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It's Not America - It's Congress; Do Democrats Have A Chance In Key Senate Races?; Stone Emails Reveal Contact With Trump Campaign About Wikileaks; Roger Stone On His Alleged Role In Wikileaks; Cohen Accuses Trump Of Racism; Where Is The Economy Heading?; Why Is It Difficult To Vote?. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired November 3, 2018 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Smerconish is next.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. All eyes on the outcome of Tuesday's midterms. With Congress up for grabs, President Trump barnstorming the country and ratcheting up the fear factor. Is that a winning strategy for the House, the Senate, both or neither? I'll drill down on four key Senate races that are too close to call with the go-to political reporters from those states.
Plus, the early voting tallies are off the charts. In a couple of states, they're rivaling presidential election numbers, but why in some states do we still get just one day to vote? And ...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, AMERICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Those who say I have no soul, those who say I have no principles are losers. Those are bitter losers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Infamous political operative Roger Stone back in the news with newly published e-mails seeming to show him a link between WikiLeaks and Steve Bannon. was he involved in collusion or just political chicanery? He's here to discuss.
And the job numbers are up, unemployment down, but the GOP no longer talking about the deficit. Is that because the big tax cut isn't paying for itself? I'll ask last Trump advisor Arthur Laffer to defend his famous curve.
But first, some good news. Yes, it's been a rough couple of weeks for our national psyche. The trifecta of a contentious Kavanaugh fight, a pipe bomber who targeted victims based on partisanship and a murderous anti-Semite has saddened and sapped the nation of its energy. It's enough to make a casual observer think that America is inexorably divided, but that would be the wrong conclusion. There's actually positive political news around us if only we would appreciate it and draw strength from it. The four data sets evidence my point. First, just days before a Florida loner began mailing explosive devices, the not-for-profit group More In Common USA released a study called Hidden Tribes based on an 8,000 person survey. The findings? While our nation is becoming increasingly diverse, a relatively small, outspoken, politically-active group of voters at the far ends of the aisle are the ones dividing us.
In the hard left, it's just 8 percent of Americans, four and five of whom are white, they're well-educated, they frequently vote, they cheerlead for their party's campaigns and they stay active on social media. And on the hard left -- on the hard right, it's pretty much the same, except for the viewpoint, and they're only 6 percent of the population. So those polarized extremes are only 14 percent of us, but they're the ones controlling the national conversation.
According to the survey, about 67 percent of the rest of us fall into an exhausted majority, among whom there's agreement, even on hot button issues. So why do we only see division around us? The politicians. Which brings me to data set number two, a study of political division among the House and Senate members published in the journal "Social Networks" by Michigan State University professor Zachary Neal. He found that active avoidance of bipartisan collaboration has gotten worse every year since the 1970s, and yet those politicians don't reflect our beliefs.
If you look at exhibit number three, Morris Fiorina of Stanford's 2017 book, "Unstable Majorities: Polarization, Party Sorting, and Political Stalemate." Fiorina found that despite how things appear in the news, average Americans are no more politically divided now than we were in the 70s. The typical Democratic or Republican voter has not adopted more extreme ideological views. Instead, it's the parties and the politicians that are more polarized and have sorted into narrow groups that don't represent the whole of the U.S..
No wonder then, data set number four, the result of the latest monthly survey by Gallup of political affiliation. The largest group among us? Still the independents. Twenty-eight percent call themselves Republican, 30 percent say Democrat, 39 percent say Independent.
Bottom line, yes, there's political division in the nation, too much of it, but Congress, egged on by the polar extremes and partisan media, is out of step with many of the rest of us who don't view compromise as a dirty word and are clamoring for independent thinking. Whatever your time -- your view, it's time to vote.
Now, a look at some of Tuesday's hottest races. None of us know the outcome in either chamber, but there seems to be more drama as to which party will control the Senate.
