Midterm Wrap-up | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts

Midterm Wrap-up | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>I’M SAM ROBERTS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES. WELCOME TO “THE NEW YORK TIMES CLOSEUP.” IT WAS A TUMULTUOUS, DIVISIVE AND VERY EXPENSIVE MIDTERM ELECTION, AND ONE THAT GENERATED MASSIVE VOTER TURNOUT. IN A FEW MINUTES I’LL BE TALKING TO THREE OF MY TIMES COLLEAGUES ABOUT THE FALLOUT AND LESSONS FROM THIS WEEK’S VOTING. LATER ON, I’LL HAVE ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS TO SHARE ON “CODA.” BUT WE BEGIN WITH A SUPERB PIECE OF REPORTING IN THIS SUNDAY’S TIMES MAGAZINE. AND YOU CAN READ IT ONLINE AS WELL. IT EXAMINES WHY LAW ENFORCEMENT FAILED TO SEE AND FAILED TO ACT ON THE RISE OF THE FAR RIGHT AND VIOLENT WHITE NATIONALISM. ALTHOUGH THE ARTICLE HAS BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR QUITE A WHILE, IT COMES ON THE HEELS OF THE SLAUGHTER OF ELEVEN PEOPLE AT A PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE, THE MAILING OF PIPE BOMBS TO TRUMP CRITICS INCLUDING FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE MURDER OF TWO AFRICAN AMERICANS IN A KENTUCKY SUPERMARKET. THE ARTICLE IS CALLED “STATE OF DENIAL” AND AUTHOR JANET REITMAN JOINS US. IT’S GREAT YOU GOT THIS ARTICLE OUT IN A TIMELY FASHION. IS IT FAIR TO MAKE A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE FACT THAT SO MANY IN LAW-ENFORCEMENT ARE WHITE AND THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS BEEN LAX IN OBSERVING THE RISE IN WHITE NATIONALISM?>>YES, TO SOME DEGREE. LAW ENFORCEMENT IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL IS LARGELY WHITE. WE LARGELY LIVE IN A WHITE SOCIETY. WE HAVE A HARD TIME LOOKING AT VIOLENCE WITHIN OUR OWN CULTURE. PARTICULARLY SINCE SEPTEMBER 11, IT HAS BEEN MUCH EASIER TO LOOK OUTSIDE OF OURSELVES, TO LOOK AT OTHER GROUPS WHOSE IDEOLOGY MAY BE THREATENING TO US, RATHER THAN TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE NATIVE IDEOLOGIES. WHITE SUPREMACY HAS BEEN PART OF THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE FOR GENERATIONS. IT’S BEEN DIFFICULT TO REALLY CONFRONT THAT.>>HOW MUCH DOES THE MEDIA PLAY INTO THIS? HOW MUCH DOES THE FACT WE COVER THIS ENCOURAGE IT, DRAW MORE FOLLOWERS TO THESE GROUPS? HOW DOES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE GROWTH OF THESE GROUPS?>>THAT IS HARD TO ANSWER. THERE’S A VALID ARGUMENT TO GIVING THESE GROUPS A PLATFORM. IT WOULD MEAN PROMOTING THEM OR GLAMORIZING THEM, BUILDING THEM INTO SOMETHING THEY ARE NOT. MOST MAINSTREAM MEDIA HAS DONE THAT TO ONE DEGREE OR ANOTHER. IN TERMS OF BUILDING THIS ALT-RIGHT MOVEMENT INTO WHAT SEEMS TO BE THIS MASSIVE PHENOMENON, WHEN HOW MANY DEEP FOLLOWERS IT MAY HAVE IS DEBATABLE. AN ABC POLL TAKEN RIGHT AFTER CHARLOTTESVILLE FOUND AROUND 22 MILLION AMERICANS BELIEVE IN SOME WAY WHAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED ALT-RIGHT. ABOUT 10% BELIEVED IN SOME DEGREE OF ANTI-SEMITISM. THAT IS A LOT OF PEOPLE. IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT THESE PEOPLE, TO MEET THEM, TO EXPLORE THEIR BEHAVIOR, AND THEN TO CONFRONT WHAT LAW-ENFORCEMENT AND AUTHORITIES ARE DOING ABOUT IT AND HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE.>>THESE PEOPLE ARE CHRISTIAN MEN, FOR THE MOST PART. YOU ARE A JEWISH WOMAN FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES. WHAT WAS IT LIKE CONFRONTING THESE PEOPLE? YOU HAVE THE GOOD FORTUNE OF BEING ABLE TO INTERVIEW THEM.>>I’VE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH THIS. THE YOUNG MAN IN MY ARTICLE WAS A POLITE GUY AND WENT OUT OF HIS WAY TO NOT BE HATEFUL TOWARDS ME, PERSONALLY. IT’S A TACTIC, THIS NEW MOVEMENT USES. THEY TRY TO SEEM VERY MAINSTREAM. “WE DON’T HATE YOU AS A PERSON, WE HATE YOUR GROUP, YOUR CULTURE, YOUR ETHNICITY.” IT WAS THAT KIND OF CONVERSATION.>>THAT’S FRIGHTENING. THE GENIUS OF THE NEW FAR RIGHT HAS BEEN THE STEADFAST DETERMINATION TO BLEND IN TO THE LARGER FABRIC OF SOCIETY. IS THIS A DELIBERATE ATTEMP TO NOT STAND OUT?>>IT’S A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO NOT STAND OUT, TO BLEND IN, TO BECOME PART OF THE MAINSTREAM. THE GOAL OF A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE, SOME OF THEM PREFER TO STAY ON THE OUTSIDE. THE MAJORITY OF THEM PREFER TO BE PART OF OUR SOCIETY — THERE’S A TERM THE RIGHT HAS BEEN USING, MOVING THE OVERTON WINDOW, WHAT KIND OF NASTY THING CAN YOU SAY, THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS THING YOU CAN SAY YOU’LL BE PERMITTED TO SAY THAT MIGHT MOVE PUBLIC PERCEPTION OVER A SLIGHT BIT. NORMALIZING THE SWASTIKA. WHAT DOES THAT DO? IT OPENS THE DOOR FOR EQUALLY OUTRAGEOUS BUT LESS OFFENSIVE IDEAS TO COME IN. THESE GUYS ARE TRYING TO WEAVE THEIR WAY IN SOCIETY BY NORMALIZING THEMSELVES, WHETHER BY NORMALIZING IMAGERY OR NORMALIZING THE WAY THEY LOOK AND SPEAK.>>HOW MUCH OF THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE WHITE HOUSE AND HOW MUCH OF CONTROL IS THERE DUE TO A LACK OF AGGRESSIVENESS BY THE WHITE HOUSE?>>THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN HELPED BOLSTER THIS MOVEMENT, GIVE THEM A BIGGER MEGAPHONE. SOMETIMES THE DOG WHISTLING, THE REFUSAL TO CONDEMN, IS EXTREMELY EMPOWERING TO THESE IDEAS. TAKING A REPORTER’S QUESTION ABOUT NATIONALISM OR WHITE NATIONALISM AND TURNING IT INTO A RACIST QUESTION ON THE REPORTERS SIDE SERVES THE PURPOSE, FOR SURE.>>THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ HER ARTICLE IN THIS SUNDAY’S NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE. NEXT, THE DEMS TOOK THE THE HOUSE. THE REPUBLICANS TIGHTENED THEIR GRIP ON THE SENATE. WHAT ARE THE BIG TAKEAWAYS FROM THE MIDTERMS? MY NEW YORK TIMES COLLEAGUES WILL WEIGH IN. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>IT WAS A HIGH-INTENSITY MIDTERM ELECTION. MORE THAN 113 MILLION PEOPLE VOTED, THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY THAT MORE THAN A 100 MILLION PEOPLE TURNED OUT FOR A MIDTERM. THE BLUE STATES GOT EVEN MORE BLUE, THE RED STATES REDDER AND PRESIDENT TRUMP’S RALLIES SEEM TO HAVE HELPED THE REPUBLICANS EXPAND THEIR SENATE MAJORITY. SO WHAT ARE THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THIS ELECTION AND WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM DIVIDED GOVERNMENT? JOINING ME, MY TIMES COLLEAGUES SHANE GOLDMACHER, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE METRO DESK, AND CONTRIBUTING WRITERS CLYDE HABERMAN AND ELEANOR RANDOLPH. WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN WASHINGTON. WE WILL GET TO THAT. IS THERE A REPUBLICAN PARTY LEFT IN NEW YORK STATE?>>MUCH LESS OF ONE. REPUBLICANS HAVE HAD A SEAT OF POWER IN ALBANY FOR MOST OF THE LAST CENTURY AND THEY LOST THAT ON TUESDAY IN A COMPLETE WIPEOUT. THERE WERE EIGHT REPUBLICANS WHO LOST STATE SENATE RACES OUT OF THE 31 WHO WERE THERE. — FACING THE POSSIBILITY OF 43 DEMOCRATIC SEATS IN A 63 MEMBER HOUSE. THE GOVERNOR WAS REELECTED, IT HAS BEEN 16 YEARS SINCE A REPUBLICANS WON STATEWIDE. THE REPUBLICANS ARE DESPERATELY OUT OF POWER IN NEW YORK.>>THAT IS NOT TO SAY HOW MANY CONGRESSIONAL SEATS THEY LOST.>>THE LAST TIME DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER THE STATE SENATE, WHAT A DISASTER, IT MADE A CIRCUS LOOK SANE. THERE WERE THESE STRANGE THINGS LIKE, A GUY WALKING THROUGH THE STATE SENATE, TRYING TO GET A CUP OF COFFEE AND THAT CHANGED THE VOTE AND CHANGED THE SETTING FOR THE WHOLE STATE SENATE. ONE GROUP WAS BUSY GRABBING CHAIRMANSHIPS. MOST OF THAT GROUP WENT TO JAIL A FEW YEARS LATER. THE DEMOCRATS HAVE A SHADOW THERE. THEY HAVE TO KEEP THAT IN MIND WHEN THEY CONTROL ALBANY. THEY CAN REALLY HAND IT BACK TO THE REPUBLICANS. NEW YORK STATE HAS DONE WELL WITH MODERATE REPUBLICANS. YOU THINK OF GEORGE PATAKI. AND MARC MOLINARO. I THOUGTH HE’D BE INTO THAT SECTION OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM.>>THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THE GOVERNOR TO NOT DELIVER ON A WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS. HE HAS USED THE REPUBLICANS AS CONVENIENT FOILS AND ALLIES AT THE SAME TIME. WHETHER IT IS — SUBWAYS, CONGESTION PRICING — TIME TO DELIVER.>>WILL HE DELIVER? IS HE NOW LIBERATED? WILL HE DO ALL THE THINGS HE PROMISED THE FIRST TWO TERMS THAT HE NEVER GOT TO DO? IS HE NOW LOOKING TOWARD HIGHER OFFICE, AND HE DOESN’T WANT TO BE PUSHED TOO FAR TO THE LEFT?>>I’M NOT SURE BUT I WOULDN’T USE THE TERM LIBERATED. HE’S QUITE A CENTRIST. HE WILL HAVE TO BE PUSHED TO DO A LOT OF THESE THINGS.>>HE DOESN’T WANT TO ALIENATE BUSINESS COMMUNITY DONORS. ON SOCIAL ISSUES AND ABORTION, HE WILL MOVE VERY QUICKLY. HE IS GOING TO BE AT ODDS WITH THE DEMOCRATS ON TAXES. THEY DON’T NEED THE MAJORITY TO BE IN THE SAME WAY. THE REPUBLICANS NEVER FOUGHT WITH HIM THE WAY AN OPPOSITION PARTY TYPICALLY DOES BECAUSE THEY HAD A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP. THE DEMOCRATS WITH THIS MAJORITY DON’T HAVE THE SAME RELATIONSHIP. THEY’VE ALREADY BEGUN FLEXING THEIR MUSCLES. MIKE GIANARIS FROM QUEENS SAYS — I AM NOT SO SURE ABOUT AMAZON SUBSIDIES. THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF THING YOU HEARD FROM REPUBLICANS.>>I WOULD THINK CUOMO WOULD BLOCK THE MILLIONAIRE’S TAX. HE’S EXACTLY WHO YOU SAID. HE DOESN’T WANT TO ERODE THE FINANCIAL COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY IN NEW YORK CITY. HE PROMISED HE WOULDN’T RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020. WE WILL SEE HOW LONG THAT LASTS.>>DOES HE HAVE ANY CONSTITUENCY RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? IS ANYONE CLAMORING FOR HIM TO RUN?>>HE IS IN SORT OF A SWEET ZONE, INCLUDING HIS AGE. MOST OF THE OTHER NAMES OUT THERE ARE OLDER THAN I AM. I THINK WE WILL SEE A GENERATIONAL SHIFT.>>IF PEOPLE WANT A JUNKYARD DOG, MEAN POLITICIAN, HE FITS THAT. I DON’T THINK JOE BIDEN COULD TAKE DONALD TRUMP BEHIND THE BARN, THE WAY HE PROMISED. CUOMO PROBABLY COULD.>>THERE IS NO CONSTITUENCY CLAMORING FOR CUOMO PRESIDENTIAL RUN. ROBBY MOOK WHO WAS HILLARY CLINTON’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER SAID THE FIRST THING YOU NEED IS FANS. CUOMO HAS VOTERS, SUPPORTERS, BUT NOT A LOT OF FANS. THERE ARE NOT BIG PEOPLE EXCITED, GRASSROOTS EXCITEMENT FOR HIM. THERE WASN’T IN THIS RACE.>>HE WON’T RUN FOR A FOURTH TERM. SURELY HE LEARNED FROM HIS FATHER, THE DISASTER — THIS IS IT.>>WITHOUT A DEMOCRATIC SENATE, HE HAD NO AGENDA WHATSOEVER THAT HE AT LEAST ARTICULATED. WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THE HOUSE IS NOW DEMOCRATIC, AND WE HAVE NEW YORK DEMOCRATS IN REAL LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, IN THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE AND IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS. DOES NEW YORK BENEFIT IN ANY WAY FROM THIS? IS THERE ANY PART TO BE BROUGHT HOME?>>WE HAVEN’T BENEFITED BY HAVING A PRESIDENT WHO IS A NEW YORKER. HE HAS BEEN SUPREMELY ANTI-NEW YORK ON A NUMBER OF LEVELS. AMAZON, REPORTEDLY COMING TO LONG ISLAND CITY, IT UNDERSCORES HOW DIVIDED THIS COUNTRY IS. ALL THE TALENT IS MOVING TO THE NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON AREA. YOU SEE THIS REFLECTED IN POLITICS. SOMETHING LIKE THE YEAR 2040, 70% OF THE PEOPLE WILL LIVE IN 15 STATES. THE REST OF THE 30% LIVES WITH 70 SENATORS. AN EXTRAORDINARY SITUATION.>>WE’LL TALK MORE ABOUT THE MIDTERMS IN A MOMENT. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>WE ARE JOINED BY SHANE, CLYDE, AND ELEANOR, TALKING ABOUT THE MIDTERMS. IT IS NOW PAST THE MIDTERMS. WHAT ABOUT MICHAEL BLOOMBERG?>>HE FEELS HE DID A REALLY GOOD JOB. HE PUT OVER $100 MILLION IN 25 DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL RACES AND HE WON 21 OF THEM. HE FEELS HE HAS TAKEN ANOTHER STEP TOWARD BEING A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.>>TOWARD HAVING INFLUENCE. CAN HE WIN THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION?>>I DON’T THINK THAT’S PART OF WHAT HE’S THINKING. IT WILL BE REALLY HARD FOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG TO WIN A DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY. HE KNOWS THAT. BUT HE DOESN’T WANT TO BE AN INDEPENDENT AND TAKE THE VOTE AWAY FROM WHOEVER THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE IS.>>HE WAS WORRIED ABOUT IT IN 2016.>>HE WAS AFRAID IT WOULD ELECT DONALD TRUMP. IF HE LOSES, HE CAN STILL SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE. HE IS BASICALLY A DEMOCRAT, MUCH LIKE CUOMO. HE’S A FISCAL CONSERVATIVE WITH A LOT OF DEMOCRATIC ATTACHMENTS.>>THAT’S WHAT HE ALWAYS WAS. BECAME A REPUBLICAN BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER TO RUN FOR MAYOR.>>A RHINO. HE IS AT THE WHY NOT STAGE. HE’LL BE 78 WHEN HE RUNS. HE LIKES BEING OUT THERE AND IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS.>>DO WE SEE ANY SURPRISES AROUND THE COUNTRY IN TERMS OF THE RACES? ARE THINGS PRETTY MUCH THE WAY WE EXPECTED?>>I THOUGHT JON TESTER MIGHT LOSE HIS SEAT. HE HELD ON. HEITKAMP LOST MUCH BIGGER THAN I ANTICIPATED. GEORGIA, IN WHAT SYSTEM — YOU HAVE A GUY RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR BEING THE SAME GUY WHO DECIDES BALLOT CONDITIONS AND ACCESS? THIS IS BEYOND THIRD WORLD.