CN March 10, 2016

 

Bruce DuMont was at a Bernie Sanders rally a few weeks ago, “And one of their delegates was making the point that Hillary Clinton’s top surrogate, top supporter in Illinois is Rahm Emanuel. She was making the point that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Rahm Emanuel…So this was an opportunity for the black community to send a message to Hillary Clinton. So should she fall below what would be expected for her to do in Chicago that could be a factor.”

We talk local and national politics on this week’s show.

The shock of Clinton’s loss in Michigan, the role of NAFTA and super delegates in the 2016 contests, the perhaps surprising resilience of Anita Alvarez, the Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsement of, wait for it, Marco Rubio, and how, exactly, Trump happened.

(Note that this conversation happened just before the canceled UIC rally on March 11.)

DuMont says Trump’s success is due in large part to his mastery of media and message. His key message, DuMont says, is “I’ll fix it”.  And, he adds, “Donald Trump knows the media better than anyone that has ever run.”

“I mean Donald Trump is a celebrity,” he says. “We cannot forget that for almost 15-16 seasons he was host or the star of a top 10 show. He was a much bigger television personality than Ronald Reagan was a movie personality. And so built into that is 15-20 years of the American people, many of whom are demographically correct, they would tune in every single week and they would see this guy. He would be demanding of 8 to 9 people accountability. “You’re fired. Why did you do this?” And I think they see in that person they see a take-charge guy who is going to fire people and dump them if they’re doing their job.”

We talk about the hour-long, rambling “victory speech” Trump gave after Tuesday’s primaries. It looked more like a home-shopping network show, DuMont says. “But there was not one cable network that pulled away. They did not carry Hillary Clinton (live). You know why? Because when he is on camera, love him or hate him the numbers go up, and the news media and television it’s about ratings. It is about ratings. Period.”

It’s a wide-ranging conversation, but we find some time to assess Rahm Emanuel’s current political status. Dumont tells us an interesting story about a time when he used to have Rahm Emanuel on his radio show as a regular, perhaps 30 years ago. Afterward Emanuel would often join Bruce and others for dinner. “So we got to know each other pretty well. But I said to him at one point, ‘Rahm,like every mother has told her son, you’ve gotta be nice to people going up the ladder, because you’re gonna meet the same people coming down.’ And he stopped me, I’ll never forget this, this is almost a direct quote. He said, no, Bruce, if I get up the ladder, I’m not coming down.”

You can read CN transcript March 10 2016 as a Word document.

And, the transcript is included in full below.

Ken:                Well hi there, and welcome to Chicago Newsroom here on CAN TV. I am Ken Davis. Welcome to another show, another week, and what a week it’s been. There is no way we could not focus on politics this week. Are you ready? Are you getting yourself ready for that morning when you wake up and look in the bathroom mirror and say, “President Trump, President Donald Trump?” Well, there’s plenty of that to talk about and plenty of local stuff that’s going on too. We’ve got one of the greatest proxy battles in politics that I can remember in my lifetime going on in Illinois. So when you have all of this local and national stuff and you live in Chicago the only guy you’ve got to talk to is Bruce Dumont from Beyond the Beltway and now WIND I’m happy to say.

Bruce D:          Yes, great. And it’s great to be with you talking politics. This is like a pig in mud. [Laughs]

Ken:                There just can’t be anything happier than being here right now talking about all of this stuff.

Bruce D:          Especially this weekend, because you’ve got Sanders and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Kasich just left town, and Cruz I guess is coming as well.

Ken:                And they are all rolling in for the Illinois primary. Hillary Clinton trying to convince us all that’s she an Illinoisan. [Laughs]. So where does one start? Let’s just start with the big question. How did Donald Trump happen?

Bruce D:          Donald Trump happened because Republican leadership in Washington, DC at the Senate and House level did not go and do the things they promised and said they would do to their Republican constituency. That’s a big part of it. The other part of it is what’s happening the Democratic party, is that the Bill and Hillary Clinton Democratic party has not done a good job in protecting its left base, and now she has to run to the left base and it’s being demonstrated as it was in Michigan last week that she’s not home yet. It looks real good, but if she has to win an election she has to bring those people that are voting against her and the euphoria of the Sanders people, it’s got to be alive and well on election day and I think that is a real challenge to her.

Ken:                You know there have been many moments in the last few weeks when something has happened and I thought geez I wish I could talk to Bruce Dumont about this. So I’m going to try to get it all out in about half an hour here. Give me your take on how… Let’s start off by saying it seems to me that polling is getting better and better and has largely been pretty accurate in most of these crazy races that we’ve been going through.

Bruce D:          Except Michigan.

Ken:                But boy did they get this one wrong – 22 points ahead, at least it was a few days out, 22 points and she loses by a point and a half. I mean was that procedural error or was that a change in the zeitgeist? What was what?

Bruce D:          We don’t know yet, because I think we will know probably next Wednesday when the results come in from Illinois and Florida and Ohio as to whether or not the pollsters in those states got it wrong again. So that’s going to be the issue, is it the methodology or as you say is it the zeitgeist We will know next Wednesday, because we’ll head to the polls whether we’re voting early or late we’re going to know whether those polls… I mean all the polls suggest that she should roll to victory in Illinois. We’ll see what happens next Wednesday.

Ken:                She’s looking really good in Florida and looking really good… These are wide margins, but I don’t think anybody was really even expecting there to be much of a race in Michigan, and for it to have turned so quickly.

Bruce D:          Right.

Ken:                There are a couple of things I think were really fascinating about it. I did hear some analysis yesterday that a couple of the polls that drove her numbers up particularly high in that aggregation of polls actually didn’t use any cell phone polling at all. I mean they basically cut out all the millennial folk, which is ridiculous when you’ve got Bernie Sanders in there. I mean how can you not do that?

