The GOP And President Trump: 1A From CPAC 2020
One eight I'm todd's will lick live from the conservative political action conference CPAC just outside of Washington. Dc We're talking about the state of conservatism and the Republican Party and how it's changed over the last four years. Under President Trump Lucy Caldwell is a former campaign manager for congressman. Joe Walsh is Twenty Twenty Presidential Campaign Lucy. Welcome to one A. Great to be here. Any Carney is White House correspondent for the New York. Times joins US any great to see you. Thank you for having me. Also at the table former Congressman Thaddeus mccotter. He's here with us. He's a former representative from the eleventh district in Michigan. Where you did six term congressman five terms ten years in Congress. That's Thaddeus mccotter joins us the table as well. Morgan. I'm GonNa Start with you. You're not Morgan. We I'll tell you this that confusion that you just heard with me getting the person mixed up. That's what happens at CPAC. It is a crowd here. There's people all over the place. We have butts up against the table because radio packed. And it's very easy among the conservative political action conference to lose your place once in a while Lucy you identify as conservative but no longer a Republican right now. People may have heard of your boss your former boss. Joe Walsh Congressman Tea Party Congressman from Illinois challenged. President trump in a republican primary has since dropped out right after Iowa didn't take long and extremely vocal critic now of of Republicans and president trump. What about you? You have said that you're so willing to get rid of president. President trump that you will vote for and even campaign for a Democrat even Bernie Sanders absolutely absolutely. I think that it's it's so interesting to be back here at CPAC and listen to an interview like the one. You just conducted with Morgan. Because when I was in my early twenties I was working in conservative. Libertarian politics and CPAC was an event that I often attended and the party has really changed. I mean to be frank. Cpac has always been kind of a kind of a fringe affair by but the way that the party engages with ideas has just really gone far afield so you hear a very earnest young person talking about the dangers of socialism and putting forth these images of Venezuela or Cuba. Really falling back on the same kind of bogus talking points. You hear out of the trump administration because what she's really talking about is authoritarianism and authoritarianism is the thing I'm most concerned about. And that's why I could never ever in good conscience support Donald Trump. Okay so then. Maybe that explains the difference between you and a lot of the people we sometimes call never trumpers many of them say or even. Republicans who say I don't want to vote for president trump but I can't vote for Bernie Sanders. Your different you say. Get for you. Getting rid of trump is job number one. And nothing's more important. I think that the I think we're going to a split within the already tiny group of people who identify as never never trump movement which I think is also not a thing outside of the beltway. I learned that by spending a lot of time in places like Iowa and New Hampshire and elsewhere over the last six months but when it comes down to it. I'm so appalled by that wing of the never trump movement. Because I think what is it that you thought you were getting here right. The reason that we got trump in large part was because the Republican political judgment without to lunch. There are reasons that we wound up with trump. That are explainable. But I don't exactly understand what deal that wing of the movement thought they were making in in which it's like a we we all commit. Getting trump out of the office is job number one but only if it's someone really palatable to us only if it's Joe Biden or closer but not in a position to make that call any Carney Joe. Walsh lasted a couple months. Not only to the Iowa caucus in the Republican primary. Why has it been so hard? It's incumbency is part of it. But there is really no oxygen for Challenger even with the people who keep coming forward who say their anti-trump they're never trump their tip it on trump when it comes to the power structure in primaries there is no oxygen except trump. Why is that It happened for a few reasons. We saw three challenges. Come out to begin with. We saw Joe Walsh Bill. Well the former Massachusetts governor and Mark San Martin Shoreline. All Weld is still in other to have dropped out very quickly. They each had a kind of a different argument against trump and all three failed to lodge Part of this is because of the party but part of this is the trump campaign and the Republican Party have systematically tried to deprive. These candidates have any oxygen. They have worked with state parties to shutdown primaries in critical states including South Carolina. Which it coming up on certain these these candidates wouldn't even have a chance to be on the ballot. That wasn't the case in Iowa or New Hampshire but The trump campaign has smartly for them. Been making sure that there's no room for Challenger from the same party and then we saw different arguments fail among the Republican voters. Sanford tried to make an argument that kind of tanked because he wasn't willing to come out against impeachment and say So that created a problem for him. Joe Walsh main argument was about trump's fitness for office and his stability and and it was surprising to