tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS November 6, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by wnet >> stewart: on this edition for sunday, november 6: getting out the vote in the final 48 hours of the presidential campaign. what should you watch for on election night? jeff greenfield has an hour by hour guide. and, could the popular vote ever replace the electoral college? next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires.
sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, alison stewart. >> stewart: good evening and thanks for joining us. with only two days left in the race for the white house, the fbi is clearing hillary clinton in its renewed probe of the private email server she used while serving as president obama's secretary of state. in a new letter sent to members of congress this afternoon, fbi director james comey says:" based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in july with respect to secretary clinton." it was in july that comey
announced there would be no criminal charges brought against hillary clinton for handling of classified documents in emails sent or received on the private server. ten days ago, comey revealed the fbi had come across a new cache of emails on a home computer belonging to clinton aide huma abedin and her estranged husband, ex-congressman anthony weiner, who's under investigation for allegedly sexting a minor. in today's new letter, comey tells congress: "the fbi investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. during that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from hillary clinton while she was secretary of state." then, to repeat, comey recommends against bringing any charges against clinton. earlier today, clinton rallied her base in the critical state of pennsylvania, speaking at an african-american church in philadelphia. >> this election is about much more than the two candidates.
our names may be on the ballot, but make no mistake, everything you care about, everything i care about and i've worked for is at stake. >> stewart: last night clinton joined singer katy perry on stage at a concert, also in philadelphia, to encourage millennial voters to turn out. this evening, clinton visits new hampshire a final time and ends her campaign tomorrow with more stops in pennsylvania and trips to michigan and north carolina. donald trump campaigns in five states today -- starting in iowa, which george w-bush won in 2004, but mitt romney and john mccain lost. later, trump was scheduled to visit minnesota, michigan, pennsylvania, and virginia. he told supporters earlier today, he's "the outsider." >> if she ever got into the oval office, hillary and her special interests would rob our country blind-- that's what she's been doing. >> stewart: we're going to check in on both campaigns, and we begin in cleveland, ohio, where" the newshour's" john yang is following the clinton campaign.
>> that's right, as they flew here from philadelphia, the communications director for the campaign spoke to reporters. she said we have seen director comey's latest letter to the we're glad to see that as we-- glad to see that he has found, as we were confident that he would, that he has confirmed that the conclusions that he reached in july, and we're glad that this mat certificate resolved. we're told that the fbi went through the emails that they found on anthony weiner's lap dop found that most of the emails were duplicate of emails that huma abedin, weiner's he stranged wife had already turned over to the fbe. this story really through the campaign for a loop when it broke about a week ago and now they are very happy that it's been resolved. >> john, let's talk about the ground game for 9 next 48 hours.
what can we expect? >> she's here in ohio for the second time if three days. she's going to be in pennsylvania tomorrow for two more visits to make that three stops in that state over the past several days. what they're trying to do here in ohio, the poll came out this morning showing it a virtual tie. clinton ahead by one percentage point. they're trying to gain ground in this swing state. this state that no republican has ever gotten to t white house without first winning this state. pennsylvania is a state that they are self confident all along but it seems they're trying to nail it down, protect what they all their fortress in pennsylvania, trying to keep it democratic, keep it from flipping to the republican party for the first time since 1988. >> john yang reporting from cleveland, ohio, thanks so much. >> thanks, alison. >> and the newshour's jeff brown is covering the trump campaign.
he joins me now from seu city eye watt-- sue city iowa where trump is expected to win, jeff. >> hi, alison i'm in the convention center in siou x city, where a rally finished up. you can hear the r08ing stones playing behind me and a few people still left here. the place holds about 3,000 people, we were told, and was filled to capacity and there are many thousands beyond outside. it was kind of a standard speech at this point, to the core, to the base. and this is exactly where a dot-- a lot of the trump case is. this has been part of the people who have been supporting him from the beginning. he joked when he got here that he had been told that he didn't even really have to come here today. but he said, of course, i wanted to come here because i want to be with the people in iowa. and of course the reason why they feel so optimistic is because of this poll that came out last night that showed trump up seven percentage points here in iowament and i think that
took everybody by a bit of surprise. >> let's look at the past 20 years in iowa. if you go back from 1996, the winners were clinton, gore, bush, obama, obama. so what has changed in the last four years that iowa seems poised to give its secretaries electoral votes to the republican candidate? >> well, it's true. this is a state that has gone mostly for democratic presidential candidates but i think what has happened is you have seen iowa generally moving more red. you see that in the state house, the state senate which may go republican this campaign. you see it in the two senate seats which are both republican. and now it looks as though iowa is going fully red for this presidential campaign. >> swref brown from seu city, iowa,-- siou x city, iowa, thanks so much. >> you're welcome, alison.
