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2004 United States Senate election in Arkansas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2004

← 1998 November 2, 2004 2010 →
Blanche Lincoln official portrait.jpg
Jim Holt2.JPG
Nominee Blanche Lincoln Jim Holt
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 580,973 458,036
Percentage 55.9% 44.1%

Arkansas Senate Election Results by County, 2004.svg
County results
Lincoln:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Holt:      50–60%

U.S. Senator before election

Blanche Lincoln

Elected U.S. Senator

Blanche Lincoln

The 2004 United States Senate election in Arkansas took place on November 2, 2004 alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln won re-election to a second term in office, while President George W. Bush carried the state with almost the same margin of victory. As of 2019, this is the last time the Democrats have won the Class 3 Senate Seat from Arkansas.

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  • ✪ Constitution Day Lecture: Kelly Ayotte, Former United States Senator for NH
  • ✪ The American Presidential Election of 2008


- Good afternoon. Let me begin my welcoming the Dartmouth class of 2022 to campus and by welcoming back our returning students for another year. For those of you whom I have not yet have the chance to meet my name is Andrew Samwick. I'm a faculty member in the Department of Economics and I'm the director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. The day-to-day mission of the Rockefeller Center is to educate, train, and inspire the next generation of public policy leaders. One of the ways we seek to achieve that mission is to host lectures on a broad range of topics in public policy and the social sciences by leading academics, policy makers, and practitioners. If you want to stay informed about our programs and events, particularly in this anniversary year, please go to our website to sign up for news updates via email or your favorite social media platforms. It is a recent tradition at the Rockefeller Center to open the academic year with a program in honor of Constitution Day. On September 17th 1787 the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the U.S. Constitution and present it to the American public. The Constitution is the singular document that guarantees a representative democracy in the United States, and it's formed the basis of our freedoms for over two centuries. Those freedoms are a delicate balance, not just for the individual relative to the federal government, but in the responsibilities afforded to the federal government relative to state and local governments. In honor of Constitution Day, today's lecture will focus on federalism, both its importance in the design of the Constitution and its relevance for the quality of public policy making in Washington today. We are honored to welcome today Kelly Ayotte, a former United States senator for New Hampshire and the 2018 Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor at the Rockefeller Center. This visitorship and a companion internship program for students commemorate the public service of Perkins Bass, a member of the Dartmouth College class of 1934, who served the state of New Hampshire as an elected official at the local, state, and national levels. Each year we have the privilege to honor a New Hampshire citizen who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of government. Perkins Bass visitors make several trips to campus to engage with students, faculty, and the larger Dartmouth community. During her time in the Senate from 2011 to 2016 Senator Ayotte chaired the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations. She also served on the Budget, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Aging committees. She also served as the sherpa for Justice Neil Gorsuch, leading the effort to secure his confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. From 2004 to 2009 Senator Ayotte served as New Hampshire's first female attorney general, having been appointed to that position by Republican Governor Craig Benson and reappointed twice by Democratic Governor John Lynch. Prior to that she served as the deputy attorney general, chief of the Homicide Prosecution Unit as as legal counsel to Governor Craig Benson. She began her career as a law clerk to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and as an associate at the McLane Middleton law firm. At present she serves on numerous boards in both the private and nonprofit sectors. Senator Ayotte graduated with honors from Penn State University and earned her JD from the Villanova University School of Law. Our program with start with some prepared remarks by Senator Ayotte posing the question, can federalism, the genius of the Constitution restore public confidence in Congress and U.S. government institutions? We will then invite Professor Herschel Nachlis to join her for a conversation and a moderated question and answer session. Professor Nachlis is a research assistant professor in the Department of Government and a Policy Fellow at the Rockefeller Center. He received his PhD and Masters in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University and his BA in Political Science from Macalester College. He studies and teaches American politics and public law focusing on institutions, health, and social policy. His courses at Dartmouth include, Law Courts and Judges and Policy Implementation. Ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming Senator Kelly Ayotte. (audience applauding) - Thank you so much Andrew for that kind introduction. And I am very honored to be here today at Dartmouth. This is actually an important day for a couple of reasons for me. First of all, believe it or not, it's my son Jacob's birthday, which we celebrated yesterday but I had a lot of fun on the way into school today because he has turned 11 today so we were talking about the fact that his birthday is Constitution Day. And what an important day that he was born on because, you know, as Andrew said, if we go back to September 17th of 1787 that is the day that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention actually completed their work. And not all of them, but many of them signed onto our draft Constitution. And of course New Hampshire holds a very special place in the ratification of our constitution being the ninth state and the state that was needed because they needed nine out of 13 colonies to actually make the Constitution effective. And if you think about it, after four months of very vigorous debate the Framers emerged with a brilliant, innovative framework for the new American government, a constitutional republic. As we sit here today it's pretty easy to take their work for granted, but the ratification, the drafting, the final product, and the ratification of our Constitution was by no means assured at the time. And I think we sometimes forget that. The Framers believe that in order to protect individual liberty, power should not be concentrated in more than one person or one institution. To protect liberty they created a system of federalism with dual national and state governments and further, three separate branches within our federal government in Article One, Article Two, and Article Three of our Constitution reflecting on the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. This was a great conversation, by the way, on the way to school and finally my son said, "Really Mom?" OK. (attendees laughing) Now we all know that the concept of federalism or sharing power, or maybe we don't think that much about it but the sharing of power between the state and federal government actually wasn't a given at the time. If you think about this unitary system that they had come from as colonists of, it was a unitary system of Great Britain and they were reacting, really, to being subjects of the King, and so in reaction to that they went and of course our first somewhat form of government were the Articles of Confederation with a very, very weak national government which had no effect. Really no power to collect taxes, no power of the states to actually work together to enforce laws, and it was really in reaction to this ineffectual form of government that went to the other extreme that the Constitutional Convention met against this backdrop. And the debates were fierce in that convention. I'm sure many of you here have studied them in much more detail than I have, but when I thought about it today I was thinking about my own experience in government both at the state level and then also serving in the United States Senate representing New Hampshire. We all know that the approval ratings of Congress are, I think abysmal is probably a kind word. In fact, one of the students that was interviewing me today said she looked it up and I think it's at 17% right now. I think all of us would want more than a 17% approval rating and unfortunately this has been the case no matter which party is in charge that the approval ratings of Congress have a lot to be desired. And my good friend, who recently passed away, John McCain had a joke that he made all the time about the approval ratings of Congress. And he used to say that the approval ratings were so low that basically we're down to blood relatives and paid staffers. (attendees laughing) And he always got a laugh out of that. But then when they got even worse he took it one step further and he used to say, "You know what, I called my mother." And by the way, his mother Roberta is 105 and still alive and very engaged in the world. And John would say, "Yeah, and I called my mother "and was talking to her about what's happening in Congress "and she doesn't approve of what we're doing. "So now essentially we're down to the paid staffers "that approve us." Now John had such a great sense of humor, but let me just say first today that the reason he thought that Congress's approval ratings were so poor and that the American people had such a dim view of Congress is that people didn't work together. And that was something that he cared about deeply. He worked across party lines whether it was on McCain-Feingold or whether it was working with Ted Kennedy, there were many issues that he worked across party lines. And I'm sure many of you followed the funeral ceremonies for Senator McCain recently in Washington. I had the privilege, he was a mentor to me and someone who really has