Roland Martin and the Washington Watch roundtable discuss the latest polling data, the electoral college and how the influx of money will impact the presidential race in November.
This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Michelle Bernard, president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women; Raynard Jackson, a Republican political consultant and president of Raynard Jackson & Associates; Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist and former DNC communications director; and Cornell Belcher, a political strategist and Obama 2012 pollster.
MS. BERNARD: Look. We’ve got – we’ve got two weeks to go, and we have – we have already seen that they – that, particularly on the Republican side, they are appealing to the basest and most horrible parts of – of American society. And I think it’s only going to get worse. And I – and I – I harken back to – when you talk about what’s bad for democracy, the first thing I thought about was that horrible welfare ad –
MS. FINNEY: Yeah.
MS. BERNARD: — that we saw come out. And you’re going to see more, because people believe that at certain demographic level – and by that I mean White males with a high school degree or less – that those are people who probably watched the first debate and thought Mitt Romney was phenomenal. They watched that welfare ad, and they – and they believe in their heads that most people on welfare are Black, that we have a Black president.
MR. MARTIN: Ev- —
MS. BERNARD: And they are –
MR. MARTIN: — ev- —
MS. BERNARD: — taking – they are –
MR. MARTIN: — [chuckles] – even though –
MS. BERNARD: — taking – [crosstalk] –
MR. MARTIN: — they broke.
MS. BERNARD: — ev- — exactly.
MR. MARTIN: Even though they broke!
MS. BERNARD: E- — exactly, and – and they’ve got this notion in their head that – that, you know, “they” – African-Americans – are taking something away from –
MS. FINNEY: And what –
MS. BERNARD: — them –
MS. FINNEY: — are those folks –
MS. BERNARD: — that belongs to them. And – and if they continue to appeal to that part of society, it’s – I mean it harkens to something very, very bad for the future of our democracy.
MS. FINNEY: — it does, particularly because what are those folks going to do when President Obama wins, and they realize there aren’t enough White men in this country to win a presidential election?
MS. BERNARD: Right.
MR. MARTIN: And to that point, I want to deal with what’s happening in terms of the – we s- — look. I’m not one of these poll freaks.
MR. MARTIN: I know that’s your thing. That’s not my thing.
MR. MARTIN: But it –
MR. BELCHER: [Chuckles.] I – I’ve been –
MR. MARTIN: — is very –
MR. BELCHER: — called worse.
MR. MARTIN: — interesting.
MR. MARTIN: I – I – I lo- —
MS. FINNEY: You have.
MR. MARTIN: — I love going to 270towin.com and playing with the map, and what’s interesting is, you know, you have all this conversation. Gallup poll showing Mitt Romney up 6 and 7 points, but the reality is to win the presidency, you need to win the Electoral College.
OFF CAMERA: Yeah.
MR. MARTIN: You need to get to 270. And so if you go [to] 270towin.com to – [unintelligible] – play with the map, you understand the roadmap. And so it was – it was very interesting to me when I went to the website, and I – and so they basically awarded New Mexico to – let’s say New – New Mexico to President Obama. All of a sudden, he wins Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Iowa – 271.
OFF CAMERA: Yeah.
MR. MARTIN: He doesn’t need to win Virginia, North Caroli- — doesn’t mean you don’t compete in those states, but the point is Mitt Romney’s roadmap – he has to sweep a number of states to win.
MR. BELCHER: Really quickly, one of the – one of the beautiful things that happened over the last couple of election cycles – thank you, Howard Dean [for your] 50-state strategy – is that Democrats have been able to expand the – the playing field the way –
MR. MARTIN: Okay.
MR. BELCHER: — Republi- –
MR. MARTIN: Say that again.
MR. BELCHER: — -cans –
MR. MARTIN: Howard –
MR. BELCHER: — thank you –
MR. MARTIN: — Dean –
MR. BELCHER: — Howard Dean.
MR. MARTIN: — and I – and I’ve said it for years.
MR. MARTIN: He emphasized a 50-state strategy.
MR. BELCHER: Right.
OFF CAMERA: Yes.
OFF CAMERA: Right.
MR. MARTIN: He said, “Don’t just focus on national elections.”
MS. FINNEY: That’s right.
MR. MARTIN: “We[’d] better be compet[ing] in areas where we have been ignored.”
MR. BELCHER: And Governor –
MS. FINNEY: And he said –
MR. BELCHER: — Dean – [crosstalk] –
MS. FINNEY: — don’t just show up in Black neighborhoods two weeks before election – by the way.
MR. MARTIN: And – right.
MR. BELCHER: Right.
MR. MARTIN: Right.
MR. BELCHER: And – and – and –
MR. JACKSON: Republicans haven’t learned that[?] yet[?].
