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Talking about Early Voting; WikiLeaks: Fact-Finding or Threat to Democracy?; What Happens After Election Day?; Review of Final Debate. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired October 22, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:16] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish, coming to you live from Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers across America and around the world. 17 days until Election Day, who are we kidding? It's already upon us thanks to early voting and people are thronging the polls. Is it over before it begins?
In the final sprint with the numbers against him, Donald Trump is not giving up. He says his election will be Brexit times five. Whoever wins, what does the morning after look like?
Plus, widespread condemnation of Trump's debate refusal to accept the election outcome but Pat Buchanan is here and says criticism comes from an establishment terrified they'll never get Trump supporters back in the fold.
And Wikileaks' Julian Assange has been on a vendetta to topple Hillary Clinton. But has he gone too far? Are all the private e-mails he's releasing actually undermining him?
But first, so often you hear from my colleagues and me that there are x days until the election on November 8. Today that number is 17. But in this presidential cycle, that number is misleading. Election Day is now. Already more than 5 million votes have been cast, balloting is well under way by mail or at the polls in 34 of the 37 early voting states. And America has been utilizing the opportunity at a rate far outpacing 2012.
More than 45 million people are expected to vote before Election Day or as much as 40 percent of all votes cast. Many endorse early voting as a means of boosting participation, but one of my guests believes it has a negative impact on the Democratic process, James Huffman, a visiting fellow from Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
First, while we can't see the ballots that have been cast so far, they nevertheless give us clues as to who is winning and losing. And for that, I turn to Michael McDonald, Associate Professor at the University of Florida and the fellow at the brooks institution, specializing in elections and methodology. OK, Professor McDonald we can't open the envelopes yet but nevertheless we do know things. What do we know?
MICHAEL MCDONALD, ASSOC. PROF. OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, U. OF FLORIDA: We know in some states if there's party registration in the state we know the party registration of the people who have voted. We can make a comparison to 2012 in many cases, and then in other states we know age, gender and in a very limited number of states we know the race of the people who have voted so far.
SMERCONISH: And you certainly know the party affiliation, right? So you can look at a particular state that allows early voting and you know who has shown up from what party or what absentee ballots have been requested from Republicans as compared to Democrats and presumably if they're supporting their party nominee that will give you clues.
MCDONALD: You would have a good suspicious that if you're a Democrat you're probably supporting Clinton and if you're Republican you're likely supporting Trump.
SMERCONISH: I want to show you on the screen a graph that tracks the escalation of early voting in the United States. I mean, look at that. That's pretty stunning. If you go back to the 1992 cycle it's less than 10 percent. And as I represented at the outset in this election, 2016, we may get as high as potentially 40 percent. Why is that the case?
MCDONALD: Well, it started back in 1980 when California adopted no excuse absentee voting. And slowly starting out in the West Coast the number of states adopted mail balloting options like no excuse of absentee voting. Then in the mid 1990s, Texas, Tennessee and Florida adopt no in person early voting. And that's another phenomenon that spread mostly on the east but there of course, some places on the west as well that use in person early voting. And as states have adopted these more permissive forms of early voting, what we've seen is an expansion just as people use the option but then overtime you see once the state has adopted an early voting option, more and more people tend to use it over time. For example, in Oregon, people were so accustom to using mail balloting that the state just decided to run their elections all by mail back in 2000.
SMERCONISH: Something that troubles me on the screen right now, people voting in Georgia, where lines were up to two hours. I thought the whole idea here was to facilitate, make it easier for folks to vote. Why go out and vote early if I still have to stand in line for two hours?
MCDONALD: You know, funny thing is if you go back to our very founding we had in person early voting. We ran the election over several days to allow people the opportunity to get to the polling location.
[09:04:57] Now, what's happening right now in some of these states like Georgia and North Carolina is that by choice local election boards have decided to curtail the early voting option -- the opportunities by reducing the number of polling locations.
