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Inside Politics

Younger Generations Could Boost Dems in Elections; Biden and Cruz Condemn Uganda Law That Punishes Homosexuality With Life in Prison. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 30, 2023 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And you see clearly trying to get -- let's -- DeSantis is trying to make the Republican race about policy, about ideology. You're laughing I get, I get it, because Trump blew up the traditional Republican policy apparatus, but DeSantis is trying to get to his right. Trump apparently has noticed, though, this is Donald Trump today, raising an issue he first brought up as president, if you're born in this country, you have what's called birthright citizenship. Donald Trump says shouldn't be that way.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: As part of my plan to secure the border on day one, my new chairman office, I will sign an executive order making clear to federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law, going forward, the future children of illegal aliens will not receive automatic U.S. citizenship. It's things like this that bring millions of people to our country.


KING: All the Republicans need to call Kari Lake lighting guy.


KING: Everyone, they keep posting these videos.


KING: They keep posting these videos of themselves or having events where they're in the dark. But that, that is -- that's proof to me that for all the Trump people saying DeSantis can't get us, DeSantis can't get. That's proof again, that they're worried about the right flank.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And listen, I mean, this sort of tough on immigration, tough on immigrants talk. Evangelicals love that, right? I mean, he's got his eye on Iowa. He's got his eye on really having that base around him, because he knows that people like Tim Scott, and people like Ron DeSantis, to a certain extent, might be candidates who that base will like. I will say this, I mean, I sort of laughed at the whole idea of making this a policy debate. Because it is sort of laughable. I mean, we've seen this in the past where there was Hillary Clinton going up against Barack Obama trying to make it a policy debate in 2008, rather than a sort of an energy and a field debate. You got you got, you know, Ron DeSantis basically trying to pass out his resume to voters. And that's not really how voters decide things. It's much more of a sort of on gut feeling. And we know at least in the past, it's been about Trump.

KING: You make a key point and jump in on that about the -- I used to Hillary-Obama analogy today, in the sense that once Obama proved though, by beating her in Iowa, that he was legit, African Americans in the later states who were in the Clinton camp said, sorry, we can't do this. You have to beat -- you have to beat Trump. You have to beat the front runner.


KING: You have to beat and bruiser beat the frontrunner to get people to give you a second thought the question is, can Ron DeSantis do that Iowa?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And he's also -- remember, it's not -- it is about trying to beat Trump, of course, but it's also about being the alternative to Trump, because there are going to be a lot of people who are potential candidates for evangelicals that are just staying on that subject in Iowa. I mean, you have Tim Scott.


BASH: You have Mike Pence, potentially. You have others who are very much that kind of mold. And you also have, yes, it is still the whole question about whether Trump is going to get them back. But he definitely lost a lot of support from an -- with evangelicals towards the end of his presidency.

KING: Yeah.

HENDERSON: But I also think, in some ways, it's not enough to get the evangelicals. Because there's always sort of number two Republican right, it was Ted Cruz. Last time, it was Rick Santorum before and those are people who did really well with evangelical vote. So even if he wins Iowa, right, I mean, where else is he going to just win sort of all of those southern evangelical states in the way that to improve.

KING: And I just want to show the map of the full field, you have on the left side already in the race, the right side, also considering Mike Pence is in them in there. Chris Christie's allies from the Super PAC he's about to get in. Evangelicals are not his core constituency. But you have a crowded field, which a crowded field at the moment benefits Trump one last point, then you get the last word to you. So you mentioned Santorum, homeschoolers in Iowan, homeschoolers in Iowa, DeSantis superior to homeschooling convention in Florida on Friday, watch it, watch it. You know. BASH: Yeah.

KING: Santorum went from two to beating Mitt Romney with the homeschoolers.

MIN KIM: Right, right. And the you do see how -- that's kind of, you do you see how Governor DeSantis is trying to appeal to all the various different constituencies in Iowa. But going back to that point, I did -- I did think was really interesting when Senator Scott got into the race, Donald Trump was actually very warm and welcoming of that. And I think it's because he right -- well, many things, but I think he also recognizes that the more people who are in this race, it benefits him. So I think he's really saying the more the merrier, waterslide jump in.

KING: Fields going to get bigger this week. And then in the weeks ahead, the question is, when does this shrink before Iowa or beyond? That's what Trump is watching closely.

When we come back a democratic shift -- a shift that should be a slam dunk for the Democrats, but instead, there's something else happening with Christian conservatives and with blue collar voters, closer look, next.