see how how quickly he dropped out after there was really I mean he. He was vocal saying It's a Colt. Could not get through to anyone. I was booed when I criticize the president. Now this idea that. It's a co- congressman thaddeus mccotter of many of the never trump folks say that donald trump has fundamentally changed the face and the quality of the Republican Party and may have even undermined conservatism itself. I think Joe Walsh would say that I think people like bill. Kristol certainly say that Max. Boot and others that he has. He has undermined the values of conservatism itself. But I think you say no I say no. Tell me why go back to two thousand fourteen. I'd written a book. Nobody read in fact. I don't even think I read it myself but we talked about it. Andrew Breitbart had the theory that politics is downstream from culture. But when you see the divorce between the culture and politics is when you have division and dissension and transformational changes within both parties. Come Twenty sixteen. We saw sanders on the left wing of the Democratic Party. We saw trump coming from the right side. The public had had enough of Washington both sides now granted the Bernie and the trump people really couldn't agree on anything but both had a major impact on their parties. The Democratic Party is still continuing. That debate is still continuing. Because he's now the front runner. Donald trump he one for what the Republican side was doing with their populism was breaking away from things such as the footsie's that the Republican establishment had played with Communist China treating them as if they're friend letting them outsource the jobs over there. These were issues that Republicans had traditionally thought were fine but their own base and enlarge segment the Democratic Party especially the blue collar. Democrats were waiting for someone to enunciate a strategy to deal with Communist China. That's one of the changes that occurred lead to some of the populism within trump so there have been changes in what was traditionally the conservative agenda. The talking point agenda we will try to make communist China behave as if they're a rational nation things such as that will trump change and it's been very successful within the Republican Party of ninety five percent approval. The other thing that I do WanNa touch on some of the reason that Joe and some of the other candidates didn't get any traction is. There's another element that wasn't mentioned. The more the Democrats attacked president trump the more popular he is with Republicans. No one has done more to support the standing of Donald Trump amongst republicans than the left wing of the Democratic Party and the media doesn't like him And using that's major fuel for him. There's if there's an old phrase and politics and believe me. It was talked to me by a county. Commissioner County. Commissioner came from the suburbs buddy of mine was a Democrat from Detroit. One time we got into it on the floor we're talking back and forth and he comes up to me after puts his arm around meaning goes thanks. I said for what because I yelled you and he goes your people when you yell at me. My people no. I'm working people know you're working and Lucy when people yell at Joe Walsh these days. There's something working to. We're going to take a pause and talk about not just policies in conservatism and the Republican Party. But also the fealty that conservatism seems to demand and when you talk about fealty and Loyalty Lucy Joe Walsh and maybe you as well are people who've experienced going against president trump and and getting a major backlash dissent is not tolerated. No it's absolutely not. I mean with all due respect to the congressman. The you you are absolutely right. That for instance. The the impeachment did not warm Republican Primary Voters to Joe Walsh by that kind of tribalism that you're talking about. That's really alarming that something should be very alarming to us and it is not the way that it always has been You know we have members who are now in the Senate who are a booster club member number one like Lindsey Graham who didn't even vote for trump many say. The Republican Party has transformed under president. Trump thaddeus mccotter says not so much. But what does it mean for? Who aren't on board the trump train. We're live at the conservative political action conference. My guess any Carney of the New York Times Lucy Moro Lucy Brown call Lucy Moro Caldwell former aide to Joe Walsh and Congressman Thaddeus mccotter. Stay close on. 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It's been a minute from NPR. It's one eight. Todd's Willett broadcasting live from a very crowded radio row asking at the conservative political action conference CPAC just outside of Washington. The Republican Party has certainly transformed somewhat under president trump dividing conservatives into those who support him in those who say they'll never support him even against a Democrat. Some will go as far as to throw their weight behind a Democrat including Lucy Moro Caldwell. She's former campaign manager for former Conservative. Republican congressman. Joe Walsh who ended his short lived Republican primary challenge against President trump in his now vowed to fight for Bernie Sanders of all people former Republican. Congressman. Thaddeus mccotter is here. He served five terms in the house representing Michigan. An Anti Carney of the New York Times is with us any. Is it safe to say? There are two Republican parties now. Republicans who won't