The Big Vote: Issues, races and people that matter in the midterms

Steel workers discuss how Trump administration policies have helped them, and two members of March for Our Lives urge young people to vote.
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Transcript for The Big Vote: Issues, races and people that matter in the midterms
Hey welcome to the big vote on DeVon. Wire them race to control congress gets real. Four weeks from today. 470. Seats up for grabs all across the country this week on the show. Will focus on the latest forecast from some of the smartest in the business on who will win control of the house. And the senate will also take a look at what this mid term election means for you. First up the big issue this week is jobs unemployment in this country now at its lowest level in nearly fifty years wages though and benefits. Lagging a bit behind. How Long Will this search last and who will voters credit miles. In our big race this week we had a Pennsylvania in the district that kick started all this talk about a potential blue wave by Democrats. What's happening on the ground in Pennsylvania seventeen today. What does it tell us about how borders are feeling. And in a big number today we dive in the house and senate races will Democrats win control what Republicans hold the line we have the experts here from 538. And our political director Rick Klein. And in our big profile this week we have a conversation with two Brothers from the Parkland Florida high school they're leading a national conversation on guns. What impact of teenagers and millennial have on the twenty team campaign. Our top issue this year is in most midterm elections is jobs and the economy as we said not since Vietnam has unemployment been this low. But if you haven't received a raise lately you're not alone most economists tell us employers haven't given their employees' raises in nearly a decade. There are signs that could be beginning to change we'll talk about that talk about the economy coming up and how could affect the mid terms. But first we traveled and take a look at one industry that's seen a particular Renaissance in this Republican control there are here in Washington. The steel industry. We went out to Reading, Pennsylvania and summit steel will remain a lifelong machinist accompany president. Who told us how this economy is giving them hope. My toddler was the milk main interest and he couldn't put in Dutton a bolt together I always wanted to help. No matter where I go. My data day job is I made part this is the only thing that I've ever done in my life. There's machining. My uncle George. Was machinists. And he handed his toolbox down the main when I was just graduating from protect school 1982. I've been all my way everything. I know that this is one of the things. That was. In this tool box when I got it from uncle George back in 1982. Redding used to be a big thriving. Manufacturing center what much of the manufacturing has moved away. Justices. Been on an upturn for sure were pretty steady company for the thin. Steady upturn certainly since this new administration is coming officers did a huge difference to malveaux quotation and often. I moved to Redding about 19841985. There was a pretty serious downturn I was one of many who were laid off and when that happened. They're so it's back to mom. Live my mom again until I was able to get work here reading. They're sharp edges anywhere so that way when the guy that wells this to the plate he doesn't have to worry about getting. Wounded when he picks it up. The tariffs affect us so obviously will be more pay more for a role maternal and we have from being a middleman in the process we don't manufacture. Deal we manufacture parts for customers to win that you'll price goes up we have to pass not a war customers. Really nothing we can do we'll call. My hope that the future is good I hope that we continue to level the playing field for us here in the US against foreign competition. Because I think did. This is looted the field is. Fair we can keep people work and Washington. That's a whole matter matter. No doubt in my thinking in Washington we'll get people to understand. Hardly fits live the common person. The war we have been given back were really taken it is for as we possibly can and a make him work. My thanks to our producer Janet Weinstein for that peace and a Frank Gehry and the whole team at some of steel for hosting that's this week there. As you saw that piece so much optimism right now in many corners of the economy and it's not just limited to blue collar workers. Out we'll hear from someone in a different sector just a second joining us live from Seattle but first. Want to bring in an economist I want to bring in Mary Ashley Bach Hanson she's a professor of economics at American University to talk a little bit more. About how sustainable the second economic boom is and what outcome that may have what impact it may have. On the November 6 election Mary thanks so much for common and happy new year. So give us your bottom line on all of the numbers we've seen all the headlines over the past few weeks this is a really good look at the economy. He is it sustainable in your view. You now it is sustainable the seeds of this expansion and we're really sound before the 2016. Election. We expect them. This he'd stood continue to grow. Though it's important to recognize that and did who wrote that we see and some area it's. I sat buying as the IMF is in putting out this week. The potential downsides. Reid used trade overall city IMF is downgraded their growth projections. They're still positive they've downgraded them from what they had last quarter. San it's important to realize that as as we look at the election. We've died. Two sides to Wear a back. You're seeing a lot of companies corporate America hundreds of companies giving. Voluntary pay increases raising their own minimum wage they're giving bonuses to employees some of them crediting that tax bill. That congress pass a little bit earlier this year. What sort of an impact do you see the politics of this town the politics of the election having an economy long term. Right now I don't really think. Other than the fifteen dollar number in particular. I