Bruce D:          Well again, the polling for the most part has been accurate, but again I think the challenge to the Democratic party and to Hillary Clinton is not whether or not she’s going to be the nominee. I do believe she will be the nominee, but how do you keep those that voted against her, a growing number of people that voted against her, how do you keep them enthused and excited? In many of these election night speeches that Bernie Sanders has given, or doing the picture of Hillary Clinton giving her speech, there is the sound and the video of Sanders supporters booing Hillary Clinton.

Ken:                Yeah.

Bruce D:          Those people are not likely to support her if she’s the Democratic nominee. They’re not going to go to Donald Trump I don’t think.

Ken:                Well you don’t even know that.

Bruce D:          We don’t know that. I don’t think. I don’t think, but there’s certainly going to be they’re sitting on their hands and they’re not voting for her and that’s important.

Ken:                It’s interesting, because if you look at eight years ago when Barack Obama overtook her and obviously became the nominee there was a lot of that noise about Hillary people not supporting Obama, but if my memory serves me correctly they did all come around in the end. I mean they must have because Obama did well, so the Hillary people did come around to Barack Obama, but this seems different somehow. I’m not sure that somebody for whom this is their passion at election is going to see that.

Bruce D:          I agree with you, because of the age and as you say they are first-time voters they don’t know the sophistication. You run a race, you lose, you get up and you support the winner. There is no tradition of doing that and I do believe that her biggest problem is… And there’s also been a tremendous difference in the enthusiasm between who is coming up the voters in the primaries and causes, who is going to the Democrats. The Republicans have a huge lead in that area, which gets into the excitement. I think most of the excitement and most of that turnout I think the credit goes to Donald Trump, but I do believe that the competition between Cruz and Rubio is also energizing some constituents as well.

Ken:                You know the comparison, or I guess maybe I would say the frame in which I place all of this is from my own life in ’72 I was crazy McGovern. I mean I traveled around and went to California, all this kind of stuff, took time off work to go and work for McGovern. And the guy we were all working against was Hubert Humphrey, right. I mean it was like Hubert Humphrey was the Hillary Clinton of my day.

Bruce D:          That’s right.

Ken:                And I just couldn’t stand Hubert Humphrey. It wasn’t until much much later in my life that I really began to realize that Hubert Humphrey was probably a better candidate than my guy was.

Bruce D:          Yeah.

Ken:                And if we had gotten behind Hubert Humphrey he would have beat Richard Nixon and American history would be different today for that. So there’s no real lesson to be learned here other than just that there is this kind of enthusiasm of youth that this is the guy you’re working for.

Bruce D:          No. And by the way, I’m glad you told your story about your youth and McGovern in ’72. I can tell the exact same story about Barry Goldwater in 1964.

Ken:                I’m sure you can, yeah.

Bruce D:          Because it was the same thing. And at that particular point, and by the way, I would say that this year the equivalent might be the Cruz. I think Cruz is more of an equivalent to Goldwater than Donald Trump. But the answer is this, when you turn back the clock to when you were 20 or 21 and myself as well, you were on a crusade. You weren’t…

Ken:                We were going to change America.

Bruce D:          But you wanted control of the party and McGovern got control of the party and Goldwater got control of the party. So when you get control of the party your guy gets in and then he runs into a buzz saw on election day. But again you’re 20, you’re 23 years old, so I think we can extrapolate from our own personal experiences what’s going to happen with Bernie Sanders. I would also say that what happened with Barry Goldwater and what happened to a lesser extent with George McGovern, I think those that are being engaged right now by Bernie Sanders they may not win the war this year, but the seeds are being planted because not everybody is going to go home and go away.

Ken:                Oh yeah, that’s true.

Bruce D:          A lot of them are going to stay involved, and again, so we look to four years, eight years down the road and we will see a Democratic party that has been affected and the imprint of Bernie Sanders will be on that party for four to eight years, just as it was for Barry Goldwater because he begat Ronald Reagan.

Ken:                We can get off of this topic, but it’s interesting to me one of the images burned in my mind forever is winning the California primary and heading out to, I don’t know where we were, Santa Monica or something to the beach that night and having this little victory party on the beach, all of us working, and actually sitting there thinking we could win this [laughs] and we will change America forever.

Bruce D:          And Goldwater by the way, Goldwater was pushed over the top because of the victory in the California primary in June just like McGovern in ’72, and then obviously he went to San Francisco where he got the nomination.

Ken:                Right.

Bruce D:          But again, this year, and I said it last Sunday night on Beyond the Beltway, California on June 7th that could be a pivotal… California is still going to play an important role.

Ken:                Isn’t that weird.

Bruce D:          It’s going to push somebody over the top. And by the way, I have to stop here just for a moment, and I know that television we can’t instantly do this, but maybe for next year, and I don’t want you to take this as an insult, but I am looking at you sir right now and you look exactly like Senator Barry Goldwater.

Ken:                You know I’ve been told that before.

Bruce D:          I want you to get that picture, for next week I want you to put your face next to Senator Barry Goldwater and the audience will be confused as to who is who.

Ken:                It’s these conservative architect glasses.

Bruce D:          It’s the glasses and the hairline.

Ken:                [Laughs]

Bruce D:          And the silver hair and the broad smile.

Ken:                Well and we all want to change America don’t we? While we’re on this, talking about 1972 and the Democratic reforms and all that that went into place, we are still living with so much of what happened in 1972 with the changes to the Democratic party regulations, right. Wasn’t one of those super delegates, isn’t that where super delegates came from?

