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Congress Passes $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill; Job Growth Is Strong, But Americans Are Worried About Inflation; Republicans Flip Virginia, Murphy Wins Close Race In New Jersey; Republicans Gain Ground In Suburbs After Big Losses In 2020; Insurrection Seemed To Play Little Role In Last Week's Elections; A Big Week For President Biden. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 07, 2021 - 08:00   ET





MANU RAJU, CNN HOST (voice-over): A historic week in Washington. Congress passes the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A once-in-a-generation investment that's going to create millions of jobs.

RAJU: Plus, Republicans celebrate stunning wins in Tuesday's elections.

GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: We're going to embrace our parents, not ignore them.

RAJU: While disappointed Democrats debate how to avoid another shellacking next year.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It was not a good night.

RAJU: And new signs of an economy back on track.

BIDEN: This recovery is faster, stronger, and fairer than almost anyone could've predicted.

RAJU: But with gas and grocery prices still rising, when will Americans feel it?

INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories, sourced by the best reporters, now.


RAJU (on camera): Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Manu Raju, in today for Abby Phillip.

President Biden says his party must deliver results to win back voters' trust after a tough Tuesday night at the ballot box. Passage of an historic $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill might be a start.


BIDEN: We did something that's long overdue, that long has been talked about in Washington but never actually been done. There will be jobs in every part of the country, red states, blue states, cities, small towns, rural communities, travel communities. This is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America, and it's long overdue.


RAJU: It's the biggest investment American infrastructure in decades. Huge pots of money to replace aging water pipes, boosting broadband internet. Now, it's a win for Democrats, but getting there was not pretty.

Wisconsin's Mark Pocan summed it up this way.


REP. MARK POCAN (D-WI): The whole day was a cluster (EXPLETIVE DELETED), right?


RAJU: Progressives in the House threatened to torpedo the bipartisan bill unless moderates promised to support the bigger Democratic bill which includes the rest of Biden's priorities. They finally got that pledge.

The bigger bill is up to Senator Joe Manchin, but Biden made this guarantee.


BIDEN: Let me be clear. We will pass this is in the House and we will pass it in the Senate. I feel confident -- I feel confident that we will have enough votes to pass the build back better plan.

REPORTER: What gives you that confidence?



RAJU: Joining us now with the reporting and their insight, Margaret Talev of "Axios", CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Punchbowl's John Bresnahan, and Asma Khalid of NPR.

So, John Bresnahan, you've been in the Capitol like me every single day following every step of this process. They got the bill passed. It passed late on Friday night.

But why did this have to become such an ugly, difficult process for Democrats? Was that necessary to get this done? And how did it end up this way?

JOHN BRESNAHAN, PUNCHBOWL NEWS CO-FOUNDER: No, it wasn't necessary. I mean, they, you know, they had passed this in the Senate in August. It was handed to them on a platter. They had 69 votes. They had 19 Republicans, they could have done it.

Biden actually came up to the Hill twice on this bill and they still didn't pass it. What we saw Friday was the real split inside the Democratic Party, moderates and progressives there. They don't trust each other. They literally are negotiating with each other. They have to write out agreements.

They negotiated an agreement. That's Democrats on Democrats. That's not the other side. They're writing out agreements with each other, negotiating on it.

And Speaker Pelosi was sending, like, emissaries to meet with them. But I do think part of the problem is, you know, Biden, his approval ratings are not great. Members are starting to worry about themselves. They're starting to think about is this going to save me come 2022, and I think that's the problem that the leadership faces in the White House.

RAJU: Yeah, and, if the White House clearly, Jeff, they recognize they were pushing very hard for this vote. Twice the president went up there, twice the Democrats ignored him. He finally got it done.

What was happening inside the White House on Friday?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Over the last couple days the president was working the phones more than he has up to date Wednesday, Thursday, Friday when he got back to the country from his trip abroad. He was talking to progressives, he was talking to moderates. He called into a meeting of progressives. They put him on a speakerphone.

He was basically saying now is the time to do it. That's the first time he's done that. He's gone up to the hill but he never said vote today. He finally said that Friday. It took until almost midnight till end of the day on Friday, more than the 11th hour.

But finally they got it done. The question is, what permanent damage has been done? His approval rating is, as John was saying, is down now.

Had this happened in August, A, they would have gotten more Republican votes.


