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GOP Presidential Hopeful On Challenging Trump; Border Cities Brace Migrant Surge As Title 42 Ends; The Problems Caused By Helicopter Parenting; Colorado Bill Would Ban Businesses From Prohibiting Tipping. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 13, 2023 - 15:00   ET




MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Maybe none of the above? I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. With eight months to go before the first presidential ballot of 2024 is cast, the conventional wisdom is that we're headed for a rematch of 2020. This despite concerns that one candidate is too old and the other is morally unfit. Which might explain why recent polls have also revealed that Americans don't want this rematch, and that there's dissatisfaction with both candidates.

Last month, an NBC poll found that 70 percent of respondents said Biden shouldn't run and 60 percent said Trump shouldn't run. So, what are the odds that when all is said and done, the Democrats nominate someone other than Joe Biden and Republicans select a candidate different than Donald Trump?

Back on April 16, I put a polling question to my SiriusXM radio audience asking them if they agreed with this statement, neither Biden nor Trump will be their party's 2024 nominee. Within 35 percent of 20,000 plus who voted, they agreed with that statement. Maybe my listeners are onto something. This week, Emmy winning T.V. journalist Bernard Goldberg wrote in a column for The Hill the following, "Suddenly, a Biden Trump rematch doesn't seem so inevitable." Goldberg writes, "Republicans want a candidate who believes Trump really won 2020, but Democrats want a candidate who can beat Donald Trump. If Biden doesn't look like that guy, the people behind the curtain who've been calling the shots in the White House, they may convince him that it's time to go."

He cites the recent ABC News-Washington Post poll in which Trump beats Biden head-to-head and then adds, While Donald Trump is way out ahead of his rivals both announced and those likely to get into the race, it's still early. If he loses more court battles, gets hit with a few more indictments or a few more scandals emerge, anything is possible." Goldberg then concludes, "We may not be locked into a Trump v. Biden 2.0 after all, maybe in a country of more than 330 million people, we can do better than to senior citizens hauling a lot of baggage. Maybe, Americans are ready for a change."

Of course, to quote the old political adage, you can't beat somebody with nobody and thus far most prominent Republicans and Democrats other than Biden and Trump are sitting it out. Maybe early showings by to outsiders, will cause them to rethink their reluctance. Two weeks ago, I interviewed Democratic challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr. here on CNN, our conversation following a Fox poll showing him at 19 percent among Democrats. On the Republican side, the only candidate besides Trump polling in double digits, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has yet to even announce his candidacy, and already he's shedding some support from voters and from donors.

And then there's my next guest Axios recently called 37-year-old biotech multimillionaire turned GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, "The next Trump, younger and to the right." He's already polling the same as former Vice President Mike Pence, which again shows appetite for fresh faces, especially in the context of worries about Biden's age and Trump's legal entanglements. "Forbes estimates that Ramaswamy has an estimated net worth of $630 million." He's already spent 10 million of that on ads and campaign trips, and he vows to spend as much as 100 million. He's written books, he's given speeches against critical race theory, big tech censorship, and stakeholder capitalism. He's never held elective office, then again, neither did Trump.

Trump himself, citing the poll showing Ramaswamy tied with Mike Pence in third place, posted on Truth Social last week, quote, "I am pleased to see that Vivek Ramaswamy is doing so well with the most recent Republican primary poll. The thing I like about Vivek is that he only has good things to say about President Trump and all that the Trump administration has so successfully done. This is the reason that he's doing so well."

Politico reporting that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has spoken with a Super PAC backing Ramaswamy about coming aboard with Trump's blessing. Now there RFK Jr. nor a Ramaswamy has ever run for office before, but if these newcomers can so quickly cause ripples, it makes me wonder what more seasoned polls might be thinking and whether a year from now, when voting is underway, if everything will have changed, and that it's not Biden versus Trump, it's neither Biden nor Trump.

Joining me now is Vivek Ramaswamy.