KING: Demography is destiny is the line you hear often in politics and it is a very good yet imperfect guide to predicting future political outcomes. The veteran political reporter Tom Edsall offers a thoughtful look at some current trends in the New York Times. This is striking, look at the projected growth of millennials and younger generations as a percentage of the electorate over the next dozen years. Then consider this, Millennials those between 27- and 42-years old favor Democrats by 14 points in the 2022 midterms. Gen Z voters those 18 to 26 years old favorite Democrats by a whopping 56 points last year. So demography favors the Democrats without question, and that advantage will only grow unless Republicans can make significant inroads, but important but, why hasn't that advantage helped Democrats more already. How did Donald Trump win in 2016 for example or why did Republicans win the House last year?


Edsall explains it this way. The white backlash to growing -- the growing strength of liberal constituencies not only prompted conservative voters to back Republicans by higher margins, they also turned out to vote at exceptionally high rates.

Tom Edsall is here to join our conversation. It's great to see.


KING: So explain the backlash. And I want to put up one other graphic as you do. Because it's striking, the younger voters are growing in size, they're a bigger piece of the voting pie, and they disproportionately favor Democrats, and yet Republicans are holding their own. Here's one reason why. Look at the evangelical voters white non-college degree, Bush versus Trump. Donald Trump gets a way higher percentage 12 points higher among white without a college degree, among white evangelicals, George W. Bush gets 75%, Donald Trump gets 89%. This is the backlash you're talking about. Populations, whether it's blue-collar workers or religious voters who feel somehow threatened?

EDSALL: What's going on, it's choose two steps, in a sense, not only are young voters voting more for Democrats, but as they grow older, they're applying the basic rule of politics, that the older you get, the more conservative you become. They're going in the opposite direction for the first time over the last three election cycles. So you see a rise in their democratic margins, and a rise in the degree that they turn out. The problem is this sounds great for Democrats, is that white conservatives, evangelicals, white Catholics are turning out way above their numbers. They're punching more than they harder than they should. I think the figures for evangelicals is there's something like 14% of the population now, but they're 22% of the actual turnout. That's a huge difference.

KING: But we could show that, we show that in the conversation, white evangelicals, 14% of the population 22% of the voters in 2020, white Catholics 12% of the population 16% of the voters in 2020. It just tells you that you look at -- you can look at the pie. And Democrats -- Democratic leaning voters are a bigger slice of the pie. And yet, there's always what I call the push me pull you in demographics. And I mean, Dr. Dolittle, not the video game in the sense that, you know, one group starts to pull this way. And another group says, well, I feel threatened and they pull back.

BASH: Yeah. I mean, that's the question, is it -- Tom, do you feel in looking at the research and the data that it's for lack of a better way to say it woke ism? Is it because of the -- what a lot of these people see on conservative media about the other coming in that they're buying into that? Or is it all of it?

EDSALL: Well, I think the real fear is that they think they're going to get extinguished by these growing numbers of liberal constituencies. The best way to turn out a vote is to get the person scared. The other best way is to get them angry. And what has happened is that leaders on the right have gotten their voters scared and angry. And the effect is that they're churning out these higher and higher numbers, their long-term problem is how much juice can you squeeze out of a lemon that's actually shrinking. And over time, this method of countering the liberal friend really runs into real problems as it hits this sort of maxes out and you just can't get another drop out of that lemon.

KING: Right. That's the great point. If you go back to the original graphic we had, millennials and younger generations a majority electorate by 2028. That's the point you're making in the sense that when you see Donald Trump's attack today on birthright citizenship, when you see the attacks on transgender Americans, when you see, you know, whether it's immigration, whether it's gay rights, it's these issues that you're playing to the base or trade and globalism, globalization, you're playing a blue-collar workers, you're playing to the evangelical voters. And yet to Tom's point, how many times when that piece when 62% of the electorate in 2036 is going to be these younger voters? That song is not going to work anymore, as Bill Clinton say that dog won't hunt.

HENDERSON: Right? But for now, it cannot, right? I mean, we saw what happened in 2022 with the house. We obviously saw what happened in 2016. And Donald Trump is trying to make that dog hunt in 2024. He is the master of white grievance politics, the master of white identity politics, he knows what to say. He sort of knows it's like in code words, at this point. It's basically saying that brown people are going to come here and kill you, right.

I mean, that was during his, you know, when he announced his candidacy in 2016. I mean, that's essentially what he said. And so they'll play that over and over again, you see DeSantis doing the same thing. The idea, you know, that the woke mob, you know, is out to get you but he's going to be the person to vanquish it. So it works. You know, it's worked in American politics quite well. We had I think Republicans not want to sort of play this game on white identity politics, but Donald Trump played in and he played it masterfully.

KING: And so part of the challenge for Republicans could somebody break the mold if you will. You do have Nikki Haley, you have Tim Scott, you have Vivek Ramaswamy, you have Larry Elder, you do have voters of color, women in the Republican field. Do they try to practice a different kind of politics to bring -- to widen the tent, expand the tent? Or do they stay in that lane because Trump proved it can work?


