• Show Notes
  • Transcript

On this week’s episode of Stay Tuned with Preet, “Reacting to the RNC, Preet speaks with Dan Balz, the Washington Post’s longtime chief political correspondent, about the Republican National Convention, the state of the GOP, and this most unusual moment in American politics. 

Then, Brenda Berkman, the first female firefighter in the history of the New York City Fire Department, joins Stay Tuned to talk about the unveiling of her project, “Monumental Women,” and the importance of gender representation in public statues. 

To listen to Stay Tuned bonus material, try the CAFE Insider membership free for two weeks and get access to the full archive of exclusive content, including the CAFE Insider podcast co-hosted by Preet and Anne Milgram. 

Sign up to receive the CAFE Brief, a weekly newsletter featuring analysis by Elie Honig, a weekly roundup of politically charged legal news, and historical lookbacks that help inform our current political challenges. 

As always, tweet your questions to @PreetBharara with hashtag #askpreet, email us at staytune[email protected], or call 669-247-7338 to leave a voicemail.

REFERENCES & SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS

2020 RNC:

  • Republican Convention in-person roll call, 8/24/20
  • Melania Trump’s RNC speech, 8/25/20
  • Eric Trump RNC speech, 8/25/20 
  • Nikki Haley RNC speech, 8/24/20
  • Dairy Farmer Cris Peterson’s RNC speech, 8/25/20
  • Rep. Jim Jordan’s RNC speech, 8/24/20
  • Naturalization Ceremony featured at the RNC, 8/25/20
  • Florida AG Pam Bondi RNC speech, 8/25/20
  • NEC Director Larry Kudlow refers to the pandemic in the past tense during the RNC, 8/25/20
  • Hatch Act Overview, Office of the Special Counsel
  • “The GOP delivers its 2020 platform. It’s from 2016,” New York Times, 8/25/20

2020 DNC / BIDEN CAMPAIGN: 

  • Biden says “If you got a problem figuring out if you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black,” on the Breakfast Club, 5/23/20
  • Elevator Operator Jacquelyn Asbie nominates Joe Biden, 8/18/20
  • Dan Balz tweet about the foresight of Biden campaign adviser Mike Donilon, 8/21/20
  • “Calamari, Rhode Island’s controversial state appetizer, becomes an unexpected star of Democratic National Convention,” Washington Post, 8/19/20

PAST ELECTION CYCLES:

  • Ronald Reagan accepts the Republican nomination at the 1980 RNC 
  • Bill Clinton accepts the Democratic nomination at the 1992 DNC
  • Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination at the 2008 DNC 
  • George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton ad from 1988
  • First debate between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis in 1988
  • Adam Nagourney, “A Glimmer of Hope for Trump? How Bush Mounted a Comeback in 1988,” Washington Post, 8/22/20

BUTTON:

  • Captain Berkman’s September 2019 appearance on Stay Tuned 
  • The official Monumental Women website 
  • The Untold Stories of Black Suffragists (with Martha S. Jones), Stay Tuned, 8/20/2020
  • Alisha Haridasani Gupta, “For Three Suffragists, a Monument Well Past Due,” New York Times, 8/6/2020
  • Robin Young, “New Suffrage Statue Will Be Central Park’s Only Monument To Depict Real Women,” WBUR, 8/19/2020
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Great Schism,” The Atlantic, 10/18/2011
  • Joseph P. Fried, “Women Win Ruling on Fire Department Test,” New York Times, 3/6/1982
  • David Spear, “Generation Past: The Story of the Landmark Books,” American Historical Association, 10/17/2016
  • Corinne Segal, “Stitch by stitch, a brief history of knitting and activism,” PBS NewsHour, 4/23/2017

Preet Bharara:

From CAFE, welcome to stay tuned. I’m Preet Bharara.

Dan Balz:

Nobody has gotten to where Joe Biden is today having done as badly in those first few contests as he did. But the other reality of Democratic voters is that the single-most important thing they were looking for was somebody that they thought was best positioned to take on Trump. And in the end, it consolidated around Biden.

Preet Bharara:

That’s Dan Balz. He’s the long-time Chief Political Correspondent for the Washington Post. Balz knows a thing or two about presidential nominating conventions. In a journalism career that spans more than 50 years, he has covered more than 20 of them. As we focus this week on the Republican National Convention, Balz joins us to help make sense of this political moment, the current state of the GOP, and where it goes from here. Then Brenda Berkman, the first female firefighter in the history of the New York City Fire Department speaks to us about her project, Monumental Women, and the importance of gender representation in public statues. That’s coming up, stay tuned.

Preet Bharara:

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Preet Bharara:

Dan Balz is the Chief Correspondent covering national politics at the Washington Post. Known as the Dean of the DC Press Corps, Balz has spent his career covering presidential campaigns. He joins me to make sense of the RNC, the Trump campaign, and the most unusual election season. Dan Balz, thank you so much for joining the show.

Dan Balz:

Preet, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Preet Bharara:

I appreciate the time. There’s a lot going on politically and I want to get to your impressions of the Democratic National Convention that’s concluded and the Republican National Convention that is underway. We’re recording this on Wednesday morning, halfway through the Republican National Convention. But can I ask you a foundational question first? Why do we have conventions? Why do the parties have them? What is the purpose, and do they make any sense in the modern era?

Dan Balz:

We have conventions because these are political parties. These are political institutions. And every so often, there is a value in them coming together, both for ordinary business, which can be conducted obviously outside the view of the TV cameras, but also to present themselves to the country as a whole. There are not very many opportunities for political parties to do that, and for the nominees of those parties.

Dan Balz:

Obviously, historically, political conventions were for the business of settling who was going to be the party nominee. Now that’s long gone. Parties like to get their nomination battles over quickly as early as possible so that they can unite the party well ahead of a general election and get ready for the general election. But there is value in a convention. We saw it with the Democrats last week and we’re seeing it with the Republicans this week.

Dan Balz:

It’s an opportunity to put the best possible face you can on your nominee and the party. There’s so much dissonance all the way around at any given time in a campaign. This is the one time when the party and the nominee can say, “This is who we want you to believe we are.” They put it in the most favorable light possible. They exaggerate. In some cases, they distort and tell falsehoods. But nonetheless, this is something that they can do. There’s no other opportunity that they really have in an unfiltered way to do that. The question is, how compelling are these modern conventions?

Dan Balz:

I would argue that what the Democrats did last week, in having to reinvent the convention and make it all virtual, gave some clues as to what we might see of conventions in the future. My guess is that we will see conventions that will be much more a mix between the old way and what we saw last week with the Democrats, and to some extent, what we’re seeing this week with the Republicans, just in terms of production.