Vivek, thanks for being here. So you're running against Trump. Lead off by giving me an area of sharp disagreement that you have with the former president.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My area of sharp disagreement is that I think we need to stop running from something and start running to something as a conservative movement. I think the left will give you the narrative of race, gender, sexuality, climate. My vision is grounded on the individual, family, nation, God, in the tradition of Reagan, I think we can both go further with America First, but also unite the country in the process. And so I'm touching issues that Trump didn't touch, I pledged to end affirmative action in America, the president can do that by executive order, because it was created by executive order. I don't just talk about building some wall, I'm putting the military on the southern border to end the border crisis, and by the way, the fentanyl problem as well.

I'm not going to but Betsy DeVos on top of the Department of Education, have said that agency shouldn't exist, I will shut it down and give that money to families across the country to actually have a choice in where they will send their children to school. But in many ways, Michael, here's the trick, I think we can once go further with the America First agenda, but also unite the country rather than divided. If we're doing it based on first principles, and moral authority, that's what I'm bringing to the table.

SMERCONISH: I know that you're familiar with what went on here on CNN Wednesday night with the town hall even though you were preoccupied with a campaign event of your own. I'm going to put on the screen and just read aloud a couple of the things that came from that event. Donald Trump, he refused to admit that he lost the 2020 election, he called E. Jean Carroll a whack job, he vowed to pardon January 6 rioters, dodged questions about federal abortion ban and wouldn't say if he wanted Ukraine to win the war. Is there anything that I've just articulated that you disagree with?

RAMASWAMY: So look, I will be more explicit than Trump was. I don't believe the federal abortion ban makes any sense. I say this as somebody who is pro-life, this is not an issue for the federal government. It is an issue for the States, I think we need to be explicit about that. If murder laws are handled at the state level, and abortion is a form of murder, the pro-life view that it makes no sense for that to be the one federal law. So it seems like many other Republicans are dancing around that issue and afraid to say it out loud, I will.

I'm not rooting for Russia to win this war against Ukraine, but I'll also be clear about how I'll end it diplomatically. Not my actually sending more money to Ukraine, I think we've done too much of that. But it's by leading diplomatically, something that this White House has long missed, the same white house that is sending money to Ukraine is also lobbying the E.U. against its ban on Russian oil imports, financing Putin's war machine that makes no sense. I think we can bring Germany to the table to step up to actually defend European interests, rather than America to step up and do it instead --


RAMASWAMY: -- of using export controls to stop Poland. So I think leading diplomatically, I think being clear about answers, that's where I differ not only from Trump, but from the rest of the field.

SMERCONISH: Vivek, I know I heard you say that you're not rooting for Russia to win the war, God, I would hope not. Are you implying that Trump is rooting for Russia to win the war? And why not just flat out say you're rooting for Ukraine to win the war?

RAMASWAMY: Well, first of all, I would -- exactly as you said, I don't represent where any of the other candidates in this field stand when I think we actually need in the Republican Party is more clarity. Where are you on the issue? Where aren't you? So I'm clear on that. I would not send another dollar of us resources to Ukraine, you can crank and pursue a Ukraine first agenda. Poland can pursue a Poland first agenda, Germany can pursue Germany first agenda. But I think the failure is Germany is now getting in Poland's way. So that's where I am on the position on the Ukraine wars. I don't think it directly relates to American interests. Therefore, I don't want to use American resources that we could instead use on actual policies that affect Americans here at home, such as using our military to secure our own border instead of somebody else's. But I'm clear about that, that's not because I'm rooting for Russia or rooting for one angle or another on the war, it's because I believe that I look at what matters for American interests when I'm looking --

SMERCONISH: OK. But I just want to -- I just want to be clear, I've given you ample opportunity to flat out say you want Ukraine to win the war. You're for Zelenskyy, not Putin, and you've not, you've not taken that invitation.

RAMASWAMY: So look, I think that this is not a two -- this is not a two sided tug of war for me. To me, this is a question of how do we have peace in a way that also respects national boundaries, and most importantly, deters Putin from going after a NATO ally. So, what does winning and losing, define exactly what that means, Michael, and I can tell you what outcome I'd like to see. The outcome I'd like to see is one that reflects (ph) boundaries.