MIN KIM: Well, they have tried at least by emphasizing their own identities pointing to their own personal diversities to try to bring that factor to the Republican Party. But I'm really struck, especially with the growing percentage of younger voters that are favoring Democrats, just how little in terms of policy that Republicans have tried and reaching out to younger voters.

I think the closest that you can get us perhaps some Republican elected officials embracing the science of climate change, saying this is something that we have to tackle maybe not in the way that Democrats are proposing. But it is certainly a threat, and we have to propose policies towards it. But you just kind of step back, and they're not really appealing to younger voters and the way -- with their policy platforms with their proposals.

KING: Where do you watch? Where do you watch? We go back a long way. Michael Dukakis won West Virginia, forget about it now, right? You know, Wisconsin, a state where Trump won, then lost? Where do you watch for sort of where's the tipping point in this demographic tug of war?

EDSALL: Well, I think Wisconsin is an excellent state, I actually look at Pennsylvania is another. There are a lot of Northern Midwestern purple states where these tilts are just coming in. And you see what happens is in the states where they have a higher percentage of college educated white voters, that's where the tipping point occurs. And these voters are real Democrats. And that's where the Republicans really run into big problems.

KING: All right, I urge everyone pick up the New York Times it's a long in-depth article. It's a lot -- it's a lot deeper than we can do on television. But Tom appreciate you're here to help us tie it up.

And coming up for us, an issue where President Biden and Senator Ted Cruz, are guess what? In total agreement



KING: A global stage disgrace, remarkably puts Joe Biden and Ted Cruz on the same page, both men condemning a new law in Uganda that makes homosexuality a capital offense in some cases, and a crime worthy of a lifetime prison sentence and others. President Biden calling that measure, "a tragic violation." Senator Cruz says it is "horrific and wrong."

Our great reporters are back with us. I would frame this as a good thing. It is rare that we have bipartisan agreement on anything. But to have the conservative Texas Senator and the Democratic President speaking out against this law is important. Does it get you anywhere?

HENDERSON: You know, unclear. Listen, I mean, Ted Cruz hasn't always been on this side when you talk about gay rights and sex-marriage, for instance. So for him to come out and say this is significant. It's a good thing. And you know, we'll see what happens.

I mean, I think Republicans are in a place where they seem to be against LGBTQ people, if you look at some of the things that are going on in the different states. So I think for Ted Cruz to specifically come out about this law is good. It might be a good idea to also speak about some of the other things that are going on in this country that seem to be anti-LGBTQ. But listen, it's a good start.

KING: Right. He picks -- he picks his moments, if you will, you mentioned same sex marriage, he believes that should be decided by the states. He also recently opened an investigation to in Anheuser-Busch over the Dylan Mulvaney controversy. And so he picks his moments. But in the case of Uganda, life imprisonment for anyone convicted of homosexuality, death penalty for what the law calls aggravated homosexuality, 10 years in prison for attempting to have unsafe sex relations, unfortunately, 30 of the 54 countries in Africa one way or another penalize this.

MIN KIM: Right. And the version that was signed into law is actually a less draconian version of a law that the legislature initially passed, because of all this international pressure that you're seeing from the likes of President Joe Biden, and Senator Ted Cruz and you do have is not only politicians speaking out, you have the U.N. You have global AIDS programs, talking about the really awful impact that this would have on people in Uganda.

And it is -- in that context that you just mentioned there, what is important to keep in mind that in, you know, in the 54 countries in Africa, 30 criminalize homosexuality in some respects. So you do see how, you know, human rights, essential human rights is really curbed in the continent.

BASH: Yeah. And we also -- this is Inside Politics. So let's keep in mind, not just the politics of strange bedfellows with Cruz and Biden, but also the fact that Cruz is on the ballot this year. And whether or not OK, maybe this is just one of those situations where he truly believed that this is bad. The other thing is that we have to keep in mind, though, is that he just like most senators, and most members, when they're thinking about the ballot, where does this put me? Maybe this is a place where he feels like it sort of firm -- you know, terra firma on an issue where he can argue against this internationally and maybe not do so domestically.

KING: Right. We'll see if the pressure does any good, brings any changes. Up next for us, the Treasury Department running low on cash. Some of the world's richest people wouldn't even worry about it.



KING: Topping our political radar today, the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he is prepared to hold the FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress if Wray misses a subpoena deadline today to turn over an internal FBI document for whistleblower. That document alleges Vice President Biden was involved in a quid pro quo for the foreign country.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I personally called Director Wray and told him he needs to send that document today is the deadline. Let me tell Director Christopher Wray, right here, right now: If he misses the deadline today, I am prepared to move contempt charges in Congress against him.


KING: This must be nice 31 billionaires, each worth more than the Treasury Department has on hand in cash at the moment, that's about $38.8 billion.