On CNN This Morning today, Frank Luntz was doing his Solomonic best to split the baby. In order to stop "tearing the country apart," he called on Republicans to stop talking about voter fraud, and on Democrats to stop talking about voter suppression.
Luntz warned that vote counting in Pennsylvania will be a "crap show." He said that by midnight on Election Day, Dr. Oz could roll up as much as an 8% lead, due to Pennsylvania counting same-day ballots first. But as the night progresses, and into the following days, when mail-in/absentee ballots are counted, that lead will shrink, prompting accusations of ballot fraud by Republicans.
But co-host Don Lemon wasn't buying into Luntz's call for kumbaya. Lemon had no problem with Republicans shutting up about voter fraud. But he insisted that despite record-breaking voter turnout, Democrats should continue talking about voter suppression.
FRANK LUNTZ: So I'm saying to the Republicans, back off on corruption. I say to Democrats, back off on suppression. And let's hold this election, and let's stop tearing the country apart.
LEMON: That's hard to say when you say back off on suppression when there have been people who traditionally, and with evidence, [were] edged out of the voting process.
Nor did Luntz's reply, pointing out that the US has the most open election system in the world, satisfy Lemon. "It doesn't mean it can't be improved," insisted Lemon. Co-host Poppy Harlow piped up to agree with Lemon: "Exactly. Words out of my mouth. Doesn't mean it can't be better here, right?"
As to how things should be changed, Lemon made a suggestion that we can only hope didn't mean what it sounded like. He said:
"I think we should be allowing people to vote as early and as often --"
Luntz cut Lemon off before he could finish his statement, but he presumably was about to say "as possible."
Now, perhaps by "often," Lemon meant, in as many elections as possible. But if so, it was very strange way of expressing it. On its face, it sounded like Lemon was adopting the joke line about elections: "vote early and often!"
The Lemon-Luntz exchange sounded like a centrist Republican pundit arguing with a hardcore Democrat pundit. And in reality, that's precisely what it was. Lemon is clearly the more partisan of the two. Lemon's argumentative, partisan confrontation seems a million miles away from what new CNN CEO Chris Licht supposedly envisioned for the new show. Lemon is even more of a partisan liberal than were his predecessors on the morning show, John Berman and Brianna Keilar. And that's saying a lot!
On CNN This Morning, Don Lemon taking the position that whereas Republicans should shut up about voter fraud, Democrats should continue talking about vote suppression, was sponsored by T-Mobile and Whole Foods
Here's the transcript.
CNN This Morning
6:32 am EDT
FRANK LUNTZ: I'm afraid of the vote counting. And I wanted to be here with you all to alert your viewers that in Pennsylvania, which I believe is ground zero, Philadelphia, for what's going to be a crap show, they count ballots so slowly and the first ballots that are counted are from the machine and then only later on, hours later, do they start to count the paper ballots.
KAITLIN COLLINS: The day of, versus early voting.
And day of is going to help the Republicans, and early voting is going to help the Democrat. And you're going to have people claiming the election is stolen once again. Because the Republican will emerge with a 5, 6, even 8-point lead by midnight.
DON LEMON: Red mirage.
LUNTZ: Exactly. Now, it is quite possible that Dr. Oz wins. In fact, I'd say the odds now are, again, right on that line. 51/49 that he wins. But he's going to have this big lead as of midnight, and it's going to get less --
LEMON: It's going to shrink.
LEMON: And people are going to say, oh, the ballots were under the table, and they're stuffing, what have you. Which we had in 2020, right? The same sort of thing.
LUNTZ: And we have to hold people accountable. There's the other side. Which is voter suppression. We had the biggest turnout in places like Georgia Iever. People who want to vote can vote. People who want to participate can participate—their voices can be heard.
So I'm saying to the Republicans, back off on corruption. I say to Democrats, back off on suppression. And let's hold this election, and let's stop tearing the country apart.
LEMON: That's hard to say when you say back off on suppression when there have been people who traditionally, and with evidence, edged out of the voting process. I think, I think that we should be allowing people to vote as early and as often --
LUNTZ: -- we are. I agree with you. We are. In Georgia --
LEMON: But we're not. Hang on. We're not. We're not when you are limiting the number of ballots boxes, you're limiting the number of hours, you're limiting the number of days. You're fighting against souls against [sic, presumably "to the'] the polls. I think it should be a day off for people to be able to vote.
LUNTZ: Everybody. European countries --
LEMON: It doesn't mean that because a lot of people are voting, it doesn't mean that there aren't people who aren't taking advantage of suppressive tactics. And I understand that a lot of people are voting, and there are record numbers, but --
LUNTZ: --not but.
LEMON: But we can't say because that it happening. Two things are possible. Both can be possible at the same time. It's not one or the other.
LUNTZ: You ask Europeans, ask South Americans. Nobody gets to vote like we do. We have the most open system on the face of the globe!
LEMON: It doesn't mean it can't be improved.
POPPY HARLOW: Exactly. Words out of my mouth. Doesn't mean it can't be better here, right?