elected officials, know that the last edition of "Profiles in Courage" has already gone to the printer. This is something to worry about, we all have a lot of close Republican friends, who worry about this.

Patrick: I really appreciate audience Q&A and I don’t really know if that’s a question that I would have the courage to ask if it wasn’t for the folks of the Q&A, so, we have a question from Stefany, which is: Is there any significant younger generation turn out that can impact the outcome? Are they expected to show up in the mid-terms?

Charlie: That’s a really good question. We saw in 2018 the highest mid-term elections turn out since, I think it was, yeah, it was 1914. And then in 2020, we had the highest presidential turnout, since 1900. You had two groups of people who turn out in really big numbers. Trump lovers and Trump loathers and that sort of describes 90% of the electorate and it included a whole lot of young people. You had more young people voting in 2018 and the question is, are they making it a habit? And do they see it as a real responsibility? The thing is, I don’t want to act like I’m trashing young people, because the thing is, young people… 1972 was the first time I was able to vote, I turned 18. Guys who were getting drafted and sent to Vietnam, and young people still didn’t vote and people under 30, had never voter in big numbers, they always voted in smaller numbers. The thing about it is, as people get older, they start voting, becoming higher propensity voters, as they get over 35 they start voting. But you have a lot under 30 who did vote in 2018 and 2020, so, hopefully, this is one habit that they will not break, that they will keep going. When I get pessimistic about the system, I think the best thing I can do is look for that next generation. Mine sure screwed it up.

Patrick: Do you think the connection screwed up? Alright, Will Texas become a purple state despite redistricting?

Charlie: I believe Texas will become purple; the question is how purple in… There’s a saying among economists if you are going to predict the numbers, never give a date. Part of it is the rising minority population, but part of it is the proportion that's small-town rural which is heavily Republican, is shrinking. And that we have lots of people coming in from other parts of the country, are coming in from California, places that have very different voting habits. It is getting less red, now, what’s the progression and we saw the same thing with Virginia. As Virginia started turning into purple. But these things are rarely straight lines, and it can be some zigzags, and that’s what they are worried about Virginia zigzagging this year. Here’s a provocative question - if mid-term elections are a referendum on the party in power, could there be a scenario in one state, let’s say, is it a referendum of the party in power in Washington, or the party in power in Austin? Keeping in mind that the governor… I would not make that argument, frankly, in any other state. But, in Texas, I think is the least possible that what the governor, the legislator, their agenda, nor saying good or bad, but it has been pretty aggressive. If any state was going to stand out and wear a party that doesn’t have the President, the White House, the U.S. House, and U.S. Senate, I would look at Texas first. And they think they are their own country, anyway. It wouldn’t be that out of character.

Patrick: I have a few rapid questions. 

Charlie: That means he wants me to answer them quickly.

Patrick: Do you think of polls differently after the 2020 elections?

Charlie: I think that we’ve long known that there were some challenges in the polling profession. I think there are two different things. One is, you know, you have these people called undecideds, occasionally, undecideds decided, you know, and if they just pick up or just move all the same direction, well, guess what, we’ve seen this before in 1980. But the second thing is, I think there is a growing body of evidence that there is a group of people who are mistrustful of institutions, they don’t trust polls and they are not likely to respond to a poll. And they are not all conservatives, not all Republicans, they are not all Trump people, but they are all disproportionately all 3, and not, Democrat, liberal, you know, Berny Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. They are more disproportionately that way. And that they did not get interviewed and so pollsters are playing some way as like, how do you make sure, you’re getting enough of those folks, without putting a finger on the scale inappropriately?

Patrick: Next question is, do you expect Joe Biden to run for re-election?

Charlie: How about this if you had somebody who was about to turn 81. Let’s take Joe Biden out of your equation. You got an incumbent president that is 81 years old. Not even knowing who he is. Not caring who he is. The odds are higher that they wouldn’t run, than he would. I personally think that President Biden and Donald Trump too, have basically told their people, "assume that I’m running unless that I tell you otherwise. I want to keep my options open," you don’t want to be a lame duck, any longer than you must and there’s no need to. If I had to bet, I’ll bet he doesn’t, but I wouldn’t bet a whole lot of money. That job ages people and you saw it age Barack Obama, you saw it age Bill Clinton, you saw it age George Bush. That’s a tough job at any age, and, you know, I don’t believe any of these conspiracy theories about the President. If he has dementia or insanity, I mean, I think that’s all-nuttty stuff. But that job does aged people and that’s a hard job and I can’t imagine doing it, you know, at the age of 78.

Patrick: I can’t imagine doing that at 26. The last question, do you expect Democrats to lose the majority status in 2022?

Charlie: I think that if somebody said that Democrats had a 1 in 3 chance of holding the House, that would be very generous to Democrats. And that’s where I get into, it would mean that a bunch of, my wife doesn’t like me calling people wacko, so we will go with "exotic" people, won primaries in key states and districts. The Senate, I wouldn’t stick my neck out, but the Senate, with people voting, Americans are voting more parliamentary. There are voting red, there are voting blue. And if you got a President, whoever the heck he is, with sub-part job approval ratings and right now, you have to say that about President Trump, President Biden, that it’s more likely than not. I wouldn’t bet on the Senate or Democrats losing the Senate, but I sure wouldn’t bet against, that’s for sure. But it’s too soon to say the Senate. Candidates and campaigns matter less, they still matter, but they matter less than they used to. We’ve got a level partnership in this country, where, let’s say I’m a Democrat. Where, for a lot of people, a Democratic candidate couldn’t suck enough that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be great enough that I would. And the same thing about Republicans. A Republican couldn’t suck enough, that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be, I mean. In that way, it's really hard, for any candidate to build their own brand, that is distinct from the party and if the party is going down, you know, the party is not doing great, you could still survive. That is getting harder and harder and harder.

Patrick: Well, thank you so much, Charlie, this has been just a blast. It has been the highlight of my week so far.

Charlie: Always an honor to be associated with anything that Quorum does. Take care. Give my best to Jonathan and Alex.

Patrick: We’ll do, we’ll do. Thank you, Charlie.

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Charlie Cook: Thank you very much. It was only about a half dozen years or so ago, that Alex and Jonathan came by, and I met with them. Yeah, I didn’t know a thing and this new idea that they had. And I was a little skeptical and then as I listen to them it was like, wow, these guys had cracked the code of how to really use technology to track what is going on, in legislation, in terms of what members are saying or doing. A lot of people had tried that over the years, but it wasn't till they came along with Quorum, that they got it done. You know, I think every election I have ever seen, I heard somebody, whether it was journalist or politicians, say, hey, this is the most important election, you know, in American history or something. And, you know, which is obviously a ridiculous thing to say each time. But I think you can make a real case that this is an extraordinarily important election for three reasons. And the first one is kind of obvious, but I have to do kind of do it anyway. And that is that this country, you heard over and over again, is evenly and sharply divided. It’s pretty darn close to even. And I think the best way to look at it is, think of the presidential. In 2016 there were five states that, with the margin of a point and half or less. Five states. Donald Trump won four out of five. In 2020, five states were point and a half or less and Joe Biden wins four out of the five. And then you think of the Senate. This is only the second time since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, that a new Congress has begun with a Senate split 50/50, and, I mean, John Ossoff, 55 thousand vote win over David Perdue, but for that, or let’s say 24-28,000 votes, in between, and Mitch McConnell would be the Georgia leader right now, so we are talking about the population of like Fredericksburg, Virginia or Oxford, Mississippi, as making a difference between majority and minority. And what about the House? Only twice in the last hundred years has the house been this close. They were about 1930 and 1942, and it was basically 32 000 votes gathered across 5 congressional districts that make the difference from Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.

