UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hey, NPR. Cliche alert – I reside in Austin, Texas. I drive a Prius, and I’ve listened to each single NPR POLITICS PODCAST. However what you did not count on is that I play the banjo.
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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: This podcast was initially recorded at…
TAMARA KEITH, HOST:
2:10 p.m. on Tuesday, the 7 of April.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Issues might have modified from the time that you just hearken to this. OK. Benefit from the present.
(SOUNDBITE OF THE BIGTOP ORCHESTRA’S “TEETER BOARD: FOLIES BERGERE (MARCH AND TWO-STEP)”)
KEITH: Oh, that was superior. That was so superior.
ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: I wanted that.
KEITH: Hey there. That is the NPR POLITICS PODCAST. I am Tamara Keith. I cowl the White Home.
KHALID: And I am Asma Khalid. I am overlaying the 2020 election.
KEITH: It has been a wild experience of will they or will not they, however there’s an election occurring at this time in Wisconsin. The state is holding its major at this time. That comes in opposition to the objections of the state’s governor and despite well being dangers. To get a clearer image of what’s occurring on the bottom there, we’ve got Shawn Johnson from Wisconsin Public Radio on the road.
SHAWN JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hey. Thanks for having me.
KEITH: Yeah, so the place are you proper now?
JOHNSON: Proper now, I am in Madison, Wis., recording from my residence workplace, the place I have been spending plenty of time these days. So – did get an opportunity to exit, although, and discuss to voters at polling locations at this time.
KEITH: Earlier than we speak about what you heard from voters – and it looks like there are lots of people going out and voting regardless of all of it – how did we get right here? You realize, it appeared like each few hours, there was an replace of whether or not this election was occurring or not.
JOHNSON: Yeah. I feel it began a couple of weeks in the past when our governor, Tony Evers, began shutting the whole lot down. And on the time, he was fairly reluctant to say that Wisconsin wanted to delay its election. He was, on the time, on the identical web page as Republicans in – who run the Legislature right here.
KEITH: And he is a Democrat, proper?
JOHNSON: Tony Evers is a Democrat, and Republicans have sturdy majorities within the Legislature. Then because the COVID-19 disaster developed and as this election grew nearer, he modified, and he referred to as for a transfer to an all-absentee poll or a mail-in election, principally. That decision was type of ignored. Then he moved to name the Legislature into particular session to delay the election. That was additionally ignored.
And so then, this week, he took the uncommon step of utilizing an govt order to attempt to halt the election by himself. This occurred on Monday at about 1 o’clock. Round 4 hours later, the Wisconsin Supreme Courtroom had stepped in and mentioned that he could not do this, that he lacked the facility to cease the election. And so right here we’re. Persons are voting.
KHALID: Regardless of all this forwards and backwards, there are folks voting in particular person at this time. I imply, I do know the campaigns for president – , I do know that they’d been encouraging folks to vote by mail. However you’ve got been on the market, and persons are nonetheless exhibiting up in particular person. So what’s it been like?
JOHNSON: So it is undoubtedly quieter than typical. I can inform you in Madison, many of the ballot staff that I noticed have been sporting masks. A lot of the voters that I noticed have been sporting masks. So that is one thing that folks have type of taken to fairly shortly right here.
In different components of the state, although, the place the variety of polling locations have been decreased, specifically Milwaukee, you might have very lengthy traces for folks to vote. So usually, Milwaukee would have 180 polling locations. They’re down to 5 polling locations for all the metropolis. And so in Milwaukee, it is a very completely different scenario than it’s the place I am at. You’ve very lengthy traces, folks ready a very long time to vote. It is simply extra of a logistical headache there.
KEITH: And as you say, persons are on the market. Persons are voting. Persons are working as ballot staff. Persons are actually taking dangers – critical dangers – to train this proper to vote and this civic obligation. What are folks telling you about these calculations that they made?
