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San Diego Votes

 October 30, 2020 at 9:57 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Nearly a million local ballots already cast as we head toward election day. What does the polling say about San Diego's top races? UTS endorsements are in the papers. Editorial director explains their picks and how covering election night will change this year. And the top of the ticket. Will America give president Trump another term or is the end near for the mega movement? I'm Mark Sauer. The KPBS Roundtable starts now. Speaker 2: 00:31 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 00:36 Welcome to our discussion of the week. Stop stories. I'm Mark Sauer and joining me on this remote edition of the KPBS round table. Andrew Keats, assistant editor of voice of San Diego, Matt hall, editorial and opinion director for the San Diego union Tribune and KPBS investigative reporter Amica Sharma the ballot for a presidential election is the longest of them all with myriad, local state and federal races. And don't forget all of those ballot measures, but there are a couple of key races to watch that will determine San Diego's direction in the years to come will be the city's next mayor. And will Democrats be able to set the agenda at the County level? Recent polling by voice of San Diego gives us a snapshot at the mood of voters down the stretch and assistant editor. Andrew Keats is here to dive into the numbers. Hi, Andy. Thanks for joining us, Mark. Thanks for having me. Well, let's start with the race for San Diego mayor, which you wrote about this week. What does your poll say about the matchup between both Democrats, Todd, Gloria, and Barbara? Speaker 3: 01:36 Well, basically found a very close race, a slim lead for a assemblyman, Todd, Gloria, but by no means one that he or his supporters could be especially comfortable with with a week to go. Uh, and that's especially because there's just a huge number of undecided voters. The poll found that there were basically a third of all voters in the city, uh, still had not made up their minds yet. Uh, at, during the time of this midwife Speaker 1: 02:02 And mayor Kevin Faulkner Republican is on his way out. We know he has a favorite between these candidates. Yes, Speaker 3: 02:08 Not said, uh, I think, um, it would be interesting to see if he comes out and, and endorses in the, in the last week of the race. But so far he has, he has held his tongue. Speaker 1: 02:18 You wrote about the democratic shift in city politics in recent years, you were just mentioning that the local Republicans have a plan to compete in the future, the local Republican leader, who might be emerging moving forward. Speaker 3: 02:30 Yeah. So the, the person who has run the Republican party for the last decade is on the way out after this. I would say though, that it mostly depends what happens at the national level if Donald Trump wins. Well, I think we have seen a pretty clear indication of how San Diego County voters view the Republican party under Donald Trump. Um, they have lost basically up and down the ballot in every election since Donald Trump won. Uh, so that would be bad them sort of, uh, putting together some, some sort of coalition rebranding themselves and getting back into a position to win elections, but parties re you know, parties remake themselves all the time. Uh, it was not too long ago that the Republican party had a different image under George Bush, that then had a different image in the era of the tea party. It had a different image, uh, with Mitt Romney as its standard bear. And it has a different image now with Donald Trump. So it would be I think, a little bit hard to, uh, to determine exactly what to expect from Republicans locally, until we have a better sense of what direction they're going in Speaker 1: 03:32 And nationally, right? Well, let's turn to the County supervisors and that's a five member board of course, and one Democrat, is there another seat has two Democrats running. So one seat in particular district three is going to determine the partisan makeup of that board. What does the voice poll tell us about that? Speaker 3: 03:49 I think would come as a, a bit of a surprise to people who are not on the inside of local politics. Uh, so Tara let Lawson Riemer who is a Democrat who has never held local office is running against incumbent Kristin gas bar. She's a Republican and the former mayor of Encinitas and Terra Lawson reamer. The challenger holds an almost 11 point advantage over Kristin gas bar, 42%, 31%, again, a large number of undecideds about 27% of the electorate still has not made up their mind. Uh, but for a challenger to lead over an incumbent by 10 points down the stretch, I think really does send a message about just where the Republican party stands in Sandy, Speaker 1: 04:30 Right, and gas bar courses, a Republican. And she is a really kind of a, been close to president Trump and quite happy to have photos taken early on in the back there in Washington with him. You think that's got an effect here, right? Speaker 3: 04:43 I think it seems like it has. And there's an interesting piece of data we pulled out of this poll that I think indicates just where that is. So when Kristen gas bar ran in 2016, which was, you know, she was relatively new to, to a race as high profile as the County supervisors, she was sort of seen as a bit of a moderate. She represented Encinitas, no one's sort of ideas, uh, as a conservative, uh, hotbed. And she knocked off a scandal, plague Democrat in a swing seat. That's the third district in the County supervisors, uh, is, is sort of the, the most mixed, uh, in terms of voter registration of all the seats on the County board of supervisors. Uh, but then very quickly, she, she sort of had a gap where she told KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen on election night that she thought it was important for her as a Republican to support Donald Trump. Speaker 3: 05:33 And then once she was in office, she flirted with a congressional run. And during that congressional run, she took an opportunity to travel to Washington DC, to meet with Donald Trump about some immigration and sanctuary city so-called sanctuary city policies that she took exception to. And that association has absolutely plagued her. It has been the basis of the campaign against her, a campaign that now looks have opened up a over 10 point margin. And, uh, you know, I think one indicative piece of information is Republicans in this district, 17% of them are voting for Terra Lawson reamer, whereas 11% of Democrats are going for Kristen gas bar. So the democratic challenger is getting more Republican crossover votes than the incumbent is getting democratic crossover votes. Uh, the incumbency effect would in, in a typical situation, seems to suggest the exact opposite of that. So there, there really is a referendum going on right here on, uh, Terrell on Kristin gas-powered that gives her, puts her in an uphill race with a week ago. Speaker 1: 06:37 All right. And finally, the primary election happened just before the COVID 19, a pandemic changed everything and how we gather and socially interact won't be any big election night parties. How are you and your colleagues, a voice going to be adapting to covering election night under these Speaker 3: 06:52 Circumstances, Mark, I still wake up in cold sweat sometimes thinking about, uh, all the, the large gatherings I was bouncing between on election night, back in March, it was, this was like 10 days before we went into lockdown. And I was many times that night mingling in groups of 50 a hundred people. It just feels like a, like a nightmare from a previous life. Uh, but yeah, so I think, you know, from what I've talked to about campaigns and different parties, they're setting up the state standard election nights, speeches and press availabilities through zooms. So we'll probably take those on, uh, we'll do a lot of our updating of results, um, from home, you know, the registrar will, we'll still do their they're relatively timely updates come election night, once polls closed that we'll just have to watch remotely. So I think that, I really think that golden hall is a nice San Diego tradition. It's, it's one of the few acts of civic participation that I think we all, we all get to look forward to here in San Diego. And I have, unfortunately not heard of any effort to remake that bi-partisan non-partisan, uh, event in a, uh, you know, digital space, but campaigns, parties will each, uh, kind of try to put together their own, uh, sort of approximation of the, the standard downtown election central, uh, experience. And we'll try to cover it that way Speaker 1: 08:18 World and lots of news next week, as we move forward, I've been speaking with Andrew Keats assistant editor for voice of San Diego. Thanks very much for joining us. Thanks Mark. A lot has changed when it comes to elections in 2020, but one time honored. American tradition has not newspaper editorial boards across the country are making informed reason endorsements for races up and down the ballot. Our local paper of record, the San Diego union Tribune has done the same and the UTS opinion and editorial director, Matt hall is our guests to tell us about their picks. Welcome back to the round. Speaker 3: 08:50 Always great to be here, Mark, or be at my house. Speaker 1: 08:53 Yes, we are remote again. We, well, we just talked with Andy Keats over at voice of San Diego on the mayor's race. So let's start there. Who is the UT endorsing in that race? Speaker 4: 09:02 We endorsed Todd Gloria over Barbara Bry in that race. It was actually a tough race. They're both really good candidates. Uh, ultimately Todd's housing policy drove a lot of our discussion in our view, we we've kind of been pioneers in the state. We were calling it the housing crisis before others were, um, and we think we need to build a lot more housing a lot more quickly, and that regulations get in the way. Uh, and, and Todd is closer aligned with that point of view than is Barbara. Speaker 1: 09:30 Tell me about the process that, uh, overall, at least with these local races, as you determine the papers, uh, editorial choice, you traditionally talk with the cat candidates directly. And does your discussion get heated you to pass out boxing gloves just in case? Speaker 4: 09:46 No. Yeah. Uh, Alka seltzer, maybe these, some of these discussions are long, are long discussions, right? Sometimes they can take days. Uh, and this was a particularly tough year for, especially for city politics. The city council races were, were really tough calls this year. There were some races, uh, including district five, between Marty Von Wilpert and Joe Leventhal, where it was a really, really hard, that was the