SMERCONISH: Well, OK, how about this, I'd like --


SMERCONISH: I'll try. I'd like at a minimum to go back to where we were a year, I guess by now 14 months ago, like Putin ought to get out of wherever he was --

RAMASWAMY: I think that'd be a great outcome.

SMERCONISH: -- a year and a half --

RAMASWAMY: I think that'd be a great outcome. I think that'd be a great outcome.

SMERCONISH: OK. Let me move on. So, you have proposed raising the voting age from 18 to 25 for those -- unless they engage in service or can pass a civics examination and you were a guest of mine on SiriusXM and some of my callers then said why is he targeting the youth when a lot of older Americans probably could not pass the naturalization exam?


RAMASWAMY: So look, I think it's best to start fresh with the next generation of Americans. So the constitutional amendment that I've expressed support for is to raise the voting age from 18 to 25, but still allow 18 year olds to vote, if they at least pass the same civics test required of naturalized citizens or they perform at least six months of military service or at least six months of first responders service citizen, the police.

This is not an unfamiliar notion, Michael. And I'll tell you two things about this. In 1971, when we lowered the voting age to 18, in the first place, that was in the context of actually the military draft, that was the whole justification in the first place for making the voting age 18 at all.

And then in addition to that, we already have selective service mandated, people forget this in the U.S. for adult men between the ages of 18 and 25. That exists today, every adult male if they're following the law has to do it already. So I'm building an already familiar intuitions, instincts already based into our history, and even the current law to say how are we going to revive civic pride in the next generation, which is one of my top concerns, Michael.

SMERCONISH: I'm all for -- I know and I -- and by the way, I applaud you for that in terms of civics need to be reintroduced. By -- we have a -- someone else who agrees with us, oddly, Richard Dreyfuss, who's written a whole book on the subject.

Vivek, thank you for being here. I appreciate it. You'll come back.

RAMASWAMY: Thank you, Michael. I appreciate it.

SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Hit me up on social media. I'll read some responses during the course of the program.

What do we have Catherine (ph)? I hope that neither Biden nor Trump are standing by next November. I just don't know how else will be there. I want them standing. I want to be very clear, I want them healthy and alive and vibrant for another 50 years.

I'm just saying that for all the conversation about how here we go, it's a rematch, I for one, I'm not predicting this, if I were, that it wouldn't happen. But I am saying I wouldn't be surprised if a year from now, everything has changed. Mark the tape, we'll see.

Up ahead, do you know where you will be years from now? Maybe 2035. Some immigrants crossing the border this week do because that's the year assigned to them for their first available court date for their asylum hearings. D.C., I think we've got a problem here.

And with kids' mental health in a dire state, what can parents do to combat the negative aspects of social media besides restricting access? How about grounding their parental helicopters and truly allowing their kids the freedom to explore the actual world?

By now you've seen this disturbing video, this encounter last week on a New York City subway car between a 24 year old Marine veteran and a homeless man who had been yelling at passengers ended with the marine choking demand to death. The Marine's lawyer say their client, quote, "never intended to harm and that he will be absolved." The lawyer for the homeless man's family says he was, quote, "robbed of his life in a brutal way by someone who decided that they were judged, jury and executioner on the spot." Well, this leads me to this week's poll question go right now to and vote on this, should the Marine veteran who fatally choked a homeless New York City subway rider face criminal charges?



SMERCONISH: The border crisis finally exploded this week, as 10s of 1000s of migrants swarmed the Mexican border waiting for Thursday night's end of Title 42. It was the pandemic era measure that allowed Border Patrol to assert a public health reason to reject migrants without hearing their asylum claims. Everyone on both sides of the aisle they knew this day would come and yet no lawmakers were able to remedy or modify the situation, neither was the White House.

It's estimated that in this fiscal year, which began last October 1, every month, there have been an estimated 70,000 gotaways, that's the Customs and Border Patrol's lingo for successful illegal entries. Doing the math that means more than a half million have entered illegally. That's nearly as high as the total for all of last year which was 600,000. And migrants have been given dates years out because there's an immense immigration court backlog. So, how will this emergency be addressed?

