Return to Transcripts main page

Inside Politics

CNN Projection: Democrats Keep Control of Senate; Is the GOP Ready to Turn the Page from Trump?; Biden on Midterm Wins: "We Beat the Odds"; Democrats Keep Control of Senate; Republican Revolt; Gen Z Headed to Halls of Congress in 2023. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 13, 2022 - 08:00   ET





ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST (voice-over): A midterm shocker, Democrats hold the Senate.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The election is a great win and a vindication. The Democrats, our agenda and for the American people.

PHILLIP: And have an outside chance of keeping the House.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Experts said we couldn't beat the odds, but we did beat the odds.

PHILLIP: How did his party stop the red wave?

Plus, recriminations for Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump was the unmitigated loser last night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His involvement in a lot of these races cost us many, many seats.

PHILLIP: With Donald Trump poised to launch a third presidential run, is the GOP finally ready to turn away from him? And with the house GOP on track to win a narrow majority at best, will we see a civil war in the house Republican conference?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There actually will be a challenge to Kevin McCarthy's leadership bid.

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


PHILLIP (on camera): Hello and welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Abby Phillip. In a stunning defiance of history, Democrats have maintained control

of the United States Senate. CNN is projecting that incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada will win re-election defeating the Republican candidate, former state attorney general Adam Laxalt. The win gives a huge boost to the president in his final two years in office.

And shortly after the race was called, the president and the man who will once again be the majority leader, Chuck Schumer, hailed the victory.


BIDEN: I know I'm a cockeyed optimist, I understand that from the beginning. But I'm not surprised by the turnout. I'm incredibly pleased by the turnout. I feel good. I feel good. I'm looking forward to the next couple of years.

SCHUMER: Even when the polls looked bleak, our candidates never gave up and never lost faith. As the MAGA Republicans stoked fear and division, Democrats were talking about how we delivered on issues that mattered to people.


PHILLIP: And while control of the Senate is now sealed, the fate of the House remains a big question mark this morning. Democrats have won 204 seats. Republicans have won 211 seats. The race to 218 now hinges on the outcomes of 20 undecided races in California, Oregon, and Arizona.

So, Republicans are now leading in ten of those races. And the Democrats are also leading in ten, which means the House is still very much in play.

Let's discuss all of this and more with Paul Kane of "The Washington Post", CNN's Eva McKend, CNN's Melanie Zanona, and "Politico's" Rachael Bade.

P. Kane, wow, I mean, I think most people in politics would not have imagined we would be sitting here talking about maybe not even a red ripple at the end of the day.

PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Oh, no. I think when all of the votes are counted, it takes a long time to tabulate. I think you'll discover that Democrats got more votes for the House than Republicans when all is said and done. I think you're going to see a net gain in state legislative seats for Democrats across the board. And they will have gained -- they will -- if they win Georgia, they'll have picked up a seat in the Senate, and I think they're going to gain governorships.

So this is not a red ripple. If anything, this is a draw or a narrow win for Democrats.

PHILLIP: For Democrats, yeah. It is pretty extraordinary that Republicans really blew what was a very favorable environment for them, not just because of the economic conditions, popularity of the president, but also because of redistricting. And the House has been called, but it is very close, it is very possible that we could end up in a situation in which the House is still in play in a couple of days.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: It is mathematically possible that Democrats could. Obviously it is harder for them. What they would have to do is flip some of the r-leaning seats but there was an upset last night that is giving Democrats hope where they did flip a seat that was Republican-leaning, in Washington state, represented by Jamie Herrera Beutler.

That is someone who voted to impeach Trump. He got involved in the primaries.


They backed a candidate who is an extreme election denier. And so, you're seeing the fruits of that bear out. And so, yeah, Democrats are hopeful that they could at least potentially hold it or at least make it something like a 219 majority for Republicans, which will be obviously chaos for Republicans.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: This really tracks what I've been hearing on the ground, I've been traveling the past few months in Pennsylvania, in Georgia, and there was this narrative that Democrats were not paying attention, they weren't enthusiastic, but they very much were enthusiastic when I was speaking to them, specifically on the reproductive rights issue. So I think that that is part of this conversation as well.

Also, I think that it is important for Democrats as they are assessing all of this, I think this illustrates that maybe they can't cede any territory, right, places where they thought they weren't going to win, maybe if they pushed harder in this environment, they could have potentially won.

PHILLIP: One of the interesting dynamics has been what happened with the independent voters in this election who narrowly but did favor Democrats.

And if you look a little deeper at some of these key Senate races, John Fetterman's margin with independent voters, 20 points. That's extraordinary in a state like Pennsylvania. Mark Kelly, 16 points; Raphael Warnock, 11 points; Maggie Hassan, another race that Republicans thought they could compete in, 11-point marriage within independents; Catherine Cortez Masto, three, and just won her Senate race last night.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, this election completely defies the logic and the historical precedent we have seen in terms of independent voters, especially when you have one party in power usually the House are able to flip at least two dozen seats to Republicans. And you add on top of that the concerns about inflation, the expectation was so great on the Republican side. But what we clearly saw was that the abortion issue very much generated and turned out Democrats and pulled over a lot of independents and we're also seeing that Trump's brand of politics is especially toxic for Republicans. I mean, you can look at all these races, and a lot of them -- these Republicans lost specifically for one reason that's because of Trump and how toxic the MAGA brand has become to a lot of --

KANE: Think of one day, the Saturday before election day, in Pittsburgh, Dr. Oz, who spent the previous month trying to act as if he's the moderate, he's the centrist, Fetterman is the extremist, Oz goes on stage in Pittsburgh, with Trump and Doug Mastriano, the Confederate curious candidate for governor --

PHILLIP: This may go down as one of the most confounding decisions in recent politics.

KANE: He tried to distance himself from Mastriano and Trump. And then on that same day, in the same city, John Fetterman has Barack Obama on stage with him. People don't really quite know this, Obamas had a connection with Pittsburgh, he grew up in Hawaii as a Steelers fan. He's become friends with Franco Harris, Hall of Fame running back and one of his first actions as president was to take Pittsburgh's favorite son, Steelers owner, Dan Rooney, and make him ambassador to Ireland.

PHILLIP: He built a lot of goodwill with Pittsburgh.

KANE: Trump or Obama?

MCKEND: The problem is you can't win him and you can't win without him. What would Trump have done if Oz sat that rally out?

PHILLIP: Well, the other thing that lost on Tuesday were election deniers. For some races, it took a few more days. At the end of the day, several of the key election deniers, perhaps the ones leading the charge, Jim Marchant in Nevada, Mark Finchem in Arizona, and Kristina Karamo in Michigan, in Washington state, a Trump-backed candidate Joe cant lost his race as well. That's pretty resounding loss for some of the big standard bearers of that election.

ZANONA: It is a losing message for Republicans. This is why GOP leaders back last summer were begging Trump to move on from 2020. They did not want to make this a midterm message because, A, it turns off independents and moderates, but you risk depressing your own base if they think the election is rigged and their vote isn't going to matter.

So, I don't know if going forward, they're going to finally put election denialism in the rear view mirror. We have seen some losing candidates already planting seeds that their own election was stolen without any evidence, but clearly, democracy was on the ballot and team normal and Liz Cheney won out.

PHILLIP: And we're watching very carefully Arizona because that governor's race with Katie Hobbs, the Democrat running against Kari Lake, another huge election denier, still up in the air as of right now. That will be a key moment too depending on the outcome of that race.

KANE: Yeah, look, the whole Southwest has changed and this is -- the Southwest and the West in general conspiratorial folks have thrived out there. Area 51, it is present. But now it has reached sort of the top levels of one party.

And inflation is terrible out in Nevada. The pandemic hit there harder than everywhere.


