Show 2021-01 (Guest: Bill Kristol)


This transcript is computer-generated and is not 100% accurate.

Jeff Timmer 0:00
I’m Jeff Timmer. I’ve advised Republican candidates at the local, state and national level as a consultant and as executive director of the Michigan GOP. Now I’m a political Nomad who has put what’s best for the country above carrying water for my former political party.

Mark Brewer 0:19
And I’m Mark Brewer. For 18 years I battled Jeff and his Republican allies as chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. These days, I’m a lawyer and consultant to progressive nonprofits, political parties, candidates and ballot question committees.

Announcer 0:35
This is a Republic, If You Can Keep It — inside the backroom of Michigan politics with veteran political strategists Jeff Timmer and Mark Brewer.

Mark Brewer 0:45
Bill Kristol was the founder and editor at large of the political magazine “The Weekly Standard.” And he is now editor at large of The Bulwark.

Jeff Timmer 0:52
Bill is a frequent commentator on several TV networks and as a founder and director of the advocacy organization “Defending Democracy Together” responsible for such projects as Republicans for the Rule of Law and Republican Voters Against Trump. Welcome, Bill. Thanks for us today.

Bill Kristol 1:09
Great to be with both of you. How’s everything in the great state of Michigan?

Jeff Timmer 1:13

Bill Kristol 1:14
You’re both, you’re both silent. You’re both.

Jeff Timmer 1:18
We’re a little gobsmacked about what’s been going on here, you know, since last spring with the armed takeover of Michigan’s Capitol that a lot of ways was a harbinger of what, what was to come. It was a dress rehearsal for what we saw during the year.

Bill Kristol 1:35
Now, that’s a good point. And the you guys had a it was a close run thing, the certification of the of the results in Michigan. We both worked on that a lot. I know. And I was in touch with you during it, Jeff.

Jeff Timmer 1:45
I mean, it is amazing how close we came and people I think breathed a sigh of relief when the electoral college voted when, you know, we got past the insurrection on January 6, when that inaugural happened on January 20. But it showed us it was kind of a stress test for democracy and showed us how fragile this all is. And what happens next – what happens if what we saw at CPAC? If you know if that comes back? If that comes back to power in four years, or eight years? What happens then?

Bill Kristol 2:18
Yeah, no, I mean, it would struck me over the last three months, and I’m not the only one obviously, is at each stage one thought, okay, I mean, people like us have been anti Trump. And so we never had, I think, frankly, illusions and we thought was dangerous, and that’s why we’re against them. But okay, he lost the election. That’s called on November 7, maybe that’ll also begin to pop the bubble. So much of his appeal was he was a winner and McCain and Romney has lost Well, actually, he even decides to fully indulge the big lie which he had been laying the precredit for ahead of time, obviously, on the on election fraud, and the party goes along. And that’s at least some of them echo and a lot of them just passively go along. And we some people said again, we were alarmed. I think I was alarmed you were alarmed. I’m sure everyone else alarm but some other people were alarmed by the Democrats were alarmed correctly. But you know, the sophisticated Republican consultant types were well and tell Jim, it’ll just be a month of silliness and some lawsuits that will fail. You are you guys are on the front lines in Michigan and saw how close Trump did come in fact, to really disrupting the process in a fundamental way by getting local and state officials not to certify and you did a good job of pushing back on that. And so we squeaked through that, and then it’s December 14th, and you think okay, well finally the things certified the electors have met in state capitals. Mitch McConnell has a speech saying he recognizes Biden as President. Nope, Trump goes right ahead calls you know, Rathensberger and Georgia, mobilizes the rally. Republicans and conservative elites are echoing him. We get January six, terrible events there. And think, Okay, finally, I mean, people are really good at to see the consequences of playing with this kind of, you know, fire of throwing matches into this kind of gasoline. And, you know, if like, one day they all saw the consequences, and within a week, they’re all minimizing it or two weeks, certainly. And now what after CPAC, which is what, just five, six weeks after inauguration, they’re all on board. I’m wondering at this point, I think this morning at the Bulwark was maybe Charlie Sykes and his newsletter. It’s almost it is a condition for being part of the current Republican Party, at least half to two thirds of it, three quarters of it. That’s totally on board with Trump. That to buy into the big lie about the election. I think Charlie speaks to us. No, Jeff was a lawyer, Republican lawyer who worked for the Republican Republicans in 2020. He’s not some anti Trump guy, I believe, nonetheless, he was on a panel at CPAC and he said, someone said something about the Dominion machines inventing votes, you know and he said, Well, look, that really isn’t true. And he got booed and they would they don’t want to hear it. You know, so what what are we dealing with a party movement that’s just in full denial of reality and not just denial but propagating affirmatively, a very dangerous lie.

