Exclusive - Jonathan Capehart Extended Interview

November 7, 2016 - Jonathan Capehart 11/07/2016 Views: 8,173

Washington Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart breaks down Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the 2016 election and weighs in on voter suppression in North Carolina. (8:52)

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Please welcomeJonathan Capehart.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

What's going on?

Oh, you know.

-Same old, same old?-Same old, same old.

Nothing happening?

Mm-mmm. I, you know, I...

figured I'd juststay in the city an extra day.

Just to see?

-Yeah, get back home tomorrow.-I-I hear you, I hear you.

Probably should be in theoffice. I don't know.

-Welcome to the show, sir.-Thank you very much.

-It's great to be here.-Be-Before we get started,

I mean, you... you knowI love your writing

and-and your point of view,but you are, honestly,

one of the mostdapper-dressed journalists

I've ever come across.I always admire this in you.

-I always admire it. -(cheering,applause) -Thank you.

-Thanks very much.-I really do.

Um... Uh, but we're not hereto talk about your dress sense,

we're here to talk about theupcoming presidential election.

Mm-hmm.

Are you as afraid as manyof the people in this audience?

Uh, um, uh... Look, I am...cautiously optimistic.

As an opinion writer I getto say what I-what I think

and who I think should bepresident of the United States,

and I think Hillary Clintonshould be president

of the United States.

(cheering, applause)

That being said,I am cautiously optimistic

that she'll be ableto pull this off.

Um, it is pretty incrediblethat we've had someone

who's run a racist,misogynistic, xenophobic

-presidential campaignget this close... -Yes.

-to being presidentof the United States.

But this is an election.The American people

get to decide, and I just hope

that they makethe right decision.

Now-now, you saycautiously optimistic,

but if you-if you lookat the numbers, especially

-in terms of the electoral map,-Mm-hmm.

which is a very strange thingfor me to try and understand.

-Right.-You may have a position where

if the wrong statesgo the right way for Trump,

-he actually comes outextremely close... -Oh, yes.

-or even on top?-Right. So, one of those states,

um, that Republicansalways think they can win

-but they never dois Pennsylvania. -Yes.

Donald Trump is oneof those people who is saying,

"We can take Pennsylvania."If he takes Pennsylvania,

he's won. 'Cause Hil...

-That's part of HillaryClinton's firewall. -Yes.

If he takes Michigan,another blue state,

I won't go so far as to sayhe won or he would win,

because that means HillaryClinton would have to win

-a bunch of other statesto offset that. -Okay.

Now, uh, on my-my podcast,"Cape Up,"

I interviewed Larry Sabato,head of the Center for Politics

at the University of Virginia,and I asked him,

"If a particular state goesfor Trump,

which state is it that tells youthat he won?"

He said Pennsylvania.I said, "Now, for Clinton,

which state would that be?"And he said Florida.

And you think... you thinkFlorida's going to have

enough push for Hillary?

Well, right now,in terms of the early vote,

um, they have seen that...

the Latino voteis 103% higher now,

-in the early vote,than it was in 2008. -Yes.

-Which is... which is a goodsign. -Oh, it's a... it's a...

-it's an incredible sign.-But-but, at the same time,

they've also shownthat voting numbers are down,

in terms of registrations, uh,

compared to where they werefour years ago.

So you have numbers going upin terms of early voting,

but, in terms of overallnumbers, the numbers are down.

So isn't that somethingthat you would be afraid of?

I mean, the Republicansare actually touting that.

Reince Priebus is saying,"This is a good thing for us."

Well, sure if you want to winby keeping people from voting.

-Uh, and you... -Which is prettymuch what the Republicans want.

What they're doing depending onwhich state you look at.

-North Carolinaand other places... -Yeah.

...they're actively tryingto keep people from voting.

But, look, in Floridain particular,

-because that isthe linchpin state. -Yeah.

That is the stateto watch tomorrow night.

You have, um, as of Sunday,

more Democratswho have done early voting

than Republicans by about.06 percent, or .6 percent.

-Mm-hmm.-Now think about this.

Republicans, you would assume,

-are voting for the Republicancandidate for president. -Yes.

But because there are so manyRepublicans

-who find Donald Trump just...abhorrent... -Why?

-(laughter)-Carry on.

...that a lotof those Republican votes

could be goingto Hillary Clinton.

You should have seen your face.You were like...

-I know. I was like...-(laughter)

"What?! Child, please come on."

-Let's talk about North Carolinafor a second. -Yes.

That is honestly one of themost frightening things to see.