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Don Davis from the great state of North Carolina.

Congressman, thank you for being here. This is a far way from eastern North Carolina unless they're arriving by sea. Tell me how this impacts your state?

REP. DON DAVIS (D-NC): Absolutely, Michael, when I think about Eastern North Carolina, the residents have led me here to make sure that we're doing everything to position ourselves. When we talk about comprehensive immigration reform, I look at HR 2 that we took up in the House and a very divided Congress.

And long story short, I'm very concerned with, for instance, H-2A and how we actually have a workforce and maintain workforce and especially when it comes down to maintaining the integrity of our agriculture community as farmers have shared and echoed their concerns with me. When I think about I'm glad to file a bill that's looking into counterfeit pharmaceuticals, drugs. You know how fentanyl has made its way into the east. Eastern North Carolina is very much impacted here.

SMERCONISH: Congressman, I want to know what you're hearing and what a member of Congress is being briefed on the following issue. I'm seeing accounts that some of the people who are entering the United States are given their first court date as far into the future as 2035. Do you have information by the way that supports that?

DAVIS: Well, I don't have information, direct information that supports that. However, I would say I do believe it is important in what we're attempting to do. There was a bipartisan group of lawmakers here that would essentially with the title 42 being expiring, we would actually call for delay to allow an opportunity for the Congress to come together and actually bring forth comprehensive immigration reform. [15:20:14]

SMERCONISH: But there's a perception that I'm trying to correct if it needs correcting or to underscore if it's accurate, that some people who are gaining admittance right now have a long leash in terms of not needing to show up in court for literally a period of years. Is that true or not?

DAVIS: I'll put it this way, I'm not familiar with the exact detail of that. But what I do know is we have a broken process at the border. And we need to put party aside and these divisive politics aside and get together in a bipartisan way, and really look at how we're going to tackle this issue. We have to bring forth comprehensive immigration reform that actually is done in a way that is orderly, that is safe, and at the end of the day, that's done in a humane way.

SMERCONISH: Your solution short term is let's extend Title 42 even though we're beyond COVID-19 or so we hope but we no longer have a pandemic justification, would it be legal to do so?

DAVIS: Well, the thought behind the whole concept is allowing the opportunity for the Congress to put the divisive politics aside, people are tired of this. That's what I hear in eastern North Carolina. They're tired of divisive politics, unless come to the table in a real way and come forth with immigration reform in a way that's going to truly address these issues. We need to streamline the asylum process. Perhaps looking at more caseworkers.

There's many ways that we perhaps can look at this. But again, it's not going to work. It's not going to help the American people by any party just putting together a bill and running it through one chamber.

SMERCONISH: I'm going to read aloud some social media reaction because you're probably not in a position where you could see it. Catherine put it up on the screen if the Congressman can perhaps help me address this. Congress has the keys but refuses to do anything. It's a nice red herring voodoo doll for politics. You would say what to that person, Congressman Davis?

DAVIS: I would look that person in the eye along with the American people who are watching this morning and say you're absolutely correct. Congress holds the key, we have to come together, let's come together, let's, in a real way bring forth comprehensive immigration reform is needed, is passed to in this country.

SMERCONISH: Congressman Davis, thank you for your time. We appreciate it.

DAVIS: Thank you so much, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Up ahead. If you want to solve the current teen mental health crisis, what if instead of trying to shut down their social media, you let them out into the neighborhood to actually be social?

And is tipping in America out of control these days? It feels like everything you pay for there's an expectation of a gratuity to some businesses for big tipping employees. But Colorado is looking to pass a bill that would prevent that. Is that fair?

And plus, I want to remind you go to my website, answer this week's poll question about the charges being brought on that tragic subway killing a New York. Should the Marine veteran who fatally choked a homeless New York City subway rider face criminal charges?



SMERCONISH: Is there something parents can do to combat negative aspects of social media besides restricting access? Well, my next guest says yes.

