“We’re not all one thing”

 
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By Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers and Pantsuit Politics. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
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Sarah: [00:00:00] Watching people sharing the like Ted Cruz, getting dunked on by Jimmy Kimmel and thinking that helps anything is really frustrating to me because that side you think is so anti-democratic, and you're right, and that side of the Republican party that is so dangerous and on the move, you're all right about that and also what fuels them is the fight.

Sarah: This is Sarah

Beth: And Beth.

Sarah: You're listening to Pantsuit Politics.

Beth: The home of grace-filled political conversations.

Sarah: [00:00:56] Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Pantsuit Politics. On today's show, [00:01:00] we are going to celebrate the incredible progress that is happening across the United States with regards to COVID-19. We're also going to talk about the Republican party. Opposite of progress there. Arguably a little bit of regression and then at the end of the show, and perhaps what I'm most excited to talk about, we're going to wax poetic about Olivia Rodrigo and her hit album Sour.

Before we get started, it means so much to us that so many of you shop with our sponsors. It's such a great way to support the show and the podcast industry in general and so we are thrilled to finally have a page on our website with all our sponsor information for easy searching. You can find it in our show notes from here on out at pantsuit politicsshow.com/sponsors.

Beth: [00:01:44] Before we get started with our conversation today, it just was important to me to take a wide view of all of us who are sitting here together thinking about these issues. You are listening right now with people who voted for Joe Biden and Donald Trump and Joe Jorgensen, and lots of other [00:02:00] people. You are listening with people who are in school and people who are well into retirement and everything in between. There are people listening while they're nursing babies and delivering Amazon packages and going for a run and researching black holes and lobbying Congress.

You're listening with dreamers and police officers, people who are stationed on military bases throughout the world, librarians and chefs. You're listening with people who are transgender, people who've been married for 50 years, parents whose kids have just shared life-changing news with them, with people who are deeply religious, strong atheist, people who have no idea what they believe right now.

And these are not like abstractions. If I sat long enough and thought about it, I could put names behind every single thing I just said. So when we're in your ears, You know, we are not trying to represent every perspective and we are definitely not trying to convince you of anything. We're just sitting at this big, beautiful internet table, thinking about our values and questions and actions as citizens with a whole bunch of other people and we love doing it and are so honored that you're all here.

[00:03:00] Sarah: [00:03:00] So we're going to expand our moment of hope into this entire segment, because there is so much to celebrate right now with regards to COVID-19. Something that really struck me is for this entire past year or longer, I have been very closely following Axios is map of the United States and states where the COVID cases are increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. I never liked the colors I picked just for the record.

Beth: [00:03:26] They're weird colors.

Sarah: [00:03:28] They were weird. It was like this funky tan, and then turquoise, which is just whatever, that's not the point. The point is I've been sort of obsessed with it. It's really, it just hit my sort of preferences really well. That's how I wanted to see it. I wanted to watch it weekly. I don't, I like colors insetad of numbers and so I've just, it's been in my life for over a year and they retired at this week. They said that the cases have been so consistently low and that's true, like the map for probably the last three to four weeks has been solidly turquoise, which means decrease it in [00:04:00] almost every state

Wyoming popped up there like one, one week and I was like, what are you doing Wyoming? But I guess Wyoming got it under control because they are retiring the map and it really, because I've been watching it for so long, it hit me almost as hard as like the vaccine. It just felt like, no, wow. We're like really, really beating this thing.

Beth: [00:04:18] And I understand that that's not a universal experience. I understand that if you're listening outside the United States in a place where it's hard to get a vaccine, that is really, really difficult to hear. I also say I've appreciated that map because it's about the right amount of looking at the data for me, just kind of having that sense of where is it increasing? Where is it decreasing? Where is it holding steady? It's been really accessible and valuable to me and it did. It hit me really hard too.

Like, oh my goodness. If this map is not needed because of where we are, we're really making progress and that alongside this really aggressive push and I [00:05:00] think creative problem solving oriented push from the administration and from states across the United States to get more people vaccinated in the month of June, it just gives me a lot of hope. I'm solidly in the category of whatever it takes. And I like seeing the spectrum from pushing employers to make sure that people have time off both to get the vaccine and recover all the way through the lottery kind of thing. Like just, we got a bunch of people out there, let's do whatever we need to do to get them vaccinated.

Sarah: [00:05:34] No, I totally agree with you about the other parts of the world. We have the most heartbreaking email from Melissa in Manitoba, Canada, where they're like experiencing like the hardest of hardest shutdowns this late. I know it is so hard in so many other parts of the world, but you know, I think a lot about this quote I once heard from Dr. Phil and listen, I don't quote Dr. Phil a lot. I really don't. I try not to [00:06:00] actively quote Dr. Phil ever, but one of my favorite things ever heard him say is if you're in a hospital bed and your legs IS Broken and the person next to you is in a coma, it doesn't make your leg not broken, right? Like you just have to and I think it works in the reverse too. Not only like acknowledging places where there is hardship, even if other people have hardships, but also acknowledging where you have things to celebrate, even if other people are not quite there with you yet and I think it's just after this entirely difficult heartbreaking, tragic experience to notice and recognize like things are getting better.