hardest decision. It was a really hard decision. There were candidates that say San Diegans are well-served in, in these races, whoever wins in many of them. Uh, there is one exception I'll point out in district nine where Kelvin Barrios is, uh, uh, uh, a smaller version of Duncan Hunter with his campaign finance scandal and has suspended his campaign. So if you live in district nine, don't just vote for Sean Isla Rivera because Kelvin Barrios quit, uh, but vote for Sean because he's a really good candidate. Speaker 4: 10:42 But to your question, um, you know, we get in a room, we, we, we bring the candidates in this year was different because of the pandemic we, we brought in candidates, uh, via zoom. So both candidates come in at the same time. It was really interesting to see the dynamic there discussions, how they, uh, ask questions of each other. Most of those discussions were fairly civil I'd say. Um, and, and I enjoyed all of them. It was a lot of work to prepare for those interviews. It was a lot of work to do the interviews. After the fact, we shared all interviews with people as we did in the primary, when we shared, uh, our audio and full transcripts of these interviews, we shared the whole video. So people can not only judge the candidates, but judge the editorial board Speaker 1: 11:22 Voters of course have the final say, well, we have a couple of open congressional seats this time. Uh, who's the UT endorsing in the 50th district and the 53rd district. Yeah. Speaker 4: 11:31 Those are interesting discussions for us. They're both really interesting races in the 50th. We endorsed a Mark camp on a jar over Darryl Eissa in the primary. We had a co endorsement of split endorsement this time around we, we, we thought that Amar was a better, a better candidate. And for those who read our endorsements though, they'll see it, wasn't a rosy picture of Amar. We thought he is the type of candidate who sticks his finger in the wind and says things based on prevailing winds. But when it came to Darrell, Eissa his conduct in the primary, um, when he was running against Carl mile and the mailers he had, where he called out to miles sexuality, we thought that that was too much that that was disqualifying. Uh, so that's our, our take on the, on the 50th and the 53rd, another super interesting race. There are Jacobs who was running for, uh, her second congressional seat, uh, against Georgette Gomez, who is a city council president, and has done some pretty impressive things. As council president. We ultimately sided with Sarah. We thought that she's ready, more ready to hit the ground running that Georgia didn't have, especially the international relations foreign policy skillset to, uh, to serve in Congress, uh, and hit the ground running. Speaker 1: 12:46 And I want to pick one of the propositions prop 22, that's the expensive ballot measure. A lot of money spent on that one for the gig economy. Where does the union Tribune editorial board land on that? Speaker 4: 12:56 We're a yes on that, which, which we think, first of all, it is a ton of money. It's $200 million at the yes side has spent in 20 million that the, that the no side has, has spent, but after hearing people from both sides, our thought was that that measure, uh, it is necessary that aid assembly bill five Smothers, or, or would smother the gig economy and riders and drivers, excuse me, drivers. And so, uh, we think that a carve out for them, uh, makes some sense, Speaker 1: 13:26 Look ahead to election night. You've covered a lot of these elections. I've covered. A lot of them COVID-19 has changed the way we all work. Now. Uh, there won't be any mass gatherings at golden hall or elsewhere. And from a news gathering standpoint, how election night, uh, differ for your team? What's the experience going to be like? Speaker 4: 13:43 Yeah. W well, the big change of course will be that the pizza that the newsroom usually devours, you know, I'm hoping Laura Cicala, if you're listening, send a couple of pieces to everyone on my team, because we'll need that. No, I joke. I mean, look, it, I, I've been telling people for weeks not to think of this as election day or election night, that it's really election month, uh, across the country more than, uh, I think it's 80 million people will have voted by day's end. Oh, you know, this week we're talking about tens of millions of people that have already voted, Oh, 136 million people voted in the presidential election in 2016. So we're already more than halfway there. My team we're going to have, you know, we're, we're moving our deadline later. Steve brain is going to be working late. So we'll have a cartoon delay, 2016, interesting quick anecdote. He had four cartoons ready based on the outcome of the election. And we may do something similar. This cycle will have a roster of, of local analysts that we're going to lean on for a real-time election analysis. Uh, and I think it'll be a fun, exciting night, even though we're all doing it from home Speaker 1: 14:43 Before we go, let's look at the top of that ticket president of the United States, who is the UT endorsing. And I'm probably not going to be surprised Speaker 4: 14:49 Here for the second in 152 years of, uh, the San Diego Union-Tribune is history. We are endorsing a Democrat for president Joe Biden got our endorsement. You know, we've been pretty critical of president Trump for his