Now, those numbers of locations will expand in a week prior to the election, but right now you've got a lot of people interested in voting and they're trying to get through this one bottleneck of maybe like win a county in Georgia only one polling location to vote. SMERCONISH: OK. So you've given us a nice primer. Now let's devil into the data. Tell me if I'm Donald Trump, is there reason for optimism in any of the early voting patterns thus far and if so, be specific, talk states.
MCDONALD: Yeah, right. Well, first of all, let's be cautious here, right? We've still got couple more weeks, 17 days. A lot can change in the election and we've still got a large volume of early voting to get through. And we're at 5 million, but we're going to see over 40 million, but when it's all said and done. Sop there's a lot of voting yet left to be done. That all said, when you look at the numbers, Clinton is looking strong on the east coast. We can see that Democrats are outperforming, at least we suspect they're outperforming in some places because we don't have party registration but in places like Virginia, Maine, we can see that Democrats are outperforming their 2012 levels.
Same with Florida, although it's a little complicated. And then-- due to various law changes. And then in North Carolina, what we're observing is that I think due to those bottlenecks the levels are slightly down for the Democrats, but they're much further down for the Republicans. And so we might suspect that there's a bit of enthusiasm gap that's actually working against the Republicans in a state like North Carolina.
Now, so that's the good news for the Democrats, for Clinton, is that there strengths so far in the East Coast, we're going to get some numbers on the West Coast soon. They're starting to vote and we're starting to get numbers there. But it's preliminary. So, that's the good news for the Democrats. The bad news for the Democrats is the Midwest. And we've seen this in the polling all throughout this election cycle that even as the national numbers have moved towards Clinton, there's been real resistance to that movement, national movement in places like Iowa and Ohio.
And when we look at the early voting numbers, we can actually see as well that Democrats are not as engaged as they were in 2012. So it's just the opposite story of what we see along the eastern sea board. We see that it's Democrats who are disengaged in the Midwest and its Republicans who are engaged at the same levels of 2012, Iowa and Ohio. And I suspect because of some of the this that we can look at under the hood in Iowa that some of that weakness in Iowa bleeds over to south western Wisconsin and that may be also why we see, although we don't have the good comparison numbers, it's just a hunch that we have that Wisconsin also we've seen Clinton has a lead but it's not nearly the lead that she should have if we were thinking that there was going to be this big national swing towards the Democrats.
SMERCONISH: Let me make sure we've got it for the take away. Early signs for Donald Trump that are good, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin. Early signs that support Hillary Clinton, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. Am I right in saying that that could represent a realignment of the parties?
MCDONALD: Yeah. That's interesting, right? So why is it-- why is it that one part of the country is moving one way and another part of the country is moving another way? We first saw this back in 2008 when Appalachian moved in the opposite direction of the national numbers in that waive election for the Democrats in 2008. It may be that what we will see is that further sort of waive of places like Virginia, and North Carolina moving more in the Democrats direction, even though we're going to see places West Virginia which is in 2008 moved towards the Republicans. And then we see these midwestern states that may be moving back towards the Republicans as well. That is what we be what we would think is if that's persistent. I mean maybe this is just a Trump phenomenon that just lasts for one election and then it's gone. If it's not a flash in the pan, then that may represent a fundamental change in the party coalitions that could have long-lasting effe cts on our politics.
SMERCONISH: Michael McDonald, thank you for the analysis. We appreciate it. Is this trend toward no excuse early voting a problem? It presumes that much of the campaigns and discussion falls on deaf ears because people already know for whom they'll be vote no matter what emerges. Is it a threat therefore to our Democratic process? James Huffman is visiting fellow at Stanford University Hoover Institution. He is Dean Emeritus of the Lewis and Clark Law School. Dean Huffman, you don't like the strand is that fair to say and if so, why not?
JAMES HUFFMAN, DEAN EMERITUS, LEWIS AND CLARK LAW SCHOOL: That is fair to say. And let me just summarize quickly three or four or five reasons why. I think as you've already indicated it really means that the debate that's taking place in the campaign is irrelevant to all those voters who voted early.
