Episode 25 - How to Choose Who to Support for President

<span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"> </span> Transcript, Web links and Credits below.

Transcript: Hey Everybody. If you didn’t notice, the presidential primaries are fully underway. The Democratic debates start in just 2 months. I think 21 people are currently running for the Democratic nomination and a few more are still rumored to be joining the pack.

Contrary to popular belief, I think the best time to choose and support a candidate is right now — this very moment. Today I’m going to give you a few pro tips on how to choose who you’ll support. To me, and I really mean this, it’s not even as important that you support who I support, but it’s very important to me that you passionately support someone. Let me tell you why. This is Shaun King and you are listening to (The Breakdown)! --- As I’m speaking to you, Donald Trump has the single highest approval ratings of his presidency. They are currently at somewhere between 49 and 51 percent. And I actually think they are higher than that. If 50 percent of people say they approve of Donald Trump right now, I think the actual number of people who approve is always several percentage points higher — they’re just too embarrassed to say so. I think that’s part of why he won. Not a single poll in the nation had him winning the presidency – even on the day of the election — but he won 30 states. He’s formidable. And we have to stop thinking that how we think about him, or how our Facebook friends think about him, is representative of the entire country. It isn’t.

I think the way the Mueller report went down made him stronger. And in some ways, we saw this happen with Bill Clinton — his approval ratings soared to 73% after he was impeached. When he left office, his approval rating was 65% — that’s the highest recorded for a departing President since Harry Truman left office. And the fact that Trump came out of that 2 year investigation without being indicted, without any of his family members being indicted, in the eyes of tens of millions of Americans, means he was exonerated. Now we can disagree, but perception is reality for most people. And right now, Trump is the strongest he’s ever been. I said all of that to say that I think he’s going to be hard to beat. And anybody telling you otherwise is out of touch and lives in a bubble. He’s an enigma. He doesn’t play by any discernable set of rules. He’s literally lied over 10,000 times since he was elected President. Nothing sticks. And he has more followers and power on social media than all of the top Democrats combined. He dominates the news cycle. And he’s already spending millions of dollars a month on social media before his campaign even kicks into full swing.

On top of all of that — it’s historically difficult to beat an incumbent. George W. Bush showed that back in 2004. And that’s why I hope you will choose a presidential candidate wisely. All candidates are not created equally. They don’t all have the same strengths and weaknesses. They don’t all stand for the same thing. They don’t all have the same values and policy proposals. And today I want to unpack and explain how I hope you’ll choose a presidential candidate to support. Let me break it down. (Break it down music). First, I want to debunk something that I think is problematic. I hear a lot of people saying that they are going to support whoever is nominated — and that’s perfectly fine — but that doesn’t have to mean that you don’t have a say or a voice in who that nominee is. That doesn’t have to mean that you are simply a fly on the wall while other people and corporations, and special-interest groups, lobbyists, and the mainstream media promote who they want. The primaries are designed for us to debate and discuss who’s best.

You don’t have to believe me, take Barack Obama’s word for it. This is him at a campaign event in 2008 — putting Hillary Clinton on blast. It was contentious. (Audio clip of Barack Obama) The 2008 Democratic Primary was contentious. But the best candidates in the country fought it out, debated the issues, and the Democrat still won. This idea that the candidates shouldn’t disagree, shouldn’t duke it out, shouldn’t point out their policy differences is ahistorical. That’s the purpose of a primary. And what I want you to know is that if you don’t have a say in who the nominee is, somebody else is going to choose for you. And they may not choose in a way that is in your best interest.

Not only that, but the next few months are when you will get to have the biggest impact on a candidate. They are each desperate for supporters and donors and volunteers. So here are the 4 things I hope you will consider when choosing a presidential candidate. Try to determine what they cared about and fought for before they were running for President. Because here’s the thing — they’ll tell you anything when they’re running. They’ll post all types of ideas online of things they say they support, but what I want you to learn is: what did they support 2 years ago, 10 years ago, what have they supported over the course of their life? What do they fight for in their spare time? This gives you a real indication of what they actually believe in. And I’m not just talking about Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, has been fighting for income equality for the past 25 years. Cory Booker has been fighting for justice reform since he was Mayor of Newark.

Do they have a plan to win the Electoral College? Are they competing in all 50 states? Because it’s not enough to win the popular vote. Al Gore won the popular vote. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. That doesn’t win the presidency. Democrats can’t just crush it on the coasts. Trump won 30 states. George W. Bush, when he won, won 31 states. Democrats have to win back Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania. They have to fight in all 50 states — and some candidates seem to already be aiming for this while others don’t. They have to fight in Kentucky and Ohio and Arizona. Do they have an enthusiastic base of support? Because here’s what I know. Trump damn sure does. His base is all in. They’ll never bail and they will pack stadiums and donate and retweet all day long and Democrats cannot beat Trump with a candidate who doesn’t have a seriously enthusiastic base of support. I said this online last week, but I think it’s also very important to see who young people support — because youth energy drives national campaigns. It absolutely drove both of Barack Obama’s campaigns and choosing a candidate that lacks the support of young voters would be a huge mistake.

And lastly, I’ll close with this thought — do you get the feeling that they are going to work their ass off to defeat Donald Trump? Because I think that’s what it’s going to take. I think it’s going to a 24 hour a day campaign operation. It’s going to take a candidate and a team that is willing to crisscross the country, holding rallies, meeting voters, knocking on doors, making phone calls. It’s going to take a massive campaign to win. It won’t be easy. ---- Thank you all for making it all the way through this episode of The Breakdown! If you haven’t already subscribed to our podcast, we’ll be right back here every single weekday, breaking down important news stories and issues, and we’d love for you to subscribe on your favorite podcast apps like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Please share this podcast with your friends and family. Our next goal is to get to 100,000 subscribers and we won’t get there without you! Have you left a review yet? On Apple Podcasts we now have nearly 5,000 5-star reviews, but we still want to hear from you so please leave your best review when you get time. Thank you so much to the nearly 30,000 founding members of The North Star whose generosity even makes this podcast possible. Love y’all and appreciate you so much. If you love this podcast and want to support our work — or want to see the show notes and transcript for each episode — we’d love it if you considered becoming a founding member of our community at TheNorthStar.com. There we not only have our podcasts, but hundreds of original articles and stories and commentaries from some of the leading scholars and thinkers and journalists in the world. Lastly, a shout out to our Podcasting Director and Senior Producer, Willis, for his hard work on this and every episode. Take care everybody. ----- Credits: Produced by Willis Polk II Additional Instrumentation by: Christian Idris “Idrys” Shannon, Lance "Lance Fury" Powlis & Smok Tageous Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library Additional Vocals by Garnett “Natti” Bush Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg Contains elements from: “Dizzy” and "Makes Me Wander" by The Off Daze