tv Washington Journal Mary Ellen Klas CSPAN October 26, 2020 9:38pm-10:27pm EDT
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focused on key battleground states. first up today is florida. mary ellen klas is the tallahassee bureau chief for the miami herald, joining us now to talk about what is always a battleground state. why is that? is a microcosm of the nation. as florida goes, the nation goes. trump one ago, donald florida by barely 113,000 votes in a state of more than 10 million voters. he carried that narrow victory onto the white house. state. is a very divided we've got diversity. in ethnic ways, but economically as well as demographically.
older voters, younger voters, people who are divided by both democratic and republican. as florida goes, the nation will go. we have seen voting problems -- host: we have seen voting problems in florida. is the state ready? guest: i think it is. of -- 20ad this legacy years ago, recounts. florida has so re-crafted and updating its voting system that the state is prepared for what we are seeing as a record surge in early voting turnout. it has been going smoothly. host: what changes were made? have made ite, we a statewide standard for
recounts so that each county does not independently decide when to start a recount for how to do a recount. processes are uniform across the state. we moved, like many other states, to emphasize early voting and make it much more accessible. in florida is something that republicans have been pushing for two decades. result, we have a foot by mail system that many people are comfortable with. because of that, we have seen record numbers of vote by mail ballots cast already. over 5.7 million people have already voted as of this morning. host: what percentage of that compares to 2016? exceeding,s already and we have a week left, how
many early votes were cast in 2016. we had about 10 million votes cast in 2016. i think we are on course to match that, if not exceed it. host: over 10 million votes. take a look at florida. 29 electoral votes are at stake. the population is 21.5 million. the unemployment rate is 7.6%. i want to invite our viewers to join. if you're supporting trump-pens, dial in at (202) 748-8001. if you're supporting the biden-harris ticket, (202) 748-8000. if you're supporting another candidate, or are undecided, call (202) 748-8002. florida residents, (202) 748-8003.
your opportunity to get the latest on the state of florida. will then klas, how early votes be counted? when will they be counted? how will election devote to be counted? -- election day votes be counted? guest: florida has the advantage of allowing supervisors of elections to start opening and processing vote by mail ballots already. than 4 million votes already cats -- cast. vote counters are starting to review them and make sure their signatures match. to repair their signature if it does not match command putting them into the counting machine. they will announce those votes as soon as polls close at in
florida. because we have two time zones, pulse close on the eastern times on here in florida at 7:00. zone ant a central time hour later. it :00 p.m. eastern is when we see the first results out of florida. because we have so many early votes cast, we will know very quickly my think, how florida is going. why do you say that? -- host: why do you say that? guest: because of the number of votes i will be counted and posted by the supervisors of elections. in most counties, the first such posted are the ones already cast either by mail or early voting. those results will be the ones that show up first on the vote tallies. and then the in person votes that happen on tuesday will come
in precinct by precinct. supervisors will be updating those numbers. i spoke with secretary of state laura lee, she thinks florida will have a preliminary result before men died. with thery ellen klas my hair up -- with the miami herald's argus this morning, here to take your questions about florida. winston-salem, north carolina. good morning. you're supporting joe biden. caller: i am. i believe that florida is a great state. but, what happened four years president, hillary and trump, i believe in my heart that the same thing is going to happen. either with a mail-in ballot or
an in person votes. host: thoughts? guest: what are you referring to? what happened four years ago? caller: everybody says there was a conspiracy in the voting with votes and deleted votes, that weren't counted, votes that were destroyed. i do not want to see that happen again this year. clarify, there has been no evidence that any votes were changed. there were two counties in florida where it is clear that they were able to get into the supervisor's of elections electronic system, but the vote tabulation system is completely separated. that system -- there is no evidence that that was
interfered with in any way. since then, there has been a great deal of investment put into making sure that they are able to stop any potential hacks. they have cybersecurity. they have assured us they have added letters of protection. wood is a bigger concern, and i do not know that they feel confident they have a handle on when i talk to the secretary of state, she is concerned that conspiracy theories, misinformation, social taking an unproven accusation and giving it legs, those are the things that are
being used to suppress voters, discourage them from trusting the vote. that is what many election , and theyin the state are nonpartisan positions. i have talked to many of them. that theboth confident system here in florida is secure. they are more concerned about the outside forces that -- disinformation. we had an example last week where there were emails being sent to democratic voters that had the tone of intimidation. seeing --they were they said they were being sent by the proud boys. there was no evidence they were connected with the proud boys.