I would say maybe 30 or so, who knows? But certainly more than the 13. And, B, his approval rating likely would not be in the place that it is.

But it is what it is, and he had a bounce in his step yesterday morning at the White House when he said, me. He has some confidence that he can get this done. Fundamentally, he believes that Joe Manchin is not going to block his agenda. Yes, we're going to make some changes but he believes that Joe Manchin in the end -- because he can deal with him. He knows sort of what he wants, et cetera.

RAJU: What was an interesting dynamic, too, is a lot of progressives said we're going to trust Joe Biden. But as you were saying, John, the moderates and progressives, the distrust was so intense in talking to members all day long and for multiple weeks they just did not believe the other side was going to do something, particularly progressives, including Congressman Mondaire Jones who voted for the bill. But I talked to him about the trust deficit on late Friday night. Listen.


RAJU: Do you trust them?

REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): I think that as a house Democratic caucus, we have got to come together and that when we sign statements like that and when we do press conferences together to that effect, then people are deserving of our trust.


RAJU: I mean, that was a long --



BRESNAHAN: It was a yes or no question.

RAJU: Right. Exactly. I mean, you think that this is bridgeable? The differences within the party, can they get past this or is this going to be a lingering problem heading into 2022?

TALEV: Well, I mean, like, it obviously is a problem. So problems don't disappear overnight. The question is, are the individual segments of the caucus going to, like, kind of get over it and say, okay, I don't trust them, I'm not going to say it on TV, and we'll figure out where we can get stuff done.

One of the big lessons I think from Tuesday night was you have to be able to show voters that you're majority, which is barely a majority, but they are a majority that can get things done. And if you're not getting things done, people say why did we switch teams?

And so, whether you are a progressive or whether you are a moderate, wherever you are in that spectrum, you're still going to get identified as a Democrat and so is our president because you are Democrats. And I think it's that, it shouldn't be, like, do we have to trust them to get something done? Like you have to figure out what you can get done and get it done as quickly as possible.

ASMA KHALID, NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I do think that there's like an over assessment from Democrats, though, that voters will praise them, that they think they will receive some sort of benefit. We haven't seen from the American rescue plan when you look at polling, it doesn't look like many voters actually attribute anything, talking about extended unemployment benefits, expanded child tax credit. People don't know that that, thanks to Democrats or to the president. There's no direct link.

So I do think, I agree with you that had they not passed something, there would be negative consequences. But because they passed something, will there actually be positive consequences? I'm not really sure.

RAJU: The president is going to have, he's going have to go to district by district, sell it. Can he do that? I mean, they tried to do that with the COVID relief law, huge almost $2 trillion package and they have not gotten that reward. They have not been rewarded by voters at the polls. Will they be rewarded now?

ZELENY: They're going to try again. I think Asma was absolutely right. I mean, we almost forget the American Rescue Plan happened. The White House rarely talks about it, but there has been money pumped into counties and cities and states.

So, look, it's the challenge of the White House to communicate this. This has been a legislative challenge. But the messaging challenge, they've been unable to get around that.

So, it's time to start again. Infrastructure is something more tangible you can actually see it. I remember when Vice President Biden went around the country going to, like, road openings and ribbon cuttings back during the stimulus bill in '09.

So I think he will get out there more and sell it, but it's hard to break through even with that presidential megaphone. So, we'll see if they can do it. That's their challenge.

You're right. We don't know that voters are going to necessity reward them. Look what happened in '09 after the Affordable Care. In 2010, those midterm years. It's likely a disaster is awaiting them.

RAJU: It takes a long time to spend that kind of money. There were 13 Republicans who did vote for this bill. But here are the members who broke ranks. Look at that.

First, we'll look at the members here. Those are the Republican members. 13 of them including Congressman Don Bacon from Nebraska, fellow Nebraskan Jeff Zeleny. But also some other moderate members.

And then the backlash, that headline, show that headline again of hearing disgraceful House Republicans rescue Biden's flailing agenda. That's from "The National Review."

John, this was a bill Mitch McConnell supported.

BRESNAHAN: Yeah, 19 Republican senators and only 13 House members, which is crazy.

RAJU: But what do you make of this division within the party? BRESNAHAN: Look, the Republicans, you know, there's a faction of their

party -- or not a faction, a lot of their party is opposed to anything Democrats do.


