On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Major Garrett:
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of MarylandMichigan Secretary of State Jocelyn BensonFormer Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickJared Holt of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and Karen Kornbluh of the German Marshall Fund
Clickto browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
MAJOR GARRETT: I'm Major Garrett in Washington.
And this week on Face the Nation: democracy stress test. Americans are worried about voting, violence and disinformation.
President Biden delivered his message for the 2022 campaign last week, putting former President Trump and the so-called MAGA extremists he leads squarely on the midterm stage.
JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): The Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.
MAJOR GARRETT: In his first rally since the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago as part of an investigation into the handling of classified documents, the former president, who spoke for nearly two hours, responded.
DONALD TRUMP (Former President of the United States): Republicans in the MAGA movement are not the ones trying to undermine our democracy. We are the ones trying to save our democracy.
MAJOR GARRETT: The committee investigating the January 6 assault on the Capitol prepares its next move.
We will ask Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, a key Democrat on the panel, what to expect.
Voter turnout set records in 2018 and 2020. Will new voting laws break the streak or sustain it? We will hear from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and we will talk with former Massachusetts Governor and the former head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division Deval Patrick.
Plus, we will ask two experts who study online extremism what can be done to combat the problem and whether fears of unrest around the midterms are warranted.
It is all just ahead on Face the Nation.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Face the Nation.
Margaret is taking some time off.
Labor Day typically marks the kickoff of the homestretch of an election year. As Americans look ahead to the midterms this November, there is broad and deep anxiety in the country about the health of our democracy.
A new CBS News poll this morning shows 72 percent of Americans think U.S. democracy is under threat. Why? The top answers include the influence of money in politics, potential for political violence, and attempts to overturn elections.
Our next hour will focus on these fault lines, fears and some potential solutions.
We begin with CBS News senior national correspondent Mark Strassmann with a look at how we got here.
KARI LAKE (R-Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate): When I'm governor, we're going to take a sledgehammer to these damn electronic voting machines.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MARK STRASSMANN (voice-over): Take Arizona's Kari Lake or Pennsylvania's Doug Mastriano...
DOUG MASTRIANO (D-Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate): We, the people, are pissed.
MARK STRASSMANN: ... Republican nominees for governor and election deniers, evangelists of the big lie.
CBS News election expert David Becker:
DAVID BECKER: What's really important for voters to understand is, our process is actually as secure and transparent and professional as it's ever been.
MARK STRASSMANN: And yet, since the 2020 election, at least 39 states changed or updated voting laws, often spurred by invented claims of widespread election fraud.
Texas imposed new I.D. requirements for mail-in ballots. Georgia restricted drop boxes and absentee ballots. Florida established an elections crime unit. Yet, come Election Day, November 8...
DAVID BECKER: For most voters, they're going to find that the experience is very similar to 2020.
MARK STRASSMANN: The bigger worry, what comes next? More January 6 outrage? Claims of election rigging? Crowds baying for blood?
RIOTER: Nancy. Oh, Nancy.
MARK STRASSMANN: Potentially encouraged by candidates who may refuse to lose.
Our research shows, in these six battleground states, in this November's elections for offices that helped certify elections, 53 of 88 Republican candidates are election deniers. That is 60 percent.
In Arizona's four major Republican primaries, steal champions won all of them, worrying other Republicans there.
BILL GATES (R-Maricopa County, Arizona, Supervisor): This cannot be accepted, because our democracy cannot withstand it. So we have to continue to push back.
MARK STRASSMANN: Like many election deniers, Doug Mastriano says, as governor, he would have refused to certify Joe Biden won Pennsylvania. He was in the crowd on January 6.
MARK STRASSMANN: With or without new election laws, every state's chief election officer has to certify results. Usually, that's the secretary of state.
And, this November, a number of conservative candidates running for that office are also election deniers -- Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: Mark Strassmann in Atlanta, thank you.
We're joined now by Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, a Democratic member of the January 6 Select Committee.
Congressman, good to see you. Good morning.
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN (D-Maryland): Thanks so much for having me, Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: So, former President Trump says that MAGA Republicans are trying to save democracy, and they want to be taken seriously on this issue.
So let's review what the former president said this week earlier. He said the 2020 election should be rerun or he should be reinstated in office, and that, if reelected in 2024, he would provide apologies and full pardons to those charged and/or convicted for storming the Capitol on January 6.
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Well, first, if he's saying that the election should be rerun, which is something he's been asserting from the beginning, that's totally outside of the Constitution.
There is no procedure for the military just to seize the election machinery and run a new election, which is one of the things that his disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was pushing and we know was part of the January 6 plot.