rhetoric. For some of his policies. We wrote an editorial out of the first presidential debate that said not only is president Trump, a bad president, he's a bad person. And our take is that Joe Biden has kind of the moral clarity and the personal story at a time when 228,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 Biden has his own personal tales of loss. And so I think is, is, is better suited for, uh, helping America move its way through this pandemic and which we're only in the middle of, but we came down on the side of Joe Biden as most editorial boards did. I think at last count, there were 44 in the country that endorsed Joe Biden among the nation's top 100 and only six that hadn't endorsed Trump, which was a similar breakdown to 2016. And it didn't really matter because president Trump became president Trump, but we'll see what happens this second. Speaker 1: 15:52 Yeah, we will. Even the New Hampshire times leader, a ultra conservative and never endorsed a Democrat before endorsed Joe Biden this year, too. So very odd. I've been speaking with Matt hall opinion and editorial director for the San Diego union Tribune. Thanks Matt. Good luck in an election night, Donald Trump eked past Hillary Clinton four years ago, running as a non-politician the unconventional populist central to his four years in office and current campaign has been an endless documented tort of misinformation and lies. Trump has coupled that with constant attacks on political opponents, the press and certain government officials, this amid the overriding story this election year COVID-19 Trump's handling of the crisis has been broadly criticized yet polls and approval survey show Trump consistently holding about 42% support among Americans joining me for a peek inside the election. Circus 10 is KPBS investigative reporter and co-host of election night coverage on KPBS TV, Amica Sharma. Amantha welcome back to the round table. It's good to be here. Well, voting has been underway for weeks. Now. Turn is already a huge story. Joe Biden has a considerable lead across many polls in the popular vote and in many key swing States. Yeah, Trump claims that unless he wins, the results will be fraudulent. The election rigged. Can we expect a normal election next week? Speaker 5: 17:14 Not on any level. Uh, and Americans know that, um, as you referred to in your intro, 120 million people voted in 2016, already more than half of that number have cast their ballots in the 2020 election. And, you know, unlike any other time in our history, president Trump has done a lot to undermine the election for months. He's been alleging voter fraud, even though his own FBI director has said that voter fraud is not widespread. He has said the only way he can lose this election is if there is fraud. And he has said, the system is rigged. He has mail in ballots are corrupt, even though he has voted by mail in ballot in the past, Trump has said without producing any evidence whatsoever that thousands of dollars have been destroyed, that postal workers have been arrested. You know, one of the things that that has to be emphasized is that mail-in ballots are a voting process used by Democrats, more than Republicans. The goal is to create enough questions about mail-in ballots to have those ballots thrown out. And president Trump has tried to slow down the post office. He has fired up his supporters to go to the polls, to monitor what he calls his election fraud. And he has said that if he loses, he will challenge the result. Speaker 1: 18:36 We should note that a mail-in balloting has been done for decades, that actually dates to the civil war it's been done in modern times by several States, almost exclusively for many years now, Speaker 5: 18:47 Without any problem, but he is setting the stage for a Supreme court fight. He has said, he believes that newly confirmed Supreme court justice, Amy Coney Barrett will side with him. And he may have a point just this week, the Supreme court sided with Republicans in Wisconsin in a five, three ruling that Wisconsin can count. Only those absentee ballots that arrived by election day. Even if the others were mailed days earlier. Speaker 1: 19:17 Well Trump's misinformation and lies have long been documented. The Washington post famously is tallied more than 20,000 since inauguration day, New York times this week parse just one of Trump's many campaign rallies. And he called, they called it a font of misinformation in lies, 131 false statements in 90 minutes. And Trump retweeted that president Obama may have faked the killing of a Sama bin Ladin and ed seal team six assassinated to cover it up. What does this say about the American political scene that so many people now put up with such obvious lies? Speaker 5: 19:47 Oh, it says a lot. A lot of Americans are numb. It's estimated that they will have been inundated by nearly 25,000 lies from president Trump. Since he took office by election day in the beginning of the president's term, the post reported that Trump told an average of around five or six lies a day, he has set an all time record. I believe it was an August, uh, telling 187 lies in one day. You can, well, imagine how desensitized Americans have become, because they have heard so many lies from this president. I mean, we still keep hearing him say that we are rounding the corner on COVID when the actual numbers show we're in the middle of a third