[09:05:00] Republicans currently have a 51/49 edge and unlike the battle for the House, the Republicans have a built-in advantage. Democrats are defending 26 Senate seats, including five that President Trump won by 18 points or more. Republicans are defending only nine seats.
So far, according to CNN's data, if you look at the Senate seats that are solid, likely or lean Democrat, the Democrats have 45 seats. The Republicans? Forty-nine. That leaves six races too close to call: Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee currently Republican seats, and Florida, Indiana and Missouri currently held by the Democrats. Of course, as many of us learned in 2016, polls can often be wrong or underestimate voter passion which translates into turnout.
For the latest, I wanted to go to reporters on the ground in four key states: Tennessee, Florida, Nevada and Texas. Joining me now is Joel Ebert. He's the State Government Reporter for "The Tennessean." Elizabeth Koh is the State Government Reporter for the "Miami Herald". Megan Messerly, the Politics Reporter for "The Nevada Independent." Todd Gillman, the Washington Bureau Chief for "The Dallas Morning News."
Hey, Todd, I'm going to begin with you. Your race, the race that you're covering, might not be the closest in the nation, but it seems like it's the marquee event, the main event. Why is that the case? Why has it captivated so many of us across the country?
TODD GILLMAN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Well, plenty of reasons. For one thing, Texas has not elected a Democrat statewide since 1994. That is a very long drought for Democrats and if they can ever take Texas blue, the presidential contests for the foreseeable future will be, you know, a slam-dunk. Ted Cruz has pretty much 100 percent name identification around the country. He is a highly polarizing figure on the national level and certainly in Texas as well.
And so here comes this otherwise obscure congressman Beto O'Rourke and he catches lightning in a bottle. He has raised $70 million. It is a record for any Senate candidate ever anywhere and Democrats are really fired up in Texas and they are wanting to reign in President Trump, send Trump a message and if they can punish Ted Cruz in the process, that's even better for them.
So you know, there's a lot at stake in Texas, not just this one seat, and we have two polarizing figures, Trump and Cruz, who Democrats are geared up to try to take down.
SMERCONISH: Megan in Nevada, quite a seat change from Dean Heller. What was the comment that he made in the last cycle, the 100 percent, 99 percent comment, and how has he changed?
MEGAN MESSERLY, POLITICS REPORTER, THE NEVADA INDEPENDANT: Right. So back in 2016, as some folks might remember, Senator Dean Heller here in Nevada said that he was 99 percent against Trump and 100 percent against Clinton. He was not a big fan of the President during the 2016 campaign and we've seen a complete turnaround this cycle. The President has been out here campaigning for Dean Heller, building up support with the base.
At a rally in Las Vegas just a few weeks ago, the President said that he had no better friend in Congress than Dean Heller and recently at a rally in Elko, Dean Heller was similarly complimentary of the President saying that everything the President touches turns to gold. Obviously an apt reference in a state where mining is still an important part of the economy.
It's been a -- it's been a complete turnaround, though, for Dean Heller, but he really needs the support of the Republican base in order to win this election and by all measures, he's done a good job of sort of moving back, you know, to the right carrying (ph) support with the base and touting his support for the President, which has been important because he wasn't immediately behind repeal and replace plans in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care As compared to.
He eventually got there and supported a vote to move that forward. He was -- he actually ended up being right there on Kavanaugh. He was quick to support, you know, Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation.
So it's been a change over the cycle. We've seen him, you know, be quicker to support the President's proposals and he's often talked about, you know, the President's tax reform package and how great that is for the state of Nevada. So he's been very complimentary and we'll have to see if that ends up, you know, being enough, if Republicans, you know, turn out in support of Dean Heller, you know, those who supported the President in 2016.