Bruce D:          Yes, hmm.

Ken:                Why did the Democrats end up with super delegates and not the Republicans? Give me a history lesson. Do you have any idea?

Bruce D:          I think they wanted more control over their people. [Chuckles] I mean that’s it.

Ken:                Wait a minute, isn’t that supposed to be a Republican? [Laughs]

Bruce D:          No, it’s freedom of choice.

Ken:                Oh that’s right, I forgot.

Bruce D:          Control.

Ken:                Why are we in this situation today where Hillary Clinton has all of these super delegates and Bernie Sanders has almost none?

Bruce D:          Because I do believe the fear, the establishment, be it the Republican establishment or the Democratic establishment. These are people who are professional politicians. They wake up every morning and all they’re thinking about politics, and so their concern is control. We want to control the party. If we can control the party we control the apparatus, we control the convention, we make the rules, we can change the rules. We maintain our own powerbase, and by maintaining your own powerbase you try to kick anybody who wants to get into your club, you kick them off the ladder. I think that’s true for the Democrats as well as the Republicans, and right now Hillary Clinton was… And then when you have someone on the outside who literally wants to tip over the apple cart and wants to say things like, “Wait a minute, we’re going to stop fundraising anymore. No, you can’t go to Wall Street.” I think that is the Achilles heel of Hillary Clinton.

I mean every single debate Bernie Sanders is hammering her on her closeness with Wall Street and she doesn’t have an answer for that question. Even in the debate last night, and I thought the debate last night in Miami it was Bernie Sanders’ strongest. I mean he was really rolling last night and they thought I think they were walking into a Univision, a debate that was going to be soft on her. I think she took her toughest questions. Jorge Ramos I think he was really drilling her much more than Bernie Sanders last night, and she did not handle his questions or other questions well in my opinion.

Ken:                I thought as I have thought all along they both have had their moments. They’ve both had really good moments and really bad moments, and that’s what’s been so interesting about it. And one of the things that I find kind of appealing about it is that there’s always at the end been this sense that these are two people who do have respect for each other, at least they appear to, and they really understand the kind of two tarantulas in bottle kind of thing, that if they go too far with the insults and if they really start ripping each other’s faces off they’re both going to lose for that. So they have a different dynamic than the Republicans have right now I think where they really need to be ripping away at each other.

Bruce D:          Well as I said earlier, I think each of them understand. Hillary understands that she can’t go too far because she needs those people in November. Bernie Sanders has a constituency that I think may be beyond his complete control, because a portion of those people that are going out…and these are primarily the younger folks, they are going to go home. They are going to sulk, but again he’s looking for a longer day. His place in American history is not just going to be running in the Democratic primary 2016. We’re going to look to 20 and 24 and 28 and we will see the seeds that are being planted this year, just as we said with George McGovern and Barry Goldwater.

Ken:                Even though he himself won’t be that person.

Bruce D:          He will not be that guy.

Ken:                What he planted and what he created was going to have impact for a long time.

Bruce D:          And as they aged I think George McGovern and Barry Goldwater understood the same thing.

Ken:                Yes. I completely agree with that, yeah.

Bruce D:          They may not pop up quickly enough for you, but the seeds have been planted.

Ken:                So have the seeds of Barry Goldwater resulted in Donald Trump? [Laughs] I mean how do you get from Barry Goldwater to Donald Trump?

Bruce D:          You go from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan and the question is how do you get from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump and I think the big answer is so much of it is related to his celebrity. I mean he commands… When he announced and people didn’t think he was going to run, including myself, I mean Donald Trump is a celebrity. We cannot forget that for almost 15-16 seasons he was host or the star of a top 10 show. He was a much bigger television personality than Ronald Reagan was a movie personality. And so built into that is 15-20 years of the American people, many of whom are demographically correct, they would tune in every single week and they would see this guy. He would be demanding of 8 to 9 people accountability. “You’re fired. Why did you do this?” And I think they see in that person they see a take-charge guy who is going to fire people and dump them if they’re doing their job.

And I think that’s part of the frustration of both Democrats and Republicans when they look at Donald Trump and then they look at how their party leaders have reacted in Washington, DC. And so that’s a big plus for him. You factor into that the guy is self-funding his own campaign, that also is a very big plus.

Ken:                It is. And it’s very appealing, I hate to put it this way, but I find it to be very appealing to people who are not really necessarily looking for complex answers to things. I’ll fix it. I’m a deal-maker.

Bruce D:          I’ll fix it, and the other thing, getting back to the media, I mean Donald Trump knows the media better than anyone that has ever run.

Ken:                Yes he does.

Bruce D:          And he also knows, and a good example of this was the other night when he was going on and on over an hour…

Ken:                Oh that thing.

Bruce D:          With his QVC acceptance speech.

Ken:                And look at my bottled water. [Laughs]

Bruce D:          That’s right. I was expecting the numbers to flash across the screen and see the prices go up. But there was not one cable network that pulled away. They did not carry Hillary Clinton.

Ken:                I’m so glad you brought that…right.

Bruce D:          They carried… You know why? Because when he is on camera, love him or hate him the numbers go up, and the news media and television it’s about ratings. It is about ratings period.

Ken:                I’m so glad you brought that up, because like I’m sure you were, I was sitting with the clicker watching this. I’m thinking well this is a disaster. I mean there’s nothing going on here.

Bruce D:          Time to go.

Ken:                If I were calling the shots I would say, “All right, let’s get out of this. Oh look, Hillary’s live, let’s go to her.” Not even MSNBC. Nobody did it.

Bruce D:          See, that’s the world we live in.