don't think that the bidding up of wages. Warehouse workers for example. Is something that. Is a surprise. When there. The demand for folks with its skills. They're needed right now in our economy is very high we know that employers have to do that their wages so we totally would expect that. What I think I'll condiments. I thinking about right now is. Wages may begin to rise at the bottom of the wage but as wages are going to be squeeze. Many candidates campaigning. On the good economic numbers as you know thank you so much important stuff to keep in mind our national by cancer and I economist at American University thanks for cumin and Mary. Want to bring in now somebody from the flip side of that equation Erik Christiansen joins us live from Seattle Washington he is a worker at Amazon one of those. Quarter of a million Amazon workers in this country that have received the benefits or will receive the benefits next month that increased wage at that company Eric thanks so much return us on the big vote. Thank you. So give us a sense of your reaction to this news seemed to sort of come out of the blue last week that the company. Said they would be raising the minimum wage for most hourly workers to fifteen dollars an hour that's got to be a pretty good thing. Yeah I know it's fantastic I remember. In the morning like I saw a news article that that day they announced in my building it was super cool. And how did they deliver we're seeing some picture. From one of those Amazon factories were looks like it was delivered on the floor to some cheering. Yes so for us it was delivered in in a break room and we had a meeting with all of it they answered questions and stuff about all that was happening. And you've been there for two and a half years Eric process assistant. There at Amazon in Seattle. On the give us a sense of the mood. Your colleagues this certainly must have lifted lifted spirits both that the company and elsewhere at home. Yes so when they were delivering the news that people actually cheered in in the room when they were delivering it. I was gonna ask if you felt like the political environment may have contributed at all. Two to that announcement by Jeff basis. I don't really follow politics that closely at all or anything like that but I do you know like they've always. Analyze how much they paid a costly pay attention and stuff like that. You've been there as we set for two and a half years feeling pretty optimistic what's your future hold your mind me asking you. Do you see it it career trajectory at Amazon are you looking looking beyond. Yeah I am definitely like I love Amazon lays the best company I've ever worked for. I started as tier one that I worked my way of the tear to the processes are it's a tier three processor system. I'm working my way up to becoming an AM I have people they're helping develop the means stuff like that there is a great company like there's a lot of positive energy in the building it's fantastic. And before we let you go Eric. Give us the dirt your bottom line for you and your family win these wage increases to take effect next month. What will that mean for you what difference will that make for you financially. Will be a huge difference for me I'm looking for new place to rent right now Percy for myself. And this wage increase that I built up a lot of places that are in my price range and I can afford Knauss have a lot more options and I'm super excited about it. All right fantastic or Christiansen Amazon worker out in Seattle we appreciate your time thank you so much for coming on. And keep up the good work out there thank you so much. All right moving on now we have heard about the good news in the economy downward talk about the big race this week. One of the races in this country where these economic figures are factoring prominently were out in Pennsylvania. One of the key districts Pennsylvania seventeenth didn't even exist. In the last election this is a district that was recently read Ron that's words in a Norman has been reporting today and she filed this report. It's incumbent vs incumbent in Pennsylvania's newly drawn seventeenth congressional districts the country's only congressional race for two sitting congressman this is the kind of race that Democrats flat out need to win if they're going to be successful in taking back the house this fall. The race pits Connor lamb a young energetic moderate Democrat against staunch social conservatives keep rockets. Gunning for the new district now accompanied seeing all of beaver county and parts of Allegheny County with a lot of moderate voters up for grabs like Debbie deck of registered Republican who says she's undecided which candidate will get her vote. Heading our head and Tim Frasier a registered Democrat and member of the local steelworkers union. As far as a congressional election I stand behind on Alam. He's had our back and we had his back. Lamb has momentum after nearly beating a Republican in March winning a special election for the State's eighteenth district a deep red district president trump won like twenty points in 2016. Now running in this new district re John by the State Supreme Court. And home to an estimated 70000. Union workers there's a district with a lot of building trades workers construction workers electricians. Welders. Keep fraught with does not relate to them. And Connor land does last month Republican representative Keith raucous took a hit when the national Republican campaign committee stop spending money to help his campaign. Assigning eighty cutting losses but he's actually president trump who treated that he has strong on crime at the border in our Second Amendment loves our military and our vets. We felt a couple who say rock this is the way to go. He's not my hand him. I. The president's party historically loses seats in the mid terms a president trump has been predicting a red wave come November. The Levy not in this district bulls have shown lamb up by double digits and -- one poll shows 51% of the district disapproving of how the president is doing in office. It's a great to have you out there fantastic reporting to you you've been spending the day talking to folks out there you're you're just northwest of Pittsburgh