Airplane delays kept Briahna from a joint live show in Boston with Daniel Denvir's The Dig podcast and the Michael Brooks Show last weekend, but we're including a portion of that show featuring Natalie Shure here. Listen to the full show: https://www.thedigradio.com/podcast/bernie-2020-with-michael-brooks-and-natalie-shure/
Then, a short clip of Briahna's conversation with Karen Hunter from the Karen Hunter Show in which they discuss billionaires, poverty, and talking to those with whom you disagree. Watch the full interview: https://youtu.be/ZTYjF-oSYb8
The Michael Brooks Show: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh2UY1hxlMr4_7Az_iQ82HQ
The Dig: https://www.thedigradio.com
Natalie Shure on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nataliesurely
"Which Side Are You On" by RevolutionarySongCircle is licensed under a Creative Commons BY license: https://soundcloud.com/revolutionarysongcircle/which-side-are-you-on
Joe Biden: Paul Ryan was correct when he did the tax code. What's the first thing he decided we had to go after? Social Security and Medicare. Now, we need to do something about Social Security and Medicare. It's the only way we can find room to pay for it.
Briahna Joy Gray: Hi, everyone. Things just got real. Sunday, Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race, and then hours before recording this, Amy Klobuchar did, too. Biden winning the South Carolina primary has emboldened the "No We Can't" wing of the Democratic Party.
The candidates who say "no" to health care for all, college for all, canceling medical debt and a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of 1%, not so coincidentally say "yes" to taking big money from the health care industry, the insurance industry and Wall Street. Trillions of dollars in profit are on the line, and the moderates are consolidating to protect it.
When we started this race, Bernie told us that the establishment would align against us. The establishment aren't everyday Democrats who want a better life for their neighbors and their families, including many supporters of Amy and Pete.
The establishment are those whose interests are aligned against Amy voters, Pete voters and us, and who pushed politicians, like Mayor Pete, from being pro-Medicare for All to promoting a health care plan that was favorable to the private health care industry.
The stakes have never been higher. Self-described moderates are consolidating behind Biden, hoping to keep Bernie from going into the convention with a 1,991-delegate majority, and I am not going to lie to you. As has been from the start, this is an uphill battle against tremendously powerful forces who stand to lose much if Bernie Sanders becomes President of the United States, but what has also been true from the beginning is that we have the people.
Part of being a populist is trusting the movement, trusting the willingness of strangers to sacrifice their time and energy on behalf of a good idea shared in common. Politics is about persuasion, so now, more than ever, I need you to speak to the people in your lives who are willing to listen to you about the clear and stark differences between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.
The choice between Biden and Bernie is a choice between the past and the future; between a defense of a status quo where one in five American children go hungry and 500,000 go bankrupt every year from medical debt and a future where we live up to the ideals the Democratic Party purports to hold and we respect the dignity of every human life.
It's between someone eager to cut essential programs like Social Security and Medicare on which millions rely and someone who has fought tooth and nail his entire career to protect them; between someone who led the invasion of a foreign country on false pretenses and someone who led the opposition to that war; between someone who was the credit card and student loan industries’ best friend on Capitol Hill and someone who would use the presidency to cancel all student debt.
And it's between someone who still, to this day, defends his support of trade deals like NAFTA that decimated jobs around the country and particularly in essential midwestern swing states and one of the most stalwart critics of those deals.
Research shows that voters are most susceptible to political persuasion when it comes from their close friends and family. Makes sense, right? But often we don't want to spark uncomfortable conversations. Today, I'm asking you to put aside that discomfort and make the case for a candidate who I truly believe stands the best chance of beating Trump in November, and at the same time reorienting our entire political system away from money and toward more genuine democracy.
Today, it's your job to make sure that people are heard.
This is Hear the Bern, a podcast about the people, ideas and politics that are driving the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign and the movement to secure a dignified life for everyone living in this country. My name is Briahna Joy Gray and I'm coming to you from the campaign headquarters in Washington D.C.
This week, I was planning on releasing a joint podcast with Dan Denvir of The Dig and Michael Brooks of the Michael Brooks Show, but the airlines conspired to keep me from getting to Boston on time, so instead we're going to include a portion of that podcast, which happened without me, along with a portion of my interview with Karen Hunter last week in New York.
Karen's show is the No. 1 news/talk show on Sirius XM, and it was on her show that an MSNBC host made some disparaging comments about myself and other black female Bernie supporters a couple of weeks ago causing the hashtag #misfitblackgirls to take on a life of its own.