SMERCONISH: Elizabeth in Florida, not one, but two barnburners and I'm wondering if the candidates under those respective labels are "assisted by their running mates," quote-unquote. Here's what I'm trying to say. My state of Pennsylvania has a tradition of ticket splitting. You know, time and again we would send Arlen Specter to the U.S. Senate as a Republican, but we'd also be sending the, quote- unquote, "real Bob Casey" to the state governor mansion. So if Gillum is running so well in the gubernatorial race, in comparison to the Senate race, does that necessarily help Rick Scott?
[09:10:04] Hopefully you're following my very cumbersome question.
ELIZABETH KOH, STATE GOVERNMENT REPORTER, THE MIAMI HERALD: I kind of understand what you're trying to say and I guess I'll put it this way, you're right that there are two really competitive races happening right now, both for the position of Florida governor and for Bill Nelson's eat in the U.S. Senate. We're looking at a situation right now where Bill Nelson, the incumbent Democrat, you might expect to have an advantage, but he's going up against Rick Scott who is the current governor of the state, term limited, his extremely high name ID in Florida for a number of reasons.
On the -- on the other hand, you're looking at a governor's race where Andrew Gillum, currently the mayor of Tallahassee, is going up against a particularly conservative former congressman, Ron De Santis. Gillum has gained a lot of enthusiasm in the race and some Democrats are thinking that what Gillum is able to bring to the table is voter turnout that might help Bill Nelson and erase that.
On both sides, it's too close to call. The issue is that some polls are showing Bill Nelson underperforming in comparison to Andrew Gillum in terms of how much support they're able to draw. So there is this very slim possibility, which my colleagues have written about, of a Gillum-Scott win. It's unlikely, but it is possible. SMERCONISH: Joel Ebert, you would think in Tennessee given the enormous margin, and I could say this for a whole host of states, the enormous margin by which President Trump won in 2016 that the Republican candidate by this stage would be comfortably ahead, but in the Marsha Blackburn-Bredesen race, that's not the case. Why not? Why that disconnection between the President showing just two years ago and where Blackburn finds herself today?
JOEL EBERT, STATE GOVERNMENT REPORTER, THE TENNESSEAN: Well, it seems that Phil Bredesen is obviously one of the most popular Democrats this state has ever produced. Marsha Blackburn on the other hand, his opponent, is a fiery partisan who has really tried to rile up the base. She has really tied herself to President Donald Trump who is planning to come here one more time before the election, which kind of shows you that the election is really close.
We've had several polls that say it's actually Blackburn's advantage right now. More recently, there have been two that said it's a dead heat, but given that there has been millions of dollars spent in this race by outside groups affiliated with Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, it shows that the race really does remain a toss-up Bredesen's moderate tone and appeal to independence has really been a welcome, I think, in this state to some folks who aren't yet convinced that this is as red as it really appears to be in some cases.
SMERCONISH: Todd, I'm following that Texas race through your reportage. You've commented on the surge of early voting. Who benefits from it, if we know?
GILLMAN: We're not 100 percent sure, but it seems likely that it is the Democrat Beto O'Rourke who is benefiting from the surge because he's really the X-factor. We have early voting at levels that are like a presidential race. It is extraordinary that we've seen 500 percent increase in younger voters, which almost certainly benefits the Democrat.
Look, you know, this is -- this is a race between two completely polar opposite guys. This is Ted Cruz who brought the federal government to a screeching halt with a government shutdown over Obamacare and you have Beto O'Rourke who really came to national prominence by taking a 2,000 mile bipartisan road trip with a Republican congressman, when they got snowed in, back to D.C..
This choice that we see is pretty extreme and it's the Democrats and many Independents who are coming out and saying, we're a little tired of the shutdown kind of anticipates, the very divisive politics smash- mouth, Tea Party politics of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
And Beto, although extremely liberal and progressive, he supports legalizing marijuana for instance, he also projects this idea that compromise is not a bad thing, kind of what you were discussing before. There is a middle in Texas which has not been heard for a while and they really seem to be responding to that message.