>> stewart: in the past six presidential elections, 18 states voted for the democrat in the contest. those states delivered 242 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the white house. that recent history should give hillary clinton an advantage, but this campaign has been very unpredictable. newshour weekend special correspondent jeff greenfield is here to help us make sense of things. jeff? >> reporter: thanks, alison. on tuesday night, watching the election returns come in, what should you look for, hour by hour, as the polls close from east to west? we're going to take you through the night as it might unfold, but one key caution: polls closing don't necessarily mean we'll know who won; that can take much more time. >> reporter: at 7 p.m., we're using eastern standard time throughout, polls close in six states. indiana-- where running mate mike pence is governor-- will almost surely go for donald trump. but indiana could tell us something important about later states as sean trende, senior election analyst for real clear
politics, notes. >> that's a state that mitt romney won by eleven points in 2012. so if donald trump is over that, if he's up around 15%, 16%, maybe even approaching george w. bush's 20% win from 2004, then we'll know we've got a race on our hands. >> reporter: indiana is also the site of one of the key u.s. senate races: democrats need to gain five senate seats to take control there, and when ex- senator evan bayh decided to run for his old seat, it looked like a sure democratic gain. but his post-senate career as a lobbyist has brought him into a dead heat with republican congressman todd young. >> if he's losing, or if it's tied, it would suggest real problems for democratic senate prospects. >> reporter: in virginia, clinton's been well ahead in the polls, and her running mate, senator tim kaine, is from there, and obama won it twice. if virginia is close, that's a sign of real trouble for clinton. by contrast, if clinton is close
in georgia, that'll be a sign that her base-- african- americans and college-educated whites-- have turned out to vote. at 7:30, polls close in three states-two of them especially critical for trump. it's endlessly said that no republican has ever won the white house without ohio, and this year its large white working class population seems to be leaning strongly to trump; he's leading in the polls. but sean trende says, watch the margins. >> if donald trump is winning ohio by 4,5, even 6 points, then again we know we have a pretty good suspicion that not only is he doing what he needs to do, he's doing a little bit better, and we are probably looking for some surprises as the later states close. >> reporter: north carolina's been a battleground in recent years. obama won it by a point in 2008, lost it by two points in 2012. if clinton wins here, it's very hard to chart a path to the white house for trump.
north carolina is also the site of another key senate race: two- term republican richard burr is in an unexpectedly close race against democratic former state legislator deborah ross. 8 p.m. brings a flood poll closings-- 16 states plus washington, d.c. you may remember one of them, florida, played a starring role back in 2000 as we waited a month to find out who'd be president. this time, it's a state that clinton does not need, but if she were to win those 29 electoral votes, she'd be virtually assured victory. pennsylvania, on the other hand, is a state clinton very much does need. for the last six elections, pennsylvania has been for republicans what lucy's football is to charlie brown-- always out of reach. >> everybody in pennsylvania wants trump, you know. >> reporter: winning it for trump would drive a big hole through the "blue wall" of solidly democratic states. >> if trump were to win pennsylvania, it would suggest that he probably is going to win
a bunch of other states that have similar or even less favorable demographics for the democrats, like wisconsin and michigan. >> reporter: pennsylvania also has one of those critical senate battles, between republican incumbent pat toomey and democratic former state official katie mcginty. with some $113 million spent, it is the most expensive senate contest in the country. trump is a major factor in this contest with toomey keeping his distance and mcginty trying to tie him to trump. besides being a presidential battleground too, new hampshire has a key senate race. first-term senator kelly ayotte, is running for re-election against democratic governor maggie hassan; another key race where polls say it's just about even. and, surprisingly, in missouri, republican senator roy blunt, member of the state's most powerful republican family, is in a tough battle against democratic secretary of state jason kander, who vaulted into prominence with the single most talked about ad of the entire
year. >> blunt is an establishment guy running in an anti-establishment year. >> reporter: at 9 p.m., polls close in 13 more states. michigan and wisconsin, two states that are part of that democratic "firewall," have been special trump targets. >> right now, the polls are showing hillary clinton pretty consistently in the lead. but again, if trump is overperforming the polls, those states become very dicey, especially wisconsin. >> reporter: it's a different demographic shift in states like colorado and arizona. increasing latino turnout helped turn colorado blue for obama twice; clinton is counting on it to stay blue. and she's invested time and money in arizona, a state that's voted democratic for president once in the last 64 years. a win for her could make up for any loss in one of those industrial midwest states.
