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The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

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Simplifying The State Episode 6

Speaker Johnson’s precarious position, Trump’s assertive campaign strategy and Trump’s mounting court cases

Adam (00:00.701)

Welcome to “Simplify in the State.” I’m Adam Watson. On today’s show, Speaker Johnson’s job in the air after a foreign aid bill passes the House. New polls have Biden leading Trump in a general election showdown, showing a more aggressive campaign focus from the Biden team. Trump’s court cases begin as issues arise for him and his campaign. After the House passed a foreign aid bill, a $95 billion foreign aid bill.

Nicholas  (00:03.31)

I’m Nicholas Perrin.

Adam (00:29.373)

Johnson’s future as speaker is in doubt as more conservative members of his party voiced extreme opposition to his allowing it to pass. So this has been the big political story. We’re kind of seeing something we saw in October where Kevin McCarthy did a deal with the Democrats to

keep the government open. He then got ousted by the more conservative members of his party. Do you think we could see a repeat of that? Or is this kind of inflating talk from the far right part of the house?

Nicholas  (01:16.398)

I think it seems unlikely that the Speaker of the House gets ousted. The Republicans only have a majority of one, so if the hard-lining Republicans decide that they want him ousted, it’s going to be very difficult for them to get the support in the House to do so. And even if there are some Democrats who would like the Speaker of the House to be ousted. It’s likely that not enough of them would be in favor of that to have enough to oust him.

Adam (01:58.109)

Right, I kind of looked at the numbers when it came to the bill on top of the 210 Democrats who voted for it, Mike Johnson brought with him 101 Republicans. So you have 101 Republicans who are possibly willing to keep Mike Johnson around who are loyal to him, and who would probably not vote for an ousting. I also think there are Republicans who remember what happened when they tried to elect Kevin McCarthy when they tried to find a new speaker, it was chaos for a good many days in the House. And for the first time, electing McCarthy was a couple, it was a week or something. So I don’t think they want to have a repeat of that, because in polls directly following this, the Republican majority was viewed very disfavorably because they were kind of being seen as possibly dysfunctional. I also think kind of what you said, I don’t think the Democrats would vote to oust him. I mean, Johnson, there have not been signs that he has approached Hakeem Jeffries, who’s the Democratic minority leader in the House. There have not been indications that he’s approached him to kind of shore up possible Democrat support if a vote were to be brought. I also think, and this hasn’t, this is just something I think could have happened. I think there might have been a deal between Jeffries and Johnson to kind of bring the Senate the foreign aid bill to the floor because Johnson was very hesitant about it. So what could have happened was Jeffrey said we’ll provide the votes to make sure you don’t get ousted if you bring this to the floor. And again, that’s speculation on my part. But that’s something that could have happened. But again, speculation. Also, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has been spearheading this thing to get Mike Johnson removed, went on Fox News and said, Mike Johnson’s speakership is over. He needs to do the right thing to resign and allow us to move forward in a controlled process. If he doesn’t do so, he will be vacated. So kind of looking at that, do you think this show is possible?

Adam (04:19.965)

kind of lack of centralized leadership in the party right now if some of your constituents in the house are seeking to get you removed from your job. Do you think that could possibly cause some future issues when it comes to getting things passed?


Nicholas  (04:39.118)

Well, yeah, there’s been some division in the Republican party for a little bit now, especially with  Trump and Nikki Haley in that sense. And onto what you said just now, with Marjorie Taylor Greene saying that Mike Johnson should be ousted. Trump also said he supports Mike Johnson on this and that. quote, “I think he’s a very good person.” So yeah, there’s a lot of division. Well, not a lot there. Some division in the Republican party could get in the way of them trying to pass anything.

Adam (05:21.789)

Yeah, and that’ll certainly be interesting to go on because she has not specified a date where she would possibly bring this to the floor. I know she has a couple of people who would second it to get it onto the vote, onto the floor for discussion, and then possible votes, but she hasn’t announced a date. So again, that could be a grandstanding on her part, we’ll have to wait and see to find that out.


New polls have Biden ahead in the general election rematch against Trp. However, polls in key battleground states Georgia and Arizona have Trump Up against Biden. Looking at a national sense, Biden is doing somewhat relatively well, but in those must-win states that he won in 2020,  Arizona, and Georgia, he’s not doing too well. I know those have traditionally been red states and he only won those in 2020 by somewhat slim margins. What do you think about comparing the national to the state polls?

Nicholas  (06:26.798)

Comparing national polls to state polls, there will be some differences. And yeah, in the national poll, the Democrats have a slight edge. And in those states that you just mentioned, Trump is leading by a little. There are some of those states that will probably matter in the

upcoming election and in that Trump Is not able to go out and campaign because of the court cases that he’s currently in. I think that Biden could continue to inch his way up and maybe gain a majority in those states.