And, look, more than 60 courts rejected every claim of electoral fraud and corruption which Donald Trump advanced. He's had the benefit of more than 60 courts, including eight courts where he appointed the judges to office, look at all those claims, and they were all rejected. It was rejected in the states. And he lost the election.
Two of the hallmarks of a fascist political party are, one, they don't accept the results of elections that don't go their way, and, two, they embrace political violence. And I think that's why President Biden was right to sound the alarm this week about these continuing attacks on our constitutional order from the outside by Donald Trump and his movement.
MAJOR GARRETT: Let's talk about the January 6 committee.
There is conversation about having Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, come in. He has described this committee as a Stalinist show trial. Earlier this year, he said, under a Republican-led Congress, members of this committee might be arrested.
How do you respond to that remark -- those remarks? And what would be the value of him coming in talking to the committee?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Well, we're inviting in only people who have relevant evidence and testimony.
MAJOR GARRETT: What's his relevant evidence and testimony?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Well, he has appeared at numerous times in -- throughout the investigation about the attempt to propound the big lie, and to keep things going long after the election had been settled.
But it's interesting that he invoked Stalinism, when all of the Stalinists are on Donald Trump's side, like Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB, who said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, or the dictator of North Korea, who Donald Trump writes love letters to.
The Stalinists are on their side, and they should keep them on that side of the aisle, because our side is fighting for democracy in America.
MAJOR GARRETT: Does the committee still have interest in obtaining testimony from Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Look, we're interested in getting testimony from anyone who has relevant evidence about the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election. Let's not lose sight of what we're talking about here'
MAJOR GARRETT: There were disclosures this week that she was in e-mail conversation with people in Wisconsin about that topic.
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: I -- speaking as one member and only as one member, I would say she has a relevant testimony to render.
And she should come forward and give it. I don't want to overstate her role. We've talked to more than 1,000 people. But we'd like to hear from Gingrich and we'd like to hear from her too.
MAJOR GARRETT: What is the probability former Vice President Pence testifies?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Well, look, Vice President Pence was the target of Donald Trump's wrath and fury and effort to overthrow the election on January 6.
The whole idea was to get Pence to step outside his constitutional role and then to declare unilateral lawless powers to reject Electoral College votes from the states. So I think he has a lot of relevant evidence, and I would hope he would come forward and testify about what happened'
MAJOR GARRETT: Voluntarily or via subpoena?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Well, we're trying to get everybody to come forward voluntarily'
MAJOR GARRETT: But a subpoena is not out of question?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: In no one's case is a subpoena out of question, but I would assume he's going to come forward and testify voluntarily, the way the vast majority of people have.
MAJOR GARRETT: One of the mandates of this committee is to create legislation.
Ten Republicans on the Senate side have signed on to an Electoral Count Act revision. Is there a bill on the House side? Will there be? And do you expect this to be updated and resolved legislatively, either before the midterms or in the lame-duck session?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Well, we want to take a much broader view, I think. I mean, the narrowest thing you could say is, well, the vice president doesn't have the power to unilaterally rebuff Electoral College votes from the state...
MAJOR GARRETT: Clarify that?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: But -- yeah, but if that's all we do, in a certain sense, it's validating Donald Trump's argument that there was any ambiguity about it in the first place, which there was not.
No vice president had ever tried to reject Electoral College votes. And Mike Pence and his team ultimately said it was ridiculous. So I think we need to take a much broader view about Donald Trump's attack on the entire Electoral College process and the entire democratic process from the counties and the towns and the cities through the states all the way up to the federal government.
So, I think we have got to defend the right to vote and democracy itself.
MAJOR GARRETT: Does that mean the Senate bill would be unacceptable in the house?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: No, I think it's a -- it's a good first start. It's a good first offer. But I think we need to look far more systematically at what Donald Trump was trying to do.
And we've seen, for example, when he called Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and said, just find me 11,781 votes, when they tried to intimidate election officers, this was a far more sweeping plot than just what happened in the last couple of hours there.
MAJOR GARRETT: We have less than a minute.
One of your colleagues on the committee, Adam Kinzinger, said the next step for the committee is to look into the money behind and the money being made off of the big lie.
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: That was an important degree, an important dimension of everything that was happening. This was a Donald Trump operation. So it was always an effort to...
MAJOR GARRETT: But will that be brought in the public presentation of that committee coming forward?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: It will undoubtedly be part of our report.
And whether it comes up again in the hearings, I can't say yet, because we're still working all of that out.
MAJOR GARRETT: There is much anticipation in the nation's capital, possibly across the country, in the report propounded by the committee.
When can the country expect to see that?
