Snollygoster Live At Seventh Son Brewing
In this special edition of the Snollygoster podcast, host Mike Thompson leads a discussion with a panel of guests at WOSU's Politics & A Pint event at Seventh Son Brewing.
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Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher, Laura Bischoff, Statehouse reporter at the Dayton Daily News, and Andy Chow, Statehouse Reporter for Ohio Public Radio, join the show.
Over a few glasses of beer, the panel discusses the latest news out of the impeachment hearings, the Democratic candidates for president, and talk about the possible legalization of sports betting in Ohio.
Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Thompson: This podcast was recorded Thursday, November 14th at 6:00 PM. Things might have changed by the time you hear this. Like we will settle on the proper pronunciation of the capital of Ukraine. Ukrainians call it "Keev." Russians call it "Kee-ev." We probably should go with the Ukrainians, no? Let's talk politics.
This is Snollygoster, WOSU Public Media's weekly look at Ohio politics and the shrewd, snollygosters who serve the body politic here in the Buckeye State.
I'm Mike Thompson. We gave Steve Brown the day off. He is glowing in the glory of a Browns win over the Steelers. This week is a special edition of Snollygoster. We will hear WOSU's Politics and a Pint event, which took place Thursday night at Seventh Son Brewing, in Italian Village just north of downtown Columbus. It was a lively discussion, lots of passion, lots of barley, a little hops. Here it is.
Mike Thompson: Well, thank you all for coming to our Politics and a Pint. I'm Mike Thompson from WOSU Public Media. I'm the news content director. I'm in charge of the news and the programming on 89.7. So I'm the guy to whom you should complain. And I also host Columbus On The Record, Friday nights at 8:30 on WOSU TV and then after the Browns game, usually on Sunday at 5 o'clock on WOSU TV.
So lots to talk about. We have one public impeachment hearing down, at least four or five to go over the next week or so. We have a Democratic field for president that shrunk and then expanded again. We have state lawmakers at the statehouse that are doing something, just not doing something about gun regulations, least not yet. And Governor DeWine is coming up on his one year anniversary as governor. So how's he doing? We'll talk about that here tonight over the next hour or so.
Our panel, some of you may be familiar with them because they are frequent guests on Columbus On The Record. And also one of them works for WOSU. We'll start here. Laura Bischoff. She is a statehouse reporter. Laura is the statehouse reporter for the Dayton Daily News. Next, Andy Chow. He is statehouse reporter for Ohio Public Radio, you'll hear his work on WOSU and WOSU TV on his show on Friday afternoons, and Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher. Longtime journalist has been on our air now for over 10 years. Host of All Sides with Ann Fisher. Ten to noon weekdays on 89.7 NPR News.
So let's start with the impeachment hearings they began yesterday. Five and a half hours. The coverage was on 89.7 and WOSU TV and everywhere else. 13 million people watched or listened. Thirteen million people watched.
That doesn't count the folks who listened on NPR or PBS because we're not measured in the commercial TV or broadcasting ratings overnights anyway. So, Laura, takeaways from yesterday's impeachment hearings. From what you saw?
Laura Bischoff: Well, I'd like to know how many of them watched the whole thing like I did, because I felt like I was in a-, I was like, in a good long college lecture in which I had to decipher what was going to be on the final. Like it was. It was hard. It was a lot of foreign policy and a lot of facts and history. And I thought that was good. It wasn't the usual political rancor. And I appreciated the fact that they went in 45 minute increments instead of the five minute lightning round. It felt like it was a little easier to understand the cases that were being brought out. I think that mostly it's at this point is a framing exercise by both sides to try and get their narrative laid out for the public.
Mike Thompson: Andy?
Andy Chow: Right. Well.
Mike Thompson: Were you as excited that Laura was?
Andy Chow: I had a different perspective, so I wasn't able to sit down and watch the whole thing. I was actually at a at a firing range at a gun shop all day yesterday on a different story. But it actually added a really interesting perspective because the hearing was on on all the TV's at this gun range. It was on Fox News. And it was interesting. All eyes were on the TV. So, you know, there are customers who were there to buy guns or there to go target shooting. And then they were also watching this TV so that the volume was turned up and people were watching. And I thought that was pretty interesting.
I also got to talk to Senator Sherrod Brown this morning a little bit about it. And just for anybody who wants to know his take, the big take away is, of course, that he thinks that Republicans come off looking bad in during the hearings. I think if you were to ask Republicans, they've been sort of staying really strong and talking about feeling like there's no smoking gun. And so that was sort of the talking point you would hear from Republicans. But the other thing Senator Brown said was the fact that he believed that the people talking to witnesses were well regarded public servants who had a long lifetime of service and experience and people that maybe we should be listening to.