Adam (07:18.077)

Kind of looking at the polls real kind of a poll nerd Looking at that real quick. There was an April 6th on April 18th. There was a Marseille college boy. I’m not sure if I’m saying that the name of that college correctly where it was a matchup with Third-party candidates not just with Biden versus Trumpwith Biden versus TrumpBiden in a couple of polls recently is up by one, two three-ish points, But what I found interesting about this poll was that there were 1,000 47 registered voters. It had Biden at 43%, Trump at 38%, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at 14%, West at 2 % and Jill Stein at 2%. So I think that also looks as to the state with third-party candidates. I know we’ve been talking a little bit about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on this podcast, but he’s got more or more moments than our third-party candidates have had in the past. I think as the election progresses and we get closer to November, and this is true with most third-party candidates, most of the steam goes away after the primaries are over, after the results are in, and after the nominees are chosen, there’s kind of a kind of reckoning with the voters where they have to think to themselves, who do I want to be president? And then they kind of make a decision. And typically they go with one of the two parties. And then we see some of the steam for the third-party candidate kind of dissipate. But I think this also indicates that Kennedy is going to probably pull more votes away from Trump than he does from Biden. I mean, look, just kind of looking at his campaign messaging and what he kind of believes in it more aligns. So with the conservative side of the aisle, it does with the left-leaning side of the aisle. So I think that Kennedy will stay in the race up till November, which he has indicated that he will do. I mean, he’s picked a vice president, vice presidential pick, and everything. He, that could probably mean bad things more so for Trump Than it does. for Biden. What do you think?

Nicholas  (09:38.734)

Yeah,  what you said earlier is that as the election grows nearer and when it comes time to vote, uh,  the people who do vote think that if they were originally supporting third parties, they would think that if they do vote for this third party and it would be ly that this third party doesn’t win, then their vote really

wouldn’t matter. That’s what a lot of people think. And, if this continues, if that trend continues as it should, then that’s those voters that are being taken away from Trp, and being in Kennedy, that won’t matter as much because a lot of the steam for Kennedy will have died out anyway and we’ll go back to the two main parties.

Adam (10:39.421)

All right, yeah. Biden has also been kind of focusing his, I think possibly one of the reasons is Biden, I think could be, he’s been shifting his campaign towards a more abortion-centered, election interference-centered kind of fate of democracy kind of thing he’s been doing, which I think Biden in… In terms of issues with separating the two candidates, Trump Seems to be trusted more when it comes to things the economy when it comes to things the border. But Joe Biden, I think is probably trusted more when it comes to abortion, when it comes to climate change, and when it comes to threats to democracy because there was an NBC poll, which kind of with a poll of a thousand registered voters, they had them list the issues that they cared most about. 23 % said inflation is a top issue. 22 % said immigration and the situation at the border. 16 % said threats to democracy. 11 % said jobs. 6 % said abortion. 6 % said healthcare. 5 % climate change. 4 % Social Security and 2 % crime. So most of the issues that the voters care about seem to be issues where Donald Trump has a bit of a lead over Biden. And so that’s why I think we’re kind of seeing Biden start to push the issues he’s trusted on more, the threats to democracy and the abortion issue. What do you think, kind of looking at that?

Nicholas  (12:32.11)

Yeah, probably is smarter as an election campaign to focus more on the issues that you are more trusted in.  We talked about this last time. We talked about FDR’s last podcast. He put a lot of emphasis on fixing the economy in his election and worked for him. He got four terms. I’m not saying that’s going to happen.  something of the sort is going to happen for Biden to the… to as extreme, but I think that pressing the issues that you are more trusted with is the best election strategy.

Adam (13:10.845)

Right. Also, there was a thing with the NBC poll, which showed that his approval rating has kind of ticked up a bit more since January. It’s gone up about the amount of the dis – his disapproval rating has fallen about four points since January and his approval rating has gone up a subsequent four points. So I think we’re seeing him push the issues he cares about more. And then we’re seeing this affect his actual approval rating, which approval rating-wise, he’s not doing great. He’s low 40s, something that is not what we saw with candidates  Obama, and Bush. But I also think that in a political landscape in America where it is as polarized and politically. divided as it is, 42 % is not as bad as it sounds. It’s very difficult to get a large number of people to agree that a particular candidate is doing a job. So I think he can probably win with 42%, but I don’t think he can win with  38 or 37%. So keeping that mid-40s is decent. It’s not super great, but it’s not dang, but it’s not press the panic button level. stuff for his campaign. Donald Trump’s hush money trial has begun with the former president now facing the possibility of being the first president in history to be found guilty of federal crimes. What do you think this could have on the election? I know we talked about it a little bit last time. What do you think? Just looking at his campaign with this kind of policy. We just talked about looking at his campaign strategy now on top of his being in court.

Nicholas  (15:13.774)

Well, his being in court is not helping his campaign. It’s hurting a lot. And if he does get found guilty of federal crimes, yeah, that’s never happened before.

Adam (16:00.285)

Yeah, I think the verdict is probably less of an issue. I don’t know if we will get one before November, but I think again we talked about how it could impact his ability to be out there on the campaign trail. I mean obviously, a guilty verdict would hurt him in the polls. Although the opposite verdict If he is acquitted that could be very good for him not just in the sense that he’s been found innocent, we talked about  10%, 20 % of voters who are concerned about a guilty verdict in a federal case and how that could hurt him (come election season when it comes to credibility).

Adam (19:48.189)

All right. Well, thank you so much for listening to Simplify in the State. We will see you next time.

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Adam Watson
Adam Watson, Reporter
Adam Watson is a freshman and new reporter for Globe this year. His interests encompass history, politics, and video games.
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