And, you know, when you look at the country, people think is third, third, third, that’s not really it. If you look at a poll, and say, 40% independent, basically 30 Republican, 30 Independents. But if you ask those independents, what do you lean, one way or the other? ¾ quarters do [lean]. And that is how they vote, and the reality is, the country is basically 45% Republican, 45% Democrat, and 10%, real legitimate Independents. And what is happening, we are getting into 2022 in just a second, what is happening is, that the country is gone very close with, almost all the people on each side, the 90%, are voting straight party tickets. You know, you remember seeing in 2016, every single U.S. Senate race went exactly the same way the state was going in the presidential. Last year, was everyone but one, Susan Collins in Maine. 96% of House members are in districts that their presidential candidate carried. And what this has done, because there is basically, each side holding firm and not, you know, and not losing serve, if you will. This has created high floors and low ceilings, nationally and in competitive states and districts, so that, the kind of that landslides that we used to see can’t happen. You know, Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, winning by 18 points and carrying 42 states, or Lyndon Johnson in '64, winning by 32 points and 44 states, or Nixon government in 72, 33 points, 49 states or Reagan over Carter, by 10 points and 45 states. You can’t have those right now, because the floor for the trailing party is too high and the ceiling for the leading party, too low. And here’s a spoiler alert, because you can´t have landslides anymore, you are not going to have mandates. Anyway, I don’t want to get way ahead of myself.

The second is just the volatility. When you think about it, going into 1992, the republicans had won 4 out of the 5 most recent presidential elections. Four out of five. The only won they lost during that time was in 1976, with Jimmy Carter beating President Ford and I think probably, the Watergate and the pardon had something to do with that. And going into the very next two years later, in the next mid-term election, Democrats had had the majority in the House for 20 consecutive elections, they won the majority in the Senate for 17 out of 20. And what happened was, the republicans basically had all but ownership of the White House, Democrats had all but ownership on Capitol Hill and, so what you have was this part of the equilibrium. As if the voters were creating this form of separation of powers. All that change 30 years ago, with that '91,'92,'93,'94 period and that’s when things exploded. Since then we had four consecutive presidents who have lost, both House and Senate majorities while there were in office. That has never happened before. So, the volatility explosiveness is the second factor and the third is the stakes and consequences. 

The Republican party was a center-right party, the Democrat party was a center-left party, there were plenty of liberal republicans, you know, when I moved to town, Jacob Javits and Chuck Percy, people like that, they were conservative democrats. The conservative Democrats, liberal Republicans, and plenty of moderates from both sides were like the balance that kept the two parties from going off into a ditch. But that started changing and if you think about it, one by one, think about Congress, one by one, every liberal republican, every conservative democrat, they died, they retired, they lost the election or they switched parties. And so, that there’s no overlap whatsoever, and basically the same thing happened with the electorate. The parties became ideologically sorted out, with conservatives leaving the democrat party and liberals leaving the republican party so that the gap between the two sides. The other thing, and you had, subcultural changes and you know, Newt Gingrich Pat Buchanan and I think Sarah Palin, affected the culture, changed the culture within the Republican party before Donald Trump came along. Just as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have sharpened the lines over, and I think, moved the needle over on the Democratic side. But it’s changed the behavior of these elected officials in both parties so that now, no win is too small to claim a mandate. And that’s kind of where we are, as Democrats are acting like they just, you know, won a mandate as they did with FDR in '32 or Lyndon Johnson in '64. That just didn’t happen.

Ok, guys, you know the mid-term history, the party in the White House has lost 36 out of 39 mid-term elections since the Civil War. The exceptions were all very exceptional circumstances, but with the Senate, the pattern is nearly as good, because out of the 26 mid-term elections, since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, 19 out of 26. 73% of the party in the White House lost Senate seats. You just have to kind of always remember that a third of the Senate is out every two years and it matters which third, because they are not all equal, they are not all the same. And in the House, think of what happened two years ago, in the Senate, what happened 6 years ago, because if a party has a really good year, one time, when does seats come back up, they are generally overexposed.

Now, why do mid-term elections behave this way? We say shorthand is a referendum on the party in the White House and it’s true. But being really specific, 10% in the middle, the true Independents, I think it's buyer's remorse. They have high expectations for whoever was who they elected and over the next year, two years, it just started cooling down. And for the party of the presidency, generally, it's satisfaction, complacency, or could be a disappointment, but milder emotions. And then, this is the most important, with the opposition party, is revenge, is anger, is wanting to avenge what happened in the last election, and that’s why the out party is almost always, more motivated, more likely to turn out in a higher rate, than the people in the governing party. The thing is, what is important with the mid-term elections to remember, that is not a popularity contest, between two parties, because its more of a referendum. If a party has the presidency, the house, the Senate, they… month, by month, month, they start assuming total ownership of all problems, whether they created them or not and whether they've done a good job or they basically are going to get ownership and will get the blame if they get worse and all the voters are not nearly as good about getting credit when you do a good job. But the presidents do get, I mean, pre-existing problems gradually become theirs and at this point, generally, they are. Those are kind of the dynamics that are drive, for the most part, going in the last thing before we get the handicapping, is, when a party has the presidency, the House and the Senate, I have three questions to ask. Is the new president, the White House team, and their allies at Capitol Hill, are they seen as getting the job done? Or are they having problems having it done? Or they are incompetent? This is separate from ideology or policy. Are the trains running on time? Are they able to move things through or not? So, that’s the first question. Is getting it done or not getting it done?

The second has to do with, is the party, the governing party, are they seen as striking the balance and reasonable or they seemed like going too far? Are they overreaching.? And for Republicans are they overreaching to the right and for Democrats overreaching to the left. And the thing is, nobody thinks their party or few people think their party, you know, goes too far. And few people think the other party isn´t going too far. But really talking about those Independents in the middle, are they nervous that the governing party is going too far?

And the third is just sort of a very general, how’s the country doing? Is everything working out ok or not? And, if people aren’t happy about anything, it’s generally not going to help wherever the party power. Now, obviously going through those, applying for where President Biden and Democrats are right now. The first problem to showed up was the immigration, where it looked real bad, real early. The second was the pull-out of Afghanistan and, you know, the decision should we shouldn't we, but even the time and just the visual and execution of it, that was a disaster and when you started seeing the President's numbers, they were coming down already before Kabul fell, but the thing is, the rate got a lot higher in August, right as all of that was happening. Just sort of misreading the situation and thinking, well we have months or even a year, it turned out to be hours or days. And the visual, look at the television, you know, you could argue that it made the Fall of Saigon look orderly. And then the coronavirus, and I don’t know if there’s anything that President Biden could have done differently. But the thing is, and yes, we have the splits on mandates, but, if things are getting a lot better, then he will get some credit and if things are getting worse, he’s going to get some blame, whether if he did anything wrong or not. A

And then, finally, on this point is, legislatively, Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany back in the late 1800s, said that laws are like sausages, it’s better not to see them made. Well, think of what voters are seeing this year. It’s like Americans have been given an excruciatingly long and grizzly tour of a sausage factory and are expected to try them and buy the sausages at the end of this grizzly tour and this is not a pretty sight. If somebody wanted to say it looks dysfunctional, it would be kind of hard to argue with him, going back and forth, between all these factions, between democrats, the two sides. Striking the balance, reasonable and this is where Democrats are acting like they have a mandate when they just won that election. If you think about it, Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate, you know how many FDR had when he started the New Deal? 59 seats in the senate. Lyndon Johnson, when he started the great society, he had 68 seats in the Senate, 18 more than Democrats have. What about the House? FDR had 91 more Democrats in the House and 9 more senators than Democrats have right now. So, the thing is, its sort of going and again I say, no win is too small to claim a mandate, if you don’t have the juice behind you, it’s kind of hard to make it work. One of the things that I have in mind is back to the Reagan presidency, someone quoted the phrase that personnel is policy. And we all know that 99% of the decisions in the executive branch are not made in the Oval Office or even in the White House, but down in the bureaucracy. Do you start seeing that overreach down there on the regulatory side? And that’s sort of what we are trying to focus on. And then, you know, the economy started to slow down a little bit. One of my sons texted me last night asking, is President Biden to blame for the supply chain problems? No, he is not, but the thing about it is: if things are going well, the President gets credit, if things are not, he’s going to get some blame, so, rather is fair or not, the bottom line is, his approval ratings right now, are lower than every other elected president in the history of polling, except for Donald Trump. I mean, lower than, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, at this point. Now, that’s, you know, that is a really good barometer, so, let's get down to it.