Lenore Skenazy first hit my radar screen 15 years ago when she wrote a column in the New York Sun titled, "Why I Let My Nine-Year Old Ride the Subway Alone." It began this way, "I left my nine year old at Bloomingdale's, the original one, a couple of weeks ago. Last season he was in first floor handbags as I sashayed out the door. Bye-bye. Have fun. And he did.

He came home on the subway and bus by himself. Was I worried? Yes, a tinge. But it didn't strike me is that daring either. Isn't New York as safe now as it was in 1963?

It's not like we're living in downtown Baghdad. Anyway, for weeks my boy had been begging for me to please leave him somewhere anywhere and let him try and figure out how to get home on his own. So on that Sunday, Sunday, I gave him a Sunday, a subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill and several quarters just in case he had to make a call. No, I didn't give him a cell phone. Didn't want to lose it.

And no, I didn't trail him like a mommy private eye. I trusted him to figure out that he should take the Lexington Avenue subway down and the 34th Street Crosstown bus home. And if he couldn't do that, I trusted him to ask a stranger. And then I even trusted that stranger not to think gee, I was about to catch my train home, but now I think I'll abduct this adorable little child instead. Long story short, my son got home ecstatic with independence."

The column was very controversial at the time. Skenazy launched a blog called free range to explain her parenting philosophy. By the way, go there you'll find out she loves bike helmets, every kid know got to wear a bike helmet, we agree on that. She also wrote a bestselling book called "Free Range Kids, How Parents and Teachers can let Go and let Grow."

Lenore Skenazy joins me now. She's now the president of Let Grow, that's an organization that helps parents and schools teach kids more independence.

Lenore, this has been, you know, your thing. Since before everybody was walking around with an iPhone which tells me you see the current issue was more than a technology issue.


LENORE SKENAZY, PRESIDENT, LET GROW/FOUNDER, FREE RANGE KIDS: Yes. I mean, you can tell from that article that I was sort of surprised that the decision to let a kid do anything by themselves became very controversial and it really changed over the past generation or two to the point where I just -- I pulled up a couple quotes for you, Michael, of seventh graders talking about what they were afraid to do. Can I just read them to you very quickly?

SMERCONISH: Please. Yes.

SKENAZY: Yes? OK. Here's a seventh grader. I was hesitant to try walking my dog alone because I was scared that he would get loose from the leash or a scary man would take me. This is in the suburbs of New York.

I was afraid to try and cook because there's an open flame and I could get hurt. I was hesitant -- these are different kids -- I was hesitant to use a sharp knife as my parents had never let me before.

So, when we talk about what is driving kids crazy and sort of driving their mental health into, you know, hell, it has to do, I think, with the fact that we keep taking away their independence and treating them like babies far into their teen years and tween years. I mean, a seventh grader, that's over 13 years old who hasn't used a knife or walked the dog alone -- you know, the idea of what is anxiety?

Anxiety is the belief that you can't handle something. Something bad will happen and you'll never recover. Well, that's what kids are being told in a culture that has told their parents to worry about everything they see, do, eat, try, lick.

It could all be dangerous. Your kid could be kidnapped, raped, and eaten. Or, God forbid, not get into Harvard. Either way, it's a disaster. And so, parents are always supposed to be with their kids and that's what's new. And that seems to be driving kids crazy.

SMERCONISH: We have spent a lot of time on this program. I brought on, I think, all of the lead thinkers on the connectivity between tech and mental health issues. There is current litigation, the Seattle public schools against big tech. The county in which I was born and raised has initiated a lawsuit.

Utah has now imposed an age restriction on social media access. Two weeks ago a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to raise the age. Actually, implement an age for social media access.

Lenore Skenazy is here to say, OK, maybe all that is well and good. But also from a parental standpoint, let your kids have some freedom. Let them go have free play, right?

SKENAZY: Right. We believe in free play and free time. So, the problem is that it's really hard to be the only parent who lets your kid go outside and play. And frankly, if they go outside to the park and there's no other kids there then they're going to come right back. So, what we try to do in Let Grow is encourage two programs that make independence normal again and easy. So, one is the Let Grow Project. Schools give this homework assignment to kids K-12. And it says, go home and do something new on your own without your parents.