That said, there's an enormous pushback from conservatives who say, look at those guys over there. The Democrats are turning out. We better turn out too. So it's a little hard to say. There's enthusiasm on both sides and it is a close race, much closer than anyone expected.
SMERCONISH: Todd, Megan, Joel, Elizabeth, thank you so much for getting up early for us. We really appreciate it.
EBERT: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: I want to know what you think. Go to my website at Smerconish.com. This is the poll question of the day. Tuesday's midterm election will result in -- I'm asking you to prognosticate.
[09:15:04] Don't tell me what you want. Tell me what you think will happen. A Democratic sweep, split Houses or a GOP sweep? At the end of the hour, I'll give you the result. This just came in from Facebook. Catherine, what do we have?
"Amen, Michael. We are not as divided as "they" say." Well, I've been banging that drum for a long, long time. I just feel like from the outside looking in, if you paid attention to the headlines and the contentious nature of what's go in this country in the last several weeks, you would be absolutely convinced that there is a partisan divide that runs deeply between all of us. There is a partisan divide, but not the way in which it's been characterized.
I take solace in the fact that, according to Hidden Tribes, there's some 67 percent of us here, not here, who want change and compromise. Thanks for the comment.
Up next, does an e-mail exchange between former Trump adviser Roger Stone and the then campaign Chief of Staff Steve Bannon prove that Stone was involved in the WikiLeaking of Hillary Clinton's e-mails or just involved in puffery? He's here and I will ask him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: What am I lying about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you spoken with the WikiLeaks founder?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were great tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, you can't just say that.
STONE: You have to be outrageous to get noticed. I revel in your hatred because if I weren't effective, you wouldn't hate me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Might the Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign come down to one man, my next guest, Roger Stone? The political operative who advised candidate Trump early on has repeatedly denied communicating with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign regarding the leak of Hillary Clinton's e- mails. Even this week, he was telling "The Washington Post", quote, "There are no such communications and if Steve Bannon says there are, he would be dissembling," but new evidence undermines this claim.
"The New York Times" published an e-mail trail proving otherwise of communications between Stone, "Breitbart" editor Matthew Boyle and Steve Bannon in which Stone claimed inside knowledge and promised more to come. Remember, in early October of the election year, Stone predicted that documents Julian Assange promised to make public would hurt Clinton's campaign saying, quote, "Hillary Clinton is done and I have total confidence that WikiLeaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp."
In the e-mails published by "The Times," "Breitbart" editor Matthew Boyle follows up by asking, quote, "Assange, what's he got? Hope it's good," to which Stone replies, "It is. I'd tell Bannon, but he doesn't call me back." And then he assures Bannon, in a subsequent communication, that Assange will be providing, quote, "a load every week going forward." Perhaps trying to preempt "The Times" story, Stone himself published the e-mails in a "Daily Caller" opinion piece that was titled "The Treachery of Steve Bannon."
Roger Stone, who's the author of "Stone's Rules," joins me now. Roger, do you anticipate that when the midterms are over and Mueller is back in action in a public means that you will be indicted?
STONE: Well, first of all, I have to respectfully disagree with your interpretation of everything you just said. Let's set some background so people can understand it. Here on CNN in June of 2016, Julian Assange said that he had a huge cache of material on Hillary Clinton. He repeated it again on "Fox" on August 24th.
I had a tip from a journalist, Randy Credico, who told me that this was incendiary, a bombshell, devastating, incredible, would royal (ph) the race. I testified truthfully about that to the House Intelligence Committee. I have passed two polygraph tests asserting that I've never had any direct contact with Julian Assange or WikiLeaks. I had no advanced notice of the actual content or source of their material.
Now, the entire world expected Assange to drop the first tranche of this material on October 2nd when he scheduled a press event. When that did not happen, he did announce a specific schedule for weekly disclosures between that time and Election Day. So that was a matter reported by "Politico," was not a secret, reflected in my e-mail to Bannon.