Preet Bharara:

For example, the way the Democrats did their roll call with videos from all 50 States, do you think that will become the norm or you think we’ll go back to the old-fashioned way of screaming in a convention hall?

Dan Balz:

Well, I hope we go with what the Democrats did last week because I thought it was much more compelling and it obviously took much less time. I was struck by the Republicans this week because on Monday, they held an old-fashioned roll call in Charlotte, which just felt like it was from another century. But then, on Monday night at the convention, they did a version of what the Democrats did. Clearly they went to school on what they saw at the Democratic convention, and put together a rapid round-the-country quasi roll call that captured the spirit of what the Democrats had done in a more sophisticated way. So I think that in terms of those kinds of things, my guess is that we go into the future and not into the past.

Preet Bharara:

I guess they did try to emulate the Democrats, but there was one, I think, glaring omission, and that was there was no calamari.

Dan Balz:

That’s true, although there was a mention of the calamari in the traditional roll call on Monday morning and-

Preet Bharara:

I missed that.

Dan Balz:

Yeah. I can’t remember who did it, but somebody made a mention of calamari.

Preet Bharara:

Before we get to the two current conventions, you’ve been to many, I think 20-something conventions personally. So two questions, one, do you miss going to a convention or to conventions this year, or are you happy to be doing it in your armchair? And then, second, what are one or two of the most compelling and effective conventions of the past for either party?

Dan Balz:

Well, I do miss going to the convention. I mean, there is value for reporters to be at a convention in addition to their fun events. A colleague of mine said last week, “We’re doing all the work that we normally do at a convention, but we’re not having any other fun.” But put the fun aside, if you’re at the convention, you’re moving around during the day before the evening program begins. Either by planning or happenstance, you are intersecting with people who give you ideas, who help provide insights, who provide real information for stories you’re working on.

Dan Balz:

There’s lots of accidental things that happen at a convention that feed into the way we think about what we should be doing journalistically. And you can’t do that sitting where I’m sitting, which is in a small study in my house. You have to find people. People are dispersed. In other words, you can’t do that kind of reporting. All of that goes into a kind of a mental database. It doesn’t necessarily produce that evening story because the stories of each evening are produced on the basis of what’s going on in the convention hall itself. But you learn things and you’re constantly developing sources and knowledge.

Dan Balz:

So, in that sense, I do miss it. I wish we were all able to be there, but the Coronavirus makes that impossible. In terms of effective conventions, one of the first conventions I was at was the 1980 Republican Convention in Detroit. I thought that, at the time, and I think looking back on it, that was a very effective convention. It was successful for Reagan in getting people to think about the Republican Party as a party with ideas, as a party on the ascendance, and to some extent, painting the Democrats, not just divided, which they were between Jimmy Carter and the Kennedy forces in the Kennedy wing of the party, the Democrats that year had a bad convention, but also just to give a sense of how the Republicans were changing. And I think that was a very successful convention.

Dan Balz:

Certainly, the 1992 Democratic Convention was very successful. Bill Clinton went into that convention, trailing both George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot, and came out of it in part because Perot quit the race in the middle of the convention, came out of it with a tremendous amount of momentum, which they never really relinquished. And so, that was a successful convention. Certainly, the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver, which nominated Barack Obama, was very much a successful convention.

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Preet Bharara:

What’s the proper audience for a political convention? Isn’t it always the case that it’s not just the faithful, it’s also to expand the base or not? Obviously, I’m asking the question with reference to how the Republicans are doing their convention.

Dan Balz:

Yeah. I think for both parties, the audience that they count on is the audience that they’re trying to energize. But going back to what I said at the beginning, the value of a convention is that you’re likely to have people tuning in who are not loyalist and who are not necessarily political aficionados. They’re not people who are on Twitter all day following politics, or even who are watching the cable shows, whichever cable channel they favor. The goal is to energize the people who are with you, to get them to do all the work they need to do in the fall, but also to try to get those people who are still open-minded or on the fence, or however we want to describe it, persuadable, to get them to give you and your party and your nominee a look.

Dan Balz:

But it’s hard to tell this year exactly who is watching. Some of the data suggests there’s been a falloff in TV viewing of the conventions. I mean, last week the Democrats were saying, “Yes, that may be the case, but people are looking at this convention on other platforms.” I don’t have the data to confirm or dispute that, and it sounds plausible, certainly. But you’re looking for people who aren’t sewn up yet, if possible.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. I mean, a lot of young people don’t have televisions. And so, it becomes very hard to figure out what the metrics are. At the Democratic convention last week, there were a number of people who are not mainstream Democrats, in fact, people who are not Democrats at all, of vowed Republicans, conservatives. I don’t know if that was effective or not, but by comparison, didn’t see a lot of progressives at the Republican convention. Are they willfully not trying to expand the audience and the base because they think it’s feudal or because the head of their party, the president, is headstrong? What explains it? And maybe you don’t even agree with my premise that they’re narrow casting.

Dan Balz:

Well, I think they’re doing a combination of two things. I think Monday night was more narrow casting. We had talked to people over the weekend who were helping to organize the convention, and everybody was saying this was going to be a very positive and uplifting convention, etc., etc. Monday night was not particularly that, by any means. It was more dark and it was obviously a lot of attacks on Biden, which are not unexpected, but nonetheless, it was not the optimistic show that they were talking about.

Dan Balz:

I thought the second night was different. They made a pivot. Certainly they are trying to do whatever they can to reinforce their base. One of the foundations of the Trump strategy this time is to maximize the vote of the people who voted for him last time, and people like them who didn’t necessarily turn out. So one of the things you saw on the second night was a dairy farmer from Wisconsin, battleground state, somebody from the Iron Range in Minnesota, another state that the Trump people have always thought they could put into play. We don’t know whether that will be the case, but nonetheless, messages from people in small towns and rural areas.

Dan Balz:

That’s the vote that they have to really maximize. They’re going to get big margins in those areas, bigger than previous Republican nominees have gotten. But they also need bigger turnout, even than they got in 2016, in order probably to overcome some of the erosion they’ve had in suburban areas. But I thought that the second thing they were trying to do was to, in a sense, soften the edges of the president and soften the edges of the messages that he’s put out for three and a half years. So there was an emphasis on the number of women in the administration.