this is traditionally trump country. Hot and so many people asking today why is it that a Democrat is able to be so successful. In the heart of a red corner of Pennsylvania. At a time when trump in that area tariffs steel industries we've been talking about is doing so well but even here. Old DeVon I think you have to keep in mind that Connolly M is a moderate Democrat so he was able to pick up Republican votes in that special election in March. And he's he's had a lot of enthusiasm so he's been able to do the same heading into mid terms. Stand by today thank you so much for that we're also joined by at a Kelsey our political reporter who covers Pennsylvania forestry that humans haven't. We were talking. This is a district that he's really inspire Democrats nationwide if you are familiar with Pennsylvania seventeenth. I don't blame you but this is when you should pay attention to because so many Democrats see this as a blueprint for success. Yet what kind of lame did was like you said provided a blueprint for these Democrats in. Red districts in red states throughout the Rust Belt in the midwest. On how to run during the Donald Trump heiress who basically we saw from Conor land back in March when he first won the special election. Is he ran focused on his constituents and not on national politics he ran focus on Connor Lam he's a military veteran someone he supports Second Amendment Rights he was in fever crossing party lines of president Donald Trump's steel tariffs obviously being. In the Pittsburgh area. And he basically like I said he needed about what was important to the folks in Pennsylvania's eighteenth district and that was it district. As it was formally drawn the president trump one might when he points. Connor lamb I was the first Democrat in decades now to represent that part of Pennsylvania and he did it like I said. Based on Connor lamb not Donald. This is fascinating district this is one that as was that didn't exist before as Jamie noted in her report. The only race in the country house race we have to incumbents. Facing off against each other that's because Pennsylvania read through. Their entire congressional. Districts in their state and federally. What impact is that having for Democrats and net net and it's odd campaign intensity. Will it its major for Democrats here in this is a state Pennsylvania as a whole that people seem to think is this. No ultimate swing seat 5050 Democrats and Republicans and I might be true in presidential races. But as far as congressional delegation goes it was thirteen to five in favor of Republicans back in 2016 obviously Democrats at the state level. They fought this in the courts it was up overturned the old congressional map by the State Supreme Court. He commissioned the drawing of a new map and now under the most likely scenario we're thinking that this could be a 99 split in the house delegation from after the mid terms and just. I re drawing the map Democrats didn't and likely to boost opinion today in. Pennsylvania yet we're thinking at least four more seats for Democrats that's going to be big for them as they attempt to take back out soprano what do drill down real quick to begin June day on on these these two candidates. Roth this land to very interest team political figures. Shenae you were talking to voters today. About the views the policy positions of both of these men. What's so fascinating is that they have distanced themselves from the extremes in both of their parts. Right and Evan ice think that that speaks of the fact that there are so many moderate voters. In this area who may not have a strong allegiance C or loyalty to one party or the other and I know that that was reflected in some of the voters that we spoke with that registered Republican who told us she's not sure which candidate Schobel for and the congressional race that she could end up going for lamp but because the issues and where those candidates stand on the issues are more important to her. They just voting Republican streaked down the ballot. And it was the same thing from a registered Democrat we spoke with who said that he's definitely gonna vote for lamb in the congressional race but as far as the other races it could go either way because he doesn't plan on voting just street Democrat down the ballot. Origin in Norman outside of Pittsburgh covering the Pennsylvania. In district thank you so much today all right in today's big number. Up next digging into the day today if you're tracking the battle for control of congress there is one the big number. You need to be zeroing in on our experts from 538 political director Rick Klein we'll have more on that in his second. But first here's president trump on the big number that he's watching heading into the easement. How much do you see the mid terms as a referendum on your first two years in office I hope it's a little bit at least let it could be a lot. And that's good because as you know we've just gotten tremendous polling numbers if you look at grass leaves and I think we're 52 and they think it's 52 plus something. So I think. It could be a lot I hope it's a lot because I think people do better than this. All right the president focused on his approval number there is seen another number human need to be zeroed in on details about that we have a political director Rick Klein here. Perry bacon from 538 great to have you heard were start with you traditionally. In the mid terms if a president's approval rating Donald comfort now is the low fifties most schools is below fifty. Each party in power usually loses about 37 seats and hammers. What he's seen in this particular moment in what's next week for Democrats and they can take back. So trumps and the Arizona 42 of forty there was some people's bodies are Evers has the fortitude and at BBC's easy segment. Anyway and that rain right now I would expect the Democrats win a lot of season as a 37 you can talk about twenty by the time my medium of them. The Democrats when a lot of things anatomy of the change of the building behind doesn't mean. Democrats alike investigate. Everything and I mean everything else from them these two years earlier and over every committees it's yeah wishlists he'll now. Vanessa Medina and please that weren't a lot. Art Rick let's talk about the number though to get to that point. 