The reason that he did not release anything on the second, I was told by my source Mr. Credico and I wrote on March 9th, 2018, was out of security concerns. Remember, Hillary Clinton had threatened to hit him with a drone and even now he fears arrest and extradition. So everything in that e-mail is public. My claim to Boyle that the material was good was based on a solid tip. So what I have done here is perfectly legal. I took a solid tip and entirely public information, it could be gleaned from the WikiLeaks Twitter feed and by setting a Google News Alert on Julian Assange and reading every interview, to hype and punk and promote and posture and bluff the Democrats. That's politics ...
STONE: But it's not collusion.
SMERCONISH: I'm happy to hear -- happy to hear the full explanation. What's the answer to my question? Do you think you're about to get indicted?
STONE: If the decision is made on the basis of evidence and facts and truth, the answer would be no. If this is a political vendetta, anything is possible.
SMERCONISH: You told the House Intel Committee a year ago that you had no advanced knowledge of source or content regarding the WikiLeaks disclosures. What about the timing? Did you know? Did you have inside information? And I'm not talking about what was in the public domain. Did you, Roger Stone, have inside knowledge as to the timing of things to come?
[09:25:00] STONE: Only that my source told me that it would come in October and everybody expected that to be October 2nd when Assange scheduled a press event. Beyond that, I had no specific knowledge, but again, Assange tells "Politico" that he will have a weekly release every week before the election and all election material will be published by Election Day, but "The Washington Post" reports Assange made some vague pledge of future publishing. This is a perfect example of fake news.
SMERCONISH: OK. But Roger, your explanation is essentially one of you were paying very, very close attention to what was being reported on Assange and you were only reflecting that in your own tweets, but let me ask this. October 3rd, Matthew Boyle of "Breitbart" asks, "What does Assange has?" I've already showed that tweet. "I hope it's good." And your response is to say, "It is." Well, what insight did you have ...
SMERCONISH: -- to let him know that it was or were you BSing?
STONE: No. Hardly, Mike. My source, Mr. Credico, had told me it is a bombshell, it's devastating, it's incredible, it will royal the race. Those all fit ...
SMERCONISH: You were just taking his word?
STONE: -- the definition of good, Michael. Yes, he had ...
SMERCONISH: But you were just taking his word? STONE: He had a -- he had a 30-year relationship with the WikiLeaks lawyer and he had interviewed Assange multiple times on radio. Yes. By the way ...
SMERCONISH: October 4 ...
STONE: -- It turned out to be correct.
SMERCONISH: October 4, you have that exchange with Bannon. Apparently now he does want to know what's on Roger Stone's mind after not taking your phone call. I'm just judging from the e-mail exchange and this is the e-mail where you tell him that he can anticipate a load a week. I think your explanation here is to say, well, I was simply paying attention to what Assange himself had said publicly. Is that what you're saying?
STONE: Five hours prior to that e-mail, "Politico" reports that Assange says there will be a publication a week and all U.S. election related material would be published by Election Day. This was in the press. I am telling him a largely overlooked fact at the time, Michael. Most of the media focused on the fact that Assange had produced nothing of substance on that October 2nd presser. Very few reporters picked up the fact that he announced a specific weekly schedule and that he said all U.S. election material would be published by Election Day. So that's not proprietary.
SMERCONISH: Let me ask you about another one.
STONE: It does not -- go ahead.
SMERCONISH: Let me ask you another one. October 7, October 7 was the day the world learned of the "Access Hollywood" "grab-him-by-the-P" tape. Thirty minutes later comes the WikiLeaks dump relative to Podesta. Did you know something was coming about Podesta on the day that that occurred? Meaning, the "All Access Hollywood" revelation.
STONE: No, I did not and Assange had already announced a weekly release scheduled, but the idea that I somehow coordinated the release of that material to change the political narrative after the "NBC" Billy Bush tape is a falsehood and I had no advanced notice of the "NBC" tape either. I learned it on the street in Manhattan.