Dan Balz:

The speech by Melania Trump was a very different kind of message, that was only in part aimed at the base. But I think that part of the strategy on the second night was to say to people who… There are a lot of people either who voted for Trump or thought about voting for Trump, who are uneasy about many things about the way he handles himself, particularly the tweets and the tone of things. And I think what they are trying to do is to say to people, “Okay, we get that. But look at this is somebody who still believes in you in a way that the Democrats don’t, that the Democrats are moving farther away from you and have even less respect for you than you might have thought they had before. You didn’t think they had that much. This guy isn’t perfect, but he will get things done and he will get them done with you in mind.”

Dan Balz:

I thought that that was very much a part of what they were after. That’s not exactly expanding the coalition, but it is trying to make sure that there is minimal erosion in some of those areas, and particularly suburban areas.

Preet Bharara:

Further to that, the Democratic convention and the Democratic nominee in particular have embraced this concept and notion of empathy, that Joe Biden cares about you. There were lots of stories about his bonding with ordinary Americans, the elevator operator, the conductors on the Amtrak, and I wondered what the Republican response would be. Part of the response has been that weepy, Democratic nonsense, and Trump is a fighter, and they’ve resisted this idea of empathy. But then I watched the first night of the convention and it seemed to me there was something of a concession that people do care about that. Jim Jordan, who yells a lot, took his few minutes to tell a story about the empathy of Donald Trump, whether you like the story or not.

Jim Jordan:

But what I also appreciate about the president is something most Americans never get to see, how much he truly cares about people.

Preet Bharara:

They had Donald Trump talk to people who had been rescued as hostages from other countries. Do you think that was an implicit concession this empathy bone has been missing from Trump and the party or not?

Dan Balz:

I do. I totally agree with that, that they were trying to do things, and they did that the second night with the pardon that they did, and also the naturalization ceremony. I mean, we could talk about the use or misuse of federal assets and the Hatch Act and all of that, but I’m not sure that the majority of Americans think that much about that. They’re looking at what they’re seeing. And I thought that both of those were, again, aimed at making him look, if not completely empathetic, as somebody who is not the, if you will, the caricature that his opponents want to make you think he is.

Dan Balz:

And so, the challenge for Trump, of course, is that most Americans know what they think about him, and changing that impression is very, very difficult. I don’t know whether a few cameos on several nights at a convention can really do that. It might help in the short term. I don’t know what the long-term impact will be. But I think that they’re trying to do that.

Preet Bharara:

Well, it calls to mind for some people, the 1988 campaign. Coming out of the Democratic convention, Dukakis had… I remember it was one of the earliest campaigns that I was becoming aware and following. Dukakis had a 17 point lead. And in the months between the convention and the election, the Bush campaign ran hard on law and order and called Dukakis soft in various ways. And there was that famous Willie Horton ad

Speaker 4:

Dukakis not only opposes the death penalty, he allowed first degree murderers to have weekend passes from prison. One was Willie Horton who murdered a boy in a robbery, stabbing him 19 times. Despite a life sentence, Horton received 10 weekend passes from prison. Horton fled, kidnapped a young couple, stabbing the man and repeatedly raping his girlfriend. Weekend prison passes, Dukakis on crime.

Preet Bharara:

It worked and Bush won by several points. Do you think we’ll see a repeat of that? There is a lot of discussion of law and order and about violence taking up in various cities. Is that a playbook that they’re following or should follow?

Dan Balz:

Well, I think they are following it and they will continue to follow it. I think the law and order theme, and beyond that, the riots in the street, the protests that have turned violent and continue to go on. I mean, Portland has not settled down. Now, that’s not a battleground state, but it’s an image of the country that the Republicans are trying to seize on. And after the tragic events in Kenosha over the weekend, we’re seeing violence break out there. They will use that.

Dan Balz:

But if you go back to 1988, and that’s a good analogy, and my friend, Adam Nagourney, wrote an interesting piece in the New York Times over the weekend about 1988 as a “glimmer of hope” for the Trump campaign. One thing about 1988 is Dukakis got a big bump out of the convention in 1988 and had that 17 point lead in the Gallup tracking at that point or in the Gallup polls, which is what we all remember, that Bush was down 17 points. I think by the time of Bush’s convention, he was only down maybe six points. He came out of that convention slightly ahead of Dukakis and never looked back.

Dan Balz:

Now, obviously, the Willie Horton issue, the furlough issue in Massachusetts, was one that they hit very hard. They also hit the pledge of allegiance and the flag. Bush, as you remember, went to flag factories to highlight the idea that Dukakis was a “card-carrying member of the ACLU”, things like that. So it was a theme they hit very, very hard, both at the convention and beyond that. But Bush came out of that convention with a lead. I don’t know whether Donald Trump is going to come out of this convention with a lead. I would be surprised. He might narrow the gap. But he’s got a big gap to narrow.

Preet Bharara:

He says he’s leading the polls. He says that all the time.

Dan Balz:

Well, he says a lot of things.

Preet Bharara:

He does. This may be a trivial question, but it occurs to me that it’s sometimes as important who goes first and who goes second. Do the parties always jockey to go second?

Dan Balz:

No, generally the party that holds the White House goes second. That’s been a tradition.

Preet Bharara:

I see. But why would the other party concede that tradition if they get an advantage to going… Do you think that a party gets an advantage by going second?

Dan Balz:

Well, I don’t know. It’s a question I’ve never been asked and I’d have to think back of the conventions. The Democrats went second in 1980, and sure didn’t help them. It hurt them worse. In 1992, the Democrats went first and it helped Clinton. So I don’t know. Phil Rucker, my colleague and I, Phil’s a White House Bureau chief, we talked to Ronna McDaniel over the weekend. She said she was grateful that they were going second because she had watched the Democratic convention, as she said, watching it in one eye with just a totally non-partisan look just to analyze what works, what doesn’t.

Dan Balz:

She said, “I’ve never been so grateful that we were second because, obviously, the world’s different.” But I think it depends on the nature of the year, and the quality of the candidates, and the quality of the convention they put together that makes a difference, not necessarily who goes first and who goes second.

Preet Bharara:

Can we talk about the substance for a moment? A lot had been made of the fact that this Republican convention is missing something that every other convention from both parties has always had, and that’s a thing called a platform. Does it make a difference? Does anybody read them? I follow politics. I’m not in politics. I don’t think I’ve ever read a platform of either party. I’m aware of some of the planks because they get talked about and they get debated. But what is the significance of no platform?

