Joe Kennedy III: LGBT rights, white working classes, Presidential run?Feb 18, 2020
Congressman first of all given the last 24 hours in American politics there is kind of a sense of chaos here how real is that feeling is it your kind of heat noise or is it substantive so I think the political environment in This time is chaotic and it's for those of us in it, it might be that I would appreciate a little more boring right now, although the reality is that after I left Washington and I spent about half my time here and half my time at home and in my district and in Massachusetts, he also spends a lot of time with people who focus on doing what everyone else does well, which is trying to keep a roof over his head and food on his plate, his son at school and saving for retirement and they're much more focused on the challenges that they face every day and not necessarily the din and goings-on of what is a little bit of chaos inside these buildings, so I think it would behoove all of us in the government right now to try to do what we can to move towards a more stable base that I would love to get there.
I'm not so sure this administration is going to make that a priority. I mean, the first President Trump would say he wouldn't describe it as chaos, but he would argue that that's exactly what he's trying to do, for example, with his tariff announcement that's about making sure
working-class Americans have the opportunity again to work in industries that have been decimated in recent years, continues the president of the United States. to say a lot of things and his policies reflect something different than he professes to be for
workingfamilies across this country introduced a health care bill that would cut health care for working families by $800 billion and for millions of people from access to health care talked about the significant impacts of a tax reform bill the vast majority of those benefits are passed on or weighted toward the wealthy and multinational corporations the money that has returned abroad from those corporations is being using predominantly for share buybacks more than anything else 50 percent of Americans don't own a single share over 80 percent of shares are controlled by about 10 percent of American households that doesn't reflect a fiscal policy, it focuses on the middle class, the working class, you can talk about the importance and the impacts of trying to revitalize an American steel and aluminum industry well implementing this without a conversation with Capitol Hill without a conversation in various agencies in the White House in the executive branch without consensus within their own White House so is this feeling of chaos and not thoughtful, reasoned, and consistent economic policy given that reality, I mean there are a lot of working-class
whiteAmericans and middle class who used to vote for the democrats who this time in the last election decided to vote for Donald Trump, what did he do? the democrats got it so wrong that they created the possibility of him winning, look, I think the Democratic Party has to and I think we've done a fair amount of soul-searching over the course of the last 18 months or so.
The biggest issue here is I think the Democrats have to get that credibility back and one has to get that credibility back and I think we need to better articulate the fact that a number of the structural economic challenges facing the
whiteworking class are not different or not as different. from the challenges faced by a single mother in our urban centers to minority families across our country and trying to address those concerns by acknowledging that we are not going to stop falling prey to this or a policy that pits a segment of Americans against another, there are real structural challenges that we need to address in this country, both in terms of internal and external challenges that divide America to try to win an election and then continue down the path of division is not going to muster the will politics that needs to address these concerns is a cheap political tactic that might succeed in winning an election is not going to succeed in running the country in the long run you feel pretty angry about the way I am frustrated it certainly looks like President Trump won an election election I understand that I appreciate that and he is the president of the United States he practices a very different form of politics than what I think he has professed to be for a middle class of working
classesand in this country that is where the government should be the families richer focused are ok lots of ways to take care of themselves middle class is always a distraction to middle class families could use a little extra help that is where we should be diverting our energy the policies that i think he has laid out betray that as talking points and not real substance, I think for those who are in the system right now, to stand up and call it out when we see it's important and try to find ways that we can work together moving forward. the advancement of the ball is also essential.
I hope the administration is willing to stretch itself out a bit further than it has. I mean we're going back to the midterms that are fast approaching, but if I were to build the kind of ideal Democratic opponent for Donald bypass for 2020, we had to build them from the ground up, what would they look like, what do they mean, I think the biggest thing for the Democrats at this time is to recognize that we need to restore the credibility and trust of voters across the country. They are well known and I believe they have earned a reputation for representing the people in this country, regardless of who you are, the color of your skin, the gender of your spouse, the person you love, God, of your prayers count.
We stand up for civil
rights. stand up for equality Democrats are known for that, that's a core value of who we are and I think one of the values that really makes America great, what we also need to recognize is that for families struggling to support themselves themselves to support their children to plan for their future their anxieties practically begin and at your door that is their only focus and we have to recognize that and we have that you can't separate those kinds of civil
rightsfrom the economic ones that really make those values charge life, so we have to see who does that and how we got there.
I think what it needs is one big messy contest to see who could win back that credibility. There are no shortcuts to this. This is something that has to be. won and you have to go out and make your case. I mean, do you need a white man? it's absolutely about personality in part, but I don't think at this point the American public is going to say that a woman is a white male or a minority or whatever. I don't think I don't put that much emphasis. or importance and that I think anyone who is able to come out there articulates a common vision that can unite the different communities that we have across the country raise that, yeah, draw contrasts with President Trump, which I think won't be difficult, but will also articulate. a positive vision of what it takes to achieve what we need to achieve as a country to overcome the challenges that President Trump has often diagnosed but offered no solution to that is what we need and I have great faith that that is what our nominee will be in 2020 will be judged by who will beat donald trump in 2020 i don't care who they are what their gender looks like where anything else comes from the importance is that they can articulate that vision and they can reclaim that credibility and they are willing to.
Would you like to be a part of that big messy contest because I have no plans to do that? I have a two year old and a ten year old. week old baby and right now the sleep is fine and i want to ask this question but i don't mean it in a rude way so please don't be offended but i wonder if in that you gave the answer to the State of the Union and was widely praised for his effort in doing so, but I wonder if there's something wrong with the idea that when Democrats look for someone fresh and new to send a new message that they're actually going to a Kennedy they're going to someone in a way that ties directly to the past that brings their kind of intellectual capital and party historical memory with them, you know, the Clintons, Bush it's time for some kind of feudal family politics in America seems past so it's a problem for a Kennedy, so I think a couple of points, one, obviously I'm very proud of the contribution that my family has made, I've done my best to try to acknowledge that, but please acknowledge that as you remember the Democratic Party and as an elected official you have to stand on your own and articulate what I think are the values and vision that can unite a Democratic party and try to put the past year of a Trump administration in context with the broader issues that we see and the philosophy of general government I don't think it's something that necessarily becomes more or less powerful because of what other members of my family have done I think it's vitally important given that the Democratic Party at its core and it's best to aspire to be a Big Ten Party in which we have several voices.
I think I can contribute to that for sure and I'm honored that Leader Pelosi asked me to give that speech, but we've got a lot of talent across the country here in our Democratic caucus of even younger and more experienced people who have diverse backgrounds represent diverse constituencies that I think their voices in this will also be an extremely valuable part of this I think I have a contribution to make to that but by no means what am I saying that right now in the democratic party there should only be one voice that articulate what those values and vision are let's talk about midterms if we can one of the things we asked you seem to be already seeing this extraordinary increase in the number of women talking about running and getting involved and yesterday in Texas I know that many of the female candidates did particularly well, so that must be encouraging for you.
I mean, do you feel like there's a real possibility? terms of a new wave of Democrats elected in the midterms and what would be the meaning of that why does it matter? look I think so I absolutely feel that way I think you're seeing a younger generation start to really be active and engaged in politics in a way that we haven't seen before or certainly in recent times I think you're seeing an emerging generation that recognizes that what happens in Washington the politics the values the issues that are discussed by our government really matter and impact them and that they are willing to do something about it and I think that's really exciting because our system as a whole represented by democracy will work better if more people, more of its citizens, roll up their sleeves and dive in and that is regardless of their political beliefs or which party they align with The more people participate and the better the debate The more engaged, the more voices are will be involved in it and the better the decisions, the more likely it is that the decisions will be thoughtful. of the general will of the people I think the idea that we're seeing a wave of young women register to run seems vitally important as we address some of the structural equity inequities across our country, from unequal pay to representation on boards. to my wife and I, obviously, with a very young family facing issues of what it means to have paid leave what it means to now be able to raise a family in a country that still lags behind the rest of the world with pro-life policies family so that families can spend the time bringing a child into this world and caring for them and not feel like they are suddenly going to sacrifice their ability to pay rent we are in a different category we are very blessed to not have to take some of those decisions, but being in the middle of them makes you realize how difficult it would be for other families who are not so fortunate.
The United States of America should be able to make that decision right now. to point out and make those decisions to invest in our families, our government hasn't done that, so I think an increasingly younger representation, particularly with a number of women stepping up, provides an opportunity to really force some of these debates in a discussion that so far our government hasn't really dealt with, okay, I have two final quick questions, including one is that last year was actually the dead Den this year on record for transgender people in the US. I think 25 people were killed Do you think the administration currently even understands or acknowledges the scale of the scale of this problem it's not even close and I don't think they put any effort into understanding and I think they have done everything possible to ignore it we have written letters to this administration trying to get this on their agenda most of the time we don't even get a response we've been pushing policies that are I think I think I thinkthat the United States believes are civil rights issues. try to make sure we stand up our government recognizes who you are and recognizes the dignity of every human being regardless of skin size your gender identity that person you love that we say counts because they are human you are american we are here we see you we want and what this administration is doing is glossing over those differences and saying no you and I have a real problem with that and I think we know that long run bar art forgiving American history is a narrative for becoming a more tolerant place , a more perfect place, we're not there yet, but I have no doubt when historians look back 30 40 50 years from now what they will say about those who try to get in the way of equal rights and equal representation .
For all Americans, the ultimate question is that the house will change if that happens, why does that matter in the sense that it potentially increases the chances that in the much talked about impeachment proceedings against the president would be impractical to know that he cares? because you will see, obviously, I am very optimistic that we will get the house back. I am hopeful that we can win back the Senate, but regardless, we will have Republican representation in the White House due to arcane procedures here winning. backing the House of Representatives we all do not taking back the Senate means that it prohibits Republicans from being able to use a policy called reconciliation to pass legislation based solely on partisan means that the House Democratic Party can start introducing and acting and legislating on a positive view that is an alternative to what Donald Trump has put forth, means that the bills to be enacted reflect and much more reflect a bipartisan consensus than just the far-right freedom caucus folks. that they essentially hold the Republican caucus hostage to whatever they want to put forward, which means that they're going to get much more balanced representation and much more balanced bills that work in a way throughout the process and I create an oversight of an administration that , as of right now the Republicans are trying their best not to do, look at the rhetoric that he would walk out of a Republican House when President Obama was in office and how the house was a co-equal branch of government and they were going to act on their policies and introduce their bills and challenge the president to sign them or not to now have a speaker who says he's just going to introduce a bill on the floor that president trump supports well which wasn't what we did during my first four years here, but to the extent that there are bills that have a majority of support from this body and there are on immigration in particular, I think also on weapons theories, so let's have that debate, let's put those bills for and I think what the Democratic representation will have, that possibility could be a game changer, okay?
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