meant a lot to me in my life. And I had the privilege of doing a reading at that ceremony and it really struck me, first of all. John put the entire ceremony together, but to see President Obama and President Bush eulogizing the same man, to see Republican and Democrats and independents all sitting in the Washington Cathedral to honor the memory of Senator McCain. And I believe that is because of his legacy, not only as a patriot but also that he was deeply committed to be bipartisan. You didn't have to agree with him and there was often people who vehemently disagreed with him. By the way, they forget that now. But that he could be a statesman and he could bring people together. And I think the fact that there was such a big outpouring for Senator McCain was not just a reflection on his life, which was such a great one, but I think it's also a hunger right now among the American people for people that work together, for people that put country first, for leaders to solve problems. And for a moment the country stopped and really saw Republicans and Democrats and people of different viewpoints all sitting in the same room for a patriotic ceremony that mattered. And the reason I raise that today, because that is really what my friend Senator McCain thought was the problem with Washington. And he wanted people to find common ground, and I don't disagree with him because I think that a huge problem with what happens in our dissatisfaction as people about what happens in our nation's capital can be reflected in the extreme partisan differences we see now. We're not just in a place where we disagree with people. We have to insult them, too. And it's really hard to get business done when you're insulting each other. But as I've reflected on my experience I don't think that it's the only issue that is at play of why we're often dissatisfied with our government. And so I wanted to get to, also, the topic of our discussion today. One of the issues that I think is significant is the larger role our federal government continues to play and it continues to grow and how intertwined it is in people's daily lives. And it seems that often the more that the government grows and the more its involved in people's lives the more people are dissatisfied with it. And this isn't something that I just came to as some kind of philosophical conclusion. One of my jobs when I served, and I had the privilege of serving New Hampshire in the Senate, wasn't just to legislate, it was actually to help constituents and people in New Hampshire who had problems. And that's why you see members of Congress having offices throughout our state because people in New Hampshire would come to me, come to my staff, but I could of course learn about it and they'd have a problem with a federal agency. And they would have some difficulty that you can imagine, whether it was a veterans issue or a Social Security issue right, almost any issue you could think about I would have a constituent come to my office. And they really couldn't get an answer or they couldn't get their problem solved. And sometimes we'd just look at things things and we'd say, wait a minute, this is obvious. There's a really easy solution. And the person who brought it to me would say, yeah, if they just did this we could fix this problem. But the breadth and size and the rules and the regulations and the size of where things are done often made it really hard to satisfy people and to really get them the result that they deserved from their government. So as I reflected on this and really the continued expansion under frankly both parties, it's not just a one party issue. I was wondering if we should ask ourselves, are we dealing, when we legislate in Washington or when the executive branch, unfortunately, tries to legislate beyond its role, what kind of issue are we dealing with? Are we dealing with an issue that truly crosses state lines and can't be dealt with effectively at the state, local, or community level, for example national defense. Or is the issue that has come before us, is it one where more of our tax dollars and resources would be better left locally at the state, local, or even the community nonprofit level rather than the federal government taking the slice employing people, and then giving us less back to deal with a problem in our community? I think our Framers anticipated this balance when they drafted the 10th Amendment to the Constitution which states that powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution or prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectively or to the people. As James Madison described it, the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. Would people feel better about their federal officials not only if they worked together more, which I'm gonna go to Senator McCain's proposition which I hope we all think about more. But also would they feel better if they didn't always look to the federal government to solve every problem, and could these problems be more effectively solved at the state and local level where officials, I think, are more accountable because they have to see locally the citizen that they serve much more than our representatives in Washington do. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The states can best govern our home concerns "and the general government our foreign ones. "I wish, therefore never to see all offices "transferred to Washington where further withdrawn "from the eyes of the people they may more secretly "be bought and sold at market." I thought that quote was somewhat apt from Jefferson this morning. Would members of Congress be better at their jobs if before approving a new piece of legislation in Washington, which most of it does typically delegate a lot of authority to the federal bureaucracy if they ask, is this the best place to do it, or should these resources really be spent better at the local level? Federalism also offers more creativity and a unique solution to allow states to tailor policies to their diverse residents and the specific issues in their states. And we all know that how we address certain poverty issues in New Hampshire may be different than how someone in another state in the South may need to address poverty issues or other important issues. And giving our government the flexibility to do that in my view is very important. We have seen in the last decade that so much anger is fueling our national politics. And I think we all can agree that we've seen that very much today, not just on the left, on the right, but whatever your political perspective. We see populist movements demanding change. Many people feel disconnected with their government. They feel that their representatives can't empathize with them, don't understand them, and that they are not working for them. I would argue that part of the problem is not only polarization and the foulness of our politics where people often unfortunately insult each other rather than trying to find common ground, but it is also that people feel detached from the federal government, which continues to seek more and more control over their daily lives just by its sheer breadth. Not by malfeasance, but just often unfortunately I've found when I was a senator and I was trying to solve a problem for a constituent it's not that people working for a federal bureaucracy aren't good people trying to do the right things. It's just sometimes what they're surrounded with and the rules and the regulations and the things that they have to comply with make it very difficult for them to serve the people that they're trying to serve. So on Constitution Day I wanna leave you with two points. And most importantly, the reason I wanted to change this into a conversation is because we will have an opportunity to talk about certain issues that relate to federalism, but I want to give a sufficient opportunity for you to ask your questions about what is on your mind on this important day. But the two points I want to leave you with is, first, the obvious one, the need for more collaboration, compromise, and civility in our national politics, but at politics at every level. But I think we see the acrimony the worst at our national level. And second, let me just say that I think that if we think about compromise we would not have a republic. We would not have our form of government if our framers did not compromise. In fact, one speech I would ask you to take a look at, which I thought was a very brief speech but a very good one. It was a speech that Benjamin Franklin actually drafted for the last day of the Constitutional Convention. And he himself did not give it because he was frail at the time. His friend James Wilson gave it. But in that speech he humbly confessed that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve. But I'm not sure I shall never approve them, for having lived long I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions even on important subjects which I once thought right but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Could you imagine a politician today admitting that? I think it would be a good thing. It's clear that our framers understood that they were not going to agree on every word of our Constitution. But imagine if they were in the Constitutional Convention and they decided it was my way or the highway. Where would we be today? So compromise is my first point. My final point is getting back to the genius of federalism, a bedrock of our Constitution. Deciding how much power and control do we want to or should we give our federal government? Or would we be better off allocating more resources at the state, local, and community level to solve problems rather than expecting many of these problems to be solved in Washington D.C. I leave you, again, with the words of Benjamin Franklin. As he left the hall in Philadelphia, and many of you have heard these words before but they're important ones. A woman yelled from the crowd and asked him, "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" And Franklin famously answered, "A republic if you can keep it." No matter what your political viewpoints are, as Americans we all have more in common than we have differences. And we all share a responsibility to preserve this republic. We cannot take it for granted and we have to ensure that it continues to serve we the people. And if we continue at our national politics to insult each other, to disagree in ways that are