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Elections 2020: No one is taking it for granted, which ‘bodes well for Democrats’: Rep. Dan Kildee

Representative Dan Kildee joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the 2020 election and what’s at stake.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: And let's dive right into the anticipation over the election today. We are joined now by Congressman Dan Kildee, he is a Democrat from the 5th District of Michigan. He's running for re-election, is well ahead in the polling there. Along with our Jessica Smith, who covers Washington and politics for us.

Congressman, thank you so much for being here. Obviously, a lot of states are very important this cycle around, and Michigan is one of them. Talk to us, I mean, obviously, you're looking at it through the lens of a Democrat, as a Democrat, but what are you seeing on the ground there? And how do you think Michigan is going to go?

DAN KILDEE: Well, I'm fairly optimistic, only because what I see and hear is so dramatically different than what we heard in 2016, where people obviously erroneously were confident that Hillary Clinton would win. Among Democrats, there's no false confidence. And so yesterday I was at Flint City Hall, the last day of early absentee voting and there was a line all the way up to the sidewalk, hundreds of people lined up to vote. And so I guess if there's one overarching sentiment, is that no one is taking this election for granted. And I think for Democrats, that bodes well.

JESSICA SMITH: Hi, Congressman, Jessica Smith here. Looking more broadly, how important is it for Democrats to kind of build back that blue wall that we've heard so much about over the past four years? And do you think that is going to happen this year, both when it comes to the race for the White House and Senate and House races?

DAN KILDEE: Well, I think we will. I mean, I think this will be a Democratic victory. I think Joe Biden will win. I don't think it's going to be necessarily a landslide, although that's certainly a possibility. But I think red waves and blue walls may be a thing of the past. Identification based on party is diminishing. I think people are much less oriented toward parties than they are toward individuals or movements or issues. And so I think we may have to kind of get past the idea that there are so many predictably red or blue states.

I mean, look at what's happening in Texas, for example. That has been considered a reliably red state for a long time, and suddenly, it's in play. I remember a couple of decades ago when California was essentially a red state. And now it's a reliably blue state. But I don't think any of that sticks forever. I guess that's the point.

BRIAN SOZZI: Congressman, President Trump has really a lot of bluster on what he has done on the auto industry. The 5th district is very important to the auto sector. What have you seen under the Trump presidency? And how do you think Joe Biden would handle the auto industry?

DAN KILDEE: Well, first of all, with President Trump, he says a lot of things. Does not necessarily check or even concern himself with facts before he says them. We have fewer auto manufacturing jobs in Michigan than we did when President Trump took office. And that's before the pandemic. Obviously, the pandemic is throwing a monkey wrench into the entire economy. But before the pandemic, we had still had a net, significant net loss of manufacturing jobs in the auto sector.

To know what Joe Biden would do, we just simply have to look at his record. When the auto industry was flat on its back just about to go bankrupt, potentially go into extinction, Barack Obama and Joe Biden stepped up, rescue the American auto industry and gave us a fighting chance. So I think their two records are fairly clear. Under Donald Trump, we've lost manufacturing jobs. With Joe Biden, we have somebody who's willing to take action to rescue those jobs.

JESSICA SMITH: Congressman, what do you expect to see from the president tonight? We've heard from him in the days leading up to the election fighting mail-in ballots, fighting the counting of ballots that were mailed in. What do you expect to see from the president tonight? And how are you going to approach that if he does, as there is some reporting saying that he's going to claim victory early, even if the results aren't final?

DAN KILDEE: Well, I heard President Obama yesterday say this is what two-bit dictators do. I mean, this is insane. The fact that the president would decide that because he says something, it must be true. We have a pretty long tradition in this country of actually counting votes before determining what the outcome is. Candidates don't get to decide who wins. So I expect he'll do something ridiculous and stupid. At least in that sense, he'll be consistent.

JULIE HYMAN: Congressman, thank you very much. Congressman Dan Kildee, Democrat of Michigan talking to us on this election day, and of course, our Jessica Smith as well.