democrats will be watching the wisconsin senate race very closely. they're counting on ex-senator russ feingold to win back the seat he lost to republican ron johnson six years ago, but that race has lately turned very tight. once the 9 p.m. states are called, we may also start to see what the new house of representatives will look like. there are house republicans in serious trouble in new york, new jersey, florida, and illinois, among others places. democrats need to net 30 seats to take control-- an unlikely prospect-- but we'll start to know this hour whether the gop is suffering minor, major, or no losses in the house of representatives. at 10 o'clock, polls close in four states, two of them" battlegrounds." democrats have won iowa five of the last six times, but this state has been trending trump's way. and both campaigns have targeted nevada, where early voting, and a growing latino population, may favor clinton. nevada's the one state where a democratic senate seat is in danger. with democratic leader harry reid retiring, republican
congressman joe heck is running against the state's democratic former attorney general, catherine cortez-masto. 11 p.m., six states close, and this is what we can say for sure: with california, oregon, washington state and hawaii, there are 78 electoral votes that are certain for clinton. trump can count on the seven electoral votes from idaho and north dakota. but will those 78 electoral votes be enough to put clinton over the top? that depends on what the vote count tells us in those earlier eastern and midwestern states. >> reporter: given the highly unusual nature of this campaign, it's possible we could witness an equally unusual election night: like one where alaska's three electoral votes decide the presidency, or where it ends in a 269-269 tie, throwing the race into the house of representatives. alison? >> jeff, which senate races are you going to be watching. >> there are a couple that changed contours in the last couple of weeks. in wisconsin the assumption is that exsenator russ fine gold
was going to easily defeat incumbent ron john-- johnson, that race looks close. and in north carolina incouple bent richard bu rr seems to run into head waters and i will be watching both of those closely to see whether or not the senate flips with four or five democratic victories to democratic control. >> jeff greenfield, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> election day 2016, the his aric-- historic end to a long campaign. who will voters elect as the next president of the united states. which party will control congress? what else will we learn from the voters? join pbs fushour for special election night coverage. analysis you won't find anywhere else. tuesday, november 8th, starting at 8:00, 7:00 central only on pbs. >> stewart: the focus on" battleground states" lies in the value those states hold in the electoral college win them, and a candidate closes in on the
270 electoral votes needed to become president. the process makes many voters in reliably republican or democratic states feel left out. what if the campaigns competed for every vote, everywhere? one idea to get there is to make the national popular vote decide the election. newshour weekend's hari sreenivasan has more. >> i think the state of pennsylvania we're going to win so big. >> wow, it is great to be back here in raleigh. >> reporter: since their nominating conventions in july, donald trump and hillary clinton have made more than 90% of their campaign stops in just 11 so- called battleground states. of those visits, nearly two- thirds took place in the four battlegrounds with the most electoral votes-- florida, pennsylvania, ohio, and north carolina. that's because voters don't directly elect the president the electoral college does. a system enshrined in the constitution, each state has a share of the 538 electors
roughly proportional to its population: generally, whoever wins a state gets all the electors. but four times in u.s. history, including in the bush-gore race in 2000, the winner of the nationwide popular vote has lost the electoral college, and the election. even without those anomalies, the current system rankles residents of states not anointed as "battlegrounds" and largely passed over by the candidates, because the states are perceived to be so safely in one party's column. >> the idea that a handful of states is where the election is taking place, while the vast majority of states are bystanders is crazy. what other democracy does it that way? >> reporter: jeffrey
dinowitz is a democratic state assemblyman representing part of the bronx in new york city. he has championed legislation to change how we elect presidents. it's called "the national popular vote interstate compact," and it would allocate participating state's electoral votes to whomever wins the
national popular vote. for example, if donald trump were to win the most votes nationally, new york and every other state in the compact, would pledge its electors to him, even if he didn't win those states. so, the pact leaves the electoral college in place, no constitutional amendment required, but essentially circumvents it and creates a direct national popular vote for the presidency. >> we want every state to count, count, and we want the issues of our state and our communities to count as much as the issues in other states like florida. >> reporter: new york overwhelmingly adopted the legislation in 2014 with bipartisan support, joining nine other