Karen was gracious enough to invite me on the following week, and I think the interview is a useful guide for those of you who are having tough conversations with the moderates in your life, who are less familiar with the ideas and history discussed regularly on Hear the Bern.
We'll link to the full version of both conversations in the show notes. I hope this is helpful, and as always, let us know what you think.
Speaker: We have Dan Denvir, who's the host of the Dig Podcast with Jacobin Magazine. He's going to be in conversation with Michael Brooks from the Michael Brooks show and we have Natalie Shure here who is a journalist who specializes in the health care beat and also has an amazing Twitter presence, which I follow, very spicy.
Unfortunately, one of our other guests, Briahna Joy Gray, was delayed and was unable to be here, but we have a wonderful panel, so we're just going to dive right in. and what I will say is that just ... What I said at our last Dig podcast, which is The Dig is a podcast that does not only interpret the world, but aims to change it. Is that correct?
And that's what we're doing here, so this event is not simply to learn and listen from these wonderful interpreters, but to actually go out afterwards and change it. So, if you don't have a turf number to go canvass, that's something that you can get afterwards. And we're going to be doing a training, and then we're going to send you out in the world to get votes for Bernie and win Massachusetts.
And, Bri, is very sorry that she can't be here. She was in South Carolina and then was taking a plane from there to D.C. at 6:00 a.m. and her plane was ten minutes delayed, which caused her to miss her connection in D.C., but the struggle-
Michael Brooks: They were conspiring against us.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah, the airline schedules are rigged.
Michael Brooks: It was rigged, and it was totally unfair, and it's going to be something we're going to be looking at very strongly.
Daniel Denvir: Delta or bust.
Michael Brooks: Delta or bust.
Daniel Denvir: Um...
Michael Brooks: Lufthansa or bust.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah, so it makes it slightly less complicated. I was going to have two fellow hosts for this interview, and now I have one ... only one fellow host, and a person more in the guest slot, so that's comforting.
Natalie Shure: I'll defer to you guys and respect you as hosts.
Daniel Denvir: [Laughing].
Michael Brooks: And we will shift the burden for all the content to you as a guest.
Natalie Shure: Right.
Daniel Denvir: So, we're here to win Massachusetts, which of course, is just internet harassment, but in real life.
Michael Brooks: It's a very important targeted harassment; campaigning in a state to win.
Daniel Denvir: But it's pretty remarkable. We, in Rhode Island, have been helping to organize in the Massachusetts campaign since it kicked off, and at first it didn't seem like one that the Bernie campaign really thought was a viable target, and now recent polls have Bernie up pretty significantly. What have you been seeing so far on the ground here, Natalie?
Natalie Shure: Yeah. So, I've canvassed a couple times in Massachusetts now. mostly in the Boston area, and I think it's pretty heartening. There's still a strong Warren presence here, which I think you'll find if you canvass today. And I think that there will be throughout the Boston area.
I've heard otherwise outside of the Boston area but I think we have to understand this not only as a Massachusetts issue, but as you know, a California and Texas issue; that they're doing so, so well in major states that they, I think, decided to allocate some more attention and resources to other states that feel like bonus states after some of the major ones.
I think that's really a testament to the incredible organizing that's been going around on/around the country, so excited about that.
Daniel Denvir: Massachusetts is certainly a very sweet cherry on top state to win.
Natalie Shure: It's a-
Daniel Denvir: Or to produce it.
Natalie Shure: Yeah. If you like fruit on your desserts, that's the analogy I would use.
Michael Brooks: I mean, I think it’s also necessary to put any game playing at the convention out of question, so he actually ... We need to rack up margins and we need to compete everywhere and ... I haven't lived in Massachusetts for quite a while, but I grew up in this state. And I grew up in the other part of it, in Western Mass.
And if you look at the state broadly, and, obviously, we want everybody's votes, but I think that in the popular imagination, Massachusetts used to just be Harvard and MIT, and now it's Harvard and MIT plus the Town and that's okay, but there's ... This is a real agricultural state.
This is a real labor state. This is a state that actually has a lot of relatively speaking, diversity, including the Caribbean community in Boston, Portuguese, Italians, Cape Verdean community in Cape Cod, and it's a working place. So, this is actually exactly where this coalition should be winning.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah. I've been canvassing in Massachusetts every weekend since New Hampshire and my best doors I've ever had in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire was the projects in Fall River. And it is remarkable how much Massachusetts does not fit the mold of this weird stereotype that it has as sort of the Boston Brahmin, John Kerry land-
Michael Brooks: Yep.
Daniel Denvir: ... in national media and I think that the way Super Tuesday appears like it will go in the state, if we all do our job between now and then, will also be to kind of repudiate this absurd stereotype of, of the state.
Michael Brooks: It'll ... Yeah, absolutely, and so many absurd stereotypes about so many things.
Daniel Denvir: So-
Michael Brooks: I'll leave it at that.
Daniel Denvir: So, speaking of, of basically, everyone except Biden hanging in the race in an attempt to get ... or including Biden, I guess ... in an attempt to get selected by superdelegates on a second round. How should we be thinking about that and preparing for it?
Obviously, the No. 1 thing we gotta do is win a majority of delegates so they can't pull any shit, but how should we be thinking about the very real possibility that if there's an opportunity to pull some shit that they will?
Natalie Shure: Yeah. So, I think that one thing that people missed in this conversation is the idea that obviously getting an outright majority is preferable. That's the outcome that we want to shoot for, and I think that's the outcome that is very much within our grasp.
But beyond that, the outlook is so different if we get 40 something percent versus if we have a plurality of 27% ahead ... You know, ahead by two points of the next person; something like that. I mean, the margins matter and we are in a way stronger rhetorical, moral fighting position if we have something higher than 40.
And so, all of that is you know, like you guys said, margins matter. getting every vote matters. I think that nonviable candidates dropping out of the race matters. if we can get to that point... And so, I think that amassing as many votes as possible and that we're no longer thinking about who's in first place versus who's in second place ... I think a few weeks ago, it really did look like, "Okay. Having so many moderates vying for the same lane isn't necessarily a bad thing," and I ... I've come to revise my thinking on that somewhat.
I think that as many votes as possible coming from as many places as possible is very helpful, and we all know that all of the candidates right now, I think except for Bloomberg in the last poll, have ... The supporters of all of the candidates have Sanders as their second choice.
And so however, however politically incoherent that seems to people who are in this room, who I think are, by definition-
Daniel Denvir: People are weird as hell, ordinary people, and thank God! Thank God-
Natalie Shure: Yeah.
Daniel Denvir: ... people are not the way that cable news construes them as or else this world would be a much worse place.
Michael Brooks: I talked to a woman once who was "I love Obama. I wish Biden ran. Hillary Clinton's a criminal, so I won't vote for her. I don't like Trump, but I'm excited that Newt Gingrich might get a cabinet role, and why didn't you guys nominate Bernie? He's such a nice man." That's how people think.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Natalie Shure: Yeah. I was canvasing last night. It was cold. You know, the sun had already set, so 20-something degrees, and we canvassed this younger guy. He invites us in. You know, it's warm, toasty. We're warming up our fingers, and he said, "Yeah I decided on Bernie. I'm all in. I was almost going to go for Pete. I decided on Bernie." [Laughing]. I'm "All right. Thanks, man." [Laughing]. I have nothing else to say.
Michael Brooks: Bernie does a much better Obama impression than Pete, so, yeah. [Laughing].
Natalie Shure: Yeah.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah. As, as we were discussing-
Michael Brooks: The single white female impersonation-
Daniel Denvir: ... earlier, first time as Obama ... First time as Obama, second time as Buttigieg.
Michael Brooks: Oh, yeah.
Daniel Denvir: It's really sad. You do hate to see it.
Michael Brooks: Yeah.
Daniel Denvir: Say a little more about you revising your take on this in terms of feeling like it's a better thing for it to, basically, be what it looks like it's becoming now, which is a Biden/Bernie race, because the conventional wisdom that I think was shared by many of us in Bernie land as well is that it wasn't a bad thing for the moderates to be dividing up their votes.
Natalie Shure: You know, this gets into some game theory that I'm not necessarily prepared to pour-
Daniel Denvir: I think we're ready for some logic.
Natalie Shure: ... out all right now. I think maybe a two-person race isn't what I want. I think maybe... You know, I wouldn't mind a like, three to five-person race at the moment depending on which those candidates would be.
And I think that right now it looks as if ... at least a strong plurality of the voters of most candidates ... will go to Bernie., and so, as long as the rest of their votes are relatively split between three to five candidates, I think that we'll be in a good position.