Mike Thompson: And I mean, we all remember the Watergate hearings and the Bill Clinton hearings.
Ann Fisher: Not everybody does.
Mike Thompson: Like most people in this room, probably do.
Laura Bischoff: Andy doesn't.
Andy Chow: I listened to Slow Burn. I don't know if anybody listen to the podcast, slow burn.
Mike Thompson: But we forget that those hearings went on for weeks and months. But we remember the what did you know and when do you know it or remember the cancer on the presidency. There was a lot of boring stuff in there to do. We. Are we looking at back at those hearings saying, boy, those are really riveting when they really weren't?
Ann Fisher: Well, OK. That summer, I was grounded for the whole summer. So I actually stayed home and I was weeding the gardens, which was my chore. And I got to watch the Watergate hearings. And I think that's when I sort of got, you know, the bug.
Mike Thompson: Which did you prefer, weeding or Watergate?
Ann Fisher: I liked them both. Oh, they're very similar in some ways. But, yeah, I absolutely think that right now, as we're living through it, we're not going to be grabbing the hot moments right off the bat.
They will come five, 10 years down the road, ultimately and, whatever comes. If it does come to an impeachment trial, things will come out in that as well. Things a little, it'll be run, you know, raked over the coals yet again. But those particular moments, I don't think. It's too soon. One hearing. I mean, a lot of people are saying, you know, it's just by chance. We scheduled this months ago.
Mike Thompson: Yeah.
Ann Fisher: We didn't know at that point that this was going to be happening. So it's just one hearing, one five and a half hour hearing a measly five and a half hours.
I expect it's going to go much more longer than you think, because I think things will be, you know, was it only five and a half?
Laura Bischoff: I thought it was six. It felt like six.
Mike Thompson: It is five and a half.
Ann Fisher: But it was interesting, even as a kid, to watch the Watergate stuff and to see people on the hot seat and that sort of thing. And that's definitely what you see.
Mike Thompson: Are we too impatient? We're in the world of Twitter and reality TV and 24 hour cable and we want instant gratification. Are we too impatient to let this process
Ann Fisher: Well if you ever get bored you can always go to Twitter and see what the president said. There's always some happening.
Laura Bischoff: I do think that the context of the media landscape now versus during the Watergate era is drastically different. And there's there is this constant slicing and dicing of every little piece that we didn't have back then. Interestingly, I thought that George Kent and Bill Taylor, that they kind of look like throwback characters, though, with a little bow tie and this three piece suit. And then Taylor also had that
Ann Fisher: Kind of white males everywhere with short hair.
Laura Bischoff: Right. And also, Bill Taylor had that kind of Edward R. Murrow kind of broadcaster's voice which was interesting.
Mike Thompson: Tomorrow, the former ambassador to Ukraine testifies so that she's a woman and she basically lost her job. That's going to be pretty compelling stuff. We kind of know what they're already going to say because they released the transcripts. We saw that. We heard the leaks before, even with the transcripts were released. We know what they're going to say. Pretty much. There was one surprise yesterday, was labeled a bombshell that some aide overheard the president on a cell phone. What qualifies as a bombshell on this story?
Andy Chow: I also think something that's interesting, Mike, is that what you mentioned? Would you say 13 million viewers? So I think what's interesting is you sort of hear talking points from different sides about just how important the American people find these hearings. And some people try to play it down and say, oh, Americans don't really care about this, and some people sort of blow it up. So I think what we're also seeing is just how important this is to a lot of people with the viewership, with the people who are clicking on the articles to read about it. There is a lot of interest in these hearings one way or the other. There's a lot of people who are tuning in and want to find out what's going on.
Mike Thompson: Do you think the way I look at it right now, I don't think the Democrats really have enough. I mean, it's hard to follow. It's very narrow. Unless somebody like John Bolton gets up there and says, the president told me to do this, some sort of a John Dean to use the Watergate metaphor again. Who gets up there and turns on his boss or former boss as reputable as these public servants are. I'm taking nothing away from them. Do we need that sort of star power?
Laura Bischoff: I think that one of the ways that the Republicans have been chipping away at this is saying that this is hearsay. This is second hand, and third hand information. The military money was released to the Ukraine. So like, no harm, no foul. And that the president has the right to call back an ambassador. So, you know, they're calling nothing to see here move along. And I think that the Democrats do have a more challenging task to frame their argument and to boil it down. So it's understandable and that the American people find it impeachable.
Ann Fisher: And once again, going back to the point that you made earlier, Mike, is that we're caught in the middle of it right now.
