Looking Down-Ballot: The Battle for Senate Control

November 3, 2016 - Common 11/03/2016 Views: 58,240

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaigns wind down, Trevor checks in on key Senate races in Illinois and North Carolina. (7:26)

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Uh, so I-I don't knowif you've heard, but, uh,

in five days,there's a presidential election.

Now, some people will be votingfor Hillary Clinton,

because it's the only wayto stop her fundraising e-mails,

and other people will be votingfor Donald Trump,

because then they won't have toworry about voting ever again.

But some people say,some people say

they won't be voting at all,

because, like a toddlerat mealtime,

they don't like their choices!

But what those people needto understand is that Tuesday

is not just about votingfor a new president.

This election will also decidewhich party controls the Senate.

This makes it a big deal becauseit makes a big difference

because a president needsthe Senate's approval

to do almost everything--pass laws, ratify treaties.

And the president can't appointany federal judges,

includinga Supreme Court justice,

unless the Senate agrees,all right?

If you have a presidentand a Senate

from two opposing parties,it's like having two parents

who are not on the same page,you know?

The dad's like,"We're going to Disneyland."

And the mom's like,"Uh, no, we're not."

And he's like,"Yeah, no, we're not."

-(laughter)-"(bleep) bureaucracy."


Now, currently, Republicans havea 54-46 majority in the Senate,

but this year, this year,thanks partly to the actions

of a chewed-up pieceof carrot cake, there's a chance

that the Democrats could takethe Senate back.

So today, we're going to lookat some of the key Senate races

around the country,starting with Illinois.

Yes, which soundsexactly like the name

of my tribal punk band"Illin' Noize."

It was a thing I didwhen I was really young.

It was likea rock, slash, African thing.

It was like...♪ Nah... and going

♪ Nah-nah-nah-nah,nah-nah-nah-nah ♪

♪ Nah-nah-nah-nah,nah-nah-nah ♪

♪ Nah-nah-nah-nah,nah-nah-nah-nah ♪

♪ Nah-nah-nah-nah,nah-nah-nah ♪

-(singing in foreign language)-Oh, hey. -(laughter, applause)

-Question.-It was like a thing we did.

Like, it was rock,but combined with Africa.

Why, at the endof African songs,

why y'all hold a babyin the air?

-What is that about?-(laughter)

NOAH: Anyway,right now in Illinois,

Republican Mark Kirk is losingto Democrat Tammy Duckworth.

Now, there's a coupleof interesting things

to know about Tammy.

One-- she is an army veteran

who lost both her legsserving her country in Iraq.

The second is that her familyon her dad's side served

in the military datingall the way back

to the American Revolution.

But at a debate, her opponentlooked past all of that

to focus on the fact

that her mom is an immigrantfrom Thailand.

My family has served this nationin uniform

going back to the Revolution.

I'm a Daughterof the American Revolution.

I bled for this nation.

Senator Kirk,30 seconds to rebut.

I had forgotten

that your, uh, parents cameall the way from Thailand

to serve George Washington.

Move on to the next question.

-(laughter and groaning)-WOMAN: Wow!

Whew! That awkward pausebrought to you by racism.


Racism--the taste of the old generation.


-I like how...-(laughter)

I like how, after he just saidsomething racist and incorrect,

-he just sits there with his"nailed-it" face. -(laughter)

You can even see the moderatorslooking at him like,

"Are you done?

Is that really your response?"

It's almost like he was gonna belike, "No, no, you're right.

One more thing. Ching-chong,ching-chong, ching-chong-chong."

-(laughter)"I yield the rest of my time."


Now, another major Senate raceis happening in North Carolina

where Democrat Deborah Rossis in a tight race

with the Republican SenatorDick Burr,

which sounds less like a nameand more like something

you get surgically removedby your urologist.

-(laughter)-It really does.

"Dick Burr" doesn't soundlike a name.

It sounds like a description

of when you forgetto wear warm underwear.

"Oh. Dick Burrrrr!"

-(laughter, applause) -Anyway,anyway, anyway, he is, um...

He is also a senator, and hecan't afford to lose any votes,

which is probably why heshouldn't make jokes like this.

North Carolina senatorRichard Burr apologizing

after CNN obtained audioof him making a terrible joke

about gun ownersshooting Hillary Clinton.

MAN:Oh, yeah.


Oh, no, no.Now, wait, wait, wait.

I'm not gonna lie.I also agree with Dick.

I'm also shocked

that Hillary is on the coverof a gun magazine.

I mean, think about it.

It's a strange place for her be.

That's like Jim Gaffigan beingon the cover of Ebony, you know.



Does that say"the New Idris Elba?"

-(laughter, applause)-Yeah.

But... but to be fair,to be fair,

Burr thought he was just talking

to a small group of supportersin private.

That's why he made a joke.But you know what, guys?

If there is anythingwe've learned this year,

it's that whatever you sayin private will become public.

Like, I don't careif you go alone to the beach

and whisper somethinginto a sea shell.


Julian Assange ison the other end of the line.


Oh, oh, and remember how I saidthis year a lot

of Republican candidatesare having a Trump problem?

People like Nevada's Joe Heck,Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey

and New Hampshire'sKelly Ayotte.

You see, they're in an awkwardspot where they're all trying

to appease the halfof their constituents

that love Donald Trump withoutpissing off the other half

that thinks Trump isa racist soft serve machine

-that only dispenses diarrhea.-(laughter)

And it's a really difficulttightrope to walk.

So you know what that means.

(bleep) about to get vague.

MAN:Are you gonna vote for the guy?

We're gonna waitand see what happens.

Again, we're working through it,

but on November 8,I'll have a decision.

Don't you thinkyour constituents,

the people of Pennsylvania,deserve to know

if you're gonna supportthe nominee of your party?

I-I don't think my constituentscare that much

how one person is gonna vote.

Would you point to himas a role model?

Uh, I... oh, I think that,uh, certainly, uh,

there are many role modelsthat we have,

and, uh, I-I believe he...can serve as president,

and so absolutelyI would do that.

Uh, I-I, um, mm, I think, uh,

mm, uh-- damn, Kelly Ayotteis like a malfunctioning robot

in Westworld,that's what she seems like.

Uh, yes, uh, no, uh, r-role...

many role mo... mm, that's...

(robotic stammering)

Howdy, partner.Uh... (stammering)

'Cause, you see,like, it's Westworld,

'cause in Westworld, they do,like, they've got the robots.

-Do you watch Westworld? -Nah,that's white people problems.

-(laughter) -I don't even knowwhat that means.

'Cause it's a fantasy world--ain't no black people

gonna go to no fantasy worldand shoot and rob

and stab and kill--if I go do that,

that's just reinforcingstereotypes.

If I was in Westworld,I would just want to go there

and just manage a bank.


That's my fantasy.

And just approve small businessloans to minorities.

(laughter, whooping, applause)

-That's admirable.-That's what I would do.

-That's admirable. I like that.-That's my fantasy.

That's admirable.

So, look, people, remember,

this Tuesdayyou're not just choosing

between Madam WikiLeaksand the sunburned tumbleweed.

You'll also be votingfor the people

who will determinewhether the next president

will get nothing done

or almos nothing done.