CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight on Tuesday hosted CNN political commentator Paul Begala and senior political analyst Kirsten Powers to make the Democrat message loud and clear going into these November midterms: Republicans would make all our problems worse and only Democrats could (somehow) make them better, despite already being in control of Congress and the White House.
What’s the message? Begala stated that the “grassroots of the Democratic Party are trying to tell its elites that they care about public safety.” The people want to see reform and change, but Begala seems to think that the most important thing that their constituents want to get across to the party leaders is the “quality of life issues about crime, about homelessness.”
Pointing to a broader concern of the electorate, Lemon stated that a new Wall Street Journal/NORC poll showed that 83 percent of those who participated in the poll are “pessimistic about the economy.”
And what’s Begala’s plan? To craft the Democratic message to say, “The pain is real…I feel your pain… the other guys are going to worsen your pain.” He also suggested, “to situate all of this in a sense that we are losing control, that there’s no one at the wheel.”
How comforting. Yet, the Biden White House likes to boast about “the lowest unemployment, the best jobs… when they talk about their accomplishments, it makes people angry,” as Begala proclaimed while huffing that the American people don’t believe it.
Only briefly mentioning the serious problems affecting Americans currently, Lemon, Begala, and Powers all past by the subject as a way to possibly emphasize that Republicans might be bringing too much light to those issues.
Blame the problems of this economy on the Republicans as they try to “exploit” the truth that anyone can see with their own eyes or on the fact that “everyone is behaving badly since the pandemic,” according to Powers.
Powers stated she thinks it's “important that the Democrats show that they are taking it seriously.” The Biden administration will stand the test if these words hold true during the next few months before midterms.
All this continuing as the Democrats focus on gun control, January 6 hearings, homelessness, and the inevitable lowering of President Biden’s approval ratings, instead of trying to actually solve the problems facing Americans today.
Click "expand" to read the full transcript.
CNN's Don Lemon Tonight
11:12:31 p.m. Eastern
DON LEMON: Now to CNN political commentator Paul Begala and senior political analyst Kirsten Powers. Hello to both of you. Thanks for joining. Paul, I’m interested in what you have to say. What is the message for Democrats tonight?
PAUL BEGALA: Yeah. I think the grassroots of the Democratic Party are trying to tell its elites that they care about public safety. Obviously they want reform, obviously nobody can ever countenance the murder of George Floyd. Obviously we have to do more on Civil Rights and justice. And at the same time, those Democrats- L.A. Went for Joe Biden 71 percent. San Francisco has a grand total of 7 percent registered Republicans. Okay? So they're trying to tell their leaders something. And they're going to tell them that Democrats have got to do a better job about these quality of life issues about crime, about homelessness. It- it really, really matters. If the government can't keep you safe, then very little else matters. And I think that that's the message that's coming through in this.
LEMON: Kirsten, it's not just crime and homelessness that are plaguing L.A. And San Francisco. Republicans are –are poised, really, to exploit soaring gas prices, inflammation, the baby formula shortage. How do Democrats fight back against the coming attacks? Can they really?
KIRSTEN POWERS: Well, I mean, I think what you're raising is really important. It's easy to see this as just being about crime when in fact this is happening in the context of a broader world where people feel like everything's out of control. Right, so, if you're already feeling like everything's out of control, everything's too expensive, we're coming out of COVID, all of the things that have come along with that, then on top of it, if you feel like there's disorder on the streets and you don't feel safe, everything is going to be magnified. So, we don't really know exactly what's causing the crime, as much as people like to point to, you know, de-fund the police on the left, there's really no evidence that that's what's happened. You know, this could just as easily be happening because of the pandemic and because people -- we've seen this everywhere, people freaking out on people on airplanes. Everybody is behaving badly since the pandemic. So, we don't know what it is, but I think it is important that Democrats show that they are taking this seriously. I say this all the time, the Democratic Party actually has not endorsed de-fund the police. Karen Bass, in fact, has not endorsed de-fund the police. So, and it's actually argued that there should be more police on the streets. So, I think that that's the message that they're getting out there and that they are taking it seriously. But voters have to be convinced.
LEMON: There is a new, Paul, there is a new Wall Street Journal/NORC poll showing that 83 percent of those who are polled are pessimistic about the economy. You were working with James Carville when he coined the phrase, “It's the economy, stupid.” So what does this mean for Democrats, you know, up for re-election come November?
BEGALA: Right, and I think, well, I think Kirsten makes a really good point, to situate all of this in the sense that we're losing control, that there's no one at the wheel. I think that, frankly, the Biden White House, when they talk about their accomplishments, it makes people angry. They're all true. Okay, this is the lowest unemployment, the best jobs. Nobody wants to hear that because of the pain of inflation, and then these other quality of life issues. But, let's stay on the economy. The pain of inflation affects 100% of us. And, that pain is real and you have to begin by saying I feel your pain. Then you could say I can heal your pain. Then, by God, they ought to say the other guys are going to worsen your pain. Rather than try to get credit for his accomplishments, the President and the Democrats need to do that, they need to say I get it, I can fix it and the other guys are going to make it worse. The Republican Committee Senate campaign chairman Rick Scott, the Senator from Florida, has a proposal to raise taxes on 75 million Americans, all of them working people and poor folks, and sunset Social Security and Medicare. Now if Democrats can't run an economy when the other side's doing that, then they ought to find a new business to get into.
LEMON: Let’s talk about what’s happening on Thursday. Kirsten, in just two days the January 6th Select Committee is going to have their first primetime hearings. How do you expect this to play with the public so consumed, really, with other problems, what we've spoken about?
POWERS: I honestly would be surprised if it affected the public that much because people, voters are impacted -- or their votes are impacted primarily by what happens in their day-to-day lives. And that doesn't mean that this isn't important, it doesn't mean the Democrats shouldn't be doing it. It is critical and there has to be accountability. But people will be voting based on how they feel in their lives. Do they feel like they have enough money, do they feel like gas is too expensive? There's a direct correlation between gas prices and Presidential approval ratings, even though the President is very limited in what they can do. You know, do they feel safe in their communities? Do they feel like things are getting back to normal? You know, unfortunately a lot of answers to those questions are not good answers. And so, that is – that is the environment that Joe Biden is in. And it would be hard for any person to be successful in this environment when there are so many things that are really out of the President's control, certainly in the short term and even in the long term a lot of these things are out of his control. And so, I totally agree with what Paul's saying, you know, that people don't want to hear that, you know, things are going great when they feel like they're not going great. So it is very much empathizing with people and saying you understand what people are going through and then giving them some hope.
LEMON: Kirsten, Paul. Thank you both so much.