Ken:                Yeah, yeah.

Bruce D:          It is the celebrity. I mean a good example I think is Marco Rubio who I think has fallen fast, way too fast for I think the spirit, but he screwed up and he has admitted that he screwed up. But where did he screw up? He screwed up when he decided to get down in the mud.

Ken:                When he got sucked into the vortex.

Bruce D:          When he got sucked into it, and also he was the one that brought up the issue of the hands that led to the gutter level of it, so he wears the jacket for that.

Ken:                Yeah.

Bruce D:          He has suffered from that and like every other candidate that’s gone out there to take on Donald Trump directly the result is he has gone down down down.

Ken:                And Trump gets stronger.

Bruce D:          And Trump gets stronger.

Ken:                And more popular.

Bruce D:          That’s right. And the media decries the level of the discussion, but in this particular case now Trump he answered the challenge. But we cannot forget that challenge started with Marco Rubio. It did not start with Donald Trump.

Ken:                So I really wanted to talk to you about some of the sort of bigger trend things. What does this election year tell us about Citizens United? I was one of the millions who was frightened as hell of Citizens United. I thought it was going to completely destroy politics in America, and yet all the billionaires now are sitting on the side scratching their heads and saying, “Wait a minute, I have billions to spend. I don’t know where to spend it.” What do you think?

Bruce D:          I think the people are rendering their verdict on that. Here you have Bernie Sanders raising more money than anyone that’s ever run for President, average $27 as he talks about.

Ken:                $27.

Bruce D:          Then you have the self-funded campaigns and the ones that have the most money, the Jeb Bush’s $120-million wasted money. Hillary Clinton a lot of what she… She’s spending a lot of money. She’s grabbling for money now. So the ones with the most money have had the biggest challenge, so in my view, it’s better to have money than not have it. You’ve got to have the message. What’s exciting to me is that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, whether you like them or not they are saying things that are unfiltered. They are not on a teleprompter. I don’t think either of them use teleprompters, so it’s coming from the head, it’s coming from the heart and it’s coming out the mouth. Sometimes it’s a little…you know with Donald Trump…

Ken:                Sometimes it’s raw.

Bruce D:          It comes out a little unfiltered, but I think that people like that. I was watching a spot just last night, it was a Marco Rubio spot running in Illinois, it was the same spot that ran four months ago. I mean it makes no sense.

Ken:                Well he got the Tribune endorsement today.

Bruce D:          He got the Tribune endorsement and we’ll see what that’s worth.

Ken:                [Laughs] Yeah, we sure will.

Bruce D:          The 30 endorsements that Kasich has received so far haven’t meant much.

Ken:                [Laughs] Did you notice that the Cook County Republicans met last night to do their kind of like a straw poll? And it was Kasich 58%, Cruz 29, Trump 2%, Rubio 0% but he got the Tribune, so there you go. The people are speaking rather loudly.

Bruce D:          Well Kasich I think is well positioned in Illinois. I frankly was a little stupefied that the Tribune did not endorse Kasich. That kind of surprised me.

Ken:                Yeah. Give me a minute or two on a perception that I have that both the United States Congress and the President, the presidency are being diminished in their role in our lives and the role of running this country. I believe that ALEC for example, the legislative council conservative think tank that has really become very powerful in America, they’ve taught us all a lesson that you can really run this country by just getting all the governorships and getting the legislatures in all the different states to do your work for you, and you really probably pretty much don’t need Congress. I mean as Congress has become more and more just bricked in and incapable of doing anything we seem to be finding a workaround that’s almost like the kind of thing we talk about with big media and working around big media. Maybe we’re working around that kind of government too.

Bruce D:          I think governors are important. Historically governors is where we select our presidents, but in this particular case there’s only one governor left. We’ll know Tuesday night whether or not John Kasich survives Ohio. So the voters are going to those that frankly don’t have the track record of accomplishment. They have the track record of rhetoric. They have the track record of seizing a media focus as Ted Cruz on the day he walked into the Senate, I mean he knew the media game so he decided to carve out his image. His image is both a plus and a negative, because although I think a lot of people are traveling with him or joining his cause because they believe in what he says, and I do believe he believes in what his says, but his style and his tone has demonstrated that he doesn’t play well with others.

So again, if you like gridlock you may like Ted Cruz because Ted Cruz is not likely to be able to persuade anyone to go his way if he is the President of the United States in my opinion. First of all, he’s got to walk into the United States Senator and the majority leader who you have called a liar publicly you’ve got to make amends with him. That is if he is still a majority leader.

Ken:                Well that’s another question in itself isn’t it. What’s your quick take on that? Do you think the Senate will remain Republican?

Bruce D:          I do at the moment, because I think everyone is assuming… I mean the establishment and their chorus of supporters in the media are basically saying how horrible it is going to be. The climate of America is going to be so horrible if Donald Trump runs, let alone if Donald Trump wins they are suspecting that the world is going to come to an end. The reality is that if Donald Trump really can expand the base, one of the things I do believe that Hillary Clinton is worried about, I think she’s worried about running against Donald Trump.

Ken:                Oh so do I.

Bruce D:          I think the establishment, whether on the Democratic side or the Republican side, I think they are scared because you know what? There will be a massive turnout and if you don’t know who is voting you don’t know who is going to win. You really don’t know what’s going to happen, so they’re scared as hell.

Ken:                Donald Trump is the…

Bruce D:          By the way, I would say the exact same thing about Bernie Sanders.

Ken:                Yeah.

Bruce D:          A Sanders Trump race for the presidency, every politician in America would be scared out of their wits because no one would know what would happen.

Ken:                I was going to say that Donald Trump is to politics what the internet is to everything in life. It’s sort of like it just keeps coming and coming and coming and smothering everything in its path, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Bruce D:          The inertia is there and you either jump on or you’re going to be rolled over.

Ken:                Look back, I know we can’t do this in less than two hours, but look back a minute at NAFTA. Is NAFTA one of the main seeds of what we’re harvesting today?

Bruce D:          Absolutely. Absolutely.

Ken:                Was is a mistake?

Bruce D:          I think NAFTA was a mistake. It certainly was a mistake I think for the Democratic party, and I think that what we’re seeing now is I think that’s what we saw in Michigan. I think we’ll probably see it again in Ohio next week. I’m not so sure that Hillary will lose Ohio, but I mean that is an issue that is there and it’s hard to explain. In some ways Ross Perot was correct. That giant sucking sound we can now hear.

Ken:                We didn’t hear it right away.

Bruce D:          We didn’t hear it right away, and the messenger was not one that had credibility, but again, the Democratic party and its leaders did not take the time to have a conversation with their base, with their constituency about how the world was changing and about how their role had to change. And because of that they left a lot of people in their wake, and those in many cases are people that are showing up in Donald Trump rallies. And they are the Democrats…

Ken:                And their children.

Bruce D:          And their children, and they are the Democrats and they are the independents, the person that has the greatest ability to draw votes from the other side in this race right now in my view is Donald Trump.

Ken:                For that reason.

Bruce D:          For that reason.

Ken:                For that reason, because he’s…

Bruce D:          He’s speaking to their issues.

Ken:                You’re going to need me to fix it.

Bruce D:          That’s right.

Ken:                That’s basically it. But I mean at the time the conversation which I completely agree was inadequate was a call to arms. It was saying, ‘Look, the world is changing. We have containerization that gets things all across the planet in a few days. We have this thing called the internet coming our way. We are part of a global world now. We can’t just sit here in our isolated little country and sell things to each other.’

Bruce D:          They were correct, but the issue is one of communication. The goal at that particular time was how do you win a congressional vote. It was something that George Bush had supported. Bill Clinton was the one that delivered on it. NAFTA was bipartisan. The labor movement was against it for the most part, but it was how do you win a vote? How do you win a vote is when you get strong? It’s pure…you do this or we’re going to cut you off at the neck. They did not take the time – it’s communication, they didn’t take the time. I once had a conversation with newly-named commerce secretary Bill Daley about this early on.

Ken:                Really?

Bruce D:          A press conference over at the Palmer House Hotel and I took Bill…I’ve known Bill for years, I said, “Bill when are you going to take some time to sort of explain this to what’s happening?” Because on paper it was wise, it was the thing to do, but they didn’t take it. And what did they do? And by the way, it’s interesting, the footprints of NAFTA was fingerprints. Fingerprints, or footprints because there was footprints on the back of somebody’s neck. Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel, they were the two principle people that drove the vote on NAFTA, which gave Bill Clinton a big victory, and that big victory is something that Hillary Clinton is going to have to defend next Tuesday in Ohio.

Ken:                And so that’s where we’re at today.

Bruce D:          Yeah. The seeds of NAFTA they are part of the discontent in a sector of the electorate.

Ken:                And totally understandable, because the part that didn’t get explained was yeah, we’re going to become part of this global economy and things are going to get a lot better for a lot of people all the way around the world, but for you not so much. You know 20 years from now you’re not going to be in much better shape than you are now.

Bruce D:          But the people that are going to benefit from this new world order, remember the new world order? This is part of the new world order. The people who are going to benefit from the new world order are the corporations and the 1%.

Ken:                And they will do very very well, so you should be happy for them.

Bruce D:          You know Joe Six Pack he’s, you know, so I think that’s what Bernie Sanders is talking about.

Ken:                And Walmart will do very well, and as a result of doing very well they will be able to produce $16 DVD machines in China, so you won’t have a job but you will be able to get really good quality material for little money.

Bruce D:          In Walmart which is the world’s worst retailer according to most liberals, who was on their board? Hillary Clinton was on their board.

Ken:                Yeah. She’s got a lot of explaining to do, is that what you’re saying?

Bruce D:          The Clinton Foundation, we’re going to know all about the Clinton Foundation. That’s general election stuff.

Ken:                So what is the oppo research working on? Or does Trump even need oppo research?

 

Bruce D:          I don’t know.

Ken:                He probably doesn’t even need it, right?

Bruce D:          Kasich said the other night that he’s going to focus on issues. That’s why I don’t… Although on paper, on paper, Kasich should be the nominee. Kasich he’s got the record. The polls say he’s got an 11-point lead over Hillary, but in a campaign you’ve got to go for the jugular and I don’t think he has it. The only guy that’s got it is Trump and there will be no issue that will be off the table for Trump, as he’s already demonstrated.

Ken:                Just another quick question here on the national thing. My observation is that Barack Obama has floated into lame-duckery much more quickly than I would have expected him to. I don’t know if that’s really true, but it feels that way, I mean especially with the supreme court nomination. Do you have any sense of that?

Bruce D:          Well, I think he’s probably tired. You’re right, I think he’s coasting. He’s coasting right now. I mean some of his big issues he’s sort of addressed. He’s going to try to get Guantanamo… That’s sort of the big promise that hasn’t happened yet. He may have a hard time getting that done and I think if it’s a Republican they’ll just reopen it again. I don’t think it’s going to be closed very long. But the other stuff is, I mean there are things that are sort of beyond his control.

The other thing that you’re talking about turnout and everything else, I mean we don’t know if there’s…there could be another terrorist attack somewhere. Another terrorist attack is not going to be good for him. It’s not going to be good for Hillary. And this was the other thing about Donald Trump is there are things that happened in the world that he had no control over, but he is the beneficiary of what happened. He makes a strong statement about Mexico and Mexicans and then two weeks later Kate Steinle is murdered by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, so that’s a big story. And then Guzman escapes from the Mexican prison. Well they got him back, but again that’s another thing. And then he’s talking about something else and then Sacramento happens and Paris happens. So I mean he has been sort of in the right place, so coincidentally he’s been in the right place at the right time or ahead of things on some points and he’s benefited from that, and no one else has been able to do that yet. But between now and election day there’s going to be three or four other things that happen that are going to be wild moments I think, or at least one or two.

Ken:                So, we live in Illinois, want to talk just for a couple of minutes about what’s going on here?

Bruce D:          Sure.

Ken:                I would love to get your take on the Anita Alvarez race that’s going on.

Bruce D:          Are we on or off?

Ken:                We’re on YouTube right now. They are watching us right now on YouTube, I promise you.

Bruce D:          [Laughs]

Ken:                Anita Alvarez of course is being run against by Kim Foxx and Donna Moore. Kim Foxx seems to be surging a little bit, but my sense of it is is especially with two of them running against Alvarez, Alvarez wins no matter what scenario you come up with.

Bruce D:          I agree with you. You look at the math and I think Anita Alvarez she makes it. She survives. I’m also, it amazes me that the Cook County Republican Party could not have put a more concerted effort into finding a high value high ticket person that could really challenge for that office.

Ken:                Right, in November.

Bruce D:          In November, because in the past when there’s been problems the Republicans have been able to come up with a candidate who was credible, and on two occasions it was a Republican or State’s Attorney that was able to beat a democrat, and in all cases it went back to a mistake and basically a split in the Democratic party in the African American community that really led to that movement.

Ken:                It is an office that you could make an argument has kind of a natural tendency toward Republicanism. I mean a good solid Republican candidate would probably do very well in the collar counties, not collar counties but in the suburbs…

Bruce D:          County towns, yeah. But you see, that to me is the Cook County Republican Party they don’t have the dollars nor the sense to plan that, because that should have been… As soon as the Laquan McDonald tape became public and the vulnerability of Anita Alvarez was apparent, the Republicans they should have come up with someone and poured some money into a campaign…the Democratic candidate that is there because a Republican candidate that was ready to go. And they have someone but it’s not a brand name. They should have had somebody ready, because if Alvarez wins the Democratic primary there’s still going to be a lot of disgruntled African Americans and you haven’t given them a place to go. In the past when this occurred, again, or in the past they could have gone to Jack O’Malley who won the office as a Republican. They could have gone to Bernard Carey who won the office as a Republican and was re-elected. So the Republicans do well in that office if the Democratic base, primarily African Americans are divorced from the traditional candidate, and that’s going to be likely the case here.

Ken:                So I think we’re certainly both in agreement that it looks like Anita Alvarez gets another term. It seems very difficult to believe that something is going to change that in the next few days. We don’t know. There could be a surge in African American vote and that could help, but it looks that way.

Bruce D:          By the way, on that African American vote, and this is going to be something else that I’ve not heard discussed at the national level, but I was at a rally several weeks ago, this was a Bernie Sanders event opening up an office, and one of their delegates was making the point that Hillary Clinton’s top surrogate, the top supporter in Illinois is Rahm Emanuel. And she was making the point that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Rahm Emanuel, and so the impression was that what she was suggesting is that this is an opportunity for the African American community, which obviously is sort of focused on Kim Foxx at the moment, this is an opportunity for the African American community to send a real message to Rahm Emanuel and to Hillary Clinton that they don’t appreciate her closeness to Rahm Emanuel. So this is an opportunity whether the black community to accepts it or not, to really send a message to Hillary Clinton. So should she fall below what people expect her to do in Chicago that will be interesting to see.

Ken:                That could be a factor.

Bruce D:          That could be a factor where no one discussed that as yet.

Ken:                As much as I would like to spend another 20 minutes talking about Rahm Emanuel I will resist the temptation, because it is a separate show. But I mean it’s kind of like the opening question about Donald Trump, it’s like how do you explain Donald Trump? How do you explain Rahm Emanuel at this point? I don’t think I would have believed on the day that he got elected that on this day he would be as just profoundly unpopular as he is? I mean it’s a confluence of a lot of things, but some of it is really his kind of lack of political sense. He seemed like he was a very good political operative, but maybe he’s not that great a politician.

Bruce D:          Well, he is a control freak. He’s always been a control freak, and control freaks just can’t comprehend that there may come a day when they lose their skills, and I think that may be the case here. I mean he’s very strong. He’s very powerful, and I mentioned long ago when he used to be a regular on Beyond the Beltway, and we went out to dinner as we frequently did after those broadcasts with the late Tom Rosier and we had real good knock-down drag-out no holds barred man to man conversations. And at one point, and this is going back 30 years ago when he was climbing up the ladder and most people didn’t know who he was.

Ken:                You introduced me to him in those old WBEZ days.

Bruce D:          That’s right, he was a regular guest for almost seven years, so we got to know each other very well. But I said at one particular point, I said, “Rahm you’ve got to be nice to people going up,” like every mother has told their son, “You’ve got to be nice to people going up the ladder because you’re going to meet the same people coming down.” And he stopped me, and he said – I’ll never forget this, this is almost a direct quote, he said, “No Bruce, if I get up the ladder I’m not coming down.”

Ken:                [Laughs] Did he really say that to you?

