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tv   Washington Journal Sean Trende  CSPAN  July 29, 2018 9:30pm-10:06pm EDT

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questions from reporters in berlin about trade with the u.s. and president trump's meeting with russian president vladimir putin. then, is really ambassador -- israel's ambassador speaks, marking the 70th anniversary of israel's independence. at 11:00, a conversation with david stewart on "q&a." host: joining us from columbus, ohio is sean trende. he is senior elections analyst for real clear politics. thank you for being with us. thank you for having me. host: i want to talk about some of the races to watch. and one in your part of the country, a special election scheduled for early next month. talk to us about the candidate and why this is a potentially bellwether for democrats and republicans. guest: this is a bellwether for both democrats and republicans because it is the kind of district you would expect
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democrats to be competitive in in a wave election. you have two credible candidates on both the republican in the -- the republican and the democratic side. this isn't one of those races where it is competitive because republicans have nominated someone too extreme. it is a good test case for what the national environment really is like. this is a district donald trump won handily. so even if the democrats are coming close, it is indicative of a bad national environment for republicans. host: let's talk about danny o'connor, the democrat, and troy balderson, the republican candidate in the race. it is an open seat. the congressman has stepped down from the position. guest: yeah, again -- with danny o'connor, you have a democrat who has been around franklin county politics for a while.
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he is generally well-respected, someone who is not particularly objectionable one way or the other, aside from the fact that he is a democrat in a republican district. troy balderson is the same thing. he is not someone who is a firebreathing conservative. he is someone who is solidly conservative but fits the in a normall environment, you would expect to win handily. that is why the district is important. the race will tell us if this is a normal environment. host: what do the polls show you in that race? guest: we had a poll from monmouth that showed balderson up 10, and that caused a lot of people to say, maybe this isn't such a competitive phrase, which -- a competitive race, which is good for republicans. releasednor campaign an internal poll showing him down 2.
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we estimate he is probably down five points or so, but that makes sense because o'connor has raised a ton of money. he has the yard sign advantage. he is on the air more. so, he definitely has the tools to make this a tight race. i think it is probably going to be closer than republicans would like. host: let's look at the ads now on the air in ohio's 12th can rational district. >> that is troy balderson running for congress. why do people look so happy? it is because balderson supports massive corporate tax breaks and helped wreck up $2 trillion in debt. and what would that mean for us? his plan could mean cuts to medicare and social security. and balderson even said he had no problem raising the retirement age. troy balderson, it is not funny at all. the ccc is responsible for the content of this ad. host: how much money, sean trende, is spent on that phrase? -- spent on that race? millions, is in the
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which is unusual for these sorts of races. again, this is a district that or eight points more republican than the country as a whole. to see them come in and drop in airtime dollars is indicative of how competitive the race probably is getting. guest: here is another -- host: here is another advertisement. >> the liberal resistance is demanding open borders and want to eliminate the law enforcement agency that enforces our immigration laws, opening america's doors to crime and drugs. they want danny o'connor bankrolling his campaign. pelosi and warren know o'connor supports amnesty for illegals and opposes the border wall. danny o'connor would join the resistance. congressional leadership fund is
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responsible for the content of this advertisement. host: sean trende, let's go back to what you said earlier. by all accounts, the democratic candidate trying to run a more mainstream campaign, but being tagged by republicans as a socialist liberal. guest: that's right. that is what you see and all of -- in all of these ads. they are all exaggerated. ad doesn't say he will cut medicare and social security, it's as tax breaks could lead to this. likewise, it is speculative about o'connor joining the resistance and signing up with elizabeth warren. in reality, neither of these candidates will be at the extreme of their parties, but you see what the motivating factor is for these parties. they are trying to get their base out. the way you get the base out is convincing them that the other side is horrifying. o'connor is playing to the inner suburbs of columbus within his
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district, whereas balderson, the ad for balderson, is trying to energize the more rural areas. they also constitute a large portion of the district. host: our phone lines are open. 202-748-8000 the line for democrats. 202-748-8001 for republicans. independents, 202-748-8002. around memorial day, you wrote the following piece, and this is the headline, "the blue wave could be turning into a dead heat in november." do you still believe that? guest: i think things have broken a little bit for the democrats. at the time the generic ballot asked nationally, who do you want to win, republicans or democrats? it had been closing for some time and it had gotten into low single digits. now we are up to mid to high single digits. donald trump's job approval has been on a long-term increase.