They can call it Sunday and they'd be against it, you know?

So, I think that, I don't think Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, is that worked up about it. Fred Upton in Michigan voting for infrastructure projects, he's going to vote for it. But we knew Fred Upton was going to be there, you know?

So, I mean, I don't think it's a problem. I think McCarthy will try to move past this and just try to kind of ignore the Marjorie Taylor Greenes and the Matt Gaetzes say. Look, these members are voting for -- how hard is it to vote for road and bridges and stuff? I mean, that's what you came to Congress for. You know, that's what Congress does.

So, I think in the long run, this won't be their issue. But to get to Jeff's point, the administration has had some successes. But we have to know is this the bottom for Biden? That's what I really have to figure out and I think we all have to figure out, is he's bottomed out after Tuesday, after Afghanistan and the economy. Members think that they'll act accordingly.

RAJU: Yeah. Look, this was a very long and ugly first chapter. There is the next chapter, which is getting the larger bill done. That bill is going to take a lot to get through the house. And then Joe Manchin will negotiate that with the Senate. And then it will come back to the house. Will they get it done? We'll see.

Up next for us though, job growth is strong. Its stocks are at a record high. But voters aren't feeling it. They're worried about inflation.



RAJU: By almost every measure, the economy is getting stronger, but the American people still aren't feeling it. Employers added more than half a million jobs last month. The employment right now sits at 4.6 percent, lower than it ever was under President Obama.

But if you ask Americans about the economy, two-thirds say it's in bad shape, and almost half expected to be even worse in a year. The likely reason: empty store shelves and rising prices.

Now economists on both sides of the aisle warn inflation isn't going away any time soon.


LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY AND OBAMA WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: I think it's almost certain to last for another six to nine months, and it could well last longer.

KEVIN HASSETT, FORMER TRUMP WH ECONOMIC ADVISER: I wouldn't be surprised if the 4 or 5 percent inflation we're seeing now were to even double next year, if those policies pass.


RAJU: Neil Irwin from "The New York Times" joins our conversation now.

And, Neil, this is the headline from your story in the "New York Times" this morning. It says, Americans are flush with cash and jobs. They also think the economy is awful.

Explain the disconnect here.

NEIL IRWIN, SENIOR ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, if you look at all the survey evidence of how people feel about the economy, the kind of lived experience of what they're feeling, they're not happy about it, they're not thrilled.

We're seeing numbers like early 2010, which was a terrible economic environment, 2010, '11, '12, those are the kinds of numbers we're seeing on if you ask people how's the economy. If you look at the economic data, it's mostly pretty good, as you say. Wages are rising, people have money in their checking accounts, people are making more money, and the inflation story is part of why we have this disconnect.

RAJU: Yeah, the stocks are 40 percent higher today than they were since election day, last election day. Stocks, you know, the Trump White House, when they had even the smallest bit of good news, they would go out and parade this. President Trump at the time would do that. Why is this White House not doing the same?

TALEV: So, we were talking about the messaging challenge in the last block. I would put this on the pile of messaging challenges. A lot of Americans are not invested in the stock market. They're not going to drive their retirement savings from the stock market.

So, there are two Americas. This is another example of that. There was a line in Neil's story I thought totally captured what it is about, it is about the psychology of inflation, right? It is -- it's not about the facts on the ground, it is about what is in your mind about what it is now, and what is coming.

And it is like that fear of the unknown. We have gone through a year and a half of fear of the unknown with the pandemic, what's next, what's after the delta wave, the lambda wave? And now, you know, whatever, gas is more expensive, milk is more expensive, your couch takes six months to arrive and you can't buy a used car. That's a fear of the unknown.

KHALID: But can I ask you a question, though, Neil? I mean, I recognize that part of this is like philosophically people have a fear of inflation, but there is also this -- this tangible sense that people are -- they're seeing higher prices that have gone out, reporting in the field, I talked to people who do not feel their wages are sufficient to cover rising gas prices or rising grocery bills, and how does that factor into things? Because it does feel like people have not been sufficiently satisfied with their wages.

IRWIN: Yeah, there's no question this is real. This is not something people are making up.

Wages are rising, but they're not rising as fast as consumer prices have over the last year. Gas, you see it driving down the street, you see a sign. It tells you, go buy milk, meat at the store.