MS. FINNEY: No, they –
MR. MARTIN: No, they –
MS. FINNEY: — haven’t.
MR. MARTIN: — haven’t learned.
MR. JACKSON: They haven’t showed up at all.
MR. MARTIN: Hell, they won’t show up here!
MR. BELCHER: — and, well – and the point is we’re at – at a point now where we’re – we’re expanding the playing field and – and w- — and – and the map in ways that Republicans once did to us. And – but this – and I’mma go back to this. The influx of that sort of United St- — decision on – on the influx of money has shrunk the –
MR. MARTIN: Citizens United.
MR. BELCHER: — Citizens United has shrunk it because, quite frankly, I think you would’ve [seen] Democrats going to Georgia and Democrats going to Arizona and staying in Arizona and expand[ing] the playing field once again – if we were not being outspent 5 to 1 in states like Ohio and in Virginia.
MS. FINNEY: But isn’t part of it also that our party – the Democratic Party – is embracing the demographic changes of this country, the reality? Women are 52 percent – [chuckles] – of the –
OFF CAMERA: Right.
MS. FINNEY: — electorate.
OFF CAMERA: Yeah.
MS. FINNEY: African-American, Latino; whereas –
MR. BELCHER: We’re not getting whiter.
MS. FINNEY: — we’re not getting whiter. We are a majority minority country, and we’ve accepted that reality.
MR. MARTIN: Unfortunately, television’s getting whiter.
MS. FINNEY: That’s true –
MR. MARTIN: That’s another show.
MS. FINNEY: — but – [crosstalk] –
MS. FINNEY: — Repub- — but the Republican Party seems to – rather than trying to figure out ‘how can we appeal to African-Americans and Latinos,’ what are they doing? They’re trying to suppress the votes of African-Americans and Latinos. And rather than really trying to go after women, what are they trying to do? Tell women that, “You’re crazy if you think there’s a war on women.”
MS. BERNARD: Yes.
MS. FINNEY: So, I mean at some point, the Republican Party is going to have to rethink itself and recognize –
MS. FINNEY: — [crosstalk] –
MR. MARTIN: Now, Raynard, you – you have been highly critical of your own party by saying, “Look. [If] you keep ignoring guys like me, we’re dead in the water.”
MR. JACKSON: No question. I don’t think it’s so much suppressing the vote, but that – that – we don’t –
MS. FINNEY: M-m-m-m.
MR. JACKSON: — have time to get into that. But I think the Republican- — c- — how can Mitt Romney run a national campaign and not have one Black on his staff? Not one! That’s impossible in the 21st century!
MR. MARTIN: Well, of course. Tara Wall is listed as a senior advisor in the communications shop there.
MR. JACKSON: But she’s not involved in these eight o’clock and four o’clock –
MR. MARTIN: So, you – you –
MR. JACKSON: — senior staff –
MR. MARTIN: — you’re talking –
MR. JACKSON: — meetings.
MR. MARTIN: — about senior staffers making decisions.
MS. BERNARD: But you s- —
MR. JACKSON: Exactly. Exactly.
MS. BERNARD: — Look. Here – the problem – this is what Mitt Romney’s got as a very serious problem, going into the last two weeks of the campaign. We now see two very, very stark visions for what the future of the country looks like. One vision, we embrace all. The other envision [sic] – you have to be a White male or a White female, or else there is no room for you. And so when people talk about “is it going to be demographics or the economy,” it’s going to be both – but I am – I have said it before, and I will say it again. I think the demographics of the country completely – completely knocked Mitt Romney out [of] the ballpark.
MS. FINNEY: Yeah.
MR. BELCHER: And one –
MR. MARTIN: Cornell?
MR. BELCHER: — one la- — and one last point before – before you usher – user me off is, speaking of the demographics, what –what I’m most concerned about are younger Black men turning out. And I just want to say, you know, you g- — you guys have to man the eff up. Look. If you want to take responsibility for what’s going on in your communities, you want to start honoring the legacy of our forefathers, you have to take responsibility and participate and help bring about change in your community – which means you get up and – and vote in this election and in – in coming elections. Man the eff up.
MR. MARTIN: Okay!
MS. BERNARD: Okay!
MS. FINNEY: There ya go! That’s –
MR. MARTIN: I think – [crosstalk]- —
MS. FINNEY: — [crosstalk] – drop the mic!
MR. MARTIN: — we’ll second[?] that[?]!
MR. JACKSON: [Crosstalk.]
MR. MARTIN: All right. [Chuckles.] Michelle, Raynard –
MS. BERNARD: [Crosstalk.]
MR. MARTIN: — Karen, Cornell, ’preciate it!