Michael Brooks: And that actually brings two quick things up that I'd like you guys to touch on, so, one. I think it's really important, and I'm sure you're experiencing this when you're canvassing, that there ... I don't think there's a single modern politician that there's a bigger disconnect between what normal people think of them and how they're covered in the media, and that's not just because we like Bernie. That's just reality.
You can see that in polls. You can certainly experience that anecdotally, even amongst people who aren't necessarily planning on voting for him. Everybody outside of cable studios are "Yeah. He seems like a good person."
So, and I think that that's very important to keep really, really centering in the narrative about how he is not only the front runner. He is somebody that people I think generally ... and I want to get your thoughts on this ... would be satisfied with, and the only question mark for them is whether or not he can win, which I think h- Obviously, I think he can or we wouldn't be here.
The second thing really quick, and this tacks on to South Carolina, is a bigger project that's actually really important for this campaign and for a variety of things there is a really diverse black electorate inside itself. It's reported and talked about as a monolith. That's literally inaccurate.
And so, in some ways that ... Like, it calls for humility and there's no surprise that Biden won South Carolina, and there's a lot of historical reasons behind it, and there's a lot of reasons that make sense from a certain perspective. Right? Like, I should never be blaming any electorate, period. Right? And at the same time, we are-
Daniel Denvir: It's breaking in deplorables-type thing.
Michael Brooks: Yeah. And that was a very profoundly stupid thing to do there as well. Right? But we know in 2016 that Bernie's share of the African American vote started to shift substantially as you ... soon as you got into the industrial Midwest where there's a very powerful labor tradition, a powerful black labor tradition.
Even inside New York campaigning in Manhattan versus Brooklyn, that ... those are radically different traditions in a way. Right? Like, Manhattan is this powerful tradition of going back to Adam Clayton Powell and the Great Migration. The Caribbean is very influential in Brooklyn, so I think there's a way of puncturing this talking point that, "Oh, well, it shows he can't pull a ... you know, the coalition."
I mean, one, that isn't true. It's erasing a lot of support, but, two, it's also you can't just keep on condensing an incredibly complex electorate to your purposes of talking points because you're eliminating huge complexities in them. So, anyways, I like your thoughts on both of those.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah. No, I think those are both really important points. On the first one, in all of my weeks of canvassing, I only met two MSNBC style liberals who hate ... who disliked Bernie. Everyone else, including Amy Klobuchar's supporter, I met, and various other people, they liked Bernie, even if Bernie wasn't their first choice.
And most of the people I was talking to, Bernie was their first choice, but the people I ... who he ... for whom he wasn't the first choice, they still liked him, and they were worried about electability. This was where the media kind of narrative was infecting things, but nothing makes someone look like a winner as much as winning.
And with some ... With some small exceptions like yesterday, Bernie has been winning solidly and that, I think, generally speaking, we don't have to worry about ordinary Democratic Party voters if, knock on wood, Bernie is the nominee, lining up solidly behind him.
And I'm actually, for someone on the left, socialist left, fairly optimistic about Democratic leaders ultimately lining up behind him as well because if we believe that they're short of ideological vacuous, the Democratic Party establishment, and care about their own power, then I don't see why we won't expect to see something similar to what happened with Trump, who realigned the entire Republican party behind him and rendered never-Trumpers to the oblivion ... the margins of newspaper columns.
Michael Brooks: A small group of people who get Fox gigs.
Daniel Denvir: Right. Yeah.
Michael Brooks: They just say, "I can't believe I would. This is not my party."
Daniel Denvir: Yeah. And now they get to be never-Bernie and never-Trump people simultaneously. It'll be great. And, and that, yeah. I think your point on the black vote is, is super important.
I mean, we already have ... We not only have evidence from this from 2016 where Bernie did much better amongst black voters in Michigan or ... and Wisconsin than he did in, in South Carolina, but also just from this election already. Bernie was right behind just a percentage point behind, I believe Biden, in the black vote in Nevada, which is not an insignificant-
Michael Brooks: Oh, yeah. Right.
Daniel Denvir: ... black vote.
Michael Brooks: Not insignificant at all.
Natalie Shure: Yeah. I mean, I think the point about the black electorate is really important. You know, Bernie won young people overall. I think young black voters in South Carolina as well. and so, I think it was important to realize that it's a disproportionately older state, which is something that I hadn't realized about South Carolina.