2022, the senate, if I worked for the DSCC state, I would probably be saying, "Republicans have much more exposure than Democrats do," because they are 20 republican seats up and only 14 Democratic seats up, which is true, and there are 5 Republican open seats and 0 of the Democratic side and is always harder to defend an open seat than one that’s got no incumbent. But, if you talk about what stages are competitive, basically the four Democratic states and three Republican states, so this is pretty close and actually a little bit more of exposure, but, we are going to be watching on the Republican side, the top ones are going to be the open seats in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where Toomey and Burr are retiring. And then Wisconsin we are still waiting to see whether Ron Johnson’s is going to run or not, and, you know, there are circumstances where, Missouri, Ohio, some of these might come into the play, but those are not top tier races right now. On the Democratic side, the four, are basically the two new guys, you know, Arizona, Mark Kelly, and Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and then you got Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, which is a very, very close state. So, those are the 7 core states, but at this point is way too early to start putting a thumb on the scale, I mean, the conventional wisdom in the House, as well, there’s are really, really big chance that Republicans get the majority in the House. In the Senate, I think is really too early to even make an educated guess.

On the House, you know, between the allocation of numbers of seats among the states. That could actually cost Democrats 2 or 3 seats. And then maybe another 3 or 4, so that 5 seat advantage for Democrats in the House is sort of not really there. What are the key states to watch? Republicans have a chance to pick up, maybe 2 or 3 seats in Florida, maybe 1 or 2 in Texas, this is what David Wasserman, our House guy said and Georgia 1, Tennessee 1. The best opportunities for Democrats, New York state. If Democrats really push it, they could really pick 3 or 4 seats just in New York state, maybe 1 or 2 in Illinois, and maybe one each in Maryland and New Mexico. It just depends on, you know, which side is more audacious than the other. Some people think that only republicans do that, bologna, both sides do it. Now, this is shaping of to be, certainly in the house, a textbook, mid-term election. We got 13 months to go and, but if god told me that Democrats were going to hold on to the House and the Senate and I had to suggest knowing why that might happen, I think I say the Republicans can win the House, but Democrats can lose it. It looks like it’s heading more in that direction. In terms of the House and Senate overall, if democrats hold on, I don’t think is going to be because President Biden suddenly becomes more popular or the Democrat’s agenda becomes a lot more popular, I don’t think that is going to happen. If this is safer for democrats, I’ll say there’s just one person that can save the Democrat’s majority and that’s Donald Trump. And not just him as an issue, I think that is sort of secondary but to the extent that he injects himself and affects who wins, primarily in competitive states and districts. Wherever happens in a heavily Republican state or district, matters not. What happens at least in terms of the balance of power is where it's competitive. If you remember after Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and the Tea Party movement started rising. Remember in 2010, republicans nominated Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. Basically, seats they should have won punted away. And then 2 years later the same thing happened in Indiana and Missouri with Richard Murdoch and Todd Akin. These were seats that Republicans should have won. If there are seizing defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating people that are not electable in key districts, that I think is the thing that Democrats have to worry about more, much more than anything else. 

I’ve gone on longer than I should, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll just save if Patrick could save me 2 minutes in the end to kind of bring it all together. I didn’t make the final point, because the parties are so different now, the difference between the policy outcome of an old Democratic election versus an old Republican election, vastly more than they used to be. And now, because there’s no overlap, the ability to compromise, to reach a consensus on almost anything is almost gone. And so, we have this sort of wild swings and the floors and ceilings, it's going to be really, really competitive and as we learned in the last month, before the 2020 election, volatility, you know, where after that first debate, it certainly looked imperative, just about every Republican strategist that I know thought there was a blue wave, they saw a blue wave. But, in that last month, I think you had a slice of those independents in the middle, who started thinking, Biden is going to win, and it seems like Democrats are going to pay big gains to the Senate and big gains in the House and blue wave and all this and what is this business about democratic socialism and Medicare for all and defunding the police? I think you had a decent size slice of those Independents, they just got cold feet and they decided to go ahead and give Joe Biden the keys to the card, but not give him the credit card to full tank a gas. So, I think that is how volatility, just in the last month shifted there. I think, buckle yourself in, we got a ride coming up. Patrick?

Patrick Kalie: Hi, thank you so much, Charlie, we have a great question from Sylvia here, which is: Does Trump saying the GOP won’t turn out because of the big lie, have any impact? 

Charlie: I don’t think. I mean, a little but not a whole lot. I think his people, they are madder now, the Trump base just mad as hell. I think they are going to vote. The thing is, we are seeing more enthusiasm among Republicans than we are among Democrats. Is a legitimate question to ask and something to look for, but there are a lot of things, a lot of portions of this election and that’s one, but I don’t think that’s the dominant one that’s out there. But it is amazing that, despite the fact that, majority of federal judges are Republicans and all of the judges, including Trump-appointed judges, that looked at these cases and if you go back and look at the four years that Trump was in office, the eight years that George W Bush was in office if you look to the number of indictments and convictions for voter fraud, infinitesimal. I mean, this country is facing a lot of really, big, big, problems and voters fraud is not one. Now, confidence in the system, and respect for institutions, yeah, that is big. But, you know, there is not enough voter fraud in this country, to lose a minute of sleep over, to be honest, it’s just an illusion, I think.

Patrick: Another question is, what does the recall election in California tell you about the electorate?

Charlie: Zero. Yeah, I mean, first of all California it’s 3 points more Democratic than it was when Gray Davis was recalled. Prior to Gray Davis, the last time a recall of a state elected official, anywhere in the United States, I think was 1921, in North Dakota, when the governor, the attorney general, and the agriculture commissioner, all 3 were recalled. In fact, North Dakota is the only state in the union, that owns a bank, and it was when the bank of North Dakota was created there was a backlash and all that. But the thing is, recalls don’t tell us anything. Virginia and that is where I skipped over and I should address, I think Virginia is what you need to watch because McAullife has been a successful governor, the state did well, the state is trending Democratic. The Democrats could be winning there by 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 points and to the extent that if McAuliffe wins for 4, 5 points or more and think Democrats could say, well, ok, that is fine and if it was 1,2, maybe 3, I’ll be a little nervous. If they lose, I would go into a full-scale panic, because this is a state that is headed towards Democrats and, you know, they have plenty of money and a good campaign, but I think democrats should be very, very nervous, but that’s the one to watch, I wouldn’t pay much attention, not California, to be honest. 

Patrick: What about the Georgia runs offs? Like, after Obama was elected, Scott Brown was elected in a rather blue state and so, like the Georgia run-offs or whatever happened in New Mexico tell you anything about the election?

Charlie: No, I mean, the thing is that first of all, had President Trump not said the things he said and behave the way he said, after November 3 and before January 6. Looking back at both of the margins there, I think is pretty safe to say the Republicans would have won both of them in retrospective. I think it's the end of the stack for 2020, not really the beginning of 2021.

Patrick: Interesting, we have a great question here from Jena, which is: Do you think the low approval rates of both Trump and Bidden early in their presidencies is reflective of growing political polarization?

Charlie: Yeah, I mean, that’s what the floors and ceilings, you know, when you go back and look in 40, 50 years ago, Presidents would have pretty good jobs approval ratings among members of the other party, initially and it would take some time for them to sour. And know it's just from the get-go. There is disapproval before they got in the car at the inauguration, forget it by the end of the parade. So, absolutely, so we got floors and ceilings. It used to be, if people felt good about the economy, the President's job approval could go up or down. Now, that relationship started with Obama and then with Trump, and looks like so far with Biden, the relationship is just isn’t there. By the way, I highly recommend the book called Identity Crisis, about after the 2016 election, is really, really good, with Lynn Vavreck, Michael Tesler and, gosh I’m blanking out on the other guy, but anyway, they got another book coming out soon that looks like it’s going to be really, really good it kinds of develops the thesis that people are voting culture and identity, they are not voting their pocketbooks or the economy, the way they used to. 

Patrick: Can you repeat the name of that book again?

Charlie: Is Identity Crisis.

Patrick: Identity Crisis.

Charlie: Lynn Vavreck, it's an excellent book and, despite the fact that it was writing by 3 political scientists, it's in English, you know, you won't be running for a dictionary, it's just very, very insightful, I think the most insightful of all the books that came out after 2016, but it's about things that happened before and what happened in 2016.

Patrick: Ok folks, we’ll throw that at the engage tab at the top, there’s a book recommendation and we’ll throw it in there so you can refer back to that. We have a question here by Julie, which is: Can you discuss what to do about election integrity and all the doubts that Trump and his, I’ll say, friends, are creating on election integrity?

