Jul 14, 2023 - Podcasts

The push for an independent ticket in 2024

A political group is trying to get real money behind an independent candidate for the 2024 presidential election. And President Biden had a big week overseas. It's our weekly politics State of Play.

Guests: Axios' Hans Nichols, Tina Reed and Tim Baysinger.

Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Alexandra Botti, Fonda Mwangi, Lydia McMullen-Laird and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Friday, July 14th.

I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Today on the show: Hollywood actors walk out. Plus, how too much heat can harm our bodies long term.

But first, the push for an independent ticket in 2024. Our weekly politics state of play is today’s One Big Thing.

NIALA: President Biden had an important trip to Europe this week where it looks like Sweden will finally and surprisingly be admitted to NATO. And here in the United States, a political group is trying to get real money behind an independent candidate for President for 2024. Axios’ Hans Nichols is with me for our Friday State of Play. Hi Hans.

HANS NICHOLS: Good morning!

NIALA: Hans the president’s big week overseas included a visit to the UK, as well as an important NATO meeting in Lithuania. How did the U.S. fare with this NATO meeting?

HANS: Well, at first it looked bad because you had a lot of criticism and division over Ukraine. But ultimately they had a better outcome and a path towards bringing eventually Ukraine more into the Western Security Alliance and then crucially, they got Sweden into NATO, and that was a big deal, and that was a lot of hard work and a lot of diplomacy that took place trying to bring Erdogan on board, because leading up to the summit, that did not look like a likely outcome.

NIALA: Meanwhile, Hans, you wrote this week about a no labels group plotting a potential independent presidential campaign. Hans, how much of a difference would a third party candidate make in this presidential election?

HANS: Depends what polling you’re looking and that's what the big debate about is, is because a group that's forming, led by former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, wants to get some real money behind to sort of block and convince anyone that's thinking about a no labels bid not to do it. And they came out with polling that basically showed there's a 20% sort of window there or opportunity for a third party candidate. The problem is, the polling showed, at least for these Democrat and Republican strategists, that it draws from Joe Biden, and that when you include the third party candidate, Joe Biden ends up losing to Donald Trump. Now, what the No Labels crew did, and their pollsters did, is they said, “oh, this is just the floor, this is not a ceiling, this proves our point, we can move forward.”

NIALA: Speaking of elections, you had a scoop this week about House Republicans trying to take the lead on cracking down on foreign dollars, interfering in elections. Why are Republicans going on the offensive here?

HANS: Well because it’s democratic money, right? And the people that they’re signaling out are foreign donors and in one case a Swiss billionaire who gives money to various organizations and the Swiss billionaire we should be clear on this says that it is sequestered from actually being involved in election purposes, but money does find its way across lines, there's it's a bit of a black box. What happens when money goes into C4s. There's also a little bit of flipping the script here, because we all know, and the FBI and intelligence agencies have concluded, that there was foreign interference in 2016 and 2020 on the Republican side. And going after big dollar, dark money groups that may have foreign connections and donors is a way for Republicans to say that there's a lot of foreign influence on all sides and, you know, that, that everyone, should try to clean up their act.

NIALA: Hans Nichols is a political reporter at Axios covering national politics and the White House. Thanks, Hans.

HANS: Thanks guys.

FRAN DRESCHER: We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity.

NIALA: That’s SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher at a press conference yesterday announcing Hollywood actors' biggest walkout in four decades. Axios’ Tim Baysinger has more on the strike.

Tim, how big of a deal is this and how is this going to affect the rest of us?

TIM BAYSINGER: This is a massive deal because it's not just the first actor strike in 43 years. It's the first time that two Hollywood unions have been on strike at the same time since 1960. To give you a sense of how long ago that was, the president of SAG was Ronald Reagan.

The actors are striking residuals, but also the oncoming threat of AI, especially generative AI. A lot of actors are really worried that through deep fakes and through face scans, that their work can be copied eventually.