vote for trump or don't support trump and the trump is party is more accurate to say the GOP is now trump is. How do we? How do we quantify I think the GOP is the Party of trump? And there's a few people who have quit the party like Lucy hair and others But I don't think it's a Cleveland Party. I think it is wholly the Party of Donald Trump. How do we interpret the poll numbers that President Trump Delivers frequently that Mr mccotter delivered? President Trump says ninety five percent approval within inside the Republican Party. Usually says thank you very much in a tweet or something like that. Is that a very great rating in a shrinking pond. Are there fewer people who say? I am a Republican. What's the denominator for Republicans these days? That's a good question. I don't have the number off the top of my head but state by state. It has been shrinking. We just recently wrote a story about the state of the play in New Hampshire for instance. Which is one of the states that? Donald Trump is looking to flip and win in November to win the election. And it's difficult for him there because it will be a tight race but the voter rolls are Republican. Voters actually shrug since two thousand sixteen by a large by at an abnormal amount. So some voter rolls in. Some states are shrinking. Donald Trump still enjoys eighty ninety percent approval rating with his own party. A large part of the reason is because his base is with him and other lawmakers who are elected are are scared to be separate from him and so far have shown no daylight with him. What do we call people? I don't know how many there are. I think campaign. Managers are wondering. How many are we hear? More and more about college. Women identified as Republican in previous elections may or may not have voted for Donald Trump. But who now say. I don't like the way he talks. I don't like the way he treats them. Very weak with women. Are THEY STILL. Do we still call them? Yes Republicans but tepid on trump or. Are they something different now? That's a good question. Suburban Women College women are a acknowledged big problem for the trump campaign. They admit that getting those people back will be a huge challenge. And I'd be interesting here. Release yesterday about Those I those still called Republicans even if they find his his rhetoric distasteful. Will the University of Virginia Center for Politics? Says this is about party? Registration there are nearly twelve million more registered Democrats than Republicans across thirty one states and the District of Columbia. That analysis also found forty percent of all voters are Democrats twenty nine percent identify as Republicans. That doesn't say how that's changed over the years which would also be what really matters for November estate bringing it out state by state in the swing states in the states that are in play Lucy. It's very easy to leave a party. You just leave you say. I'm not a Republican anymore. I don't hang with them. It's not so easy to leave an ideology conservatism. Brian and some some of your fellow travels travelers have said it's not just the Republican Party in their view. That's infected or undermined by trump. It's conservatism itself. Do you agree with that? Yeah I mean for me. It was exceptionally easy to leave the Republican Party. And in fact years ago I did it ahead of the two thousand sixteen election because the writing on the wall and I I live in in Washington. Dc when I met my husband he was a person who immediately told me about how he you know has an auto donate to human rights campaign and planned parenthood. I'm married to a Liberal Democrat but but you socially I find that often people mistake my disgust with the Republican Party coupled with my marriage our social life to mean that. I'm just a liberal and I'm really not I think that for someone like me and this is what's so strange for me to hear it interview like the one you conducted with Morgan about her fears of socialism. Because you came up really focused on an ideology which was really a belief that markets are the best way to lift people out of bad places that individual responsibility and limited government produce the best outcomes and so for me republicanism at the time was where that ideology found a home. And I now look back on some of those things and earlier in my career. I worked lobbying around the country passing Alec Model Legislation. I've worked in about forty states. That's real conservative. Stop Real Hardcore and and I always entered stakeholder meetings all over the country with the idea that everyone wanted the best outcomes that everyone wanted what was best for the citizens of their states whether a public sector you to teachers groups that I was fighting tooth and nail on education reform access to experimental drugs. Whatever in other words good faith arguments and I cannot. I cannot say that I believe that the Republican Party. I cannot believe that the members even at the state level but mostly members in Congress. I do not believe that they are acting in good faith in the interests of of the party. Excuse me of regular American so in. Whose interests are they acting. You know. I think that they are. I think it could be different any given day. They're acting in trump's interest. It is it is so I think the best way to understand it as is to think about like extreme sports team fandom right it doesn't even matter who the players are or what they do on or off the field because they're wearing the Jersey and the experience that we had on the campaign in the last few