And there is also shadow inflation that aren't showing up in price numbers but do inconvenience people. You go to buy a car and don't get to pick the color you want or you need a refrigerator, it takes six months to get it. That diminishes the quality of life, they may not show up in the numbers but really are affecting how people's day to day lives.

RAJU: And you -- I want to point to this chart that's in your story today about this point, look at this for our viewers here. The hourly wages here, this is the chart, they are increasing, hourly earnings are increasing.

But look at the price of goods here. This is used cars and trucks. How much of it spiked, also home appliances, gasoline, chicken, milk, bread, everything increasing, not this is going --

TALEV: But the number is coming down, right? Isn't that what many people think?

IRWIN: That's the trillion-dollar question, right? How much is this temporary, how much does this fade as time goes on? Automakers are trying to speed up production. Can't get chips from Asia.

A lot of problems hanging up -- it is a complex system and getting it all backward at the same time is a real challenge.


ZELENY: And speaking of trillion-dollar numbers, I talk to voters and people, they say trillion a lot. The programs, it sounds so expensive, they're not feeling what they're getting in return for it.

So, I think the White House has been pretty slow to respond and acknowledge the inflation numbers. If you want to talk down the economy, we saw the president on Friday talking up the -- there is good news. They would have dreamed for this in the Obama years.

RAJU: Yeah, the unemployment rate is lower now than it was under President Obama. Look at how voters view the president's handling of the economy. Down, 40 percent right now, in August, 47 percent, 52 percent, did they ignore the inflation issue for too long?

KHALID: I think psychologically though, if you're working a job, it is more frustrating to have a job and not be able to afford things you used to be able to afford at the grocery store, than to be unemployed. I mean, that's what I hear from voters in the regular. It is not that they're not satisfied that they're working. It is I am working and I cannot get a -- afford what I used to afford or I'm frustrated like the cost of meat. I mean, that is something that you hear consistently from people that the cost of chicken and beef and lamb has all gone up.

IRWIN: There is a mismatch in the psychology here. Look, there's $300 a month child tax credit for young kids, for a lot of working class families, that's real money. People kind of take that for granted.

Maybe you got a raise, that's great news. You earned that. If you have to pay more for groceries, that feels like a real point of pain that weighs on you.

RAJU: And, look, the question, is will Democrats in 2022, campaigning on this, look what happened, the issues for the last election, this Tuesday, past Tuesday's election in Virginia. The most important issues for voters, economy, topping the list, 33 percent, COVID, down to 15 percent. Democrats thought they would get credit for that. It receded in there, in -- among voter views.

Will that change come 2022?

TALEV: It is interesting. We do this poll with Ipsos, every two weeks since the start of COVID. And when you look at people's expectations for Biden, he has exceeded by a lot their expectations for handling COVID. Getting shots in the arm, making sure people get vaccinated, spreading the science about vaccinations. There are expectations about the economy have gone upside down.

And guess what? People care more about the economy now. If COVID was worse now than it was before, they might care more about COVID, but he's not getting political credit in the same way that he's getting a political deficit from the sinking economy number.

RAJU: It's huge, huge challenge. We will talk more about that. And Republicans say they're now the party of education, and parents after their success in Tuesday's elections, Democrats say the policy agenda proves otherwise.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Democrats are the party of parents, not Republicans. We are the ones that are looking to pass child -- universal child care, universal pre-K, to cut prescription drug costs. And as soon as we get that done, I think people will see that.




RAJU: Tuesday the election in Virginia and New Jersey were a warning sign to Democrats. Let's look at some of the key numbers here.

In Virginia, Joe Biden won in 2020 by ten points, much different story last Tuesday. Republican candidate winning by just over two points, 12-point advantage for Republicans, a swing to the Republican direction.

Similarly in New Jersey, even though a Democrat did win barely by two points, Joe Biden won New Jersey by 16 points. The numbers on the ground tell the story.

Conservative areas, Republicans did better than Donald Trump did last year. Donald Trump won White County, Virginia, southwestern part of the state, rural part of the state by 57 points in 2020. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican, picked up seven additional points last week.

Similarly, on the ground in Ocean County, New Jersey, a blue collar part of New Jersey, Donald Trump winning that by 29 points, the Republican candidate in New Jersey picking up seven points on the ground.

Democrats' major warning signs in the suburbs, running behind where Joe Biden was. Loudon County, Virginia, Washington, D.C. suburb, Biden won by 26 points. Yes, the Democrats won there, but by much less. Terry McAuliffe the Democrat, 11-point victory, dropping 15 points, Biden did just a year ago. Bergen County, New Jersey, a New York city suburb, Joe Biden winning by almost 17 points last year, the Democrat on Tuesday, just a five-point victory.

Now, important to know that both states had some of the lowest in person school days in the country the last year. Republicans say dissatisfaction with Democrats' approach to education, particularly during the pandemic, drove suburban voters to support Republicans.


YOUNGKIN: We're going to embrace our parents, not ignore them. We are going to keep our communities safe. We're going to comprehensively fund law enforcement because they stand up for us and we are going to stand up for them. This is the spirit of Virginia coming together like never before.


RAJU: So, Jeff, here are a few more numbers. If you look here, what's happening on the ground. Women voters in 2020, 23-point victory for Democrats back then. This time, just seven points. And the suburbs, different, 38 point victory for Democrats last year. This time just 28 points.

Is it surprising Democrats lost so much ground among suburban voters?


ZELENY: It's a little surprising but I think a couple of things. One, yes Joe Biden won Virginia by ten points, but Donald Trump lost it by ten points. I mean that is only (INAUDIBLE).

Virginia was not this like, you know, massive blue state but New Jersey, that's a bigger warning sign for Democrats because that is a liberal or a Democratic state. Maybe not plus 16 but a lot.

So look, I think a couple things. The McAuliffe campaign underestimated this newcomer Glenn Youngkin. I mean he was, you know, smart, attractive guy, good message, stayed on message, and didn't -- these links to Trump just didn't work. That was Terry McAuliffe's message -- he's Donald Trump.

He wasn't Donald Trump. People know who Donald Trump is. So I think overall Like, many, many, many warning signs. When you talk to some Virginia members of congress and other elected officials, they think the Democratic Party is too woke.

Mark Warner said it the other day. He's like this is not the kind of party that voters in Virginia like. So that's the real warning sign, I think. It's like the wokeness in the party is really an issue for them.

KHALID: But it's also hard to separate it away from the two men themselves who were running in this race. And you would go out to Terry McAuliffe events and interview people in the crowd and they would tell you how uninspired they were by voting for this man.

I mean it's a harsh thing to say but he was not exciting, inspiring --


KHALID: -- exactly.

And you say, you know, why are you here? They're like well, I'm here to hear Joe Biden or I'm here because I think I ought to vote for Democrats and it's important for me this cycle.

But he was not inspiring to many Democrats. And I think that is part of it. I do wonder like would this race have looked differently had there been another Democrat on the other side?

It still likely would've been a very competitive race, no doubt. Glenn Youngkin was I think a very formidable and solid candidate.

MANU RAJU, CNN HOST: And he seized on those issues of education, parental rights -- I mean those really essentially animated the Republican base. Is that essentially what made the difference here?

TALEV: You see that in the exit polls that it was like the number two issue -- education, are you kidding?

But Terry McAuliffe and his wife have five kids. Their youngest kid is college-age student now. So it was obvious that they didn't have kids in public schools in Virginia in K through 12 schools because for those parents right now, for parents in the suburbs, these issues -- everything from the mask and the separation policy to what they're learning -- and this is like a softer issue, it's harder to poll, but the pent-up frustrations of have our kids gotten a good education for the last year and a half. And are they going to be able to succeed in life or do well in college are those kinds of questions? Like you're going to blame the party in power, and Democrats are now

the party in power. So I think they underestimated how big an issue education is going to be. And it will be in every swing state in America in 2022.

RAJU: And look, it's not just the suburbs as we showed earlier. It's also the rural areas in which Republicans did better than Donald Trump last year. I was talking with some Democrats about it including Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota. And he told me this about the Democratic performance in those rural areas.


REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): I think supply chain issues, inflation. I think the border crisis is an issue. I think we have to listen more. As Democrats represent less and less of rural America, we don't have that daily contact that we need to re-establish not just for a party but for the country.


RAJU: What do you think about that?

JOHN BRESNAHAN, CO-FOUNDER, PUNCHBOWL NEWS: Yes. I think that -- and you and I see this every day in Congress. I mean Democrats have gotten just killed in rural areas. It's gotten worse. I think I saw some number there, you know, that they were losing 80 percent of the vote in rural areas.

