January 2020 – As part of the Drew Forum lecture series, a sold-out audience was treated to a live taping of The NPR Politics Podcast, a daily breakdown of the top political news.
Launched in 2015 as a weekly analysis of the 2016 presidential election, The NPR Politics Podcast garnered such a huge following, it’s now offered every weekday and ranks as the nation’s leading political podcast.
NPR’s Washington Desk reporters Tamara Keith, Domenico Montanaro, Danielle Kurtzleben and Mara Liasson provided the low-down on the current happenings on the impeachment trial and how it directly affects the road to 2020.
Included in the evening was an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the podcast is created, animated re-takes and an opportunity for the audience to ask questions directly to the pod squad. Here are the highlights.
Impeachment and the 2020 Race
The group concluded it’s probable that President Trump will be acquitted since it will require an unlikely 20 Republicans to vote to convict. However, it is possible that the Democratic impeachment managers would be able to convince four Republicans to agree to vote with them to call for witnesses. “That is the suspense,” said Liasson.
Regardless of the outcome of the impeachment trials, the events will have a profound effect on the four Democratic Senators running in the 2020 election. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobushar and Michael Bennett serve on the impeachment trial, thereby disabling them to attend the Iowa Caucus. “This is an incredibly important time for them to be on the ground, and unfortunately for these four, they are not,” said Kurtzleben.
Impeachment: Does it Help or Hurt?
According to voters, the impeachment proceedings are amongst the weakest issues from the Democratic effort. For Republicans, the impeachment can be politically appealing: “Why should we take away the voters’ sacred right to decide whether someone stays president or not?” said Liasson.
The Trump campaign is capitalizing on the impeachment efforts with promotional items and sophisticated digital advertising and supporter outreach. “They see impeachment as a fundraising boom,” said Keith.
Caucus Dozen and the Big Four
There are currently a dozen candidates on the Democratic primary and the upcoming Iowa Caucus should prove to be interesting. After an audience poll, it was obvious the Drew crowd reflects America’s polls: With less than a year to the election, the majority of voters are undecided.
Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—an unusually high number of forerunners—are currently leading the polls in the 2020 Democratic race. It all boils down to electability. Who will be able to beat President Trump? “All four of them combined kinda make a pretty good candidate,” joked Montanaro. These four candidates have resorted to negative campaigns against each other. “The gloves are off,” said Kurtzleben.
New Jersey is the final state to vote in the Democratic primary. “If we have a really close race by the end of April, New Jersey might matter,” said Montanaro, and the Drew audience enthusiastically concurred.
Listen to the full podcast for more on these topics and others, like the upcoming Iowa Democratic caucuses, recent skirmishes amongst Democratic presidential candidates and the potential for a female president.
This event was sponsored by the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation.
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