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Well, certainly by the end of the year, because we're like Cinderella at midnight. Our license runs out at the end of the year.
But, under House Resolution 503, that's a significant part of our responsibility to report to the American people about how to prevent coups, insurrections, political violence, and attacks on our democratic process going forward.
MAJOR GARRETT: Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, thanks so much.
REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Thanks for having me, Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: Face the Nation will be back in just one moment.
Please stay with us.
MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back.
We turn now to Michigan's Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Madam Secretary, welcome to Face the Nation, and good morning.
I know you talk to lots of secretaries of state of both parties, as well as election officials nationwide. What are they most worried about as the midterms approach?
JOCELYN BENSON (D-Michigan Secretary of State): Violence and disruption on Election Day, first and foremost, and in the days surrounding the election.
And, secondly, there's a concern about the ongoing spread of misinformation, which of course, fuels the potential for additional threats, harassment and, and even violence on Election Day.
MAJOR GARRETT: A natural question that viewers might have hearing you just now is, well, is there a plan to deal with violence? Should I be afraid when I go to the polls?
SECRETARY JOCELYN BENSON: There is.
And they should -- all voters should know that election officials on both sides of the aisle are working night and day to ensure we're collaborating with law enforcement and every other potential partner to protect the sanctity of the polling place and protect the integrity of our democracy.
And it's also important to note that we've been doing this work now for close to two years, or over two years, and we've been succeeding really at every turn. Democracy prevailed in 2020. There have been, in Michigan and in other states, no significant attempts, apart from the tragedy in our Capitol on January 6, to really see disruption of the polling places on Election Day itself.
So, we are in many ways even more prepared this year than ever before, than -- even than we were in 2020, to ensure that we are eliminating, mitigating or certainly protecting the system against any potential disruptions, and also speaking clearly to folks who are thinking about interfering with our elections that the law is clear, and we will seek accountability and consequences for anyone who tries to interfere with a citizen's right to vote and democracy itself.
MAJOR GARRETT: Madam Secretary, I want to put things in two different distinct buckets if I could.
Consternation and denialism is one, and curiosity is another. Do you welcome from your constituents in Michigan and should secretaries of state broadly welcome curiosity, voters who maybe don't believe the election was stolen, but have questions? Are you open to that and that engagement?
SECRETARY JOCELYN BENSON: Yes, that is such an important distinction.
I think we need to look at things based on truth and evidence. If there are evidence of -- or questions based on evidence, rooted in evidence of any issues around our elections, then, yes, we welcome that, because the more transparency we have on the process, the more sunlight, the more people can understand really how much work has gone into protecting the security and accessibility of elections for every voter.
What's really happened over the last few years is this growth of fact -- or factless misinformation or allegations based not on evidence, but on aspersions, and really geared towards furthering partisan agendas and delegitimizing democracy itself.
But if questions are rooted in evidence, and if responses are similarly rooted in evidence, then we actually move forward to having a healthy, robust, transparent democracy, where everyone can have confidence that their vote is counted and their voice is heard.
MAJOR GARRETT: This next question might be an opportunity for that kind of clarity.
So, a piece of election equipment from Michigan was recently found on eBay. It had been sold in an auction of some kind. There's a criminal investigation. What's the underlying crime? And what do you want to say about that?
SECRETARY JOCELYN BENSON: Well, in Michigan, as in many other states, it's illegal for anyone to have unauthorized access to election equipment.
And so we have for really the past several years been engaging and working with law enforcement to ensure the security of the equipment. We immediately decommission any equipment that has been found to be potentially compromised. And we ensure that, prior to every election, there are accuracy tests for every piece of election equipment, so the citizen can feel confident that, when they vote on paper ballots, that the machines are securely counting every valid vote.
Now, in this case, we had a situation -- and we're still working with law enforcement to investigate what happened -- where not a voting tabulator, but a marking device, a device that's used to assist voters who need assistance in marking their ballot, perhaps may have been inadvertently dropped off at Goodwill, maybe even discarded as something that wasn't clear what it was.
We're still finding out those facts. But it's important to note that that's happening in this era of misinformation, where people are quick to seize on the potential for machines to be somehow insecure. And our work in Michigan is to ensure that any machine that is illegally accessed or even tempted to be illegally accessed is decommissioned and that we only have secure machines in play on Election Day.
And, again, we test those before every election.
MAJOR GARRETT: Madam Secretary, again, keeping with the theme of transparency, as you know, there is a lawsuit filed in Michigan alleging that the names of deceased voters remained on those rolls longer than they should have.