Charlie: Let the record show that Quorum did not refer to them as sick. It was the question of who has calling them sick. Yeah, during the entire 4 years of the Trump administration… The fact is that these stats, nobody knows them, in the 4 years of Trump administration, they got a total of 184 convictions, in the whole country. During the Bush administration, George W. Bush, at the very outset, John Ashcroft, the attorney general, challenged the 93 U.S. attorneys, Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys to have valid access and voter integrity initiative, 5-year effort and out of 300 investigations, they only charge 190 people and they only got 86 convictions. That’s barely more than 10 a year. I mean I think it has to do with where people are getting their information and they are more likely to believe conspiracy theories than anything else. But what about the 9 federal judges that Trump appointed judges involving the 2020 election. A majority of federal judges in the country are Republicans. The thing is, if this was a problem, we would see, times of it, but instead and quite frankly, I think we now have a culture and whether is politics or athletics, where the two outcomes, in any context, I win or I’ve been cheated, that’s it, losing isn’t a possibility. I frankly think it comes from every kid getting a trophy, every kid gets a ribbon. People, they don’t learn how to lose anymore, or that partisan apartheid we have that so many Americans, who they marry, live, work, socialize with, people just like them, who vote exactly like them, so they can't fathom that anybody else could possibly win the election because they don’t know anybody that voted the other way. Anyway, we got massive problems in this country, this is not one of them. The lack of confidence in this system is a crisis and to be honest, there’s not anything there. To be honest.

Patrick: As a Browns fan, I can say I’ve been cheated, that has to be the case. We have a great question, we ask you to put your philosopher hat on, which is: With all of this context and history, do you think our democracy is healthy?

Charlie: I asked if I could have a couple of minutes at the end to sum up, but this question helps me getting there earlier. Award-winning, amazing historian, Joseph Ellis, wrote a piece at L.A. Times, that Patrick I’m sure will find, 6, 8, 10 months ago and it says, the enduring question, stunningly simple. Is national government us or them? And what Ellis argues is that these are fights that we had since the earliest days of the country. That the central government is us, that was George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, but then there was the... central government is them and we need to worry about that, and that was Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and George Mason. These conflicts have been going on for a long time and there’s, a but here in a minute but, a friend of mine is a state senator in Fairfax County, Virginia. He has this theory, you think of the last line of the pledge of alliance, "with liberty and justice for all," and we all believe in liberty and justice, but you think of the conservatives and Republicans you know, they place a greater emphasis on liberty, freedom, self-reliance, meritocracy, go as far as your talent and works ethic and ingenuity can go. Well, every liberal Democrat you know, puts emphasis on the justice, fairness, equality, level the plain field, social safety, common good. Unfortunately, each side is more emphasis on the other, but, the country has always been like this, but the internet changed things. I’m not specifically talking about left or right, but if you have a nut job here and you have a nut job, and another 30 miles…. They probably never met and they certainly couldn’t act together, but with the internet, people are able to organize and people that really are fairly extreme, on either direction, and in politics and in a democracy, intensity can be just raw numbers. I mean, look at all those years where people favored gun control than opposed it, but who kept winning time and time again on Capitol Hill? It was the intensity that mattered and the Second Amendment folks, were the ones who have the intensity.

I do worry, to me and I hope this doesn’t come across badly, but, to me the thing that distinguishes a western democracy from a banana republic, is basically the respect to the rule of law and peacefully transition of power. Those are the two things and we had never really had to worry about that, until lately. And there are people who would rather believe in a conspiracy theorist rather than an expert. And this is just not one party, by the way, I can remember there were a lot of Democrats that were convinced that John Kerry won Ohio, your home state, in 2004. Or Stacey Abrams in Georgia. It was close, it was really, really, close, but it wasn’t stolen, she just lost a really close race. but this is where Democrats in the same way as Trump, well not the same way, but the same general direction is that they cannot accept the fact that there were more people who voted that day than the other. I do worry about it, I am concern, to be honest.

Patrick: Going off on that, quick question here from Paloma, which is: Do you think the GOP house - a GOP house I should say, would certify the 2024 presidential election if Trump or the GOP nominee loses the electoral colleague vote?

Charlie: Wow, I was sitting in a Republican member's office a couple of weeks ago and he said, "Donald Trump owns this conference, the Republican conference." And there are very, very, few people, members that would be willing to say or do anything that could rile up Donald Trump. While Donald Trump may or may not have the juice then that he had last year or that he has now, well, who knows. We are seeing some elected officials and Secretaries of State, we are seeing elected officials around the country, that are saying things and behaving in ways that I have to believe that they know better, but that’s what their base wants, that’s what their base is asking for. Prior to the last couple of years, I would have thought that was a really stupid question, and now its not such a stupid question. Look at what is happening to Republican elected officials in Georgia. More or less, to a certain extent, tried to play it straight. They have the wrath of God, or the wrath or Trump coming down, and he is going to make it a mission to beat anybody, to purify the Republican House and Senate, or anybody that has taken him on. Sadly, most elected officials, know that the last edition of "Profiles in Courage" has already gone to the printer. This is something to worry about, we all have a lot of close Republican friends, who worry about this.

Patrick: I really appreciate audience Q&A and I don’t really know if that’s a question that I would have the courage to ask if it wasn’t for the folks of the Q&A, so, we have a question from Stefany, which is: Is there any significant younger generation turn out that can impact the outcome? Are they expected to show up in the mid-terms?

Charlie: That’s a really good question. We saw in 2018 the highest mid-term elections turn out since, I think it was, yeah, it was 1914. And then in 2020, we had the highest presidential turnout, since 1900. You had two groups of people who turn out in really big numbers. Trump lovers and Trump loathers and that sort of describes 90% of the electorate and it included a whole lot of young people. You had more young people voting in 2018 and the question is, are they making it a habit? And do they see it as a real responsibility? The thing is, I don’t want to act like I’m trashing young people, because the thing is, young people… 1972 was the first time I was able to vote, I turned 18. Guys who were getting drafted and sent to Vietnam, and young people still didn’t vote and people under 30, had never voter in big numbers, they always voted in smaller numbers. The thing about it is, as people get older, they start voting, becoming higher propensity voters, as they get over 35 they start voting. But you have a lot under 30 who did vote in 2018 and 2020, so, hopefully, this is one habit that they will not break, that they will keep going. When I get pessimistic about the system, I think the best thing I can do is look for that next generation. Mine sure screwed it up.

Patrick: Do you think the connection screwed up? Alright, Will Texas become a purple state despite redistricting?

Charlie: I believe Texas will become purple; the question is how purple in… There’s a saying among economists if you are going to predict the numbers, never give a date. Part of it is the rising minority population, but part of it is the proportion that's small-town rural which is heavily Republican, is shrinking. And that we have lots of people coming in from other parts of the country, are coming in from California, places that have very different voting habits. It is getting less red, now, what’s the progression and we saw the same thing with Virginia. As Virginia started turning into purple. But these things are rarely straight lines, and it can be some zigzags, and that’s what they are worried about Virginia zigzagging this year. Here’s a provocative question - if mid-term elections are a referendum on the party in power, could there be a scenario in one state, let’s say, is it a referendum of the party in power in Washington, or the party in power in Austin? Keeping in mind that the governor… I would not make that argument, frankly, in any other state. But, in Texas, I think is the least possible that what the governor, the legislator, their agenda, nor saying good or bad, but it has been pretty aggressive. If any state was going to stand out and wear a party that doesn’t have the President, the White House, the U.S. House, and U.S. Senate, I would look at Texas first. And they think they are their own country, anyway. It wouldn’t be that out of character.

Patrick: I have a few rapid questions. 

Charlie: That means he wants me to answer them quickly.

Patrick: Do you think of polls differently after the 2020 elections?