It's unfolding and it's easy to look back at Watergate or add the Clinton impeachment hearings and that kind of thing. And, you know, armchair quarterback with 20/20 hindsight. So I think that there's a lot more to come. I think they do have a tough road to hoe. A road a hoe, I should say.
And they I think they know it. But I think that the Democrats would be sort of damned if they did and damned if they didn't. So they had to move forward with it. And the phone call that we had the beautiful transcripts of was enough for them.
Mike Thompson: Yeah. I mean. And I think the Democrats, you could I think by saying that by one thing I notice is the Democrats are really pinning a lot of their argument on this, jeopardize Ukraine's national security by withholding military aid. Well, they forget that Obama withheld military aid. And Democrats didn't make a big deal at the time.
Ann Fisher: But the issue with both Obama was that was part of the policy. Yes, I know the well known national policy. This was under the radar. And that's very different.
Andy Chow: And, of course, you know, we always go back to it. Was there a quid pro quo? And was it tied to political retribution? And, you know, and again, that's that's sort of the thing, Mike, like you're saying that are they. There's so many things kind of in the air. Is there anything that kind of like stick to and just stick to one message and keep hammering that home? And then can you find people to really tie it together and prove what they're trying to prove? Yeah, I don't know. I think looking back on everything that happened with Watergate was, again, that people forget that there were still a lot of staunch supporters of Nixon who refused to believe or admit that anything wrong happened there. And then it came down to the tapes at one point too.
Mike Thompson: And they didn't come out until deep into the process.
Ann Fisher: And that was a revelation of the tapes.
Ann Fisher: They didn't know about the tapes going into the hearings.
Mike Thompson: Jim Jordan, the. All right. See it made my point, sir. Anyway, Jim Jordan.
He is a temporary member of this intelligence committee. Was put on the committee temporarily just for these hearings. Big supporter of the president, obviously, from western Ohio, although his district stretches up to Oberlin. He made a name for himself.
Andy, what what was the reaction at the gun store about Jim Jordan?
Andy Chow: People were well, and it's interesting you ask, because most of the time I was there, it was Republicans who are doing the line of questioning and people were, you know, I think just speaking specifically to being at the gun store, I think people were just exhausted by it. I don't think there was like anybody who is going one way or the other from it. I think that Jim Jordan is definitely building a reputation as being among the top Trump supporters in the nation. There's more attention being paid to him. More than a lot of other people. He's definitely building a lot of name recognition for himself. We have NPR editors asking around to get a profile of him. And so there's a lot of people who want to know who is Jim Jordan and what's he doing? And. But, you know, again, if you read the reactions from it, I don't think he's coming off well to more moderate people.
Mike Thompson: He'll be on Saturday Night Live this Saturday guaranteed.
Ann Fisher: He must enjoy it because he just comes back harder than ever with the persona.
Ann Fisher: You know, he was a national champion wrestler and he wrestled for Wisconsin. And so he's not one to back down from a fight. And apparently he's not one to put jacket on either.
Mike Thompson: No, it is his trademark.
Getting back to that exhausted point. You know, you look at what the Democrats strategy is, he has a very narrow focus. They're rushing through this. They're not going to wait for the courts to decide if John Bolton or Mick Mulvaney should testify, which would help bolster their case. We would assume they want to get this vote done. They want to get this trial done really before we get to the heart of the primary season. So what's their strategy in that? It doesn't look like the Senate is going to remove the president from office if he is impeached. So is there a strategy to just help people become exhausted of Donald Trump and what he has done to the presidency and to his core is going to support him. But it's the folks in the middle who were easily swayed.
Is that part of the strategy?
Ann Fisher: Well, I think it's it's a it's a a fallback position for sure. I mean, it's a potential very strong potential outcome of all of this, no matter what happens. And by the way, I mean, he may not get impeached and may not be convicted in the Senate if he is impeached in the House. But they now know they do not have the votes to turn away an impeachment trial or a trial. If so, it'll go to the Senate.
Andy Chow: I think, though, on the flip side of that, I think the Democrats run the risk of also appearing exhausting, where there might be a certain group of people or a certain amount of the American population, a voting block that says, should we move on from this? Should we stop focusing on this and move on to other things? When we were at the Democratic debate at Otterbein, my colleague Joe Ingles walk the line and talked to people who were attending it. And she had a slew of questions, but she consistently asked everybody what they thought about the impeachment and a common thing, and of course, this is just kind of like a controlled experiment just a group of people on the line. A common message she heard was that they kind of didn't want to talk about that, that they didn't want to hear about that. They want to hear more about what the Democratic presidential candidates are going to do for the country and sort of focus less on the impeachment stuff.
Mike Thompson: All right. Speaking of the Democratic candidates for president, some smidgens of news over the past 24 hours. Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts, has entered the race. By today's standards, pretty late. By older standards, not so late. A lot of candidates will enter the race in November before the New Hampshire primary and be just fine. But he's really late now because he has to qualify for the debate. He will not qualify for next week's debate and he'll have to adhere clear thresholds to get in further debates. So he's entering. Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, is considering running. He took out papers in Alabama just in case. And Tim Ryan, the congressman from northeast Ohio, dropped out of the race a few weeks ago. Now he is throwing his weight behind Joe Biden. No real surprise there. So, Laura, my question to you is half kiddingly. Will Tim Ryan have a bigger impact on the race by endorsing Joe Biden than he did as a candidate in the race for president?
Laura Bischoff: Maybe. Maybe.
I think that, you know, Deval Patrick getting in the race. I watched his two and a half minute intro video today, and he stressed his Midwestern roots, not so much his, "I was governor of Massachusetts." I think that he's trying to pick you up, he grew up on the south side of Chicago. Same area as Michelle Obama. And, you know, he talks about his theme being build as we climb to try to bring everybody together to replace, you know, get rid of Trump, but also do better by the country, was sort of his message. But his problem is he's got no money, no organization and no numbers to qualify for the debates. And so he's really, I think, hoping that he catches fire.
Ann Fisher: Well, I mean, he's close with the Obamas, though, and President Obama famously has not endorsed anybody either yet.
Mike Thompson: I mean, I don't see him endorsing Deval Patrick until he shows some minimum strength. I would guess.
Ann Fisher: Right. But he, Patrick, must see a pathway end of this. There must be a reason why they're seeing some numbers. And so is Bloomberg. They're seeing something they're seeing a weak link in this chain.
Mike Thompson: Are they seeing their numbers or are they looking at Joe Biden's?
Ann Fisher: Right. And so that's that's what such a head scratcher, right. Whenever anybody enters this race, because it's such a crowded field already. You have to ask yourself, what are they looking at? Like they have to have some sort of goal. Like Deval Patrick has to have some sort of goal. I just have no idea what it is.
Mike Thompson: So what was his name? Wayne Madsen from Florida. Still in the race. He's the mayor of some small city outside of Miami. I don't think he's dropped out yet.
Andy Chow: I think the thing with Michael Bloomberg, though, is again and then I'll stop talking about guns for a while, is that his name is like a curse word among gun owners. And it's almost like code for gun owners where they hear Michael Bloomberg and they instantly think of somebody who wants to take their guns away, who wants to create a national database on guns. And I think that would be a hard sell in a general election, maybe maybe a good sell in the Democratic primary. But I don't know.
Mike Thompson: Not just guns, Big Gulps. That's right. He banned Big Gulps in New York Mayor.
Laura Bischoff: Michael Bloomberg has got he's got 52 billion dollars networth and he's 77 years old. But The New York Times and some other media just posted stories today and recently about his previous crude comments about women, and I think that's gonna be a big problem for him.
Mike Thompson: And money doesn't.
People always point to that money. You look at people who have had money who have run before Ross Perot, Malcolm Forbes,Steyer right now. Ton of money. Money does not really guarantee you really any traction in this race. It might actually hurt you in some ways.
Ann Fisher: Everybody is looking for that, that missing link between the left of the party and the moderate right. I don't think there's really a right side of the Democratic Party anymore, but that moderate side and you know, I think that may be what Deval Patrick is looking at is maybe, you know, the last time somebody was able to unify the party, successfully, it was Barack Obama. And I think he falls in line with that. You know, that kind of party standard that may be able to pull people together.
Mike Thompson: So does Joe Biden hang on? He still is probably technically still the front runner, at least in the polls and fundraising, not doing as well as some others. But he's still leading the polls. He hasn't really faulted that much. The field has consolidated. So you can say Elizabeth Warren has picked up, you know, Tim Ryan's votes or some other person's votes.
Andy Chow: I guess I sort of see Biden as running like a prevent defense at this point where his numbers are looking better than everybody else's. And so he just doesn't want to make a gaffe, make a mistake. And I think through that and again, going back to the analogy, a prevent defense, you sort of see the other team start to make a comeback because of that, because if you're not running an aggressive campaign, then you're just sort of just sitting there. So I don't know how long that's going to last. And because we still have a long time until the primaries and then a long primary season. So I'm almost wondering if because of Deval Patrick entering the race, because of Michael Bloomberg entering the race, will we see a change in the campaign strategy of Joe Biden?