Arizona, same thing. Instead of actually capitalizing open the economic issues, they were putting forward candidates for office who were just not -- who were focused on the conspiracies of 2020 and not the hard times of 2022.

You now have eight out of eight senators are Democrats from Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.


KANE: Twenty-some years ago, it was six out of eight Republicans.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it says a lot about what's happening there and raises some questions for Republicans as well.

That's what we'll be discussing next. Coming up, Republicans are regrouping after their less than stellar performance in the midterms, but one man is bearing the brunt of the blame. We'll talk about that next.


PHILLIP: The blame game within the Republican Party is already in full swing and a majority of fingers right now seem to be pointing in one direction, at former President Trump.


So, the big question is, will Tuesday's election debacle actually jeopardize his hold over the party in a way that none of this did.



You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

He just said it is not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.

It's one conversation that I had with the president of Ukraine that was perfect.

I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute.

We're going to walk down and I'll there be with you, we're going to walk down to the Capitol, because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.


PHILLIP: All of that to say there has been a lot that has been going on with Trump, and not even a violent insurrection on the capitol really prompted lasting, you know, recriminations for him and also now it seems to me that the issue isn't so much what Republican leaders think, it is what Republican voters think.

ZANONA: Yes, if Republicans finally pull away from Trump, it will be because they believe that the base is no longer with him, that they believe he no longer is politically advantageous for him. I don't know if that's going to actually be the case if past is prologue, maybe we won't see it. But we have started to see some cracks behind the scenes of a lot of finger pointing at Donald Trump.

But at the same time, you have a lot of MAGA voices out there trying to blame Mitch McConnell. You have Elise Stefanik, the number three Republican, coming out and endorsing his '24 bid. So, I'm not sure there is a full out reckoning just yet. We'll have to wait and see.

BADE: Yeah, it feels like the whiplash is already happening.

PHILLIP: Yeah, you wrote in the -- in Politico the Trump backlash may already be fading.

BADE: Yeah.

PHILLIP: You've seen this movie before.

BADE: We have. Look, the Murdoch empire came out conservative leaning media pointing the finger at Trump. You saw gun rights groups say, you know, that their voters are -- their members, they're no longer looking at Trump, they're looking at DeSantis. You saw Chris Christie go on the record and say this is all because of Trump, we lost -- we're losing big because of Trump.

But you already are seeing people Mel mentioned in the Senate, the public conversation in Congress now is not about Trump being a problem with the party, it is about these conservatives and MAGA Republicans pointing the finger at their own leadership. People like Rick Scott, people like Ted Cruz saying McConnell is to blame or McCarthy is to blame, et cetera. If that come to Jesus moment is going to happen, it is not happening yet in Congress where leadership is currently being --

PHILLIP: One of the things about Trump and Republicans, this is the problem, right, they -- their base loves him, midterm -- sorry, not midterm, independent voters see things like this Truth Social post that he did this week, Youngkin -- that's an interesting take, sounds Chinese, doesn't it? In Virginia, couldn't have won without me. That's a reference to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin using basically

a racist attack against him, those are the kind of things that independent voters seem to be saying enough already.

KANE: Absolutely. It is the path through these primaries that is this horrible track for a team normal Republican.

Let's face it, in Arizona, Trump's problem is he crushes their recruiting efforts to get candidates who can win. Arizona, they could have had Doug Ducey as the governor, could have run for Senate. Chris Sununu obviously would have won the Senate race if he had won in New Hampshire. In Georgia, they had several different people who they could have won instead of Herschel Walker. Doug Collins would have been a much better state wide candidate.

But Trump crushes all of them and you end up with the Blake Masters types. And then until they figure out how to get him to either just stay out of these primaries, you know, 2024 should be a big year for them, but if they end up with another set of Blake Masters as their candidates, they might not win again.

