There’s still 529 days to go, but the 2024 Presidential election is already in full swing.
As the campaign heats up, Elex Michaelson sits down on this week's "The Issue Is" with a Republican candidate for America’s highest office and one of the biggest progressives in the podcasting space.
First, long-time radio host and former California Gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder returns to discuss why he’s decided to throw his hat into the 2024 race and what he thinks is his best bet at beating former President Donald Trump.
Elder also opens up about the importance of fatherhood in America, what he calls "the lie" that the U.S. is still systemically racist, and his new book, "As Goes California," which recounts his experience running in the 2021 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Next, Michaelson is joined once again by Brian Tyler Cohen, host of the "No Lie With Brian Tyler Cohen" podcast.
Cohen, a popular voice in the progressive space, gives his thoughts on how President Biden and Democrats should frame their 2024 message. He also gives his brutal opinions on the 2024 GOP primary field, including former President Trump, Florida Governor Ron Desantis, and former Vice President Mike Pence, who may soon enter the race.
Cohen also discusses his own backstory, coming to L.A. to act, only to pivot to podcasting, growing a following of millions, and eventually interviewing President Biden at the White House.
THE ISSUE IS: LARRY ELDER FOR PRESIDENT
ELDER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "My father was in the military. My older brother, Kirk, was in the Navy, he was a Vietnam-era vet. My little brother, Dennis, actually went to Vietnam in the Army. I'm the only one who didn't serve, and I've always felt bad about that. And I'm doing this, Elex, because I feel like I need to give back to a country that's been so great to me and to my family. I would rather not spend my winters in Iowa. I'd rather not spend my winters in in New Hampshire. But I feel I have a moral, a patriotic and a spiritual obligation to give back to the country that's been so great to me, that's why I'm doing this…"
THE ISSUE IS: RUNNING AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP
ELDER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Republicans are of two minds, about 45. There are those who love him and there are those who love what he did as president, but fear, for reasons that I believe are unfair to him, that a sufficient number of swing voters in suburban states would not vote for the man if he walked on water. In fact, if he did, they say he can't swim…
"Now, the question is, if you like the America First agenda, and I do for the most part, virtually everything he did I agree with, but you want a vehicle who has not turned off suburban women so that enough of them will vote for him in the swing states that will control this race, I'm your man…"
THE ISSUE IS: LARRY ELDER’S DAD
ELDER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "He would be blown away [that I'm running for Presidet]. I gave a speech one time at the Ronald Reagan Library where I talk a little bit about my dad. As you know, he left home at the age of 13, never knew his biological father, which shows you it's not necessarily a death sentence, and ended up cleaning toilets until I was 10-years-old. He started a little cafe when he was 47-years-old, ran it until his early eighties. When he retired, he owned that property, the property next door to it, and the home that's still in our family. So my dad retired with a little less than $1,000,000…
"So I told a little bit about my dad, my mom - my mom grew up on a farm in Huntsville, Alabama. Both of them are from the Jim Crow South. And suddenly I was interrupted by a standing ovation because I mentioned my mom and my dad are actually here. And they stopped my speech. They stood up and they gave my parents a standing ovation. My speech is over, Elex, My first book has just come out, "The Ten Things You Can't Say in America," and people were lining up behind my dad with pens in their hands, and my dad was signing my book at the Ronald Reagan Library. Only in America…"
THE ISSUE IS: FATHERLESSNESS AND SYSTEMIC RACISM IN AMERICA
ELDER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "40% of all American kids now enter the world without a father in the home, married to the mother. 70% in the black community. Obama once said a kid raised without a father is five times more likely to be poor and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and 20 times more likely to end up in jail. Now the question is, how have we gone from having 25% of black kids entering the world without a father in the home, married to the mother in 1965, to 70% today? I argue it's a welfare state. We've incentivized women to marry the government…
"We've incentivized men to abandon their financial and moral responsibility. The second issue is this lie that the Democrats keep promoting that America remains systemically racist. We all know that at one time it was, but it no longer is. This is a country that elected, and reelected, the first Black President, the only majority white country to ever do so. As we speak, the Mayors of America's three largest cities, New York, L.A., Chicago, are all black…"
THE ISSUE IS: THE DEMOCRATS’ MESSAGE HEADING INTO 2024
COHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think that initially people get so worried about Joe Biden's age, but this is binary, it's a choice between two people, and if we look at Joe Biden versus whoever the Republican candidate is, again, most likely Donald Trump, it becomes a much clearer race in terms of, you know, not wanting to accept that extremism. In terms of the messaging that you were alluding to before, I think it's pretty simple, it is that extremism, it's the extremism that Republicans have put forward in the form of abortion bans, LGBT bans, book bans, trying to slash earned benefits like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They've put it on full display in 2018, even to a higher degree in 2020, to a higher degree than that in 2022. And they're changing nothing as we head into 2024…
"If you look at what Joe Biden's been able to accomplish in just two years in office, it's the most accomplished presidency that we've seen in our lifetimes. I mean, we're looking at the PACT Act, the CHIPS Act, which has led to an explosion of jobs in this country, the American Rescue Plan, the first gun safety bill in 30 years. We have finally allowed to the governments negotiate lower drug prices, record climate investments. We had 12.5 million jobs that have been added, the unemployment rate is at its lowest point in almost 50 years. I mean, that record speaks for itself…"
THE ISSUE IS: THE 2024 GOP PRIMARY FIELD
COHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think for the same reasons that he's strong is exactly why he's weak. It is that very, you know, it's his boisterous nature, his whatever, all of that, everything that is Donald Trump that brings all of his supporters to him, which is that, you know, 30% of the electorate, that also pushes so many people away…
"You have Ron DeSantis, who thus far has refused to display any semblance of strength, right, he refuses to throw even a single punch against Trump. So if you're trying to differentiate yourself from Trump and yet you're too afraid to actually do it, then I don't see how you're making that case to any of the voters, that I'm going to be the guy that can defeat him, and yet, at the same time, I'm too afraid to actually do anything to defeat him…
"Are you asking if there is a lane for Mike Pence in the Hang Mike Pence party? ... I don't think that there is much of a lane for Mike Pence in a party that was very willing to see him assassinated. No…"
THE ISSUE IS: GROWING AN AUDIENCE ONLINE
COHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I had initially moved to L.A. to to act and did that for a little bit... I was always interested in politics, organized a you know, to bring my whole campus down to the polling places when I was in college, for Obama in 2008, and started writing some articles for HuffPost, and eventually recognized that I wanted to do video content, and that kind of married the political, you know, love for politics, with my interest in being in front of the camera, and started a YouTube channel for nobody, really, I mean 40 views, 50 views, 100, and and just kept at it, kept doing it consistently and did whatever I thought was right, did what I kind of put on display what I thought the message needed to be, and it kind of took off from there…
"When I think about this stuff, I think about it in the way that a normal person would, because we both don't have those backgrounds, me and the rest of like regular America don't have these backgrounds where it's just thought of in terms of political terms, so, you know, I think just taking like a common sense, no b.s. approach to all of this stuff is kind of like what's been most interesting to people who watch it…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.