Part of a Series

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (D) joins the show to discuss progressive wins in her state and the fight for popular policies such as reproductive rights and gun reforms. Daniella and Colin also talk about Donald Trump’s encouragement of political violence and speak with Andrea Ducas of the Center for American Progress Action Fund about the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.


Daniella Gibbs Léger: Hey everyone, welcome back to “The Tent,” your place for politics, policy, and progress. I’m Daniella Gibbs Léger.

Colin Seeberger: And I’m Colin Seeberger. Daniella, happy official spring.

Gibbs Léger: Yay!

Seeberger: Spring is upon us. The cherry blossoms are out in D.C.

Gibbs Léger: They are. A little early, but they look gorgeous as always.

Seeberger: So beautiful. I’m hoping to make it out with my daughter this weekend and go check them out.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: But we also had a really great episode last week.

Gibbs Léger: Yes, and I am excited to spring into it because I heard you had an amazing conversation this week.

Seeberger: I did. I spoke with Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (D) about all of the progress her state has been making on the economy, reproductive health care, preventing gun violence—it was a great conversation.

Gibbs Léger: Well, that’s great and I can’t wait to hear! But you know, we’ve got to get to some news.

Seeberger: Unfortunately, we do. And I hate to say it, but we’ve got to talk about Donald Trump.

Gibbs Léger: Someday, Colin. Someday we won’t have to do this. But today—

Seeberger: I look forward to it.

Gibbs Léger: —today we do, because he’s been saying some bonkers things on the campaign trail in recent days—bonkers even by his standards. Over the weekend, he held a rally where he made comments about the auto industry. And during those comments, he claimed that if he didn’t get elected, “That’s gonna be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country.” Of course, his allies are trying to say, “Oh, he was talking about a metaphorical bloodbath for the auto industry.” I don’t buy it.

Seeberger: Why would we?

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. All we need to do is just look at his language in the past and his track record of alarming and dangerous rhetoric. This is just another example of Trump using intentionally provocative language to whip up his base and encourage political violence. Look, back in November, he called his political opponents “vermin.” He claimed they posed a greater threat to the United States than outside forces like Russia, China, or North Korea.

Seeberger: This is the guy who was outraged about something about deplorables?

Gibbs Léger: Yes, that same guy.

Seeberger: Please spare me.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. And then when asked to clarify these comments on Trump’s political enemies, one of his spokespeople said that, “Their entire existence will be crushed.” That’s really presidential language there.

Seeberger: Uh-huh.

Gibbs Léger: And he’s repeatedly used extreme and violent political rhetoric in response to the legal cases that are filed against him. He’s made threats to prosecutors, to judges, to their families, and many of those targeted by Trump have become victims of swatting and other types of dangerous harassment. Look, it’s clear his statements encourage the type of brazen political violence that we’ve seen his supporters carry out before—particularly during the January 6 insurrection. Many of the rioters that day, they admitted that Trump’s comments incited them to try and violently halt the transfer of power. And speaking of the insurrection, in the same recent comments, Trump also defended those insurrectionists who’ve been held responsible by the justice system. He maintains that many of these people, despite receiving fair trials and being found guilty of crimes—

Seeberger: —or having admitted that they were guilty—

Gibbs Léger: —exactly—are somehow innocent. And he regularly calls them hostages. He even reiterated his promise that he’ll pardon many, if not all of them, if he’s reelected.

Seeberger: He sure did. And as you mentioned, these types of comments continue to be extremely dangerous for our democracy, especially in the wake of January 6 and the Big Lie. We saw really alarming threats of violence and voter intimidation in the lead up to the 2022 midterm elections that could very well be repeated in 2024. In places like Nevada, Pennsylvania, for example, election supervisors face such intense harassment that some of them actually ended up quitting. In places like in Arizona we saw groups in military gear go to ballot drop box sites at the encouragement of MAGA Republican candidates like Mark Finchem, who was running for Arizona secretary of state at the time. This just goes to show that Trump isn’t only normalizing this stuff for extreme vigilante voters who support him—he’s making it acceptable, he’s creating a permission structure for politicians throughout his party to follow his lead. For a more recent example, just look at Michele Morrow, the Republican candidate to oversee North Carolina’s public school system. She’s called for the televised execution of President [Joe] Biden and former President [Barack] Obama. And last week in Kansas, the state GOP chairman Mike Brown participated in and promoted a Johnson County fundraiser where attendees paid to beat up an effigy of President Biden. While there are a number of Republicans who stand alongside Democrats in denouncing these despicable examples of mainstreaming political violence, it’s clear that Donald Trump’s repeated offenses are normalizing this kind of dangerous behavior, with real-world consequences for our safety, democracy, and rule of law. It’s why you’re seeing members of [Republican] Congress like Elise Stefanik or Marjorie Taylor Greene or others calling convicted criminals who attacked police officers on January 6 and tried to overthrow the government “hostages” or “political prisoners.” We can’t afford to become numb to this. We need to stand up, reject, and condemn Trump and MAGA Republicans’ threats of political violence every time they happen, or else we’re risking another January 6-type event and falling toward a more authoritarian United States. It’s scary.