>>THE COUNTRY IS MOVING TOWARD A PARLIAMENTARY VOTING SYSTEM. DEMOCRATIC STATES ARE VOTING FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICAN STATES ARE VOTING FOR REPUBLICANS. THERE ARE MORE RED SEATS THAN BLUE SEATS IN THE SENATE. DEMOCRATS OVERWHELMINGLY WON THE SUBURBS. THEY WON THE CLINTON DISTRICTS, MOST OF THE PICKUPS. FOR THE MOST PART, INCLUDING A COUPLE IN NEW YORK, THEY WON THE SEATS CLINTON WAS WINNING ALREADY.>>HOW DOES THIS BODE FOR REAPPORTIONMENT AFTER THE 2020 CENSUS?>>THE DEMOCRATS WON BACK 300 AT THE STATE LEGISLATIVE LEVEL. YOU NEED THREE TIMES THAT MUCH TO GET BACK TO THE OBAMA LEVELS.>>WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT REDISTRICTING FOREVER. OBAMA AND HOLDER ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS AND MAKING IT CLEAR IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE FACT THAT MANY MORE OF YOUR FRIENDS WENT OUT AND YOUR NON-FRIENDS ELECTED A CONGRESSMAN, THAT IS WHY. THESE MAPS ARE WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.>>IT DEPENDS ON THIS LAWSUIT, WHETHER CERTAIN CITIZENS GET COUNTED AS PART OF THE POPULACE.>>AND OF COURSE ANOTHER REASON FOR THE DEMOCRATS THE CONTROL OF THE STATE SENATE IS SO IMPORTANT TOO. — RESPONSIBLY AND TO KEEP FOR 2020. THANKS TO MY COLLEAGUES. I WILL ADD SOME THOUGHTS, NEXT. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>IT’S THE HUMIDITY, STUPID. THAT MAY EMERGE AS THE ENDURING CATCHPHRASE OF THE 2018 MIDTERMS IN NEW YORK, A HUMILIATING ECHO OF BILL CLINTON’S STRATEGY, THE ECONOMY, STUPID, THAT BEAT GEORGE BUSH IN 1992. HUMIDITY IS THE SOGGY EXCUSE TO EXPLAIN WHY NEW YORKERS WAITED IN LONG LINES TO VOTE ON TUESDAY. THE BOARD BLAIMED MOISTURE IN THE AIR FOR BEING ABSORBED BY THE PAPER BALLOTS AND JAMMING THE SCANNERS. ONCE THE BALLOTS WERE FINALLY COUNTED, TWO RESULTS HOLD SOME PROMISE THAT THE BOARD’S DAMPER ON DEMOCRACY WILL EVAPORATE BY 2020. NEW YORK CITY VOTERS APPROVED SOMETHING CALLED A CIVIC ENGAGEMENT COMMISSION. ITS NAME MAY SOUND IN PRINCIPAL, ITS PROMISE OF IMPROVING THE ELECTION PROCESS LARGELY BY PROVIDING MORE INTERPRETERS AT THE POLLS, SEEMS MINIMAL. THE EXCUSE OF JAMMED MACHINES JAMMED POLLING PLACES SPOKE FOR ITSELF, WITHOUT AN INTERPRETER. THE BOARD’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SAID, WHEN YOU HAVE NO PEOPLE COMING TO THE POLLS, YOU DON’T HAVE LINES AND WHEN YOU HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE COMING TO THE POLL SITES, YOU HAVE LINES. ANOTHER ELECTION RESULT THAT PORTENDS A POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENT IS THAT DEMOCRATS SEIZED CONTROL OF THE STATE SENATE. THEY’VE SQUANDERED THE OPPORTUNITY IN THE PAST, BUT THIS IS THE SECOND TIME SINCE THE MID 1930s THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE A MAJORITY IN THE STATE SENATE, AND THE GOVERNORSHIP. IN JANUARY, THEN CAN PASS BILLS TO REFORM THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND THEY CAN FULFILL OTHER PROMISES THAT DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS AND GOVERNOR CUOMO CLAIMED FOR YEARS WERE STYMIED BY REPUBLICAN SENATORS. WE WILL SEE IF THEY WILL BE SORRY ABOUT WHAT THEY WISH FOR, NOW THE VOTERS HAVE FINALLY CALLED THEIR BLUFF. FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES AND CUNY TV, I AM SAM ROBERTS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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