JOHNSON: I imply, I feel for lots of them, it’s a civic obligation. They view it that method. I talked to a ballot employee in Madison, Henny Regnier (ph). She’s 62. After we spoke, she was sporting a kind of N95 face masks and gloves. She hoped as just lately as yesterday that this election could be delayed. However as soon as she discovered that it was going to occur, she felt it was her obligation to be there, despite the fact that she wasn’t pleased about it.
HENNY REGNIER: I am over 60, and that irritates me that, , we’re placing ourselves in danger to come back and train our civic duties. And I simply assume that is fallacious. So all people who can reveals up and does the whole lot they’ll. And – however I feel it is – it was a really dangerous choice.
JOHNSON: Then I additionally talked to plenty of voters who mentioned comparable issues. You realize, they want to have seen this election delayed, but when it wasn’t, they have been going to be there. That included Steve Klaven (ph) of Madison. He is 65, and he felt like he had an obligation to get out right here, given what he is seeing across the state of Wisconsin.
STEVE KLAVEN: I do know I am within the higher-risk group, and I felt prefer it was simply actually vital to be right here and to train my proper to vote.
KEITH: So this makes me consider November. Wisconsin goes to be a essential state in November. The factor that we do not know is, what is going to the coronavirus be like when election time comes? Will there be a resurgence? Some public well being officers have been involved that there might be a recurrence of outbreaks come fall when the seasons change. And this looks like one thing of a harbinger. Like, if there’s this a lot disagreement about vote by mail and all of this now, what’s it going to appear to be in November?
KHALID: And to that time, Shawn, I imply, I am additionally curious concerning the broad ranges of disparity we have seen. I imply, you talked about earlier that Milwaukee had only a fraction of the polling locations open in comparison with Madison. And Milwaukee, I am positive – – as , it is a closely African American metropolis. And this has been some extent of criticism I’ve seen with voting rights organizations at this time that this disparity has, , extreme racial implications as effectively.
JOHNSON: Yeah. In any election, there’s all the time a battle to get African American voters to the polls in Wisconsin – in Milwaukee. And so there’s already these type of structural points in the case of voter turnout there. You couple that with COVID-19, and nearly all of the instances in Milwaukee have come from African American neighborhoods. It’s, as our governor has described it, a disaster inside a disaster right here. So that is one thing that the African American neighborhood is coping with in a singular method, and that is occurring on the time of an election when there are fewer locations to vote after they would usually have.
KEITH: Wow. Nicely, one factor we do know is that we’re not going to get election outcomes tonight. The Related Press has mentioned that they aren’t going to be making any calls within the races in Wisconsin till a minimum of Monday as a result of there are such a lot of vote-by-mail ballots which might be ready to come back in.
Nicely, Shawn, thanks for speaking us via all of this and for being on the market interviewing people at this time.
JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.
KEITH: And we’re going to take a fast break. And once we get again, we’ll verify in on the state of the Democratic major race nationally.
And we’re again, and we’re joined by Domenico Montanaro. Hey, Domenico.
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey, Tam.
KEITH: So Domenico, we have been simply speaking with Shawn Johnson of Wisconsin Public Radio about how persons are voting, however let’s slender in on who they’re voting for. Clearly, the 2 candidates left are Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. In plenty of methods, it has felt like the competition between the 2 of them has stood nonetheless for a month. However at that time, it actually did seem to be this race was principally over anyway. So what occurs now?
MONTANARO: Nicely, we all know that former Vice President Joe Biden has about – 1,217 delegates to Bernie Sanders’ 914. So he is obtained, , a bit bit greater than a 300-delegate lead. And for individuals who aren’t actually conversant in that, what which means is that Biden wants simply 46% of the remaining delegates to be the nominee. So in different phrases, Sanders, to show this plane provider round, goes to want to beat Biden with a minimum of 64% of the vote in all of the remaining contests. And up to now, that is not what’s been occurring.