I do hope that there are ways that the Bernie campaign and the people who are representing it ... So, when you guys go out to canvass, I think you know, figuring out how to speak with older voters retired voters, about Bernie's platform, people who have so much to gain from his platform you know, people who have so much on the line when it comes to Social Security cuts, people who are on the front line of realizing the degree to which Medicare falls short.
I think that those are things that you can really reach a new cadre of voters to speak to when it comes to Bernie's platform. And so, I think that we should be thinking about doing that as well because when you look at the numbers, I think that there's a lot of potential there.
Older voters don't have anything to gain from a Biden presidency and Biden's style of governance.
Michael Brooks: On that tip, on a scale of 10 to plus 10, 10, 10, how important is it that Bernie Sanders basically ... and people representing it, tell older people ... and I'm ... You know, set aside some people object to this ideologically, but just start talking about FDR constantly.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah. I mean, I think and that is what Bernie does when he is confronted with, "Oh, you're a Democratic Socialist," and I don't know exactly the way to thread that needle, but I do think that Bernie does do a good job of sort of making radical ideas seem normal.
And I don't know ... I don't know the degree to which ... Like, FDR was a resonant figure for older voters through the '80s and '90s when they were still Democratic leaning, like the Great Depression/New Deal generation.
I wonder if ... One problem ... I mean, just a problem with being in the left in the US, in general, is the struggle to find like a usable past, you know? So, is FDR still that usable past with all of his complications? Is he even resonant for older voters? I don't know.
Michael Brooks: In my anecdotal experience-
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: ... 100%-
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: ... he is.
Daniel Denvir: So, that's worked on, like-
Michael Brooks: And, again, I'm speaking anecdotally.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: And I also ... Well, I'll tell you my second thought on that, but, first, what do you think?
Natalie Shure: I mean, I think it depends on a 65-year old, you might have a tougher sale with FDR than an 85-year old.
Daniel Denvir: Right.
Natalie Shure: I think that makes sense. I guess it depends on who’s at the door.
Michael Brooks: Yeah. I mean, I guess I'm saying any ... I'm talking about people who are potentially persuadable to ... Like, yes. If you're 65 and you ... you know, FDR was a secret communist who let Pearl Harbor happen, no. But if you are in the realm of this conversation, absolutely.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: And I also, frankly, think that ... Sorry?
Yeah. Well, and anchoring it in, like I think this is another place where we need to have a ... you know, an obvious synthesis where it's "Okay. Yes. There was historicizing the New Deal and understanding the obvious critiques that exist there, and, of course," but then actually ... I think to some extent realizing that over correcting to not recognize the scale of that accomplishment empowers neoliberal politics today, and I-
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: ... do think people who are ... Yes. I think people who are persuadable, it is the closest we have 'cause, I mean JFK isn't that. Right? Like, even if there were other models, they don't fit in that tradition in the same way. That's the closest we have to basically some form of American social democracy and that's-
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: ... a good thing and should be honored and put forward.
Daniel Denvir: Yeah. I think that's right and especially if you think about the New Deal moment as something that was not just FDR, but the most massive upsurge in militant worker organizing that we've seen in this country with the ... you know, the '30s CIO strike wave and everything like that.
I don't think that's necessarily conveyable at the doors, but the moment when one is referencing the New Deal era, that conveys a lot in not only the kind of exclusions and problems of that period as well. Yeah. I think that's a good thing to do.
Natalie Shure: I think that that is also a great way to think about what we mean when we say that the Sanders campaign is a movement and that Sanders is the movement candidate. That you don't get the New Deal in the 1930s without militant labor action, without people in the streets fighting for unemployment rights. you don't get it without the bonus army.
And so, I think that those things are really important to keep in mind that it's really the uprising, the organizing of people outside of electoral politics that force the hand of people inside of it.
And that a good way to think about Sanders is not only is he a consistent leftist, who isn't funded by people we don't want to be funding our politicians, but he has a credible relationship with people outside of electoral politics, people like the people in this room, and people within the labor movement, who are trying to grow the labor movement, who are trying to push it to the left.
That he's going to be the candidate that's beholden to them and who's in the best position to implement the things that will materially benefit their lives and that will uplift them the way that they deserve to be. And that that, I think, is the most energizing thing for me about Bernie's campaign.
I think that that's a really difficult thing for the media to wrap their heads around, but that's, I think, foremost when I think about the analogy with Bernie and FDR that has a lot to do with it.
Daniel Denvir: Well, we've been talking about how we should represent the Bernie campaign knocking on doors. How do you think that the media representation of Bernie has changed since he became the front runner and what should ... how should we be reacting to that?