A Biden-appointed federal judge has allowed that lawsuit to continue. What can you say about that? And do you need to do better in Michigan than you have on this particular front?
SECRETARY JOCELYN BENSON: We have maintained and prioritized ensuring the accuracy of our voting list since I took office, including doing a mailing to every voter in the state -- registered voter in the state, so that we can assess whether or not they were still in Michigan.
We've also partnered with national collaborations with other states to ensure, when voters move to another state, that we get that information. With regards to voters who become deceased, we receive information every week from the federal government, Social Security and other sources. And we use that information to, on a weekly, regular basis, ensure that we're tracking and increasing and improving the accuracy of our lists.
Now, that said, we also welcome the suggestions or the input of others. And we've asked individuals who do present us with lists to let us know how they compile this evidence, so that we can verify whether or not it's actually true. The bottom line is, we want to ensure that our lists are accurate, but that we're also not removing voters who are legitimately able to be registered and vote in Michigan.
And that's a very technical process. It's one that requires constant vigilance. We've also set up a Web site on our Michigan.gov/vote where citizens can learn in granular detail about everything we do on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of our voting lists in Michigan.
MAJOR GARRETT: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Madam Secretary, thanks for taking the questions. Good to see you. Happy Labor Day.
SECRETARY JOCELYN BENSON: Thanks. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
MAJOR GARRETT: And we'll be right back with a lot more Face the Nation.
We invite you to please stay with us.
MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back to Face the Nation.
We learned more about the FBI's investigation of former President Trump last week, including new details about what federal agents recovered during the search of Mar-a-Lago last month.
To help us with all of this, we are joined by CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent -- that would be Robert Costa -- and CBS News congressional correspondent, my good friend Scott MacFarlane.
Good morning to you both.
Bob, catch the audience up on what we have learned and what's most important about that, that we learned.
ROBERT COSTA: Major, good to be with you.
A federal judge in Florida decided to unseal more information about what was collected during that FBI search at Mar-a-Lago in early August. What we learned this week were new details, including the fact that there were empty folders marked as classified inside the president's Mar-a-Lago estate.
This is a serious investigation, based on my reporting. It also has mounting unanswered questions about why the president had so many -- former president had so many documents marked as classified, empty folders. If they are empty, then where was the information that was contained in them?
MAJOR GARRETT: And also questions about if the representations made by his attorneys were truthful to the Justice Department.
ROBERT COSTA: That's right.
The Justice Department has been suggesting in court filings that they're looking into possible obstruction by Trump and his legal team in terms of their engagement with the National Archives, as well as with the Justice Department.
MAJOR GARRETT: Scott, fair to say, fairly or not, this has set off a firestorm within the Trump-sympathetic community in our country.
Has that gotten the attention of prosecutors, judges and others picking up similar suggestions of violence or threats of violence of the kind that preceded January 6?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Exactly.
There's a symmetry to what's been said publicly and on social media platforms and chat groups after the search at Mar-a-Lago and what they saw and what they heard January 4, January 5, 2021, talk of civil war, talk of delegitimizing federal law enforcement or federal institutions.
And one of the most unequivocal warnings has been coming from D.C. federal judges who are handling the January 6 cases. They warned in the past week of the prospect of another January 6 in 2025, of more political violence.
These are the judges, Major, who know the January 6 cases. They know what these defendants had been saying before the attack. And the symmetry of what's being said now is striking and important.
MAJOR GARRETT: Bob, what's your reporting about January 2025 and concerns Republicans have looking that far ahead?
ROBERT COSTA: When I'm on Capitol Hill, that is the point of alarm among some of my top sources.
What happens in January 2025, after the next presidential election? And it's up to Congress to decide how this is all certified. And if there are disputes in the states -- let's say a state court says one thing, a governor says another, and the legislature says another -- how will Congress handle that?
And there isn't a clear road map at this point, because the Electoral Count Act, which has been guiding this process for a long time, has been confusing to many lawmakers. And so, as Congressman Raskin was saying, there are ongoing discussions in the Senate, Senator Manchin, Senator Collins, trying to come up with their own proposal.
But some in the House and in the Senate don't believe it goes far enough. For example, the threshold now for an objection, it's just one senator, one House member. The Senate proposed package, it's about 20 percent of a chamber is needed for an objection.
But some of my sources, Democrat and Republican, are saying, is 20 percent too low? For the sustainability of American democracy, does it need to be more stringent when it comes to how things are objected to? And does it need to be more clear in terms of having Congress understand what to consider as a legitimate outcome in a state?
MAJOR GARRETT: Scott, related to the conversation we just had, you're on Capitol Hill every day.