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but he seems to have hit the ceiling at around 43%. i say democrats have an edge. i don't think it is an overwhelming edge, but if the election was held today, they would probably get a small congressional majority. host: if you look at the map, how many open seats are competitive for the republicans and how many for the democrats? guest: that is a big part of the story. really, the only competitive open seats for the democrats are two seats in minnesota, where they had one congressman retiring, another running for governor. these are seats donald trump carried handily. if the republicans have a shot at picking up open seats, it is probably here. as for republicans, there are a large number of open seats that are vulnerable. some of them are guaranteed pickups for the democrats, new jersey's second district, one in south florida, where a longtime republican has retired.
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and then you have more competitive seats that probably went for donald trump or mitt romney, and then went to hillary clinton. that is where the real battle for the house will be, in places like california and pennsylvania. host: our guest is sean trende, a senior analyst for real clear politics joining us from columbus. and lynn is on the line from san antonio, texas. republican line, good morning. caller: good morning. i will tell you what, i love your shows and such, but i would not trust real clear politics any further than i can throw them. everything they say as far as i am concerned is full of hooey. and the crazy lady you had on before is part of the tin hat brigade. honest to gosh, conspiracies" and's lapdogs. -- and prudent's lapdogs. you have never seen a businessman at work and don't want to see another one because the politicians and lawyers want
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to make darn sure was to make sure no one ever gets in again. thank you. bye. host: let me ask you about the president's role in the midterm elections. we heard in his interview from sean hannity that he will be on the campaign trail fervently on the stump for those republicans and will make sure they keep their majority in the house and senate. what role should the president plate moving ahead? -- play moving ahead? guest: it is interesting because nationally, he is not terribly popular. he has a 43% job approval, which isn't horrible, but it isn't good either. yet, in some of these districts, he is probably breakeven or even a little bit popular. he is still very popular with his base as the caller's comment indicated. in a race like ohio's 12, the candidates have to do a dance. they would love to get donald trump out here to energize the rural areas that have lots of trump supporters in them, but they also risk energizing some
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of the places that are heavily democratic as well. i think the president can do good for republicans, especially in some of these republican districts. but in the democratic-leaning districts or the swing district, i think you will see candidates avoiding him, just as candidates avoided barack obama in swing districts during his presidency. host: as you go to your site, the generic ballot giving democrats a 7.3% edge, explain to our audience what that means. guest: so, it is very expensive to go and pull -- go and poll individual congressional districts because you have to poll something on the order of 100,000 people. what they do instead where they as people, hey, who do you want to win congress, or who do plan on voting for in the next election?
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and people give their answers. as of right now, on average, people are saying by a seven point margin, they prefer democrats to hold congress rather than republicans. this is not a great scenario for republicans. the generic ballot has its problems, but it usually gets within a couple of points of the national margin. host: back to your phone calls. kelly is joining us from new jersey. good morning. independent line. caller: well, hi. thank you for taking my call. i am calling because there is all this democrat and republican. i am calling about real solutions. we have a $21 trillion debt. -- because of the federal reserve. congress has an 11% approval rating. the constitution, congress has to come more has to go through congress, and you are seeing
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tweets about iran and, i am looking for real solutions about the debt. it is not going to last forever, the way that things are in our economy, and i feel like congress should be doing more. host: thank you, kelly. let me mention, the debt and the deficit, overall the nation's debt in excess of $21 trillion. is that an issue among voters, democrats or republicans? guest: i think it is to an extent. what we find over and over again, is that average voters don't have an in-depth knowledge of politics and policy. what they have instead is a generalized understanding of things they like and things they don't like. and voters definitely don't like debt. where it really comes into play is with some of these republican voters, who are strong romney
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supporters, who really are concerned deeply about the deficits, you have a fraction of the republican party that is really concerned about the turn it has taken with a massive deficit being run during an economic expansion. the battle for the house is a close enough thing that even if you oppress republican turnout, it could be the difference maker in a lot of races. host: i will share with you a tweet from the president, talking about the federal government and the potential of a government shutdown. "i would be willing to shut down the government if the democrats do not give us the votes for border security, which includes the wall. must get rid of the lottery, catch and release, etc., and finally go to the system of immigration based on merit. we need great people coming into our country!" guest: this is an issue that is obviously, the president's base
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cares about. it is the issue that got him started in the republican primary and carried him through a great way. believese genuinely this. if you look at his 2000 run for the reform party ticket, he was in favor of tariffs and constricting immigration at that time. republicans inf the swing districts, especially suburban swing districts, don't particularly want a government shutdown a few weeks before the election. government shutdowns don't have lasting impact, but whatever impact they have can impact the party in power. so i think that is playing with fire. host: let's go to new york city, democrats line. cal, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i guess i was reacting, i had a couple of comments, i was reacting to what sean said earlier about a marginal victory for the democrats in midterms.