Listen, I had to check myself because David Leonhard at the New York times and was writing about the specifically, the mask um, requirement and dropping it and how it has been motivating people to get the vaccine and I think a couple things, what he said, the optimist were clearly right. And I was like, stay humble, Sarah, stay humble because I have been a ho I've been an optimist man since that February, when I felt us like really, when I felt that acceleration just like on an energetic level. I just [00:07:00] felt it and I had, we had so many listeners be like, I'm not going to get the vaccine until the fall and I just, it was all I could do not to be like, no, I don't really think that's true. Um, I was right.

And I think even when the masK requirements, I think that particular moment where everybody was like, that's not going to motivate everybody, anybody, if we can be honest with ourselves was a moment where it was very clear where the politics had infested things when, even if politics infest public health, which it most certainly has throughout this whole process, there are still objective publication realities. Right.

And I think like in this last couple of weeks, weeks, when there was like such optimism inside, just the cold, hard facts of the public health reality when it comes to COVID, but you could see this like overlay of political emotion on top of everything. It's just been really clarifying for me and I think it's been, if we'll let it, [00:08:00] it can be a real illustration of, it feels like politics is the own reality, but there is a reality underneath how we feel about the other side or our leadership or the government and no place, I think, has that been more true than the last few weeks or even months in the inside the United States, as you know, we're still fighting and there's even fights on the left and people are mad or anxious, but the numbers just kept dropping. They just kept dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping even in the face of variants, even in the face of states reopening way sooner than some people thought they should. Like they just kept dropping.

Beth: [00:08:51] It's encouraging because I know some people are looking at the vaccine rates and saying, well, a lot of this is because we have a whole new category of people who can get the vaccines and that [00:09:00] makes sense to me that the twelve-year-old set up getting the vaccines helps those numbers go up, but the axios map going away is indicative of infections going down, hospitalization going down, of deaths going down and that's what, you know, like really makes me feel hopeful. Look, I know that listeners have had a very hard time with many of our COVID related conversations lately and I respect it and I'm not telling anybody what to feel and I will say that I have evolved in 50 directions and been wholly inconsistent in how I felt about this whole thing, because I'm human being, experiencing this in it with everybody else.

And as I look at the lotteries, for example, I think I could spend a lot of time getting myself really upset that anybody needs to participate in a lottery to get a vaccine, but that would just be sort of arguing with the reality of things and the reality of things will always beat me in an argument and [00:10:00] so instead I am just happy to see that we are bringing as many tools as we can find to attacking this problem. I think Wax and Vaxxed is good for solving this problem, right? Like everything that does that hit home with me. No, but I'm delighted that it does with somebody.

Like I am for bringing the entire zeitgeists to this and the point of the most contention for me with our listeners that I don't think I've ever really put words around. I get a sense for many of our listeners, that there is a belief that vaccine hesitancy doesn't really exist at this point in the pandemic, that the people who have not gotten vaccinated yet are largely vaccine opposed and the existence that I have here in my community does not align with that perspective.

Sarah: [00:10:57] Yep.

Beth: [00:10:58] I still see [00:11:00] people who are really shifting in how they're thinking about this and people who are becoming more open every single day to getting the vaccines. Now, again, we all live in our own bubbles. Somebody on Instagram said the other day, I have to remember that my bubble is not everyone's bubble. I was like, put that on a pillow. Mm. So I know that my experience is not representative of the entirety of the United States.

I also know in my community, it is not true that people who are not yet vaccinated will not get vaccinated. It is not even true and I am seeing this in ways that really surprise me, that people who are not yet vaccinated will refuse to wear masks. I am still seeing here in the red, red, red tip of Kentucky, a lot of mask wearing in public spaces, even as it's not required. And so. I just, I feel both optimism about where we are and optimism about where we can be without, you know, continued heavy handed regulation.

Sarah: [00:11:58] Well, and what I've [00:12:00] learned, you know, over the past few weeks and months, you know, from our listeners is that there are certain parts of our community nationwide and particularly people who are immunocompromised or have children that are immunocompromised, who just feel ignored,

Beth: [00:12:20] not wrongly, no.

Sarah: [00:12:22] And who just feel ignored and not listened to and I think there's becomes an, especially when there's like a political overlay, the only people who feel like aggrieved and ignored exist on the right and that's not true and I think there are lots of communities for that, understand what it's like to just be left out of the conversation and I also learned that there's not one type of immunocompromised experience, right. And there's an entire spectrum of experience and you know that some people, when you say that, When they're immunocompromised and they need to stay at a public spaces, no amount of masking is going to protect them. [00:13:00] The best thing that's happened to them through COVID is the proliferation of virtual options so that they are opened up to the world through their computer in ways they weren't before through doctor's visits and grocery delivery, that makes their life so much better and like, that's an important part of the experience too.

And I think. You know, I was talking with a friend of mine who has an immunocompromised child and trying to like really think that through that experience and I said, No, what would be the like ADA equivalent? Like if we could wave a magic wand and integrate what we've learned through COVID to make you in your child's life better, what would that look like? And she's, you know, when we had this really, really great conversation where I learned a lot and she said, you know, I don't think there's like a ramp equivalent really, where like you throw a ramp on a building and all of a sudden that makes my life easier because the, the immunocompromised experience is very diverse and it's so individualized as to like your, what your, like your risk level based on your medical condition.