But their message is not penetrating. And I think part of it is their leadership, part of it is that the image of the party is that it's woke and it's owned by progressives. And their message is not playing rural America.

I do think this gets back to the economic message in a lot of it. I mean I think they have not been able to translate there has been good economic news and it hasn't been able to you know -- they haven't been able to sell it to the American people. And especially in rural areas where these people were biased toward Trump and Republicans to begin with and it's just getting worse and worse.

ZELENY: And I think a lot of it is -- I mean like where people get their news from, without a doubt. And also -- I mean there were some -- we should say for the record here, I mean there definitely were some racist dog whistles in this campaign that I think did probably drive turnout in some rural counties.

But you know, those things are all known. It's still a challenge for Democrats to get their message out. And there's just a disconnect with what the party is doing and what America is seeing. That's the biggest challenge for the party.

RAJU: Yes. And you mentioned some of the issues, one being race, the issue of critical race theory. That really played heavily in the Virginia race. This is what a congresswoman from Illinois -- Congresswoman Underwood from Illinois -- I spoke to her about this issue, about critical race theory, that Democrats have different ways of approaching it.

She said, we have a rising American electorate that are black and brown people. We should be able to speak to their issues, their experience as Americans in this country without feeling like it's a liability for other audiences.

Now, this is part of a story we did about a debate within the Democratic Party about whether to talk about these issues like critical race theory is not taught in elementary school, it's not taught in high school. It's primarily on the university level.


RAJU: But some Democrats say don't elevate these issues. But is that a risk for Democrats by not talking about it? They didn't talk about the fund the police last year and they --


KHALID: I mean I think part of this boils down to language, right. And so critical race theory is something that I consistently heard from Republican voters. I spent some time out in Hanover County, it's in central Virginia, a very, you know, red county, I would say. And it's a county that has really high voter turnout. I think it was like 90 percent of the electorate voted in the last presidential election.

You heard so frequently about critical race theory from white voters. I did not hear about critical race theory but I think one time from a black voter.

So it's something that I think really galvanize the right. Part of this is language. I would argue that the Democrats' strategy of just saying it's not being taught here in Virginia was not a successful rebuttal. In part, because, to this point, you know, there are a lot of black and brown voters in the Democratic Party who don't feel like that's a sufficient answer.

And I think the takeaway from Virginia is going to be does the Democratic Party really try to galvanize and build up a larger support base amongst black and brown voters, progressive voters? Or does it try to win back some of these suburban areas?

You know, I don't know what the answer is really. I think it's a tricky line to walk When you talk about race, you can very easily alienate I think different parts of the country.

RAJU: And the question for Republicans is can Glenn Youngkin's strategy be replicated? One of the ways he did it is he kept Donald Trump on the sidelines. I mean Donald Trump's going to be a mold in 2022. Do you think this is something that -- a formula that can work? Or is this unique to him?

TALEV: I think it's a playbook with a lot of caveats. And one of them is that he is a very good candidate. He has good instincts on the stump. He's TV friendly. He -- you know, in addition to that, he's really rich, which means that he's got his own money, it doesn't matter if he angers Donald Trump. No one can take away Glenn Youngkin's money from him.

And also Virginia is a different kind of swing state -- it's a different kind of state than a lot of the states where Republicans, in theory, might want to separate themselves from Trump but would have much more trouble doing it and kind of less of an excuse to do it.

So I think it shows a path, it shows a model, but you can't just kind of copy and paste it.

And look, we're going to talk about that actually next in the next segment. What Tuesday tells us about 2022.



RAJU: Ten months after the insurrection at the Capitol, the party of the president who triggered it paid no political price. Many voters have seemed to move on.

Seven people who attended the rally on the Mall before the riot won their races on Tuesday. Another sign of the times, the Republican defeated in New Jersey's governor's race has yet to concede.

GOP Congressman Anthony Gonzalez voted to impeach Trump after the insurrection. He told Jake Tapper in a CNN special report he fears it could happen again.


REP. ANTHONY GONZALEZ (R-OH): January 6th was an unconstitutional attempt led by the president of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately.

I think it's all pushing towards one of two outcomes. He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or if he loses again, he'll just try to steal it.


RAJU: But Tuesday didn't seem like January 6th was a voting issue. Is that the case nationally? What do you think?