Is the atmosphere there still as tense as it was after January 6? Are members and staff still on edge about the prospect of violence or their own personal safety?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Yes.
And note the increased security some members of Congress have had to take or get because of the talk in recent weeks, in recent months and threats against their lives.
I will say something else. The defendants in court from January 6, when it's time to go ask for leniency, go to sentencing, plead for the mercy of the court, are still so muted in their criticism of Donald Trump and, in some cases, still denying the integrity of the 2020 election.
The judges and some of the people involved will say, that's why they're so concerned about more violence. Even defendants on their day of reckoning are still critical.
MAJOR GARRETT: And very quickly, Scott, how much volatility, if any, does it add when the former president says, if he's reelected in 2024, he will grant full pardons?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Yes, it's a potential light to the candle to the match. It infuses this with more chaos and potentially more denialism of elections.
MAJOR GARRETT: Bob, any thoughts on that, real quick?
ROBERT COSTA: Just to build on Scott's point, January 6 remains a wound that will not heal in this country. It's influencing ongoing investigations. It's influencing Congress and the next election, in terms of how people like Doug Mastriano are running in Pennsylvania, people who are linked to January 6 in various ways.
MAJOR GARRETT: Robert Costa, Scott MacFarlane, thanks so very much.
And we will be right back.
MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back to Face the Nation.
We turn now to Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts who, before that, led the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division during the Clinton administration. He joins us this morning from Richmond, Massachusetts.
Governor, thanks for making time. Good to see you.
FORMER GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK (D-Massachusetts): It's a pleasure. Good morning.
MAJOR GARRETT: So, you're out of politics now. Your focus at the Kennedy School at Harvard is on leadership.
How comfortable were you with President Biden's speech last week, and also a speech that Republicans well remember that the President gave earlier this year when he compared changes that Republicans made in voting laws in Georgia to Jim Crow and violent enforced segregation of another era?
Are you comfortable with that kind of rhetoric?
FORMER GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: You know what? A friend of mine says that we've been treating our democracy for a long time in this country as if it would tolerate limitless abuse without breaking.
And when you add up the 19 states and their vote suppression laws recently, and you look at that alongside the amount of money, so much of it dark, which has been permitted into our politics and our policymaking, the radical purging rules, the ways in which we have distorted the democratic process as a means to achieve better lives for citizens, it is deeply worrisome.
And it's gotten worse because of election deniers. So, I celebrate the president's speech. Any one of us would choose different words, but I think it is great that the president first of all calls things what they are, and also reminds us that the purpose of democracy is a means to assure liberty and justice for all. And we have to care about that process and that purpose for those reasons.
MAJOR GARRETT: Governor, in our focus group that our audience will see in a few moments of Trump supporters, one pointed out that Democrats raised objections in 2000, and they wouldn't let them go. They raised objections in 2004. Some wouldn't let them go, and, in 2016, raised objections and wouldn't let them go.
And they consider Democrat criticism of Republican objections to what they saw in 2020 hypocritical. Respond to that.
FORMER GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Well, I think it's important for us to hear that, first of all, and to -- and really try to process that.
I think I experienced that differently. I think, when Donald Trump -- if what you mean is objections to Donald Trump winning the presidency, I don't think there was any Democrat calling the election itself illegitimate because the outcome was surprising or disappointing to Democrats.
I think it is important, though, to acknowledge that there is frustration that runs pretty deep throughout the political spectrum about democracy as a path to a better future. And that is because I think we've been treating it in this -- in these kind of careless ways for a long, long time. It's a whole other order of magnitude. And that is serious enough, but a whole order of magnitude to say that democracy is illegitimate unless the outcome is the one you want or the one you voted for.
I don't think that's what Democrats were objecting to in the policy choices of Donald Trump and those who have supported him. That's a very, very different thing.
MAJOR GARRETT: Governor, as you well know, democracy is sustained on a generational basis.
You deal a lot, I gather, with leadership and the question of thereof with younger American students. What is their orientation to democracy? Do they want direct democracy? And do you have to explain to them, we don't have direct democracy in our country, we have representational democracy, and do you work them through that?
And what's their level of optimism or pessimism?
FORMER GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: What great questions.
First of all, I think the students at the Kennedy School, the young people I meet all around the country, give me tremendous amount of encouragement. And they -- and I think they all -- they should encourage all of us. I think their sense of patriotism runs deep. I think their sense of urgency is also natural and a thing not to be tamped down, because there are unmet needs, many of which cross all kinds of differences, reach people in every part of the country, and were undeniable in the experience we all shared going through the COVID 19 pandemic.