The reason I asked her that is because what I really want to do through all of this [00:14:00] is integrate what we've learned. I want to integrate mask wearing into the United States, every cold and flu season. I think it will make everyone's lives better. And so I've been thinking about that and I think like if you don't allow any optimism and you don't allow any hope in, and you don't allow any like easing of restrictions, I think it really works against that integration. I think we have to take a breath, take a moment, dial it back so that we can say, okay. Now, what do we want to keep? What do we want to add back in? What do we want to make a part of our daily existence?

And that to me is part of the optimism. That's part of the hope when I say I'm hopeful and I'm optimistic, it doesn't mean that I want to go back to 2019, like 2020 never happened. I do not want that. I do not want that. I do not think that would be healthy or good for anyone. I think we've learned valuable things and I want to take that in and make that a holistic apart of who we are in 2022 and beyond.

Beth: [00:14:54] Well, speaking of integration, we also have evidence that the money is working. The COVID relief [00:15:00] money is working and I will tell you, you know, I have had moments of fear about inflation, about how much money is being spent or about how targeted that money is. So I was really encouraged to hear from the New York times, uh, Jason DeParle reported. I'm just going to, I'm going to read it. Cause I think it's so encouraging. "A new analysis of census bureau surveys argues that the two latest rounds of aid significantly improved American's ability to buy food and pay household bills and reduced anxiety and depression with the largest benefits going to the poorest households and those with children. Among households with children, reports of food shortages fell 42% from January through April. A broader gauge of financial instability fell 43% among all households, frequent anxiety and depression fell by more than 20%."

Sarah: [00:15:54] That's unbelievable. I just think that's so amazing and they should put it on the cover of the New York [00:16:00] times once a month for the rest of our lives. That just giving people the damn money helps. Let's not try to police people. Let's not try to decide what they need. Let's give them the money and let them decide for themselves and I know that we have spent decades teaching every American that that's not how it works and that people will abuse the process and that people will blah, on and on and on and on and on and I just hope that this is the continuance and another COVID acceleration of what we've known for a long time which there's lots of data to support, which is that you should just give people the money.

Okay, next step. We are going to take a decidedly, less optimistic turn. So we just, we just built a nice little foundation of hope because now we're going to talk about the Republican party.

Beth: [00:16:50] This is a conversation that I've been wanting to have, because on this issue, I am decidedly less calm than you are and I was trying to calm.

Sarah: [00:16:58] I'm not calm about this.

[00:17:00] Beth: [00:17:00] But you are, I think a little bit more grounded about it than I am and so I wanted to kind of frame it for myself, why do I want to talk about this and what question do I want to answer? And it helps me realize I do not want to do electability prognostications. I do not want to talk about who's going to win the house, how many Senate seats? Like, I don't want to do that stuff. I want to think about what is happening inside this party that used to be my party that I think is necessary to a functioning democracy? You know, two healthy parties I think are necessary if we remain in our current system and two healthy parties are necessary to making any kind of real systemic change and so how do we assess what's going on honestly and how do we respond thoughtfully as citizens? Those are my goals. How does that sound?

Sarah: [00:17:55] Sounds great.

Beth: [00:17:57] My first, at that point, as I was making my notes, Sarah is I [00:18:00] think if you look at state parties, local parties, the national party and people who are actually casting votes in Congress, the only real conclusion is that even though he is no longer in office, Trumpism has won out over any other kind of animating philosophy within the party.

Sarah: [00:18:21] I'm going to say this a little more emotionally, but I think I'm right. They stack these state parties because they were afraid they weren't going to lose in 2020 and we're going to try to use the levers, I'm just going to say it, how I made it and cheat as best they could in 2020 that didn't work. So they're not going to let 2024 pass em by without taking this opportunity again, to use state parties and now election boards and election officials to subvert a free and fair election. I don't think I'm being hyperbolic.

Beth: [00:18:56] I don't think you're being hyperbolic either. I think there is a clear [00:19:00] litmus test that minimally to be a Republican in good standing, you need to think there were big problems in 2020, and preferably you believe that the 2020 election was outright stolen from Donald Trump and the people who voted for him.

Sarah: [00:19:17] And the way you can tell that that is the message of the leadership, is that it has trickled down into the party faithful to the point where like 60% of Republicans think that Joe Biden didn't win the election. It's insane. It's bananas.

Beth: [00:19:30] Well, and there are efforts to censor people who have said otherwise, successful efforts to censor people and again, this is not the national party, because usually in these conversations, I find myself saying, yeah, you have a national party, but like there are Republicans who do a good job here in Kentucky. There are Republicans on the school board who do really good work and while that is true of individuals, The party infrastructure has taken such a hard turn about the election. I can't remember who I read [00:20:00] that said this. It was during the Liz Cheney saga, but they said, this is you can't fairly call this a Republican civil war. It's a purge. It's a decision by the party to cast out people who don't think that the election was at least a problem.

Sarah: [00:20:17] I can't aside what came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it that they decided we have to keep Trump and this is his reason for being, you know, we talked about this on the nightly nuance last night that he cannot, despite the fact that it is clearly, clearly antithetical to his success. He can not let go of this 2020 fight. He's going to stand up at these upcoming rallies and do the same crap, which is go on and on and on about how the 2020 election was stolen. So like, what is it that, well, we have to have him to win, you know, Lindsey Graham said the loud part, the quiet part right out loud and said, there's no survival for us without him and so they decided, well, this is all that he's going to talk about, so this [00:21:00] is all that we're going to talk about or do they see that the, the electorial future is changing for them, particularly in states like Texas and Georgia and so this also aligns with their political purposes and it's not just driven by Donald Trump. I think it's the second one.

Beth: [00:21:19] I think that's probably right. I also think that the places in our lives where we try to exercise the most control always end up killing us in some way. I think where you try to exercise the most control over your kids, you provoke the most rebellion, you know, and with our bodies, with everything, I just think where you try to tighten and so I think all of these efforts and successes that Republicans have had in drawing electoral maps that favor them and making sure that parties are stacked with loyalists. I think all of that contraction is becoming a [00:22:00] stranglehold and they can't get out of it even if they want to. I think that's what I hear when I hear Lindsay Graham talking about that.

Sarah: [00:22:05] And the other reason you can tell it's not just driven by Trump is because they were trying this crap out in North Carolina a long time ago. When they saw that they were losing in North Carolina, they started to change the rules. I mean, I don't think there's any other way to describe what happened there. I mean, I think you see it in Kentucky when we got a democratic governor. Oh, well, now we want to change the rules where the governor doesn't appoint the Senate replacement should a Senator no longer fulfill his term. Now we want the party to do it and it's the gerrymandering. The fight back in Michigan against bipartisan district drawing commissions. Like I just think you see over and over again that we can't win on our ideas, so we will win by subverting the process and it is so anti-democratic and it is so transparent that I just, I don't think it is purely driven by Trump. I think he's just the [00:23:00] fuel on a strategy that's been in place for a while.

Beth: [00:23:04] And I know there are people who are speaking back into their car speakers or their headphones right now saying, but what about stacking the Supreme court? And what about eliminating the filibuster and all the ways that Democrats say they want to change the rules? What about all of this effort to eliminate the electoral college? And we've talked about those ideas and we'll, again, I am certain. What I want to say for today is to me a key difference right now is that you have some real alignment within Republican leadership all the way down to the state and local parties on making sure that elections continue to favor Republicans and you do not have that kind of ideological alignment within the democratic party.

You have serious hardcore fights about what to do about those things and I think a fight is pretty healthy. I like a fight. I think that's very democratic. I think our country's design is to have those fights over things. I am [00:24:00] concerned about the extent of alignment happening within the Republican party around these topics.

Sarah: [00:24:05] Well, and let me tell you the other difference for the person talking back to this. The difference is those discussions on the democratic party come because we have the majority of the voters and not the majority of the legislators in state houses and Congress and in the Senate. The fight in the Republican party is because you're falling into the minority and you don't like it. That's the difference. I'm sorry. I do not think those things are equivalent.

I think having Republicans lose the popular vote in the presidential election every time in my lifetime but one, when you have Republicans that represent a filibuster proof group in the United States Senate, that only represents like 30% of the United States population . Like this isn't about. You have reforms on the table as Democrats, because you feel like the process is anti-democratic, [00:25:00] that's one thing. If you're setting up anti-democratic processes because you're losing on the Republican side, that's a complete different thing.

Beth: [00:25:07] And I hear you on that and also everybody's not there. And I do want to acknowledge again where everybody's coming from and understanding that for a lot of people, being a Republican, being opposed to Democrats is really deeply ingrained for a lot of reasons and I don't want to leave anybody out of this conversation by ignoring those concerns. I think that the other thing that I am interested in getting your thoughts on, because I feel like you, you really are calmer about this than I am. I feel like you have a clear vision of the way that this is the undoing of the party, the way that this leads to electoral failure, the way that demographic shifts make this such a losing strategy longterm and I think you're right about all of that. Whenever I hear you say that, I'm like, okay. Yup, yup, yup. I'm with you.

And then I also think about how, how much [00:26:00] damage a small group of highly motivated people can can do, especially when that small group is still like quite a few million people and so I wonder how you're thinking Sarah, about the rallies resuming about Michael Flynn being out there actively and openly talking about a violent coup about this strain of people who still think there's going to be some magic date on which Donald Trump becomes the president again. Do you see any I'm, especially thinking about like historical corollaries, where a lot of damage can be done because of, of a movement like that ,even if it doesn't carry the day for the majority of Americans.

Sarah: [00:26:43] Yeah. I think that there will be damage done, but it won't carry the day. I think that's a really good way to describe it. I think, to do what they want to do, they have to have more people and they don't have those people and I think the election of Donald Trump, as I said, Consistently during the election of 2020, it was an alignment of some very [00:27:00] specific scenarios that got him to the presidency and not even incumbency was enough to overcome not all of those scenarios being present. Right. Like I think that he was a historical in a lot of ways.