Gibbs Léger: It’s very scary. And that’s exactly what Trump wants. And while we’re calling out Trump on his dangerous rhetoric that stokes violence, I also want to make sure that folks know that he said this week that migrants are not people, that Jewish people who are Democrats “hate their religion.” These are blatantly false, deeply offensive comments that feed into rising anti-immigrant and antisemitic hate among his base.

Seeberger: Absolutely unacceptable.

Gibbs Léger: One hundred percent, Colin. But let’s turn to something a little more positive now.

Seeberger: Why don’t we?

Gibbs Léger: Yes. Even celebratory, if we may. So this week marks the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.

Seeberger: She’s still standing!

Gibbs Léger: She’s standing. She’s a teenager. And here to talk to us about the ACA and its legacy is Andrea Ducas, vice president of Health Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Andrea, welcome to the show.

Andrea Ducas: Hi, thanks. Glad to be here.

Gibbs Léger: So can you talk about the ACA’s passage into law 14 years ago? How did we get to that moment?

Ducas: Sure. It’s fun to talk about this because the landscape is so different now thanks to the ACA that people forget what it was like before the Affordable Care Act was passed. But leading up to the ACA’s passage, there were millions and millions and millions of people in this country without insurance. It was very hard to buy insurance on your own if you didn’t have access to it through your job. If you did, it was very expensive. Most of the products could exclude very common services like pregnancy care or mental health services. This was a major, major political opportunity at the time, going back prior to 2010, and during the 2008 elections, this was a tentpole issue. This was the issue everyone was talking about. Every candidate had to have an opinion on this. It was something I tracked very closely as somebody who used to negotiate health benefits in the pre-ACA times. And I don’t think I can overstate how big of a role that played in that election. It was such a transformative event that we’re sort of in a night-and-day situation, post-ACA, pre-ACA. But there was such a dramatic push that led to its passage and that continues to buttress the law as it’s withstood—as we just celebrated—many, many, many repeal attempts.

Ducas: So we’re at 14 years now. It’s a really incredible sign of the law’s efficacy that it’s been able to stand up in the face of those attacks. How has the ACA grown and reshaped the health care system you were talking about? And what is its current impact?

Ducas: Sure, yeah. Well, we just hit an all-time low uninsurance rate in America. We’re down to 7.2 percent. It’s huge.

Seeberger: That’s a BFD.

Gibbs Léger: Yes.

Ducas: It is a pretty BFD.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Ducas: Since the ACA’s passage, close to 40 million people have insurance for the first time through new pathways, through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces—those are the Obamacare marketplaces folks might be familiar with—and also through Medicaid expansion. Prior to the ACA, in most states, you could not get Medicaid if you were an adult without kids who was low income. Unfortunately, in 10 states, that’s still pretty much the case unless there’s a disability. But there are a number of new coverage pathways that exist now that didn’t exist at that time. Another example of that is pre-ACA, most kids when they turned 19 were no longer eligible to stay on their parents’ health plan.

Seeberger: Yeah, to go on a not-good school health plan.

Ducas: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: A terrible school plan.

Ducas: Oh my gosh, yes, I still remember those days.

Seeberger: They offered nothing.

Ducas: Or, you know, you had to be lucky and live in a state that potentially offered you a few more years of eligibility to be on your parents’ plan.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Ducas: But also, again, insurance products themselves looked totally different. We have to remember that pre-ACA, there were close to 100 million people who had plans that had annual or lifetime limits.

Gibbs Léger: Wow.