PHILLIP: And, by the way, Trump is going to be -- he's announcing a presidential bid on Tuesday. He wants to be on the ballot in 2024 and the question now is he's been attacking Ron DeSantis, attacking Glenn Youngkin, two people who may choose a challenge to him in a primary. Will other Republicans who maybe don't feel Trump should be on center stage step up?

Here is a tweet from Pompeo: conservatives are elected when we deliver, not when we just rail on social media. Not really sure who he's referring to, maybe he's referring to -- maybe he's not. But it seems emblematic, a lot of Republicans want to push Trump away, but are not willing to actually do it themselves.


MCKEND: Yeah, I think the problem for Republicans, the problems Republicans face extend beyond Trump. It is not only Trump. Some of the policy positions that Republicans champion are not in line with where most Americans are. That's an issue. On Trump, the former vice on Trump, the former vice president is somewhat right.

Look at Governor Kemp. Governor Kemp faced an onslaught of attacks from the former president, but he remained focused on delivering for his conservative base. If you are deeply conservative, and kind of just ignore him, there is evidence that it can work out for you.

PHILLIP: Look at Ron DeSantis, he's basically been ignoring the Trump attacks. The question is how long can he do that?

BADE: Yeah. I mean, especially Trump is just going to continue to go after him.

And as for that Pompeo tweet, I mean, yes, underlining meaning there, but he didn't even name Trump. Come on. You're going to need a lot more to take out Trump than that. If all these Republicans have the same thought process that, okay, we

have seen that Trump is very weak after this midterm cycle, and they all jump in, he's going to still keep that core base of 30 percent and then the rest of the Republican Party could maybe be divided amongst Christie, Pompeo.

ZANONA: Which is what happened in 2016.

BADE: Exactly and we see the repeat of history.

PHILLIP: Yeah, and the Trump team is certainly hoping it will be a repeat of that history. They already said it publicly. They think that this is just 2016 all over again and he's just going to knock each and every one of them out. We'll see how the establishment, so to speak, learns from what happened then.

But coming up next for us, a vindicated President Biden takes a victory lap. What Tuesday's results mean for his next two years in the White House.



PHILLIP: All right, Democrats wake up this morning with control of the Senate firmly in their column, and some of them are also now saying I told you so. These are the head winds that they faced going into Election Day.

President Biden's approval rating is in the low 40s. Three-quarters of Americans say that the economy is bad, and even more say that the -- the country is headed in the wrong direction, and, yet, this is shaping up to be one of the best midterm elections for the party in power in modern history.


BIDEN: For months and months all of you heard from the press and the pundit pundits, Democrats are facing a disaster. Republican that? All those polls, all those polls, god love them. You know, historic losses are on the way, a giant red wave.

Experts said we couldn't beat the odds, but we did beat the odds.


PHILLIP: Look, they -- they're taking a victory lap because they told, I think, everyone that they thought they had a good chance. And here's Ron Klain's tweet from Wednesday, never underestimate how much team Biden is underestimated. They're talking about the primary, they're talking about the presidential, Ron Klain is taking a victory lap and so is President Biden.

BADE: I mean, and they should. Nobody saw this coming, except, of course, some Democrats who were -- we all dismissed as overly optimistic. But clearly, you know, their agenda has been resonating with people, and because of Trump's, again, especially toxic political -- and they were able to capitalize on this.

ZANONA: No doubt it is such a good night for Biden, however it does seem when you look at the exit polls that Democrats prevailed in spite of him, not because of him necessarily. CNN exit polls show 49 percent of voters said they somewhat disapprove of Biden voted for Democrats. You see Biden, he sat off on the campaign trail in a lot of the key races, he wasn't making big campaign pushes, he wasn't front and center and that seemed to help Democrats.

PHILLIP: It wasn't -- it perhaps wasn't Biden personally, but there were some choices made about the message on the Democratic side that people questioned. Many Democrats questioned, claimed they weren't focusing enough on the economy, focusing too much on abortion. The democracy argument at the end got a lot of blowback but may have ended up playing a role.

