What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on national emergency poll, 2020 challengers

NPR’s Tamara Keith and Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including public reaction to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency over immigration, how Democrats eager to dive into the 2020 presidential contest are courting voters in strategic states and what a Republican primary challenger could mean for the president.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    As President Trump faces the political fallout of his emergency declaration, Democrats eager to take him on in 2020 hit the road, courting voters in the early nominating contests.

    For analysis on all this and more, I'm joined by our Politics Monday team, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and the host of the podcast "Politics With Amy Walter" on WNYC, and Tamara Keith of NPR.

    Hello to both of you. So, there's a lot to talk about.

    We have just been talking about, though, the emergency, the national emergency that President Trump declared on Friday.

    We are out with a poll just done over the weekend. This is the "NewsHour," NPR and Marist College, Amy, and it shows — and we're showing the — everybody watching the results — among Republicans, very popular, not surprising, 85 percent like what the president did, support it. Among Democrats, unpopular, only 6 percent. But among independents, it's also not a majority, 33 percent.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    What does this tell us about what the president did and what the public thinks?

  • Amy Walter:

    Well, the president has had a challenge for some time now.

    First of all, the facts themselves don't support the claim that there is an emergency on the border, whether it's the number of people being apprehended of people who are trying to cross illegally, whether it's where drugs are coming in, normally at ports of entry. They're not being taken at other border crossings.

    So the facts have been pretty well set that there's not an emergency there at the border. And the president has been trying to make the case now for some time that there is indeed an emergency. He's had an Oval Office address,. he's been in the Rose Garden, he used the State of the Union address to put these — this idea forward.

    And what now you see is 58 percent of Americans don't believe that there is a crisis at the border. The only folks who seem to really be supporting the president's claim that he has authority to do this emergency declaration or that there is an actual crisis, not surprisingly, are Republicans, which tells you all you need to know where this is going to head up in Congress, which is that most likely the Democrats in the House will support a resolution saying they don't agree with the emergency declaration, and Republicans in the Senate will stick with the president.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Republicans are going to stick with him, Tam, regardless.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Well, most likely, though there have been a few, a handful of Republicans who, in the Senate, have said that they really don't support this emergency action.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right.

  • Tamara Keith:

    What is interesting here is that law from 1976 that you just spent a good long segment talking about, it includes a fast-track authority.

    So the House takes up this bill to terminate the president's emergency order, which we fully expect. It will pass the Democratic House. It will go to the Senate, and there's nothing Mitch McConnell can do to avoid a vote. It has to get a vote.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Huh.

  • Tamara Keith:

    And so what it does is, it — it does require Republicans who, leading up to this, said, wow, this would be terrible, please don't do it, don't put us in this position, it puts them in that position of having to decide whether they sort of believe in the Article I role of Congress or whether they want to support their Republican president.

  • Amy Walter:

    And many of them argued during the Obama presidency that he was overreaching.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Yes.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right, and power grab, unconstitutional decisions that he made, specifically, not surprisingly, around immigration.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Dreamers, et cetera.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right, and their parents.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And their parents, the families.

  • Amy Walter:

    That's right.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Though that wasn't done using an emergency declaration.

  • Amy Walter:

    Correct.

  • Tamara Keith:

    It was done administratively, and all within the executive branch.

    This is a little bit different, in that the president has taken the word of Congress. Congress said, this is how much money we want to give you for the wall. And he's saying, actually, I would like more than that.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right. Right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It's executive action vs. declaration of emergency, which is a more extreme step to take.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    I do — we mentioned 2020. And I want to bring this up, and we have got a map.

    We have tried to look where the 2020 Democratic candidates — they were all over the country in the early states. I was just looking at this. They were in Iowa, not surprising, New Hampshire. But they were also in Wisconsin, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, California, and Nevada.

    Tam, you know, we are — they're out there, but the other new name that we have that we heard about over the weekend is William Weld, who has run for office, and was the governor of Massachusetts, but he's running as a Republican. He's challenging President Trump — or at least he's formed an exploratory committee.

  • Tamara Keith:

    And you can expect him to spend a lot of time in New Hampshire, where they may remember him or heard his name.

    He did run for vice president on the Libertarian ticket last time around. He's not like one of the big-name, big-money Republicans that potentially could run against President Trump in a primary.

    But a president facing a primary, even a weak primary, is something that indicates potentially someone out there believes that the president has weaknesses.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And there are other Republicans.

  • Amy Walter:

    And there are other Republicans looking at it. We will see — John Kasich, the most talked about person who's likely to challenge him.

    But what's interesting is, the candidates — or the presidents who have had significant primary challenges in recent history, that president had very low approval scores among members of their own party.

    So, I mean, think back to where Jimmy Carter's approval rating was…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Jimmy Carter and Teddy Kennedy.

  • Amy Walter:

    … when Ted Kennedy announced.

    … his approval ratings among Democrats were somewhere in the 40s. When LBJ was challenged by McGovern, his approval rating among Democrats was somewhere in the 50s. George H.W. Bush was somewhere in the 70s when Pat Buchanan announced his primary to him.

    This president is a president with an 89 percent approval rating Republicans. So there's not an obvious path…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Path.

  • Amy Walter:

    … for a Republican to take.

    I think Tam is right. You don't want to, as an incumbent president, have to spend your time and energy and money on this. But we are going to see, especially in a place like New Hampshire, which is a swing state, a battleground state, one Trump barely lost in 2016, is there a group of Republicans there that are so disappointed with this president that they are willing to go and support another candidate on the Republican side for president — and what that will tell us about these voters.

    I'm going to look at those voters then as we go into 2020, where do they go? Do they go with the Democrat? Do they stay at home? Do they decide to stick with the president at the end of the day?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    This is unfair. We have got less than a minute left, Tam, but something you two have wanted to talk about is, not only is there a presidential campaign in 2020, but obviously the Senate's up, the House is up.

    These Senate candidates in a number of states where the cycle is their turn, it's a huge concern to Republicans and Democrats. Democrats want to pick up control.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Yes.

    Whereas the last midterm was a good map for Republicans, this is a better map for Democrats. But Democrats are now frantically trying to get people who could potentially be Senate candidates not to run for president.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right.

  • Amy Walter:

    Yes, in places…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Because, when you're running for president…

  • Amy Walter:

    You can't do both. That's exactly right…

  • Tamara Keith:

    Right.

  • Amy Walter:

    … in places like Colorado and Montana or in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams, they're trying to get her to run for the Senate.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Some cross-pressures.

  • Amy Walter:

    That's right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank you both.

  • Amy Walter:

    You're welcome.

  • Tamara Keith:

    You're welcome.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest