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Democratic Midterm Strategy And Kavanaugh


And for a view from the Democrats, we're joined now from California by Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the liberal PAC Democracy for America. Welcome to the program.

CHARLES CHAMBERLAIN: Thanks for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Polling this week shows the enthusiasm gap has all but disappeared. What do you make of that? Democrats had the momentum. Seems they lost it.

CHAMBERLAIN: Yeah, I'm not surprised that it's changed a bit. Of course, it's tightening - we're past Labor Day. This is when people start paying attention to elections. As the Republicans continue to dig deeper and deeper into the hole that they've dug for themselves with the Kavanaugh appointment, we're going to see that we have a very, very energized Democratic base. If we started at a 10, which is where we've been for the last six months, this certainly turned it up to an 11 or 100.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But this was a pretty brutal loss for the Democrats. I mean, I've heard many Democrats say the Democratic Party gets outplayed all the time. You're going into the midterms with a huge loss.

CHAMBERLAIN: That's certainly true. But, you know, this was an unwinnable fight from the beginning. We don't control the Senate. We don't control the House. We don't control the presidency. Now we don't control the Supreme Court, and I'm proud of the fact that you can see that the Democratic caucus held almost completely together, standing against it to fight, regardless of whether or not they were going to win. We've fought on principles and on values. That's what the American public wants to see from us, and that's why they're going to reward us on Election Day.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But that's what the Republicans say - that the Democrats are trying to bring this nominee down no matter what, whether it be over allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault or whether it be on his record.

CHAMBERLAIN: Right. But what's wrong with that? Both reasons are valid. He has a terrible right-wing partisan record. He has perjured himself. He has a terrible judicial temperament, and he has also been credibly accused of sexual assault. Any one of those four reasons are completely legitimate reasons to keep this guy off the court and a reason why they needed to fight tooth and nail every day to try to defeat him, win or lose.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We've seen in recent polls that women, specifically white women and specifically suburban white women, are leaning now more towards the Democrats. But women were outraged when the Access Hollywood tape came out, but white women went for Trump and helped him win. What do you think makes 2018 different?

CHAMBERLAIN: I think that we have a very, much more exciting and engaged Democratic base across the board. We have an understanding that the future of the Democratic Party and of America is with the leadership of black and brown people of color throughout this. Across the board, we have an understanding that the future of the Democratic Party and of America is with the leadership of black and brown people of color throughout this country and that progressive whites are a part of that coalition. But we can't depend on the idea that white women are going to save us. If you look across this country, that's what we're seeing and that's where the future is.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What are you running on? I mean, when you're going out in this last month, how are you getting people out to the polls? What are you telling them?

CHAMBERLAIN: Yeah, I'd say the two biggest issues - one is check on Trump. We've definitely got to send some people to Congress that are going to fight Trump. Right now, with Republican control in the House and in the Senate, you know, they've got whatever they need to get whatever they want. It's time that America puts a check on Trump, and that's what we're messaging and people are responding to. But it's not just about Trump. It's also about our vision for America. And that's why you see campaigns that are running on issues like Medicare for all, inclusive populism, really succeeding. Beto O'Rourke has put Texas into single digits between him...


CHAMBERLAIN: ...Right - between Ted Cruz. And the way he's been able to do that is because he's running a powerful, people-powered campaign on issues and a vision for America like Medicare for all.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Charles Chamberlain, director of the liberal PAC Democracy for America, thank you.

CHAMBERLAIN: Thank you for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROFESSOR RATBAGGY'S "BLOWFLY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.