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if that is possible. and i had seen that, as a result of what i interpreted as a low voter turnout and a lot of reelection of a lot of incumbents. i was feeling that it is going to result in a just slightly differently shaped stalemate come instead of a 375 seat majority that, say, the democrats would need in order to work trump in any way. and also, it doesn't provide any momentum to form any kind of candidacy or solidify against any candidate that can even hope to beat trump in 2020. i just wanted your reaction. host: thanks, cal. guest: i think people should not a narrow house majority for democrats and what it can do. certainly in terms of policy, generating a national figure, it is unlikely to do that.
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at the same time, a majority of one gives you all the speakers , all the chairman of gavels. -- all the chairman's gavels. you will have very strong partisan democrats running these committees. and that is key for investigations. people wanted to see donald trump's tax returns. are 218nges if there democrats, and i guarantee you will have massive fights over subpoenas and investigations, even with the narrowest of democratic majorities. host: serena is next from riverdale, maryland, democrats line, with sean trende. his work available on good morning. caller: good morning. can you hear me? host: we sure can. caller: i am in laurel, maryland, close to riverdale. thanks for c-span. i think you all are doing a great job. my comment is, if we had someone in office, i'm speaking about
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donald trump, that was not filled with hatred and lies, including the other people with him, i think the country would be doing a lot better. right now, these tweets and all of this stuff donald trump sends, it is just ridiculous for people not to realize that we have someone that is unfit to be in that office. and it is unfortunate, whether you are democrat or republican, it would not matter. the fact is, we need a good person with some intelligence to run this country, and we don't have that at this point. it is unfortunate that people continue to talk about the base. the base is listening to donald trump, and he has them fooled. he is feeding their brain a bunch of nonsense. host: thank you so much for the call. sean trende. guest: well, i think it has been
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an interesting shift on the character debate for those of us who lived through the clinton presidency. i will readily concede that donald trump is a more extreme character than bill clinton, but there is some switching in both parties on this issue. the republican base will go to -- will go all out for donald trump, or that is how it seems so far. and that does matter. it is why donald trump's job approval is 43% rather than 33%, and that will have a big impact on the midterm elections. if you were in the low 30's or low 20's, you would see republicans losing 60, 70, 80 seats, instead of 20, 30, best case percent -- for democrats, 40 seat gain. host: i want to mention your website. the top senate races include florida, missouri, indiana, west virginia, nevada, arizona, north dakota, montana, ohio, texas, michigan, wisconsin and pennsylvania, and mississippi.
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the vast majority of them are where democrats are on the ballot. states that donald trump one. won.e donald trump explained to the audience how are you able to take a sampling of the polls, then come up with the real clear politics average? guest: there is some statistics and math involved that give the deep answer, without resulting -- resorting to the law of large numbers, which is an actual thing. basically, when you have a single poll, there is always some sort of error involved because you don't know that the poll is going to have a representative sample, or just in general, sometimes you flip a coin four times in a row and it comes up heads every time. to hedge against that, and that is the best way to think of it, to hedge against that, you take
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multiple samples and the idea is, again, if you flip a coin four times and it comes up heads every time, that could be just one of those flukes of statistics. but if you have 10 coins in you flip them all four times, and they all come up heads, you will say there is something about the coin. that is the law of averages. by taking multiple polls and averaging them together, the truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle. host: morton is joining us from new jersey. caller: good morning. one of the things tip o'neill once said is, all politics is local. i live in middlesex county, where the democratic machine has controlled and anointed the candidates for over 100 years. so in my community of east brunswick, which is very diversified, there really are
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not any man or women running for office on the local level, or on the congressional level, or on the township level, and as a result, i am not going to vote in the midterms. whether it is for democrats or republicans. the democrats in middlesex county and in new jersey anoint who is going to run, who will be elevated from town council to an assembly man or woman position, to will be elevated congress, and as a result, you have to change the situation where people who have a diversified background and have an ethnic mix are able to run for election. host: thank you, morton. guest: yeah, i am really glad we got that comment. it is one of the more interesting things in modern politics. tip o'neill made that comment 30 years ago. and our politics have definitely changed greatly since then.