the fbi and the justice department came to the conclusion that it was iran and russia behind these emails and they were trying to intimidate democratic voters. announced that they discovered that, those emails stopped. that is the kind of thing i think there is more concerned about. host: james in winter haven, florida. good morning. caller: how are you doing? host: go ahead. caller: i am definitely supporting trump. goes, is the insurance would like to know if mr. biden has obamacare. i am just curious. , the issueellen klas of health care. where does that rate for florida voters? guest: it is very interesting.
states is one of the that has not expanded medicaid, allowed it to take more money from the federal government in order to pay for the uninsured. uninsured has grown significantly. in the past four years, there are more people in florida who ine signed up for obamacare some communities than in other places around the country that to covernded medicaid their health insurance. is an uninsured issue that is of concern to a lot of people in florida. it is one of the top issues that voters indicate is important to them. in the midst of this pandemic, there are so many people who are consequencesalth
of getting covid or knowing someone in their family who has. health insurance remains a top priority. reviewer's question i don't really know what joe biden's health insurance situation is. he's probably got a good medicare plan. i can't give you an answer on that. host: that's all right. to jean-pierre and washington, d.c., supporting joe biden. was trying to, i organize my thoughts about why i support biden and not trump, and it has been a -- of trying to figure this stuff out.
i am going to keep it simple. first, my values. i have been taught to be polite in public. when doing my business. i have been taught to follow the law. i've been taught that there are certain ways that our government works. these entire four years have run counter to that. at every single point. to supreme court nominations to health care, just doing things that -- just for the heck of doing them because cruelty is the point. that is why i am voting against donald trump. i have always liked joe biden, he will be a better president, but i have got to be honest, i am voting against trump. i want to know how many people in florida are actually as angry about trump as i am been? -- as i have been? host: mary ellen klas?
guest: all i can tell you is where the polls are going. -- as i mentioned, florida has a very diverse population. the last several months, biden has narrowly led donald trump. most interesting thing is what this looks like. trump won with a coalition in florida that looked like a lot of older voters enormousg him in numbers. he had an advantage in 2016 among voters it overage 65. and those were primarily white voters. that has changed in a significant way this cycle. while his lead in the most
recent poll is closer to one point or three points, trump's lead, in that age group, he has lost. advantage, the dominant advantage she has had -- advantage he has had. what posters are saying is they are unhappy with some of these points that your viewer has raised. they do not like how he handles things. his personality and style is something they can't support. the other thing significant among this age group is that they are very concerned about the way he has handled the covid pandemic. ,s the most vulnerable group many people are very unhappy and concerned that he is not doing what he should be doing.
that is a reflection on one group. there is another coalition that hillary clinton actually did better in that donald trump is doing better in this time around, latino voters. very interesting to watch the polls. trump, with his anti-immigration position, antagonized many latino voters and many chose to either stay home or not vote for trump. hillary clinton had a larger margin in that group than donald trump. thattime, it is very clear the president has been able to consolidate those latino voters. that is a very interesting thing
to watch. it definitely has been true among cuban-americans in florida who are traditionally republicans. what is interesting is that many younger cubans, and another , seem toerto rican men have been aligning with the president. how big -- host: how big are those two groups? guest: the latino vote, i'm sorry i do not have the number on the top my head, but i think it is about 20%. i'm not sure. host: ballpark? guest: yeah. host: what about the senior vote? i don't remember that when either. sorry. host: will move on to jason. sorry to put you on the spot.