Now I'm going to talk about both sides of my mouth cause I just said, I think he is the completion of a pattern inside the Republican party, but like that pattern was one of those pieces of the puzzle that aligned to get him elected in 2016 and I think what, what gives me the greatest amount of, I don't know if Hope's the right word, but at least a little bit of calm is the fact that he can't dominate media cycles. Like he can't, even if he gets back on Facebook, he shut out of Twitter and these people as passionate as they are, aren't rolling up into the, from the desk of Donald Trump blog every day. Are they? No, they're not. That's why they shut it down. Cause nobody was reading it because nobody cared. Now, I think it is morphine and other more dangerous things. I think it's still a very much a cult of personality, but there are other people I think Marjorie Taylor Green's figured out [00:28:00] how to tap that chemistry.

Beth: [00:28:01] She's raised a lot of money. You're right.

Sarah: [00:28:03] Yeah. That she, she can, you know, she does a really good Trump impression. It's pretty, it's pretty convincing and there are lots of people for whom that will be very convincing, but like even the election to fill Deb Holland seat, that it was such a blowout that gives me a lot of hope that I think, at the end of the day, the impact of the vaccine rollout, the end of the pandemic, the fact that all those people were impacted by the, the stimulus checks that the economy is taking off. Like, I'm not saying that we don't have problems, but I think that stuff does impact people. Is it enough to undo some of the identity-based politics and the fear that they're going to push through, like race-based campaigning techniques? No, of course not. Those people are still going to be motivated by that, but I just don't think there are enough of them.

Now, all of that said, I think this is serious and we should pay attention to it but what I don't want us to do is to feed the freaking flame and I think that we are going to have to hold the fact that this [00:29:00] is really dangerous because we're a two party system, that these people are motivated to do damage and are becoming more and more successful at doing that damage to our democracy and also understand that it is the fight that fuels them and we cannot give in to that fight. And I think that's, what's frustrating to me. It's like watching people say, Sharing the like Ted Cruz getting dunked on by Jimmy Kimmel and thinking that helps anything is really frustrating to me because that side you think is so anti-democratic and you're right and that side of the Republican party that is so dangerous and on the move. You're all right about that and also what fuels them is the fight.

If we stopped paying attention. If we stopped feeling that new cycle, if we stopped Jimmy Kimmel, I'm talking to you, Trevor Noah, I'm talking to you, dunking on them because it gets us clicks and views because that fuels them. If you, all you need to [00:30:00] know is Ted Cruz rolled up into that dang convention, bragging about how he went to Cancun. He raised money off it. Marjorie Taylor Green raises money off every time a liberal commentator or a democratic talks about what a bad person she is and I think she's a bad person, but I don't talk about that anymore because I don't want Marjorie Taylor Green or, Ted Cruz to feel bad about themselves. I want them to stop winning elections and that's what I think we need to pay too.

Beth: [00:30:37] I think it is more effective to talk about the issues than to add to the profile of own the libs politicians. Yes. I think it is important to recognize that state Republican led legislatures are, have been, most of them are going into recess now, but have been on a [00:31:00] roll, trying to make voting harder, trying to make the right to receive an abortion, even narrower or to outright ban it on the chance that the Supreme court will go there with them. Are trying to make transgender kids, political footballs and I think we need to be talking relentlessly about those efforts and explaining what they really are, because I truly believe that person who doesn't pay attention to politics and who will vote for a Democrat or a Republican in the next election and who might or might not show up for a midterm election can hear those issues and get mad about them, if they really understand what's going on.

I really believe that we can move people around those issues. I do not believe that we move people by dunking on politicians. I'll tell you the other thing that I've been thinking about a lot, and I know that this is going to upset people and I, you know, again, I love you. We're we're, we're all here with our differences. For me, one of the [00:32:00] most off-putting things happening, not among democratic leadership, democratic leadership does not do this as much as democratic influencers, but in sort of the social media space, the constant relentless assaults on people like Mansion and Sinema by folks with millions of followers. I'm not talking about somebody who's listening, who has just like a regular account in life who gets aggravated with them. I totally understand that. But the, the drum beat of let's pile on to those two and let's act as though we wish they would get primaried by someone who was far more progressive, who, if you look at the reality of those states would not win in an election.

I just find that so counterproductive to, again, those people who are marginally interested in politics, [00:33:00] gettable voters, unpredictable voters. If I were a Democrat and, well, I guess I am a Democrat now, but if I were like, uh, you know, a really passionate Democrat, I feel like I would be walking around constantly bragging about the plethora of ideas that can exist in this party, somewhat harmoniously and just as an American, I feel really good about these meetings that are happening, where you are getting a Susan Collins, a Joe mansion, who else at?

Sarah: [00:33:32] Shelley Moore Capito went to the board house by herself, West Virginia's got nothing but cred these days.

Beth: [00:33:36] Senator Capito is not one of those people who you say like, Ooh, maybe she'll vote for this ever and she is like sitting down trying to get some work done. I don't know that it works. I am very pessimistic on whether you get 10 Republican senators to vote for any initiative. That is very, very important to Joe Biden, but I'm happy that some people are trying and I feel like [00:34:00] that's a bragging point for the democratic party right now. We're not all one thing. Hurray, that we're not all one thing. Look at those guys they're trying so hard to all be one thing.