I think that the notion of being engaged, of taking responsibility for this generation and generations to come is enormously important and encouraging. And one of the things I try to encourage in them is that they look for and think about and reject the false choices that so many of our would-be leaders tell us.
You know, you don't have to hate the members of another party to be a member in good standing of your own, in the same way you don't have to hate business to advocate for social and economic justice or to hate the police to believe black lives matter.
But we are sold so many of these kinds of false choices in our current political discourse. And I keep encouraging the young people who want to be involved and who are trying to encourage others of all generations to be engaged to be alert to those false choices and reject them, because the fact is, most people aren't buying 100 percent of what either party is selling.
You know that, Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: Governor, we have less than a minute left.
Do you think the business and corporate community in America needs to be more involved in the democracy debate? And, if so, how?
FORMER GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: I think the business community is becoming more involved and business leaders in the democracy debate.
The question of where they stand as an entity on any given issue, any given policy is another story. And that's more delicate, I think, for businesses.
But the question about whether participatory democracy is a thing to celebrate and encourage, and, where it is suppressed or frustrated or encumbered, to be called out and condemned, I think that's something that business leaders have to show leadership on, because that involves all of us. And the truth is...
MAJOR GARRETT: Governor...
FORMER GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: ... capitalism depends on democracy.
MAJOR GARRETT: Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, thanks so much for your time.
We will be right back.
MAJOR GARRETT: To better understand the pulse of Republican politics at the moment, we spoke earlier with a group of voters who would support former President Trump if he ran again in 2024.
We began our conversation with the Justice Department's intensifying investigation into the former president for allegedly mishandling classified information.
STEVE (Trump Voter): It appears to be politically motivated. But there's no way to be sure, because we work for the FBI. We don't work for the Biden administration.
MARY (Trump Voter): They're not going to leave him alone. So, even if he has done something wrong, they will always be trying to go after him for something, and it'll be the focus.
JOANN (Trump Voter): I believe that, if it really was about documents, that it could have been handled between the lawyers, as it had been being handled.
You don't raid the home of a former president like he's a drug dealer down the street, with the lights and the guys with the guns. And it wasn't necessary. Can I trust that what they say that they supposedly found is really found? I can't. I will never believe it.
MAJOR GARRETT: Right.
When Senator Lindsey Graham, Joann, said that, if the former president is indicted, there will be riots in the street -- streets, do you agree with that? And do you feel comfortable with a senator saying something like that?
JOANN: No, I wish Lindsey Graham had not voiced it that way. I think, if he's indicted, there will be a lot of unhappy people. But I do not believe that MAGA Republicans are going to be rioting in the streets.
STEVE: I don't see there would be any rioting.
If they were going to -- if there was going to be any rioting in the streets, it would have been when the last election was stolen. It wouldn't be over this issue.
MAJOR GARRETT: Let me pick up on that, Steve.
You just said the last election was stolen. How was it stolen?
STEVE: I saw the video out of Georgia, that they cleared everybody out of the polling place. And, as soon as everybody was gone, they pulled suitcases full of ballots out of -- underneath tables, and started processing.
And the next morning, the entire outcome was different.
MAJOR GARRETT: Steve, does it matter to you that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looked into that and decided itself that there was nothing wrong there?
STEVE: I have to believe my own two eyes. I watched it happen on video.
Yes, we know that video can be doctored today, but I'm not buying it. I'm a pretty bright guy. What I see, I believe, at least half of it.
MAJOR GARRETT: Does it matter that two U.S. attorneys, both of them appointed by former President Trump, looked into it and did not consider that activity fraudulent? Does that matter to you?
STEVE: It gives me pause. It makes me think more deeply about it.
But, again, I have to believe what I see.
MAJOR GARRETT: Mary, do you believe the 2020 election was stolen?
MARY: I wouldn't necessarily say that it was stolen. But I believe that it is unfair.
People don't know their history, then, because they don't know how Democrats argued over the 2000 election. Obviously, they said the Supreme Court elected George W. Bush. And then, again in 2004, it was the same thing
MAJOR GARRETT: To that point -- and I don't disagree with you at all. I covered 2000. I covered 2004. I well remember the instances. You describe them. You describe them accurately.
But I remember a phrase that my grandmother used to use, which is two wrongs don't make a right. And I wonder how you process that wisdom from my grandmother in this context.
MARY: I think two wrongs don't make a right. But I don't think hypocrisy is very flattering as well.
MAJOR GARRETT: Joann, about two wrongs don't make a right, I understand that there is a history on both sides.
I'm just wondering if you're comfortable and if you have any anxiety about the future of democracy if both sides use that as an excuse against one another, and we never get anywhere.