months I mean the congressmen is right. The impeachment for instance. We saw a huge amount of support fall off even among Republicans. Who Don't like trump. Because that's their team right and so I don't know how we get past that. That's what I'm thinking about now Congressman. You say that the policies fundamentally haven't changed that much under president trump the Republican party being more infused with populism now preview signing Chinese Communist. And some of the other issues but some of the other standbys like the confirmation nonjudicial activists is to the bench. Things like that. The tax relief things such as tax. Just on a couple of points that we talked about was clint bill. Clinton had the same effect of You. WanNa call it tribalism when they tried to impeach him entering his second term. Midterm they gain seats. The Democrats rallied around President Clinton back. This is traditional. They rally around the person they rallied around. Congress they did. You can shake your head all you want. They did Congress factual and they won the seats. They got Gingrich and a lot of the leadership. Because I'm not sure I'm not sure that most people would view it is quite the same now in terms of the tribalism only because Look look in terms of conservative values. The ones that maybe Lucy holds dear or or other conservatives never-trumpers say they hold the president's. Fondness for dictators is something they point to pretty clearly proving statements that dictators abandonment of Ronald Reagan's shining city on the hill Rhetoric from the White House all while demanding absolute loyalty from the people around him demanding really fealty absolute fields here. It's back that up number. One Shining City on a hill was rhetoric but president trump still thinks America's believes in American exceptionalism so the principle remains the same rhetoric may change. But he still talks about America being the greatest country on here. Still believe in does that. He does just as Ronald Reagan. So that has not changed when you WanNa talk about. Why don't you ask my colleagues to walk the plank for Obamacare? How much fun that was to try to change their votes on that or go back and face Democratic Electric? And if you're watching the Bernie supporters what happened Joe and I don't support it. I would never done it. People can run. They can do whatever they want. It's a free country. Thank God but when you look at the Bernie Sanders supporters I want to be a Democrat challenging Bernie Sanders saying anything because they're not particularly kind to those individuals. Either so you got the tribalism both sides but it goes back to the larger point that I WANNA make. We're going through a chaotic period of time in the country and in the world. And you're GONNA continue to see changes. The Democrats are going through. Problems are continuing to go through. People are going to be continuing to look. We've seen wave after wave election after wave election. People are trying to find what works best for them in a changing world that means the Democratic Party is going to continue to go through transition. Republican Party is going to go through a transition. In the end they will still be more likely to be. Supportive of government will be less likely but so much is going to change because remember back at the turn of the twentieth century and other period of great economic and social change and upheaval. You had the Republican Party was the party of protectionism for one Hundred Years. So a lot of these things are going to continue to change overtime. People are going to be upset. And there's going to be tribal isn't there's GonNa be everything I still meaningful. The party structure still meaningful. It's it's as meaningful as individual believes that it is but if you go back and look at the parties now both Republicans and Democrats the local parties where he used to start as a precinct delegate. They really don't have much to do anymore. A lot of that stuff was taken in farmed out by both parties to vendors contractors other things so they're getting away from the grassroots level. So what happens is too tenuous attachment to the daily day. The communal attachment you have to the people in your neighborhood that our fellow. Republicans is not there any more than being a member of the rotary is that that bond there has been frayed on both sides. That's congressman former Congressman thaddeus mccotter of Michigan. I'm todd's relic. We're live from CPAC. The conservative political action conference just outside of Washington. Dc moment this message comes from NPR sponsor. Indeed when it comes to hiring you need help getting your shortlist of qualified candidates fast with indeed DOT COM. You can post a job in minutes. Set up screener questions then zero an unqualified candidates using an intuitive dashboard. And when you need to hire fast accelerate your results with sponsor jobs new users can try for free at indeed dot com slash one terms conditions and quality standards apply offer valid through March. Thirty first twenty twenty each of us is the star in the movie of our life. But how much of a role do we play in other people's movies? It was a really sort of palpable fear that they were going to reject me or worse. The unseen pressures we place on other people this week on hidden brain from NPR. It's one A. I'm todd SWALEC back now to our conversation at CPAC Lucy. You're listening to the congressman. Say That not that much has fundamentally changed in the Republican Party. Yes both parties are moving