[09:10:00]So, and the president of the United States case, he voted on October 7th. That was before the last two presidential debates. Now of course we can imagine how he would vote. But what really concerns me about the debate is the down ballot candidates I can't imagine that the president had a good read on all the down ballot candidates in Illinois when he voted. So that concerns me. Secondly, yeah I think it increases the costs of elections because you don't have a peek. You have -- in Oregon where I vote, you have a three-week period when ballots are being cast. Thirdly, I think things can happen in the future. Candidates can even die. They can change their positions. They can be revelations as we've seen about their past. Fourthly, I think -- and now the two most important points to me, one is that it's a civic event. It used to be the election.
When I was a kid, I'd go with my mother to the ballot place. It had some real significance. Now we're basically voting alone. We're voting when ever we choose and I think that civic part of it is critical and lastly I think it contributes to partisanship. The presumption is and I think you said this earlier the presumption is that people are going to know how to vote before they even know who the candidates are. They're going to vote straight party tickets. And that's certainly true of some people , but I think the presumption that that's true of everybody contributes to the partisanship that we see in our politics.
SMERCONISH: Dean Huffman, one of the arguments in support of early voting is that it boosts turnout. Does the data support that argument? HUFFMAN: The date does not support that argument in Oregon. In Oregon,
if you look at the 10 elections before volt by mail was instituted in 1992, the turnout was 74 percent on average. If you look at the 10 elections after 1992 the turnout remarkably was 74 percent, exactly the same. In primary elections however turnout has gotten worst. In those 10 elections before vote by mail the turnout was 52 percent. In the 10 elections since, 43 percent, so and certainly in Oregon there's no evidence that it helps with turnout.
SMERCONISH: Let me just say that I agree with you that some vote too soon. I mean the idea that in Minnesota you could vote a month and a half before Election Day is too much. But at the other end of the spectrum is my home state of Pennsylvania where it all gets done on one day and but for a showing of cause, you need to vote on that particular day. Somewhere in the middle lies the proper number, perhaps it's at the conclusion of the third and final presidential debate. You get the final word.
HUFFMAN: I think I could agree that a shorter period of time would obviously be better. Maybe the last week or something, but I think that we still shouldn't be focussed entirely on turnout. We should be focussed on having an informed electorate and an election that really is about the importance of the Democratic process and the civic nature of that.
SMERCONISH: James Huffman, thank you for being here.
HUFFMAN: It's my pleasure. Thank you.
SMERCONISH: What do you think? Tweet me @smerconish and I'll read the best later in the program.
Still to come, when Donald Trump wouldn't say if he accept Election Day he set off a fire storm in both parties. Why? Well, Pat Buchanan says it's because Trump scares the establishment.
And Wikileaks keeps coming providing insightful and embarrassing secret about how politics operates. But is there a longer term cause to privacy and democracy?
[09:17:41] SMERCONISH: The big headline out of the final presidential debate had nothing to do with policy, instead Donald Trump set off a fire storm in the media and both major parties by refusing to say whether he'd accept the Election Day voting results. The reason for that hysteria, my next guest Pat Buchanan says its fear. In his latest article, "An establishment in panic", he writes "The establishment is horrified at the Donald's defiance because deep within its soul it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority."
Former presidential adviser and Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan joins me now. Pat, I have a different take. I think instead that the concern about what Donald Trump said in the final debate is about the problem that he poses for the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box. I mean he seeks to undermine that without even knowing what the results are. How am I wrong?
PAT BUCHANAN, (R) FRMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're wrong in this sense. I don't know if the vote is going to be rigged, but I certainly do know this, Michael. The system is rigged against Trump. And the fact that the hysterical reaction of the establishment to a comment that someone says, look, I don't know if I'm going to accept it, what do they think he's going to do? He's going to march on Washington as the head of coxey's army? Is he going to burn down the capitol or something? Or is he going to say I don't accept the results and I'm not going to phone Hillary Rodham Clinton and say congratulations.