beyond issues but are much more in going to the character of people then I don't see how we're ever gonna work together to solve it. And secondly, if we don't really think hard about what role we want our federal government to play I fear that we will continue to be dissatisfied with some of the results that we get from the alphabet soup agencies in Washington. So I thank you for having me today and most important I'm looking forward to this conversation with Herschel, whose questions will be excellent, I'm sure. But I'm also looking forward to time from all of you to ask whatever questions are on your mind. Thank you for having me. (audience applauding) - Thanks so much. - Thanks. - That was great. We're being told to switch seats. - Oh. - From Joanne, who really runs the show here. Great-- - Oh, I think she told me and I just didn't follow directions, it's typical. - So thanks so much for those words to start us off on Constitution Day. We will return to Senator McCain and his legacy soon, but want to start off thinking about federalism for a little bit before we get to something that I think is probably on everybody's mind which is the Supreme Court nomination politics. So a bit about federalism first. So I think you helpfully pointed out that in the area of national defense that's something we might have the federal government have more control over, but thinking about domestic policies specifically can you tell us some of the areas where you think local control and laboratories of democracy are something we wanna see more of? But then maybe a set of issues where you do think in domestic policy national and uniform standards are really the way to go. - Well, I mentioned one that is one that upsets me is veterans, number one. You know, we have a very large per capita population of veterans in this state. I also come from a military family. I'm married to an Air Force veteran but thankfully he hasn't needed any services of our government, but I was really surprised at how many veterans issues. I wasn't surprised 'cause I heard a lot about it on the campaign trail, but just, you've heard all the horror stories about, unfortunately probably some of you remember manipulated wait list and all those issues. And these issues aren't unique to a Democrat in office or a Republican in office. And unfortunately they're not being served whether on healthcare benefits. They wait a long time often. I had a veteran come up to me the other day in a store, in the grocery store and its like, makes me feel good that I had the opportunity to serve 'cause he came up and hugged me and said, "You changed my life." Because he was waiting for years for a disability payment. And so I think that's an area where we can have a Veterans Administration at the federal level, on certain national issues, but on the healthcare and the care level in a state like New Hampshire we would be better off giving veterans, I worked on the Veterans Choice Program, but that had a ton of bureaucracy, too. We'd be better off getting veterans the opportunity to go to any hospital in this state, and there's a lot of discussion about that. And we'd be better off cutting through a lot of the bureaucracy and simplifying and making it easier. They've been trying for years, for example, if you're a disabled veteran, to qualify you have to go through two sets of qualifications and simplifying things, so sometimes issues like that I think we should be, yes, have a national policy, but we should deal with that at a state level because I think that our veterans would be better served. I think a lot of issues, for example, like healthcare. We have a big debate about that, but when we had things like the rollout of that was kind of a mess I think having at the state level more support and innovation than dealing with the federal HHS and this sort of bureaucracy that we're better off on issues like that. On issues of poverty I think that the issues in New Hampshire may be very different than they are in Utah. For example, Utah has an innovative state program that they've dealt with some poverty issues. So I don't think that there's a monolithic answer to all of this, what I do think is that we should be thinking better about, should we create a new bureaucracy in Washington or would be better off leaving those resources in the community and letting the communities address these issues. Because what happens is, when our taxpayer dollars, we all know what happens, right? When we pay our taxes and they go to Washington on every issue there's a slice. Even if we're granting it back to the states, there's a slice that's taken to administer it of the people that have to administer the agency, right? It's just common sense, so if we could figure out on some of these issues how to make sure the hand's going directly to the people that are need, and work together on these issues. It doesn't mean we're gonna do the issues. I think sometimes people think something like block granting is oh, we're gonna abdicate our responsibility. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, let's more effectively serve people at a closer level. So issues that I think the national government has to deal with. I mean, national defense, some common ones. You know, the Constitution spells it out. I mean, trade and treaties have to be dealt with at a national level, we can't have New Hampshire having a different policy toward China than Arkansas or something. I also believe that issues of environmental quality, that it's important to have some federal laws and some issues dealt with at the national level because when it comes to clean air and clean water there aren't boundaries, and so certain issues there aren't boundaries that it makes sense, so my whole view on this is that it's really come to more of where I've seen people just have problems with getting anything done. And so do I think the state government is perfect? No, but do I think it's closer to the people and we can hold it more accountable than the people in Washington often? Yes. - Another controversial case of local control is what's come to be called nationwide injunctions. So not to get too into the weeds here, but this'll end up being about both President Trump's travel ban and also Obama's DACA program. So when President Trump issued the travel ban, the Muslim ban, whatever you wanna call it, it wasn't the Supreme Court who initially said no. It wasn't the nine justices. It wasn't initially one of the 200 circuit court judges. - It was a district court, right? - It was one of the 700 district court judges in a random district court in the state of Hawaii. So one judge sitting in the state of Hawaii said that an entire national policy could not be implemented so Democrats were thrilled, right? Democrats love this judge is not allowing the implementation of the travel ban, the Muslim ban. Democrats cheered for-- - It's great if you like the issue. - Right. - But if you don't like the issue, like for example if you're a huge fan of the ACA and they were to stop the implementation of health care, you know, you can see yourself on different political sides on this why this could be an issue. - Right. So Republicans were livid, but then during the Obama administration when a district court judge stopped the implementation of DACA Republicans cheered and Democrats were livid. - Right. - So do you think this is something that local judges looking sort of at their own districts but then aggregating to national policy. Like district court judges should not do at all, there should be no more nationwide injunctions? - Yeah, first of all I Think that they should be very limited, if any. I think this idea that the federal district court in New Hampshire can suddenly issue an injunction for the entire nation before it goes up to the circuit court of appeals level would create a lot of problems and in some ways is very undemocratic because yes, the Article Three branch of government is supposed to be a check on what happens obviously in both the legislative and executive branch, but when a district court orders an injunction that is issued to the entire nation rather than a certain geographic area that just one district court has an oversized impact. And it's really a trial level judge position at the federal level. Can I say never? Yeah, you know, I'm sure we could all come up with some scenario that we could all agree on on both sides of the aisle so I'm not gonna say never, but I think it should be incredibly limited. And if the issue is of that importance than you should be able to file an expedited ruling on it. If it's an issue of an emergency then there is a procedure in our federal courts where you can actually go up within the federal court system to the higher courts and get a ruling if it's one of that importance and emergence. So it's not that people aren't without redress if there were some thing that needed to be enjoined right away. - Interesting, all right so-- - So you have me thinking of things I haven't, you know. And this is really interesting having been a state attorney general, I probably, if I was an issue I cared about would have wanted to try to enjoin the entire nation on it. - Right. - But now that I've had a chance to be at the federal level and I can look at the bigger picture I'm not sure that that's necessarily the right result. - That's really interesting. So I-- - 'Cause you know the attorney generals are pretty involved in some national issues. - And actually that's a new phenomenon as well, right? It comes out of some of the dynamics you've described. So take the case of tobacco regulation. This was something that was not happening in Congress. Tobacco, cigarette products weren't being regulated in Congress, they weren't being regulated FDA, and then it was state attorneys general that sort of got together, advocated and really changed policy in that regard. So do you think that that's sort of a nice way for the states to sort of assert themselves amidst this gridlock, this polarization that we're describing or do you think now states attorneys general have actually got too much power? - I think it depends on where you sit on that side of the issue of whether you think state attorneys general have too much power. I think the way that the tobacco issue was addressed by the states attorneys general is actually a good example of states joining together on an issue. The reason that the tobacco companies basically had to enter a