Sanders campaign example of 'Netflix model of fundraising': Former Obama adviser

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, including the 2020 presidential race.
15:24 | 02/24/19

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Transcript for Sanders campaign example of 'Netflix model of fundraising': Former Obama adviser
I want to make sure that in the years to come, the same opportunities that were there for me, a kid that grew up in the public schools in Texas, can be there for anybody. I'm in this fight because I truly do believe this is our moment. I believe it is time to restore truth and justice. How about that? You see every single day that president trump is trying to undermine our constitution. I am going to run for president. What's going to be different this time? We're going to win. First votes are a year away, but the campaign in full swing this February. Let's talk about it with our round table, with Chris Christie. Also Heidi kite Heitkamp, a former democratic senator from North Dakota as well as our reporter from "The Washington post". Welcome to you. We have our political affairs director, and also Alex Castellanos, an ABC news contributor. Let's start with Bernie Sanders. He says he's going to win this time around. 77 years old and already targeted by the president as a democratic socialist, but 24 hours into his announcement of that fund-raising base. $6 million in right away, and another $600,000 from people who pledged to give him every single month. It's like the Netflix for running a campaign. He's going to be a challenge this time around. I worked on Howard Dean's campaign in 2004. Against John Carrigan. And everybody else in the world, and there was a sense it was a battle for the hearts and minds of the democratic party, but at some point in Iowa, new Hampshire, South Carolina, early on, departments decided we don't -- Democrats decided we don't want a revolution. We want to beat George Bush. Bernie Sanders is going to find this time people don't want a revolution but they want Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders, his ideas have been adopted by many other candidates, many other Democrats, but there is that concern that he's going to pull the party too far to the left. Well, I think that a couple of things are going to happen. You're going to see people get in who are going to broaden the scope of democratic ideas that are going to be put on the forefront, but to the point of the money, money doesn't matter as much as what it used to in my opinion. When you step back and take a look at kind of the record crowds that everybody's enjoying in Iowa -- I mean people are coming out because they want to examine each candidate and pick the candidate who in their mind, the highest priority is who can beat this president. Money may not matter, but the sign you have this movement behind you could. It could and I disagree with the senator having gone through it a couple of years ago. Money matters because what's going to happen is whoever emerges out of this will wind up having a huge target on their back when they start to do well, and they have to have the money to answer, and if you don't have the money to answer, you're going to lose because I love all the characterization of Iowa and New Hampshire voters especially early as being so discerning and they want to come and meet you in person. They want to meet everybody in person, but they also watch what comes in their mailbox and what comes over the TV and guys like Alex wouldn't have made the fortune he has made over time. Sanders will matter, but, you know, it's a Republican dream that Sanders could be the nominee. Can I jump in and say it's increasingly -- the Democrats on capitol hill and Democrats jumping in on 2020 are becoming increasingly glaring where you see the candidates supporting medicare for all? The new deal, and free college getting corporate money it of politics on capitol hill. Nancy Pelosi is keeping her -- She's holding the line against some of her new members as well there. They're introducing ideas, but they are not going to be voted on on the floor and there is a reason for that, and that's because most Democrats on the hill are afraid of these ideas and I think they go too far. It's a presidential campaign. Politics will just swamp public policy over the course of the next 18 months of or so. They're going to have to be careful. That shows. It shows. It shows the divide in the party though. President trump loves the the idea of Bernie Sanders front and center. He couldn't be that lucky again, could he? The democratic party is going as crazy far left as Republicans did far right under Obama, and it's a gift. I mean, socialism didn't work for the pilgrims the first two years half of them died and now that's the democratic party agenda. There are three democratic primaries to take on trump and all of them are going -- there's the establishment primary with Biden and klobuchar. What about the quakers? That was their model. You're going to have the Progressive primary, which Sanders has the money and the lead and you have kamala Harris and Cory booker for the Obama black primary. Which one -- I think kamala Harris is going to succeed in that one, and you will see Bernie Sanders and maybe klobuchar. I would bet you right now kamala Harris can go beyond. She's being pegged -- I would be careful there. There is no such thing as the Obama black primary. I think kamala -- Yes, there is. They are both extraordinary candidates who can appeal. That's my point about kamala Harris. I agree with, that but that's -- right now the democratic primaries -- You're all judging -- you're all judging the democratic party ideas by the people who are in now. What happens when Michael Bennett gets in? What happens when brown gets in? What happens when you see Bloomberg get in? You mentioned Joe Biden. Do you think he'll get in? I do. I think the vice president will feel a calling and feel a necessity to bring that gravitas and I think the minute he gets in, he's going to be the recognized front runner. There is an opening for that right now. He has name I.D., a lot of democratic voters are sitting there because they don't know the alternative, but the soul of the democratic party is rapidly anti-Trump and going crazy left and belongs to ocasio-cortez. That is wishful Republican thinking. The democratic party. We did it as Republicans. Alex, there are folks who are sitting in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, California, which was an early state on super Tuesday this time who are worried about the education of their children. They are concerned about health care. Which is why Warren is -- This is what happens in Washington, D.C. At the end of the day, they're going to dominate. We're going to move away from Let's get back to this. Let's get to what's practical here, and what campaigns come down to are candidates. Forget about all the ideology and everything else, it's candidates. Who's going to perform. Who's going to perform. You have seen this. I have seen this. I have lived it. Kamala Harris learned this in her first week when she's talking about smoking pot listening to tupac. Tupac's album didn't come out until six years after she was in college. You're shaking your head, Patrick, but let me tell you. She has probably told that B.S. Story in California a thousand times and no one ever called her on it. When you run for president, they call you on everything and who's going to perform -- Whether they tell the truth now? That's a new standard. When the lights go on -- when the lights go on, there is only two alternatives. You either shine or you melt. Those are the only two alternatives for presidential candidates and we'll see who does what and it's way too early to try to figure it out with these folks and when Joe Biden is seen as the front runner which I think he is if he gets in, this is a guy who has run twice and hasn't exactly shined both times he ran. Governor, you know a thing or two about fanciful tales. Oh, Patrick. But at the end of the day, the governor is right that this really is about performance. You showed the clip at the very beginning, George. Every candidate with the exception of Amy klobuchar started each sentence with I. I believe, I feel. They understand at the end of the day, it's whether people can trust their value and their story. One of the things we have been seeing is since the government shutdown, the president has something of a comeback recently. Heading towards the mid 40s, and not there yet, but this emergency will be front and center on capitol hill this Right. Exactly. The president thinks this is a good re-election. Something that he can run on and that's going to help him and, you know, it shows that he is obviously catering to his base and she's showing he's putting them front and center, but in doing that, he has sort of upended the re-elections potentially of other senate Republicans. There are 22 senate Republicans -- They don't want his vote. They don't. And a lot of them were privately telling the president, please don't do this. Don't do this. This is going to create a terrible precedent. If we have a president Bernie Sanders someday, if he's going to do something with the green new deal on his own, and call this an emergency, we can't have that. We're seeing a lot of those same Republicans who privately were telling him, don't do this, come out and say that they're not going to push back against him. Still his Republican party and by the way, if the election were held today against the democratic party he's running against, I think Donald Trump will win by more than he won last time. The democratic party is going crazy left. The only thing that has changed -- neither party has changed. Republicans nor departments as president trump is elected and now he's not theory, but he's fact. It's an impressive record. Security. The midterm election -- Excuse me. The appropriation of that fact. Let's not forget that happened. That's important. But women in particular -- That's what you have to understand. Midterms are a referendum on the incumbent. Presidential years are choices and the Democrats are offering a choice of going left. Trump is saying -- Democratic choice is not -- that's not yet clarified. That's why you have a primary contest, Alex. Trump's choice is clear. Growth and locking the doors at night and security. The Democrats' response has not been about either of them. It's been about the mommy bear party caring and nourishing, like a 1950s sitcom. So health care -- health care, child care and -- I'm not advocating. I'm just telling you. Trump has a strong hand going into 2020. If you