groups, ihin the age think they are about 35% of the electorate. they are the most reliable voters. there are many voters and many a troops, but the ones that show up and can be counted on our senior voters. i think they are about 35%. host: jason in gilroy, california. supporting the president. good morning. caller: just want to say hello. i've got a question. i was wondering if you guys thought that trump did enough for the people to get reelected? guest:guest: that is a question for florida voters. mary ellen klas, what are you hearing? one of the reasons donald trump continues to have as much
support in florida is because of -- what people saw as an improvement in the economy. great, we hading record unemployment numbers in terms of low unemployment. economy was really picking up steam. it, that wentmic into the tank. while jobs have improved in florida, they still have a long way to go. we still have unemployment numbers almost in the double digits. some parts of the state are far worse than others. this is the thing that worries people. theoes not appear as if
pandemic is under control in florida. it is certainly not true across the nation. while our numbers are not rising as fast as other places, we are are increasesere in covid cases. is of the things that relatively concerning is that the number of people who are testing positive remains at about 10%. that is a pretty high percentage. that is not a sign that we have it contained in any way. host: jimmy, in kentucky. caller: how are you doing? say of mr.e to aump, he is down in florida couple of days ago, asking for the seniors photo.
knowdn't let the seniors eight months ago how serious this virus was. lateres back eight months -- [indiscernible] we are slow, but not that slow. florida, icrats lose would not feel bad because democrats -- you know, god. messght not want all this that's getting overlooked on joe biden. what is joe biden? god works in mysterious ways. line --en klas -- talk mary ellen klas let's
about different areas of florida and how they vote? areas we have got urban that are traditionally blue and getting bluer. they are more inclined to virtual biden. and many senior retirement communities are red. they are set to vote for donald trump. it is like clockwork. predict why certain candidates are going to certain places based on the propensity of where voters are going. watch ise places to the i-4 corridor. the stretch between orlando and tampa. that is an area of the state , mosts that region votes of the state will follow. it is a pretty good barometer. right now, that looks as though
that region is aligning with joe biden. another thing we are keeping an eye on. florida, as i mentioned, the cuban vote in miami and latino vote within that group, there is a lot of trump support there. why we have seen the president and the vice president -- a couple of times in the last two weeks. ae president has also made point to arrive in the villages. this is a massive retirement community in central florida. it is a little outside of orlando. three counties big. it has an norma's number of republicans. many of those are reliable voters. the president and vice president have been there almost every
week. the governor was there last friday. in then you move to the panhandle, another very reliable read part of the state. that is where the military bases are. see moreontinue to visitors from the trump campaign come to those areas. meanwhile in south florida, joe biden has announced this morning he is going to be coming to broward and tampa on thursday. again, the goal of these campaigns is to probably not persuade any of the undecided voters. ,here are very few of them left as i am sure your viewers have observed. instead, their goal is to make sure people don't stay at home, that they get to the polls, fill out a ballot and show up. this is a state that is going to be determined i the margins.
it is going to be very narrow. be as close as 2016. votes, people who stay home would make a big difference. there are other parts of the state that are considered blue or red. areaortheast jacksonville is a pretty mixed area. they tend to be more red, but there is an urban core within the jacksonville reason -- jacksonville region that is democrat. , theuthwest florida stretch from sarasota to naples is also pretty reliably red. we go to miguel in albuquerque, new mexico. supporting the president. caller: good morning.
i am a new republican, i was previously democrat. one thing i have noticed in regards to the democratic party in florida, joe biden was in florida to pander to the latino community. he played d'esposito on his phone. in terms of policy, i have not heard much. do they feel joe biden is going to handle the latino vote? being latino in a prominently blue state, my vote doesn't really count. being in florida, i know it is going to be major. guest: you are right. your vote could be very important this cycle. it is an interesting divide. ricans inmany puerto central florida who have come to
florida and they don't have to become a citizen. they already are a citizen. digits need to register. appears to be -- many of them -- don't register with either party. bey have come and decided to no party affiliates. there voters up for grabs. we are watching as it looks like more latino women, puerto ricans supporting joe biden. and men supporting donald trump. that all plays out. very immigration was important platform for the president four years ago, we are not hearing him talk much about that. i think part of the reason is realizesze that she any latinos are supporting him.