Mark Brewer 5:08
Yes, we’re still seeing that here in Michigan. I mean, you may know we had an alternative set of electors show up on December 14, tried to get into the Capitol. That group of people now runs the Republican Party in Michigan, essentially. And we’re seeing continued use of disinformation to try to cut back on voting rights. So it hasn’t changed here at all in the last several weeks, and if anything, it may have gotten worse, in terms of these episodes,

Bill Kristol 5:34
Do you have a sense that it is a little pushback against that among voters, whether independent voters, are some Republicans, I mean?

Mark Brewer 5:42
I think there is among among voters, but that doesn’t deter our gerrymandered legislature, which I think is going to move legislation to try to cut back on voting rights. You know, apropos of what, what Trump said yesterday, in terms of cutting back on absentee voting and support. So this is going to be a continuing problem for us here in Michigan as well as nationally.

Announcer 6:05
More with Mark and Jeff after these brief messages.

Mark Brewer 6:10
EPIC/MRA is pleased to be a sponsor of this podcast. EPIC/MRA is a Lansing based market research and public opinion polling firm with decades of experience measuring public opinion about politics, ballot proposals federal, state and local issues. Our clients include media outlets, school districts, colleges and universities, state agencies and local governments across the state. When it comes to measuring voter opinions EPIC/MRA has been known as the go-to Michigan pollster for over 25 years. Visit www.epic to learn more.

Jeff Timmer 6:45
You tweeted this weekend, something that struck me is really indicative of where the party is in is something that we’ve seen here in Michigan with the politics here, and that was that C pack has moved from the Star Wars Cantina to a Munich Beer Hall. And, you know, I found that to be, you know, quite true. It’s it’s no longer the, the, I guess, interesting eccentric Kooks of the party. They become operational, they become radicalized and mobilized. And it is scary to see what they’ve done at the party level in the way that they’ve infiltrated and taken over the apparatus of the party down to the you know, the county and local level.

Bill Kristol 7:29
And what they believe in is different from the slightly eccentric kooky kinds of types you’d see at CPAC in the 70s, and 80s, and 90s. But I look back quickly at who won the straw polls at CPAC: Jack Kemp won 3 times. That was a very different from conservatism from Donald Trump. So he had his own slightly quirky, you know, views, the maybe history will say we’re a little overstated on supply side economics or the gold standard, or whatever, Steve Forbes won, Ron Paul even won, I think he’s a pretty distasteful figure. But there was a lot of kind of crack potty if I can say, sort of libertarianism and as I say gold standard kind of different kinds of conservative, you know, views or what’s the right word, even kind of, you know, aspects of the conservative movement that got exaggerated you might say at CPAC and people had their own particular, you know, hobby horses, maybe it’s a better way to say it, and there was some genuine extremism, some genuine racism, I think, especially in the Ron Paul ties, but really what they’re, what’s happening now is he it’s not just like, gee, I have a slightly eccentric view that we can cut the size of government from, you know, 18% of GDP to 5%. We can change the entire monetary system of the world back to what it was in the 19th century or something. It’s, you know, what your whatever their their ideological views, they’re a little out of the mainstream. They’re not not anti democratic. They’re not authoritarian intrinsically. They’re not bigoted, I would say or prejudiced mostly. And so that’s really where we are now, for me, that’s it. That’s what I meant by the tweet. It’s a little overstated, of course, but it’s one thing to have any political movements gonna have on the fringes that shares of eccentrics, oddballs. People who have quirky views about particular issues could have extreme views. The Democrats have people who think the world will end in five years if we don’t do something dramatic, like global warming. And I mean, I think it’s a problem, the whole warming there. It’s exaggerated and extreme versions of everything at a party. But that’s really different from signing on, and a very fundamental way to an authoritarian agenda. I mean, until we get to a spirit of authoritarianism. That’s what struck me the most I guess I tweeted that after I watched, I was on Brian Williams Friday night. And he showed a pretty good montage of clips from the first day, Friday of CPAC – Cruz and others – and the spirit of it was so creepily authoritarian and cultish. Not the kind of you know, as I say, oddball nerdy kind of, you know, you know, can be problematic But that’s really different. So I do think things have changed have changed quite a lot and not not at all, and in a bad direction obviously.