What explains this panic, this at the heart of the establishment over a simple comment? My belief is simply this, Michael, I think the establishment is terrified that he's country that the country does not believe in its leadership and for three basic reasons that Trump is raised, the establishment has left the borders open and millions of people have walked into this country and changed its character. Secondly, it has exported our manufacturing base millions and millions of American jobs have been shipped overseas, and he dispossessing the American middle and working class. Third, they got us into one war after another after another after another. They cannot win or end. And the country has risen up against the establishment in both parties.
[09:19:56] SMERCONISH: You've just raised three legitimate points for public debate in the context of this election. But none when the people speak through and including on November 8 or a justification for undermining the properly chosen successor to Barack Obama and that's what he seeks to do.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me give you some reasons. Number one, Bernie Sanders ran a fair, tough fight. Was not the outcome fixed against him by the super delegates and the national committee working with the Clinton administration as well as the White House and as well as the media wrong against him? Donald Trump and Ted Cruz won 75 percent of the Republican vote. A vast majority of the country, 75 percent says we would like dramatic change in Washington and we're going to wind up with no change in Washington if the election goes the way it's going. Now you tell me that's not a rigged system.
SMERCONISH: Pat, it's not a rigged system. I mean Debbie Wasserman Schultz may have had her thumb on the scale relative to the DNC, but I don't think that she affected the outcomes of the election. People who went and cast their -- you're giving way too much credence and credit to her ability as the head of the DNC the play favorites and influence the outcome.
BUCHANAN: Well, Let me tell you -- look, the country wants change and it's not getting it. And one of the major reasons is the media. Now in the 19th century mark said power is control of the means of production. Arthur Schwarzenegger said about 1960, "Power is control of the means of communication". The left in the establishment control 85 percent of the communications in the United States. They have overwhelmingly weighed the scales against Trump. They have attacked him. Look, Trump made a statement about rapists when he came down that elevator. It's been repeated 10,000 times. Hillary Clinton has called half of Trump supporters racist, sexist, homophobes, xenophobes digits (ph) on American irredeemable. Which of those two quotes has CNN used more often?
SMERCONISH: You are conflating the rigging of an election with media bias and that is something -- let me finish now because I've been fair to you. That's something that Donald Trump has done without being challenged on it. You reference in your current piece the Clinton cable. I assume that's a shot at CNN with regard to the way in which we covered Trump's statement in the debate the other night.
Let me show you "The Wall Street Journal." "The Wall Street Journal" is not Clinton cable. Here is what the journal, a Republican oracle said that again is Mr. Trump's ego talking, a man who doesn't like to lose refusing to take responsibility for his campaign, voters on the right and left want to have faith in the electoral system. That's my argument. You're setting the stage for people to wake up on November 9 and question the legitimacy if it's Hillary and if she's won fair and square. That's not right.
BUCHANAN: Look, I'm telling you -- I don't know that the vote would be rigged. I didn't say that. I said the system is rigged.
SMERCONISH: No, you used the rigged word, pat.
BUCHANAN: You not only say and you hold it. You hold on rigged I'll use it. The system is rigged. OK? You said CNN. Now you mentioned "The Wall Street Journal." editorial page horribly hostile to Trump. New York Times, Washington post you can't -- pick up that paper without reading anti-Trump stuff. The free networks, the cable networks except for FOX overwhelmingly the left in the establishment control the media and they are controlling the outcome of this election and the very fact -- what are we supposed to do? Get up and salute? I'm in Virginia.
The governor of Virginia six months ago says I'm going to make 200,000 convicts voters by November and by executive order. I'm supposed to salute that and say isn't this a wonderful example of democracy? The point is, go back to the basics. The borders have been opened up millions of people brought in to change the character of the American electorate to where the conservatives and Middle America can never win again. That's the point of my column and it is the truth.