and what we're hearing is they are very supportive of his economic policy. thatfeel they have a sense they could prosper more under a trump administration. that the have a sense democratic party may be, what we hear is less patriotic. there are more critical of where we are as a nation, whereas many of these latino voters, many of them new immigrants were children of immigrants have embraced this idea that this is a proud country and they are proud to be americans and they see more of that with donald trump. thingsre very intangible that are not policy related. i have had to admit i am
surprised at how little discussion we have heard about the president's immigration policies. we have not heard him talk a lot about building the wall. he mentions it in his stump speeches, but it is very diminished in terms of relevance, it seems. host: we go to trisha in hawthorne, new york. caller: i am undecided. is what does down to people want? for joee going to vote biden, looking at joe biden as what they can get from him? how can they prosper from him? if they vote for trump, they are looking at the same thing. it is divide and conquer. out there about joe biden and his son excepting
millions of dollars in bribes, and what is out there about donald trump and what he has been doing in his life, this divide and conquer, the coronavirus, wear a mask, don't wear a mask, who is playing to how arewd, in actuality we going to survive? that is what we want to know. we are you leaning and why? caller: you said "other?" of course i have a choice. christ.write in we have turned our backs on god and that is why the world is the way it is. as anyone taken a look at what is going on around the rest of the world? all of the rallies and protests? you talk about coronavirus, right?
biden is making such a big deal about making everyone wear masks. if you look at the truth about the studies of masks, they don't to anything. host: i'm going to leave it there. what we have not discussed is the youth vote in florida. could it make a difference? a reallyhat is interesting dynamic as well. florida young voters traditionally don't shut up -- don't show up at the polls that much. this election, i think there were 3.5 million new voters that registered. since 2016. 1.1 million of them were between the ages of 18 and 35. ist is especially remarkable that these younger voters are showing up in early voting and
ine by mail ballots cast unprecedented numbers. with one week left in the overign, they are of 44% where they were at the end of 2016. these younger voters are much more energized. we are seeing there are a lot of which isexgen florida, the progressive group funded by former presidential candidate tom steyer, set up shop in 2016 and never left. it has been building that coalition among young voters and trying to get them energized and get out the vote. very hardlso working to get black and latino young
people. this kind of energy and effort i think -- there is always a get out the vote effort every cycle. it just seems as if it is more organized, deeper than i have seen in the past. this youngerat voter contingent could actually make a different. the polls to show that they lean toward biden in double-digit percentage. biden if this group does show up. why the biden campaign had former president barack obama in florida? caller: -- guest: barack obama came to south florida. i think part of the reason was for him to energize the base. most populary the surrogate joe biden has.
to appeal to not just young people, but the whole democratic coalition. everybody in south florida. he made a surprise campaign stop , he gave a rally friday and made a surprise campaign stop in broward -- i am sorry, miami springs saturday. unionpped at a teachers campaign headquarters. he was really trying to reach all of those groups within the democratic party. host: new jersey joe, supporting the president. caller: i just want to talk about the virus, they blame it on trump all of the time. he shut down the country. that, common sense will tell you.
common sense will tell you you wear a ok? and then he was going to talk about, trying to tell the states especially in and new york, cuomo saying you ain't going to tell me what to do. they keep putting the blame on trump because of this virus. nobody knew really what's what with it. even the scientists to neva no. they are blaming him for this, ok? host: we go to bree in wilson, north carolina. you doing? are good morning. i was calling because i was about voternd out fraud. trump told his voters to get mail-in ballots and also go to the polls.
when i was looking at all of the news, i noticed they said that trump had received his absentee ballot and sent it in. turned around not too long ago and said trump was going to be voting in florida. i was wondering, do we get special privileges? how does that work? host: mary ellen klas? in thethe president has past voted by mail. he is a registered voter in florida. this year, he did not for by mail. inset on saturday he went to palm beach county and voted at the local library and cast a vote for himself. there is no record that he has voted twice. hashe past, although he disparaged vote by mail, he has done it himself.