And momentum is de facto robust to show round in a race like this. In reality, going into Wisconsin, the place, in fact, we’re not going to have a definitive outcome for a bit bit, Biden was main fairly considerably within the polls. And Sanders a couple of weeks in the past mentioned that he could be assessing his marketing campaign and appeared to point that a minimum of Wisconsin might need some determinative impact on whether or not or not he stays in or not.
KEITH: You’ve been speaking to people who’re near the Sanders marketing campaign.
MONTANARO: Nicely, I talked to Larry Cohen, who’s the pinnacle of Our Revolution, which is an outdoor group that helps Sanders. He is fairly near Sanders – , definitely a fairly die-hard man in the case of the motion that he feels the Sanders marketing campaign has created and that Sanders himself has created.
And what he has actually bored in on, which I used to be a bit shocked by in speaking to him, is that they need to have sufficient of a say on the desk, on the guidelines committee, on the Democratic conference, inside the Democratic Occasion, to say that they need an absolute continuation of each reform that was adopted in 2020 that Cohen and Sanders pushed for. You realize, we’re speaking about issues like, , superdelegates not with the ability to vote on the primary poll. They need that prolonged indefinitely or a minimum of via 2024.
And what we all know is that high folks in each campaigns are negotiating. So it definitely seems to be just like the writing is on the wall. And Cohen, actually, mentioned to me that on the finish of the day, we’re all in for Biden if he is the nominee.
KHALID: You realize, I feel what is going on to be fascinating, to what you have been speaking about, Domenico, although, is the diploma to which this formally shifts right into a common election mode. I might argue each Sanders supporters and Biden supporters are very conscious of the truth that Biden is, by all accounts, seen because the probably Democratic nominee, given the lead that he has in delegates and the momentum.
You realize, he’s shifting forward by way of planning out the potential for choosing a vice presidential candidate. And he has mentioned that he has knowledgeable Bernie Sanders about the truth that he is doing it. He needed Sanders to know that he wasn’t making an attempt to be type of overly presumptuous, however he seems like he wants to maneuver forward with that course of.
MONTANARO: So one thing, although, I’ve to say feels actually completely different about this marketing campaign and the way it’s wrapping up than the 2016 marketing campaign – the vitriol that existed between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and a minimum of their supporters and staffers may be very completely different than this time round. Tam, I imply, I do know you coated the Clinton marketing campaign. You possibly can definitely communicate to a few of that.
However in the case of Biden and Sanders, , they’ve this preexisting relationship. They type of like one another. They’ve mentioned it again and again, despite the fact that, frankly, Biden and Clinton’s insurance policies aren’t a complete heck of so much completely different.
KEITH: In so some ways, Biden is performing like he’s the nominee and his opponent is Donald J. Trump. And President Trump in plenty of methods – he is not speaking about Bernie Sanders anymore. His focus, when he is not targeted on coronavirus, is on Joe Biden. His marketing campaign is concentrated on Joe Biden and type of beating him up whereas he does not have a lot of a platform.
KHALID: You are proper. I imply, and that is why the opposite day, one in all his advisers – , Kellyanne Conway mentioned on Fox Information that as a substitute of Biden simply criticizing the president on the surface, he ought to truly name him, name the White Home and provide some help that method. After which that’s how this very unusual telephone name transpired between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The 2 males spoke yesterday for about 15 minutes concerning the coronavirus. And I’ll say I simply discovered that fascinating. Oh, to be, like, an actual fly on the wall. I do know we obtained type of a fast synopsis of it. However, , I do not really feel like we actually know what occurred in that telephone name.
MONTANARO: You realize, you type of marvel how a lot of that’s politics – , one aspect wanting like they’ll discuss to the opposite. And , possibly that is good for them with independents.
KEITH: All proper. Nicely, we’re going to depart it there for at this time. I am Tamara Keith. I cowl the White Home.
KHALID: I am Asma Khalid. I am overlaying the presidential marketing campaign.
MONTANARO: And I am Domenico Montanaro, senior political editor and correspondent.
KEITH: And thanks for listening to the NPR POLITICS PODCAST.
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