SMERCONISH: Your argument about the media ended in 1992. The media today is whatever you want it to be. It was liberal. Today it's Breitbart, it's drudge, it's a.m./talk radio. It's all of that if you want it to be. Whatever you want to find it's out there. And here is what I'm saying with regard to your three items of substance which I think are legitimate issues, go and win it fair and square. And if you can't win it fair and square, then don't whine about it when it's over and say, well, the whole thing was rigged.
BUCHANAN: Will you tell me why 75 percent of the American people want a dramatic change? They want it in the Democratic Party. We saw what happened to Bernie. They got it in the Republican Party. But all of a sudden the election towards the end we're not going to get any change we're getting the same people who brought us the wars, who brought us open borders, who exported American manufacturing, who gave away all those jobs, who are responsible for the arresting of the wages of working Americans.
Do you think all those folks out there in Middle America are enraged and turning out at Trump rallies, bringing him to a point at one point where he was not only even with Hillary Rodham Clinton but looked like he was on the verge of victory despite the worst and most savage beating I've ever seen by the media against the candidate. You think all that is some kind of accident, Michael?
[09:25:11] SMERCONISH: That beating has been administered to Donald Trump with his own words and actions. If 10 women hadn't come out and said that he sexually assaulted them, there'd be nothing on that score for us to be reporting. Come on, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Now why are you running -- I mean you guys spent all this time figuring out why Trump should not have said that miss USA to spend all her time and burger king at the same time you've got all kinds of great problems going on in this country. You focussed on trivial pursuit. I admit you have these little misdemeanors and, but what is important about this country? The big issues. Are you guys focussed on those or focussed on the running around gathering up these women to make Trump look bad? I mean, the point is if you think that Trump had a fair deal in this election, I don't know how you can say that. You're not watching the same media the rest of America is. Why is the media's reputation so low, Michael? Why are they so detested out there in Middle America?
SMERCONISH: 17 days are left. This ought to be plenty of reason for people to go and vote. They can choose their side and act accordingly. By the way, I'm not on either of these sides. I just want full participation, all right? Patrick, thank you. Go ahead get your final word in.
BUCHANAN: All right. I've watched you on T.V. I think I know who you're going to vote for, Michael. I think the other viewers do as well.
SMERCONISH: I don't think so, Patrick. And that's why there are curtains on that ballot booth. Thank you, my friend.
SMERCONISH: Keep tweeting me. @smerconish.
Still to come, we learned a lot from Wikileaks recently, but at what cost to our Democratic process. Dan Abrams is here to discuss.
[09:31:11] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: We have WikiLeaks to thank for the release of Hillary Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street and a presidential debate conversation as to her desire for hemispheric open borders she says with regard to energy. Arguably, that information added to the public discourse.
But what about a 2015 e-mail wherein John Podesta referred to Bernie Sanders as a doofus or the e-mail which revealed that Bill Clinton went out to buy his granddaughter baby wipes. What public service was served with that revelation?
The latter point out what's most troubling about the hacktavism of founder Julian Assange. Throughout this entire presidential race, Assange has been on a vendetta threatening to release materials so damaging to Hillary Clinton she could never get elected.
My view is that many have cheered the document drop, because it suits their short-term partisan political interests without thinking through the long-term privacy implications.
Marco Rubio is an exception. He warned his party away from using such material saying, "Today, it's the Democrats. Tomorrow, it could be us."
So, what is the future of such elicit hacks to our democracy, our privacy and the electoral system.
Joining me now the founder of Mediaite and Law Newz, that's news with a Z, and ABC news legal analyst Dan Abrams.
Dan, I was eager to have you back, because your sites published some of the WikiLeaks information pertinent to Colin Powell and then you had second thoughts about it. I wonder how you're feeling today.
DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, I had second thoughts in the sense that I thought we needed to have this discussion the one that we're having. Look, with regard to WikiLeaks, my sites have been publishing that information as well.