TALEV: Yes. Right now it looks like the voting issues are going to be the economy, schools and COVID's soft impact on both of those areas, right.

I think January 6th is a hugely salient point for a lot of Americans. People are deeply disturbed by what happened. And in 2024 or in the run-up to 2024, that could have an impact on some of the debate around who the Republican nominee is going to be.

But in 2022 you're voting for your member of Congress and all politics is local.

RAJU: Yes.

TALEV: And I think those issues are going to trump January 6th for now.

RAJU: Listen to what Chris Christie, a former New Jersey governor said about the former president Donald Trump just yesterday.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections. No matter where you stand on that issue, no matter where you stand, it is over.

And every minute that we spend talking about 2020, while we're wasting time doing that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer are laying ruin to this country.


RAJU: So, in a follow-up interview with our colleague Maeve Reston, Christie said that Terry McAuliffe's loss in Virginia proves that voters want to move past Trump. They're tired of arguing about him.

Is he right if Republicans are listening to him?

KHALID: I mean I don't know. I actually do think that underlying many issues, maybe it's not in 2022 again because that's a midterm election cycle. But by the time you move to 2024, I think we saw in Virginia that as much as this election was about education, it was about masks, it was about vaccines, underlying all of these things in my view was culture. And culture supersedes everything else.

And I think that the trouble for Democrats right now is they have not figured out how to successfully navigate those culture wars.

RAJU: And they have a big problem. Look at the midterm map, the Republicans are feeling good after Tuesday. They've been confident all along they would take back the house.

This is what the man who wants to become speaker, what he said after the results last week.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): President Biden won your seat by 16 points. If you're in a competitive race next year, you are no longer safe. It's no longer will the competition of competitive seats be small. It'll be more than 70 Democrats that will be competitive. There is many that are going to lose their races.


RAJU: I mean look at President Obama's approval rating back in 2009 was at 53 percent. They ended up losing 63 seats in 2010. Biden right now is at 42 percent. Are they at risk of losing up to 60 seats next year in the House?

BRESNAHAN: No, they're not going to lose 60 seats, but they're going to lose. I mean they're going to lose the house. I mean redistricting is already against them. Tradition's against them. You know, Biden's approval ratings -- you know, maybe they bounce back some, but the, you know, likelihood is they're going to lose.


BRESNAHAN: I mean -- and for McCarthy, he better win at least 20, 25 seats or he's going to have a problem being speaker. So, you know -- and I think what he's trying to do is make it seem like a fait accompli, right. He's trying to say, you know, they're trying -- Republicans are trying to present you shouldn't even spend your money on House races, ok. And you know, spend it on the senate or spend it on something else because this is over. They're trying to say it's over.

So you know, I think Democrats have big problems. I think Tuesday was a huge wake-up call to them that they better get it together. The problem for Democrats is, you know, they've got to pass Build Back Better or they've got no chance heading into 2022. And can they -- you know, if these guys have one eye on 2022 and Biden's not going to be there, am I going to risk my seat for voting for something for the president?

ZELENY: There's not as much low-hanging fruit as there was in 2010. Because 2020 a lot of Republicans came in so there's not that big majority for one. But one thing that Mr. McCarthy, hopes to be speaker, which is also unclear -- you know, you can say primaries. Primaries are still a huge challenge for Republicans. Virginia taught Democrats a lesson about Trump, you can't just talk about him.

But for Republicans, a lesson about Trump is still kind of up in the air. That cannot be replicated Primaries still remain a huge challenge for the Republican Party.

RAJU: Yes. A lot of lessons learned from Republicans. Progressives too -- they lost some races in Buffalo, New York City, Ohio, Minneapolis. What does it say about their future? A lot for them to process as well.

And for the president too, a big week for him president ahead. How does it impact his legacy in 2024?


RAJU: Is Biden an FDR or an LBJ? Now, that depends on which Democrat you ask. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had this to say on Saturday.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Was the New Deal under Teddy Roosevelt, there is the Square Deal. I think last night we just got part one of the Biden/Harris administration's big deal. And I think part two of that big deal has a ton of momentum if only because the American people overwhelmingly support just about everything that's in it.


RAJU: But Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia warned that without big margins, there is not a mandate.