Ann Fisher: Well, and I also think that possibly what Deval Patrick, Bloomberg doesn't have to worry about this because he's already had multi gazillionaire. But Deval Patrick, I don't know if somebody's been telling a behind the scenes, we'll throw you the money. You know, you don't know. We just don't know.
Mike Thompson: We've got to figure former governor, Massachusetts has a bit of a home field advantage in the New Hampshire primary, although I think Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders certainly have a clear advantage up.
Ann Fisher: Right.
Mike Thompson: But he's a familiar name, at least southern New Hampshire and things like that. Is Elizabeth Warren the candidate to watch of the remaining members of the field?
Laura Bischoff: You know, they're pretty divided, it's Biden at 29, Sanders at 27 and Warren at 21 roughly. You know, if you look at the Real Clear Politics average of all the polls, which is not the way you should do good polling, but it's like Biden's up 5. Yeah. Which is nothing. Right.
Mike Thompson: It's a national poll, too. And we don't vote nationally or even in the general election. We don't vote nationally. It comes down to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, those first four, you know. And momentum builds if somebody does well in Iowa. Pete Buttigieg, for example, does well in Iowa. That could carry him into Hampshire. You never know.
Andy Chow: And I think just speaking anecdotally, I wonder if people in the Biden campaign might think that he has a good foothold in a place like Ohio because Democrats in rural and blue collar areas might sway his way. But I think that candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are actually speaking closely to the issues that Democrats in rural areas want to hear. You know, there's not a lot of Democrats in the rural areas, but the ones who do live there tend to gravitate to that message sometimes. And so I think it'll be interesting. And again, when you're talking about rural areas. A narrative sort of sort of starts to begin where it's like, oh, well, we've heard this person, we've seen this person before. Do I really want this person or do I want someone new? And again, I think that's where somebody like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren might be able to move in and gain some ground.
Ann Fisher: And I think we have to be careful.
You know, this time around, people a lot of people are energized in ways that they haven't done before. And I think that we generalize about rural areas, just like we do a lot about about a lot of demographics. And they're not I don't think it's as solidly Republican. The people who tend to vote rural areas tend to vote Republican. But a lot of people in rural areas tend not to vote. Those are the people that have fallen through the cracks. If you've ever read anything written by Sarah Smarsh, you know, she's kind of written the Bible on that, that there are a lot of people with a lot of different kinds of views in the rural areas that don't subscribe to the Republican Party. But they just felt left out of everything else because so much of the Democratic Party has been more urban.
So, you know, it's early still, but that is sussing out and teasing out those those veins of voters that have felt disenfranchised for one reason or another, I think is going to be super key.
Mike Thompson: One thing is coming back. It is the cul de sacs are making a comeback. Apparently, the suburbs are in play. How many folks here are suburbanites? There you go see, fertile ground.
Ann Fisher: Welcome to town.
Mike Thompson: So are the suburbs really in play?
If it's Elizabeth Warren or if it's Bernie Sanders against Donald Trump to suburbs like Westerville, Dublin, Hilliard. Vote for the Democrat over the Republican.
Laura Bischoff: Yes.
Mike Thompson: You think so? And why is that, do you think?
Laura Bischoff: Well, you know, Mike Dawson, a longtime Capital Square guy, he runs the Ohioelectionresults.com. It's a Web site for election stats nerds. And he did some analysis recently of 1992 to 2016 of the presidential elections and found that the urban counties, urban county suburbs, the big suburbs in the large counties like Franklin, Hamilton, Cuyahoga Montgomery, that they are swinging from red to blue and the rural areas are swinging, you know, more red. And that Trump kind of put those trends on hyper drive. And he found that like areas that were solidly, you know, George Bush, George H.W. Bush, territory like Marblecliff, Riverlea, Worthington, Westerville, Dublin. Those are all like really blue blue areas now. And I think that the fact that the Democrats picked Westerville as a site for the Democratic debate. It was first, so it was some of it was like logistics. They could actually get a spot in it. It worked it out.
Ann Fisher: They didn't know Westerville traffic. But it go on.
Laura Bischoff: But they at the same time, it was a signal that they they see this as a really important battleground to really kind of get those voters excited.
Andy Chow: So I guess what that also means, though, is that if the Democrats are gaining traction in the suburbs and polling and, you know, election results show that they are Democrats still have to really run up the score in those areas, in the urban areas and then the suburbs. If the trend continues at those rural areas are moving even more to the right then they really have to get as much as possible. And I think we saw that with the 12th Congressional District race where Danny O'Connor really had to get as many votes out in the Franklin County area just to offset what was happening in the Delaware County.