surge. But I also think that there are two other points to make about this, which at their roots are very sinister and they have contributed to the numbness. Speaker 5: 20:44 One is just the type of the president has told, like when he referred to white supremacist marchers and the counter protesters back in 2017 as having very fine people on both sides, or he described the Confederate general, Robert Lee as an honorable man, these lies are so disturbing that, you know, they numb even further. And, you know, Mark, I think that between 30 to 40% of the population truly believes president Trump's false hoods, no matter how bizarre they are. And I think that they are complicit or accessories in allowing themselves to be deceived because so many of the misrepresentations by president Trump can be so easily debunked. And one example is mask wearing. Boodles of doctors have come out and said, you can slow the spread of COVID. You can stop people from dying of this virus by simply wearing a mask. And yet even that has become a partisan issue. Speaker 1: 21:50 Right? And, uh, it's, it's got some, some dangerous, as you say, sinister aspects to it, to the CIA whistleblower whose revelations led to Trump's impeachment has reportedly been in hiding under guard after Trump called for his ouster and some right-wing media allegedly named him. And Michigan's governor the alleged victim of an attempted kidnapping and murder plot that was busted by the FBI. She reports death threats multiply when Trump goes after her at rallies. And then of course, dr. Anthony Fowchee reports, death threats, after Trump goes after him. Have we ever seen anything similar in modern political discourse? Speaker 5: 22:24 No. No, we haven't. And it's hard to imagine that we will, if president Trump is defeated, but you know, Mark for the past three years, when you and I were working at KPBS, what did you and I consistently say to each other, whenever we were talking about national politics, whenever we were talking about president Trump, it was, you cannot write this stuff. These three examples that you decided are really stunning. But to my earlier point, we are numb. We've been inundated with these very extreme and disturbing stories that there's no real time to process to, to contemplate and to act. And then it's unclear what options are even available to act. And social media does not help. The disinformation gets out there. It's texted, it's posted just last week. The pack called the American principles. Project tweeted a new video that falsely claimed that Joe Biden supported sex changes for eight year olds. You can't make this stuff up. It was viewed tens of thousands of times. Speaker 1: 23:28 Well, you recently interviewed Phillip Halpern, uh, retiring federal prosecutor here in San Diego. He said part of his decision to leave has to do with politics, influencing the justice department under Trump, right? And he was joined by a lot of former, uh, attorney, uh, us attorneys, Republicans, uh, in a similar, in a letter they signed this week and they're supporting Joe Biden. Speaker 5: 23:48 Yes. Uh, Phil helper. And I have to say, he, he really was candid about how he felt. And he thundered, you know, when he, when he talked about, uh, president Trump threatening to jail, his opponents threatening to jail, Hillary Clinton and president former president Barack Obama, he foundered when he said, you know, this is not normal. We can't simply say, Oh, that's just Donald Trump being Donald Trump. We cannot normalize this and he's not alone. Uh, several former federal prosecutors, many of them Republican have come out and said that president Trump is a threat to the rule of law and they've, they have endorsed a former vice president Brighton for presence. Speaker 1: 24:40 Well, before we wrap, tell us about the local election coverage, you'll be coerce anchoring on KPBS television. Next Tuesday, after polls closed, Speaker 5: 24:48 I will be co anchoring our election special along with my colleague evening edition, anchor Maya Tripleseat on election day, our coverage starts at 10:00 PM. We're going to have the latest results, the election results in the presidential race, the U S Senate, the house races in San Diego and across the country. We'll talk to our reporters about the San Diego mayor's race and the three seats that are up for grabs on the board of supervisors. And we're going to get some analysis from our guest experts, Speaker 1: 25:16 And I'll be doing updates on KPBS radio, 89.5 FM with Sally Hickson as part of our election night coverage from NPR and the California report. I've been speaking with KPBS, investigative reporter Amica Sharma. Thanks to me either. It's good to speak with you, Mark. That wraps up our last round table before Tuesday's historic election. I'd like to thank my guests. Andrew Keats, a voice of San Diego, Matt hall of the San Diego union Tribune and Amica Sharma of KPBS news for comprehensive coverage of all races and ballot issues here and across the state. Check out our voters I'm Mark Sauer. Thanks for listening and join us again next week for an election Roundup on the round table.

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What the latest polling tells us about San Diego's top races, the San Diego Union-Tribune explains its election endorsements and voters prepare to give President Trump four more years or end the MAGA movement.