Sarah: [00:34:09] Well, listen, I'm very frustrated with Joe Mansion. I am with the letter of experts that said, if you do not get this voting rights bill passed our democracy is on the line. I think that's the right take. I think these state election changes the state stacking the state election boards is like a five alarm fire and also I don't lead with that when I'm talking to my Republican friends that I'm trying to persuade. I lead with, I want to healthy parties. I've been a Democrat since I was 18 years old and I am concerned about the state of the Republican party right now.

When they are trying to make it illegal to pass out water bottles, then we have a problem, right. When they're trying to keep people from going to the polls after going to church, because they know it's primarily Black voters in Texas, we [00:35:00] have a problem and if you say stuff, they'll go, oh yeah, they can't do that. That's what my step dad always says, they can't do that. And I'm like, no, no, they can and they are. But like he doesn't, he doesn't follow it bit by bit. Right. And he there's a lot of people because they do are not consumed with politics, have a vision of like, sort of both sides mess it up. That's still very prominent in conversations that I have.

Well, I just think they're both kind of like, they're both so corrupt and both parties are jacked up and that's the, that's the line and so I do my best to say, no, that's not the case right now. I understand where you're coming from and I want to healthy functioning parties and one party is in a very different place than the other party and it's concern. It should be concerning for all of us. I don't do Ted Cruz is a tube worm. Don't you agree? Cause that's not going to move anybody. I've just eliminated myself as a person who has any sort of objectivity when it comes to this and that's what independent people who are persuadable want to hear.

And again, I'm not trying to win the moral argument. I'm trying to where, when the political argument, I don't [00:36:00] care if Ted Cruz cries into his pillow every night, because he knows he's such a sh*thead. I want Ted Cruz to what lose the next election. That's what I care about. That's what I care about and I just think it gets to this place where like, we want them to be convinced of how bad they are and that's great. Y'all can keep trying that, but it's not going to work and it's not going to change anything. I don't want them to feel bad about themselves. I want them to lose.

Beth: [00:36:22] There's bill going through the Senate and regular order right now, um, related to the endless frontier act, which is something that Chuck Schumer and Todd young, a Republican Senator from Indiana have been working together on about research and development money. How can the United States make sure that China is not eating our lunch in terms of our understanding of technology, our defense system, cybersecurity, there's all kinds of stuff in it. It's a really good bill that has gotten to be less good as it has gone through regular order because regular order means everybody gets to take a bite at it.

Right and it gets loaded up with stuff that doesn't have anything to do with the underlying [00:37:00] bill and things get watered down and you end up passing something that nobody thinks is great, but it does get something done and watching that happen right now feels like the most nostalgic Wonderland.

Sarah: [00:37:14] That's how I felt about the white house meetings about infrastructure. I was like putting it in my veins. I love this. Like they're debating the spending and isn't going to come from the, this and this fund. I'm like, I don't, I barely understand what you're talking about and I love it. It makes me so happy.

Beth: [00:37:27] Well, I feel exactly the same way and so let me say, I agree with you that the voting rights issue is a five alarm fire and I also think that the idea that the, for the people act is going to get passed as it is today through the United States Senate, whether on a 51 vote majority or a 60 vote, majority is a fantasy and it's probably not good for America. It is good for America when we go through these things. I really support the Biden administration's vision around treating [00:38:00] childcare is infrastructure. I do not think that's going to happen this time around and I think that is okay because as we have seen with people like Bernie Sanders and people like Andrew Yang, you start talking about something enough, it picks up momentum and there is a point at which it becomes inevitable and we're just not to that point yet.

And I get that people are suffering in the meantime. I understand these problems and think about them and just the way we're designed, things are supposed to be hard and take a long time and our solutions that come out are necessarily imperfect and so I think the struggles that we're having right now are pretty good struggles. And that's why to me, it is important to continue to elect people like Mansion and Sinema across the country who will struggle with these things, but who will not try to make it harder for anybody to vote and who will not try to install people who will change the way the [00:39:00] votes are counted at the last minute, if they don't like the way the tallies coming together.

Sarah: [00:39:04] I'm reading Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Home We Build Together right now. It's so good and I don't agree with everything that he says in this book, but a point that he makes is he talks about morality and moral codes and how we've abandoned moral codes, which means politics has to hold everything and we talked about that a lot in our book and on the show. And he talks about, you know, what happens is there are no moral truths, there is only victory and so our opponents have to get demonized because we're putting all of morality on this and I think that's what's so hard and that's that, that is what is so destructive in American politics right now. Is that you can both feel that the childcare crisis in this country is a moral outrage and also acknowledge the political reality that exists currently in the United [00:40:00] States Senate and we have just decided that the only way to express your moral outrage is to decide that Ted Cruz is Satan walking around and if you take a stance, anything less than that, then you don't care.

And I just think we have to let that go because again, politics is about power and I want it. Now, listen, I want power in certain circles because it aligns with my moral values, but I try to hold those things separately because just like we talked about with Susan Page, when you're there to take holy pictures and hold up your morality and how much you are a better person than Ted Cruz or Marjorie Taylor Green, which whoever we're talking about you probably are, but that's not the point, right? The point is to use power, to help people and acknowledging the political reality, acknowledging how to use that power most effectively is [00:41:00] not about morality. It's just about the political reality on the ground.

That's why I really appreciate the leadership of Joe Biden because honestly, I think he knows the difference. I think he knows when it's a moral issue and I think that he can also hold the political reality very clearly in front of him and I just think all of us could channel a little bit of that energy right now because often moralizing makes our political reality more difficult. I'm going to say that one more time. Moralizing makes our political reality more difficult and so if we want to have political success, then we have to keep the moralizing in check.

Beth: [00:41:38] And none of this is to dunk on Progressive's because it is really important to have people like representative Bowman in Congress who are pushing. It is important to have re you know, Senator Sanders. He represents a lot of people in the United States, and it's important that he's there. I think Mitt Romney represents a lot of people in the United States. It's important that he's there. I [00:42:00] look at Senator Sinema who gets criticism from every angle, six ways to Sunday, and I think, you know what I personally wear a t-shirt on the floor of the United States Senate. Would I curtsy as I vote against a minimum wage increase? Like there are a lot of things in her stylistically that I don't get and there are a lot of decisions that she makes that I don't really get, but she is representing people and it is important that those people be represented there.

What I don't want for the democratic party, let me say it this way. I don't want the democratic party to invite in the toxicity that I think has led the Republican party to censoring people for voting their conscience. I don't want that strain of it has to be this one right way, or you're not on the team to infect the party that's kind of like having to hold all the healthy, democratic attributes of our country right now for everybody. I think that's unsustainable in the long-term, which is why I want a functioning [00:43:00] healthy other party, but I worry about the push to get everybody in one path from people outside the political infrastructure who wield lots of power and influence, because I think one of the best things the democratic party has going for it right now is that huge spectrum of ideas.

Sarah: [00:43:22] Listen, nobody's, I'm not mad at anybody in the political party, Bernie Sanders ain't out there dunking on Ted Cruz. He doesn't do that. You know what I mean? Like he's smart enough to get that that just makes Ted Cruz's name more popular and out, out in the Zeitgeist. I'm really mad at like Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah, because I don't think they're helping and I don't why they're doing it and I think it gets them lots of views and listen, everybody's got a job to do, but like politically it doesn't help and I think, you know, drawing attention and giving them coverage and making them heroes and their own party and what their own ideological extreme base is not helping and [00:44:00] following that and sharing that. Like I do think we should all just like check ourselves. I know it feels good to dunk on Ted Cruz. I've done it on this podcast. I'm just saying that like, it doesn't always help.

Beth: [00:44:10] So if I think about my goal here. I think we've assessed what's going on. Action items as a citizen, I want to talk about issues instead of contributing to the high profile of people I don't like.

Sarah: [00:44:24] And the health of both parties.

Beth: [00:44:26] I want to think about the health of both parties.

Sarah: [00:44:28] I think that's very good in conversation with people who disagree with you.

Beth: [00:44:31] And I want to keep paying attention, even when I don't feel like it. We have this like thin veneer of okayness permeating from the Biden administration, where things are moving as we talked about in the first block and a really strong direction, but like just under that veneer, there are some real dangers and we cannot afford to check out on those.

Sarah: [00:44:53] And I think that the other really key component is to as much as we can distinguish [00:45:00] bringing awareness to a real and dangerous problem for moralizing.

Hard turn. So we're going from five alarm anti-democratic fire to Olivia Rodrigo's new album Sour, which we're both obsessed with. I love it. It's perfect. I love this. I love this journey for us.

Beth: [00:45:28] I've listened to this album many times already. One thing that I really like about it is that, you know, as a 40 year old mom of two living in Kentucky, I have a feeling that Olivia did not have me in her mind when she was writing this and also there are aspects of her lyrics that speak to pretty much every phase I've been through in my life and there's something relatable, even at my current life stage and holy moly, does she speak to previous life stages in a [00:46:00] beautiful way. And I think that that's where you see the real gift of a songwriter, when, when you can, when your lyrics transcend stages of life.

Sarah: [00:46:09] You know, I was walking down the street playing Driver's License out loud with my two children because I do what I want and that's that's what I wanted to do is listen to that song for perhaps the 50th time that day and Griffin was like, whatever. This song sucks and then I disowned him and made him find a new family. Now I'm just kidding. But I told him, I was like, look, this is coming your way. Heartbreak is so hard and also worth it because it opens up all this art to you and now you get to listen to Driver's License and be like, yeah. And then you get to listen to Traitor and say, yeah, you might not have cheated, but you're still a traitor. I have been there. I have lived that. I have lived it. It was many, many years ago. We won't tell, we won't talk about how many. [00:47:00] But it's so good.

Like, Hey, my friend, Leslie was like me age 40, singing about where's my teenage dream. Even the song, like the angry, I thought that song was so good. Let's look at it. I'm not a teenager. I'm not gen Z. I don't understand that pressure but when she says all I did was try my best. This is the kind of thanks I get. Like, I feel it, I feel it I'm about to turn 40 and I still feel it. I just think like, and also like, It's not easy to write like an angry dance song, but she wrote two. There's such bobs. I love them so much.

Beth: [00:47:32] Well, and I think good, even some of these lyrics can take you out of the romantic context as well. The song Happier where she says find someone great, but don't find no one better. Like I feel that way about work if I'm being perfectly honest, like I really hope things are going well at my former employer and that people miss me and I think it's a beautiful thing to like, just be able to put words to that, you know, and, and words that can mean a lot of different things depending on your [00:48:00] Headspace.

Sarah: [00:48:00] Oh, in the end where she says, does she know how proud I am she was created? I can cry right now. Just reading the lyric is so good. And you know, here's the other thing when you find somebody like this, like we all remember the first time we heard Taylor Swift at least, I do or the first time, I mean, I felt this way about Amy Winehouse's first album. I felt this way about the Dixie Chicks. There's just a sense of like, oh, I cannot wait to see what else that you can, if you can express yourself so well and so fully at 17, I am so psyched to hear what you're going to be writing at 30, you know, and like, what's going to happen when you have kids or if you don't have kids or whatever.

Like all that life journey and how it's gonna play out because you are clearly like, The muse has you, you're like in a really good working relationship with them and I am very excited to see what happens next. It's while we're also excited about Kacey Musgraves breakup album. Come on, because she broke up with her husband and we all know what's going to be the best [00:49:00] music. Just like Adele. I feel really bad about that. I do feel bad about those moments when you're like they had a breakup. Yay. But it makes the best art. It's just the truth.

Beth: [00:49:07] John Craigie says artists are better when they're bummed and you see that with Taylor swift. I mean, I think Folklore is leaps and bounds ahead of her early stuff and I liked her early stuff. So I, I agree about being excited about the future. Okay. Sarah, you wanted to do favorite song, favorite lyric from Sour.

Sarah: [00:49:24] Okay. Okay. You go first.

Beth: [00:49:26] Why do I have to go first?

Sarah: [00:49:28] Cause I'm not ready.

Beth: [00:49:29] I think that my favorite song is Deja Vu, because I think if you haven't listened to it, she is talking about how weird it is that you have these really intimate experiences with someone, and then they go repeat those with someone else and it's just, I think that is a universal ubiquitous feeling. She also references Billy Joel, not just once.

Sarah: [00:49:52] You always win with a Billy Joel reference.

Beth: [00:49:53] And you get so many points for that. So I, I really, really liked that song. I think my favorite lyric is [00:50:00] in Good For You where she says. "I guess that you've been working on yourself. I guess that therapist I found for you, she really helped." Cause I mean, story my life story of my life and I just, I really loved that little, little tweak. She can turn a phrase, she's good.

Sarah: [00:50:14] She can turn a phrase. I mean, look, I think my favorite song, probably is Driver's License, it's a hit for a reason and it has an SNL skit for a reason. It like the, the momentum in that song is so good. When she writes into the red light, stop signs. I just I feel like I could fly.

Beth: [00:50:31] SNL skit got it right. Get ready for the bridge of your life.

Sarah: [00:50:34] It's so good. So good. I think my favorite line in any song is in Happier where she says like" Cutting her down makes you miss my wretched heart." like, I just think that's like, she's got it all right there. Like I want to go after her. I want to cut her down, but I know it's not going to miss you and I'm just like wretched heart. Come on. It's so good. But there's a lot listen, I got a list. I got a list of [00:51:00] lines in that album that I just think are killer.

"I know that beauty is not my lack, but it feels like that weight is on my back." Come on, Olivia, you're killing it out there, girl. You're killing it. She just did it. Listen, she can turn a phrase. It was just like Taylor Swift. I mean, there's so many times where she has two lines and you're like, you can write a whole screenplay in those two lines. It's so good. It contains so much.

Beth: [00:51:20] Most relevant line to political podcasters, "I'm the love of your life until I make you mad."

Sarah: [00:51:24] oh my God. Yes. Yes. It's so dreadful. Oh, it's that is the truest thing you've ever said. That's the truest thing you've ever said right there. You and Olivia have captured it. It's so good and it's, it's so fun. I think when it's just fun too, when everybody's listening to something. You don;t have a lot of experiences like that anymore, you know, like we don't always watch the same thing. Everybody's watching things at different pace, but like I put it on my Instagram, like, oh no, she's got me. How long am I going to be in her spell? And everybody was like, forever.

Well, I got a range. I got two weeks to forever. So I think it's just fun that [00:52:00] everybody's out there listening to it and loving it and I even played it for my grandmother and she was like, it's a really good song. I'm like, I know. Right, right. It's so good. It's just a, it's a good song. It's a good bop as the kids say. Well, thank you for joining us for another episode of Pantsuit Politics. We love that you guys are willing to hang with us through like, COVID hope, democratic five alarm fire, and then the album of the summer. Listen, it's a journey. It's always a journey here at Pantsuit Politics. We will be back in your ears on Tuesday and until then, keep it nuanced, y'all.

Beth: Pantsuit Politics is produced by Studio D Podcast Production.

Alise Napp is our managing director.

Sarah: Megan Hart is our community engagement manager. Dante Lima is the composer and performer of our theme music.

Beth: Our show is listener supported. Special thanks to our executive producers.

Executive Producers (Read their own names): Martha Bronitsky, Linda Daniel, Ali Edwards, Janice Elliot, Sarah Greepup, Julie Haller, Helen Handley, Tiffany Hassler, Barry Kaufman, Molly Kohrs.

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613 episodes