Bruce D:          Oh he did, he did, so he could not comprehend, he could not comprehend if he climbed… And then of course I watched him for 20 years and he did climb that ladder and he did climb…and he was soaring and he had just been re-elected. And then we have seen that someone who climbed that ladder that ladder is going down. And many of the national news media who he had fed stories to for years, he was a main feeder of generally dirt on the opposition, and they appreciated that, but like every reporter if you smell blood in the water you go for that target, and that’s exactly what happened. And so some of the national, I mean some of the most devastating journalistic pieces about Rahm have been done by out of town reporters.

Ken:                Who only a year or two earlier were writing all these wonderful things about how Rahm Emanuel had singlehandedly saved Chicago from itself.

Bruce D:          That’s right. That’s right.

Ken:                [Laughs] How quickly they turn, because it’s that ladder thing.

Bruce D:          I want to find out also, pick up on something that we just recently discussed is I want to see in the analysis of what happens in the Rust Belt, and as you assess and analyze what happened to Bernie Sanders I wonder how many people are going to draw that link directly back to NAFTA as you did, and look at the architects of NAFTA, and they are Bill Clinton, Bill Daley, and Rahm Emanuel. Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel they were there turning the screws to get the votes to pass NAFTA, period.

Ken:                And as I said, with this broad look, this broad history now I don’t think NAFTA was wrong. I think NAFTA was something that we kind of had to confront. It was something the United States needed to accept that it was in a complex web of things in the world and that it was going to need to change the way it did some things.

Bruce D:          As I said, I totally agree with that, but I think what you have in the triumvirate of Bill Clinton and Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel, you have the corporatist wing of the Democratic party, which was seduced and actively…obviously the clout that needed to be delivered was delivered, and again, also a lot of Republicans, it was that corporatist…

Ken:                It was one of the last times everybody agreed.

Bruce D:          That’s right. It was that clout that was going to do something. They were going to do something because they knew more than the little guy. And the point that I made to Bill Daley when I talked with him at the Palmer House after a press conference, I said, “Bill, take the time,” because as the host of a talk show I was getting that feedback from the little guy, this is umpteen years ago, and I was sort of… I said, “You’ve got to take time to explain it.” But again, the corporatist mentality which is whether it is Bill Clinton, whether it is Hillary Clinton, whether it is Bill Daley, whether it is Rahm Emanuel they don’t think they have to take the time to explain and bring everybody else up to speed. That is a political mistake.

Ken:                There’s another layer.

Bruce D:          They win the war. They win the battle but they lose the war.

Ken:                That’s it, because they are smart enough to know that if…

Bruce D:          They’re smarter than everybody else.

Ken:                These are the guys who say things like if you’re explaining you’re losing. This is one of their things, right. And if you try to explain NAFTA to people they’re just going to say, “What are you talking about? You’re going to take away my job.” So you can’t explain it. You’ve just got to push it through and hope it works.

Bruce D:          But the other messenger of that, and obviously it would have been the appropriate messenger would have been the President of the United States for Bill Clinton to basically explain.

Ken:                And he was a good explainer.

Bruce D:          He was a very good explainer. He was explainer and chief. And yet his wife is I think at the moment I think is suffering some of the…from some of those unhealed sores.

Ken:                And one other quick footnote on the climbing thing I guess as sort of a dyed in the wool moderate that it’s not a case of just climbing the ladder and then coming back down the ladder. There are days when you come down a few rungs and go up a few rungs, and when you’re coming down two or three rungs that’s when you need those people to help you to not come any further down, and Rahm Emanuel has not had that. So when he’s run into problems he just slides down that ladder and there’s nobody there to back him up.

Bruce D:          Yeah.

Ken:                So one more, let’s talk about Ken Dunkin and Julianna Stratton in the fifth district. I understand you live there. Well congratulations to you sir.

Bruce D:          My mailbox is just chock-full of all the information for both sides.

Ken:                How has Mr. Dunkin been serving you as a constituent? Have you been happy with him?

Bruce D:          Uh…

Ken:                Never mind. You don’t have to answer that.

Bruce D:          I plead the Fifth Amendment on that.

Ken:                So what we’re seeing here is like the Spanish Civil War or something. I mean we’re seeing one of the biggest proxy wars that I can ever remember. What is it, $3.3-billion has been spent on a stupid little state –house race.

Bruce D:          Well, you have an imperfect incumbent in Ken Dunkin. He is being propped up by all kinds of money provided by the governor’s supporters, be they surreptitious or not. And then you have obviously someone who is in there for the prime purpose of punishing Ken Dukin and giving the speaker a veto-proof house and there’s a lot riding on it. So much so that you get the President of the United States stooping down to engage and endorse in a state representative race which gets somebody’s attention.

Ken:                I’ll talk to you later Duncan, yeah.

Bruce D:          Sit down Dunkin. [Chuckles]

Ken:                I guess the bigger question for this though is, we haven’t talked at all about Bruce Rauner and we are running out of time; we can’t do everything here, but does Bruce Rauner really believe that if he peels off a couple of Dunkin-like people that he’s going to be able to win this big battle?

Bruce D:          I think so.

Ken:                And do you think that’s a successful strategy?

Bruce D:          I will tell you next Wednesday. [Laughs]

Ken:                Yeah. As they say in TV news.

Bruce D:          If by pouring in tons and tons of money, if you can save an imperfect candidate like Mr. Dunkin then there is reason to believe that there are other candidates that you can provide that same type of support to and they will be victorious and maybe they don’t have some of the baggage that Ken Dunkin has.

Ken:                You’re making a horrible example in a way. You’re saying look what happened to him, we can do the same thing to you.