SMERCONISH: Why did you tell "The Washington -- why did you say to "The Washington Post" just this week that Bannon would be dissembling to say otherwise? Meaning on the issue of whether you had any contact with one another.
STONE: First of all, I have over 1 million e-mails. I did not recall this particular one, but I published it. Read my piece at "The Daily Caller" picked up ...
SMERCONISH: I did.
STONE: -- by the "Drudge Report" and heavily footnoted. By the way, I would also note Mr. Bannon has some animis for me because of a piece I wrote at "The Daily Caller" urging that he be terminated by President Trump and two days later, he was. So his agents leaked this e-mail. It has a perfectly legal and reasonable and footnoted explanation. It most certainly does not prove any communication with Julian Assange or any advanced notice of the content or the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures.
SMERCONISH: Final question, Michael Cohen now saying that he heard President Trump use racial expletives during the course of their association with one another. You've known Donald Trump, I think, even much longer than Michael Cohen. Have you ever heard him utter anything of a racist nature?
STONE: You know , I've known him for 40 years. I have never heard him say anything of the kind. I actually think his expectation for black voters was a little higher than, perhaps, expected because of his friendship with a number of black entertainers and athletes and rappers.
Although if you will examine the results in Philadelphia, Cleveland, he actually does run between two and four percent ahead of where Mitt Romney --
SMERCONISH: I know but that's not what I'm asking -- but that's not what I'm asking.
STONE: Now you may think that's insignificant that -- and I've never heard he make --
SMERCONISH: Did you ever hear him use the N word?
STONE: Never. Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
Look, Michael Cohen has become a tool of his new handlers and this is a partisan attack. I've known Donald Trump for 40 years. I have never hear -- heard him make a racist comment.
He had many African-American friends.
SMERCONISH: Roger, thanks for being here.
STONE: Glad to be here.
SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me at Smerconish -- go to my Facebook page. I will continue to read responses throughout the course of the program.
"Smerconish, don't give Roger any air time on your show. He's a master manipulator and he's play thing media to make himself look innocent. Let Mueller do his job."
Braxton, I am letting him do his job but I think I would be derelict in my duty if I didn't have him on the program because as soon as Wednesday comes two things are going to happen. We're going to start talking about 2020 and it will be game on for the conclusion of the Mueller probe. And if accounts are accurate whether there has been or will be any claim of conspiracy, collusion relative to the Russians largely focuses on Roger.
So I want to hear what he has to say.
Up ahead, you can't deny the economy is doing well. The job report exceeded expectations and unemployment is at a stunning 49 year low. But are the tax cuts paying for themselves?
I'll ask Art Laffer if his famous supply side economic theory still works. On the campaign trail the president doesn't spend much time on the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They all say speak about the economy, speak about the economy. Well, we have the greatest economy in the history of our country. But sometimes it's not as exciting to talk about the economy, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Heading towards Tuesday's midterms. The one thing the GOP can be touting there's the booming economy. Friday brought news of a stronger than expected 250,000 gain in new jobs. Wages grew at 3.1 percent relatively robust growth after years of stagnant paychecks.
But it's not all good news. The $1.5 trillion tax cut isn't paying for itself at least not yet. The federal deficit rose by 17 percent in the 2018 fiscal year.
So this leads me to ask does this mean that the famous Laffer Curve, the theory that the more inactivity such as production is taxed, the less off it is generated is not working.
Joining me now the theory's originator and namesake, Arthur Laffer, the senior economic adviser to Trump in 2016. He's a former economic adviser to President Reagan and co-author with Stephen Moore of a brand new book. "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy."
Dr. Laffer, welcome back.
ARTHUR LAFFER, CO-AUTHOR, "TRUMPONOMICS": Thank you very much, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Let me frame my question the way the "Times" did and then have you respond.
LAFFER: Sure. SMERCONISH: Have the corporate and individual tax cuts that went into effect in January generated so much additional growth that tax revenues are as high or higher today than they would have been without the tax cuts?