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we have more of a national politics today, a politics that is based on national issues. and that does change the character of elections. you also do still have, and i think a lot of people who follow these things don't realize, we do still have genuine political machines in places in this country. new jersey is a state that still has something recognizable. it is an old-school political machine. that does weaken democratic accountability and can hurt turnout. at the same time, refusing to vote can be self-defeating there. it is kind of giving in to the machine and what the machine wants. i would encourage voters everywhere to make your voice heard and turnout and vote. host: let's turn to one of the key battleground states, north dakota. the democrat seeking a second term, being challenged by the republican. on your site, based on the
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polling from the spring and early summer, you give the edge to the republican, but barely by 0.5%. if we go to the north dakota senate race, let's look at one of the advertisements now on the air in north dakota for heidi heitkamp. [video clip] >> i was a deputy sheriff for 42 years and i voted for the president. unfortunately, kevin cramer must've misled the president on record.itkamp's that figures, it's politics. heidi voted seven times for tougher boarded -- border security. heidi was a tough law and order attorney general we need to keep her in the senate. >> i'm heidi heitkamp and i approved this message. host: the democrat heidi heitkamp seeking another term. this is a state where donald trump won and 2016. the republican's kevin cramer. here is one of the ads on the air for the republican candidate. [video clip] >> president trump on heidi heitkamp and the democrat
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agenda. pres. trump: democrats want judges who will rewrite the constitution. the democrats are always fighting against funding for the military, and funding for law enforcement. so a vote for any democrat in november is a vote for chuck maxine. pelosi, and democrats want open borders. voted in favor of the deadly, very dangerous, horrible sanctuary cities. heidi and every single democrat, voted against our tax cuts. you need a senator who doesn't just talk like they are from north dakota, but votes like they are from north dakota. and that is kevin cramer. [applause] host: as you look at the north dakota senate race, what are you
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sensing on the ground? how much support does the president have? and the brett kavanaugh nomination as that moves through the senate, how critical is that for heidi heitkamp? guest: all indications are that the president remains popular in north dakota. he is not in a 70% approval situation, but he is definitely more popular than not. you can see that in both ads where both candidates are trying to attach themselves to varying degrees to president trump. the brett kavanaugh nomination is a tough vote for heidi heitkamp and all the democrats running in states that trump carried by substantial majorities, because the way you win as a democrat in the state is by convincing enough republicans that you are close enough to them on issues they care about that having you in the senate is worth some of the votes you might cast that they don't like. for heidi heitkamp, it is a very
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tough call because the democratic base in the state really does not want her to vote for brett kavanaugh. she risks alienating them if she votes yes. at the same time, republicans are invested in this as well, and she would alienate some of them by voting no. host: some states like florida, tennessee, indiana, north dakota, which we were just talking about, arizona, and nevada are viewed as tossups. right now, you west virginia, which is a senator running for his second term, a democrat, in light blue. what does that tell you? guest: this is a race that a lot of people thought would be very close. it may end up close by the end of the cycle. but what we have seen in the polls is that joe manchin, and -- who is an old-school, blue-collar democrat, probably a good fit for the state on a
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policy and personality level if not a political affiliation level, he is actually polling quite well. he is not above 50%, which is a danger sign, but he is close. so for right now, at least, we think joe manchin has the edge. his problem is most of the probably like the president and approve of his job. so we suspect that those will break against joe manchin. -- it might end up close at the end. host: senator manchin will be among the first senate democrats to meet with brett kavanaugh this week. marcia is joining us from port, -- portland, oregon. good morning. caller: good morning. thanks for taking my call. yes, i wanted to mention really quick that i am working on my doctorate and getting to the end here in business administration. what i wanted to say was that i am pretty sure that president trump understands negotiation theory very well.