Natalie Shure: I think that ... As far as I've been able to see I think that the media, and to some degree, a lot of voters still have trouble wrapping their heads around the idea that Sanders is ... That the argument for Sanders isn't necessarily a strictly electoral one, that it does have so much to do with movement politics outside of the legislative arena.
And I think that that's why you get so many arguments about "What has he been able to do in Congress?" "We can't pass this. We don't have the votes." And those things are considerations.
You can't hand wave them away but the responses to a lot of those things, I think, has to do with building a movement and amassing people and that I haven't seen the media quite get that. I think that in recent weeks, as far as I've ... I can tell, I think that they've really ... You know, this APO that we keep hearing about that is about to come-
Daniel Denvir: The vetting.
Natalie Shure: Exactly. Just wait till Sanders is vetted and then someone finds a video of him talking about the Sandinistas and Cuba.
So, I think ... I think that some red-baiting will start to happen, but I think that he's also in a position where you know, by definition ... Someone who has been a self-identified Socialist in electoral politics for 30 or 40 years has, by definition, been vetted and red-baited and I think it's not effective.
I hope it continues to be less effective, but that's kind of the new wave that I've seen more recently. I don't know if you guys-
Daniel Denvir: Yeah, go ahead and call him a Socialist.
Natalie Shure: [Laughing]. I think ... I think they might. [Laughing].
Michael Brooks: Just like they called ... Again, just like they called Harry Truman and FDR a Socialist. Like, I'm ... You know, I'm sorry to-
Daniel Denvir: Truman talked about that.
Michael Brooks: Truman said, "Every good thing we've ever done has been called Socialism."
Daniel Denvir: Did you just watch-
Michael Brooks: It is a verbatim-
Daniel Denvir: Did you just watch the screener of a certain documentary that's coming out?
Michael Brooks: No. I actually haven't. Which one?
Daniel Denvir: Oh, a documentary, Socialism ... called Socialism that my-
Michael Brooks: No.
Daniel Denvir: ... friend Yael Bridge is making.
Michael Brooks: Well, that's awesome.
Daniel Denvir: It opened ... Well, I don't know ... I don't know if I'm supposed to say this. It opens with that Truman speech.
Michael Brooks: Shouts to ... I'm, I'm a Harvey J. Kaye guy as people watch my show-
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: ... so shouts to Harvey on that stuff-
Daniel Denvir: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: ... but yeah. I mean, I think what you have now ... There are three things I see happening in the media. One is, they're embarrassing themselves, which is good.
Two is, they're starting to grapple with the actual policy agenda and why people want or ... You know, there was supposedly a quote out at MSNBC I couldn't track down. It might have been off air that somebody was just "You know, I'm kind of getting young people. Like if you're only making like 80 grand a year, you might want help with health care."
And, of course, it's "Where are these amazing jobs," you know, so these people really are ... and I think self-interests and ideology and closed social circles are overdetermined, but I think they're starting ... So, embarrassing themselves, starting to grapple with the policy, and all they've got left, and the only effect of fear they have left is, you can't win.
And so, that's really, to me ... I just tune out all the other stuff. Like, I have answers for it, and we can take care of it, whatever, and they can make fools of themselves. That's great. But electability is the only relevant argument left and once that bridge is crossed, done.
Daniel Denvir: And the thing about electability is, I get why the Bernie campaign has the lead with Bernie beats Trump, and I believe strongly that Bernie's the best candidate to take on Trump, but Trump ... It's also true that Trump will be a formidable candidate.
Michael Brooks: But, by the way, can anybody honestly say ... and I think in 2016, this would be different in a Biden being a bit more on the ball, uh-
Daniel Denvir: That's a euphemism.
Michael Brooks: No comment.
Daniel Denvir: [Laughing].
Michael Brooks: I ... Could anybody with ... just honestly and without breaking out laughing ... see any of these other people even being able to credibly compete against Donald Trump? I don't see it.
I saw the Bloomberg thing where he was knocking under the podium. Trump is-
Natalie Shure: Yeah.
Michael Brooks: Not only would Trump beat Bloomberg, he would have genuine joy doing it.
Natalie Shure: Trump is really funny.
Michael Brooks: He's incredibly funny, and it's a big problem that so many people who have led the ... Like, it's basic strategy. You need to have some understanding of your enemy's appeal and their strengths and you have a subculture of people who project their cultural preferences, values and humor and particular neurosis on the rest of the electorate, and for better or for worse ... and I do mean for better and for worst ... it's not there.