23. Is the number that that Democrats need to flip the need to take back those seats from from Republicans to take control. Give us the historical perspective there that number seems to be within range of possibility and certainly the pole in the 530 analysis forecast. Says that this is very doable if not likely. Yeah we're in that range and you look back at it some of the previous we have elections you saw 2006. The Democrats took back control the house 31 was that magic number. That became known as the thumping. I didn't just four years later Republicans got 68 that was there was the shellac viewed 320s. And it looks tiny compared to that effect. I'll tell you that there is a built in Republican advantage though they eat could traditionally do better in the popular vote in these house races because of the way these districts are. Are drawn that's what Pennsylvania as we just discuss about it because a significant. You have to overcome that accurate Democrat so there's really a ceiling that's pretty low no one's talking about the sixty or seventy seat may test is not gonna happen realistically speaking. Of really good night the Democrats is more than thirty maybe 35. What's a blue wave how likely is a way as the saying goes you know what you see it control of the house is one. But functional control really is something else and it is a huge deal if they take it over. But taking it all over and then having statement attached to that. Knowing you have a comforting. A comfortable governing majority to be able to actually pass things that is a different threshold I think a lot of the questions that Democrats the last leader is. Did you do it now that you have an up as always seats that you leave on the table we see a tendency for close races all in the same direction. If there's a split and you could see a split between house results and senate results the B a lot of finger pointing the day after the numbers have gotten much worse for Democrats. In terms of odds of taking back sent yet to work wrecked capital I mean it really is all about that and actually about what particular race Heidi I can't race in North Dakota and Harry site. Has been playing this out and I can't numbers have gotten worse that's how close misses its 5149. In the sense that the Democrats critically they just have to have to affable wanted seats. If they lose any of them it becomes just about a possible. But it to have an office if the going to very very red states like Tennessee and Texas to even have the outside chance of but if a pick up if the Democrats in all the wrong. Rick Klein political director of her bacon thank you so much art 38 and think that great to have you here moving on out to our big profile. We have a special guest this week and are defining feature in this election of course is the role that millennial voters younger voters have been playing in this campaign. Potts certainly a big influence driving the conversation registering their friends out on the campaign trail and there's a new group that was just out this week with the new PSA. Talking about to getting young people to sign up to lose their election virginity. Tickle. My first term IO Liz. Near it's my first time Kensington factory warehouse look. Lungs and church. It was amazing my first time everybody plot doesn't. And nobody on how to do with a pretty you know with a slightly do so many options life. You know no excuse if you like but it actually read through it so finally I just it's when. Voted. My first time we're woman who 2016. It felt good but she did and that my parents weren't allowed to do it until 1965. So I do it every chance they get we have the numbers we have the power we can index could do witness November 6. Our generation is the largest group of voters in the country must rise. Registered. And then our voice is deep. You can't vote if you don't fill out forms and register very much for LSI com to register it takes like. Fifteen minutes I was so excited afterwards that I elected all over the place. Vote vote register and vote it's. It is still home. I'm up. All right joining us now live RD two brains behind that PSA met each Ryan deeds from Parkland Florida guys think so much. For joining mr. both leaders in that march for a lives campaign as well so. Tell me about your first time Matt and Ryan I think this is gonna be your first time. My first time within when he sixteen I waited in a long line and I cast my vote and I gotta say you get better every time you vote so. It's about making sure that you go out the first time. And the U worthwhile. Yeah all right I'm my first time was. Is the primary this year so far and I've voted right next to my astronomy teacher is a good time. It's so Matt you wrote this thing give us a sense of how it's been received. Well I wrote this is my brother we thought it would be a good idea to just make it. Fun and exciting for young people to be engaged in this pop in this process because. People talk about voting on it's it's boring. Tedious you get counted it's about. Putting your voice heard today's that we are sick of this rhetoric has been pushed on us time and time again we needed change the way that we look at voting it has to be about. Making insulin that is heroic and exciting. And new for people because every election is a new experience is all about engaging a new audience a new electorate a new elected official. And we can't get stuck in the same old way of doing things. So we wanted to make sure that this way that we are telling young people how they could be activated. How we can come together and actually change the way that this country works. I was an exciting way of doing that. Irony here you're comparing it to sex I see it on for the sex appeal on the lay out the gate there at UB SA. You know give us a sense that how how successful you feel like you've been and you guys from working incredibly hard to register. Young people you 88 department kids I understand it did at twenty state tour over two months this summer trying to get people they're trying to. Thirty states huge. What was your goal and you thinking that it. While our goal is really just to raise youth