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i don't think it is a bad thing that we have a president that is coming in with an economic, as an economist, with an economist background. i think people should give him a muche and not put so emotion in everything, because emotions don't run, it is ruined. host: thank you for the call. we will get a response. guest: first, congratulations for working on the end of your doctorate. that is a huge accomplishment. i think that there is a debate actually among pundits as to what degree president trump is playing 12 dimensional chess, and to what degree he is playing checkers. and you get heated debates on one side or the other. we have seen instances where the president has acted more strategic than he is given credit for.
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at the same time, i don't think you can talk everything up to some master chess player. he has certainly had missteps. politics is about deception, so if the american people don't -- politics is about perception, so if the american people don't understand what you are doing and you start to give off this perception of not knowing what you are doing, even if you are playing some sort of chess, it hurts you and your ability to get your agenda through. host: does the mueller investigation impact the midterm elections? guest: you know, i think a lot of the, borrowing some sort of true -- barring some sort of true bombshell dropped at the octoberent, an surprise, an indictment of the president or a close family member, i think a lot of the mueller stuff is well baked in by this point. i think people have their opinions of how to process the mueller investigation, and again, barring some sort of bombshell, i don't think it is
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likely to change the trajectory of things. host: good morning. caller: good morning. and thank you for your excellent guest, as usual. i am one of the independent voters that trump has lost. i regret voting for him in the last election and i will do everything in my power to change the situation. why do you regret it? caller: i've had my internet neutrality attacked. i see a president who is giving safe harbor to an individual, putin, who seems to be the driver behind state-sponsored cyber attacks.
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i think the power grid is going to be attacked soon. if this is not a war, nothing else is. isn't the definition of treason to give safe harbor to enemies? his president has passed in the. since being what kind person passes those untruths? i need to be able to trust the commander-in-chief. i don't trust this president. host: thank you for the call from indiana. guest: there i think i see a lot of what we're talking about before. let's assume donald trump's playing some kind of chest. i have heard people say he is becauseput 10 in person that gives some latitude to do anti-russian actions.
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her has been some, the bombing in syria, those are not things wants.ssia really i have no idea whether that is true or not, i am not a foreign-policy expert but what i do know is a lot of american voters have gotten to the impression that he is playing along with putin. if there is some larger strategy, he is not communicating it to voters. you cannot separate politics from policy. if your policy does not match up with public perception, you will pay a price and lose voters. question, as you look at the historical trends for a party and power, what can we expect in november? caller: the party in power always loses seats in the house and midterm elections. there have been three exceptions dating back to the civil war.
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the republicans will have a rough one, but what makes this difficult as you have an approval rating of the president and the low 40's. you have vulnerable seats. the only good thing is the economy is going strong and that will convince some voters in the and. but i suspect there is a lot of football left to be played. orderct something on the of democrat majority in 235-230 seats. host: thank you for being with us. guest: thank you. velcro announcer: c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up monday, talking about
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the divide within the democrat party between moderates and progressives. and if president trump refuses -- tries to retract security clearances. we talk about how they are obtained and retained. in discussing the recent article on the new tax law that offers wealthy investors and corporations the chance to a race their tax obligations if they invest in the nations poorest communities. that's monday morning at some :00 a.m. eastern on c-span. join the discussion. >> on monday, at 11:00 a.m. in any event to mark national whistleblower day with members of congress and former whistleblowers. on c-span2, secretary of state mike pompeo and commerce secretary wilbur ross speak at a
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business forum hosted by the u.s. chamber of commerce. returnsp.m., the senate to consider the nomination for the court of appeals. is a justice on the georgia supreme court and a ofmer supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. nominee brettrt kavanaugh continues to meet with senators on capitol hill. follow the confirmation process leading up to the vote. c-span, anytime on, or listen with the free c-span radio app. german chancellor angela merkel recently held her annual summer news conference where she talked about


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