It's the only thing I've seen that gets the parents to take a step back and then their kid does go walk the dog, climb the tree, use a knife, make dinner for the whole family. And that's when -- that's when the parents realize, oh, why have I been so overprotective? Why didn't I realize he could do? He's blossoming. That rewires the parents.

And because it's the whole school doing it at the same time it's not the crazy parent who is letting their kid take the subway. It's not the weirdo who is letting her kid play outside at the park. And so, when you have a whole community changing -- I can tell you we did this in one town in Connecticut and a kid went by himself, a fifth grader, went to the local market, got himself a muffin, expensive muffin, because it was an expensive neighborhood. And the people there were like, what's he doing here? Why is he by himself?

And somebody asked him, where is your mom? The manager. And he said, oh, I'm doing my Let Grow Project. And then -- and they said, what's that? And he said, I'm supposed to do something by myself. I chose to get a muffin.

And after that when kids started coming in, it was no longer weird, right? Because everybody started doing that. So that's the great -- the great thing about having an entire group do it at the same time.

SMERCONISH: Lenore, I'm smiling because I'm having flashbacks to my youth. Like, God forbid -- God forbid one of these kids is going to pull out a slingshot or maybe fire a bottle rocket at the same time.

A quick final question. Because you happen to be here on the day when the poll question asks about that horrific incident recently on the New York City subway with the chokehold. Question, if your son today were that young, would you still let him ride the subway alone? Would you still be a practitioner of that which you are articulating?

SKENAZY: That is such a horrible situation that you're asking me about, but I do take the subways every day. And that is the anomaly. And you really can't organize your life around the worst-case scenario that happened once. And so, considering I'm a reporter and I study the crime statistics, I would still say yes.

SMERCONISH: Lenore Skenazy, great to see you. Thank you. Let Grow is the movement.

SKENAZY: Thanks, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Still to come, some businesses prohibit their employees from accepting cash tips.

[15:35:01] But there's a bill passed but both houses of the Colorado legislature that if Governor Jared Polis signs it, it would make it illegal for most businesses to do so. Proponents say tipping is needed to supplement minimum wages. A state senator who opposes it is here to explain his position.

And by now, as just referenced, you have seen the video of the tragic incident, the marine veteran who restrained a homeless man in a New York City subway ended up chocking him to death. I want to remind you to answer this week's poll question at Smerconish. Should the marine veteran fatally choked a homeless New York City subway rider face criminal charges?


SMERCONISH: Have we reached the tipping point? Stagnant wages and inflation doesn't make it easy for some consumers today to generously spend their money. But I'm sure you have noticed lately it's hard to go anywhere without being asked for a tip on virtually everything. Big companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Uber can prompt their customers to tip them for their services.


However, some businesses actually prohibit and even punish their minimum wage workers if they accept cash tips. A bill in Colorado, if signed into law, would end that.

We have Republican State Senator Jim Smallwood. He's leading the charge against this bill. Senator, thank you for being here. What would the bill do? Break it down for me.

STATE SEN. JIM SMALLWOOD (R-CO): Yes. Thank you, Michael. It's good to meet you. And thanks for having me on.

The bill is actually really simple. It's a one-page bill with probably only one or two sentences that are actually meaningful that just says that it is -- it will be unlawful in the state of Colorado for an employer to take adverse action against an employee who accepts cash tips or gratuities, again, even, as you mentioned, if the employer specifically has built rules around that.

So, that's the extent of the law. And I think it has got some unintended consequences and I hope that our governor doesn't sign it.

SMERCONISH: I was -- interesting to see the vote was largely along partisan lines, folks suited up as either a Republican or Democrats on this. I'm having a hard time understanding what is the true free market position? Is the true free market position one that says you've got to allow a small business owner or a large business owner to run their business? Or is the true free market approach one that says that that low-wage worker ought to be able to accept income, cash tip, for providing good service?