Dan Balz:

Well, the significance of the Republicans not having a platform, is it crystallizes, as if we needed further evidence, that this is a party that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Donald Trump. If you looked at their “platform resolution”, the only plank in the platform was just a robust full-throated endorsement of President Trump for a second term. It had nothing to do with what the Republican Party stands for, nothing to do with what the abiding principles of the party are, nothing to do with what it means to be a conservative in America in 2020, I think in part because there’s a lot of division within the Republican Party about what they do stand for at this point, thanks primarily to Donald Trump, who is not by any stretch of the imagination a traditional conservative.

Dan Balz:

I mean, he has governed in conservative ways and that’s made conservatives happy and more willing to stick with him despite some of the problems that he creates for them. But there’s nothing that we see that shows that the Republican Party knows exactly who they are, what they stand for. So I think, in this, it was that acknowledgement. You’re right. Platforms come and go very quickly. Once they’re done, people do not read them. And very often, nominees ignore them if they find pieces of the platform that are distasteful to them or that go against exactly what they think.

Dan Balz:

The process of putting a platform together, it goes back to what we were talking about earlier about the value of a convention. Again, it is once every four years that the party and all parts of the party come together to try to say, “This is what we stand for.” And there’s a lot of compromise that goes into it. There are battles and there are winners and losers in every platform debate. But out of that, you do get a sense of where the consensus of a party is at any given point. And so, while nobody reads them, I don’t think anybody necessarily votes on them, there is value in going through that exercise.

Preet Bharara:

But is there any disadvantage that will come to pass for Trump this year, not having one?

Dan Balz:

No, I don’t think so because I think we know what his policies have been and are likely to be. And I think that that’s preeminent. Well, I think the other aspect of this, Preet, is that this is not necessarily going to be a campaign decided on the details of issues. Both Trump and Biden have positions and policies that they’re going to be advancing. But so much of this election is about the incumbent, a referendum on the incumbent, and that goes beyond the policy debate itself as to who he is and what he would do if he has another four years. I would say the only policy issue or issues that matter right now are the Coronavirus pandemic, and related to that, the economy and what has happened to it.

Preet Bharara:

Is this election the greatest referendum on an incumbent that you’ve seen? Can you think of another one where it was so much about the incumbent?

Dan Balz:

Well, this is more so than ever I think because President Trump has made himself so much the focus of attention over his time in office, and because he has so divided the country. There’s a statistic, which is the degree to which a president is a polarizing figure. It’s based on a president’s approval rating among members of his or her own party, and the approval rating among members of the opposite party. Donald Trump is the most polarizing president we’ve ever had.

Dan Balz:

Now, the second most polarizing, based on those same numbers, is Barack Obama, and the third most polarizing is George W. Bush. So we are in a polarized country and Trump has intensified that and made it, I think, even more personal in the way people who either love him or despise him approach him. And so, I think that that makes this a bigger referendum than we’ve probably seen in the past. And I think it’s also heightened by what we’re going through as a country right now.

Preet Bharara:

Can I ask a question about how you look at conventions, and not just conventions, but politics, generally. You pride yourself on being a non-partisan political journalist, and there’s great value in that. But when you watch a convention speech, to pick one example, what’s the lens through which you’re looking at it? Are you thinking about it as a person who’s going to write about it? Are you thinking about it as whether it’s effective or not? Are you rooting for them to talk about a particular thing that you as a private citizen care about, but that you won’t express publicly? What is your mindset when you watch politics unfold?

Dan Balz:

Well, I mean, it’s two things. One is obviously the degree to which people are telling a reasonable version of the truth in reality, or how much they’re not. I mean, that’s one measure. But the other measure is how effective this might be. Again, in watching the Tuesday night events of the Republicans, there were a number of speeches which I thought just were way beyond truth. The Pam Bondi speech in which she was talking about what… She was going after Hunter Biden, but she was talking about what the former vice president did vis-a-vis Ukraine. And it’s just completely contrary to everything we know about the role he was playing at the time.

Dan Balz:

On the other hand, as I talked about earlier, I thought there were things as I watched, that I said to myself, “This could have real effect. This could begin to bring some people back or intensify support where they needed it.” And so-

Preet Bharara:

What are some examples of that?

Dan Balz:

Well, I mean, starting with the speech that Melania Trump gave. I mean, this is the first time anybody at this convention has acknowledged in a direct way the suffering that people have gone through and are going through.

Melania Trump:

My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one. And my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering.

Dan Balz:

I mean, compared to Larry Kudlow who talked about the pandemic in the past tense, she talked about it in the present tense. And I thought that that was an effective message for somebody around the president to be able to deliver to people who were watching. Obviously, you’ve got the biggest audience in that 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM hour. So I thought that was effective. I thought Eric Trump’s speech had a mix of things, some things that I thought were over the top. But I also thought, in terms of delivering a message about, “Okay, my father is a strong leader and he’s got a lot of people who are against him, but he’s sticking with you,” and I thought that there were elements of that speech that were effective.

Dan Balz:

Again, one night is one night. A lot will depend on who we see Thursday night when President Trump gives his speech and how he chooses to do it, and whether it squares with what people think about Donald Trump or not, and how the reaction is. But as a journalist at the Washington Post, I mean, we’re trying to present an event like this in its totality, political effectiveness if there’s political effectiveness, distortions pointed out if there are distortions pointed out, the appropriation of the federal government on behalf of the president when they do it.

Dan Balz:

So we try to do all of it. But as I watch it, I’m trying not to think about it simply through my own personal views of the world, but through a more evaluative measurement.

Preet Bharara:

Can we talk about a couple of speakers at the convention in two dimensions, one how they did at the convention and then, two, how they did for purposes of their own future, and potentially as candidates for president themselves. I think there are a few of those folks. Some of them have not spoken yet. One is Nikki Haley. How did she do, and with an eye towards her future? When you answer, do you think she’s an almost certain presidential candidate in 2024?

Dan Balz:

I would be surprised if she is not a candidate in 2024. I mean, everything she has done over a number of years points in that direction. But I think everybody who follows politics closely was looking at her on Monday night as a prospective 2024 candidate. I thought her speech was a strong speech. I thought she delivered a message that she wanted to deliver, which was some about herself, and some about the country, and some about the president.

Dan Balz:

Interestingly, compared to a number of other people who served in the Trump administration, she has managed to walk a line pretty carefully between projecting some independence while also projecting tremendous loyalty to the president. I was struck by one aspect of that speech, and I give Dana Bash from CNN credit for picking up on it literally in the moment. When she talked about the shootings at the Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, she talked about how they were able to remove a divisive symbol-

Preet Bharara:

Right. I saw that.

Dan Balz:

Right, without controversy.

