JIM Can Hillary Clinton never get out of this Wall Street hole she finds herself in?
MICHAEL No, ‘cause she is bought and paid for too much. She's in it. And she has a long history of, you know, working with, receiving contributions from, defending. Even though she says she was the first to go to Wall Street and challenge them. Yeah, you did but then you took checks from them to speak for their organizations. So for a lot of progressives, especially, that's a level of disingenuousness they just can't get over. And it will follow her throughout the campaign.
JIM Let’s stay democratic for a minute. Bernie Sanders calls you and says give me some advice. Hillary Clinton says in every speech I'm not going to promise what I can't deliver, the implication being that Sanders can't deliver all the things that he's promising. How does he get out of that hole?
MICHAEL You know he doesn't have to because it's a space that a lot of people accept him in for this reason. He is honest enough and genuine enough to show that he is willing to fight for this. And he's done the things in his campaign to prove the point. He's not taking money from the very people that he’d have to deal with in Washington. He's not laying out an agenda that is not unfamiliar to people. He has been in the trenches making the argument for universal health care, for a certain level of environmental policy, a certain type of environmental policy, so he is been in that space in a very authentic way for a very very long time. So when he says now, as a presidential candidate, I'm in a better place to make things happen. And yes I've been in the Senate, I've been in the Congress, I know how this operation works, I have the relationships that Barack Obama didn't have to make these things work— a lot of people feel comfort from that.
JIM You a democratic socialist?
MICHAEL (Laughs) no, not in the least, not in the least.
JIM Let’s go to the republican side.
MICHAEL But I understand people and I understand people and their connections to people like Bernie Sanders and this is the difference between him and Hillary and why he's able to connect and she isn't.
JIM Okay let's talk about your connection with people and understanding people. I want to talk about Trump. I want to talk about the 38 to 39 percent of people at least saying now in national polls that they're going to vote for this guy. What does this say about the State of America and about the American people?
MICHAEL It says I think for me a number of things. One, they're tired of the same old same old. They're sick and tired of the crazy lies to them about, particularly its conservatives, oh, we’re going to repeal health care, we're going to get rid of Roe vs, Wade, we're going to… We were supposed to abolish the Department of Education— what in 1992? So there's a lot of history there that you know rank-and-file conservatives around the country remember and along comes a guy like Trump who says you know what I'm not even going to make those kinds of promises to you because I'm just not. I'm just going to tell you this is what I'm going to fight for. And there is an interesting connection, very much like with Bernie Sanders, where they get an authentic feeling from him. And establishment types have been making these promises for generations but they have no place to go.
JIM Does he go home if he loses this second in a row?
MICHAEL No, No he doesn’t. And I don’t see him losing.
JIM Let's talk about Marco Rubio for a second. A lot of Republicans I've talked to this weekend says he's the dream guy. Mitt Romney lost 71 - 29 amongst Hispanics and Latinos. He's young and will be standing next to someone who 69 or 74. Other Republicans say I don't think he can be against exceptions for rape and incest and win a national election. Where are you on this?
MICHAEL That may be the case, not to mention I don't think that just because he's Hispanic he’s not a pied piper. Doesn't mean Hispanics are going to wake up and start voting for him. It's like when I told folks when I became RNC Chairman— what just because you elected a black man chairman all of a sudden black folks are going to wake up and say— hey I want to be a Republican? It takes a lot more work than that. And remember, he's Cuban he's not Mexican. 70 percent of the Hispanics in this country are Mexicans or from South America so there's a very different connection within the community and so the failure to understand that in the first instance speaks to the problem that Republicans have with the Hispanic community at large.
JIM Let's talk about one last thing. Problems Republicans have on another front. If Ben Carson weren’t at home doing his laundry… (Michael:laughs) If he weren't doing his laundry… We’d look at the stage, at the Republican debate there'd be three people of color out of eight in a party that theoretically doesn't appeal to people of color. You look out in the audience, my guess is— there may be more people of color on the stage then in the audience. (Michael: More than likely, you’re right) What does that say, as the former chair, is that fixable?
MICHAEL It is fixable. I think we make sort of false comparisons when we talk about where you've got people of color on the stage versus what's in the audience. You know individuals are deciding to run for the office is one thing. What the party does from a grassroots up to expand its breadth and width within the community is something very different. And again just because you have the Ben Carson on the stage, just because you have a Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the stage, does not translate into in terms of what's happening among the rank-and-file at the grassroots level. If a state county, a county party, is not involved in opening itself up and embracing a diverse community, guess what— it don't mean a thing. If you got a black man and Hispanic standing on stage for president.
JIM Time to you run for office again, let me tell you. It’s a pleasure. Thanks so much.