And I just want to show on the abortion issue, which is something that I think Democrats had said would be a big role, that would play in this midterms, 60 percent of voters in Tuesday's election said abortion should be legal in most cases, Democrats won those voters 73 percent of those voters voted for a Democrat on the ballot. So it had an impact.

KANE: It definitely had an impact. I think -- Democrats had an inflation problem. And that hurt a lot. But Republicans broadly had an extremism problem. And part of the extremism point number one was the Supreme Court ruling throwing the whole issue back to the states.

But then it all fed into this big, big milieu of just violence and extremism. The attack on Paul Pelosi happening about 10, 12 days before election fits into that narrative and you had Republicans, some of them were making fun of the attack. The president's own son was making fun of it.

It all fit into this one thing and so, was Joe Biden on the ballot on Tuesday? Sort of. Was Donald Trump and the things he stands for on the ballot? Definitely. PHILLIP: There is also now -- we know Democrats will control the Senate and we also still have one more Senate race to run in Georgia and to cover. Democrats want that seat for a lot of reasons. Not only because it is a Senate seat, but because it gives them a stronger hold.

But listen to -- I mean this is going to be the matchup that we will see. Both candidates -- Warnock and Walker back on the campaign already.


SENATOR RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): I need you to fight like the future of Georgia and the future of America depends on it because it does. Are you all ready to fight?

Are you ready to get this done?

HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: You got to get out and vote because you know he hung around, he hung around and got into this runoff and he's thinking he's going to win. We need to prove him wrong and let him get out of that office.


PHILLIP: And so Walker -- I mean Walker had said he wanted to just win outright. He clearly didn't and is going into this runoff behind.

MCKEND: He is. He is. And you know, I think that, you know, Democrats are obviously thrilled that they held on to the Senate, but this is still an important race. They will not have to be -- if Senator Warnock is able to pull off a victory -- they will not have to be at the whims of Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema as much.

PHILLIP: Which is a huge thing for a lot of Democrats.

MCKEND: Huge deal.

And then it also I think is a test of Senator Warnock's brand of politics. You very -- it is infrequent that you see candidates being loud and proud about their willingness to work with the other party especially in an environment that is so polarized.

And that has been key to his re-election argument. That he is willing to work with Ted Cruz. He's willing to work with Tommy Tuberville.

You know, does that work in Georgia where frankly Democrats did not do well. Stacy Abrams lost. A lot of the down ballot races for Democrats were tough as well.

So Senator Warnock is kind of Georgia Democrats' kind of last hope.

BADE: I just think we should talk about also what this means for Biden going forward. The fact that he has a whole chamber to be a firewall against a Republican-led House -- I mean, House Republicans are --


BADE: -- no doubt going to try to impeach him. Now, he's got a chairman in another chamber on the Senate who can sort of do a counter-investigation now and he's also not going to have to contend with spending bills that are chalk full of Republican priorities, things -- Republicans trying to defund things that Democrats have worked for for a really long time. And he's going to have Democrats to fight for him.


ZANONA: Judges, he may be able to reshape the judiciary. Two more years on that. If a Supreme Court vacancy arises, that's another thing that's huge for Democrats.

PHILLIP: Yes. And so far he's matching Trump's pace, which is a huge priority for Democrats to catch up on the judiciary.

But to your point, Rachael, about the investigations, here is the oversight committee -- who could be the oversight committee chair in the House if they were to take control -- if Republicans were to take control of the House. Here's what he says he's going to do if he has that gavel.


Rep. James Comer (R-KY): What we have are actual documents, actual bank records. We have actual emails. We have voice messages from Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.

We have evidence, and how in the world the Department of Justice hasn't already acted on this is beyond me. That's another investigation. I think the American people are going to be shocked what the Republicans already have.


PHILLIP: I mean this is a double-edged sword. I mean, the American people did not necessarily say on Tuesday that they wanted that, but Biden may have to contend with it nonetheless.

KANE: Yes. He'll have to contend with it, but it is politically very, very dangerous for Republicans. I watched the results of a focus group that a friend of mine does that is A swing voter project and he had 12 Georgia swing voters Wednesday, the day after the election, and one of the questions he asked them was how many of you by show of hands want to see an investigation of Hunter Biden? Zero. How many of you want to see an investigation of Dr. Fauci -- crickets, zero.

ZANONA: We've talked a lot about, you know, the MAGA wing and how much influence they would have in a small majority Republican Party, but the moderates have influence too and those are the majority makers, those are the people that the next speaker of the Republican House is going to have to protect if they want to keep that majority.

PHILLIP: Yes. And their voices are undoubtedly going to be louder going into this Congress because the results on Tuesday seemed to indicate that where the party is headed, at least rhetorically, is not resonating with voters that they need in order to win.

But coming up for us next, as a demoralized Republican Party comes to terms with Tuesday's results, are Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy's positions on the line?



PHILLIP: Turbulence has erupted in the House and Senate Republican ranks after the party fell well short of its midterm expectations. Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell are both now confronting challenges to their leadership on their right flank.

In the Senate, at least seven Republicans are calling to delay Wednesday's leadership elections. And in the House, members of the freedom caucus are seeking concessions and threatening to withhold support from Kevin McCarthy if the party holds on to a razor thin majority in the House.

So, one says McCarthy has done nothing to earn his support and another says that no Republican has the necessary 218 votes to become speaker. McCarthy and his allies, however, remain confident.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think I accomplished the goal that we wanted to. People can have input. We want to have a very open input process. We're going to have a smaller majority. Remember in the House, they don't give gavels out by small, medium and large. They just give you the gavel. And we're going to be able to govern.


PHILLIP: And just as a reminder, CNN has not projected which party wins the House, but McCarthy is planning already because he has to. He has no choice because he's getting pushback already from his -- from a wing of his party that has been waiting to challenge him until this point.

ZANONA: Waiting to challenge him, took him down once already in 2015. It's a wing that he has courted to try to avoid this exact moment. But it all comes down to the math. If it is a very slim majority, it's going to be very hard for Kevin McCarthy to become speaker.


ZANONA: And it also depends on his willingness to wheel and deal with these members. He might have to give in to some of their hardline demands but those demands would essentially weaken his speakership. That's why he hasn't given in.

And so over these next few weeks between now and January and the floor vote, it is going to be a mad scramble behind the scenes for Kevin McCarthy to try to win over these conservative critics.

PHILLIP: And just as a reminder as well, if we're talking about the speakership, that is a majority of the chamber, so he has basically in -- if Republicans have a narrow majority in the House, basically no room for error here.

KANE: Yes, he was telling everybody that they were going to win at least 15 seats, more likely 20 to 30 to 40. If he had gotten that big of a majority, these characters that you just had up on the screen, the Bob Goods and Chip Roys, they don't matter if there is 235, 240 Republicans. They're just five or ten that have those views toward McCarthy.

But if he only has 219, 220 Republicans, any four people can get together and form their own little cabal and just cause havoc, first on that floor vote, January 3rd, where he needs 218 votes from his side of the aisle and then for the rest of his term as speaker.

PHILLIP: And, Rachael, McCarthy is such an interesting figure for a lot of reasons. He's really tried to cultivate the sort of Trump wing of the party. And you wrote in your book "Unchecked", he knew viscerally, this is after January 6th, that Trump had done something horribly wrong and needed to be rebuked for it, yet at the same time breaking with the president he catered to for so long would be like cutting off his own arm and he worried it would have devastating consequences for his political future.

All of that he did, you know, going to Mar-a-Lago. But it is not enough for certain members of his conference.

BADE: Yes. No, I mean he has basically spent the past few years, ever since he tried to succeed John Boehner and failed because of this group of conservatives who refused to give him the votes for speaker, trying to cultivate these members.