Jeff Timmer 10:05
And we’ve seen I think we’ve seen this move in state parties and county parties where they’re censuring any Republican who dares to speak ill of Trump. We saw here in Michigan, for instance, Macomb County, the infamous Macomb County, which is about 150 miles from the districts of Fred Upton and Pete Meijer, yet last week in a 28 to zero vote, they censured those guys, because they voted for impeachment and their statement was we are Trump’s party.

Bill Kristol 10:35
Is that right? Literally, that’s amazing. In Macomb County, which is a swing county famous swing county right in the old days.

Jeff Timmer 10:35
And Meijer faced censure in his own district. So has Upton (garbled). He started to smack back at some of these local parties who have who have come out and told him he needs to resign, not run again. And he’s he’s fighting back. And if he was thinking about resigning or retiring after this, he may not now because of he’s going to show them what for.

Bill Kristol 11:06
What do you think happens in 2022, when both of them get primaried?

Jeff Timmer 11:09
Well, since Fred Upton beat Mark Siljander in 1986, he’s been about to lose the next primary or every two. So he’s got quite a track record of surviving with that. It’s probably more rabid now than ever before. And he’s certainly drawn a bigger target on himself.

Mark Brewer 11:29
Pete Meijer’s already drawn a primary opponent for 2022, even though again, we don’t know what the districts are going to look like. You know, we’ve seen a number of the other Republican members of Congress, you know, come to Trump’s defense repeatedly here. The state party has been strangely quiet on them not coming to the defense of these Republican members of Congress. They’re not condemning them either. So I think that a big unanswered question is what the state party here is going to do,

Bill Kristol 11:57
and the voters in 2022? I do think a lot hinges now on these much more than usual. Everything. Always a lot hinges on off your elections a lot of the time. But usually it hinges on like, will the Democrats win or hold the house? Or will Republicans win the house? I think within both parties, I would say. And I’m curious what you what you think about that, too. I mean, on the Democratic side, you know, the the future of the parties will be litigated to some degree in some of these primaries, obviously, much more dramatically on the Republican side, and I’m pessimistic about that, honestly. But I think the kinds of Democrats who emerge in open seats and redistricted seats, it’s probably not gonna be that many challenges against incumbents, I guess, but will be important in 2022, if you got a lot more Elissa Slatkins to take a moderate member from Michigan, Democrat from Michigan who wanted a kind of Republican district, I think, you know, that will sort of strengthen the hands of those of us who said, you know, they’re the Biden wing of the Democratic Party really could be Ascendant and worth work, we could work with them. And it could be important for the country, if you got a lot of AOC types winning primaries, that would be a very, that would be in districts, they could then win in the general so they became members. That would be pretty different thing. So I don’t know quite how it looks there in Michigan, on the on the ground,

Mark Brewer 13:10
well, we’re gonna be losing a seat. So we may well have incumbents paired against each other. Elissa Slotkin has proven to be a formidable candidate with Trump carrying carried her district last year. And she was reelected notwithstanding that, I was very interested in your article last week, where you offered an option for those who are opposed to Trump in the Republican Party, perhaps find a home in the Democratic Party to replace some of our Blue Dog Democrats maybe?

