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DNC week: On Wednesday, August 20 Axios co-founder Mike Allen hosted a conversation on the future of the Democratic Party, featuring Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), DNC Chair Tom Perez, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

Mayor Levar Stoney unpacked his efforts to remove confederate statues and monuments in Richmond and the racist historical legacy they represent.

  • On taking down confederate iconography: "We should be ashamed of these monuments. We should be ashamed of these symbols as Americans...I know in 2020 that my city is better than that. I know my state is better than that. And I definitely know that my country is better than that."

Sen. Cory Booker discussed the historic 2020 election ticket, his vision for how communities can expand their view of what makes safe neighborhoods, and how to maintain transparency and accountability in governance.

  • On the nomination of Sen. Kamala Harris as VP: "I think it's this feeling of affirmation that for the first time since the founding of this nation, I can look up at that historic ticket and see myself."
  • On rethinking community safety and situations where law enforcement gets involved: "We need to...treat mental illness not with jail or prison, but with help and health care. Those kinds of things ultimately reduce violence, make us safe, safer, but more importantly, elevate human well-being and human flourishing."

Gov. Phil Murphy broke down New Jersey's COVID-19 response and highlighted which successful efforts could be replicated by other states.

  • On his advice for other state governments: "I think history will not judge you harshly if you overcorrect, if you are too aggressive with this virus. I think we will all be judged, on the other hand, very harshly if you under-correct, if you underestimated."

Tom Perez stressed the importance of getting out the vote for the fall election and discussed the efforts undertaken by the Democratic party to uphold voting rights.

  • On the Democratic party's voter protection efforts: "We've never had a more robust voter protection operation than we do now...The reason for this is that Donald Trump has been very, very clear — [he's] going to try to make it harder for eligible people to vote. [The Trump campaign] doesn't want everyone to vote. They want less people to vote. That's their only formula for success: suppressing the vote."
  • On the 2020 election and the historic Democratic ticket: "This is history-making. And so many levels, shattering the gender glass ceiling, shattering the racial glass ceiling...This is historic, but it will be only a historical footnote unless we win."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 6, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation unpacking the news following Election Day

Axios's Courtenay Brown and Margaret Talev hosted a conversation unpacking Election 2020, featuring Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and The Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt. Discussing the immediate results of the election and impending results from key swing states, Axios's Niala Boodhoo and Mike Allen opened the event.

Scaramucci discussed his projections on the impact of a Biden win, from economic policies to President-elect Biden's ability to work across the political aisle.

  • On his view of Trump's economic policies: "[It's] a hijacked, deformed brand of Republicanism...massive deficit spending and sometimes very reckless behavior when it relates to public health and safety."

Steve Schmidt assessed the impact of the Lincoln Project on the 2020 election, his observations on geopolitical trends, and discussed how the Lincoln Project plans to move forward into 2021.

  • On the role of the Lincoln Project during the election: "We were effective in accomplishing what we wanted to do: defining the race around Trump. We've always thought that the race was about one thing...it wasn't about issues. It wasn't about policy."
  • How Trump's ideology fits into global trends: "I believe it's a statist authoritarian ideology with fascistic markers...All over the world, we see democratic recession. It is not a mistake that Nigel Farage is on a stage with Trump in Arizona."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse highlighted the integrity of the voting process in light of President Trump's claims that President-elect Biden was working to steal the election.

  • On the legitimacy of the election: "It also looks like the vote the count has been done in a pretty legitimate way…there have been lots of allegations of fraud, but it's all been just talk and there's been no evidence to support any of it."
  • On his Senate colleagues' view: "I've got a lot of colleagues who are going to find the end of Donald Trump a real relief. And by colleagues, I mean Republican colleagues."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.