The most important thing to me when it comes to something like this is let's not just say WikiLeaks is releasing this. Let's call it what it is -- hacked, stolen documents, stolen e-mails. And now it is clear likely at the hands of Russia.
I think that needs to be part of the discussion. Does that mean it's not accurate? You know, you have the Clinton camp sort of winking and saying, well, we can't verify. And the media organizations, right, have to say, we can't verify. Of course they're true. If they weren't true, if it wasn't real, they would be coming out and saying we can't -- instead of not -- we can't verify they would be saying this stuff isn't true. This stuff is made up.
So, let's accept the fact that what's in there is true. When you do that, it's tough not to report on it. But I also think there is an obligation to keep reminding people that it's a really bad thing that the Russians, it seems, are hacking into our political figures' private e-mails to try to influence the election. Doesn't mean the information is not true. Doesn't mean we shouldn't use it. Does mean we should be highlighting it.
SMERCONISH: Does the requirement therefore become for the media to take it all? I mean, I want to run through a couple of recent revelations and ask Dan Abrams is this the sort of thing that should enter the public domain?
Here is the most recent, Donald Trump says this is evidence of a quid pro quo. It involves the Clinton Global Initiative and whether she would go and meet with the king of Morocco in return for allegedly reportedly a $12 million endowment from the king to CGI. I mean, that would seem to have great relevance against the backdrop of Trump's pay-to-play allegations.
Yet, let me show you another one. Here comes -- put u number two. This is the baby wipes. You know, Bill is picking up charlotte for baby sitting. They had to go out and sanitize the whole house. It seems a bit ridiculous that that would be in the public domain.
[09:35:00] Number three, just two or three more -- is the comment about Bernie Sanders. This is John Podesta. "Can you believe that doofus?"
And then here's another one that seems to have some legitimacy. This comes from the speeches to Wall Street. This is the Hemispheric Common Market, Open Trade and Open Markets the open border one.
Then finally -- no, that's I guess enough of them.
So, Dan, as a media outlet or proprietor of media outlets, do you take them a case at a time? Do you take them all? What do you do?
ABRAMS: Yes. I mean, I think in a different day and age, right, let's say 30 years ago. More importantly before the Internet, media organizations would go through and very, very carefully decide, is this important enough? Is this in the public interest? Is this private?
The reality is that now, a media organization can decide -- NPR for example is going through over these WikiLeaks disclosures, and yet the reality is whether NPR does or doesn't report on some of the more mundane and private aspects that you're talking about, it's out there. I know it's a cop out answer, right, to say you know what, it's out there any way, so what are we going to do?
But it's also the reality. The reality is the minute in this day and age that WikiLeaks is releasing it, everyone is going to have it. If a handful of media organizations say, you know, we're not going to disclose this piece of information or that piece of information, I get it. That's a nice principled position to take, but it's also living in an alternate universe where the media sort of leaders had the power to decide what the public got to see. Those days are over.
SMERCONISH: Dan Abrams, thank you for your analysis.
ABRAMS: Good to be with you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Donald Trump last night said the election will be Brexit times five, that he's going to up end all expectations. Thomas Frank says that many Brits fear the same and blame journalists. We'll find out why.
And "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance is here.
Plus, everyone has election day November 8th circled on their calendar. I'm worried about the day after. How can anyone put the pieces back together again?
[09:41:20] SMERCONISH: Donald Trump's debate refusal to say that he'll accept the election outcome only heightened my worry about November 9th, the day after the election ends. The only certainty is that slightly less than half the nation will wake up in a funk. And according to polls, even many who voted for the winning candidate will have done so reluctantly.
Our reaction and that of the candidates will set the course for the next four years. So, here are a few thoughts.
First, from the citizenry, forbearance, it will be tough, but if Trump wins, we need to let go of all his incendiary rhetoric and let him start from scratch. And if Clinton wins, we must put to rest the fixation with Benghazi and her e-mail server.
It's too much to ask that their past will be forgotten but reasonable to request that they move on in the name of national unity.