Ann Fisher: It's going to be get out the vote. I mean, we know in Ohio, you know, that the vote is there.
There there's a you know, it it's it's about getting it out. And that's the whole question about who gets nominated, will it get out the vote? And there is a very good argument that Hillary Clinton failed to get out the vote. She didn't even go to Wisconsin. She she didn't show up in Ohio enough. She didn't she didn't light a fire in the bellies of the you know, that kind of the people on the sidelines.
Laura Bischoff: I 100 percent agree. And I think that the Democrats, they you know, in 2016, a third of voters stayed home, a third voted for Hillary Clinton and a third voted for Donald Trump. In the Democrats this time around, they have to pick somebody who's it's inspirational and motivating and will turn out all those orders. It can't just be somebody, you know, they can't just ride only on the anti Trump vote.
Mike Thompson: African-American vote is key to that. Now, you really can't compare the turnout rate for African-American voters for 2008, certainly in 2012, because with African-American candidate for president. But they certainly did not turn out for Hillary Clinton in the same ways they did for Barack Obama.
Which of these Democratic candidates will energize people of color to get them to vote for them?
Laura Bischoff: I think that the Democrats kind of need like a Frankenstein. They need like a little chunk of Elizabeth Warren. They need some Biden. They need some, you know, Mayor Pete, they need some dough.
Ann Fisher: They don't want to be generalized. They don't want to be seen as just one block of voters there. It's nuanced and they're tired of being counted on by the Democratic Party. So I don't know. I mean, Frankenstein maybe but that's not, there's there is no Frankenstein candidate, as far as I can see it at this point.
Mike Thompson: But you can make a Frankenstein ticket.
You could have Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. You could have Joe Biden and Deval Patrick, you could have Elizabeth Warren and Deval Patrick, you could have Bernie Sanders and Pete Bridges. You can do it that way. Would that satisfy the various factions of the Democratic Party?
Okay. I'm gonna write that down on November 14th.
No. But on October 14th of next year, what will the answer be?
Andy Chow: Yeah. And I also think it's really important to know that Donald Trump is still very popular in Ohio. I know it doesn't seem that way. And I think a lot of people. I can understand that, but he is still very popular in the state, especially when you drive to Galya County, especially when you go to Mansfield. There are people who really think that he is leading the message that they want and then I think because of these impeachment hearings, you also hear people sort of like doubling down, digging in their heels and saying, no, I'm gonna support him no matter what. And I think we've also gotten to.
Mike Thompson: Well, now that Mark Sanford has left the race. His path is clear, right?
Ann Fisher: I mean, support for for the president is falling off. And I mean, it is falling off.
Andy Chow: Sorry, I should have said among Trump supporters that people who supported Trump in the past.
Mike Thompson: But it really hasn't though he was a 43 percent approval rating when he was elected president. He's had like 40, 42 now. Hillary Clinton was at 43 percent as well when she ran against him. So it's again, is that what you said earlier? Who can who comes out to vote in the turnout and who's the who's out of town?
Ann Fisher: When you drill down into those numbers and look at who would absolutely support him no matter what versus who, you know, those numbers, you know, are starting to waver and those are important. I mean, that's what we're dealing with are shades of stuff right now.
We're not. You know, it's that it's that close.
Mike Thompson: What does Nikki Haley doing, do you think?
Laura Bischoff: Selling books.
Mike Thompson: Yes, she is selling books, for sure. But is she like sort of what I equate her to Mitt Romney, what John Kasich did really for most of 2016. They're there ready to catch the Republican Party if Donald Trump collapses.
They're waiting in the wings that they can slide in and be the nominee should the impeachment hearings blow up in the president's face.
Ann Fisher: Well, isn't that. Vise President Pence.
Mike Thompson: I don't know. I think that anyway, the Vice President Pence is Donald Trump's vice president. So would he be the Gerald Ford to get the nomination should Donald Trump, a la Richard Nixon, have to leave office? This is a huge speculation. There's no sign that's going to happen. But, you know, I just wonder what Nikki Haley is doing because he's really walking that tightrope. You know, I'm with Trump, but only to a point.
Andy Chow: Yeah. And I think you're right, cause she's still doing a lot of events and still building a public profile. And especially when you talk to newer Republican, newer Republican candidates who are now running for office in Ohio. I've heard them mention and name drop Nikki Haley as someone that they look up to, somebody that they want to sort of resemble as a candidate. And I think that also becomes code for a Republican that's not Trump that they want to sort of match.
Mike Thompson: She will run for president at some point, might be 2024. But I think it's I would put a lot of money on that, that she would run at some point.
Andy Chow: I think there are a group of Republicans who don't want to attach themselves to President Donald Trump because of that reason, because they don't know what the landscape for running for office for a Republican will look like in 10 years. So they are just sort of waiting in the wings right now.
Mike Thompson: Key vote to watch, is does Mitt Romney vote to remove Donald Trump from office if it gets to the Senate. Something to watch? I don't know. Who knows?
All right. Let's move out of the State House. I know national politics tends to dominate the discussion these days with a lot happening at the statehouse.
Mike DeWine is coming up on his first year in office come January.
In his first year, he can point to raising the gas tax to help cause all of our traffic jams around town with the highway construction. But the roads are getting fixed. Bridges are getting fixed. The budget passed with a little delayed, but it passed. Of course, the big story in the last half of the year was the aftermath of the Dayton shooting in the Oregon district in which nine people were killed, 27 others wounded. You all have heard the stories in the video. The crowd chanted, do something. Mike DeWine said he would do something. His first package did something. Mandatory background checks for everybody, including private sales and also the red flag law. When the legislation came out, though, those two things were scaled back.
Laura, is do you anticipate any of that getting passed into law?
Laura Bischoff: Well, you know that the governor is in a hard spot because he has to, he wanted to pass something. He wanted to put together something that was would be effective at curbing gun violence. Something that was constitutional and something that could pass the legislature and to hit all three of those, you know, what he came up with was is drastically scaled back red flag law, which is really more of an expansion on what they call pink slipping when somebody is in a crisis, putting in a hospital for up to 72 hours. And then instead of having a mandatory background check for almost all purchases except for maybe, you know, gifting to family members, it's a state run voluntary check. So it's far less than what what he talked about initially. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is a Democrat and she's been, you know, in favor of gun control for a long time. And she's taking a very practical approach to this, which is, you know, in 20 years, the 20 years or 18 years that I've been covering the legislature, I've never seen them pass any kind of restriction whatsoever. The march has been steadily toward expanding access to guns in Whaley's point is, this is the first time they've actually put the pump, the brakes. So, you know, do the gun control people want more? Yes, but this is a start.
Mike Thompson: Is that something? Enough for, we know it's not enough for gun control advocates, is enough for moderate focused folks in the middle.
Laura Bischoff: You know, background check. Mandatory background checks is is hugely popular. Like 90 to 95 percent of Ohioans or of Americans favor it. And there's a there's a petition in the field right now to put a citizen initiated statute before the legislature. And then they have a chance to either pass it, amend it or ignore it. And if they amended or ignored it, then the group could go back to get another set of signatures and put it on the ballot in November of 2020. That is a really big lift. And for some reason, they haven't gotten, you know, a lot of funding. You know, I think of like Michael Bloomberg, if you really want to make a big splash with his money, is he would put a background check ballot issues on the ballot in swing states.
And they would probably pass it.
Mike Thompson: Much like they did in 2004 with gay marriage bans.
Laura Bischoff: Right. Exactly.
Ann Fisher: Voters to the ballot.
Mike Thompson: It swung those states. Yeah.
Andy Chow: So that's actually talking to the Ohioans for Gun Safety, the group that wants to put, that's looking at putting the issue on the ballot. They're still having those conversations to figure out do they want to do that or not? Do they want to put it? Do they want to move forward to put on the ballot? What kind of impact would that have on the presidential race? And they have to think of a lot of factors, whether that could. And, you know, and really they have to talk to who's going to fund them and the people who are going to step in and fund them. Do those people want it on the ballot in 2020 or do they want to leave it for a year like 2021, where it will not impact a presidential race.
Because it could galvanize gun control supporters, but also could galvanize gun rights supporters and bring them out to the polls?
And yeah, could it help or hurt, most likely in this case, a president Democratic presidential candidate. Mike, you asked about will this pass? The Governor DeWine faces a really big challenge when it comes to legislative action, not just on gun issues, but on all sorts of issues, and I think he faces a bigger challenge in his first term than Governor John Kasich during his first term. Because you've got a House speaker who got half of his votes from the Democrats, half of his votes from the far right Republicans. And and you have a House speaker and Senate president who don't really agree on a lot of things, who sort of spar on it on several issues. And when it comes to gun control issues, the speaker of the House has showed a heavy reluctance to do anything when it comes to gun control issue. So that's why the bill started in the Senate in the first place, because of it's going to go anywhere. It might pass out of a Senate committee.
Ann Fisher: But even Senate President Larry Obhof is now saying, well, he doesn't know if it's constitutional or not. I mean, that's a shot across the bow right there. So I don't know. I'm you know, if I was a betting person. No. I don't think anything's going to get through.
