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Trump supporters are feeling a 'sense of betrayal': Sen. Sherrod Brown

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown joins the On the Move panel to discuss the Democratic National Convention, mail-in voting, and what to expect from the 2020 presidential election.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: One of the things that people sometimes make a mistake is assuming that Wall Street is the greater economy. And at last night's Democratic National Convention, the message was we're all in this together. Listen to what Michelle Obama said in her speech.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can-- Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job. But he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.

ADAM SHAPIRO: To understand what happens next with the Democratic National Convention, but also the message of this convention, we invite back into this stream Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from Ohio. He used to be my senator when I spent 10 very good years in Ohio. It's good to see you, Senator.

SHERROD BROWN: Thanks, Adam and Julie. Thank you both for having me. Thanks.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Look, whether you watch Fox News, whether you watch MSNBC, there was praise for what Michelle Obama was saying last night. But I wanted to ask you, how do you get people-- I get how people in Cleveland Heights would resonate with that message-- but how do you get a Trump supporter who might be in Strongsville, Ohio to switch and go from voting for President Trump to a Democrat?

SHERROD BROWN: Well, you get them to switch because Trump voters are-- not all Trump voters by a long shot, but some percent of Trump voters are having second thoughts. They've seen his phony promises of populism, kind of this phony populism that he put out there that he's on our side. And increasingly, voters are thinking this guy's not on our side. When there's a fork in the road and it's a choice, do you go with corporate interests or do you go with workers? Trump every time goes with corporate interests.

And then they see his colossal mishandling of the coronavirus. You know these numbers-- we're 4% of the world's population, yet we've been victimized by-- we're 25% almost of the world's deaths. And that's not because Korea or Germany or other countries have better doctors. It's because they have leaders that have addressed this pandemic in a thorough, deep-seated, studied way and listened to the doctors. And Trump has not done any of that.

So I just think there's a feeling of a sense of betrayal and that Trump's not on their side. And they like what they see in Biden. They like this sort of build back better that Joe Biden is offering them.

JULIE HYMAN: Senator, it's Julie. It's good to see you again. It's a cliche in politics that the party that gets more people to come out and vote is the one that's going to win. And I wonder, is fear of another term of Donald Trump enough to motivate people to get out? Because it sounds like it's going to be logistically difficult to vote for many people this time around. Or is there enough enthusiasm for Joe Biden himself to get people to come out and vote?

SHERROD BROWN: Well, it's always both. But I think that, as it was in 2006, some people went out to vote against Hillary. Others went out to vote against Trump. But I think that it's a contrast. It's the contrast of do you want four more years of this and [INAUDIBLE].

You can look at what's happened with the coronavirus. Do you want four more years of this divisive talk and playing to race and playing to our differences? And last night was a lot about unity. And you saw a very diverse group of people across the screen-- not just diverse in terms of their race and background, diverse in terms of their politics, the number of Republicans that were there speaking for Biden, because people want us to look to unify.

But I also think, Julie, in direct answer your question, I think people are more determined to vote than ever before. And even though trying-- it's in President Trump's head that he's going to lose. He wants to move the election back. He said that he wants to stop people from voting, because he knows if everybody votes, he's going to lose. He knows all those things.

So I think that's just made voters more determined. Voters that don't like Trump, voters that do like Biden are more determined, even if Trump does try to undermine the effectiveness and efficiency of the Post Office, even if Trump does try to suppress the vote in many ways, which, clearly, he's trying to do. It will all backfire.

And this whole thing attacking our Postal Service and trying to dismantle equipment, take equipment out-- in Cleveland, there is a machine that processes 10 letters per second. That was unbolted and taken out of a facility. And they did 50 of those around Ohio. So you know Ohio is a swing state when that's what they do.

RICK NEWMAN: Hey, Senator Brown, Rick Newman here. I'm glad you bring up what's happening at the Postal Service. So it looks as if Democrats in the House are going to come back and probably pass some kind of bill addressing what is happening at the Postal Service. My question is what will happen in the Senate with that type of legislation? And can Congress actually force the Postal Service to deliver all the mail ballots that it needs to deliver this year?

SHERROD BROWN: Well, those are good questions. And no, the Senate-- the Senate-- Mitch McConnell sent us home. We've done nothing to help local governments. We've done noth-- 600,000 Ohioans two weeks ago saw their unemployment, their $600 a week unemployment check just stop. 600,000-- what are they to do about paying the rent? What are they to do about feeding their kids and keeping their families in any semblance of normalcy?

McConnell is just not doing his job. He won't do his job here either. But there's something about politics. You shine a light-- the governor of the Federal Reserve, [INAUDIBLE] president of the Federal Reserve in Richmond once said make sure you watch us. Make sure you let us know we're watching you-- then make sure-- that we are watching us.