As for the candidates -- if Trump wins, he needs to be magnanimous, he should immediately retire his Twitter account and banish the term "Crooked Hillary" from his lexicon. His cabinet and senior staff appointments should include many women and people of color. But if Trump loses, he must stop making unfounded and destructive accusations and accept the legitimacy of his fate with grace -- clearly a tall order for him.
If Clinton wins, she should immediately reach across the aisle. She should request that the Senate confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in lieu of her selecting a pick of her own. Should she lose, she must be gracious and give Trump the opportunity to show that actions speak louder than words. As for the new Congress, the nation can ill afford another confab where a leader tells his single most important goal to make the opposition a one-term president.
It's healthy for one party to wish to defeat another. But the nation just can't afford the type of attacks President Obama has endured being redirected toward his successor.
Is an uneasy truce realistic?
I have the perfect guests. Welcome back, J.D. Vance, author of the bestseller "Hillbilly Elegy" and Thomas Frank, author of "Listen, Liberal".
Thomas frank, react to my naivety?
THOMAS FRANK, AUTHOR, "LISTEN, LIBERAL": Well, I think civility is important. It's a very important value. It will be a relief to get a little of it after all this is over. But I think issues are more important. I think that dealing with the crisis that a lot of people are lives that we've seen via the Trump movement that that's more important. That's my view. SMERCONISH: J.D., you heard perhaps at the outset of the program,
Professor Michael McDonald he thinks there's potentially a realignment taking place in this country largely along the divide of education. You are so plugged into the Trump constituency, what becomes of them should Donald Trump lose? And I'm speaking politically.
J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR, "HILLBILLY ELEGY": Yes. Well, I think a lot of people would obviously be very frustrated. They'll still fundamentally be a part of the Republican Party and I'm sure we'll vote for Republican politics.
But I think what happens, and politically, ultimately depends on Donald Trump, if he decides to make this election about how it was stolen from him, then folks are going to be angry and they will be less engaged in the political process than they otherwise would be. So, I hope he follows your advice and acts magnanimous.
SMERCONISH: Do they necessarily follow his leadership? I mean, does Donald Trump have control of that constituency that you write about from Appalachia by way of illustration or was he just right place at the right time?
VANCE: I think it's a little bit right place, right time. Because of that he definitely has a certain leadership role within this community because he's been the person who sort of thumbs his nose up at the elites.
[09:45:06] And that makes him pretty popular among this group of people.
So, you know, I don't think that people will necessarily follow Donald Trump, but I also think he has a certain place just because of the way this election is unfolded and I hope he uses it well, which maybe he will, maybe he won't.
SMERCONISH: Thomas Frank, Pat Buchanan was here earlier and talked about the rigged nature of the election in his eyes. And I wonder if things that he said about Bernie Sanders you speak so well for the liberal community, things that he said about the Bernie Sanders constituency, I mean, did that represent a rare agreement between you and Pat Buchanan?
FRANK: By the way, I really enjoyed that interview. I've never heard someone in American television refer to Coxey's Army ever before. That's the first time. There's -- you know, I think that -- so the cover story in the latest issue of "Harpers" is something that I wrote about how the media specifically "The Washington Post" treated Bernie Sanders. And, you know, yeah, here's a sense that it was really unfair, but look, this is you're asking about the larger question about whether or not people should accept the results even though it's unfair.
Well, of course they should, you know, you know? No question about that. That's how the system works.
SMERRCONISH: Well, J.D., if we saw a repeat like the year 2000 where there was a divide between the popular vote and the Electoral College, I would of course expect Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton to hang in until the very last vote is counted. I'm worried and what I tried to undermining of whomever is elected by the will of the people on November 8 because there will come a November 9. What's your idea, J.D., of how we best move forward?
VANCE: Yes. Well, I think you're absolutely right that there's a difference between using the legitimate judicial process to challenge the results of an election versus actually questioning whether is that election was rigged or whether the outcome once the courts decide it's legitimate actually going after the outcome. I think that's a really serious problem and the way that we have to move forward is I think on the Republican side, Republican leaders just have to do a better job.