settlement, and it was a settlement. It was their agreement to enter the settlement. It was a private agreement, they didn't have to do it. They may not have liked the results they were getting in the court system, but it was their choice to enter the settlement, and what made it powerful was it wasn't just one attorney general. It was a bipartisan group of attorney generals where they started to become a consensus of states that really made it happen, so yes AGs have a lot of power, but they're the most powerful when there's a consensus. And right now the issue to watch is opioids because the attorneys general have been suing not only the drug manufacturers of opioids, but also now the pharmacy benefit managers, the sort of middlemen in this issue. And I don't know the last number, but it's a very large number of states on both sides of the aisle that have joined in on this issue and now there is a case in Ohio that it's a multi-district legislation. Now that decision if they were to issue an injunction should be effectual because it's joining all the litigation from across the country in one court with an agreement that it all should be in that one court. Now that's a good example of a court that should have the authority, whatever the ruling is. - Let's talk about the Supreme Court. Of course it's on nobody's minds today. Why don't we just start with the elephant in the room. Do you think that there is a greater than 50% chance that Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States? - I think that the confirmation process is not over yet. And obviously we've all become aware of allegations that have been made against him from a woman during the period that he was in high school. And I think that there's going to be a hearing. She's agreed to testify and there will be a hearing before the Judiciary Committee where I'm sure she will testify, Judge Kavanaugh will testify and I'm guessing anyone who was a witness or has information about this may also testify. Whether that will stop his nomination I don't. You know, I don't know the facts yet so it's hard for me to conclude that. I think people will also, you've heard a lot of Republicans talk about the timing of these allegations. They'll take a look at that and make sure that politics aren't at play with what's happening. But the reality is that this woman's come forward and it's important that people hear from her and then judge what she has to say in light of someone who's going to have a lifetime appointment. There's no doubt in my view that he's eminently qualified in terms of his experience, his education, his background to serve on the court. You may not agree with his judicial philosophy, but like Justice Gorsuch, his education and experience qualifications are really impeccable. - [Herschel] Two quick followups on that. If there were 50 women in the United States Senate today. - Well that would be news. - Yeah. There are currently 21. - Big news. - That would be big news. - 21 is the most in the history of the country right now that Woman that have ever served in the Senate, yeah. - So suppose there were 50 evenly divided across the two parties. - 25 Republicans, 25, OK. Would Brett Kavanaugh, would your estimation-- - No, but who's in charge? Republicans or Democrats? So do we have the-- - So let's say that the Republicans are still in charge for the purposes of this question. - So the vice president could break the tie. - Yes, vice president could break the tie. Lotta hypotheticals here. (audience laughing) - This is pretty important though, like who's in charge. - So Republicans are still in charge. They have 51 senators, 25 of them happen to be women. 25 of the Democratic senators are women. Would your estimation of the probability of Kavanaugh's confirmation go up, down, or stay the same? And then the followup to that is, if Judge Thomas, if Clarence Thomas were nominated to the Supreme Court today, holding all else equal, would he be likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court today? - Wow, um. (audience laughing) Justice Thomas, I don't know. I mean, but he has a track record now. Well obviously we knew he was eminently qualified, but we have had a whole series. And honestly I was of an age then during the Justice Thomas hearings that I didn't watch all those hearings, so I don't want to pretend to judge one way or the other, but I think we would be blind if we didn't think that Me Too Movement and what's happening hasn't had an impact on our social consciousness of people coming forward on issues that maybe they never did before, but that doesn't mean that if someone comes forward that we don't afford the person that comes forward due process, but also the person accused the full due process because we would not have a good, it would not be fair if that did not happen. So I don't know that I can judge Thomas in hindsight, but wow, that's a really tough question. I appreciate it. - [Herschel] 50 women senators and Kavanaugh probability. - Oh, the 50 women senators. I actually think the result would be no different. I really don't. - Right. - And the question is going to be, though, I mean in terms of probability because I think the real question is, what is the substance of these allegations? How credible do people find them? And that that will drive this process for Judge Kavanaugh where we are regardless of the configuration of men or women, I really do. - So I'd like to return to the Gorsuch nomination. Everyone in the audience should know that when judges are nominated to be justices, or people are nominated to be justices, a really important and prominent public figure basically acts as their, it's called a sherpa for some reason. - Yeah. - Basically like leading them through Congress, helping them deal with the media. And so I'm wondering if you could just tell us a bit about that process with Justice Gorsuch. What was the most interesting or impressive part of being on the other side of that? And maybe the least impressive part if one existed. - Yes, so I was asked to be the sherpa for now Justice Gorsuch pretty much at the end of January right after I had lost my election, right, so I thought yeah, I was pretty surprised when they called me and asked me to do it, truthfully if you know my history with the president. But I was really impressed with Justice Gorsuch and his background so I agreed to be his sherpa. And the reason, you know the sherpa basically brings people up mountains and I don't know, whoever is sherpaing, I know Jon Kyle was sherpaing for Judge Kavanaugh right now but I'm sure they're feeling a little bit like really a sherpa whoever took his place now that he's been appointed in the Senate. But being on the other side with a Supreme Court nominee. First of all, being in the White House, that was different because I had just served in the Senate. And I'd served as a state attorney general, but I was not an elected attorney general so I didn't have a long political history where I'd served in the White House or anything like that. So that was actually a first time where I was on the inside of a White House issue. And a new White House where I got there and they were pretty new. Obviously the White House, they had just got into office. Justice Gorsuch had been nominated the night before and I was with him the next morning. And so the first thing was like, OK, where's the plan. And we're looking at it, where's the plan? Oh, we are the plan, OK. So let's figure out what we need to do. Who should we meet with first in the Senate. And then going over to the Senate I had just lost an election and being on the other side of listening to, we had probably I think over 70 meetings with senators, so one of your jobs is to bring over, introduce the justice to the senator and the senator will ask them questions to decide whether or not they're gonna vote for his confirmation. And so sitting in a room where I'm not the senator asking the questions and listening to other people's questions I thought was fascinating and frustrating. And I also figured out who is really good at asking questions, which I'm not gonna name anyone here, and who was really annoying. But so, (audience laughing) which I'm not naming my former colleagues here. - Don't even ask. - It's really different having a job and then being asked to actually sit and shepherd someone through to watch the job from that side. And I learned a lot about it. And the other thing that was really cool about being a sherpa that I hadn't even thought about, but was the best part about it is I now have, I mean, Justice Gorsuch is my friend. I mean, we went through so much together in a confirmation process. I helped not only the 70 plus meetings but every good, bad, difficult one, but also I got to know him very personally and helped prepare him for, along with many others, but helped prepare him for the hearings. And so he became a friend and I never thought I would know a Supreme Court justice that well, and so that was a really cool part of it. The hard part of it sometimes is that, you know, it's a political process, and so some of the meetings you go through or you realize are kind of a sham, right, 'cause you know what the result's gonna be. And there are real meetings that you sit in and you think people are being earnest and actually trying to get answers out. And so that's the hard part about it. And it was also the part that Justice Gorsuch found hard, when he could tell that someone wasn't really, he was never gonna have a shot with 'em and they weren't really listening. Those were hard meetings for him, too 'cause he's a really smart guy and he likes engaging on an intellectual level. I mean think about it, he didn't get nominated to the Supreme Court if he's not incredibly bright. So he likes engaging, and so if someone's not really genuinely engaging those are harder meetings. - Yeah, I had a conversation with Justice Alito once after he was confirmed to the court and he hated this entire process. - Well, I haven't met a nominee yet who likes it. - Right. - I, you know, the one thing I used to always, which is when you're doing the Supreme Court you can at least assure the person you're working with, you're never gonna have to do this again. So great, like the rest of us actually might have to interview for another job. (laughs) - So I have a question about Merrick Garland. - Oh, the other thing I used to tell him too, I was like, you should see what it's like running for