I mean he's brought in Marjorie Taylor Greene in for high level meetings. He's befriended Donald Trump. He has put his ambitions first before concerns he has about ethical and moral things that Trump has done and some of these fringe members on the right.

And yet, you know, he's going to -- they're going to keep putting demands on him. I think one of the big things to watch in the coming days is on this question about this motion to vacate, basically these Republicans are trying to get it so that they can try to oust him as speaker, with one person if they get mad at him in the future.

And that has been a hard line for him in the past. He has said no way am I going back to something like that, but he's going to have to give away the farm here.


PHILLIP: The chaos, that would be ultimately chaos. But in the Senate, there is a parallel drama playing out with a lot of Senate Republicans pushing back on Mitch McConnell. With that effort, they have the support of former President Trump who has been pretty clear he's no friend of McConnell's.

So here's Josh Hawley's tweet last night actually. He says, "The old party is dead. Time to bury it, build something new."

But I do want to contrast that with a message from other Republicans. Peter Meijer in the "Washington Post", Peter Meijer lost his seat. He's one of the impeachment Republicans, he lost his seat because of a primary. And he told the post, "After Tuesday we have no choice but to heed voters when they say that the grass is green, the sky is blue and by the way, you just got your ass handed to you. But waking up to that reality is going to be rough."

I mean this is actually what McConnell has been trying to say, "Wake up".

BADE: Yes.

KANE: Yes. And McConnell has always had and continues to have a strong hold on his -- in terms of his conference. He's got 30-35 who are very loyal to him. And they are blaming Trump for the outcome. But he's got this Josh Hawley wing -- it is small but has grown a

little bit in the last few years -- that are agitating, they're trying to be sort of the new conservatives that are thoughtful and also considered sort of populist, a little bit Trumpy, but their ranks are still pretty small over in the Senate. It is not as -- nearly as big a problem as McCarthy has.

MCKEND: And not entirely clear who would succeed him as Republican leader.

But on the House side, I mean, if Republicans are able to pull out a marginal victory here, it is still a real problem, right. Republicans themselves have been saying it is really important for us to get a governing majority. A few House seats is not a governing majority.

And then also another issue, Republicans have been trying to make inroads with voters of color. And I think that placating to some of these far right demands which they will have -- which Kevin McCarthy will have to do if he becomes speaker, I think really, I think, erodes efforts to do that, right?


MCKEND: They are trying to bridge build and trying to appeal to more Americans, but having to be at the whims of Marjorie Taylor Greene, I think they suffer to some extent in really trying to broaden the coalition like they want to.

PHILLIP: Which is why this power struggle is really a microcosm for the challenges of the party (INAUDIBLE). How they position themselves in the next two years will make a huge difference in their chances in 2024.

But coming up next for us, one of Tuesday's winners got a special shoutout from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I have no doubt he's off to an incredible start in what I'm sure will be a long distinguished career.

And when he's president, they say Joe Biden is out in the other office, and all will say Joe who?


PHILLIP: His name is Maxwell Alejandro Frost. And he is the first Gen- Zer elected to Congress. More on that next.



PHILLIP: 25 -- that is the age of Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost who just won his bid to represent Florida's 10th district and will now become the first member of Congress from Gen Z.

Frost's historic win is also reality check for the oldest Congress in recent history. Just some perspective for you. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was 10 years old when TV sets became more common in American living rooms. Frost was the same age, 10, when a little invention called the iPhone made its debut.

But for those of you who might think he is too young to govern, this is what he told me just after his victory this week.


MAXWELL ALEJANDRO FROST (D-FL), CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: I think we all really care about the same issues but Generation Z is seeing them through a different lens, right, through the life we've been through.

I think about my timeline growing up, seeing occupy Wall Street, learning about Trayvon Martin who was murdered 30 minutes north of me, Parkland, March For Our Lives. These are the moments that are defining for our generation. And I think I'm taking that perspective to Congress.


PHILLIP: So the Gen Z generation has now arrived in Congress. But it's so emblematic to me I think of just what their lives are centered around.