Mike Thompson: Speaking of betting. Go ahead.
Laura Bischoff: Well, I was going to say there are you know, there's like two dozen gun bills pending in the legislature right now, about half hour control and half hour expansion. And there's two controversial ones, stand your ground or as the gun rights people call it, duty. You know, repealing the duty to retreat in public places when you're facing danger before you use deadly force in self-defense. And that I think that one has got a chance of passing. And also what they call constitutional carry, which would be have having right now, if you get your concealed weapons permit, you go through eight hours of training and you have a background check. They would just wipe out the training and the background check and everybody who's law-abiding would be allowed to carry.
Mike Thompson: Do you see Governor DeWine signing those two bills? If they're the only pieces of gun legislation he gets on his desk after what happened in Dayton?
Ann Fisher: That may be his leverage. I mean, he may sign them if they put.
Mike Thompson: But then he would have to use it.
You think he would do it without leverage?
Laura Bischoff: The risk is that they could veto they could override his veto.
Mike Thompson: But at least he could say he tried to do something.
Andy Chow: But he has said that he is for stand your ground.
Mike Thompson: Yes.
Andy Chow: So that would be that be a risky move to withhold a signature just to try to move his other measures. And it's been discussed the possibility of somehow combining this into one bill.
But there's there's not a lot of.
Ann Fisher: You know, I just think he's finding out what Governor Kasich found out, which was that the Ohio General Assembly is a different animal. I mean, it's unto itself and not a lot gets done. You know, nothing will get done unless they support it. And it is a weird combination of support for Larry Householder in the House. But bottom line is they have a majority Republican control of the Ohio House and a supermajority in the Senate. It's crazy control by the GOP. And when the governor doesn't align with them, it doesn't matter. He made it might as well be in a different party.
Mike Thompson: Sports betting. We mentioned betting, if you were a betting person. The Steelers play the Browns in a matter of moments later tonight. A year from now. I don't know what the line is. But will we be able to bet on either the Steelers or the Browns? One year from now, legally, we can bet on them. Legally in Ohio. You think so?
Laura Bischoff: I'm not sure. I don't know. But there are two bills pending in the Senate and the House have a difference of opinion on whether or not it should be the Casino Control Commission that runs things or the lottery. So because the two chambers are fighting over it, I would say that tips it in favor of no.
Mike Thompson: That would hold up. I mean, there's a lot of money to be made here.
Andy Chow: Yeah.
Mike Thompson: And a lot of moneyed interests are pushing it. And there's some money that would come to the state, go to the schools or to the local governments where however much it is. But there'd be some money. Really, a turf war keep this from passing? So all the sports legal sports betting goes to Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan.
Andy Chow: I I think that this isn't as big of a deal as other things that the House and Senate are fighting over and that they could find common ground and one chamber might budge over the other. Now, the only thing that makes me wonder if it won't pass before the next time the Steelers and Browns play to the next year is these are the types of bills that tend to be holdover bills that they wait to the last minute during lame duck, where Laura and I are just staying at the State House really late at night. And then 3:00 a.m. rolls around and finally, somebody says, OK, fine, you can have it your way. These are the type of bills like sort of like just tend to linger until the last minute. So could this be a lame-duck bill? I think that could be the case.
Mike Thompson: OSU doesn't want any part of this. They want college sports to be exempt. I can't see that happening. It's just a lot of people bet on college sports. They wanna make it legal. It happen in New Jersey? In New Jersey, they passed legalized betting, but they don't bet on Rutgers legally in New Jersey. Whoever put money on Rutgers for this coming weekend, they can't do it legally in New Jersey.
Ann Fisher: You know, I think the states have learned the lesson. I mean, Ohio got into the whole gambling thing so late in the game that it was very marginalized. And they're going to get in it at the front end or they're going to be marginalized again. They're going to be picking up the scraps. And, you know, that's they've learned their, I mean, maybe they haven't. I mean, whether you're for pros, sports betting or not, that there is that is a very big issue.
Mike Thompson: Yeah, it's happening is just whether it's legal or not, it's gonna happen here on the phone. It's not really going to happen, it could happen in bars and restaurants and VFW halls and places like that. But most of it happens on your phone and they they can geo locate to find out where you are so you can you you have to come to Ohio. If you live in New Jersey, you have to come to Ohio to bet on Rutgers to win next weekend.
By the way, Rutgers is a 51 point underdog to Ohio State this weekend. Fifty one point underdog. Think about that. Anyway, it was a fun night. If you have not been to a politics and a pint event, we encourage you to join us. We'll let you know when our next one is. I'm Mike Thompson for Snollgoster from WOSU public media.