Ducas: Right? And if you think about it—if you need heart surgery or you’ve got a really expensive cancer case, you could hit that in one year. And there were thousands of people who did hit those limits each year. Again, insurers could largely also pick and choose what to cover. A very common thing that would be excluded from insurance coverage was support for pregnancy care, which—that is a very common service in this country. Also, women could be charged more for insurance just because they were women. I mean, the rules and landscape and the level of consumer protections that exist today—we’re in a completely different ballgame now.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah. So Donald Trump is clearly committed to trying to repeal the ACA if he is reelected in November, and many, if not most, MAGA Republicans are supportive of this. So let’s talk about this. What are the impacts on everyday Americans if the ACA is repealed in 2025?

Ducas: Yeah, so if it were repealed overnight, you would lose your federal protection to be able to get insurance, irrespective of whether or not you have a preexisting condition.

Seeberger: Oh, so put the insurance companies back in charge of calling the shots?

Ducas: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.

Seeberger: Not great.

Gibbs Léger: No.

Ducas: You lose that protection. You could go back to a time again where insurance companies can pick and choose what to cover. But I want to go back to the question that you asked about why it’s withstood these repeals—attempts, I should say. Its provisions are exceptionally popular. I mean, it should just sort of make sense on its face that insurance companies shouldn’t get to pick and choose what to cover.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Right.

Ducas: Like, it makes sense that as young adults, you should be able to stay on your parents’ plan until you are likely to have a job and have access to other forms of coverage. It makes sense to offer insurance to low-income people. People are very, very supportive of those concepts and tenants. It’s why there’s never really been a viable replacement plan. And people see through that.

Seeberger: For sure, for sure. On the flip side, we have seen the Biden administration has actually taken steps to build on the progress of the ACA. They have done things like offer more financial assistance for folks, right? They’ve also tackled other areas of access in the health care space—things like cracking down on greed among pharmaceutical companies by empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month. How are these other changes to the health care system creating more health equity, making the system stronger?

Ducas: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s just making the system work better for people—actually making it more functional and serving the needs of individuals and families versus the needs of corporate entities or businesses that are trying to make money. The health care system should be a system that works for people. It’s been thrilling to watch the Biden administration make these changes, particularly around prescription drug affordability. I mean, that is such a huge concern in this country. But also, again, as you shared, building on—the ACA was just the start, right? It was an important, basic, fundamental system change that enabled people to access insurance in new ways, again, for the first time with basic consumer protections. It is such a wonderful platform on which to build. The enhanced financial assistance that was extended through the Inflation Reduction Act is a great example of that. Now that we have this pathway, let’s make it more affordable for even more people. Let’s extend the enhanced financial support so that any family in this country should not be expected to spend a certain amount of their income to purchase insurance. It’s sort of a night and day contrast. It’s amazing to look at that against the backdrop of a party that’s just calling for repeal, tear it down, go back to a time where you have private entities calling the shots. I mean, it’s so striking, the contrast. You couldn’t imagine it to be any more different than it is.

Seeberger: Totally. I mean, it’s all happening at the same time that you’re talking about, “Americans want more financial security. They want their out-of-pocket costs to go down.” And all the solutions that the Republicans are offering are things that would increase the cost of comprehensive coverage or things that would provide fewer consumer protections, things that would pull the rug out from people when either they’re low income or they’re young adult[s] and they’re trying to get started in life. It’s just wild.

Ducas: It’s especially striking in the context of us just having come out of a pandemic.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Right.

Ducas: We just spent four years coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Imagine going through that if you didn’t have insurance. Imagine coming on the other side of that with long-term symptoms and being able to be denied for a policy because of a preexisting condition. It is unconscionable.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, and I really do think that the passage of time has really allowed people to forget—

Ducas: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: —the serious consequences. Well, I’m looking forward to the next 14 years and beyond of what the ACA will continue to do for people.

Seeberger: Yes.

Ducas: Me too.

Gibbs Léger: Andrea, I want to thank you for joining us on “The Tent,” and thank you for all the work that you do.

Ducas: Thank you so much.

Seeberger: That’s all the time we have for today. If there’s anything else you’d like us to cover on the pod, hit us up on Twitter @TheTentPod. That’s @TheTentPod. And stick around for my interview with Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan in just a beat.

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Seeberger: Peggy Flanagan is the lieutenant governor of Minnesota, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and the highest-ranking Native woman serving in executive office. From 2015 to 2019, she served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she helped form the state’s people of color and Indigenous caucus. Prior to that, she served as the executive director of Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota and on the Minneapolis Board of Education. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, thanks so much for joining us on “The Tent.”

Peggy Flanagan: Thanks so much for having me.