SMALLWOOD: Yes. I think that's a fair question. And if the law would actually specify that we were talking about low-wage employees I might have felt differently about the topic. But the bill itself really this would apply to any employee at any wage level. And that was exactly the concern that I raised.

The concern that, you know, we might be looking at managers of restaurants, managers of arenas, sporting events, amusement parks, that type of thing, kind of creating these little miniature cottage industries for themselves where there's a special line, let's say, at the amusement park for those who happen to have a lot of cash in their pocket, an extra $20.00 or $50.00, those people don't have to wait in line with everybody else. And I don't -- I wasn't comfortable having our world segregated that way.

SMERCONISH: Right, but -- OK. Tomorrow is Mother's Day. So, if my mom gets some assistance, by the way, you should know she would refuse the assistance, but if she were to get some assistance with her groceries going out to her car and, you know, she hit the kid with a couple bucks, like, why can't she do that?

SMALLWOOD: Yes. I don't think there's anything wrong with tips in general. And I was pretty clear on that topic. Like, I think -- I think tipping in a lot of cases is really a good thing. I spent most of my high school and college years living exclusively off of tips.

So, when the employer has decided that it's best for their customers and their staff to receive tips -- I think tips are great. But I also know that there's going to be some examples where the employer has decided, for whatever reason, that they want to make positively sure that their customers are receiving the same level of customer service, whether or not they have cash.

And back to your free market question, I think, that's exactly it. I think there is a balance to be drawn there. And we should probably rely on employers to know what is best for their customers and their employees, right? Nobody wants to see their employees walk out the door.

SMERCONISH: What's Governor Polis going to do?

SMALLWOOD: I'm assuming the governor is going to sign that bill. Like you mentioned, strangely the vote was on a party line. Although, there were several Democrats that voted against the bill along with almost every Republican or, I think, maybe every Republican.

So, because there were some Democrats that crossed over hopefully he gives it is a second look. But our governor is not famous for vetoing a lot of thing so I would assume this will become law in Colorado.

SMERCONISH: Very interesting to watch. Thank you, Senator Smallwood. We appreciate it.

SMALLWOOD: Yes. Thanks for having me on.

SMERCONISH: Checking in on some social media reaction. What do we have? The tipping issue, pretty interesting, right?

It has gotten completely out of hand. I want to be able to by a cup of coffee without having to pay an additional 20 percent.

Terrell, I totally agree with you. Like, there's a tip jar now everywhere. And in many instance, I feel as if employers are trying to shift that burden directly to us as consumers to ante up in circumstances where the service hasn't been so exemplary, right?

This is a different issue though. This is -- this is employers now being told you cannot allow your employees -- did I just reverse that? I may have. To what extent should an employer be able to set the policy for whether an employee can accept a tip? And I -- as I said to the state senator, I don't know where the free market position is in that. I'm for whatever it is.

Still to come, Trump is ahead of Biden in a new poll and so is Ron DeSantis. Both are in Iowa today rallying their fans.


What would happen if they were to combine forces and, if say, DeSantis would become Trump's running mate? An added twist with both of them currently residents of the same state, would that be constitutional? I'm going to address that in just a moment.

And I want to remind you go to right now and answer this week's poll question, register for the daily newsletter while you're there. Should the marine veteran who fatally choked a homeless New York City subway rider face criminal charges? Yes or no?


SMERCONISH: Today, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis both appearing at dueling rallies in Iowa.


Even though DeSantis has yet to formally announce, the race is already shaping up to be nasty. This week, Trump released a video saying DeSantis needs a personality transplant. But what if eventually they were to put their differences aside and join forces? Here's why I asked.

Polling this week from the "Washington Post" and "ABC News" showed the president's approval rating sank to a new low of 36 percent. And both Trump and DeSantis, both of them, defeat President Biden in a one to one matchup. Trump wins 44-38, DeSantis wins 42-37.

Although "Rasmussen" polling does not meet CNN's standards, nevertheless one of their surveys last week caught my eye and raised an interesting question about 2024. Its findings suggested that Trump and DeSantis are stronger as a ticket running against Biden and Harris than Trump would be with another running mate. Which made me wonder, is that allowed where they are both residents of the same state?

