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Mitch Landrieu Has A Message For Voters: 'Show The Hell Up'

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Mitch Landrieu Has A Message For Voters: 'Show The Hell Up'
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu won't announce a 2020 bid (yet), but he does have some advice for the upcoming midterm elections.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

JAMAL: "To get started, is there any candidacy you would like to announce here today?"

LANDRIEU: "Not today. … But if I do, you'll be, you'll be the first to know."

Mitch Landrieu is the former mayor of New Orleans. But according to some political pundits, he's an ideal candidate for a higher-profile political office.

Landrieu made the bold choice to remove four prominent Confederate statues from his city while the Confederate monument debate was in full swing across the country. That, along with a few favorable profile pieces, has launched his name into the 2020 conversation. 

But Landrieu says his focus right now, like many in the Democratic Party, is Nov. 6. 

LANDRIEU: "You have to win elections. Which means you have to show up and vote. Now, it is true that there's a lot of voter suppression going on, and that's bad. They're really trying to peel back the Voting Rights Act, and that's bad. But there are a lot of people that just don't go vote. And then they complain all the time. … We didn't lose the election by much. So the first thing people need to do is show the hell up. That's what I would say to people. You know, and as a politician, this is not the right thing to say. But I'm almost like, if you're not going to show up to vote, then just shut up. ...

"Right now it's clear that President Trump needs to get checked. … And the best way to do that is to make sure that Congress is given the numbers and the responsibility to do its job. Which is to be an effective third branch of government."

JAMAL: "There are so many people who are consistently outraged about something. People are constantly retreating to their political corners. How do we move past that?"

LANDRIEU: "It's a very weird moment for the country. First of all, I think it's a dangerous moment. I think that President Trump tends to autocracy, and that's not good for democracy going forward. Plus I think his vision for the country is wrong. I think the country is weaker today than it was when he took office. ...

"People have to allow themselves not to be manipulated. And then they got to peel off from their tribe. … You got to have somebody that wants to solve the problem. Now you know this, you're from the neighborhood. You know, when people start fighting, there are the people who help make the fight happen. Or the people who pull folks apart and try to make peace. We need more of those people."

Landrieu isn't running for anything this election cycle, but he has weighed in on the Democrats' identity crisis. And while plenty of politicians and pundits are drifting left or right, Landrieu — for now — has chosen to leave his anchor squarely in the center. 

He says: "You have to govern responsibly. Which is to say that we're not just going to be governing for Democrats. You have to govern for the whole country. This is one of the criticisms that I think falls right on Donald Trump's shoulders. Now, he's governing to his base, and he happens to be winning. I still think that's the wrong thing for the country."

Landrieu's centrist attitude and policies have led to some criticism from political "friends" who say he's more of the same rather than a new hope for the party.

LANDRIEU: "Stay true to what your principles are and advocate very powerfully and strongly. But understand there's always got to be a compromise. You're never going to get 100 percent of what you're trying [for]. And if you try to get 100 percent, you're going to get nothing. And 100 percent of nothing is nothing. And so I would ask people to advocate powerfully, passionately, but responsibly."

With the midterms just a couple weeks out, Landrieu finds himself noticeably less busy than usual. This will be the first time in 30 years that he's not campaigning for a political seat or occupying one.