office. (laughs) This looks like a picnic, no. - I have a question about Merrick Garland. - Yes. - So, you spoke in your talk about the constitutional structure, the role of federalism, and the importance of federalism to the original constitutional structure, and I think it's important to note that the Republican Party has traditionally been very strong on this, quite accurately in a way that the Democratic Party hasn't. So the Republican Party is sort of fidelity to that Constitutional norm, I think, has exceeded the Democratic Party. But another constitutional norm that's sort of recently been a source of controversy is the norm of the Senate giving advise and consent on judicial nominees, in particular the Garland nomination. So Garland was nominated seven months before a presidential election. And the norm of advise and consent is not advise and concent sort of after the next election. It's sort of advise and consent on a reasonable schedule. And Mitch McConnell, brilliant tactician, brilliant strategist didn't hold a vote on that nomination, which many on the other side feel was an abdication of Constitutional duty, an abdication of Constitutional structure, a violation of an important norm. And so, I think you weren't in favor of, you agreed with the leadership in not holding a vote. - I did, I did, yeah. - On the Garland nomination. So by way of contrast, suppose the Democrats were in power today, Judge Kavanaugh was nominated four months before a midterm election and the Democrats came along and said, well, you know, there's an election in four months. We think that the norm should be to not hold a vote. - Well, they've actually made that argument. No, I mean, they've already made that argument. - Right, right, and so would you find that argument persuasive given that you were persuaded by it at a previous time? - I think the reality is of where we are in the judicial confirmation process is not exactly a pretty one, but it is where it is. And that is that we no longer have, in the Senate unlike the House where a majority passes legislation, in the Senate typically first of all to pass legislation usually to have to have first 60 votes to end debate on something to get a vote on the floor. It's the same thing with nominations of significance. It used to be for nominations of the president to the cabinet and other positions that there was a 60 vote threshold, but also for judges at every level. And now through a series of back and forth, first starting when I was in the Senate when Harry Reid changed the rules and the Democrats were in charge of the Senate they changed the rules for lower courts, for district courts, and for circuit courts of appeals and made it a 50-vote threshold instead of 60. So essentially they wanted to shut the Republicans out when they were in the minority. And then when we were going through the Gorsuch confirmation this was a big part of what we were focusing on because we didn't know what was going to happen and we were trying to get a bipartisan vote of over 60 votes, that's why we had so many meetings and we worked hard at it 'cause at that point we were hoping that that could be the result. But then the Democrats decided they were gonna dig their heels and so the Republicans then changed the rules to 50 for Supreme Court justices. So now we're very much in a confirmation process in a pitched battle on the Supreme Court. And not just the Supreme Court, but all the lower courts. It's become a very partisan exercise. Do I think it's necessarily a good place, no. Are we there, yes. And so then you're in a position where, will the confirmation process ever change back where the other side, where we see a more bipartisan day. I wish I could tell you yes. I think the answer at this point is probably no. I could certainly understand, and I understood at the time the criticism on the Garland decision. On the other hand, under the Constitution I think if it were invalid under the Constitution the Obama administration actually would have rightly and correctly won a lawsuit against us in the Supreme Court on that. They never brought it because they knew constitutionally they may not like it, it may not be good for 'em, it may not be how things are done, but under the Constitution it was allowed. And I think we will probably see more of that, I don't know, from whoever's in charge. And now that we're in a place where it's a 50 vote threshold for the nomination of judges on both sides, what's gonna matter to the executive is how many Republicans do I have or how many Democrats do I have and who's controlling the Senate. And so that's why these elections become even more pitched sometimes for the Senate seats. Can I also commend to you an opening statement that I thought was really interesting and excellent and that was from Senator Ben Sasse and from the Kavanaugh nominations and he talked at length in a very, very just very understandable, clear, I thought an excellent summary of why he thinks that the Supreme Court, we've put too much in the expectation of the Supreme Court and it's become so politicized. And part of his argument is actually that Congress has abdicated too much of its role to the Supreme Court. - [Herschel] Two very quick final questions. - I know I'm talking too much, sorry. - No, no, no, this is great. This is really interesting. So one is about Senator McCain and the other is some parting advice for our students before we open it up to the audience. So I think for a long time people thought the future of the Republican Party was people like Senator McCain, people like you, people like Jeb Bush, people like Marco Rubio, people who were strong republicans but could get things done across the aisle. People who might appeal to educated suburban voters, people who might appeal to racial and ethnic groups who are traditionally not in the Republican wheelhouse. Senator McCain never did win the presidency. Donald Trump is now the president of the United States and the leader of the Republican Party, so is Trumpism the way forward for the Republican Party? - Well, I actually think that if you look at, I touched on it a little bit in my initial comments, but there's a great dissatisfaction with our government and how it was serving people. And we see ourselves sort of swinging from one side to the other on this issue. And our political system at the moment is actually not rewarding compromise or bipartisanship. It is much more focused on the person that agrees with me most and meets my checklist as opposed to who is going to be in a better position to actually get something done and will work with other people to do it. But I think that president, I mean, people didn't expect President Trump to win, right? Very unconventional candidate, no political experience, and he beat a huge field of traditional Republican candidates. By the way, even though Bernie Sanders has a long political history, I mean, you could have seen something more populist happening on the Democratic side, too, and it still may yet. In the very rigorous primary I expect we're gonna have leading into the 2020 presidential elections on the Democratic end, but I really think that it's not necessarily that somehow the Republican Party is changed, I think it's overall a reflection of, there was a great dissatisfaction with the establishment of all forms in the last election. That people, their government wasn't meeting their needs. People felt left behind, and he somehow tapped into it. We can talk about why that was the case. But you know, the lesson from that in my view is that OK, what are we not doing that were meeting people's needs and why are we so disconnected with some average people in this country that maybe haven't gotten ahead, that are feeling left behind or feeling left out or aren't feeling included. You know, those I think are the questions that should be asked rather than, does this transform one party or the other because I could argue that perhaps maybe Bernie Sanders is going to transform, I don't know. But I think, is this a long-lasting populist movement on the Republican Party? I don't know the answer to that. I think that has not been written yet. There's obviously clearly as the president of the United States he's gonna have a long-term impact on the party and the nation, but really looking back at the last election, you know, what is it that people weren't happy with? And we better serve people better and understand people's issues in the so-called establishment or the so-called mainstream or however you want to describe us, I don't know, if we're going to be effective and actually be better at governing, and better at helping people solve their problems. - [Herschel] Final question, for the students in the room both the '22s and those of you who have been here before. What is the best advice you have ever received during your political career? The best advice you ever gave, the advice you'd most want to communicate to our students. - The best, I'm not gonna pretend to give the best advice, but I will, I really had fun talking to the freshmen in the front row, but I think my advice would be, number one, first of all, you're all here at Dartmouth because you're incredibly bright, you've worked hard or you wouldn't be at this excellent college. And I think the question you have to ask yourself is why am I here, what do I want to learn? And you know, eventually that's gonna lead to what do I want to do with my life? What is my avocation? And I would just say this, is that, find a sense of purpose. I mean, the thing that I have been blessed with is that I have had opportunities to really get up everyday, have a sense of purpose that even on the most frustrating day that I felt like I was working on something worthy and something that made a difference even if I couldn't get anything done that day that moved the needle, and it seems to me that everyone in this room is in a very fortunate position to be at this education institution to get the tools to find your sense of purpose. And the other thing I would say to you is take some chances. There is no way I would have been attorney general of our state, or a U.S. senator if I hadn't taken some chances and believed in myself and taken some risks to do the thing that I wanted to do even though it was definitely not assured. And the last election it didn't work out for me, but I wouldn't change putting myself in the arena. Go read the Teddy Roosevelt poem. It's a