Nikki Haley:

After that horrific tragedy, we didn’t turn against each other. We came together, Black and White, Democrat and Republican. Together, we made the hard choices needed to heal and removed a divisive symbol peacefully and respectfully.

Dan Balz:

What she could not say, in part because of what the president has done, and to some extent, what part of the party believes in, she could not say what she did, which was to get rid of the Confederate flag on the grounds of the State Capitol. That has been a long fight. And South Carolina, as you know, it used to be on the top of the Capitol. They brought it down, but it was still on the Capitol grounds. And after that, she moved very, very directly and very swiftly after those shootings to remove it. But she could not say that on Monday night. I was struck by that. But other than that, I thought it was a speech that will certainly help her.

Preet Bharara:

Do you think that her candidacy in 2024 will be helped or hurt by Trump getting reelected? In which way does it go for her?

Dan Balz:

I don’t know how to answer that. I can’t answer that at this point.

Preet Bharara:

I don’t have a crystal ball?

Dan Balz:

I wish. I’d have been a lot smarter for allotment in four years.

Preet Bharara:

We could call you Crystal Balls then. I don’t know if you’ve ever been called that before.

Dan Balz:

I have not, no.

Preet Bharara:

Prediction is very difficult these days. I know. But I had you so I thought I would ask.

Dan Balz:

No, I guess what I was going to say is that if Donald Trump wins a second term, everybody who runs for president in 2024 is going to have to be maneuvering through another four years of his presidency and leadership, and no doubt controversy. If he is defeated, then the party will enter into a debate about its future with him not gone from the stage. I don’t think that will be the case. I think Donald Trump will remain in our public life for quite some time. But it might be easier to begin that process if Trump is not in office, rather than if he is.

Preet Bharara:

Do you think it’ll be two factions, it will be the people who want to perpetuate Trumpism, and then these other Republicans, some of them spoke at the Democratic convention? Do you think they would try to come back to the Republican fold and rest the party back from the Trumpists, people like John Kasich and others? Or is Trumpism the dominant force in the Republican Party for the foreseeable future, even if Trump loses?

Dan Balz:

Well, I think it is a primary force within the Republican Party. But if he loses, the debate will be different than if he wins again. If he loses, there will be a more vigorous debate about what the party ought to be and how much of Trumpism should remain, and how much should it become, once again, a traditional conservative party. I don’t know, even under those circumstances, the degree to which Never-Trumpers will be welcomed back in or will try to fight to be brought back in or to get back in.

Dan Balz:

I don’t know that John Kasich would try to do that. I mean, the reality is John Kasich is something of an outcast in the Republican Party, as it stands today. I think when he left office in Ohio, you might check me on this, but my recollection is that his approval rating in Ohio was a bit stronger with Democrats than it was with Republican. So if you are a Never Trumper, it might be harder to come back in than if you have been a quiet supporter of Trump.

Dan Balz:

But we’re going to see a bunch of people who are going to vie for the crown in 2024, who will all, in one way or another, have to take in some aspect of Trump. But how they do that, it’s going to be very, very treacherous, I think.

Preet Bharara:

Do you think one of those people will actually have the last name Trump, as in Donald Trump Jr.?

Dan Balz:

I suppose it’s possible. But if President Trump loses, then the question is, does the party really have an appetite to go back to a Trump to try to pull it again? I mean, maybe he would try to do that to reclaim the family name and-

Preet Bharara:

Well, George W. Bush did it. It took him eight years, not four, right?

Dan Balz:

Yes. But Georgia W. Bush always had his eye on politics. He had run for the House in 1978. He was looking to run for governor. He was somebody who had a political career and a political bone as part of his being. Donald Trump Jr. comes to it fresher. Now, his father proved that that’s not an impediment, but I don’t know, in the end, whether he will run or not.

Preet Bharara:

What about another TV personality like Tucker Carlson?

Dan Balz:

Anything’s possible in this world. Really, I mean, one of the-

Preet Bharara:

That is certainly true.

Dan Balz:

I did a piece with-

Preet Bharara:

Fact, check, true.

Dan Balz:

Yeah. I mean, I did a piece. This was sometime last year, which was at the suggestion of our national editor, Steven Ginsberg, who basically said, “It just looks as though people have a different measuring stick for what they think about when they think about who might be president.” And as I make this point, I’m in no way comparing Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But the truth is that each of them had a biography that made them very unlikely nominees of a political party, and then to become elected president.

Dan Balz:

I mean, the Obama biography, which everybody knows, is one in which he had very little national experience, and Donald Trump had absolutely none. But each had something, in a sense, special about the way they thought, about how they wanted to run for president, what the message was that they wanted to deliver, that they were able to galvanize voters in a way that you might not have expected given their biography.

Dan Balz:

I think that’s the kind of thing that opens this up to all kinds of people, at least thinking about running and trying to run. Preet, there’s a difference between wanting to run and being an effective candidate. And we’ve seen time and time again, people who on paper look like they might be good candidates, who get into the arena and are just woeful and often don’t make it to the starting line and certainly don’t make it anywhere close to the finish line. But yes, I think that there could be a Tucker Carlson or a Don Junior or whoever, along with traditional politicians running in 2024.

Preet Bharara:

No, there are a lot of people, Wesley Clark, Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani, all who were considered to be top favorites to win nominations at one point, and none of them made it. This effort of the GOP to paint Biden as part of the radical left, is that going to work? Does that have any holding power?

Dan Balz:

It has some potential, but so far it hasn’t had much effect. Biden is obviously difficult to caricature or to describe as a hard-left candidate. What we’re seeing at the Republican convention is the notion that he is not his own man, that he is not strong, that he’s relatively weak, and therefore he will be controlled by forces, particularly from the left, and the radical left as the Republicans are describing it. That obviously has some resonance, but primarily with people who are already with Trump, who are not on the fence.

Dan Balz:

But if he does things that, in one way or another, give a nod to that, the Republicans will do it. I was struck by the opening video last night, the opening sequence, which showed Bernie Sanders along hold on the squad and an image of Castro and an image of Che Guevara, all to say that this is Biden’s world and if you elect Joe Biden, that’s what you’re really getting. The Trump campaign has tried various things over four, five, six months to go after him, whether that he’s a daughtering somewhat senile old man, that he’s captured by the left, that he was too harsh in passing the crime bill and therefore bad for Black America, and we’ve seen some of that at this convention.

Dan Balz:

They haven’t yet settled on one thing. Although, based on this convention, you would have to assume that their belief is their best opportunity now, is to tie him to the left. But Biden has an opportunity to rebut that. And one issue is defunding the police, which we’ve heard a lot about at the convention this week, but which he has said repeatedly he is against. Now, people will say, “Well, he may say that, but the left wing will force him to do it anyway.”