voter participation an education all across the country. And from about thirty state tort like you said. We were really able to show that in areas that people would not think like an Omaha Nebraska Kansas City, Kansas Salt Lake City, Utah. These areas we're so excited to become involved in their political system young kids as young as 1012. Even has an eight years old. We're so excited to be involved in these sorts of politics to be able to make you country that they want to live in. So of course registering guys is half the battle. In the last campaigns when he 1678%. Of eighteen to 49 year olds were registered they could've gone to the polls only about half of those. Turned out. Why do you think it's so difficult to get people think that second step and you do you think this years in different. Well I think you talk about the second step is actually voting we actually break it down into read you to wrap up. In this election need to register educate boat and so registered users the first evidence about educating about what. Issues are actually on the ballot and about what actual. Candidates are going to do for us. Young people for the most part have been incredibly disenfranchising the system with our elected officials ignoring our needs. David Norris for way too long about what students actually need to feel safe in schools and actually safe in their community. And actually engaged actually better education. When you neglect education when you leave the most vulnerable people out. And their needs unmet. Why would we be engaged in a system and that's why us as young people are out there engaging hundreds of thousands young people this summer registering more people than it ever been registered and a mid term election. In order to actually change a system actually of leaders that listen tell us we've met with over 200 congressman and senators and let me tell you they are incredibly unimpressive. They are incredibly. They are just they are ready for that they aren't they are represented Oscar experts countries and the things that they told us. And so it's about making sure that young people are able to ask the right questions and get better answers because for too long we've been ignored. And before lets you go guys. As you know full well this is what. Both about registering. Young people but also about this mission that you have. For sensible. Gun law's guns school safety. Measures to be put in place after it. Horrible shooting people in word earlier this year. And you certainly have sparked an immense conversation among people your age about what to do what's effective what's not. Was curious to get your reaction to some of the things we were hearing. From voters your age out in the western part of the country were president trump has been something we talk to them and Qyntel a number of them brought up your movement had some pretty nice things to say. Would like to get your reaction to one voice that we heard from over the weekend in Kansas Nicholas. They are standing up for what they've will be. And even though we have a difference of opinions on gun control work done rise. Those kids are taken apart they're being a voice. Now meet personally. Whenever he still can't carry happening in and I can't find out. It made me feel personally see her he says. There is a chance that someone makes it easier word they're right people the right thing. Are there was Qaeda members out in Topeka Kansas over the weekend guys when you get your reaction to that in just ask. How do you win over. Kids like that who grew up in such as culturally different environment when it comes to guns. But it's not about winning people over we all agree that these policies will work in order to actually save lives universal background checks pole at about 97%. Wanting stricter gun laws polls about 65%. Especially with young people. And so we talk about what we need to win people over it just about having these conversations over 200 elected officials don't have a public stance on. Gun laws are gun issues because they're scared to touch on this because the lobby has been so strong in order to perpetuate the violence and just help with sales. Here throughout the summer we held more town halls and over half of congress. But the fact that we were willing to listen to some of these communities when their own leaders weren't willing to listen to them. It's about just keeping my conversation going and continuing to speak back and forth with each other until we actually make that change it needs to happen. Right Ryan and that each from Parkland Florida you guys are pretty darn impressive you have certainly kept the conversation going join a lot of steam power. It's in in this period since that crisis that you endured back and bravery think you both so much about the good work. Based insurance. All right and closed today with a big take away plain awful we heard from Matt and what we heard from Ryan. They take away get out there and vote only 40% of Americans vote in mid term elections that's fewer than half of us sort of pathetic. You can get out there and vote you can register today in fact. Thirteen states. Have a deadline of today to register to vote check a boat dot or whether your state is one of those states 22 states have deadlines coming up. In the weeks before November 5. And of course in thirteen states you can register to vote on Election Day check it out again vote dot org and an Get out there exercise your vote and by the way president trump treated today that you should get out there and register to vote as well. All right before we let you go just once he's ahead to some pretty fantastic coverage coming up on Friday are 20/20 exclusive. Being Malan he had the First Lady are Tonya Imus gets an exclusive access to her the first network interview she's done since being First Lady. I that's coming up on Friday at 10:9 central on your ABC stations. Of course will be right back here next Tuesday for the big vote on ABC thank you so much for watching this for a debut show. Hats off to the entire team in New York artery. Tailor our producer and to you for watching us we'll see you next.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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