So, what I'm watching for next is, obviously, immediately, every scripted film and TV production that's going on stops. And we saw the effects immediately when on Thursday shortly after the actors called for the strike Matt Damon and Emily Blunt Stars of next week's upcoming Oppenheimer film from Christopher Nolan left the film's UK premiere before the film started on Thursday. So, you're going to see a lot more delays. And there's some other people in that I've talked to in the industry that feel that while this looks really dire right now, this is actually gonna get this whole labor issue sorted out quicker because now, I mean, Hollywood's effectively shut down. So the idea is this will really force everyone back to the bargaining table.

NIALA: Axios’ Tim Baysinger

In a moment, what the world's increasing heat does to our bodies.

NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today, I'm Niala Boodhoo.

This week, more than 100 million people across the U. S. were under alerts from a dangerous heat wave that brought sweltering temperatures from Florida to California. Extreme heat is the number one weather-related killer in the U.S. during an average year. And here to help us understand how heat affects the body, and what we can do about it, is ask U. S. healthcare editor Tina Reed. So Tina, what exactly happens to our bodies when they get overheated?

TINA REED: Typically when we get really hot, our bodies are really good at regulating themselves. That's why we sweat and the sweat evaporates and it cools us down. The veins in our body actually will constrict or dilate depending on where they are, to help move heat around and get it out of the body. But when it gets really hot, when we're outside for prolonged periods of time, and then depending on who you are, maybe you're an older person or a younger person, maybe you're on even a certain medication, it gets harder and harder to regulate when you are in these extreme temperatures.

NIALA: So let's take out those extremes and just say for the average person, how hot does it need to be and how long do you need to be outside for things to be dangerous?

TINA: One study, researchers said that they'd previously believed 95 degrees Fahrenheit at 100% humidity, which is equal to about 115 degrees at 50% humidity, was the maximum temperature a human could endure before they could no longer really adequately regulate their body temperature. A 2022 study from Penn State researchers found that number was actually lower, about 87 degrees Fahrenheit. And once again, that is for healthy young individuals. And so we're not talking necessarily about maybe an older person or somebody with a health condition that puts them at higher risk.

NIALA: I see you were researching this I wonder if anything surprised you in what you found, anything you think people might not know about heat in our bodies?

TINA: One thing that struck me as a runner, and as somebody who often exercises out in the heat, was that The risk that people put themselves at if they do experience prolonged heat exposure is that they can actually permanently injure themselves. It's not just you fuel up with a little bit of water, some electrolytes, you cool down and you can bring yourself out of heat exhaustion. People can actually cause some pretty serious injuries to their body including, heart damage, kidney damage, if they get into that zone where they're actually getting to heat stroke. And so it really is important to take it seriously. On the other hand, researchers are also keeping an eye on what all this additional heat means for our long term wellness, that, for instance, around 91 degrees in Austin, Texas kids start being less active at recess, adults saying it's too hot to walk around outside. And so that begs the question, what do we need for our cities to do to adapt so that we can continue being active, even if it gets too hot outside.

NIALA: That said, what do people need to know about heat stroke or to try to prevent that?

TINA: So it sounds so obvious and boring, but water, water, water is the, the big message here. When a researcher is explaining to me why this can hurt your cardiovascular health they were saying that sweating and losing a lot of fluids due to heat can actually alter your electrolytes, it triggers arrhythmias and it can ultimately cause a heart attack. So just understanding the mechanics of that really drives home why we need to just do something as simple as drink enough water.

NIALA: Tina Reed is Axios’ health care editor and author of our daily vitals newsletter. Thanks, Tina.

TINA: Thank you, Niala.

NIALA: One final thing before we go… the FDA approved the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill yesterday.

Opill is expected to be available – online and in stores – in early 2024. It’s unclear how much it will cost. But the pill manufacturer, Perrigo, says it will be accessible to people of all ages.

With this the U.S. will join more than 100 countries that already sell contraceptive pills without a prescription. We’ll take a deeper look at this historic decision next week with Axios’ Oriana Gonzalez.

That’s all for this week. Axios Today is produced by Fonda Mwangi, Lydia McMullen-Laird and Robin Linn, along with senior sound engineer and producer Alex Sugiura. Alexandra Botti is our supervising producer. Aja Whitaker Moore is Axios executive editor. And Sara Kehaulani Goo is Axios’ editor in chief.

I’m Niala Boodhoo. Stay safe, enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

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