Watch: An Axios News Shapers Event
On Wednesday, November 2nd, Axios co-founder Mike Allen, congressional reporter Alayna Treene and political reporter Alexi McCammond led conversations exploring some of the biggest global news stories of the day – from this year’s U.S. midterm elections to the most recent leadership shift in the U.K. Guests included former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Voto Latino president and CEO María Teresa Kumar, British Ambassador to the U.S. Karen Pierce, White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, and White House senior adviser Anita Dunn.
Christine Todd Whitman discussed her motivations for founding the Forward Party as an alternative to the dominant two-party system and outlined her concerns about the impact of candidates in the midterm election races pushing extreme rhetoric and disinformation.
- On the upcoming midterm elections: “I’m fearful that this is going to be an ugly election, as far as I’m concerned, on the kind of people I’d like to see take office. So it’ll be a rough two years until we can do something about it again, but in that time frame, you know, there’s a part of me that says, I hope all the crazies do win and everybody has to live with that for a while and see how much they like it. But then I realize, no, I don’t want to have to live in that world and I don’t want to leave it for my grandkids either, the damage they can do.”
María Teresa Kumar shared her doubts surrounding whether either party is really fighting for the Latino vote ahead of the midterm elections.
- On outreach to Latino voters: “In 2020, 51% of the folks that voted for Biden in the Latino community were either new voters or low propensity voters, 51%. As of four weeks ago, in Nevada and in Arizona, this came [from] a study out of NALEO…close to 51% of Latino voters hadn’t been contacted by anyone. But it’s because the parties have to reimagine who they reach.”
Karen Pierce explained why she believes the U.S. should continue to expect stability from the U.K. despite there being frequent changes in political leadership over recent years.
- On the U.K. having five Prime Ministers in six years: “The five Prime Ministers in six years is an expression of democracy. And as the U.S.’s closest ally, we would expect democracy in Britain not to worry the United States. It’s a different political system from the U.S. one. Fundamentally, in Britain you elect a party, you don’t elect a Prime Minister, even though the Prime Minister flows from the leader of the party. So we are just as reliable as we have always been…I think no one in the U.S. should worry about the U.K.”
Jen O’Malley Dillon and Anita Dunn announced Biden’s plans to deliver a speech that night at Union Station on what’s at stake for democracy ahead of the midterm elections and shared that they have been doing some planning for 2024 although would not say when to expect an announcement on whether Biden will run for re-election.
- Jen O’Malley Dillon on the President’s pre-midterm speech on democracy: “I think you can expect to hear from him this evening, similar to what he’s been saying over the course of the last several months, that there is a lot at stake, including democracy, and that everyone has a role in that. I think the other thing that will be really important…was that, you know, people are going to be able to vote. Over 25 million already have. They are voting all across the country…the votes will be counted and will take a few days to be counted because that’s how democracy works to make sure every vote is counted.”
- Anita Dunn on Biden’s plans for 2024: “We’re not going to get ahead of the president on this one. But I would say, obviously, he has said he intends to run. We are engaged in some planning for the simple reason that if we weren’t engaged in planning in November of this year, we should be in the political malpractice hall of fame.”
Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.