Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > A Conversation With Chuck Todd

A Conversation With Chuck Todd

May 29, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • The economy and other issues may impact the election outcome.
  • The impact of debates — and is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. relevant?
  • Our news system is broken – here’s what we can do to fix it.


On the Biden Campaign and the Progressive Vote

Despite many voters who are focused on democracy, many remain heavily focused on the economy. “They will judge a presidency up-and-down” based on the state of the economy, Todd said.

Many voters are questioning why the Biden campaign isn’t more focused on the economy. Scillian agreed, citing that approximately 61% of voters believe the economy is in trouble or heading toward a recession. While jobs are plentiful, Todd said, people are judging how prices impact people’s ability to buy a house and pay their bills.

Candidates also need to take into account how Gen Z voters strongly value the environment and sustainability, Todd said.

“For them, economic sustainability and climate change are interlocked,” he said.

Todd also believes the progressive left vote in Michigan and Wisconsin could greatly impact Biden’s likelihood of winning the election, especially amid the current Israel-Gaza war. However, he notes that Michigan does seem to be more volatile, whereas Wisconsin is “stable in its polarization.”

If the war continues into the fall, Todd said, then he foresees this being a huge problem for Biden because it would indicate that he’s “lost control over the Middle East.”

On the 2024 Election Year and Debates

Todd and Scillian also discussed debates. While they are a way to showcase candidates, the average voter may not get much out of them.

However, whether or not debates help voters with decision-making, “everybody is going to tune into [a debate], the same way we slow down to look at a car wreck,” Todd emphasized.

With a June 27, 2024, debate ahead for Biden and Trump, Todd predicted the outcome of that debate will impact whether voters will become more “Kennedy curious,” but does not feel the Kennedy name has the same force that it once did in the 20th century.

Furthermore, Scillian referenced “a group of people holding out hope that there might be some strange surprise coming at one of the conventions,” referencing Gavin Newsom and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s names being thrown into the mix of strong potential Democratic candidates.

“There are a lot of people who believe that a Whitmer-Warnock ticket would be a stronger ticket for the Democrats,” Todd said.

Covering National Issues Locally

According to Todd, the final piece of the political puzzle related to the election is repairing the news industry. He believes the “information ecosystem is broken” and that journalism should be viewed as a public service.

“We’ve lost our North Star,” Todd said. “We should write locally about national issues and cover locally. I know what I want to work on — to see if we can build a new model [of journalism]. A critical part of functioning democracy is journalism.”

Despite numerous problems in today’s political climate, Todd expressed that Americans are especially good at “agreeing to disagree” and voices both “optimism and pessimism” that the nation will overcome this turbulent time in history.

This session was sponsored by Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC.