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tv   Discussion on National Popular Vote Election Part 1  CSPAN  December 3, 2019 4:20am-5:32am EST

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from d.c. and restoring our democracy. >> i want them to focus more on foreign policy. i'd like to really hear about cutting back the military, going after the military industrial complex because i really think that something would benefit our region, because we have a lot of people that are forced into the military and might never come back home. i'd also think that we need to cut spending in the military, it's up to almost a trillion dollars a year and i also think it would help the immigration crisis because i think we need to stop the imperialist activities of overthrowing right wing -- -- of peoples in central america and replacing them with right-wing dictators that caused the migrant crisis. >> voices from the road on c span. next, conversation on using the
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popular vote in the united states presidential elections. rather than the current electoral college system. the hill newspaper in the making every vote count foundation hosted this event. >> good morning, everyone. we are on c-span and also live streaming on the making every vote count facebook page. i want you all to behave. the electoral college is a disaster for democracy. that's not me speaking. that's donald trump or it was donald trump before he changed his mind a few times. he also said this: i would rather see it where you went with simple votes. you know you get 100 million votes and someone else gets 90 million and you win. i quote him not for irony but because he is right and his affinity
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for the popular vote may reflect his instinct that a president who was elected without winning a majority is perhaps not so legitimate. think of all the factors that have contributed to voter cynicism and alienation. of all the measures that we could institute to help restore confidence in democracy. this is the one that can be easily and quickly remedied. and have it enormous impact. suddenly, everyone's vote would count the same. truly one person one vote, voters all over the country not just in florida, michigan, wisconsin, and pennsylvania would determine the outcome of the election. americans are very close right now to changing the system. to having a popular vote for president. but how would such a system change american political
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campaigns? that's why we are here. so, welcome to a conference called when every vote counts, i'm jim glassman, i'm a member of the board of directors of making every vote counts a nonprofit organization whose aim is to educate americans about their electoral system. this is a non partisan effort. i'm a registered republican, i served as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy in the george w. bush administration and i headed president bush is policy institute that's part of the presidential library in dallas. we have republicans and democrats and independents on our board, all concerned about the future of democracy under our current electoral system. in five elections, two of them since 2000, we have elected presidents who were defeated in the popular vote. and if donald trump once again, it's highly likely that his election will
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be the sixth in the third in six elections. americans by an overwhelming majority reject the current system. we know that from polling that stretches back for decades. the latest survey in july by andrew classed are found that 71% of voters nationally say the candidate who gets the most votes nationwide should beat the president. and only 21% oppose the idea. among republicans there's a majority of 61 to 32, that's a two two one majority nearly. and whether we should change those rules of that phrase, change the rules which a lot of people don't like so the candidate who wins the most votes becomes the president, u.s. voters believe by and large of 65 to 26 and with the majority of republicans agreeing. andrew claster has pulled many states,
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including bright red ones, and on many results. for example, north dakota, there aren't too many rather states than north dakota and they are 64% of likely voters including 55% of republicans agree that the candidate who gets the most votes nationwide should become the president. we also found that a majority of north dakota voters polled would vote yes in a ballot initiative that said that their electoral votes would go to the national popular vote winner immediately in the 2020 election as long as a blue state for the same number of electoral votes also approved such a monster. think about that for a second. we know that the current system is not how we should approve our leaders, should choose our leaders. millions don't understand that and it deprives millions of eight meaningful vote. in fact, 100 million americans don't vote for president at all, but can you blame them one just a dozen or
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maybe just four or five will determine who that person will be? we choose all of our other elected officials the same way, whoever gets the most votes wins and every person has an equal vote. why don't we choose president that way? mainly because the framers could not agree so they punted. they left the choice to the states. article two section one of the constitution says each state shall appoint in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct a number of electors, etc. the constitution does not specify the criteria for that appointment. and in the early years of the republic, many state legislators themselves can be appointed, not the voters. now, every state but to chooses electors the same way with the winner of a vote within the state taking all the
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electors. over the past several decades, red voters and blue voters have become more and more concentrated by state. few states are purple, in contention. and candidates focus only on those states. one presidents get elected, they shower those states with attention and in many cases, money. you see this over and over. in 2016, there were 399 public campaign events. some 94% of them were in just 12 states. the other states have three or fewer events. the majority of states had zero events. there are several ways to reform the method of electing president, number of democratic candidates for president have said they prefer a constitutional amendment, maine has enacted ranked choice voting for the 2020 general election. under a recent tenth circuit court decision, electors can't decide without
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regard to the wishes of the voters who they want to be president, and 15 states plus the district of columbia half past the national popular vote interstate compact which goes into effect when it is law in states that account for 270 electoral votes. so far, the total is 196. this change in the way we vote backed by a solid majority of americans in surveys is close to becoming reality. it is now a matter of only a few years until the in every race the person who gets the most votes will become president. we decided it was time to take a look not at the merits of the popular vote but at how presidential campaigns would actually be run if the person who gets the most votes nationwide is the one who becomes president. there is a lot of mythology around this
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question, let me tell you. so, what are the political implications, what are the campaign mechanics and we have just the right people to do it, so today's agenda very briefly, we have a first panel, coming up here in just a few minutes, a few seconds that will examine how will candidates try to win under a national popular vote, moderated by my good friend, longtime friend steve clemons, editor at large at the hill, the second panel, how will candidates messages and platforms change because of the popular vote? that will be monitored by bob cusack, the editor-in-chief of the hill. that will be followed by a keynote address by natalie gore beta, the secretary of state of rhode island. we will start, my good friend, steve clemons. (applause)
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>> good morning, folks. i am's chief clemons, i'm editor-in-chief at the hill, it's a pleasure to follow jim. we have a lineup coming up to talk about how the national popular vote would work. what behaviors it would change. we have a wonderful panel joining us this morning. i will start in the middle, senior client strategist with wta intelligence, mark pena, just to my left is president of the stag wealth group, ceo of and pc partners and author of --. into my far left is doctor samuel long, founder of the princeton election course. thank you very much for being with us. we have a task this morning to have fun with this. we will engage in conversation and create some hypotheticals that in our system work to change, what sorts of behaviors would bc. mark, you and i have done this a couple times together and i was excited because when we were at the republican convention, we began
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talking about the different flavors of ice cream and you wind up with two flavors of ice cream, one maybe rocky rhodes, and others he's moved to fish and check, and i said maybe we can talk about varieties of fish and chicken, or maybe we can talk about how people are going to fish differently? will they fish in one place or three places, are they going to fish in a broader part of the chesapeake bay or something. i said now you understand we have moved to potatoes. so we are very excited to hear about the potato analogy. can you help us set the stage on this topic of if we were to deploy a national popular vote, how would you see candidates and behaviors change? >> i thought it would be most useful just to give you an overview of the number of the current system and how it works, and how it's been working in recent years. and that is kind of to help move the discussion along and look, i was always
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told by president clinton, he liked to have stories to relate to. i have two stories you haven't heard. >> did you talk about the big max strategy with him? >> (laughs) an issue sandwich is not the same as a policy with him in the middle. i want to give you another concept, you can see it and i'm going to start out with the couch potato voter, what is the couch potato voter? those are the 94 million americans who are eligible to vote but don't vote, and if you look at the biggest problem in the system, the biggest problem in the system is, as that size have groomed to be so big, campaigns have changed so that rather than focusing as i did back in the day when i ran a lot of campaigns as a swing voter, people instead trying to
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go for the extremes and get just they are slice of the couch out. if everybody voted, the entire couch would vote. what would actually happen if the entire couch did vote? right? so, to do that, based on a new york times analysis of democrats that you won't really be able to see the slide in this real. what difference would it make if everybody really voted in america, and who is left behind? primarily now there are of the 94 million, tremendous numbers of latinos, obviously, who are not in the political system and probably percentage wise rank as the number one group not voting. you would be surprised at the huge numbers of downscale voters, particularly downscale whites who don't vote. approximately 60 million. i always caution people who say that they want everyone in
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america to vote, if everyone in america did vote, we would have not just a change in the electoral college but like a more australian system where everyone voted, you would be surprised at the change of the composition of the electorate and quite possibly the outcome. most of the people who are on the couch don't really like any of the politicians. they are, right now, making an affirmative choice -- not all, many of them as i said, a lot of the latino communities -- not quite organized as fully as they could be. i think there are a lot of people who simply don't like any of the politicians and they are highly volatile voters when they come in. so, if you take a look at this system, again, you see this enormous gap that continues between approximately 130 million who vote and the swing voters in the country who
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are typically middle aged suburban, middle class, and recorded as about 20% of the country. you also have to look at our primary systems. there's a lot of focus on, well, okay, what about the outcome of the election? it turns out that typically, not huge numbers of people have voted in primaries in the past. that an average of about 35 million voters, right? if you take that 130 million general election voters and the 226 million actually eligible to vote, the primary system then is being driven on the basis of about 35 million or 17.5 million on either side. we have had some really contested primaries and you can see bumps up so the total can get into the 50's. that would still give you 25 million on each side. when you think about that, when
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you look at politics by the numbers, we have about 321 million people in the country last time i did this slide it might be 330 by now. we have about 226 million people eligible to vote. meaning they meet all of the qualifications. we have about 94 million who actually don't vote and therefore are eligible, the couch potato voters. we have 130 million approximately, about 35 million who book in a primary. 17. 5 million who vote on each side. that means that in the primary system, it takes about 10 million voters to get the nominee. about 20 million voters actually are the ones who determine the future for the other 321 million voters when you look at the entire
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system. i don't lay this out for a partisan reason other than i think you should always start out with how is the system working? who is voting? where does it count? where is the biggest cap between who votes and the decisions that are made? >> mark, thanks so much. i should've mention, i want to say hello not only to all of you in the audience, but we have c-span here and it's terrific to have them watching. i'm sure that you are going to get lots of mail on whether they think you are right or wrong. thank you, mark. amanda, you pointed out that doctor wong is going to share a presentation, i thought i would come to this point for a minute and you and i have discussed at a previous meeting, if you had a shift at the national popular for you begin to imagine that the playbook for running an election would be different. i am interested in what behaviors you would see. and i want to
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mention another donald trump quote. you know, the president, he said -- president trump said, if you go by the college electoral faux, that's a very different race, much different than running the popular vote. it's like 100 yard dash versus the mile. i actually stole this from an article in salon, so it's a great piece, i think all of you should take a look at it. in this city is sort of looking at the different muscles, essentially the different training you would use. i'm interested, given what mark said about a couch potato voter and others who might be brought in, what would you see in some of the campaign strategy differences that you employ? >> i think because you are talking about a much greater geography, much greater audience signs of people in the campaign would need to talk to, it would cost a lot more for a campaign. and we know it costs more from a polling standpoint, and you would have to be pulling in california new york regularly. it would cost more from a staff standpoint and advertising above everything
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else. given the hard dollar fund-raising elements, i don't think campaigns should focus at all on broadcast ants. even the super pacs that takeover that aspect of the campaign, and campaigns would look more and more to modeling. at wta we are seeing more candidates on all levels. >> is that a good thing? >> i think so. because you can get more individualized, actually using issue modeling to figure out what individuals really care about and the candidates can talk to those individuals on the issues that they care about and mobilize them, either to get out to vote or to persuade them on those issues. >> so, right now in north dakota which was the case that jim glassman raised in terms of -- was 64%, jump? is that the number of people who support this? how would you suspect at a campaign -- right now there is not much play in that state, it's a battleground state. give me a story that you might see unfold as to how a voter there would weigh more in a next
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election with national popular vote then we have today? >> i think candidates would actually be looking to pull them to model what they care about. they know a voter in north dakota cares about health care, the same way of voter in ohio or florida does. they can direct those ants to those individuals and those voters will hear from the candidates about the issues that they really care about. >> doctor juan, let me jump to you. i know you have a few graphs to show us as well. looking at this time of close elections and looking at different dissimulated scenarios of how they can result in the future. i'm interested in how you see the impact of a natural popular vote coming on board? first, i should say in addition to founding the princeton election consortium, i am a laboratory scientist and i should say that a scientist should not be involved in this but democracy has gotten complicated. and we have a broke mechanism like the electoral college that starts to matter. and it basically
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shows, i would say bugs in the electoral system, unanticipated weaknesses and i want to show, that if that's okay. >> it's c-span so we have to ship show slides. it's very exciting for an academic to be able to show visuals. i teach at princeton university, i've run a laboratory and i just want to show some real and mythical flaws in the electoral college, i want to partially debunk -- >> (inaudible) >> that's right, i have a cicada, it's a bug in democracy. they come to princeton every 15 years. i want to show some actual flaws and the electoral college and hopefully replace some false belief that people have. i would say the reason we care so much about the electoral college, this is a graft of popular margin of whoever became president going to john quincy adams, we have a time of close elections, the reason we care about this, you go below the black horizontal line, there's a time we have in the
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19th century during the first gilded age, we had racial divisions, technological disruptions, increasing inequality and de partisanship, and we had to popular vote losers become president of the united states. we have now i time today where we have racial divisions, technological disruption, increasing inequality in the partisanship in two out of the last five elections, the person who got more votes did not become president of the united states, and the reason we are here today, i think there is a lot of interest in that and really, i want to show you now in the next slide in close elections there is a one and three chance the popular vote winner will not become president, and this can go in either direction, and it's not really very friendly for television so if you want to read more about it, you can read at it at election dot princeton at you do you. over there i show that not only the modeling but also the actual data, taking all this historical data going back through bush versus gore, rutherford for the haze,
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benjamin harrison, if an election is within three percentage points of the popular vote there is a one in three chance that the popular vote winner will end up not becoming president of the united states. and this is a risk that can go in both directions. for instance, if john kerry had pulled out a win in ohio, he would have become president in 2004. i think our conversation would've had a slightly different center today. just to emphasize the risk can go in either delectation, and one in three risk is, in my view, a pretty large risk. so there's a belief i, want to talk about this popular belief. there's a belief that if we have a national popular vote we would end up with a system of which folks on the coast would end up determining presidency. and i just want to show you that this is, in fact, not the case. this is a graph of what fraction of the hillary clinton and donald trump vote is one by state, on a horizontal access. i love saying horizontal axis, very academic and nerdy. on the horizontal access is the number of states. you can see here in the lower left corner, california only provides about 70% of that necessary 50%. you
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have new york, okay, a little bit more. at florida, at texas, texas is the state we don't normally think of as supporting, say the, democratic party but texas would provide some of those votes. you have to go all the way to 41 states across the district of columbia for you to end up with enough votes to give hillary clinton more votes than donald trump. and the 42nd voting entity that puts her over half of the party vote is rhode island. this is a situation which rhode island votes manner. this is very different from the popular belief that it's really coastal states that will end up providing votes. i should also emphasize that people worry about rural states. royal voters in california are currently disempowered. oral voters all over the country are disempowered because they don't matter. because they are not in swing states. i think there are popular beliefs about what a national popular vote entails, and i just want to really emphasize that those beliefs are really not correct at all. >> now this is, again, something that perhaps people haven't thought of. foreign
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interference in elections, it's very much on people's minds these days. it's right at the front of the news, you can't avoid it anymore. having just a few swing states, having the election decided in florida, in pennsylvania, in ohio maybe this year it will be, next year it will be arizona. wherever it might be, that opens up a vulnerability to hacking. the reason for that is that a national popular vote can have a vote margin that's in the hundreds of thousands or millions. if we have a really close election, the number of votes that need to be flipped in order to alter the outcome is much smaller. on the right side, the big bars in this graph are the popular vote margin for trump versus clinton, bush versus kerry, bush versus gore, carter versus ford, nixon forces humphrey, for those of you remember that sort of thing and kennedy versus nixon, going back in time you're. think of it! these are elections for tens of thousands of votes to millions of votes would need to be flipped in order to alter the outcome of the presidential election. but if you use
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electoral college mechanisms, look, it's well known. it only took a few hundred votes in florida to determine the election on george w. bush versus al gore. and similarly, bush forces kerry, john kerry could have pulled that out with 80,000 votes in ohio. and this is a pretty significant security risk. if we are concerned about foreign interference in our elections then we have opened up a china security hole by not having a simpler system. it's not just a nerdy thing where we run our models and it's fun to talk about strategy or we worry about battleground states. all of those are critical issues. in addition to all of that there is the security risk that is tearing us in the face. i know it seems like a good idea to a trust that security risk. and so, i just want to say that a popular vote mismatch can happen in one out of three close elections. the electoral college doesn't favorite broad coalitions, it favors battleground states. and finally, i just want to reemphasize that there is a security risk that we have to be concerned about when
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thinking about this. teddy roosevelt said that, of course, the majority rule is the core value of our election system and he was a republican. and so one can imagine that republicans might have interest in running a national campaign as well. >> doctor juan, you are an academic in princeton, i'm sure you look at the other argument as well. i'm sure you know folks out there right now are making a big defense of the electoral college. so i'm interested in if you had someone across the hall at princeton who was a big-time arrival and he or she were making a defense of the electoral college along similar lines, is there such a defense that's plausible? or do you think that the electoral college as we see now and the behavior simply an anachronistic part of the system that either needs to be worked around, in amended, is there any strength of argument that you have found in your academic world on the other
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side to leaving things as they are? >> cognitive scientists and also economists have a thing called loss aversion, where if you have a think you tend to treasure it and be and willing to give it up. people are good at coming up with reasons by the current system is good. and they are motivated to come up with reasons. for example, i already mentioned one. rural voters. the idea somehow that were all voters would be disempowered, but they are currently tens of millions of voters or disempowered, so that's one reason that it's offered. another is protection of small states. small states currently don't get visited, and these are common reasons that are given for preserving the electoral college. currently i would say that people in small population states get ignored, some of the most powerful voters in the country are in pennsylvania, across the river from where i live in new jersey. and those voters, whether they're in philadelphia or pittsburgh or bucks county have thousands of times the powers that i do in new jersey. and those are not rural voters. i would say that there are ideas that get kicked around as to why the electoral college is useful in a good
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thing, but it turns out they don't really work out in practice and so i think it would be a robust discussion. >> mark, if president trump called you and said hey, there is a guy doctor won out there who is defending this national popular vote idea, how would you turn it on a ted? >> i would hang up the phone first. (laughs) i think you've got to -- i think you've got to -- let me just go back to the argument. the national popular vote forces the electoral college vote. what i want to make sure is that a majority of americans actually vote for whoever's president. i think that the compact sounds interesting, but you have to be careful that in a parliamentary system which we don't have, if people vote for it one of the various parties, those votes would get aggregated to create coalitions. if you don't have a runoff requirement -- look, i think it's hard to defend,
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necessarily, the electoral college that was established 200 years ago with the concerns that were at that time. today the concern, primarily, that is not the popular vote winner because bill clinton won the popular vote in 1992 but that's because ross perot split off conservative voters by two to one. if the liberal candidate came in and split the democratic vote so that the popular vote winner was then a republican, everybody would be just as upset about the system as they are about the electoral college. so, to me, it's very important that if you make a switch, that you have a runoff provision because a non parliamentary system, a lot of voters would be disenfranchised. and the mix of the candidates would determine the winner rather than requiring a drop out of the moderate candidates and a lot of people are putting in ranked voting as a solution. ranked voting is actually not the same
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as forcing people, one-on-one, to have a campaign and let the voters decide. i think that system with a popular vote winner actually won a majority of the vote, i think that would probably strengthen our system tremendously. and also eliminate a lot of the flukes which would come in, which i am more worried about which is that people would gain out the system to get minor candidates in and be part of different consistencies to give the winner to somebody else. >> (inaudible) i think if i recall correctly, on seven election to tap in over and over again that neither of candidate has gotten over 50% of the votes cast, which is your point. in that illustrates the value of having electoral reform. places like maine that have ranked choice voting. this is a good point, i think it's a little bit different from the point of the distortions that the electoral college proposals but it is something that needs to be addressed to prepare democracy. >> i'm very interested in this
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north dakota poll because it's rare that we get a snapshot of a state, it completely red state in the circumstances we are in right now in the popularity of the sort of approach. my family is from oklahoma, in oklahoma has been also wrestling with this. i think the effort there is on the house but there has also been a stronger idea in oklahoma and other red states. amanda, you had chatted with me a little bit about how other elements of the chessboard have changed, how primaries would change, how parties themselves would have to change. can you give us some insight into the other actors in the stage, other than maybe just the citizen and the vote? how other features of our political system will go through a transformation? >> i think in the media term, the primary system would have to change. right now go state by state, or flex the electoral college and i think after a cycle or to, the primaries would start -- the parties would change the primaries to reflect what actually happened in the general election. i
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think more immediately what would change is the way that the parties distribute their money. a 2016 california only got about 36,000 dollars from the rnc, in the years since they only got the -- same >> 36,000 dollars? 36,000! that was in domestic? >> no. >> where did it go? >> that, i'm not sure. but since then, california and mississippi got roughly the same amount of money from the rnc, and new york and west virginia are about equal. you can see those balances change which i think would have a down-ballot effect. once the turn up operations in new york and california on the right start to improve, you would see a lot more candidates, quality candidates, especially women candidates come out of the woodwork. women candidates are not necessarily risk-averse, they are risk aware. and they look around and they look for systems in place to help them. on the left you had emily --
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around 30 years providing financial support, moral support, political support and you are seeing more and more of them on the left step up. i was recently at -- four women, once the organization has gotten started, providing financial support, moral support with the launch of their super pac, political support for women on the right. they are seen more women step out and run for office than ever before and once these systems, once women know that the turnout efforts are going to be in place in blue or states what women on the right will also step up. >> i am trying to figure out how to ask this gently and without frustrating to many folks that are listening, one of the groups that feels aggrieved right now, i remember interviewing vice president biden before the clinton trump race and he said the democratic party has become a party of snob's. the issue of white working class men had been part of the election story that we have seen their, anger and frustration. is there a way
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that their interests get addressed in this? or do they get knocked to the side? >> i think to mark's point earlier it might be better to speak to this, most of those voters to, the couch potato voters are white man, they would come out -- >> so, back to the couch potato, mark. who is the couch potato exactly? no, i mean, part of fixing the system -- should we have a voluntary voting versus mandatory voting like in australia? part of the problem is that turn out -- >> that's a whole other conference. >> we will do the next one, make every vote vote and count (laughs). i do think right now the campaigns have so much money that they stop going after swing voters. part of the reason the country so divided is when you run a campaign for swing voters, you are always trying to attract those people who don't agree with you. if you win, a lot of those people then unify the country. say,
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obama in 2008, i think successfully did that in his campaign. when you ran these campaigns just to get your people off the couch and because campaigns have so much more money to do that now, whether or not you are in the electoral college or in the national vote situation, you are just getting your people off the couch and whoever wins just has his or her half of the country supporting them. and you never really appeared to the other half. i would much rather see everybody have to vote, a lemony turnout in the primaries and that would require 50%. and that would be a real democracy. if you are going to change things, change everything. >> doctor juan, do you agree? >> i think that changing everything would be great. i think if we start by changing something, it will be good, so
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turnout is higher in battleground states than in other states. we've mentioned a lot of states and west virginia, neither candidate visited west virginia in 2016. neither candidate in the general election campaign visited california, new york. >> sorry to interrupt -- you i'm going to -- there is this thing i was reading just last night about emergency declarations, presidential emergency declarations are greater in battleground states the non battleground states. you have decisions on providing government resources to help folks in times of duress in national emergency that also follow and correlate with the same battleground states. >> yeah, usually you would like our presidents to not be moved by perverse incentives like looking after battleground states but sometimes we see a circumstance in which the president is not always motivated by serving the entire nation, consciously or unconsciously. in those circumstances it's important to have mechanisms that create good incentives to make them
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want to look after california or west virginia or alabama or mississippi. that's something that you would not normally expect. democracy mostly works until it doesn't, and these norms of looking after the entire country start falling apart. and when they fall apart, we start noticing that there is something that served as well as a nation for a long time and now we see that there are reasons why it would be better to fix it, and more things we are seeing in modern times, a lot of motivation to fix democracy. hopefully in the next decade or so to be realistic, in the next decade or so we can maybe set up a situation where we are a little bit calmer than we are today this year, and start thinking about building a democracy that's going to last another several hundred years. >> what is your sense, all of you, doctor among i want to ask you this first, on the enthusiasm or lack thereof of a national popular vote construct? i had gotten to know mick cornet, former mayor of oklahoma city, ran for governor
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and lost in oklahoma, very interesting guy who haven't heard of him, he was a guy who is very happy that oklahoma it was on the front cover of magazines, one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, but it was also in a lot of magazines as being one of the most obese city in the country, or one of them. he got about 40,000 people in the greater oklahoma city areas to go online, build community, work with each other and they collectively lost 1 million pounds. it's a very powerful story. and it began to get people engaged with changing infrastructure decisions on walk ability and stuff. he has written a book about second tier cities and about the great innovations in second seared cities throughout the country. and these cities, not just the cities but also the rural areas are the ones we are talking about and the way the -- left behind. i mentioned him there is an enthusiasm he would have been oklahoma around this concept. i'm wondering if you look across the country, where have you seen enthusiasm for
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this idea? >> well, just imagine, as i was saying before it, rural voters in california are currently disempowered. as you say, city voters in places like oklahoma, texas, nebraska, these are places where those voters are disempowered. one example that's kind of interesting is the polling data right now that shows that leading democrat nomination at the moment is joe biden. he leads donald trump by nine points in a while. that wouldn't actually motivate, i think, ohio residents, at least the republican voters to think again in any case whether they like having so much power they currently have. i think that overall voters in any state eventually will come into a circumstance where they might have some reason to have their vote count once and always count. and that's the circumstance we don't have at the moment. >> amanda, how about in your sense of the infrastructure, political infrastructure out there? and the enthusiasm or lack thereof for this? >> well, i think generally people we enthusiastic about it
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until they start getting bombarded with ads and phone calls and door knocking. >> there is a poor voter in new hampshire, ohio, it must be got awful. it will be hard to have that. >> even out. >> it would create messaging that would be not targeting a blue state or red state, the entire nation, and i think that will probably work ten to one against message division, and message division in alternate facts seem to be a significant problem right now in the u.s. democracy. >> we would also have a higher alliance on social media to spread the message to as many people as possible and we have seen how social media can distort even little nuggets of fact or fiction. >> yes, that will be a problem to fix. >> look, in general, i don't think it's a state-by-state thing. i think nationally, if i ask a poll question, would you like to move to the national popular vote, i think the concept is quite popular,
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generally speaking. i don't think it's a limited to -- that's why the poll from a red state doesn't really surprise me. the point i'm making and i will keep hitting on, that when they say a national popular vote, they don't mean just a partial change that could make the system worse. they don't mean, if you go back to 2016, for example, and i pick out the libertarian vote and take out the justine vote and a look at the national congressional vote, add up all the districts which everyone voted democrat, republican, the national vote was about 49% republican, 48% democrat. right? so what's the national popular vote? and how do you count it? it's critically important to the fairness. look, the other thing i think you have to realize is a lot of the battleground states surprisingly have some of the biggest economic problems. is that a chicken or egg, right? are they a battleground state because they
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have economic problems or do they have economic problems because they are a battleground state? i suggest it's probably the former, that in fact i wouldn't take battleground states as a fixed concept. through american history, politics changes far more than you ever expect and the battleground states today are the battleground states today precisely because half the electorate that voted for donald trump lives on one third of the gdp, or almost half as opposed to almost half the voters for hillary live on two thirds of the gdp. this underlying economics really has created the power of the change of the battleground states, and i think whether or not you have a fair national popular vote system or an electoral college system, those trends, who has been a winner and who's been a loser, will still be the dominant ones in this election or any election. >> thank you for that. let me ask you a question, you are thinking about the safety and
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security, the solvency of the election, the ability for outsiders to meddle. it occurred to me when you are seeing that that there are internal meddlers that people don't like as well. there are special interest groups that could bring pressure. amanda, let me ask you first, how did the behavior of interest groups change in this model? does life get better or worse for them? >> i think it's just different, not necessarily better or worse. they are going to focus, instead of focusing their efforts on battleground states they will go to where the persuadable voters are. >> let's take, for example -- the national rifle association. real hot issue, guns. the guns debate is very much a key part of the electoral game going on right now. how would the nra's bets than it makeshift? >> i would suggest to them to do some national modeling to figure out where their second amendment voters are and then drive a turnout among those numbers and those voters and whether that is in ohio and
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virginia or if it's in tennessee and kentucky, and oklahoma, that's where they will focus their efforts to drive up those -- >> and the same thing with defenders of the affordable care act and obamacare, you can have these trans state alliances, if you will. do you agree, doctor want? >> i think that one thing that comes up its election integrity, so right now, to be honest it probably doesn't matter if there are a few miscounted foot to north dakota but it would matter much more if we had a national system for counting votes. i think one area that would need attention in a truly national system would be foot protection in places such as, not only places where we hear about it a lot like georgia, but also places like north dakota, wyoming, all the states. i think that poll watchers might end up being important, election integrity might wind up being important. to your point, yeah, issue organizations would also have to address these things as well. >> mark? >> it's an interesting debate between the two of you because
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it is a national election going to become more local and targeted or is it going to become more governed by national media? right? well, we have statewide elections all the time. the power of statewide elections, the truth is there will be room for both and there will be room for campaign strategies and depending upon who you are and your ability to get national media versus what kind of cause you represent, your ability to test turnout. i don't think there will be one formula. i do think that if there ever were a genuinely close national election, that will be a security nightmare because running counter to the argument you have made, at least now election security is relatively important just in a handful of states and so you can defend the integrity in those states. if you had a nationally close election within, let's say
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100,000 votes, people could find 100,000 votes in probably 50 or 60 different counties in america. you could have 50 or 60 different battles going on. i've got 25,000 votes here, i've got 5000 here, i've got another 10,000 ballots coming in here. that is something that the country and the supreme court could never recover from if there is not adequate security before that happens. >> when you have no idea what turnout is going to be, the opportunity for foreign actors to come in, change a couple of votes in california, a couple in alabama knowing that those jurisdictions are going to necessarily talk to each other and say hey, i've noticed this kind of irregularity, did you? there is more opportunity for that interference. >> i want to push back a little bit. election officials i've met are pretty hard work and they are pretty honest and they are pretty concerned about things. if we put an incentive structure in place to keep elections clean, i think those people are going to step up. i
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see the point but i think it illustrates more of a point to increase election security beyond what it is now. there are some pretty hardworking people in the 3000 jurisdictions across the united states that run elections, and we should maybe think of them as, i don't know, americans who are going to -- >> in a few minutes i'm going to go to the audience, so that you're best questions going. i've looked at the states that are now committed to the national popular compact, we have district of columbia, maryland, new jersey, all night, why, washington, massachusetts, vermont, california, rhode island, new york, connecticut, colorado, delaware, new mexico in oregon. i am reading the oneself wikipedia. so hopefully those are right, folks. did i miss anyone? pretty much? 196 electoral collar votes, said to me, not knowing anything, 74 more seems easy. is it? mark? >> oh, i couldn't tell you --
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look -- i don't know whether the supreme court would sanction the effort this way. i do believe we have a process for change, i do believe that 200 years later it makes sense for us to sit down and say, hey, thus this electoral college make as much sense as a full national voting system with iran offs? with maybe everybody voting? national registration. with primaries that have more people. to really fix the system, i think we should do it the right way. aren't we doing at the right way in the sense that states get to make these choices and this is a state based decision in a state base compact? >> you can't be for a national popular vote and set you want the state legislatures to decide. by definition, you want it to be decided by free democracy. >> the national popular vote compact is an agreement that requires 270 electoral votes worth of states to agree, and in order to get that 74, i think it's obvious that at some point you would need to either get purple states or red states
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on board. and so one question we could ask is what would be the right conditions to get people thinking that way? one obvious way that could happen would be if the popular vote and electoral split goes in the opposite direction as it almost did in 2004. another would-be to appear to people sense of the government, that the candidate who gets more votes should become president. this is obviously a tough lift right now when you are under conditions of close national division. and i think it will take, it's a years long project, a pretty long project to get over 270. all these other concerns i think are quite important. but one needs to be in for the distance. >> amanda, thoughts? >> i agree with mark. i think if you are going to do this it should be done the right way, at the end of the day. i think this is a very interesting way to work out all of the kinks and talk about the problems that could potentially come in, but at the end of the day i think it is to be a full democratic caucus. >> i was reading an article in
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this morning, in national affairs, i want to familiarize myself with the strongest defense of the electoral college as it was and people look at history, and kind of looking at the legacy of slavery as an issue in america. it's very interesting, but the kicker if i can read it here is if anything, the electoral college was designed to act as a break on over mighty presidents who might use a popular majority to claim that they were authorized to speak to the people against congress, and for that we may well have a lot more fear of entering the electoral college. i find it very interesting. because we may have an overmighty presidential situation that isn't using a popular vote and the mandate but is, in fact, turning the electoral college in that as a way to justify. any thoughts on this, mark? >> everybody turns to the electoral college. bill clinton got 41%, he turned to the electoral college. the electoral college is the system we have. and so everybody is going -- to look -- right now
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every campaign in campaign strategist should be playing to the electoral college. if anything, it was a huge oversight not believing that so many blue states could change. this is why i keep saying, whatever you think is going to happen in american politics, and if you think that the system is going to work to your advantage, you know, both parties have proven over the long run even after 49 state wipeout, they come back and politics changes, economics changes, issues change, we need a fair system for today. and i think that kind of message, like a lot of the reforms that i have talked about will really resonate powerfully. and i think that could be really bipartisan, i don't think that has to be a partisan issue. >> (inaudible) is from around 1800, if you think about what the original founders wanted -- >> this was written more recently. >> okay, but i'm just going to point out that when we referred
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to what the founders wanted or what the original goal of holding back a mob, or what have you, there are 40 years of additional things that happened after the founders said there were. winner take all elections, and we have enfranchisement, the freeing of slaves, women getting the vote, all of these things have happened. and the electoral college idea with these duties in wigs discussing how democracy ought to work, there's a lot of overlay on top of that and it is a mistake to imagine that somehow -- i hate to burst the bubble here, but we don't have a deliberate electoral college at the moment. they do their jobs in their job is to vote the way that our poll do, and i think we should be a bit clear eyed about what the electoral college absolute actually does know. it doesn't actually hold back a majority in president who claims mob rule. right? or who claimed the support of the mob. >> a little realism is in order. >> this is the perfect tension to go to the audience, thank you very much here. let me go to all of you. where is steve sean foreman? i was going to
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offer him -- let me go to waltz in the back. we have a microphone, we have c-span going here, set your greetings to c-span and give them your twitter address. >> (inaudible) (inaudible) the national popular vote would reward turnout (inaudible) targeted suppression, and making registration, polling places (inaudible). >> great question, mark? does targeted suppression increase or decrease? >> registration is a very complicated issue because some states have a whole set of requirements of registration, other states make it easy to register, that's why what i did
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was look at the difference, what if i were to do i think there are registered voters, registered voters in swing states now turnout is quite high, like over 75% i think. and that it's much lower where there are uncontested elections. in the national elections, probably as everyone has said, would probably change not a lot. i think the registration system is broken, to. all of these different registration systems really, we have a social security call cart from birth or from citizenship and having the same process so that we really could have national registration, i think it would make a tremendous difference in the system. my point is, every single aspect of our system from the antiquated electoral college that doesn't meet with a bunch of elders to prevent the popular will down to primaries we are getting 10 million votes really determines one of the only two flavors of
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ice cream you will be able to choose, my point is you've got to change this whole system and reconfigure it for the 21st century so that it gives everyone a level playing field and a chance to get a majority vote in this country. -- but on both the treatment and where (inaudible) >> i think that is going to be in different locations more than necessarily more or less overall, instead of focusing again on the battle against a state it's going to be focused on battleground counties or battleground -- is necessarily morales, is just different locations. >> thank you. >> you in front. >> my name is joe frame in. i have been working on campaigns and doing votes in 1952. >> you're looking good joe. (laughs)
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>> not walking as well. >> i'd like to tell you a lot to do things which my experiences taught me are the most important for increasing turnout. >> why didn't mention them. one is excitement, into general alike shun excitement. >> it was like christmas now it's a bit more like thursday. so how do you increase excitement? second caution is never mentioned crease takes, i can make a big difference. i can make a difference not only in the number of people i turn out, i've done comparison of precinct which i work, but more importantly i can make a difference in the down about it. people want to lead the way and tons of what pressure, but they will freshen the court judge. i'd like to comment on that. >> so again other feet of the system. excitement increase an -- epic excitement comes from
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people are excited for or against someone that the candidates themselves are the ones that drive that excitement more than the process and the institution. so i was doing fantastic job. every person that i've known does amazing work and i don't think there were enough of them, especially at the function an international vote systems. in a lot of places you only need one party represented as a -- others are gonna need to double those workers overall. >> doesn't by definition excitement increase if you feel like you're a vote doesn't count? in the end of the organization make every vote count. i can tell you that there are lots of people who feel in that circumstance their vote doesn't count so they don't know, but i think if you have a system where the voted
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counts, does that make sense? >> you're definitely rights, whether or not it will make a net different i'm not sure because you saw tremendous increase in the turnout. >> i think it makes a real difference. i completely agree with you international election. everyone who feel equal attention to get out and vote or not and just to come from a system that was in the fifties driven primarily by organization, when there was ten driven by massive media is not going back to being about organization, so whether will be the physical or the online prison worker organizer, were backing much more organization people to people political systems, and now it's about excitement the most depressing thing to me is that the campaign and the presidential,
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20% negative, and that negative campaigns are supposed to the press turnout and instead have been driving turn off. we are in a 40 20 country which to 20% of spring voters don't like either candidate, either party or anyone, and so greatly very negative environment. i'd like to see it just might be kind of positive excitement that was really driving turnout in this and we have right now. >> if you're talking about campaign, that goes back to you know an election as close. what that means is it probably has something to do with the fact that in fact there was more excitement at the local level because the thing you can affect your local rates right? and that would affect turnout and that would affect the kinds of messages that become effective. i think it's an unusual time with national elections are the shiny objects that capture our eyes. if
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you're going to build something that works on the long term, we should in fact think about the fact that sometimes local elections matter. the question was on running campaigns, no offense to the members but those are not close presidential races. but there was excitement from local levels. i think look beyond what happened the past years and think about how that will work. >> you can stimulate this thing where you basically have a different sense of tangibility of a feeling like people are involved. >> i agree with you. he used to work for him that is unfair. >> that includes giving people today often cause you happen to other countries, again talk about whether the national popular vote? how it affects candidates of color as you know, we have people of color