LAFFER: No. That's a simple answer.
SMERCONISH: Why not.
LAFFER: It takes -- but because it takes growth some time to be able to generate the extra income base to be able to generate higher revenues.
It's very simple. Once you start growing faster, in due course you're going to have a lot larger amount of income to be taxed and then it's when your tax revenues come in ahead of that.
It takes three or four years but, Michael, we're very much on the path for a very good feedback effect on taxes. We have GDP growth at 4.2 percent and 3.5 percent. Very high growth rate.
You saw the jobs report. All of this is what we hoped would happen and then in two or three years all of that tax loss will be cut down and then you'll start getting the revenues back. It's like any investment project.
You don't make your profits the first day you invest the money. It takes awhile for those things to work and come back. Just the way it did with Reagan, Clinton, and Kennedy.
I mean, all of those took plenty of time and by the way when they worked they really, really worked and I am very convinced that these will work if you can continue these policies going forward.
SMERCONISH: OK. If you are correct --
SMERCONISH: -- is the president making a mistake out on the campaign trail I'll say play thing fear card, talking about the caravan and immigration instead of touting the economy. Because I think the more he talks about the boarder in the terms he's using he's alienating suburbanites who might be riled in support of him because of the economy.
LAFFER: Yes. You may well be right. It's way above my pay grade but the one thing I didn't like too jokingly is he said economics is boring.
Am I boring, Michael? I mean, here I am --
SMERCONISH: I don't find you boring or I wouldn't have you back so many times.
LAFFER: I'm just joking. Yes. I love it very much.
I think the economy is the answer. I agree with Carville -- James Carville it's, "The economy, stupid." I think is what he said. The economy hits every single aspect of life that we know of.
It hits the caravans, it hits all of these social issues with a boisterous, prosperous economy, all of these other problems disappear. And I just --
SMERCONISH: But it's amazing -- it's amazing his numbers. It's amazing his approval rate is still under water in light of 3.7 percent unemployment, historic low, and the robust stock market until recently. And I have to ask you about that.
SMERCONISH: You know that many analysts are speaking with the R word recession. Do you see that within the next six to 12 months?
LAFFER: No, I don't see any recession at all.
I mean, if there are change in --
SMERCONISH: Why not?
LAFFER: Well, because I don't see any change in policies.
And to get a recession you have to have a policy that inhibits and blocks growth. And I don't see those happening. A tax increase, increase regulations, big bad trade problems.
I don't see any of those happening in the next 12 months. Now if one those were to happen that could easily trigger a recession but I really don't see that happening at all.
SMERCONISH: What about the possibility of Democrats retaking control of the House? I don't know they take control of the Senate.
I mean, it seems --
SMERCONISH: -- if you believe the polling data and many of us learned our lesson about not believing the polling data two years ago but we might have divided government come next January.
LAFFER: Yes, yes. Let me just say this -- all of these things are not Republican, they're not Democrat, they're not liberal, they're not conservative, they're not left wing, they're not right wing, it's economics and economics doesn't care what party you are.
If you cut tax rates properly, you're going to get a more rapid growth. If you're a Kennedy Democrat, if you're a Clinton Democrat or if you're a Reagan or Trump Republican, it works. That's the way it works.
So if the Democrats take the House, I am not terrified about the country. I think Democrats can be very clever people, can be very insightful, they see things very clearly at times, and frankly I'm not afraid of a Democratic House. I'm not afraid of a Republican Senate.
I think divided government often great as it was with Bill Clinton, as it was with Ronald Reagan. So I'm not really worried about this election and the future of America.
SMERCONISH: OK. Three to four years it will pay for itself. That -- I'm marking my calendar. God willing if we're both able --
LAFFER: Do. Please do.
SMERCONISH: -- we'll have this conversation in three or four years. Thank you --thank you, Dr. Laffer.