Well, yes is the legal answer but not the practical one. It's why, preceding the 2000 election, Dick Cheney moved his residency from Texas to Wyoming, not particularly unusual there, because he represented the latter in Congress. But Bush-Cheney wanted to avoid the practical limitation of running mates from the same state.

The misconception is that the constitution bars individuals who are residents of the same state from running as a ticket. It doesn't. Political scientist Dr. Kevin Wagner from Florida Atlantic University has looked at this issue and confirms the constitution limits what electors can do, not what candidates can do. Article 2, section 3, as modified by the 12th Amendment is what governs.

Here's the language. The elector shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for president and vice president, one of whom at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.

Well, the Electoral College has a separate vote for president and vice president. This means that if Trump and DeSantis ran as a ticket, Florida's 29 electors couldn't cast both their ballots for a person from their own state. They could only vote for one presumably that would be the top of the ticket.

In a close election, between say, Trump-DeSantis and Biden-Harris, if Trump and DeSantis both came from Florida, it's possible that Trump could be elected president with Kamala Harris as his VP. Or Joe Biden could be elected with Ron DeSantis as his VP. Now, go and put that on a bumper sticker.

Still to come, more of your best and worse social media comments. And we'll give you the final result of this week's poll question from Should the marine veteran who fatally choked a homeless New York City subway rider face criminal charges?



SMERCONISH: So, there's the result of this week's poll question, wow, at I'm saying "wow" to the lopsided nature of the result as well as the voting. Should the marine veteran who fatally choked a homeless New York City subway rider face criminal charges? We're at 35,000 votes and change, and we will leave it up for a while. And two-thirds are saying, yes, he should.

Look, when I watched that four-minute videotape, all I feel is sadness and a stomach punch. My heart breaks for the man who is now gone, and for his family. A part of me applauds the marine willing to intervene in, you know, a turbulent circumstance. Then the lawyer in me kicks in and says, was there a physical threat sufficient to justify the chokehold?

The legal standard is this is called reckless homicide, informally. Was he reckless? Did he know, he who administered the chokehold, that this could cause the man's death?

And to look at it, it has got a lot of symbolism for me in the George Floyd case. Like you're watching that, aren't you? And you're saying, OK, enough already. For crying out loud, let him go. I think it is a hard legal case. I think it's a hard legal case to bring. And something else that I'm interested in and I'm sorry to go so long on this, but let's pay attention legally to what Alvin Bragg does with those who assisted the former marine. Because if you're saying, he is culpable, what about those who assisted him? Yes, I don't know. Sadness, man. Just sadness.

More social media reaction. Actually, I haven't given you any yet. What do we have in terms of social media reaction?

I hate riding the subway or train and have people act out. I feel helpless and hope that they don't escalate.

I've been in that position both in Philadelphia and in New York City. I know exactly of what you're speaking. And, you know, everybody is kind of sitting there wondering which way is this now going to take a turn?

More social media reaction, what do we have? I genuinely felt sorry for Kaitlan Collins. I think you're spot on when you say the country needs to see this and lastly it made me vomitus.

I thought she did a great job. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to sound off on this because I did it all week long on radio. My own view for those on CNN who haven't me heard me say it because you don't listen to the program is that I think that shunning Trump and his supporters, shunning Trump, and his supporters, meaning not giving them some kind of access to the air waves, is putting your thumb on the scale.

And instead, I think sunlight, the old line being the greatest disinfectant is the answer. And I also view my role and responsibility as providing you with the information that you need to go make your own decision and not to tell you what that decision ought to be.


So you watch. And many of you are horrified by what you saw. OK, vote accordingly. I don't think that there was any metastasis of somebody who like tuned in, heard him say something, heard her confronted with facts, and nevertheless now goes on believing what he said just because they heard it that one night.

No, I think it's more complicated than that. Put the spotlight on everybody. That's the answer to all of this.

Happy Mother's Day to all. Thank you for watching. See you.