fantastic one, it was John McCain's favorite. Because if you're not in the arena you can't make it happen. And if you aren't willing to get in there and get a little bloodied and take some risks then you're not gonna make it happen. And this room has the background and the ability to do it. So I would just say, have a sense of purpose, find out what it is, it'll be different for every person, take some chances, and by the way there's a lot of really smart people at Dartmouth and really cool people that once in a while come to visit. I'm not saying I'm cool, but... (audience laughing) Ask them, ask them what experiences have shaped their lives. Ask them what they did to get where they are. Ask them what made them successful or what did they really mess up that they wish they could do differently? Those are all things that you have access to people here that not everyone else does, so make the most of it. It's a great opportunity, and as I said to the guys up front have some fun, too, 'cause I mean college is a great time in your life. - Please join me in thanking Senator Ayotte. (audience applauding) So we've got a lot of time for questions. - Now we have the hard questions. - There's a microphone rotating around. We will start with students as we always do. So we'll start down here in the front. - [Kyle] Yeah, do you want me to stand up, or like? All right, hi, I'm Kyle. I'm a student from St. Petersburg, Florida, I'm 22. I have two questions. One is related to related to the federalism issue. And then one is related to national politics because I'm sure you wanna talk more about national politics. - I'm happy to talk about either. - [Kyle] Anyway, federalism issue. To sort of follow up to the nationwide injunctions issue that we were discussing earlier, if district courts and lower level courts were to issue non-nationwide injunctions, or injunctions on nationwide policies would that result in a situation where for example DACA or the travel ban was applying to certain areas but not others, and what effect would that have on the legal system? Would you have a situation where DACA only applied-- - Yeah, it's an absolutely great point and a great question. You're right, because would DACA only not apply in New Hampshire but it would apply everywhere else? And that would create an administration problem. I think that's a very valid point. But I also think it's a huge power to give one district court to issue an injunction on an important matter for the entire nation. And that's why the better course would be to wait before anything is enjoined or not enjoined to go up to the higher court, especially on a national policy. And I hope our courts would allow their expedited procedures to be used very quickly in these circumstances when we're involving something that really impacts the entire nation. - [Kyle] OK, and then my national politics question. Do you think that President Trump will receive a primary challenge in 2020 from the establishment wing of the party? And if so-- - Or I don't know, maybe the not so establishment wing of the party. - That's a fair point, and if so-- - I shouldn't have categorized myself that way 'cause I really haven't been in politics that long, but we'll call it that. - [Kyle] Do you think that a challenger, and obviously this would depend on who it was, but would that challenger have a reasonable chance of success given, I'll say the Trump administration's track record so far? - Oh, if we were just doing today. Like let's say I have no other information We were having the election tomorrow, a Republican primary. - [Kyle] Sure. - As opposed to some other issue that may come up in the future that I don't know about. Or I may know about or we don't know. So I think that if there were a Republican primary challenge today that President Trump would win. He is quite popular within the Republican Party base and I think it's hard to mount a challenge, first of all, against an incumbent of any form in a primary. It happens and we've seen it happen around the nation, but an incumbent president has certain infrastructure in place in terms of the Republican national party would be behind him and structure that a challenger, it's hard to meet. Do I think there will be a primary challenge? If I were voting today I think unlikely, but I don't know. There are some people I think out there who are at least, like a Governor Kasich who are at least making some, based on their public comments some noise about it. I was talking about Senator Ben Sasse. I mean, he's still serving in the Senate so I'm not gonna say he's making a primary challenge but he's had some criticism for the president so there are people out there presumably with enough stature that they could certainly throw their hat in the ring. And you know, one of the things about being an incumbent is that within your own party there's no guarantee that you will get the nomination again, so you have to not only keep your party support but then also bridge that support to the middle to be successful. Like my last election to the Senate I had a primary challenge heading into the election. I won it pretty handily, but I still couldn't ignore it, right. - Right. - [Herschel] Let's keep the microphone in the front row. - [Kyle] Hello. - You can do whatever you want. - [Ranjan] Hello, I'm Ranjan Sehgal, class of '22. I know we talked a little bit about the Supreme Court and you talked a little bit about solving the partisanship issue. A little bit more specifically, it's interesting to look at the Supreme Court and how like in the late '80s how it was a very resoundingly the nominee would be confirmed. And if you take the Neil Gorsuch nomination and how that was a lot more partisan, I was wondering if you have any ideas of how we can get back to the other days, thank you. - Well, I'll quote Senator Sasse, but he's not the first person to say this. But it goes back 31 years to the confirmation of Judge Robert Bork and that really changed the nature of that confirmation process. Really changed how these court seats were viewed in these confirmation, and his nomination was defeated in the Senate and it also changed that the nominees for these positions decided that it wasn't to their advantage to answer the questions that were asked. And of course now each nominee will tell you I can't prejudge a case, and there's a lot of validity to that, you really wouldn't want someone up there telling as a judge saying how they're gonna rule on a set of facts if you're the person that's gonna come before them on those facts, so that's valid. But you know, it really changed with Judge Bork, who was quite open in his hearings about what he thought and how he would treat certain issues and that of course caused the Democrats and then got others mobilized against him and so the whole hearing process really became much more politicized then. The other point that, again, I'm not trying to cite Senator Sasse too much, but the reason I asked you to listen to his speech if you have an extra minute is that his theory is one I find is worth consideration, which is that because Congress is so dysfunctional and often Congress doesn't want to make a decision on important issues 'cause they just want to get reelected, that when legislation's passed they leave so much discretion in the administrative state. So the Affordable Care Act, there were so much the secretary shall, right? And certain things weren't spelled out. Well that happens with veterans legislation. That happens with all kinds of, I'm not just picking on that because it happens all the time in Washington. And his argument is, is that we then put so much on the Supreme Court in deciding we want it to be a policy decision maker. It was never intended to be a policy decision maker as the third branch. The legislative branch is the First Article. It's intended to be first in terms of making policy. That that abdication has actually made the focus even more so on the Supreme Court because some people want the Supreme Court to solve problems that the legislative branch should solve under our separation of powers, under our Constitution. So that's his theory and I thought it was really one worth considering, and a pretty good one. - [Ranjan] Thank you. - [Herschel] Let's take another student question. Jasmine. - [Jasmine] Hello, thank you for your talk. So just speaking about federalism, when thinking about issues like healthcare, the Affordable Care Act, Title IX, I think kind of my understanding of these movements or initiative is trying to establish who were are as a nation and what kinds of values that we stand for. And so my question is, how do we deal as a nation with the disparity of kinds of programs available across state lines and kinds of the gaps of programs available. - Well first of all, I think for example states, you're right, states make different choices. Like New Hampshire doesn't have an income tax and Massachusetts does have an income tax and maybe there's certain programs that New Hampshire chooses not to fund to be able to do that, that Massachusetts or another state would choose to fund. But I also think that we are in a position, two things. On some of those issues, the inequity we could even say we're gonna keep the same amount of resources, just we're not got gonna do it at the federal level, we're gonna keep them in the state. Because collectively we're paying the money. So you could allocate it at the state level, number one, if you thought there was inequity of an issue that needed to be much more equal across the state governments. But I also think that people have in our federalist system an ability to be mobile and to leave. And that that will drive state policy. If a state is not handling certain issues or serving certain people or treating certain things, you know, then there are also are going to be people who will inevitably decide, I'm not gonna live in that state and that's gonna drive policy as well. So you've got two factors there. I do think though that you could decide to equalize funding without making the federal government in charge of it all. It's a different way of distributing the money and I actually think states would be more efficient overall in how they would use it. Or localities, maybe it's not the state issue. Maybe it's better dealt at a local government level, the mayoral level. - Why don't we open things up. So the man on the end here. - [Bill] Hi there, thank you, my name is Bill. In thinking