Charlie: I think that we’ve long known that there were some challenges in the polling profession. I think there are two different things. One is, you know, you have these people called undecideds, occasionally, undecideds decided, you know, and if they just pick up or just move all the same direction, well, guess what, we’ve seen this before in 1980. But the second thing is, I think there is a growing body of evidence that there is a group of people who are mistrustful of institutions, they don’t trust polls and they are not likely to respond to a poll. And they are not all conservatives, not all Republicans, they are not all Trump people, but they are all disproportionately all 3, and not, Democrat, liberal, you know, Berny Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. They are more disproportionately that way. And that they did not get interviewed and so pollsters are playing some way as like, how do you make sure, you’re getting enough of those folks, without putting a finger on the scale inappropriately?

Patrick: Next question is, do you expect Joe Biden to run for re-election?

Charlie: How about this if you had somebody who was about to turn 81. Let’s take Joe Biden out of your equation. You got an incumbent president that is 81 years old. Not even knowing who he is. Not caring who he is. The odds are higher that they wouldn’t run, than he would. I personally think that President Biden and Donald Trump too, have basically told their people, "assume that I’m running unless that I tell you otherwise. I want to keep my options open," you don’t want to be a lame duck, any longer than you must and there’s no need to. If I had to bet, I’ll bet he doesn’t, but I wouldn’t bet a whole lot of money. That job ages people and you saw it age Barack Obama, you saw it age Bill Clinton, you saw it age George Bush. That’s a tough job at any age, and, you know, I don’t believe any of these conspiracy theories about the President. If he has dementia or insanity, I mean, I think that’s all-nuttty stuff. But that job does aged people and that’s a hard job and I can’t imagine doing it, you know, at the age of 78.

Patrick: I can’t imagine doing that at 26. The last question, do you expect Democrats to lose the majority status in 2022?

Charlie: I think that if somebody said that Democrats had a 1 in 3 chance of holding the House, that would be very generous to Democrats. And that’s where I get into, it would mean that a bunch of, my wife doesn’t like me calling people wacko, so we will go with "exotic" people, won primaries in key states and districts. The Senate, I wouldn’t stick my neck out, but the Senate, with people voting, Americans are voting more parliamentary. There are voting red, there are voting blue. And if you got a President, whoever the heck he is, with sub-part job approval ratings and right now, you have to say that about President Trump, President Biden, that it’s more likely than not. I wouldn’t bet on the Senate or Democrats losing the Senate, but I sure wouldn’t bet against, that’s for sure. But it’s too soon to say the Senate. Candidates and campaigns matter less, they still matter, but they matter less than they used to. We’ve got a level partnership in this country, where, let’s say I’m a Democrat. Where, for a lot of people, a Democratic candidate couldn’t suck enough that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be great enough that I would. And the same thing about Republicans. A Republican couldn’t suck enough, that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be, I mean. In that way, it's really hard, for any candidate to build their own brand, that is distinct from the party and if the party is going down, you know, the party is not doing great, you could still survive. That is getting harder and harder and harder.

Patrick: Well, thank you so much, Charlie, this has been just a blast. It has been the highlight of my week so far.

Charlie: Always an honor to be associated with anything that Quorum does. Take care. Give my best to Jonathan and Alex.

Patrick: We’ll do, we’ll do. Thank you, Charlie.

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Midterm Lookahead with Charlie Cook

Midterm Lookahead with Charlie Cook

Charlie Cook: Thank you very much. It was only about a half dozen years or so ago, that Alex and Jonathan came by, and I met with them. Yeah, I didn’t know a thing and this new idea that they had. And I was a little skeptical and then as I listen to them it was like, wow, these guys had cracked the code of how to really use technology to track what is going on, in legislation, in terms of what members are saying or doing. A lot of people had tried that over the years, but it wasn’t till they came along with Quorum, that they got it done. You know, I think every election I have ever seen, I heard somebody, whether it was journalist or politicians, say, hey, this is the most important election, you know, in American history or something. And, you know, which is obviously a ridiculous thing to say each time. But I think you can make a real case that this is an extraordinarily important election for three reasons. And the first one is kind of obvious, but I have to do kind of do it anyway. And that is that this country, you heard over and over again, is evenly and sharply divided. It’s pretty darn close to even. And I think the best way to look at it is, think of the presidential. In 2016 there were five states that, with the margin of a point and half or less. Five states. Donald Trump won four out of five. In 2020, five states were point and a half or less and Joe Biden wins four out of the five. And then you think of the Senate. This is only the second time since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, that a new Congress has begun with a Senate split 50/50, and, I mean, John Ossoff, 55 thousand vote win over David Perdue, but for that, or let’s say 24-28,000 votes, in between, and Mitch McConnell would be the Georgia leader right now, so we are talking about the population of like Fredericksburg, Virginia or Oxford, Mississippi, as making a difference between majority and minority. And what about the House? Only twice in the last hundred years has the house been this close. They were about 1930 and 1942, and it was basically 32 000 votes gathered across 5 congressional districts that make the difference from Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.

And, you know, when you look at the country, people think is third, third, third, that’s not really it. If you look at a poll, and say, 40% independent, basically 30 Republican, 30 Independents. But if you ask those independents, what do you lean, one way or the other? ¾ quarters do [lean]. And that is how they vote, and the reality is, the country is basically 45% Republican, 45% Democrat, and 10%, real legitimate Independents. And what is happening, we are getting into 2022 in just a second, what is happening is, that the country is gone very close with, almost all the people on each side, the 90%, are voting straight party tickets. You know, you remember seeing in 2016, every single U.S. Senate race went exactly the same way the state was going in the presidential. Last year, was everyone but one, Susan Collins in Maine. 96% of House members are in districts that their presidential candidate carried. And what this has done, because there is basically, each side holding firm and not, you know, and not losing serve, if you will. This has created high floors and low ceilings, nationally and in competitive states and districts, so that, the kind of that landslides that we used to see can’t happen. You know, Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, winning by 18 points and carrying 42 states, or Lyndon Johnson in ’64, winning by 32 points and 44 states, or Nixon government in 72, 33 points, 49 states or Reagan over Carter, by 10 points and 45 states. You can’t have those right now, because the floor for the trailing party is too high and the ceiling for the leading party, too low. And here’s a spoiler alert, because you can´t have landslides anymore, you are not going to have mandates. Anyway, I don’t want to get way ahead of myself.

The second is just the volatility. When you think about it, going into 1992, the republicans had won 4 out of the 5 most recent presidential elections. Four out of five. The only won they lost during that time was in 1976, with Jimmy Carter beating President Ford and I think probably, the Watergate and the pardon had something to do with that. And going into the very next two years later, in the next mid-term election, Democrats had had the majority in the House for 20 consecutive elections, they won the majority in the Senate for 17 out of 20. And what happened was, the republicans basically had all but ownership of the White House, Democrats had all but ownership on Capitol Hill and, so what you have was this part of the equilibrium. As if the voters were creating this form of separation of powers. All that change 30 years ago, with that ’91,’92,’93,’94 period and that’s when things exploded. Since then we had four consecutive presidents who have lost, both House and Senate majorities while there were in office. That has never happened before. So, the volatility explosiveness is the second factor and the third is the stakes and consequences. 

The Republican party was a center-right party, the Democrat party was a center-left party, there were plenty of liberal republicans, you know, when I moved to town, Jacob Javits and Chuck Percy, people like that, they were conservative democrats. The conservative Democrats, liberal Republicans, and plenty of moderates from both sides were like the balance that kept the two parties from going off into a ditch. But that started changing and if you think about it, one by one, think about Congress, one by one, every liberal republican, every conservative democrat, they died, they retired, they lost the election or they switched parties. And so, that there’s no overlap whatsoever, and basically the same thing happened with the electorate. The parties became ideologically sorted out, with conservatives leaving the democrat party and liberals leaving the republican party so that the gap between the two sides. The other thing, and you had, subcultural changes and you know, Newt Gingrich Pat Buchanan and I think Sarah Palin, affected the culture, changed the culture within the Republican party before Donald Trump came along. Just as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have sharpened the lines over, and I think, moved the needle over on the Democratic side. But it’s changed the behavior of these elected officials in both parties so that now, no win is too small to claim a mandate. And that’s kind of where we are, as Democrats are acting like they just, you know, won a mandate as they did with FDR in ’32 or Lyndon Johnson in ’64. That just didn’t happen.