Dan Balz:

But again, I think that’s the hardcore Trump support who says it. A lot of this is a reason why the debates could be very important this year, particularly that first debate on September 29th, because that will be a moment in which the two of them will in essence take their best arguments and throw it at the other. And we’ll see how both of them stand up to that kind of vigorous back and forth and who emerges as somebody who’s more credible than the other.

Preet Bharara:

Well, so paint a scenario in which either person’s performance is such that it would cause minds to shift in a material way.

Dan Balz:

Well, I think if Biden had a faltering debate, that would be potentially quite detrimental to him, if he looked like he was not in command of everything. I think that would hurt him, if he were to respond overly defensively about things. I mean, one thing we’ve seen in Biden is that when he is challenged, he doesn’t like it. And I think one challenge for him in the debate will be to keep his cool as Trump tries to get under his skin, because sometimes when he has gotten into situations like that, he’s said things that he’s regretted, particularly, I mean, that one comment that he made about, “If you’re thinking about voting for Trump, you ain’t Black.”

Dan Balz:

Those are the kinds of things that, they may seem like they’re small things or that they happen in an incident, then they go away, but they can have a lasting impact. Reagan’s debate in 1984 where he looked like he was wandering off the Pacific Coast Highway in his closing statement, caused a great deal of concern and he had to-

Preet Bharara:

You can always come back in debate two like he did.

Dan Balz:

You can. You can come back in debate two and debate three. For Trump, I think, again, it’s hard to think about how images of Trump are going to be changed.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. I mean, with respect to Trump, I’m trying to conceive of anything he could do that would cause him to lose his base of support, up to an including shooting someone if they do the debate on Fifth Avenue.

Dan Balz:

Well, I mean, I think that’s the case. I mean, I think his base is locked in and will believe him. But he can’t win this with 40 or 42% of the vote. I mean, he needs more than that. So he obviously needs something beyond that base that will we’ll accept him no matter what he does.

Preet Bharara:

Well, he can get 42% along with some suppression, and that’s maybe a formula for victory, no?

Dan Balz:

Well, maybe. I mean, we’re not going to have the third party size of third-party voting. It doesn’t look like that we had in 2016. And so, even if there’s suppression of the vote, but he’s still got to get above that. If you look at past history, and it’s always risky with Donald Trump because he’s constantly defying what we think of as norms in all ways, incumbent presidents don’t usually get a lot more vote percentage than their approval rating. His approval rating right now seems quite tied to people’s perceptions of how he’s done with the Coronavirus.

Dan Balz:

So he’s got to bump that up. He’s got to convince people in a way that he hasn’t yet, that he has done the right thing with the Coronavirus, and therefore, his overall numbers will go up, and therefore his vote share will go up. That’s a challenge. I’m not saying it can’t happen. He surprised people in 2016 and could do so again. I think smart Democrats are wise to say, “We ought not to just think these polls are locked in concrete and we don’t have to worry much. We just have to go through the motions.”

Dan Balz:

I mean, they’ve got to get their vote out. They’ve got to work hard to get all of their vote out. I know the Republicans had a huge head start on that just because Biden had to go through a nomination process and the Trump campaigns had all of that time to identify the voters that they think they need, and to begin to communicate the messages that they want them to hear.

Preet Bharara:

Please pause on that for a second. Obviously, Joe Biden is the nominee, but almost five minutes ago, nobody thought he would be the nominee. He didn’t seem to be anyone’s darling or favorite, and he lost the first few races. As you look back on it, this is not prognostication now, it’s looking back and doing a post-mortem, was it always the case that Joe Biden would be the inevitable nominee? How do you explain that Joe Biden is the nominee?

Dan Balz:

I give a certain amount of credit to the Biden campaign and to Mike Donilon who’s not well known. He’s the brother of Tom Donilon, the former national security advisor, a political strategist who has kept a very low profile over the years. I had a conversation with him before Biden became a candidate in the spring of 2019. He laid out for me the theory of the case. In his thinking, this was going to be a campaign about Donald Trump. And this was going to be a campaign which has become part of the slogan of the Biden folks, “A battle for the soul of the country,” and that the political class was going to be obsessed on Twitter with all of the things the political class gets obsessed with day to day, but that average voters were not. And that if you looked at all of the two dozen people who were running for the Democratic nomination, this is Mike’s view of it, and I think it’s borne out, that Biden was the most acceptable across the broadest stretch of the Democratic Party.

Dan Balz:

Not that he didn’t have weaknesses, not that Bernie Sanders didn’t have some obvious strengths, particularly with younger voters. But with people who often make the difference in a nomination battle, Biden was best positioned. Obviously, he had strong support in the African-American community, and particularly with older African-Americans, who, again, are more likely to turn out both in primaries and general election than younger African-Americans. He had more support with older voters. Again, they turn out in bigger numbers in primaries than do younger voters. That he was acceptable, if not loved by people who might like Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, or Kamala Harris, or whoever, and that it was likely to be a protracted battle. But in the end, all of those things would prevail for Joe Biden.

Dan Balz:

The second was that Democratic voters knew him and liked him, that his early lead in the polls was not based simply on name identification, but had something more to do with, or as much or more to do with that people knew him, and had respect for him, and admiration for him. If you think about it in that way, then yes, he was inevitable. But they ran a terrible campaign in Iowa and he was not a particularly good candidate in Iowa. Nobody has gotten to where Joe Biden is today having done as badly in those first few contests as he did.

Dan Balz:

But the other reality of Democratic voters is that the single-most important thing they were looking for was somebody that they thought was best positioned to take on Trump. And in the end, it consolidated around Biden. So I guess, yes, it always was inevitable. I mean, somebody said to me early on, when I asked, “Who think wins?” And they said, “Well, I think Biden will be the last candidate standing,” which is not to say he’s going to go out and win it, but that eventually he’ll prevail.

Preet Bharara:

Final question. The Rose Garden, has it been improved or not improved?

Dan Balz:

Well, I think we will have to await the spring. I mean, some of the pictures-

Preet Bharara:

That’s a dodge. That’s an incredible dodge, sir.