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We don't have the numbers that FDR had or that Lyndon Baines Johnson had in order to get some major, major legislation done. We don't have those. We can't go foo far left. This is not a center left or a left country. We are a center, if anything a little center-right country, that's being shown and we ought to be able to recognize that. They're just pushing left. People are pushing further left and that's not Joe Biden.


RAJU: What do the first ten months say about Joe Biden and is this really what the voters expected of them?

KHALID: That is just a tricky question. I mean is this what voters expected? I would say voters expected him to return the country to some sense of normalcy. That is why most folks when you talk to them elected him.

Has he done that? I would say, you know, when you talk about COVID, I think he has done that. When you talk about the economy, to some degree he's done that. I think the challenge for him is that he has these other ambitions and those have gotten stuck in congress and I think that when voters look at gridlock, you know, regardless of whether or not they wanted actually pieces of this legislation, that is not a good image for him.

RAJU: What do you think of Manchin saying this that is not a center- left country?

BRESNAHAN: Well, you and I covered Manchin a lot. I mean that's where Joe Manchin is. I mean pro-life, you know. He's in a that is, you know, pro-abortion rights, I mean. So you know, I think they're caught in the trap, the Biden administration. You know, you win the presidency and covered George W. Bush as well as I did -- you know, road message was, you know ,even though we lost the popular vote you govern like you won ok.

and all the energy, the problem for Biden and the opportunities, all the energy in the party is progressives, ok. He's a moderate. He won the election and all the energy is with them. And you saw even like the squad and those kind of folks voting against an infrastructure bill that he needed, they needed, the party needed.

RAJU: There's disappointment among progressives and that's going to come, too, when they -- even if they pass this big bill, they have to compromise with Joe Manchin. A lot of the progressive are starting to see some of that.

This is what a Republican pollster Neil Newhouse (ph) said yesterday about the big infrastructure victory that the president got.


NEIL NEWHOUSE, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: The way the Biden administration went at this, if they had passed this in July or if they passed this, you know, when it first came up, then that would be, you know, confidence in leading the party.

But the sausage making we went through over the last, you know, three or four months, it was ugly and I think it diminished Americans' belief that the Biden administration was a competent one.


RAJU: Do you agree with that or --

ZELENY: For sure. I think it's virtually impossible once your standing is where it is, it's very hard to increase it, absent some type of national tragedy where he's seen as a leader.

But look, I think they can incrementally increase it. But Joe Biden's party is not doing him any favors here. And this is one of the things -- I talked to several members of Congress who spoke to him as he was trying to encourage them. They said he was very on tap with the numbers and he knew exactly what was in this bill.

He said he was confused by one thing, confused by the divisions in the party, that they just could not simply get around to this. So you know, the thought that six Democrats could vote against infrastructure, will they be primaried? They should be primaried. We'll see what happens with all that.

But I think that his biggest problem, the White House's biggest challenge are Democrats themselves.

Yes. And look at how Democrats view the president according to NPR, PBS and Marist Poll from October 18th. Do Democrats have a better chance of winning the presidency with Biden as the nominee? That was a question that was asked to voters. Democrats, Democrats-leaning Independents -- 36 percent, just 36 percent say yes; 44 percent say no; 20 percent are unsure.


TALEV: Right, but then if you dig a little deeper on someone else --

RAJU: Who?

ZELENY: Who is the person?

TALEV: There's nobody -- there is no other choice who is more popular. You know, I think what you said is exactly right. Is Biden LBJ or is Biden FDR? Maybe Biden's Eisenhower because If all he gets is infrastructure he's

going to have a lot of roads and bridges and, by the way, that will still be a really big deal between the money that's been passed to bring the country out of the pandemic, to stave off crisis it's really hard to message on like the idea that things would have been way worse if I wouldn't have gotten done what I did but that kind of has to be part of his message.

I don't think Biden's a centrist Democrat. I think Biden is center- left politician and has been for many, many decades. But in the context of his current party, it makes him seem like a centrist.

RAJU: Yes. And the challenge here is that the president, the party, they promised a lot, they have such narrow margins, and virtually no margin for error in the Senate or the House and they have to deliver and it's hard to do just that.

Thank you guys for joining us.

And that's it for INSIDE POLITICS ON SUNDAY. Join us back here every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. eastern and the weekday show as well at noon Eastern.

Up next "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Dana's guests include New York City Mayor-Elect Eric Adams, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Thanks again for sharing your Sunday morning with us. See you next time.