Ok, guys, you know the mid-term history, the party in the White House has lost 36 out of 39 mid-term elections since the Civil War. The exceptions were all very exceptional circumstances, but with the Senate, the pattern is nearly as good, because out of the 26 mid-term elections, since we started the direct elections of senators in 1914, 19 out of 26. 73% of the party in the White House lost Senate seats. You just have to kind of always remember that a third of the Senate is out every two years and it matters which third, because they are not all equal, they are not all the same. And in the House, think of what happened two years ago, in the Senate, what happened 6 years ago, because if a party has a really good year, one time, when does seats come back up, they are generally overexposed.

Now, why do mid-term elections behave this way? We say shorthand is a referendum on the party in the White House and it’s true. But being really specific, 10% in the middle, the true Independents, I think it’s buyer’s remorse. They have high expectations for whoever was who they elected and over the next year, two years, it just started cooling down. And for the party of the presidency, generally, it’s satisfaction, complacency, or could be a disappointment, but milder emotions. And then, this is the most important, with the opposition party, is revenge, is anger, is wanting to avenge what happened in the last election, and that’s why the out party is almost always, more motivated, more likely to turn out in a higher rate, than the people in the governing party. The thing is, what is important with the mid-term elections to remember, that is not a popularity contest, between two parties, because its more of a referendum. If a party has the presidency, the house, the Senate, they… month, by month, month, they start assuming total ownership of all problems, whether they created them or not and whether they’ve done a good job or they basically are going to get ownership and will get the blame if they get worse and all the voters are not nearly as good about getting credit when you do a good job. But the presidents do get, I mean, pre-existing problems gradually become theirs and at this point, generally, they are. Those are kind of the dynamics that are drive, for the most part, going in the last thing before we get the handicapping, is, when a party has the presidency, the House and the Senate, I have three questions to ask. Is the new president, the White House team, and their allies at Capitol Hill, are they seen as getting the job done? Or are they having problems having it done? Or they are incompetent? This is separate from ideology or policy. Are the trains running on time? Are they able to move things through or not? So, that’s the first question. Is getting it done or not getting it done?

The second has to do with, is the party, the governing party, are they seen as striking the balance and reasonable or they seemed like going too far? Are they overreaching.? And for Republicans are they overreaching to the right and for Democrats overreaching to the left. And the thing is, nobody thinks their party or few people think their party, you know, goes too far. And few people think the other party isn´t going too far. But really talking about those Independents in the middle, are they nervous that the governing party is going too far?

And the third is just sort of a very general, how’s the country doing? Is everything working out ok or not? And, if people aren’t happy about anything, it’s generally not going to help wherever the party power. Now, obviously going through those, applying for where President Biden and Democrats are right now. The first problem to showed up was the immigration, where it looked real bad, real early. The second was the pull-out of Afghanistan and, you know, the decision should we shouldn’t we, but even the time and just the visual and execution of it, that was a disaster and when you started seeing the President’s numbers, they were coming down already before Kabul fell, but the thing is, the rate got a lot higher in August, right as all of that was happening. Just sort of misreading the situation and thinking, well we have months or even a year, it turned out to be hours or days. And the visual, look at the television, you know, you could argue that it made the Fall of Saigon look orderly. And then the coronavirus, and I don’t know if there’s anything that President Biden could have done differently. But the thing is, and yes, we have the splits on mandates, but, if things are getting a lot better, then he will get some credit and if things are getting worse, he’s going to get some blame, whether if he did anything wrong or not. A

And then, finally, on this point is, legislatively, Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany back in the late 1800s, said that laws are like sausages, it’s better not to see them made. Well, think of what voters are seeing this year. It’s like Americans have been given an excruciatingly long and grizzly tour of a sausage factory and are expected to try them and buy the sausages at the end of this grizzly tour and this is not a pretty sight. If somebody wanted to say it looks dysfunctional, it would be kind of hard to argue with him, going back and forth, between all these factions, between democrats, the two sides. Striking the balance, reasonable and this is where Democrats are acting like they have a mandate when they just won that election. If you think about it, Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate, you know how many FDR had when he started the New Deal? 59 seats in the senate. Lyndon Johnson, when he started the great society, he had 68 seats in the Senate, 18 more than Democrats have. What about the House? FDR had 91 more Democrats in the House and 9 more senators than Democrats have right now. So, the thing is, its sort of going and again I say, no win is too small to claim a mandate, if you don’t have the juice behind you, it’s kind of hard to make it work. One of the things that I have in mind is back to the Reagan presidency, someone quoted the phrase that personnel is policy. And we all know that 99% of the decisions in the executive branch are not made in the Oval Office or even in the White House, but down in the bureaucracy. Do you start seeing that overreach down there on the regulatory side? And that’s sort of what we are trying to focus on. And then, you know, the economy started to slow down a little bit. One of my sons texted me last night asking, is President Biden to blame for the supply chain problems? No, he is not, but the thing about it is: if things are going well, the President gets credit, if things are not, he’s going to get some blame, so, rather is fair or not, the bottom line is, his approval ratings right now, are lower than every other elected president in the history of polling, except for Donald Trump. I mean, lower than, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, at this point. Now, that’s, you know, that is a really good barometer, so, let’s get down to it.

2022, the senate, if I worked for the DSCC state, I would probably be saying, “Republicans have much more exposure than Democrats do,” because they are 20 republican seats up and only 14 Democratic seats up, which is true, and there are 5 Republican open seats and 0 of the Democratic side and is always harder to defend an open seat than one that’s got no incumbent. But, if you talk about what stages are competitive, basically the four Democratic states and three Republican states, so this is pretty close and actually a little bit more of exposure, but, we are going to be watching on the Republican side, the top ones are going to be the open seats in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where Toomey and Burr are retiring. And then Wisconsin we are still waiting to see whether Ron Johnson’s is going to run or not, and, you know, there are circumstances where, Missouri, Ohio, some of these might come into the play, but those are not top tier races right now. On the Democratic side, the four, are basically the two new guys, you know, Arizona, Mark Kelly, and Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and then you got Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, which is a very, very close state. So, those are the 7 core states, but at this point is way too early to start putting a thumb on the scale, I mean, the conventional wisdom in the House, as well, there’s are really, really big chance that Republicans get the majority in the House. In the Senate, I think is really too early to even make an educated guess.

On the House, you know, between the allocation of numbers of seats among the states. That could actually cost Democrats 2 or 3 seats. And then maybe another 3 or 4, so that 5 seat advantage for Democrats in the House is sort of not really there. What are the key states to watch? Republicans have a chance to pick up, maybe 2 or 3 seats in Florida, maybe 1 or 2 in Texas, this is what David Wasserman, our House guy said and Georgia 1, Tennessee 1. The best opportunities for Democrats, New York state. If Democrats really push it, they could really pick 3 or 4 seats just in New York state, maybe 1 or 2 in Illinois, and maybe one each in Maryland and New Mexico. It just depends on, you know, which side is more audacious than the other. Some people think that only republicans do that, bologna, both sides do it. Now, this is shaping of to be, certainly in the house, a textbook, mid-term election. We got 13 months to go and, but if god told me that Democrats were going to hold on to the House and the Senate and I had to suggest knowing why that might happen, I think I say the Republicans can win the House, but Democrats can lose it. It looks like it’s heading more in that direction. In terms of the House and Senate overall, if democrats hold on, I don’t think is going to be because President Biden suddenly becomes more popular or the Democrat’s agenda becomes a lot more popular, I don’t think that is going to happen. If this is safer for democrats, I’ll say there’s just one person that can save the Democrat’s majority and that’s Donald Trump. And not just him as an issue, I think that is sort of secondary but to the extent that he injects himself and affects who wins, primarily in competitive states and districts. Wherever happens in a heavily Republican state or district, matters not. What happens at least in terms of the balance of power is where it’s competitive. If you remember after Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and the Tea Party movement started rising. Remember in 2010, republicans nominated Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. Basically, seats they should have won punted away. And then 2 years later the same thing happened in Indiana and Missouri with Richard Murdoch and Todd Akin. These were seats that Republicans should have won. If there are seizing defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating people that are not electable in key districts, that I think is the thing that Democrats have to worry about more, much more than anything else. 