to the polls and there are there are tumultuous changes on both sides but nothing has fundamentally changed and I think you say no. Yeah absolutely I mean. A lot of these anecdotes are distractions with all due respect. But if you WanNa talk about the Clinton impeachment what was one thing. That was very different. Well one thing that was very different Democrats. There were Democrats who supported impeachment. You could never have seen that in this go round. I mean we saw we saw people like Susan Collins have doing this show of showing doubts but then when Mitt Romney really said I can't do. This enough is enough. What happened to him? He was told that he wouldn't be welcome at this conference because he would not be physically safe. I mean that is appalling and is like something we've never seen before and I appreciate your comments on on sort of respect for Joe but I didn't hear you making comments like that Joe is in the race and that's because but but I didn't even hear comments to that effect and that is because you are part of the tribe and the tribe six to the tribe in terms of oh well it's a semantic semantics an accusation it's an allegation. It's unsupported by any facts basically. You're doing engaging in the very type of name calling the whore being done to other. I mean I just say the to the question of if it's to the question of the Republican Party's role. It is as powerful as ever because to the degree that yes. It is not dependent on a local party to come up for the old style of patronage the Republican Party nationally in addition to cancelling or basically stopping nearly twenty primaries. They use the power of the purse and a monopoly on technology and data. Some of those vendors as you say to make it really impossible for for anyone to get any attraction and when it came down to it when Joe Walsh was running. We couldn't even get a meeting with the RNC so that. I think shows where the party is. And that's a fundamental. Change ANY CARNEY The New York Times. What does it mean for? This is the conservative political action conference. What does it say to you about conservatism? If it's represented by this conference I'm not sure if it is but if it is that Mitt Romney the nominee of the Republican Party ten short years ago ten short years ago less than ten Is Now not only not welcome here. But as Lucy said you won't be safe year somebody who describes himself in the campaign as I recall as severely conservative. Now can't show his face on this radio. It's it's I mean. I think it shows how much the party has changed that. Its own nominee. I was just in there. Listening to one of the sessions that someone said Mitt Romney's name the entire crowd booed and the speaker said that's the right reaction every time you hear his name. He is seen as a traitor and he was the sole Republican who stood up and voted for one article of impeachment against Donald Trump. And that is seen as completely unacceptable. we'll see how that translates. I mean He. He has the benefit of Utah where voters are not as connected to trump and he has the benefit of not being a pre-election for a long time. So we'll see how this plays out. I political future but him not being allowed here is kind of a signal that you have no future in this party if you are not part of the team. Lucy. What's Your Future I. I know it's not with the Republican Party. I know you've vowed to fight for Bernie Sanders. What is that look like is that is that you going out? Is that Joe Walsh going out and saying hey look we are conservatives and we're here we're here for the socialist to save America. What does it look like for you? Some integration of that. Maybe not maybe not with those shorthand. I grant you Yeah I think what it looks like is thinking about these massive numbers of disaffected voters especially disaffected Republicans. Who need help breaking out of the Republican Party cult but need to be lead to water that vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is whether it's Bernie Sanders or someone else is not a vote against everything you believe or everything about your core. We're not asking you to suddenly go become registered. Democrats were asking you to say that the threat of Donald Trump is so incredibly severe. That we must all come together. An exercise equality that is even more fundamental than any tribalism. You may have. Which is the fundamental belief and bravery to say we have an authoritarian megalomaniac cotton man in the White House we've managed to slide by for four years but our entire country and its future is in peril if we give him for more. That is Lucy Moral Caldwell former campaign manager for Joe Walsh. Who HIMSELF WAS A congressman from Illinois. Try Different run against Donald. Trump didn't get too far. They now both say they will support a Democratic nominee. Even if it's the Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders Lucy. Thank you for being here any Carney White House correspondent for the New York Times. Anti I appreciate it thank you. I know. You're busy and former Republican congressman thaddeus mccotter of Michigan five-term. I'm glad I ran into you and I'm glad you could join us. Thanks FOR HAVE MR mccotter. What a pleasure. This conversation was produced by Haley. Blasingame to learn more about her and the rest of the team. You can visit the website at the one eight dot. Org this program comes to you from W. Amu it's part of American University in Washington it's distributed by NPR. I'm todd's Willockx. Thank you so much for being us. This is one A.