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Political Pundits Talk National Politics

From pressing national issues to the functionality of bipartisanship, political experts Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd, and Harold Ford Jr. have a wealth of experience and knowledge on the country’s current political state.

Donna Brazile – Contributor, Fox News; Veteran Democratic Political Strategist, Adjunct Professor; Author; Former Syndicated Columnist

Matthew Dowd – Chief Political Analyst, ABC News; Best-Selling Author; Campaign Strategist

Harold Ford, Jr. – Former U.S. Representative, Political Pundit, MSNBC and CNBC







Detroit-born Dowd is a veteran political consultant. Over a thirty-year career, he has worked on both Democratic and Republican campaigns. Currently a political analyst for ABC News, he will join Donna Brazile, contributor for Fox News and veteran Democratic political strategist, for a conversation moderated by Harold Ford Jr., former U.S. representatives and current political pundit for MSNBC and CNBC, during the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

The Detroiter spoke with Dowd, Brazile, and Ford to preview their forthcoming conversation.

The nation’s current political climate has grown especially toxic since the 2016 election. In your view, what social forces were responsible for Donald Trump’s election?

MD: Donald Trump is the result of our current political climate, not the cause. A certain segment of the population feels both left behind economically and uncomfortable with the pace of social change in the nation. These were the two pillars supporting Trump’s election.

Does the current hyperpartisan environment in Washington present an insurmountable obstacle for progress on our most pressing issues?

HF: The moderates versus the extremes paradigm in each party is creating dysfunction across the political system. That is what has to stop. Fortunately, voters have a way of electing candidates that will do that.

In our current hyperpartisan environment, what course could our nation’s leaders take to most effectively “reduce the temperature” and bring back the spirit of civility and bipartisanship?

DB: The more people come together, the more they have dialogues, both of which lead to a vibrant democracy. Civility is vital for a well-functioning democracy and it must begin with us. As citizens, it’s our responsibility — as well as those we elect to serve in public office — to engage each other in healthy and civil debates and conversations. We can have honest disagreements about the issues and challenges our nation must confront without resorting to name calling and other uncivil debate.

How would you assess the current state of the Democratic Party? Is the high number of candidates vying for the 2020 nomination a good or a bad thing?

DB: It’s great to have such a large group of candidates to choose from. As to who I like among the 2020 Democrats… who’s not to like? There are steady hands and fresh faces, years of experience and tons of potential. They aren’t divided on what they want—fair and honest elections, economic opportunity, human rights for all, universal healthcare, action on the environment, and an America engaged with our allies to defend ourselves.

I wouldn’t make a choice at this point, and I’m glad that I don’t have to. The Democratic primary voters can make that choice, and I feel certain that they will love doing it.

Do you feel our country is evolving along a positive or a negative track?

HF: For better or for worse, the country is in the Trump era — they want no nonsense, problem solving, shake it all up in DC kind of politics.

DB: Even with the improvement in the economy, voters are still anxious and worried about their own personal finances and happiness. We are living in a period of profound uncertainty at many levels, including civil unrest. MD: I’m pessimistic in the short term, but optimistic in the long term.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Paul Vachon is a metro Detroit freelance writer.