He's been an activist since he was 15 years old, living in Florida after shooting after shooting after shooting, and now is bringing that kind of mentality, at least on the Democratic side over to Congress.

MCKEND: That's right, Abby. I mean he also drove for Uber while he was campaigning, right, to pay the bills.


MCKEND: So this is someone who is bringing a really different perspective, arguably a needed perspective to Congress. I'm interested to see how he leads in this vein. We know that Congresswoman Cori Bush who was also -- came from an organizing background, formerly homeless, slept on the steps of the Capitol to call attention to the lapsing eviction moratorium. Do we get more of this activism from Congressman- Elect Frost?

But also, I think it's important to watch how Democrats receive him. Sometimes the octogenarians running the show have sort of a mixed record. You know, we hear this from Mondaire Jones. We hear this from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about how they're treated, how they're cultivated.

So let's see, you know, ultimately how he is received.

PHILLIP: I mean that really is the kind of elephant in the room here which is that yes, he's young, but really Congress is really old. And that generational divide has been so apparent in recent years. BADE: Yes. I'm reminded of the first day of the congress that started

in 2019 when Rashida Talib went out and said we're going to impeach the MF publicly and Pelosi specifically sent her a message behind the scenes and said, we don't talk like that now that you're in Congress. You are not a brash activist anymore.

And there's sort of been this attempt by the older generation, like the Pelosis of the world, to say look, this is how you behave once you're in Congress.

But with a lot of these young folks coming in, look there you see -- you think of the outside grassroots. They speak in a different language. They have different priorities.

ZANONA: Twitter, Instagram, right.

BADE: Exactly. Social media and it's going to change the way things are done in the House.

ZANONA: Yes. It's a difference of policy, but also style and substance. And I think it's only going to intensify the generational divide. We don't even know if Speaker Pelosi is going to stay or not. It's very possible that she could stick around. Clyburn could stick around. Hoyer could stick around. And so you have this scenario where you have a bunch of 80-year-olds still leading the Democratic caucus that now has a Gen Z member.

KANE: But Frost has actually sent signals that he wants to play both games, the inside game and the outside game. A friend of his reached out to me yesterday to explain. He won his primary in a very Democratic district. He could have kind of sat back on his laurels and gotten sworn in to Congress. He donated $100,000 to the DCCC. He held rallies, get out the vote rallies with Bernie Sanders in his district. He was trying to help up the ticket.

And so that's the sort of inside game that matched with that outside activist game that can really, really be effective. There's a certain 82-year-old House Speaker who started off as an activist and found her way to the highest --


PHILLIP: That's a really fascinating point.

On the Republican side, though, they almost had their own Gen Z member, Karoline Leavitt who did not win her primary. She tweeted this, "Tuesday was the first major test on Gen Z's electoral impact and Republicans failed miserably. Gen Z is growing daily and moving further left. This will continue to be a colossal challenge for our party if we don't change young hearts and minds."

In a lot of ways she's correct about that. There is an activist, young activist base in the Republican Party. But when you look at the results from the midterms, I mean young voters are already Democratic leaning, but they were heavily in the Democratic column.

MCKEND: That's right. This is something that Republicans can't ignore. Luckily, you know, there is still a path forward for them.


MCKEND: I think that there are some issues, whether it's criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization, where they can work with Democrats and I think curry favor with some younger voters. The student loan issue I think really hurts them though.

PHILLIP: And you mentioned Speaker Pelosi but she has a decision to make. Does she pass the baton, does she stay where she is? Any guesses.

BADE: It's all going to depend on if Democrats can hold the House.


BADE: I mean it's -- all bets are off if Democrats win.

PHILLIP: All right. Well, that's it for us on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.

Coming up next, "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. And Dana's guests this morning include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and governor of Maryland Larry Hogan, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro.

Thank you again for sharing your Sunday morning with us. I hope you have a great rest of your Sunday.