about maintaining the optimum balance between national authority and state autonomy can we learn anything from other democracies, how they are successfully doing it, or how they do it? And the problems they may have or not have because they do it differently than we do. I'm not saying better or worse. - No. - So is there any kind of a best practices study going on around the world on this subject of local autonomy versus national government authority? And they would have maybe provinces instead of states, but any thoughts about that? Can we learn from the rest of the democratic world? - Yeah Bill, I think that's actually a really good question. And I have to confess I haven't studied it. I probably should, but to the extent that we have other democracies. First of all, I think we can learn from other people. I mean, I'll give you an example not on the federalism front, but Germany has some excellent apprenticeship programs and work programs that I think we should look at what they're doing because their education system has some very good ideas that we could implement here that would be good for people. But I can't cite you offhand in the issue of federalism of how things are operating. Maybe that research is out there and I personally have not studied it, but I think you've raised a really good point. I always think we can learn from other people And one of the things that is the beauty of federalism is that states can learn from each other. I mean, that was one of the ideas. Of course we've heard a lot of discussion about the laboratories of the states. But learning from each other as opposed to one unitary approach from a federal top-down level we're in a better position to know maybe perhaps what would work and be effective as opposed to what has not been effective. - [Bill] If I could maybe just real quickly, my international experience has caused me to observe that we tend to be on the extreme side of the balance more towards the state or local authority versus the national, and compared to other countries our life is more complicated. As this young lady said here, there are many differences between the different states. And I just found that maybe life was easier in other countries because they didn't have all this local autonomy, not that it was zero, but I mean, I lived in Germany for a long time and I remember talking with a group of Germans one time and they were telling me about capital punishment. They were not for it, of course, and why doesn't your president just eliminate it? That's just a subject that is an example here to make a point, and I had to tell them it's not a national decision, it's by state. And I had to spend the whole evening explaining our federal system and they still never got it. - (laughs) So Bill, you actually raise an important point, I mean, the Framers put this together but it was by no means simple. And I think, but in some ways the system that they set up to bring our states together, you know, and the mechanism that they set up to protect individual freedom and somewhat innovation among the states is not a simple one. But I personally prefer it to a more unitary system because I worry about some of the, not necessarily with the Germany obviously, but some of the more simplified unitary systems can end up to places where some of your basic rights get denied and sometimes it's sort of the benevolent leaders who even do that, and so that's the challenge that we face and it's probably why Franklin left the convention with a Republican if you can keep it. A republic if you can keep it, I should say. - [Bill] Thank you. - Why don't we collect a few questions at once. So in the back and then in the purple shirt. - [Blake] Hi, my name is Blake and I'm 22. You spoke a little bit earlier about your relationship with Senator John McCain, and I guess my question is obviously recently we've seen that under the guise of Trumpism a lot of conservatives, Republicans have kind of turned their back on Senator McCain. And he made certain legislative decisions like his decision to go thumbs down on the ACA, repealing the ACA in the Senate, but for the most part he's been one of the staunchest conservatives in the Senate during his tenure and I was wondering what this shift in the perception of the senator says about where the Republican Party is now and how loyal they are to Donald Trump. - My friend John, I didn't always agree with everything he did, he didn't always agree with everything I did, and I heard about it. (laughs) But he was not a quiet man. But where are we. I think what's emblematic in terms of people's respect for someone like Senator McCain is what we saw at his funeral because if you really sat in that cathedral and looked around you would have seen people from all different viewpoints including the spectrum of the Republican Party. Now are there people who disagree with him and think that his compromise on certain issues made him less Republican or more of what people like to call a RINO, yes, and he faced those arguments during his lifetime and he faced 'em with a lot of courage. I mean, when he did immigration reform with Ted Kennedy, I mean, he was vilified on talk radio. So it was nothing new for him in terms of what he faced unfortunately heading into his passing is what he faced with courage in his life. And one of the things I admired most about him and I think it's what people respect about him is that he put his shoulders up and was like, he had a lot of courage and frankly, he could understand and listen to somebody else's position but he wasn't gonna let people push him around in terms of what he believed in. And that's sort of a rare thing because it's kinda easy to push some politicians around in terms of what they believe, but that was never him. So I don't think that the people who disagreed with him in the Republican Party, by the way, existed even before President Trump and he just tapped into it. - [Herschel] Why don't we take two or three lighting round questions in quick succession. - [Dave] Yeah, so this is just a smaller issue that might affect us, but it also kind of relates to federalism. I'm Dave, by the way, I'm a senior. And it's about voter regulation and voter requirements for different states and a law recently changed that for New Hampshire that will take effect soon that will probably prohibit a lot of us from voting here where we spend most of the year. And I just was curious to see what you might have thought of that in the scope of being involved with our local governments and of course that's where we reap the most benefit is where we're living, so considering that a college student might not be able to vote in New Hampshire, for example, not in this upcoming election, but in future ones. How does that contrast to our civic responsibility and things like that? - So I got this question earlier in the class I was in about first of all, I have to confess I haven't fully read the law that the governor signed in. It's already been reviewed by our New Hampshire Supreme Court and found to be valid under our State Constitution and the federal Constitutions at least by our state Supreme Court. But my understanding of our laws is first of all, New Hampshire, every state has some form of residency requirement. New Hampshire actually has been somewhat out of line with some of our neighbors in terms of what our residency requirement is. And so I don't know all the ins and out of that law. But from what I know of it I don't think that you'll be prohibited from voting. I mean, as I understand it you have to get a license or some form of residency here or if not you vote by absentee in the state that you're from and that's really not, I think if you look at it closely not that different from a lot of other states. And why do I think that it's, OK, why should you be a resident of this state. Let's make sure that we have residence, right? That's important, is because you, when you vote in a state other than for the presidential election you're really voting on who's gonna, the president you're representing who's gonna vote you, but if you think about the unique issues in New Hampshire or in Maine or wherever you're from you wanna make sure that the people that vote have a stake in the people that they're voting for not just for a temporary period, but they're actually declaring this their residency or their domicile, so I haven't studied that law inside and out, but I don't obviously think anyone should be denied the right to vote. It's really important, it's fundamental. And you know, I think that hopefully people will still be allowed to vote either here or in the state that they came from. - [Herschel] Let's take one more down here. You've been waiting patiently the whole time. I hope it's a good question. (audience laughing) - [Audience Member] So I had a bunch but I'm gonna narrow it down to just one that I hope will be an interesting one for you to answer as an ex-senator, so what do you think about term limits on Congress? Will that encourage senators to be more active in their decisions as they will not be afraid of making controversial choices that might get them not to be elected. - There aren't many, I love answering this question 'cause there aren't many people that are gonna come here that are gonna give the answer that I'm gonna give, I'm for term limits. I was for them when I ran for the Senate and I'm still for them. And the reason that I am for them, is I actually think it would be good to have a renewal and to have, I think our Founders did think that people would go and they would serve for a period and then they would go back to whatever profession or work that they had before they left. And the one thing though that is a valid argument against term limits is that the bureaucracy that I talked to you about, there is really a concern that if that continues to grow and we continue to see Congress not legislating but delegating more to the agencies that aren't elected that they could then just wait members of Congress out through their terms and basically have even more power and make decisions knowing that they could wait you out when your terms are done, and that is a valid argument. And so I'm for term limits, but I'd also like to see some reforms in terms of how much delegation the Congress is making to these agencies and also what role we are giving to our federal government in conjunction with it. - [Herschel] Thanks again. (audience applauding)



Incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln ran for re-election. Lincoln won re-election over Republican State Senator Jim Holt while President George W. Bush carried the state with almost the same margin of victory.

The Democratic Party held super-majority status in the Arkansas General Assembly. A majority of local and statewide offices were also held by Democrats. This was rare in the modern South, where a majority of statewide offices are held by Republicans. Arkansas had the distinction in 1992 of being the only state in the country to give the majority of its vote to a single candidate in the presidential election—native son Bill Clinton—while every other state's electoral votes were won by pluralities of the vote among the three candidates. Arkansas has become more reliably Republican in presidential elections in recent years. The state voted for John McCain in 2008 by a margin of 20 percentage points, making it one of the few states in the country to vote more Republican than it had in 2004. (The others being Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia.)[1] Obama's relatively poor showing in Arkansas was likely due to a lack of enthusiasm from state Democrats following former Arkansas First Lady Hillary Clinton's failure to win the nomination, and his relatively poor performance among rural white voters (Clinton, however, herself lost the state by an even greater margin as the Democratic nominee in 2016).

Democrats had an overwhelming majority of registered voters, the Democratic Party of Arkansas is more conservative than the national entity. Two of Arkansas' three Democratic Representatives are members of the Blue Dog Coalition, which tends to be more pro-business, pro-military, and socially conservative than the center-left Democratic mainstream. Reflecting the state's large evangelical population, the state has a strong social conservative bent. Under the Arkansas Constitution Arkansas is a right to work state, its voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage with 74% voting yes, and the state is one of a handful that has legislation on its books banning abortion in the event Roe vs. Wade is ever overturned.

Republican primary



Republican Primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Holt 37,254 68.9%
Republican Andy Lee 10,709 19.8%
Republican Rosemarie Clampitt 6,078 11.3%
Total votes 54,041 100.0%

General election



Lincoln was a popular incumbent. In March, she an approval rating of 55%.[4] Lincoln calls herself an advocate for rural America, having grown up on a farm herself. Holt is from Northwest Arkansas, who also lives on a farm.[5] Holt was widely known as a long shot. By the end of June, he only raised $29,000, while Lincoln had over $5 million cash on hand.[6] Holt tried to make gay marriage a major issue, because defining marriage was on the ballot. He even said, "it is the most important issue, I believe, in America."[7]



Arkansas Senate election 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Blanche Lincoln (Incumbent) 580,973 55.9%
Republican Jim Holt 458,036 44.1%
Independent Write Ins 340 0.0%

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Blytheville Native Launches U.S. Senate Bid". 31 March 2004.
  3. ^ David Leip. "2004 Senatorial Republican Primary Election Results - Arkansas".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2010-09-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Sen. Lincoln Visits with Constituents in Region 8". 2 July 2004. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Can Republicans hold on to the Senate?". NBC News.
  7. ^ "NewsMax Archives". Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
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