think the economy in a year is going to look like the economy today, you are wrong, and the tax refund issue is real. I know this. I mean, you're going to say while the taxes were reduced, people count on that we fund and they feel they got shortchanged and they look at economic and business investment that never materialized. They looked -- they packaged this signature piece for this president. It's not a great political strategy. And I'm not hoping for bad news, but I think bad news is predictable in this cycle. I mean, I'm not the only person saying this. I think -- look at -- It's socialists. One of the indicators in the economy is agriculture. We have record bankruptcy. Alex is counting on that socialism label sticking, but Chris, I want to bring up a different point inside the Republican party. It seems to be trump's Republican party right now. You had bill weld saying he's going to run against him. Larry hogan, governor of Maryland had this to say this week. I was just sworn in a month ago for my second term, and I have got a lot of work to do here in Maryland. I would say I'm being approached from a lot of different people, and I guess the best way to put it is I haven't thrown them out of my office. How real is this idea of the significant challenge to the president? Not real. There is probably nobody in American politics who knows Larry hogan better than I did because I was there in 2014 who went in there when no one thought Maryland was winnable and I invested $2 million in him and we got him over the finish line. He won both times. Only the second Republican ever to be re-elected governor of Maryland in the history of the state because he's a smart politician, and a smart politician is not based on this set of facts to challenge Donald Trump in a primary because these guys have 80% approval ratings among Republicans. I think what Larry is doing and he has got some issues he cares about. She's going to use it as a platform to speak out about the issues to bring the party back towards where he is, but the idea that Larry hogan -- bill weld isn't serious and no one takes him seriously. Larry hogan would be serious, but my theory is he wouldn't do It's political suicide to do that right now. This is Donald Trump's party still. Two years later. Look no further again to the national emergency. It comes out as an investigation. Larry hogan will be with a whole group of people running. Republicans were out speaking against this emergency declaration for weeks. He ignored them and they're backing off, and this is trump's party. What does happen with these follow-up investigations? We haven't seen Robert Mueller's report. And do you sense any concern among your former colleagues on capitol hill that if Robert Mueller finishes his job and hands it off if they're going to be wary of going too far? I hope so. I think they are. I think they realize that one of the worst things that can happen in my opinion is impeachment. I think that you have to win at the ballot box in order to have a -- have a real future for this country. Does that mean no investigating? No, it doesn't mean no investigating, but it does mean -- what do you do with that investigation? All of that information is critical and important and the public needs to know. 20% of the public believes whatever the president says. The next 20% will say, yeah. He doesn't always tell the truth. So what? You have 40% who aren't really going to ever care. You're looking at the 20% that you hope you can persuade. The past is prologue. The polling a year before president Nixon resigned said that 50% of Americans thought too much media attention was being paid to watergate. The day he resigned, a quarter of Americans still supported Richard Nixon. Are you full speed ahead? Democrats in congress are absolutely going to continue these investigations. Ere's more than enough fodder when you consider every institution that Donald Trump has touched, has come into being questioned from his cabinet picks like his current labor secretary to his foundation that he had to shutter. Here's the thing though. There better be some there there. If they're going to decide to go down that road -- Patrick. Patrick, this is a different context now because when you are getting into a presidential election cycle, people see it as not being necessarily legitimate, but being political. Even more political when you have these candidates that they're not going to be able to control themselves. How does that affect your former colleagues in the southern district right now that seem to have a serious investigation? Not a lick. Not a bit. They don't care. When I was U.S. Attorney in new Jersey, everyone used to refer to them as the sovereign district of New York. They believed they are sovereign power onto themselves in the southern district. And they listen to no one. They barely listen to the attorney general. They will do whatever they think they need to do, and that's what I have been saying as you know, for ten months here. The southern district of new York investigation is monumentally more perilous than Bob Mueller ever was or will be. They have two tour guides and no restriction on where they can go. That is the last word. Thank you all very much.

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

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