Dan Balz:

No, because, I mean, the rose garden blooms when the roses bloom. It doesn’t bloom in the middle of July, and pictures comparing the old Rose Garden with the new had a lot of tulips. And tulips aren’t in bloom in the summer. So I thought that moving the trees, it looks more bare. But I’m waiting for the spring to see what it really looks like. So if that’s a dodge, that’s a dodge, but my wife the gardener would-

Preet Bharara:

No, I’ll give it to you. I got in trouble. I posted on Twitter, when I said, “At this particular moment, I really don’t care about the Rose Garden,” and some people took offense. I think we have to prioritize things sometimes depending on where you are in the world and where the world is. And I don’t have a strong opinion about the Rose Garden. And I’m aided now by your suggestion that we wait. Dan Balz, thank you so much for making the time. It was really great to visit with you.

Dan Balz:

Preet, thank you. I appreciate it. It was good to be with you.

Preet Bharara:

My conversation with Dan Balz continues for the CAFE Insider community. Consider becoming a CAFE Insider. You can try it out free for two weeks at CAFE.com/insider. Insiders get bonus Stay Tuned content, the exclusive weekly podcast I cohost with Anne Milgram, the Cyberspace Podcast with John Carlin, the United Security Podcast co-hosted by Lisa Monaco and Ken Wainstein, audio essays by Elie Honig and me, and more. Again, to get a free two-week trial head to cafe.com/insider. That’s cafe.com/insider.

Preet Bharara:

Captain Brenda Berkman joined me on Stay Tuned last year to talk about the struggles she faced on her journey to becoming the first female firefighter in the history of the New York City fire department. We caught up with her this week because a project to which she has devoted much of her energy since retirement has finally come to fruition. Monumental Women is a non-profit that aims to increase representation and awareness of women in public spaces across New York and America.

Preet Bharara:

Yesterday, just one week after the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, Monumental Women unveiled the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, the first statue of historical women in Central Park. The monument features suffragists, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Captain Berkman joined us to reflect on why it was so important to bring statues of real women into the park.

Brenda Berkman:

People had to come to the realization that there were no women in Central Park, no depictions of real women in Central Park in the 167-year history of the park. We had the nymphs, we had Mother Goose, we had Alison Wonderland, but we had no real women. Meanwhile, we had 23 historical men that were depicted in the park. The really shocking thing was that people didn’t even notice us. They were like, “Really, there’s no women, no real women in Central Park?” when you’d talk to them about it.

Brenda Berkman:

And so, Monumental Women formed a non-profit. It’s an all-volunteer organization to advocate for the placement of real women in Central Park. Then we had to decide, what real women? The group, which is all volunteer, came up with three women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth. All three of these women were ardent abolitionists. They were threatened. Their lives were threatened when they went to speak against slavery. They organized petitions that got the signatures of hundreds of thousands of people.

Brenda Berkman:

We’re talking about these three women did this. They met together. They were on the same stages. They were all New Yorkers. That was another thing that was insisted, that the women had to be New Yorkers. There hadn’t been a statue of anybody added to the park in over 60 years, almost 70 years. So new requirement, we don’t know where it came from, that is, we had to prove that they had been in the park.

Brenda Berkman:

Now, Shakespeare, and Columbus, and Robert Burns, and all the other guys that are on Literary Walk, they had never been in the park. The park didn’t even exist when they were alive. But we had to show that these three women had been in Central Park. We were able to show that because they were all New Yorkers. Stanton, for instance, took her kids to the park. Anthony took long walks in the park. Truth was all around New York in her lifetime, in New York City. And so, we were able to show that they deserve to be in the park.

Preet Bharara:

Truth, Anthony, and Cady Stanton were contemporaries who fought alongside one another for the abolition of slavery and the universal suffrage of women. Captain Berkman explains what makes these women monumental and the lessons their stories offer for the current moment.

Brenda Berkman:

It’s so great to show that women, a group of women, all three of them together, working together, were able to accomplish things. True, they never were able to actually vote themselves. Both Anthony and Truth tried to vote in the 1872 presidential election. Anthony actually got to cast her vote, but then later she was arrested for voting. Truth went to the polls to register and they would not allow her to register. So she never even got a chance to try and cast her vote.

Brenda Berkman:

Does this sound familiar? I mean, is this a story for today? These three women’s lives should inspire us today. That’s why Monumental Women pick them. Because of their determination, their strategies, the suffrage movement designed all kinds of political strategies that had never been done before, such as… I’m not saying these three women, but in the movement, as it changed and morphed, as women suffragists tried to figure out, how do we get this done? How do we do this? It’s taken us decades. Finally, three generations after the suffrage movement started in the mid 1800s, finally, in 1920, the amendment was ratified, the 19th amendment was ratified.

Brenda Berkman:

But it wasn’t without a lot of suffering. Women went to jail. They were force-fed. Women demonstrated in front of the White House. That was a new thing. Nobody had ever demonstrated in front of the White House. What did the Secretary of the Navy do? He sent sailors over to beat up the women demonstrators. There were mobs that attacked the women demonstrators. There were mobs that attacked the women suffrage parade in 1913. This is the right time to be looking at these three women’s lives and the entire suffrage movement.

Preet Bharara:

Captain Berkman, a life-long student of history, also explains why telling the stories of marginalized groups has been such a constant in her own journey.

Brenda Berkman:

I was a woman firefighter for 25 years. I brought the lawsuit that got the first women hired in New York City for the FDNY as firefighters. And then when I retired a few years back, I became an artist and a volunteer. But my whole life, I have been very interested in history, and I’ve been interested in groups that have been underrepresented in our history curriculum. So starting as a very young girl, when I was in third grade, trying to read all of the Landmark History series for young people and discovering in my school library, that there were almost no books about the history of women and people of colors’ contributions, and other groups, immigrants, social movements. There was almost no history. It was what was probably known as The Great White Man’s History of the United States, and that bothered me a lot.

Brenda Berkman:

Even as a little kid, I thought, “Oh my goodness, I know that other groups have contributed to the many things that have happened in the history of the United States, and the accomplishments that have made us the country that we are today, how come nobody studies them? How come nobody writes them? How come, when I went to graduate school and I was a teaching assistant, there wasn’t even a lecture on women’s history in the survey course that I was helping kids learn?”

Brenda Berkman:

I started doing history myself. And so, when I had the opportunity to become part of Monumental Women, of course this was something that I was going to do. I mean, it’s part of my DNA as a person to try and make sure that the histories of all different kinds of people are not only preserved, but also honored. And this is what Monumental Women’s mission is. So, of course, I was going to get involved.

Preet Bharara:

Debates over who deserves monuments are a political constant in 2020. Captain Berkman reflects on the complicated ethics surrounding public commemoration.