LAFFER: Remember I'm 70 years old now.
LAFFER: Thank you, Michael. It's a pleasure.
SMERCONISH: I want to remind everybody to answer the survey question. Speaking of the midterm outcome go to Smerconish.com. "Tuesday's midterm election will result in." I'm asking you to prognosticate not what you want but what will happen. "A Democratic sweep, split Houses, a GOP sweep." Go vote.
Up ahead, the biggest key to this election and every election is turnout. So far the early voting numbers are huge.
Still some states including my own need to be more accommodating. What can be done to get even more people to the polls?
SMERCONISH: The latest early voting numbers reflect a massive turn out for a midterm election. As of 5:00 p.m. on Friday 27 million votes were already cast with days to go in some hotly contested states, early turnout closer to the 2016 presidential election than the 2014 midterms.
So many now vote early that it's no longer accurate to say the midterms are on Tuesday. Better to say that for much of the nation they conclude on Tuesday. And this is good news but not everywhere.
I wish the entire nation could take advantage of easier participation and early voting. Voting gives participants an ownership stake in the nation and when we can get more to come out and vote the influence of the polar extremes is diluted. Thirty-seven states and Washington D.C. permit some form of early voting with policies and deadlines varying by state. Most of these states also allow absentee voting. Too bad some states like own, Pennsylvania, are not part of the change.
The Keystone State is a relic. Voting is on one day from 7:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night. You can get an absentee ballot for cause but there's no early voting in my state.
So if you're not going to be in state, I won't be in state, I'll be in Washington for CNN. You've got to make an absentee ballot application and offer an explanation for your absence. And the absentee ballot instructions include admonition in capital letters, "IF YOU'RE ABLE TO VOTE IN PERSON ON ELECTION DAY, YOU MUST GO TO YOUR POLLING PLACE, VOID YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT AND VOTE THERE."
So if after voting absentee it turns out I am in state, I'm supposed to show up on Election Day, walk in to my polling place, stand in line and say changing plans so that they can rip up my absentee ballot and have me vote in a booth. It makes no sense.
And if after the absentee ballot application deadline passes you have a sudden change in plans and now have to be away, you've got to go to the local court house and request an emergency ballot. Systems like this are not designed to maximize participation. They seek to protect the status quo I think.
Better the nation look to Oregon for guidance than Pennsylvania. The Beaver State switched to all mail in balloting. In 1998 Washington State and Colorado followed suit and Colorado paired that with same- day Election Day registration and now Oregon has announced its first in the nation to automatically register voters.
So instead of having you opt in. You're registered when you get a driver's license or are signed up with another agency. That's the gold standard.
It should be emulated whatever your states' rules. I'm hoping you're exercising the franchise before or on Tuesday.
Still to come your best or worst tweets or Facebook comments. And we shall give you the results of this survey question. You've got one last shot vote.
What's going to happen? "Tuesday's midterm election will result in: A Democratic sweep, a split among the Houses, or a GOP sweep." Go vote.
SMERCONISH: Time to see how you responded to the survey question at Smerconish.com this hour. What will be the outcome of Tuesday's midterm election.?
Survey says with 9,742 votes, 60 percent I will say of us, because I am in that category for what it's worth, 60 percent say the outcome will probably be a split, 32 percent think there will be a Democratic sweep, nine percent say there will be a GOP sweep.
Yes, 60 percent seems the way it is headed. But you know how wrong the polls were two years ago. So don't rely on any of these prognosticators. Go out and cast a ballot.
Catherine (ph), what do we got? I've only have time for one, I think.
"Neither will get the sweep, so the split is almost guaranteed. Trump will refuse to accept it and we will get to hear him complain about the 'fake House' forever."
Steve, my hunch is that the president recognizes they're going to lose the House is ratcheting up the fear factor knowing suburbanites will vote Democratic in those congressional races but he will help red state Senate candidates and therein lies the split.
Thanks for watching. See you next week.