Normally, you would hopethat an election would be won.

-Mm-hmm. -You would hope thatpeople would try and win it,

a political party would say,

"We have motivated Americansto vote for us."

And yet, it seems like,in North Carolina especially,

Republicans are touting

the suppressionof the black vote as a victory.

They're saying, "Look, we gotthem to not vote for Hillary."

-Mm-hmm.-"This is a victory."

How do you see that?

I mean, you're an expertin that field.

You've been writing about it,you are in it.

-Well...-How does that make you feel?

Well, it makes me feel horrible,just as an African-American

and as an American.

I mean, people fought and diedfor the right to vote.

And particularly, in the South.

And so when you have elected..

city elected officials,state elected officials bragging

about the fact that they arekeeping people from exercising

-Yes. -the franchise, exercisingtheir hard-fought right to vote,

it's disgusting.

They've closed, um... they'veclosed the number of places

-where people could early vote.-Yeah.

They've shortenedthe number of days

where people could early vote.

African-Americans have"Souls to the Polls,"

where, go to church on Sunday,and once the sermon is over--

-when it finally ends-- youget... you get... -(laughter)

on a bus or transportation,and you go and you vote.

But here's the thingthat Republicans,

the lessons that theyshould have learned in 2012

that I think they're goingto learn again tomorrow--

when you tell somebody black,"You can't vote,"

they will stand in linefor as long as it takes

to ensure that their voteis counted,

and particularlywhen they're voting

for someone to succeedBarack Obama,

-when he's been out thereon the campaign trail -Yeah.

saying, you know, "This is...everything we've worked for...

-"This is my legacy."-This is my legacy." When he

said to the CongressionalBlack Caucus Foundation dinner,

"I will consider ita personal insult."

There are lotsof African-Americans out there

who love Barack and Michelle,

and so that'swhat he's going for

when he tellsAfrican-Americans that.

And I think tomorrow you aregoing to see African-Americans

come out and say:This isn't just me exercising

my right to vote, this isensuring that the eight years

of the Obama presidencyare not erased

by a Republican president--'cause that's exactly

what Donald Trump sayshe wants to do,

that's exactly what theRepublicans on Capitol Hill

want to do, and that's exactlywhat they would be able to do

if Donald Trump ispresident of the United States.

You know, you talk aboutblack people being defiant

in the faceof disenfranchisement.

But there, there is concernthat many black voters

don't find Hillary appealing.

The Washington Post has written about it,

you've spoken about it,what do you think it is?

I mean, you're-you're in asituation, where, as you say,

President Obama has said,this is my legacy.

-Mm-hmm.-You know?

That lady over there,that's-that's pretty much me.

You know? You-you've got,uh, Bill Clinton,

first black president,you know?

-Right.-(laughter)

-Black people love Bill.-Mm-hmm.

And yet,there are still black people

who do not seem motivated.

What do you chock that up to?

Well, I think it's several,I think it's several things.

One, um, there are a lotof millennial voters,

African-Americanand non-African-American,

who are just tired.

Uh, they-they're tiredof the status quo,

they-they're not so certainabout her,

they've heard some things aboutwhat happened in the '90s

that she was onthe wrong side of,

and so they don't,they don't trust her.

The other thingyou have going on,

is the fact that, well,it's not Barack Obama.

It is understandable thatthe level of enthusiasm

among African-Americanswould be less for her,

-than it was...-Than it is for him.

Yes, than it is for him.

And so what he's trying to do,and has been trying to do,

is say, look, you don't have to,you don't have to like her,

but if you care about me,if you care about us,

if you care about everythingthat we've done,

then vote for her,'cause that other guy,

-he's bananas.-(laughter)

I mean, I love,what I love with the president,

when he keeps going, he goes,"Come on, man."

-Have you seen him say that?-It is fantastic.

That's the best momentwhen he's like, "Come on."

-"Come on, man."-"Come on. That guy? Come on."

You know, business, we-we gotto get down to business.

So-so, if I understandwhat you're saying,

what you're saying is,uh, voters are saying,

we've had Barack, andessentially, with Hillary,

they're discoveringthat once you go black...

(laughter)

It is very difficultto go elsewhere.

Yeah, it is very difficultto go...

It is very difficultto go elsewhere,

-and he would prefer that you...-(laughter)

-that you stay... black-(laughter)

I think there's a quicker waywe could have said that.

-I know.-But we'll figure it out.

Jonathan, thank you so muchfor being here.

-Trevor, thank you very much.-Huge fan of your writing.

-Thank you.(cheers and applause)