Bill Kristol 13:39
Right Red Dog democrats like to my friend, Jeff, so my friend Tim Miller had that phrase about a year or two. The good one though, I think, then maybe that is the at least for now, the sensible thing to do to become a Red Dog, become a Democrat, but work with Democrats and I mean, I have the young people calling the obligation of getting in touch. I’ve talked to a couple already this year, you know, they want to run for office, they’re bright young people are quite often veterans who, sir, you know, one way or the other, they serve sometimes military, sometimes war intelligence or, and other ways after 911. So kind of, you know, patriotic Jedi patriots now like the Trump the Patriots, and this sort of inclined since they’re in touch with me, they’re probably inclined to be Republicans, they would have been Republicans, I think pretty unquestionably 10-15 years ago, Bush McCain, that’s kind of what that spoke to them. They really what should they do? They They asked me Should they run the Republican primary, but then what about the Trump stuff? Is it conceivable? I sort of sometimes I do say, what about the democrats? Is it crazy to think that maybe you should help strengthen the central swing of the Democratic Party? I they’re a little resistant. That’s kind of how they’ve thought of themselves. They’re 37 years old, and for 20 years, they’ve been thinking I’m going to be a Republican. But that’s okay. People people can change. Right. And so I don’t know what the answer is. I think a lot of it depends on the particular state particular district, particular circumstances?

Mark Brewer 15:02
Well, it seems based on what we saw over the weekend that Trump is really strengthening his hold, he’s going to be setting up a PAC. He announced yesterday he’s going to be endorsing candidates, apparently candidates are still avidly seeking his support. So I’m just very curious to know what republican never trumpers or whatever you all want to call yourselves what you do structurally, to push back on your own pack, format and party, and what is the solution here.

Bill Kristol 15:31
So we started defending democracy together republican accountability project, which sort of an outgrowth of Republican voters against Trump, which Jeff worked with us on in Michigan. So they will we’re going to try to protect the people who voted for impeachment and for conviction, help people who do right and he’s open and redistricted seats and maybe a couple of challengers to incumbents, if it looks plausible. On the Republican side, I think it’s important, even if the republican party as a whole isn’t salvageable, even if one’s pessimistic about the nomination in 2024, going to someone who’s not either Trump or very Trump-supplicant type, you know, makes a big difference for the country if there are 30 or 60, reasonable House Republicans versus zero, right, whether there are 10 senators or not. So you know, that’s worth fighting. A lot of third party talk, independent efforts, factions within both parties. I’m, you know, open to all that I don’t think it solves the immediate problem, I’ve got to say, but but you know, we’re thinking about and you can imagine scenarios where the center of the Democratic Party, yeah, Biden fails, maybe, maybe for reasons that aren’t his fault, but just stuff goes badly and the left sort of has becomes accendant in the Democratic side, the Trump people are accendant on the Republican side, big gap in the middle. That’s not impossible. But for now, I’m more inclined ever another piece of today on this actually tried to just elaborate a little bit on on the short thing I wrote a bit just why working with the Democrats, for now, at least some of the time we’re in some places or maybe in most places, not everywhere, but is a reasonable thing to do for the sake of the country. I sort of tried to make the point that people talk about conservative principles, which I’m all for, and conservatism, which I’ve been part of the movement for a long time. But conservatism is a means to an end. You know, it’s what are we conserving? It’s a means to conserving the principles and values of liberal democracy, free markets, a lot of other things. And in May, we can’t sort of get ourselves so wrapped around the the axle that well, gee, I have 34 years of conservative and I believe in this Biden says that it’s off, you know, you can’t miss the forest for the trees here, I

Jeff Timmer 17:39
think. And if at the end of the day, I think the Biden administration succeed is the best thing that could do for America. It’s probably the right thing for conservatives to do too. And I think, you know, one of the things that people keep talking about in the media in is we talk about politics amongst ourselves this this so called extremists in the Republican Party. And I think the fact of the matter is, that it’s Matt gates and Jim Jordan, who are now representative of the mainstream of the party. And it’s Pete Meyer and Fred Upton and Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, who are the outliers. And you know that we see that same dynamic here with the Michigan legislature in the in the Michigan party. And there’s there’s a lot of good Republicans, people I’ve known and worked with forever, who keep thinking the fever is going to break someday and that there’s going to be this comeback. That’s just so hard to see that there’s going to be just just reversion to normalcy in 2022 or 2024. I think that’s what I saw this weekend it seemed pack was the, you know, the golden idol of Trump went Oh, that was so symbolic. That was such a great visual. And that shows where the where the party is today. And I think it underscores what a long road This is going to be in this isn’t this is going to take it’s going to take a lot of fortitude over many election cycles for a solid center right faction that can be united and form a real governing coalition. Again, I think that’s that’s what’s been lost in these last, you know, several election cycles as a cohesive, sane governing philosophy. There isn’t on the republican