I’ve gone on longer than I should, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll just save if Patrick could save me 2 minutes in the end to kind of bring it all together. I didn’t make the final point, because the parties are so different now, the difference between the policy outcome of an old Democratic election versus an old Republican election, vastly more than they used to be. And now, because there’s no overlap, the ability to compromise, to reach a consensus on almost anything is almost gone. And so, we have this sort of wild swings and the floors and ceilings, it’s going to be really, really competitive and as we learned in the last month, before the 2020 election, volatility, you know, where after that first debate, it certainly looked imperative, just about every Republican strategist that I know thought there was a blue wave, they saw a blue wave. But, in that last month, I think you had a slice of those independents in the middle, who started thinking, Biden is going to win, and it seems like Democrats are going to pay big gains to the Senate and big gains in the House and blue wave and all this and what is this business about democratic socialism and Medicare for all and defunding the police? I think you had a decent size slice of those Independents, they just got cold feet and they decided to go ahead and give Joe Biden the keys to the card, but not give him the credit card to full tank a gas. So, I think that is how volatility, just in the last month shifted there. I think, buckle yourself in, we got a ride coming up. Patrick?

Patrick Kalie: Hi, thank you so much, Charlie, we have a great question from Sylvia here, which is: Does Trump saying the GOP won’t turn out because of the big lie, have any impact? 

Charlie: I don’t think. I mean, a little but not a whole lot. I think his people, they are madder now, the Trump base just mad as hell. I think they are going to vote. The thing is, we are seeing more enthusiasm among Republicans than we are among Democrats. Is a legitimate question to ask and something to look for, but there are a lot of things, a lot of portions of this election and that’s one, but I don’t think that’s the dominant one that’s out there. But it is amazing that, despite the fact that, majority of federal judges are Republicans and all of the judges, including Trump-appointed judges, that looked at these cases and if you go back and look at the four years that Trump was in office, the eight years that George W Bush was in office if you look to the number of indictments and convictions for voter fraud, infinitesimal. I mean, this country is facing a lot of really, big, big, problems and voters fraud is not one. Now, confidence in the system, and respect for institutions, yeah, that is big. But, you know, there is not enough voter fraud in this country, to lose a minute of sleep over, to be honest, it’s just an illusion, I think.

Patrick: Another question is, what does the recall election in California tell you about the electorate?

Charlie: Zero. Yeah, I mean, first of all California it’s 3 points more Democratic than it was when Gray Davis was recalled. Prior to Gray Davis, the last time a recall of a state elected official, anywhere in the United States, I think was 1921, in North Dakota, when the governor, the attorney general, and the agriculture commissioner, all 3 were recalled. In fact, North Dakota is the only state in the union, that owns a bank, and it was when the bank of North Dakota was created there was a backlash and all that. But the thing is, recalls don’t tell us anything. Virginia and that is where I skipped over and I should address, I think Virginia is what you need to watch because McAullife has been a successful governor, the state did well, the state is trending Democratic. The Democrats could be winning there by 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 points and to the extent that if McAuliffe wins for 4, 5 points or more and think Democrats could say, well, ok, that is fine and if it was 1,2, maybe 3, I’ll be a little nervous. If they lose, I would go into a full-scale panic, because this is a state that is headed towards Democrats and, you know, they have plenty of money and a good campaign, but I think democrats should be very, very nervous, but that’s the one to watch, I wouldn’t pay much attention, not California, to be honest. 

Patrick: What about the Georgia runs offs? Like, after Obama was elected, Scott Brown was elected in a rather blue state and so, like the Georgia run-offs or whatever happened in New Mexico tell you anything about the election?

Charlie: No, I mean, the thing is that first of all, had President Trump not said the things he said and behave the way he said, after November 3 and before January 6. Looking back at both of the margins there, I think is pretty safe to say the Republicans would have won both of them in retrospective. I think it’s the end of the stack for 2020, not really the beginning of 2021.

Patrick: Interesting, we have a great question here from Jena, which is: Do you think the low approval rates of both Trump and Bidden early in their presidencies is reflective of growing political polarization?

Charlie: Yeah, I mean, that’s what the floors and ceilings, you know, when you go back and look in 40, 50 years ago, Presidents would have pretty good jobs approval ratings among members of the other party, initially and it would take some time for them to sour. And know it’s just from the get-go. There is disapproval before they got in the car at the inauguration, forget it by the end of the parade. So, absolutely, so we got floors and ceilings. It used to be, if people felt good about the economy, the President’s job approval could go up or down. Now, that relationship started with Obama and then with Trump, and looks like so far with Biden, the relationship is just isn’t there. By the way, I highly recommend the book called Identity Crisis, about after the 2016 election, is really, really good, with Lynn Vavreck, Michael Tesler and, gosh I’m blanking out on the other guy, but anyway, they got another book coming out soon that looks like it’s going to be really, really good it kinds of develops the thesis that people are voting culture and identity, they are not voting their pocketbooks or the economy, the way they used to. 

Patrick: Can you repeat the name of that book again?

Charlie: Is Identity Crisis.

Patrick: Identity Crisis.

Charlie: Lynn Vavreck, it’s an excellent book and, despite the fact that it was writing by 3 political scientists, it’s in English, you know, you won’t be running for a dictionary, it’s just very, very insightful, I think the most insightful of all the books that came out after 2016, but it’s about things that happened before and what happened in 2016.

Patrick: Ok folks, we’ll throw that at the engage tab at the top, there’s a book recommendation and we’ll throw it in there so you can refer back to that. We have a question here by Julie, which is: Can you discuss what to do about election integrity and all the doubts that Trump and his, I’ll say, friends, are creating on election integrity?

Charlie: Let the record show that Quorum did not refer to them as sick. It was the question of who has calling them sick. Yeah, during the entire 4 years of the Trump administration… The fact is that these stats, nobody knows them, in the 4 years of Trump administration, they got a total of 184 convictions, in the whole country. During the Bush administration, George W. Bush, at the very outset, John Ashcroft, the attorney general, challenged the 93 U.S. attorneys, Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys to have valid access and voter integrity initiative, 5-year effort and out of 300 investigations, they only charge 190 people and they only got 86 convictions. That’s barely more than 10 a year. I mean I think it has to do with where people are getting their information and they are more likely to believe conspiracy theories than anything else. But what about the 9 federal judges that Trump appointed judges involving the 2020 election. A majority of federal judges in the country are Republicans. The thing is, if this was a problem, we would see, times of it, but instead and quite frankly, I think we now have a culture and whether is politics or athletics, where the two outcomes, in any context, I win or I’ve been cheated, that’s it, losing isn’t a possibility. I frankly think it comes from every kid getting a trophy, every kid gets a ribbon. People, they don’t learn how to lose anymore, or that partisan apartheid we have that so many Americans, who they marry, live, work, socialize with, people just like them, who vote exactly like them, so they can’t fathom that anybody else could possibly win the election because they don’t know anybody that voted the other way. Anyway, we got massive problems in this country, this is not one of them. The lack of confidence in this system is a crisis and to be honest, there’s not anything there. To be honest.

Patrick: As a Browns fan, I can say I’ve been cheated, that has to be the case. We have a great question, we ask you to put your philosopher hat on, which is: With all of this context and history, do you think our democracy is healthy?

Charlie: I asked if I could have a couple of minutes at the end to sum up, but this question helps me getting there earlier. Award-winning, amazing historian, Joseph Ellis, wrote a piece at L.A. Times, that Patrick I’m sure will find, 6, 8, 10 months ago and it says, the enduring question, stunningly simple. Is national government us or them? And what Ellis argues is that these are fights that we had since the earliest days of the country. That the central government is us, that was George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, but then there was the… central government is them and we need to worry about that, and that was Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and George Mason. These conflicts have been going on for a long time and there’s, a but here in a minute but, a friend of mine is a state senator in Fairfax County, Virginia. He has this theory, you think of the last line of the pledge of alliance, “with liberty and justice for all,” and we all believe in liberty and justice, but you think of the conservatives and Republicans you know, they place a greater emphasis on liberty, freedom, self-reliance, meritocracy, go as far as your talent and works ethic and ingenuity can go. Well, every liberal Democrat you know, puts emphasis on the justice, fairness, equality, level the plain field, social safety, common good. Unfortunately, each side is more emphasis on the other, but, the country has always been like this, but the internet changed things. I’m not specifically talking about left or right, but if you have a nut job here and you have a nut job, and another 30 miles…. They probably never met and they certainly couldn’t act together, but with the internet, people are able to organize and people that really are fairly extreme, on either direction, and in politics and in a democracy, intensity can be just raw numbers. I mean, look at all those years where people favored gun control than opposed it, but who kept winning time and time again on Capitol Hill? It was the intensity that mattered and the Second Amendment folks, were the ones who have the intensity.

