Faiz Shakir: “Status Quo Politics Isn’t Gonna Cut It”

Were yesterday’s primaries a harbinger of things to come in November’s mail-in ballot Presidential election? Interesting trends are already apparent: Progressive Democrats in New York and Kentucky have the advantage against party establishment figures. Mark McKinnon, host of “The Circus,” and Faiz Shakir, former campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, analyze yesterday’s events.

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FAIZ SHAKIR, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BERNIE SANDERS 2020: Well, the mainstream of the establishment wing of the party has been reluctant and hesitant about its own politics for a long period of time. What defines the establishment, of course, is status quo, preservation of what we’ve always had. And, of course, with Eliot Engel, the person who — incumbent who was knocked out after having served for decades in New York, it is a signal to many in the establishment that status quo politics isn’t going to cut it. And that, I think if there is one common thread, and you look at ideology and the policies that govern that progressive wing it is this — a desire for disruption of this structural injustices that we see in society, whether they are health care injustices, whether they’re climate injustices, racial injustices, there is an understanding that the current structure of our policies and our economic systems does not work and undamentally need to be overhauled. Not just tweaked on the margins, not a little tax credit here or a little tweak here on the justice system, but fundamentally challenged, and in that way bringing in new blood and new ideas that fundamentally overhaul and uproot the injustice are critical, and that’s where the direction is heading, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you, Mark McKinnon, because you have, you know, had so many successful campaigns under your belt and you’ve really seen this for so many decades. Obviously, President Trump still has the majority of the Republican Party loyal to him. He’s had dozens and dozens of successful candidates over the years. But yesterday, two of the ones he preferred and endorsed lost, North Carolina and in Kentucky. Is this part of what you see as this amazing moment in American history right now or is it a flash in the pan? What does this say to you and to the Republicans?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER BUSH CAMPAIGN MEDIA ADVISER: I think we’re seeing a really dramatic shift, Christiane. Trump has been invincible, at least in the Republican Party, and this is only the second time in two weeks and two elections yesterday and one a couple weeks ago where the Trump-endorsed candidate did not win. And this case, we elected a 24-year-old in North California over the endorsed candidate of Donald Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose seat it was. And not only did he beat the Trump-endorsed candidate, he beat him by two-thirds of the vote. He had 60 to 30 percent of the votes. So, it was a thumping. And the same thing with Thomas Massie, who is an incumbent in Kentucky, Donald Trump said he would be a disaster for America if he were reelected. He won by 80 to 11. So, there are definitely cracks in the invincibility notion of Donald Trump, even within the Republican Party. Now, that’s not to say these candidates are opposed to Trump, they’re supportive of Trump and they — so, there is still a lot of rank and file support for Donald Trump, but the fact he’s losing candidates now suggests a crack in the armor that we hadn’t seen before.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, discusses the climate crisis and the upcoming presidential election. Faiz Shakir and Mark McKinnon analyze interesting trends from last night’s Democratic primaries. Columbia economist Glenn Hubbard explains what a successful economic recovery must look like. Artist Kadir Nelson explains the inspiration behind his pieces.