Bill Kristol 19:29
Yeah, I think that’s why that’s a problem obviously. And the fever breaking thing is an interesting analogy. Sometimes fevers do break and the old days people practice that away from the break because there wasn’t that much in the way of modern medicine, antibiotics and so forth. And it can happen I mean, it does feel a little you could imagine a moment where an awful lot of people look up and say this QAnon stuff is totally nuts, you know is ruined the lives we want it to people in my family and I we cannot tolerate that and the election wasn’t stolen. I finally sort of snapped out of my social media bubble. And I realized that, and incidentally, some of what Biden’s doing isn’t crazy. And he’s not a communist or socialist, or, you know, and and let’s get back to sort of more sensibles and center right kind of policies. And you can imagine at the state level, too, I should imagine. So it’s hard to know, you know, it’s my friend, a friend of mine puts it this way, it could be a stock like a bubble in the stock market the Trumpiness, you know, that it’s sort of, it seems so powerful. And of course, you ever tried to fight, if you ever put a stock market — a wave — like with the stock tech stocks going up in 98 and 99, you could lose a lot of money by not, you know, by being short or something like that. And these things are doubling and tripling and quadrupling right, now, at some point, when they’re 500 times earnings, the bubble does pop, and you have, you know, a correction. And maybe you know, the Trump stuff is getting a little that way. And at some point, people looked at that woman from Colorado, Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Green, and you know, even Jordan and these characters and think this is nuts, we or Michigan, people taking over the Michigan, State Capitol with with with guns and just you know, or maybe another few defeats some key states in 2022 would make a big difference. But you know, but to get back to the analogy, of course, now we break fevers with antibiotics, and we wind up with this infection, we remove it and deal with it. And that’s where we do need leaders, I’m going to come back to the elites in a funny way the public will, you know, they’ll do what the public will be, it’s very people like me have limited ability to shape that I’ve got a hope for some things, there’s some things you could do in terms of social media, a lot you could do in terms of broader public and civic education. But it also really matters. If a few people stand up. I really think that’s where the silence of the conservative elites and the republican elected officials has been so damaged, if you’re a busy person, you’re working as a nurse or something. Now, of course, 14 hours a day in the COVID situation, even in normal times, you got a couple of kids, you’re busy. You know, someone sent you some article, you read it, election fraud whatever, you don’t have time to research it, you know, and then you look at your elected officials, the person you voted for, for Congress, or, or a state legislator, and you know, they’re either being quiet or going along and you think, okay, maybe that’s truth. I mean, well, you know, that’s kind of why not. Now, if your state legislators say no, that’s just false, or if your congressman or gubernatorial candidate or something, say no, this is crazy effects, very damaging. And here’s why over and over and over, even if it’s unpopular first, maybe that person says, Yeah, you know, maybe that really has got a little bit maybe as if they’re lying about this, maybe they’re lying about some other things. So I think you can’t overestimate you know, how important the sort of the elite, the failure of the elites to stand up to me for Trump has been, it’s not the only thing. Obviously, there’s a ton of stuff happening at the grassroots that has its own causes and so forth. But I think that’s been just decisively important in letting it get to the point it’s gotten to.

Mark Brewer 22:57
Do you think there’s any possibility that these various criminal investigations could break the fever?

Bill Kristol 23:02
Yeah, that’s a good point. I think I mean, that is, yeah, it suddenly he’s literally on trial, and people are introducing it to evidence tax records that show you know, fraud and as huge amounts of money sloshing around which he’s not paying taxes. That’s the kind of thing that could, you know, could Yes, could it could really make a dent. I think he’ll he and his people will supporters will all say this is politically motivated disgrace. So all the more reason why Trump has to become president so we can pardon himself and all of his cronies. So, you know, you don’t have those things go, right. I mean, there have been times and other authoritarian situations where in other countries where the criminal laws actually hurt these authoritarians, who were grifters and crooks, but there are other vices where it’s sort of an ineffectual reason, you know, I suggested So, but I think that is I think people should be they shouldn’t count on that. Because a little too much on Twitter, sometimes, you know, liberal types, and especially like the lawyer types, you know, this is the Oh, this is gonna do him in the Southern District of New York. Well, maybe maybe, you know, it’s not clear that it will.