I do worry, to me and I hope this doesn’t come across badly, but, to me the thing that distinguishes a western democracy from a banana republic, is basically the respect to the rule of law and peacefully transition of power. Those are the two things and we had never really had to worry about that, until lately. And there are people who would rather believe in a conspiracy theorist rather than an expert. And this is just not one party, by the way, I can remember there were a lot of Democrats that were convinced that John Kerry won Ohio, your home state, in 2004. Or Stacey Abrams in Georgia. It was close, it was really, really, close, but it wasn’t stolen, she just lost a really close race. but this is where Democrats in the same way as Trump, well not the same way, but the same general direction is that they cannot accept the fact that there were more people who voted that day than the other. I do worry about it, I am concern, to be honest.

Patrick: Going off on that, quick question here from Paloma, which is: Do you think the GOP house – a GOP house I should say, would certify the 2024 presidential election if Trump or the GOP nominee loses the electoral colleague vote?

Charlie: Wow, I was sitting in a Republican member’s office a couple of weeks ago and he said, “Donald Trump owns this conference, the Republican conference.” And there are very, very, few people, members that would be willing to say or do anything that could rile up Donald Trump. While Donald Trump may or may not have the juice then that he had last year or that he has now, well, who knows. We are seeing some elected officials and Secretaries of State, we are seeing elected officials around the country, that are saying things and behaving in ways that I have to believe that they know better, but that’s what their base wants, that’s what their base is asking for. Prior to the last couple of years, I would have thought that was a really stupid question, and now its not such a stupid question. Look at what is happening to Republican elected officials in Georgia. More or less, to a certain extent, tried to play it straight. They have the wrath of God, or the wrath or Trump coming down, and he is going to make it a mission to beat anybody, to purify the Republican House and Senate, or anybody that has taken him on. Sadly, most elected officials, know that the last edition of “Profiles in Courage” has already gone to the printer. This is something to worry about, we all have a lot of close Republican friends, who worry about this.

Patrick: I really appreciate audience Q&A and I don’t really know if that’s a question that I would have the courage to ask if it wasn’t for the folks of the Q&A, so, we have a question from Stefany, which is: Is there any significant younger generation turn out that can impact the outcome? Are they expected to show up in the mid-terms?

Charlie: That’s a really good question. We saw in 2018 the highest mid-term elections turn out since, I think it was, yeah, it was 1914. And then in 2020, we had the highest presidential turnout, since 1900. You had two groups of people who turn out in really big numbers. Trump lovers and Trump loathers and that sort of describes 90% of the electorate and it included a whole lot of young people. You had more young people voting in 2018 and the question is, are they making it a habit? And do they see it as a real responsibility? The thing is, I don’t want to act like I’m trashing young people, because the thing is, young people… 1972 was the first time I was able to vote, I turned 18. Guys who were getting drafted and sent to Vietnam, and young people still didn’t vote and people under 30, had never voter in big numbers, they always voted in smaller numbers. The thing about it is, as people get older, they start voting, becoming higher propensity voters, as they get over 35 they start voting. But you have a lot under 30 who did vote in 2018 and 2020, so, hopefully, this is one habit that they will not break, that they will keep going. When I get pessimistic about the system, I think the best thing I can do is look for that next generation. Mine sure screwed it up.

Patrick: Do you think the connection screwed up? Alright, Will Texas become a purple state despite redistricting?

Charlie: I believe Texas will become purple; the question is how purple in… There’s a saying among economists if you are going to predict the numbers, never give a date. Part of it is the rising minority population, but part of it is the proportion that’s small-town rural which is heavily Republican, is shrinking. And that we have lots of people coming in from other parts of the country, are coming in from California, places that have very different voting habits. It is getting less red, now, what’s the progression and we saw the same thing with Virginia. As Virginia started turning into purple. But these things are rarely straight lines, and it can be some zigzags, and that’s what they are worried about Virginia zigzagging this year. Here’s a provocative question – if mid-term elections are a referendum on the party in power, could there be a scenario in one state, let’s say, is it a referendum of the party in power in Washington, or the party in power in Austin? Keeping in mind that the governor… I would not make that argument, frankly, in any other state. But, in Texas, I think is the least possible that what the governor, the legislator, their agenda, nor saying good or bad, but it has been pretty aggressive. If any state was going to stand out and wear a party that doesn’t have the President, the White House, the U.S. House, and U.S. Senate, I would look at Texas first. And they think they are their own country, anyway. It wouldn’t be that out of character.

Patrick: I have a few rapid questions. 

Charlie: That means he wants me to answer them quickly.

Patrick: Do you think of polls differently after the 2020 elections?

Charlie: I think that we’ve long known that there were some challenges in the polling profession. I think there are two different things. One is, you know, you have these people called undecideds, occasionally, undecideds decided, you know, and if they just pick up or just move all the same direction, well, guess what, we’ve seen this before in 1980. But the second thing is, I think there is a growing body of evidence that there is a group of people who are mistrustful of institutions, they don’t trust polls and they are not likely to respond to a poll. And they are not all conservatives, not all Republicans, they are not all Trump people, but they are all disproportionately all 3, and not, Democrat, liberal, you know, Berny Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. They are more disproportionately that way. And that they did not get interviewed and so pollsters are playing some way as like, how do you make sure, you’re getting enough of those folks, without putting a finger on the scale inappropriately?

Patrick: Next question is, do you expect Joe Biden to run for re-election?

Charlie: How about this if you had somebody who was about to turn 81. Let’s take Joe Biden out of your equation. You got an incumbent president that is 81 years old. Not even knowing who he is. Not caring who he is. The odds are higher that they wouldn’t run, than he would. I personally think that President Biden and Donald Trump too, have basically told their people, “assume that I’m running unless that I tell you otherwise. I want to keep my options open,” you don’t want to be a lame duck, any longer than you must and there’s no need to. If I had to bet, I’ll bet he doesn’t, but I wouldn’t bet a whole lot of money. That job ages people and you saw it age Barack Obama, you saw it age Bill Clinton, you saw it age George Bush. That’s a tough job at any age, and, you know, I don’t believe any of these conspiracy theories about the President. If he has dementia or insanity, I mean, I think that’s all-nuttty stuff. But that job does aged people and that’s a hard job and I can’t imagine doing it, you know, at the age of 78.

Patrick: I can’t imagine doing that at 26. The last question, do you expect Democrats to lose the majority status in 2022?

Charlie: I think that if somebody said that Democrats had a 1 in 3 chance of holding the House, that would be very generous to Democrats. And that’s where I get into, it would mean that a bunch of, my wife doesn’t like me calling people wacko, so we will go with “exotic” people, won primaries in key states and districts. The Senate, I wouldn’t stick my neck out, but the Senate, with people voting, Americans are voting more parliamentary. There are voting red, there are voting blue. And if you got a President, whoever the heck he is, with sub-part job approval ratings and right now, you have to say that about President Trump, President Biden, that it’s more likely than not. I wouldn’t bet on the Senate or Democrats losing the Senate, but I sure wouldn’t bet against, that’s for sure. But it’s too soon to say the Senate. Candidates and campaigns matter less, they still matter, but they matter less than they used to. We’ve got a level partnership in this country, where, let’s say I’m a Democrat. Where, for a lot of people, a Democratic candidate couldn’t suck enough that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be great enough that I would. And the same thing about Republicans. A Republican couldn’t suck enough, that I wouldn’t vote for him, or a Republican couldn’t be, I mean. In that way, it’s really hard, for any candidate to build their own brand, that is distinct from the party and if the party is going down, you know, the party is not doing great, you could still survive. That is getting harder and harder and harder.

Patrick: Well, thank you so much, Charlie, this has been just a blast. It has been the highlight of my week so far.

Charlie: Always an honor to be associated with anything that Quorum does. Take care. Give my best to Jonathan and Alex.

Patrick: We’ll do, we’ll do. Thank you, Charlie.