Bruce D:          I mean what we have here which is unique, is we have for the first time ever we have a level playing field insofar as money is concerned. You have the powerful leaders of the House and Senate, and then you have the governor, and both are willing to spend a lot of money to get their way. It used to be that it was only the Democrats that had that clout. Now we have a different situation. We’re more on a level playing field, but the one thing that kind of surprises me is that the… This gets back to when I mentioned about Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel and Bill Clinton, not taking the time to have a conversation about what it is that you’re doing. Because I think that although Rauner obviously is mentioned in the paper by editorial boards, I don’t hear people talking about Bruce Rauner on the street. I think if he walked into some places in Chicago people wouldn’t even know who he is. He’s not visibly known. He’s not out there. He’s not appearing on shows, just to sort of explain who this guy is.

Ken:                A very good point.

Bruce D:          So he needs to communicate more so that people they can either agree or disagree with him, but he’s got to make his pitch. I mean he made his pitch when he was running and then even if he has to buy commercials he should be buying commercials explaining what he’s trying to do.

Ken:                Of course his pitch was kind of Trump-like. Elect me and I’ll fix all this.

Bruce D:          That is correct, a businessman.

Ken:                I am a businessman and I know how to do this.

Bruce D:          An outsider, a businessman.

Ken:                I know how to fix this stuff.

Bruce D:          Well, we have an example of how that’s happened, and we will see what happens in the future. I don’t see anybody who is going to challenge him in a Republican primary.

Ken:                No, unless it’s somebody even richer than he is.

Bruce D:          Those are the great challenges.

Ken:                Can I sneak in just one more quick question?

Bruce D:          I have nothing more to do. [Laughs]

Ken:                Is Tammy Duckworth in trouble? I’m seeing all these stories in the last few days about how she wasn’t really a very good administrator at the VA, that there was a group of people who were complaining about things, whistleblowers and she wasn’t paying any attention to it. I mean it’s hardly possible that Andrea Zopp could eclipse her at this point, right? She’s going to win the nomination.

Bruce D:          I think she’s going to win the nomination. That would be my guess, that you have two African Americans in that race. I think that vote will be somewhat split. Tammy Duckworth has sort of a lot of the power people behind her, including Rahm Emanuel who obviously first recruited her to run for Congress many years ago. I also think that in a general election she may be vulnerable to Mark Kirk. I mean we have a situation where we have two candidates who each have handicaps.

Ken:                Yes they do.

Bruce D:          They are both – having seen them with my own eyes they both have difficulty walking. The question is going to be when you have her pitted against Mark Kirk, and I don’t know to what extent his stroke has affected his abilities, mental abilities, I don’t know. I’ve heard that it hasn’t affected it at all, I haven’t seen the Senator or talked with the Senator in a couple of years, but Mark Kirk was, and I will say probably still is a very smart man. And so he will have to make his case to the people of Illinois that he deserves another chance, and of course over this whole race it’s going to be the balance of the Supreme Court. Now you have a lot of conservatives, and this is going to be the great challenge, whether or not… And there’s a large number of conservatives because he has a nominal…opposition in the primary, you have a lot of conservatives that absolutely despise Mark Kirk. But when it comes to going into that polling booth in November the Supreme Court of the United States is going to be at stake, and they are going to have to say to themselves who is most likely to support someone who has conservative values. Is it going to be Mark Kirk or is it going to be Tammy Duckworth?

That’s an easy answer to that question, but again conservatives, just like the Bernie Sanders’ voters now who may lose this primary, they’ve got to say to themselves which is the lesser of two evils? Who is going to most likely give me what I want, and so that Supreme Court battle is going to be… I think that’s going to be the single issue for every United States senator up for election.

Ken:                I agree with that, and I was going to say it’s certainly true on the other side too for people who want to get around from the Scalia brand of Supreme Court, this is one of those places where you’ve just got to show up, you’ve got to vote.

Bruce D:          And also by the way, it becomes the key issue also in the presidency, the battle for presidency, because every four years there’s a portion of the campaign where they talk about the importance of the Supreme Court. It goes in one year, out the other. The myriad of other issues just roll over that as a serious issue, but again this year because of exactly where we are and because of the timing of Scalia’s death this is going to be a key issue. And so the question even the other night, and by the way it was not this most recent victory night, it was the previous victory night of Donald Trump. He made one of…one of his most coherent arguments was to a third party and to those that don’t support the Republican nominee about what it will mean as to who the next justice of the Supreme Court is. It was very believable, very true, and I think if that piece, if Trump can sort of repeat that like he repeats ‘we’re going to make America great again,’ if he can get that into his standard stump speech, I think a lot of those Republicans that can’t stand Donald Trump, when they walk into that poll they’re going to say you know what? I’ve got two choices, who do I want to control the United States Supreme Court? Some of them may stick with Donald Trump.

Ken:                I heard him on Live with Howard Stern not more than a month ago saying that he would appoint Howard Stern to the Supreme Court. Howard Stern asked him if he would do it and he said ‘yes’. I heard it with my own ears. [Laughs]

Bruce D:          Well I think we should look into that, and when was the last time you heard Howard Stern’s name mentioned in a Republican debate? Never?

Ken:                [Laughs] But he did say it. I mean Howard said… He got him and he pinned him down. He said, “Look, I’m already a judge on America’s Got Talent,” and he said, “Okay Howard, I’ll do it,” so there, leave it at that. Bruce it’s been a pleasure. Thanks so much.

Bruce D:          Thanks Ken.

Ken:                We’ll have to do this again sometime.

00:54:36          End

 

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About Ken

Ken's the host of Chicago Newsroom. A former news director, reporter and radio program host, he's also a past Vice President of the Chicago Headline Club.
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