Mark Brewer 24:06
How do you think this is gonna play out in terms of the presidential race? I mean, he sounds like it yesterday, he basically froze the field, right? by basically all but declaring that he’s running. So I mean, what happens is everybody has to wait on Trump to make it official that he’s running in 2024.

Bill Kristol 24:25
However, you guys do this at their, you know, real operational level. And more recently, I have actually been, we’ve all been through some of these. So it’s early. I mean, in a way, the fact that we’re talking about it now, it’s a little crazy, except that Trump is Trump and it’s a new moment, and it’s not crazy. Therefore, I mean, it’s very important for the future of the party. I guess I do think 20 so I think nothing much happens to the next year. People wouldn’t have declared any way people would quietly be getting their PACs together and so forth. But that might happen anyway Pompei a whitewater cruise, the elected officials have them anyway cruise and holiday and so forth, and Nikki Haley as one so I guess for me the question is, yeah, so I think I do think the 2022 midterms become a big moment. I mean, besides you think that’s a bit of a x ray into where the Republican primary electorate is, it’s not like there are a lot of big states with open seats or open races. So I mean, Pennsylvania and Ohio have actual Republican senators retiring. So that’s a kind of a pure, you might say, open seat race and big swing or semi swing states these days with Ohio, you guys, I guess we’ll have one Republican primary for who runs against the Granholm. (Granholm shows how old I am now, I just I just saw in the news getting sworn in as Secretary of Energy) against Whitmer, and in 2022, you know, some there’ll be a lot of states where people will look and say, Well, where is and then there’ll be the challenges to Upton and Meijer and so forth. So there’ll be a lot of areas and a lot of districts, and also redistricting makes things more up in the air, right, more open seats, more people were not quite in their old their old electorate in the house. So I think a lot I guess, I’m very focused on 2022 midterms as kind of a moment to really see where things are, then there’ll be the general election, and then things go cricket crazy. And at that point, Trump does sort of he has to decide, but I think he really to freeze the field then he probably has to step forth more or not, I don’t know. So what about Michigan? governor Whitmer runs again, is that right? She’s not

Jeff Timmer 26:26
Yeah. She’s maintained an incredible level of popularity and COVID job performance favourability throughout this last year, and right now, I mean, here we are, we’re, we’re well into the 2022 cycles, you know, in reality, and no one, there’s literally no one of any consequence, who stepped forward to run for governor, let alone a primary people have passed, Candace Miller took a pass, she was one who arguably could have united the normal republican and Trump republican factions and avoided the primary. There’s a, you know, kind of a series of names talked about, but none of them are big, by any means their former legislators, failed candidates in the past whose only claim to fame as you know, there’s one guy who’s in Mike Lindell’s documentary is he, he ran in 2018, and, you know, came in last in the primary. And he, you know, right now might be the leading contender. So,

Mark Brewer 27:30
I think the, it’s the classic problem of, you know, having to pledge fealty to Trump and his minions to win a republican primary, then how do you then pivot and win a general election? Having done that in a republican primary, and the problem, I think, is worse than ever before, not just in Michigan, but elsewhere.

Bill Kristol 27:50
And with a democratic governor of Michigan, I just preface this by saying I’ve struck how much now it gets kind of retail, by which I mean, it gets state specific and even congressional districts specific in terms of thinking about the next year and a half, we can generalize and see national polls or Republicans, but obviously, what’s really going to happen is pretty can be different in different states, depending on things like redistricting. Now, how does that work in Michigan? Do Republicans control both houses? But you have a democratic governor, she gets to sort of veto some Republican gerrymander, or…?

Mark Brewer 28:19
Well actually now for the first time, in Michigan, we have an independent citizens commission, and the governor and the legislature will play no role whatsoever. So that’s our x factor in the analysis of the elections here next year,

Bill Kristol 28:32
and that means districts for the federal seats, but what about for the state legislators?

Mark Brewer 28:37

Bill Kristol 28:38
Wow. So you really could have some turmoil and some less predictable results and so forth?

Mark Brewer 28:43

Jeff Timmer 28:43
Very much so. And you know, this quite a different from 10 years ago, when a very handsome fella drew the lines in Michigan, who ended up being sued by Mark Brewer two years ago, sitting across from him and depositions in in the federal courthouse.