host: orlando, florida. rose is undecided. caller: i am leaning more toward biden because i think the have all ofhen you this coronavirus and you have thinkonomy collapsing, i that falls at the president's feet. iran, he didn't want to step in town. biden, you've got to take responsibility. the buck stops here. that is my comment. host: how did you vote in 2016? are you there? caller: i'm here. host: how did you vote in 2016? caller: i voted for obama. host: in 2016? echo -- 2016?16
i voted for trump. host: mary ellen klas, what do you know, what have you heard? guest: i have talked to voters who have done both. i have talked to senior voters that have switched their votes and voted for trump. now they are voting for biden. wholked to younger voters voted for democrats, or gary johnson, and are now voting for trump. there are people who are not happy with either choice. we heard one of your viewers earlier saying his vote is more a vote against a candidate.
i think there are people that are thinking that as well. they are all over. people have their own reasons. i have spoken to voters who have changed their position. it is interesting. another thing, just to bring it back to florida, for many years in florida, we have watched as the number of voter grownrations has not evenly for republicans and democrats. one area where most people were registering was under "no party affiliate." this year, that trend changed. democrats and republicans continue to grow in number, but republicans are traditionally had trailed in florida and had
fewer people registered as republicans, that number is almost 100,000 voter difference right now. republicans were able to close the gap this cycle, which is a sign i think, the number of people who are registered as no party has declined. what this election cycle has ,hown is that the parties people are either seeing themselves as republican or democrat in increasing numbers. they do not think there is a middle anymore. host: what does that say about the president's ground game in florida, and compare that to joe biden's ground game? caller: -- guest: the republican registration effort has been phenomenal.
i think joe biden did not have a registration effort at all. withind from many people the democratic ranks were very unhappy about that. leftad, that effort on the has been filled by these organizing groups, many of them progressive. they have been the ones going out to register voters. the republican establishment has done, and i think with a lot of energy from the trump campaign, has done a very good job of registering republicans. that could make a significant difference if those people are energized enough to show up. host: david in lakewood, new york. you are supporting the president? newt gingrich had his
contract with america and they did the things they said they were going to do and trump kind of did that from his first turn and started checking off the list of what he was going to do. too many times they just say what they need to send it does not happen. from that point, i am supporting him. i called because there is a concern i have got, not a you startncern, when talking about illegitimate elections and that, my impression, at least what i have found out or what i think i found out is that we do not have young candidates year. people are voting a month before election day. toone of those two guys were pass away, my understanding is that the national committees can choose who the replacement is if it is before election day. let me leave it there.
mary ellen klas, any information? guest: that is my understanding as well, the national committee can replace them on the ballot. on the other hand, i think that would be an extraordinary situation. it is a prospect you hope never happens. happen.t is what can you put your votes not just in the candidate, but the institution that put them there. that is how our process works. there is a party apparatus for a reason. it is represented by a lot of people.
that is what the candidate represents. is ahing to note, if there close election like we had in that there is already talk state legislatures might be asked to go in and choose the ,lectors freud ever candidates which is to say that if the vote in a state like florida in 2000 is unclear, the legislature could go in and decide who those electors are and give those electors to the candidate. even though the vote had not been decided yet. thankfully in 2000, that did not have to happen. met torida legislature do that, to determine who the
electors would be. that florida house of representatives, led by republicans, voted to give the electors to george w. bush. the florida senate chose not to. they wanted to hold off and see where the votes were going. by the time it all got settled, the supreme court had made its decision and al gore had conceded. just know, there are other mechanisms in place for an election to be decided. if unexplained contingencies happen. aboutto learn more florida, you can go to miamiherald.com. mary ellen klas
>> coming up tuesday on washington journal, a look at this year's battleground campaign in wisconsin with craig gilbert. watch c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussions with phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> with eight days left until election day on november 3, when voters decide who will control congress and occupy the white house next year, stay with c-span. coverage every20
day. on-demand at c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. your place for an unfiltered view of politics. michael binder is the factory director of the public union research lab at the university of north florida. he is also an associate political science professor. let's begin with the importance of winning florida and any presidential election. where does it rank among the states? caller: florida is a -- guest: florida is always extremely important because it is extremely close. this year it has been particularly important for donald trump. obviously joe biden would love to have it. they are directing a lot of resources here, but without florida i find it extraordinarily difficult for trump to clear a path to 270 electoral votes.