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indifferent pockets of america so presumably that could help. i'm interested in your thoughts. >> what it is all the right afterwards. do not go far. >> we will hits lots of you in a second. they off for voting. candidates of color. >> well they are for moving into entire weekend. people have to work for a living. not everyone is going to get to stay off. if you want to get people to vote to medical them a time that does not take away money from them. >> so we can devoting is here another conflict. >> candidates of color amanda? >> in places like las vegas for the hospitality industry, we giving people the time to take off no matter what day election day is is probably. >> you mentioned women who had
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benefit -- >> i think it's very similar. and once they see the systems in place to help them, especially in areas that haven't seen that support before it will encourage more quality candidates to rise then the water just boosting their name idea or just for fun. >> if you are going to review the voting system in 21st century, he would get rid of polling priests altogether. you would create a whole new voting system that would secure that those individual. you have to keep doing everything that we did 200 years ago. >> the couch voting. >> yes right here in the middle. >> which is the court a court right way meeting constitutional amendment but that is two thirds of the states that our congress and then three quarters of the states. that is just not realistic so we are in the
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second best world, if we do want to change in this world of what to be doing given how unlikely that is i'm curious what your response right here in the middle. >> following up on that you only remember that are senators used to be elected by thursday and i later is and that was so successful by a number of states never had any senators in washington because the legislators couldn't agree, so each state changed their process for how they elected senators over time and by the time i believe it was 1923 went when he was finally passed on the national basis, something like the forces of states had already passed it and i would argue honestly for not making sure that the perfect doesn't get in the way of the good and
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we have 196 votes electoral votes already and if you get that incrementally maybe 5:10 years after that process is in fact where some of the other issues that were talking about today it would be addressed at the same time. thank you. let me just get a couple. can we get this person right here and then take this gentleman in the back and have you all. >> hi, i was curious to hear the panels thinking about how using metrics for four presidential election, and interact with each, other to make it easier or harder. >> thank you, and i will take this last gentleman here and we will close out. are these
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microphones not working? okay, great. >> i just wanted to jump off on ranked choice voting, mark you especially said make sure you have a runoff, make sure you reassess the whole situation, we talked about negative campaigning, excitement, all of these things which voting has an effect on and would allow people to vote for third parties and other things have their voice heard. you were against, it you are saying it's not really the right system, i guess i'm curious what your thoughts are. >> quickly, we have a couple of questions on ranked choice voting. the question on other institutions, how we evolved from senators not even being -- and a constitutional amendment strategy seems to be too far, too difficult, to high. mark? >> i'll just take two of those. one is, if you are going to change the entire system on how
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people are elected, you need more than just, even if you could get, you might get to 270 more than the number of legislation assures. you just get over the finish line. you do need a national consensus, bipartisan process and i do think there are so many things that need fixing and i worry that if you change one thing, and you get the result that i've suggested which is, you get a liberal candidate who splits the democratic vote and the popular vote winner is the republican with 40%, then we will be just as much discontent over the new system because you really need to change a host of things, and i do think the most important thing is in a non parliamentary system, i don't think that ranked voting enables people to make a fully fleshed out decision between the final choices where the campaigns go at it one-on-one and make their final argument,
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and that ranked choice voting is incredibly confusing for the voter and we might as well go to a parliamentary system if you want to do that, i don't think it's as good as a runoff where the arguments, people get to listen. that's what i think. >> amanda? >> i agree, i think the constitutional amendment it's hard but because it's supposed to be hard, it's supposed to be hard to get that sheer number of people in those number of states behind an idea so that you have a mandate for the change in the institution among the entire country and i also agree on ranked vote i would rather just go with runoff. >> i really like ranked choice voting but that's indifferent to the conversation here, i like diversity in different approaches, documents? >> a common theme to all these questions which is that in a
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time of national paralysis, whether it be about the constitution or passing federal laws, it would be a good time for people to harness their inner federalists. think about the election of senators, as the question asked, it became locally, women getting the right to vote also became locally as a state by state agenda, and i think broadly speaking in the time our democracy is in a bit of trouble, when there is a chance to address these questions at a local level, whether it be at a city level, a county level or a state level, you know what would be a good time for those of us who are interested in voting rights to really embrace our inner federalist and think about how, exactly, to fix these things state by state. i think to the extent possible that we have raked choice voting or any experiment, it might could be a good idea to start using these laboratories of democracy where there is actually a possibility of getting some kind of positive change. >> i think it's been a very rich discussion, i appreciate all of your candor, thinking about how strategy, campaign behavior would change, i often when i think about things think about oklahoma, just north of
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tulsa and how the engagement, excitement and participation of people would change their because there is frustration, even in red states like oklahoma on this and i find it very, very interesting, i want to thank my colleagues doctor samuel long, amanda iovino and mark penn, great discussion. thank you very much. (applause) >> we are going to take a 15 minute break and we have a stark at 10:30. i do have to make one comment, it's been a terrific panel, thank you steve and panelists. on the comment about the constitution, we need a vast majority of americans, already polls show consistently that more than 70% of americans want, this so whether it's just 270 electoral votes or not, which we need to elect a president, it seems like there are a lot of people who want this and i don't think this will necessarily be counter to
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what americans believe. >> she sure, yeah. i don't think there's any doubt about that. great panel, thank you. >> before you leave, the next panel is even better (laughs) rianna, vote to latino, chairman of the rnc, norm bernstein, resident scholar of aei, and just the wagon of the new york times editorial board, mike cusack, editor-in-chief of the hill. that's what's up next, it's worth doing, for you then. we >> will be back at 10:30.


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