Mark Brewer 28:59
Jeff was a very skillful gerrymanderer.

Bill Kristol 29:02
Yeah, you will he preserved the other Republicans to what they now have control both houses, but they don’t actually quite win a majority of the actual popular vote for either the

Mark Brewer 29:12
assembly, Democrats take the majority of the legislative vote, but do not control either house, thanks to Jeff and his work.

Bill Kristol 29:21
So that’ll be that’s the that’s a good example. And each state has its own differences in terms of some of the independent commission, some of them have semi independent commissions. Some are going to go straight gerrymander of both Republicans and Democrats. People forget the democrats get to gerrymander New York and Illinois, just as much as the republicans get to gerrymander, you know, Texas or whatever, somewhat smaller states may be, but but yeah, I mean, so it really is sort of a state by state thing of how and then if you guys are losing a seat, that makes the lines get shifted more than if a if you’re just moving you know, if everyone has to have the same net number of seats, but you have to move on to a little bit usually, you know, and that that can and then yeah, so I do think there’s gonna be a lot of very hard to predict. And so you kind of get to the state by state level, how things look in 2022. So there will be the general question, which we saw the first, my guess indication of I do think CPAC was important in that way. And I agree with what Jeff said at the beginning. I mean, it really, both you said really, it’s, for now, at least, it’s party. Doesn’t mean it will be a year from now, maybe he’ll fade more, it’ll be out of power. I have a lot of friends who think that our friend Mike Murphy, Jeff thinks this, I think that it’s sort of, you know, being out of power under estimating the dynamics of politics, and that is always a dangerous thing to do. You take the present snapshot, you think that’s how it’s gonna be a year and, you know, big difference flying around Air Force One, and the Marine Band and all this and sort of, you know, just, you know, coming, showing up at CPAC. So a little bit of that even I thought yesterday at CPAC showing up, you know, giving your talk, you look kind of like anyone else giving the talk, there’s no presidential seal, you know, come in with a big, you know, anymore much more music than other people, you know, a year of that it could it could it could, it could fade away and or wear off a little bit. So that that is a huge question

Jeff Timmer 31:08
that could but he could also reignite his rallies, nobody flies around on this big garish Trump jet. And, you know, he recreates the rallies to look more presidential. And then he’s in his element, and he’s got his PAC to fund it. No, I think that we’ll see which way he goes, what kind of energy? You know, Trump, what kind of commitment we see because

Bill Kristol 31:30
Can I say the the insistence on his supporters or calling him President Trump is both weird and distasteful. And a little creepy, though, you know, it is so worth it. Right? I mean, I mean, I worked in the George HW Bush White House, we had former President Bush, you know, we didn’t go around, you know, President for whatever he would never really 41st President were happy the way they were evading as they call him. President Donald Trump and then 45th President of the United States is kind of his he wants to make that as official moniker but it’s it’s it’s it’s, it’s, it’s very indicative, of course of the whole cult effects of it. You could say it’s a desperate attempt. But you could also say so far, and successful attempt to keep the keep the cult going.

Mark Brewer 32:16
Well, I think we need to wrap up. Bill Kristol, thank you so much for being with us and sharing your lengthy experience and insights on what’s going on with Trump and inside the Republican Party.We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.

Bill Kristol 32:33
Really, my pleasure and good luck to both of you in Michigan and they will stay in touch right.

Mark Brewer 32:38
Thank you very much. That’s all for this week. The Republic still stands! If it makes it through another week, Jeff and I will be back.

Jeff Timmer 32:49
Our thanks to Bill Kristol for joining the discussion. We welcome your feedback, you can contact us on our website, or by emailing

Mark Brewer 33:03
And if you can, please rate the podcast on Apple podcasts, the more reviews the higher we move in the Apple algorithm. I’m Mark Brewer

Jeff Timmer 33:12
and I’m Jeff Timmer. Thanks for giving us part of your day.

Announcer 33:19
You can subscribe to A Republic If You Can Keep It on Apple podcasts and Google podcasts or go to our website, A Republic If You Can Keep It with Mark Brewer and Jeff Timmer is a production of Michigan Citizens for a Better Tomorrow.

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