Natalie Shure: Can I say, one thing that I'm so happy that I think Bernie can take back from Trump, which is incredibly important, and for the past couple of years, I think that anyone left of center has come to just revile the idea of a rally because we're so used to the idea of Trump rallies, which are these really horrifying spectacles that I can't-
Michael Brooks: He's like
Natalie Shure: ... stand-
Michael Brooks: Nuremberg-like [laughing].
Natalie Shure: Yeah. But, uh-
Michael Brooks: That's an exaggeration.
Natalie Shure: ... like a rally in and of itself as a political tool is amazing. And if you've ever been to one of Bernie's, if any of you guys were at the Boston Common one yesterday, yeah. It was incredible and that's-
Michael Brooks: They're very lovely.
Natalie Shure: ... what a rally should be drum up that kind of enthusiasm and that kind of enthusiasm matters. Like, I remember in 2016, I forget who did this study, but I think one of the university teams that predicted Trump's win basically looked at this thing that I think they termed the enthusiasm gap.
That if you looked at the level of enthusiasm around Trump versus the level of enthusiasm around Clinton, that this was a difficult thing to measure, but it was decisive, and I think that rallies bring that out.
And rallies and drumming up that kind of enthusiasm, that kind of support, that kind of collective energy is the kind of thing that makes a superdelegate awfully hesitant to throw their weight towards someone besides Bernie at a contested convention.
You know, I think that there's usefulness in being the supporters of the candidate that people really don't want to cross, or really don't want to be annoyed by, and this is one of those times that it's really great.
So that kind of energy around Bernie relative to other candidates is an amazing thing. I'm glad that he's de-stigmatized the concept, in general, after a couple years of Trump.
Michael Brooks: Right. And don't let them take that away from you.
Natalie Shure: No.
Michael Brooks: I mean, that is actually the only relevance of this whole Bernie Bro nonsense is it's a whole game to try to take that energy away, so don't listen.
Daniel Denvir: And do you remember that New York Times editorial board interview question? They were "So, you say you'll do rallies and Trump does rallies. What's the difference?" Like, they were-
Michael Brooks: Yeah. I like that. That's sort of, yeah.
Daniel Denvir: A rally is just a form. The content of the rally does not matter if-
Michael Brooks: Nelson Mandela, Pinochet, both gave speeches.
Karen Hunter: You know, my biggest problem with Bernie is that every time he talks about black people, it's always poverty. It's always criminal justice. Now, this is 2016. We're gonna do all these wonderful things, and I'm "74% of us are not impoverished."
There has to be a black agenda that doesn't start with, "I'm gonna fix unemployment and poverty," when most of us are not unemployed or impoverished, and it's insulting, I said, especially for this audience, you know because that's not really our state.
The criminal justice. Most of us are not in jail or have been, and so, there has to be a broader ... So, when I look at a Fredrick Douglas plan or even Bloomberg's initiative with Greenwood, while it ... I don't know if they're going to actually execute them.
I'm happy that you see beyond and you understand what happened with redlining and things and you're gonna do things to help with home ownership and black-owned business 'cause that's the basis of who we are as a people and always have been. We always build community. We just need you to get out of our way.
Bernie would never change. You know, we had a conversation. It was "It's hard to get him off of that." So, in my mind, I see someone that's stuck.
Briahna Joy Gray: So, I appreciate the point about, of course, black people should not be over identified with poverty, but Bernie Sanders I don't think talks about black people and poverty in that context more. I think he talks about poverty, period, more than any other candidate in the race because here's the statistics.
Obviously, I'm a relatively affluent black person who's lived a life with a lot of privilege. One generation removed, that's not the case. And when I go home to my family, it resonates with me when he talks about the fact that 40% of Americans can't respond to a $400 emergency.
Can't come up. Your life depends on it. Gonna get kicked out of your house, have a medical problem. Can't come up with $400, and you know that, yes, black and brown people are overrepresented among that 40%; something like 80% can't respond to an $800 emergency. It goes up.
If I just may. You know, something like 30 to 40,000 people die every year from a lack of medical treatment. 500,000 people die ... sorry ... go bankrupt every year because of medical bankruptcies.