states and washington d.c. all solidly democratic. together, they have 165 electoral votes. but by design the compact won't have an effect until it's joined by states bearing a total of 270, the majority needed to elect a president. >> the problem is, this is
something that sounds great, it's well intentioned, but there are all sorts of unforeseen consequences that i don't think have really been thought through. >> reporter: democratic state senator michael gianaris represents part of queens in new york city and opposes the national popular vote compact. he says the compact fundamentally changes a constitutional process and would disadvantage small states-- something the founding fathers tried to avoid in the constitution. >> if you come to a system that's purely based on popular vote, all you're going to see is money being spent in the big media markets because that's where the density is. some of these bigger populations would then drive the attention to the exclusion of the rest of the country, and i don't think that would be good either. >> reporter: gianaris also believes a national popular vote could leave out many americans, since the number of electors each state has is based on its number of members of congress. and that's based on population, not eligible voters. >> the state's electoral college number includes, for example, children, it includes incarcerated individuals, it
includes non citizens, but who are here legally. those people generally can't vote in most instances, but they are represented when determining how many electors a state has. but when you're determining purely based on who is turning out to
vote on election day you lose that bit of representation. >> reporter: while only safe democratic states have joined the compact, ironically, the democratic party seems to have a structural advantage in presidential elections under the current system. >> as long as california and new york are not competitive, and you throw in a few other big states, the democrats start off with a big lead. >> reporter: joshua tucker is a professor of politics at new york university and says that if a reliably republican state like texas, with the second most electoral votes, turned democratic, the white house would become out-of-reach for the republicans, and then they might be open to the national popular vote compact. >> if you want to go to a naked political calculation, if politicians want to win elections, if political parties want to get their candidates elected president, they're going to think about what sort of
electoral system is going to allow them to better be able to do this. normally, because this is in the constitution, not statutory, we're locked into
this electoral system, the interstate compact has given a way to possibly get around that. >> reporter: new york conservative party chairman mike long came around to the idea of the national popular vote compact after his own family said their votes for mitt romney didn't matter in the 2012 presidential election. >> one of my own sons looked in my eyes and said, "dad, it doesn't make any difference. romney's not going to win new york." i was deftly convinced i was on the right side of national popular vote then, because i believe it's important that everyone votes. >> reporter: long believes that other conservatives will eventually support this approach, because there are republicans all over the country who feel their votes don't matter. >> i think there's an awful lot of people feel they're disenfranchised, that their vote doesn't make any difference. if you live in chicago and you happen to be, if you happen to be a conservative republican, you feel that, in illinois, i
don't have a chance to turn this around. if you're a democrat in oklahoma, you probably don't come out to vote because you don't have a shot to carry the state for your favorite candidate, whoever that may be. >> once you get enough states to pass this law, then it doesn't matter what the other states are doing. >> reporter: professor tucker sees one way that momentum in support of the national popular vote pact could grow after this year's election. >> if trump wins the election, there is a small but non-trivial chance that he would win the election without having received a majority of the popular vote. without even seeing a plurality, if he was elected where he won the electoral college but lost the popular vote, i think it would give a strong impetus to this move to national popular vote. >> reporter: still, even a compact between states totaling 270 electoral votes would likely be challenged in the courts, including whether it a compact like this is enforceable.
but assemblyman jeffrey dinowitz is optimistic that a national popular vote can become a reality. >> i think over time, more and more people are coming around to the point of view that this should happen. so there still is a ways to go. but i think that the more people look at this, the more support it gets. it's not a partisan issue. it's just not. >> why does the united states rank near the bottom in voter turnout among developed nations? find out at www.pbs.org/newshour. . >> finally some 50,000 runners started the annual new york city marathon today and 20 year old germa. of eritrea became the youngest man ever. for its women mashy ketanyi won for her third in a row. tomorrow, how the clinton and trump campaigns are getting out their votes in battleground states.
possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. e and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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