JOANN: You're absolutely correct.
If every side is going to say after they lose, we really didn't lose, then, yes, I mean, elections will become something that nobody's ever going to be happy with.
MARY: You just said the question of democracy, but isn't democracy arguing, debating?
So, if the precedent has been set that you can question elections, I mean, you can question everything in a democracy.
MAJOR GARRETT: Sure.
MARY: It's getting -- to somebody like me, who's not a Republican or a Democrat, but I do support Trump, it's getting really old hearing democracy, democracy, democracy, because what we're doing is part of a democracy.
And the way Joe Biden and the Democrats use it as a weapon -- the term democracy has become a weapon. And it just means that. if you're afraid that Republicans are a threat to democracy, what you're telling me is that you're -- you're afraid that Republicans are a threat to your power and your agenda.
And so I think we need to go back and have a better understanding of what democracy actually is.
MAJOR GARRETT: Steve, let me follow up with you.
What are your feelings about the upcoming midterms? Do you have confidence in the election results you will see reported either that night or the following days?
STEVE: No, my confidence in that area has been shaken for a long time.
MAJOR GARRETT: Mary, can I ask you the same question? How do you feel about the coming midterms and the election results that will be reported?
MARY: For the most part, yes, I'm confident.
MAJOR GARRETT: OK.
Joann, how about you?
JOANN: The Democrat Party has spent a lot of money to prop up what they call MAGA candidates in the upcoming November election, candidates that they figured, once they got there, the Democrat could beat.
But then the president the other night basically told everyone that we can't have the MAGA Republicans in office at all, that we're going to destroy the country. So, I'm -- I don't know. It concerns me. I thought we were going to do very well in November.
MAJOR GARRETT: Steve, if I could ask you, if former President Trump were not to declare for 2024, do you have an alternative who is already a favorite of yours?
STEVE: Ron DeSantis. In fact, I'd love to see a DeSantis-Trump ticket.
MAJOR GARRETT: Mary, if former President Trump were not to run, do you have an alternative favorite -- alternate favorite already?
MARY: Yes, definitely Governor DeSantis.
But I have family in Florida, and I would hate to steal such a great governor from them.
MAJOR GARRETT: Joann?
JOANN: Oh, definitely DeSantis, Ron DeSantis all the way, if it can't be Trump.
MAJOR GARRETT: And, Joann, let me just follow up with you.
Why? What is it that's so attractive about Governor DeSantis?
JOANN: When DeSantis sees an issue, he takes it on. He's not afraid to take on anything, nor does Donald Trump.
MAJOR GARRETT: Mary, your thoughts about Governor DeSantis?
MARY: Well, I think -- I think Republican politicians need to pay attention to him and how he governs and how he deals with the press.
He goes on offense like we haven't seen except with President Trump.
MAJOR GARRETT: I appreciate your time.
But I want to open the floor, if anyone wants to add anything that is still on their mind that I haven't gotten to.
JOANN: I am a MAGA Republican, and I'm not a threat to anybody.
And I just appreciate the fact of being able to say that. I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't want to destroy democracy. I want this country to be great again. That's what I want. And that's all it means, MAGA, to be great again, make America great again.
And that is something that I'd like to see happen, hopefully sooner, rather than later.
STEVE: Well said, Joann.
JOANN: And thank you for listening to me.
MAJOR GARRETT: And we will be back in a moment.
MAJOR GARRETT: Political violence and riots can often be traced back to the rise of online extremism.
We spoke earlier with two experts on the problem and its potential solutions, Jared Holt, a senior research manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and Karen Kornbluh, the head of the German Marshall Fund's Digital Innovations and Democracy Initiative.
We began by asking them to describe the relationship between the Internet and democracy.
JARED HOLT (Senior Research Manager, Institute for Strategic Dialogue): Tenuous.
The Internet, in the way that it is monetized in the current age, is through attention. You can get a lot of attention saying crazy stuff. And we're seeing a lot of people do that, frankly.
So, you know, as long as the business model of the Internet is built around trying to captivate audiences and keep them clicking, reacting, whether that's through rage or die-hard support, it's going to be in conflict with democracy, because democracy is not about what gets the most attention. It's supposed to be about what the best ideas are, how do we compromise, how do we move forward?
And this attention-based economy online is incongruent with that mission.
MAJOR GARRETT: Karen, complete the sentence. The Internet's relationship to democracy is?
KAREN KORNBLUH (German Marshall Fund Digital Innovations and Democracy Initiative): It's fraught. It's definitely fraught.
In the early days of the Internet, it offered incredible promise, and it still does. All of these movements, Black Lives Matter, Me Too, were able to gain steam online, in that it just continues to offer the kind of promise of educating people, informing them, connecting them.
But these algorithms really have contributed to the crisis we're in. And the platforms have a real responsibility to fix them and to help fix the problem that they've helped create.
MAJOR GARRETT: Jared, from a libertarian perspective, one might argue, look, people are out there. They decide what they want to consume. There is agency, as you indicated. So, the Internet isn't a problem. These people are out there. They have their beliefs, and they're going to pursue it.
Or is it that you're arguing the Internet is an accelerator and a multiplier?
JARED HOLT: It's an accelerator and a multiplier.
This kind of content, conspiratorial content, extremist movements have existed in America for as long as America has been around, right? These platforms are designed, guiding people towards more extreme content, what they're not taking down, what they're giving a free pass to, people who are using these platforms to manipulate audiences, and guide them and steer them.
MAJOR GARRETT: From your perspective, is January 6 and its magnitude impossible without this multiplier accelerationist effect?
JARED HOLT: It's very safe to say that it wouldn't have happened the way that it did, at the scale that it did, coming together as fast as it did without the Internet.
A lot of attention was paid to fringe platforms like Parler after the riot, but a lot of the'he agitation and calls to action were happening on mainstream platforms from mainstream figures.
MAJOR GARRETT: For those on the right who say, you're missing this whole point, the point is, we get canceled, we get deplatformed, and that's big tech silencing us, so our rights are the ones being trampled, you would say?
KAREN KORNBLUH: This is the danger of the Whac-A-Mole solution.
Not only is it ineffective, too little too late, but it also raises all kinds of free expression concerns, because it takes down content. It takes down people after the fact.
I would love to see the platforms not only fix their algorithms, but, when they publish their terms of service, really commit themselves to enforce what they've put out there, and not have so much discretion. It's this kind of discretion that I think really bothers people and makes them feel that they can't get on these very few opportunities for speech.
MAJOR GARRETT: Jared, what happened in these places you are describing, Parler, Gettr, other parts of the Web that maybe aren't as well-trafficked as others after the Mar-a-Lago execution of a search warrant?
JARED HOLT: These spaces online, pro-Trump forums, fringe platforms, just really erupted with violent rhetoric, these false beliefs that the FBI or law enforcement is out to get conservatives and Trump supporters specifically.
But we saw that paired with also a lot of violent rhetoric, taking their existing beliefs that the system is compromised, and ratcheting it up to the next level, saying, we need to do something, whether that's protesting or whether that's taking it as far as that individual in Cincinnati did, trying to breach the FBI office there.
MAJOR GARRETT: Karen, what can Congress do?
KAREN KORNBLUH: There's bipartisan concern, but there's really not bipartisan action.
The proposals on algorithmic accountability, I think, offer real promise, but, so far, they don't include any kind of enforcement mechanism. Given the tinderbox that we're in, I think we really have to turn to the platforms and ask them to step up.
MAJOR GARRETT: What are you looking at in terms of these realities -- they're not going to change before the midterm elections -- and multiplier effects, accelerationist effect on the Web heading toward the midterms?
KAREN KORNBLUH: There are two things, two urgent things, that I would say that the platforms could do.
First, they should stop siloing people, directing people into these bubbles that reinforce extremist world views and don't let in opposing viewpoints. And, second, they should really work with the providers of important civic information, people like election administration officials, to help them amplify accurate information, so that people can be empowered and actually know what's going on.
MAJOR GARRETT: What does this conversation and these underlying realities mean, as America grapples with what appears to be a rise in white nationalism, white supremacy?
JARED HOLT: The Internet has been a really powerful tool for extremist movements in the U.S. It's been a big accelerant. It's been a big boom.
And we've seen consistently on platforms they all have kind of red lines that content is not supposed to cross over. If it crosses over, if it's particularly violent, particularly racist, that kind of material will get banned.
But the content that walks right up to that line, that sort of tiptoes on that line is among the highest-performing content on these Web sites. It's not a level playing field. And that unlevel playing field has been definitely an accelerant of these issues that we're seeing rise up in American prominence.
The kind of stuff that we're talking about today, whether it's misinformation, conspiracy theories, et cetera, everybody is vulnerable to this, rich people, poor people, smart people, not-so-smart people. Everybody can fall victim to this stuff. And it has to do with the manipulative nature of the content.
And I just think it's really important to stress that.
MAJOR GARRETT: We will be right back.
MAJOR GARRETT: Well, that's it for us today. We thank you so much for watching.
Margaret will be back next week.
For Face the Nation, I'm Major Garrett.