So, when we talk about the country as a whole, I think too often politicians have pitched themselves to the middle and upper middle classes because they perceive that those are the people who vote, those are the people who are on TV and who they interact with more generally speaking, and we forget enormous swaths of the country who are extremely economically insecure-
Karen Hunter: No. I …
Briahna Joy Gray: ... and it's not-
Karen Hunter: I disagree with that.
Briahna Joy Gray: Might not be me or you.
Karen Hunter: No, I disagree with that. I think that's always ... and this was the thing. I expect something different from Bernie. It's always when they talk about black people. It's always about poverty and employment, and all of the things that are related to criminal justice and it's insulting.
And I think we should be more aspirational, but I also ... You know, I feel like demonizing billionaires is also not a ... You can do all of that without then demonizing people who bring 25 million jobs into the marketplace. You talked about Walmart and Starbucks.
Well, most people do work for them and they have great benefits, and while they can do better ... Yes. They can do better and they could be held accountable, these billionaires have created Home Depot and other places where people are actually working. Right?
So, it’s easy in philanthropy, and I'm not shilling for billionaires. Let me just be clear. But why can't you deliver that message without at the same time smacking these people over here?
Briahna Joy Gray: I think that as long as half a million people in the wealthiest country in the world exist, it's my personal ... and I understand that if you ... if you disagree. It's my personal, ethical belief that is it ... It's unethical to have $60 billion. I don't think that's enormously controversial.
We're not talking about preventing people from being affluent. We're not talking about preventing people from having millions of dollars. You don't get to have $60 billion because you worked 60 billion times harder-
Karen Hunter: No.
Briahna Joy Gray: ... than the workers at your company.
Karen Hunter: No one's arguing that. That's because of the laws that are in place-
Briahna Joy Gray: Right.
Karen Hunter: ... that we need to fix. So, what about the Senate?
Briahna Joy Gray: And, and-
Karen Hunter: Right? So, that's ... Change the laws.
Briahna Joy Gray: But if I ... This is a really, really important point. There's a lot of misunderstanding in this country about how wealth gets made, and we tell this Horatio Alger's story that says: If you just have a really good idea and you just work harder than everybody else, that's how you get billions of dollars.
And there are enough black people I know listening to this right now that know that they work harder than their boss.
Karen Hunter: Absolutely.
Briahna Joy Gray: That they work two or three jobs. A lot of people's mothers-
Karen Hunter: That's-
Briahna Joy Gray: ... who have been out here hitting the pavement their entire lives and there's not a correlation between how hard you're working and what's paying off.
Karen Hunter: No one could dispute that.
Briahna Joy Gray: And billionaires have ... When you get an enormous amount of money like that profit is coming from stealing the wages, from taking more than what you ... not paying people what they are owed.
Karen Hunter: Ford wasn't doing that.
Briahna Joy Gray: That's point blank, period.
Karen Hunter: Marquis was not doing it. I'm so ... I just think, again, the blanketed ... The cutting-
Briahna Joy Gray: Well, let's not blanket it. Let's talk specifically. Let's talk about these Walmart workers. Walmart workers support Bernie Sanders in part because he took the fight to Walmart and he went to their board meeting.
He pointed out the fact that Walmart underpays its employees so much. It's some enormous percentage of them. I don't want to misrepresent, but some enormous percentage of them-
Karen Hunter: Let's-
Briahna Joy Gray: ... are ... have government subsidies. I have to-
Karen Hunter: ... talk about Walmart. Let's talk about their management, the majority which are black, who are making six figures because that's also Walmart, which we never talk about that part of Walmart. Right? The black folks that are making six figures in management at Walmart, which are a lot. Right? So-
Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.
Karen Hunter: ... I feel like we're just sussing out some things right now-
Briahna Joy Gray: Sure.
Karen Hunter: ... just getting to know each other, but I want to be convinced when you leave here because no matter what I'm voting for Bernie Sanders if he's a nominee.
Karen Hunter: Unfortunately, I don't think the same, right, for a lot of Bernie supporters and I also ... Because we heard at the last debate. If he doesn't have 1991, he believes that he should just get it, even though he didn't believe Hillary-
Briahna Joy Gray: No. He-
Karen Hunter: ... should have gotten.
Briahna Joy Gray: The democratic process should take its turn, that we shouldn't use superdelegates to override what the predominantly black and brown voters that brought him to that majority want.
That's it for this week. Hear the Bern is produced by Ben Dalton and Christopher Moore. Let us know what you think at [email protected], or else take to Twitter with the hashtag, #HearTheBern.
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