Brenda Berkman:

There is no perfect person to be honored. President Obama has talked about the cancel culture that we’re currently in, that you have to look at the totality of people’s work and lives in order to decide whether or not they should be the models for our children. There are almost no statues of women at all. In the 150 statues of people in New York City, there are five, five of women. Now there’s six. So it’s not like we’re done. We can do it. We’ve done it. We don’t have to honor women and people of color anymore. We’ve done it. We’ve got our first African-American honored inside the confines of Central Park, Sojourner Truth. Okay, we’re done now.

Brenda Berkman:

The thing is that I was talking to one of our other board members, Namita Luthra. I asked Namita if I could read some words that she had to say about this issue of, who do we honor in our public spaces? She put it this way. She says that, “In our monument and women’s history education campaign, we want to convey that these three generations of women suffragists of all colors, who fought for the vote, are national heroes.” Ken Burns says this in our unveiling ceremony.

Ken Burns:

And today we remember the work and lives of three extraordinary women who I believe are among the most important people in our country’s history, the fiery order, Sojourner Truth, the brilliant writer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the shrewd political activist, Susan B. Anthony. They will for generations now stand in Central Park to remind us of their day, our collective history, and the work ahead, creating a beautifully seamless connection between the past, the present, and our hope-filled future.

Brenda Berkman:

They’re not just women’s rights heroes, that their tactics deserve studying and critiquing like military generals because they were in the fight of their lives. Girls, we need to see the whole of their humanity and the whole of their strategies. Girls don’t even know this history at the most rudimentary level. I would add boys don’t know it either. Their names, Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Carrie Chapman Catt, and on and on, let alone the incredibly astute public relations media and political strategies they implemented, many which never been employed before.

Preet Bharara:

The sculptor, Meredith Bergmann, brought symbolism and historical reference into every element of the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument.

Brenda Berkman:

She was confined by a number of different factors. One is she had to design a monument which fit in with the 19th century monuments that are already on Literary Walk. So this essentially is what should have been put in to that space in the 19th century when all these other guys were put in, that that’s number one. If you look at this and you think, “Well, that’s kind of old timey. It looks like it’s from the 19th century.” Well, that’s an intention.

Brenda Berkman:

The great thing about it is, so it shows three people working together. It shows the power, the power of community and people working together to achieve their goals. Every aspect of the monument has meaning. Why does Sojourner truth have knitting in her lap? What is that all about? People today was like, “Oh, that’s so old-fashioned. Why was your show a woman with knitting? Well, for Sojourner Truth and the women of her time, knitting was very important. First of all, it was a patriotic act during the civil war to knit for the union soldiers, and Sojourner Truth did that. She was very active in the union cause.

Brenda Berkman:

Second thing about it was that, as a formerly enslaved person, as a slave, she would not have been taught necessarily how to knit. It was one of those skills like reading that slave owners did not teach to their enslaved people. So Sojourner Truth never learned to read, but she did learn to knit. She was very proud of that and she wanted to be a model for her people, that this is something that you can do, that you can show your contributions, your value is this particular thing.

Brenda Berkman:

Similarly, with Stanton and Anthony, the design of their clothing, the use of sunflowers on Stanton’s dress, which was a name she adopted herself, a nom de plume. When she was writing, Sunflower was a name that she adopted and she has sunflowers on her dress. Truth was very conscious of her image. And so, her dress also reflects how she would dress as a lady for her photographs, which she then sold to support her work. It was very important to her that she be portrayed as a lady.

Brenda Berkman:

It’s accurate to showing the finger that was lopped off of Truth’s hand in an agricultural accident that happened when she was enslaved. It shows Truth speaking. That’s what she was known for, Anthony, organizing, which is what she was famous for, advocating and organizing women all over the country in her alligator bag with all the pamphlets, including an announcement of a Truth lecture. It’s all there. Stanton was famous for writing. She’s holding a pen over a blank sheet of paper. She’s about to start taking down thoughts and writing.

Brenda Berkman:

And so, it all, all has meaning. And I would urge visitors to the park to spend time in front of the monument and listen to the words of these women and take in the meaning of all of this. Not just walk by and say, “Oh, three women. Okay. It’s Truth, Anthony, and Stanton,” onward to the hotdog stand. This is the first, the first women who are honored in Central Park. Give them your attention and then learn more about them. Learn about their lives, the obstacles that they had to overcome. Be inspired by them, and then help us, those of us working around the country, including Monumental Women, help us to bring women’s history to the public, and to make it more of a part of our cultural conversation, our historical conversation.

Preet Bharara:

Captain Berkman welcomed guests to the unveiling.

Brenda Berkman:

What a great day. At long last we are celebrating the unveiling of Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.

Preet Bharara:

Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was there in person too, offering an inspiring message about the suffrage movement.

Hillary Clinton:

These three women work side by side, not only on suffrage, but also on abolition. All three wanted universal suffrage for all Americans and were not happy when men of color got the vote without women. They had passionate disagreements, and Sojourner Truth spoke out against the racism she experienced as a Black woman, including too often at the hands of White suffragists, because while the passage of the 19th amendment was a critical, important historic victory, it was also an incomplete one.

Preet Bharara:

To watch yesterday’s full unveiling of the historic sculpture, visit monumentalwomen.org. If you’re in Central Park, head to Literary Walk and download the Talking Statues app where you can hear audio content. Head to cafe.com for longer documentary videos about Captain Berkman’s work. While you’re there, you can also check out my September 2019 Stay Tuned interview with Captain Berkman. And if you haven’t already, listened to last week’s Stay Tuned episode featuring Johns Hopkins history professor, Martha S. Jones, who discusses the loss stories of Black suffragist leaders. Thank you, Captain Brenda Berkman, for all of the work that you’re doing.

Preet Bharara:

Well, that’s it for this episode of Stay Tuned. Thanks again to my guests, Dan Balz and Brenda Berkman. If you like what we do, rate and review the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. Every positive review helps new listeners find the show. Send me your questions about news, politics, and justice. Tweet them to me @PreetBharara with the hashtag AskPreet, or you can call and leave me a message at (669) 247-7338. That’s (669) 24-PREET, or you can send an email to [email protected]

Preet Bharara:

Stay Tuned is presented by CAFE Studios. Your host is Preet Bharara. The executive producer is Tamara Sepper. The senior producer is Adam Waller. The senior audio producer is David Tatasciore and the CAFE team is Matthew Billy, David Kurlander, Sam Ozer-Staton, Noa Azulai, Nat Weiner, Jake Kaplan, Calvin Lord, Geoff Isenman, Chris Boylan, Sean Walsh, and Margot Maley. Our music is by Andrew Dost. I’m Preet Bharara, stay tuned.