And McConnell is already-- the Post Office has already backed off some of the stuff it's done because of public pressure. And the Post Office is-- delivering ballots is only a small part of what it does, of course. I mean, the number of seniors-- we're getting calls all the time from senior citizens where their prescriptions have come late. We're getting calls from veterans where there are benefits from the VA have come late.

And that's just-- that Trump would attack the Postal Service and put a political hack in there who knows nothing about running the Postal Service and is-- and, clearly, he's acting under Trump's orders to try to upend the Postal Service efficiencies. It's pretty clear what he's doing. And it's going to backfire. Already people that might have been voting Republican are pretty angry at the president for doing this, forgetting the mail-in balloting.

But they handle-- they handle hundreds of millions of Christmas cards every year. They can sure as hell handle-- in December. They can sure as hell handle maybe 50 or 60 million ballots. There's no question they can do it if they want to do it. And I think the public pressure is going to force them to do it right. Plus, Democrats--


SHERROD BROWN: --are organizing to get people to send in your absentee ballot requests early. My wife and I just did ours. A lot of people, a lot of Democrats are doing it. And a lot of independents that really want to vote are doing it early.

ADAM SHAPIRO: I miss reading Connie Schultz's columns in "The Plain Dealer." But I've got to ask you, Senator, how much more will this USPS issue be during the Democratic National Convention? And why-- why do we approach this as the Post Office has to make a profit? We don't require the US army to make a profit.

The Post Office is a service established by the Constitution that is a necessary service. So why do we even approach it in that manner?

SHERROD BROWN: Well, you have a finance show. And I think you know the answer to that. The answer is that there are all kinds of groups that, including the conservative ideology, wants to privatize the prison-- to privatize the Postal Service. They wanted to privatize social security. They want to privatize Medicare. They want to privatize the prison system. They want to privatize public education.

It's a political philosophy, one I vehemently disagree with. It's a legitimate philosophy. There are a lot of competitors for the Postal Service-- to the Postal Service. And the more they could discredit its inability to make money, the more they can encourage their conservative minions in Congress to push towards privatization.

So it's an easy thing to attack. It's a heavily unionized workforce. It's another reason the president attacks it. Of course, the Postal Service shouldn't be required to make a profit. It's a public service. And it serves every community, no matter how far away you are from a population center.

It gets you your prescriptions. It gets you your bills and your benefit checks or your paychecks. And it's obviously so important. And the American public is seeing that.

It's one more thing the pandemic has shone a light on and showed the American public how important it is-- to public health system, the Postal Service, all that. Good, good point though, Adam. Thanks.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Senator Brown, it's Brian Cheung here. I wanted to ask you, going back to the convention yesterday, of the speech that we heard from former governor of Ohio John Kasich. Pretty unprecedented to have a Republican of that stature, especially given his role back in the 2016 election, to be mentioning the bipartisanship efforts that he's trying to make.

I'm wondering if you can comment on his speech yesterday. What do you think about his remarks? And what does it signal about maybe where Biden's momentum is headed into this election?

SHERROD BROWN: I think it's significant. It was wrapped up with several others-- the former Republican nominee for governor in California, former presidential candidate two years ago, four years ago, a former member of Congress who was married to a member of Congress who's-- he was, I believe, head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. So it's a series of Repub-- then the new guy that came out yesterday whose name I can't remember-- Taylor, maybe, the chief of staff at Homeland Security that's come out against Trump, doing an ad with the Lincoln Project.

You're seeing enough of those. No single one speaks very loudly to the electorate. But I think you're making-- you're seeing more and more people thinking you know? I'm a Republican. I've always voted for Republicans. This guy's just too much. I can't support him.

And Joe Biden is a decent man and a good alternative. And I'm not changing my party, but I'm not voting for Donald Trump.

JULIE HYMAN: Senator, finally, just quickly, I want to ask you about a bill that you introduced with a few of your fellow Democrats back in March that had to do with student debt relief. Now I imagine with the impasse over stimulus, I don't know if you were able to come to agreement on this one. But just wondering what the latest is on that bill.

SHERROD BROWN: Well, no movement on much of anything in McConnell's Senate. First he sent us all on vacation when we've done nothing to help local government, to keep people in their homes, to help people with student debt, to re-up on some of the small business programs, EIDL and PPP. So I'm not optimistic that if it's not-- if it's not confirmation of a young, very conservative federal judge that Mitch McConnell is much interested.

So we're not going to see movement on anything like that. We will see movement on some big things after the election once there's a new Senate and a new president.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Sherrod Brown is married to the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz, and also happens to be the senator from the great state of Ohio. Always good to see you, Senator.

SHERROD BROWN: Thanks, Adam, always. Thanks. Thanks, all of you.