I mean, I think that Trump is fundamentally a result of their political failure in the first place, the failure to recognize that these voters who are part of their constituency feel very underserved. And, you know, they have an opportunity, I think, on November 9th of 2016 to do a job by these folks. If they don't, I think we're going to continue to have some of the same problems that produced Donald Trump in the first place.
SMERCONISH: Thomas, there's a consistency now to the polls, both the national polls and the swing state polls. Donald Trump said last night, hey, this is going to be Brexit times five.
You were just in the U.K. What's the view from over there?
FRANK: Well, they're scared. I talked to many, many people -- by the way, I spent most of my time in London, but not all of my time. But I couldn't -- I didn't meet a single person who supported the Brexit. This had come to everybody I met as a terrible shock, a terrible event.
And every single one of them is convinced that Trump is going to win. I would say to them, well, you know, he's well behind in the polls. And they say, well, the polls don't mean anything anymore, you know? And I would try to explain the Electoral College and that sort of thing.
No dice. They were absolutely convinced that this guy was going to win. It was really strange.
SMERCONISH: J.D., among those you write about in "Hillbilly Elegy" they're hearing how this appears to have turned in the last couple weeks. How are they rationalizing that data?
VANCE: Well, I think a lot of folks think that the polls just don't reflect reality, they see Trump is six or seven or eight points behind and say, no, at his rallies or online polls on CNN or so forth he is actually winning and don't recognize obviously that those aren't specifically scientific methods of choosing the candidate.
So, I think that a lot of folks if Trump loses as the polls tell us he will, I do think a lot of folks will be very surprised and again it falls back on the political leadership to say, look, it's not good. We wish he hadn't lost but he did and we got to move forward as a country together because if we don't do that, if the Republican Party doesn't at least serve that role then who knows how people react. I mean, at the end of the day, people follow political leaders.
I agree with you. I've got as I say November 9 the day after circled on my calendar for exactly that reason because in the name of national unity, we need to come out of this.
Thomas Frank, J.D. Vance, thank you, gentlemen, as always. I appreciate both of you being here.
Still to come, your best and worst tweets. Can we put one up? What do we got?
"Buchanan, just watched you put a smackdown on Smerconish. Thank you for saying what we are all saying." Well, I don't think it was a smackdown. But I appreciate having Pat here as I always do.
SMERCONISH: You can follow me on Twitter if you can spell Smerconish.
Here's some of what came in during the course of this program. Put it up. "Smerconish, graphic wrong for early voting in North Carolina." Hey, we apologize, because apparently it did start on October 20.
What else? "Smerconish, you are a rude man. The way you yelled at Pat Buchanan today was disgusting because Buchanan was right and you are not."
Hey, Holly, I pride myself on civility. I don't think I was rude. I was disagreeing with Pat Buchanan and that right I will not surrender. Pat to me like Donald Trump conflates media bias, a legitimate subject of debate, with the rigging of an election for which I have seen absolutely no substance to support Trump's arguments or Pat's.
Next tweet, please.
[09:55:01] "Smerconish, nice job." Look at this. I mean, there it is.
So, Pat now comes across as bully. I think that these two tweets back to back just show that in these partisan times, people see and hear what they want to see and hear. By the end of this program, I will be accused for some for carrying water for the right and some carrying water for the right. And hopefully, somewhere, in the middle lies the truth.
One more if we have time for it. "Smerconish, don't give WikiLeaks any validation and don't report it. You are abetting stolen goods."
Well, that was the reason that I had to debate with Dan Abrams, because I think there's a tendency to rush all of these leaks presumably stolen by the Russians right in to our media platforms without first starting to say, well, how did this actually get obtained? It troubles me. I think those who are cheering the release of data
about Hillary today will regret it tomorrow when it's about the Republicans.
Thank you for watching. Tweet me @Smerconish. I'll see you next week.