Seeberger: It’s great to have you in person. So we’re going to get into a bunch of progressive wins that we saw in Minnesota in last year’s legislative session. But first, you joined our colleagues at the Center for American Progress recently for an event launching their women’s economic playbook, where you talked a lot about equity and the need to act on a women-centered economic agenda. As America’s highest-ranking Native woman elected to executive office, can you share your perspective with our listeners on why representation in government is so important? What role do diverse voices play in helping shape policy outcomes and leveling the playing field for your constituents?

Flanagan: Well, thank you for that question. I think the most important thing for us to just know is that when you have more diverse voices at the table, you just get better results. Right?

Seeberger: It’s what it’s all about, right?

Flanagan: That’s right. That’s right. And so, I think when we talk about the public, the private, the nonprofit sector[s], we need diverse representation across all of those areas. For a long time, we’ve been functioning in systems that weren’t made by us or for us, but in many ways have been created to keep us on the outside. And so once we get into these roles and have a diversity of leaders, we have to change the way that the work is done. And that means inviting more folks to the table but also ensuring that the policies that we’re working to pass, the initiatives that we’re moving forward, have to accurately reflect the people that they intend to serve. So those most impacted have to be part of shaping these policies.

Seeberger: Well, to that end, I heard you talk about the real diversity that we saw get elected to Minnesota’s legislature in 2022. And one of the policies that you were successful in helping get signed into law would actually advance some of the things that we talk about in this women’s economic playbook. I’m talking about the Preventing Pay Discrimination Act. What does this bill do, and what impacts do you hope it will have on women’s economic equity years into the future?

Flanagan: Sure. So this act on pay equity has been a long time in the making, but I think really what it will do is it won’t allow potential employers to ask someone who’s interviewing about their salary at their last job. And I’ll be really candid—this is something that I have experienced personally. I took a position and then realized that the individual who was in that role ahead of me was making about $40,000 more than I was.

Seeberger: Wow.

Flanagan: And so that’s real wealth—

Seeberger: Yeah.

Flanagan: —that matters tremendously. And certainly, we can talk about years of experience. But when it comes to the expertise and what you’re getting hired to do, we need to make sure that we are not throwing up barriers—especially to women and women of color who are entering into employment. There’s so many years of catch-up versus just being able to start right where you deserve to start with what you have really earned, and moving on from there. It was also important for me to tell my personal story because I want to make sure that people know like, geez, if it can happen to the lieutenant governor—

Seeberger: Sure.

Flanagan: —this is probably happening all the time. And I’ve already had feedback from friends who’ve said, “When I was interviewing, the employer actually said, ‘Oh, I can’t ask you about that anymore.'”

Seeberger: Really?

Flanagan: Because they just passed that new law. And I was like, “That is music to my ears.”

Seeberger: That is policy in action.

Flanagan: That’s right. That’s right.

Seeberger: We love that.

Flanagan: Absolutely.

Seeberger: So your state isn’t just leveling the economic playing field for women—you’re also passing measures that can help all Minnesotans. And I’m talking about, specifically, the new earned sick and safe time law that requires employers to provide paid leave to employees who work in the state and a $1 billion affordable housing investment. It’s huge. Why are these such important wins, and what lessons do you think they offer leaders across the country who are hoping to enact a progressive economic agenda?

Flanagan: Well you think, when you invest in these policies and when you move these policies, overall it’s good for the economy. So I think it helps to move Minnesota forward. We know that earned sick and safe time—it matters for folks to not have to come to work when they’re sick, and risk losing that income. We just survived a pandemic. We should care tremendously about making sure that when people aren’t feeling well, they can stay home and don’t have to just slog through and work through this illness. It’s also something that, I think for small-business owners, they appreciate that we haven’t been able to offer this benefit before, but now we can because there’s this program and this system here—it’s going to help with recruitment and with retention for this small business.

Seeberger: It also makes them competitive too, right?

Flanagan: Exactly.

Seeberger: They can compete with your large Fortune 500 companies.

Flanagan: That’s exactly right. And so, it really helps to create equitable systems. For the $1 billion in housing—we know that the lack of affordable housing is an issue all across this country. And so when we had the resources, we wanted to make sure that we went big so that people could go home. Housing is foundational to everything else, right? So if you don’t have a place to—if you’re a senior and you don’t have a medicine cabinet where you can put your medications, or if you are a third grader and you don’t have a place to do your homework, right? Homework starts at home. And so these are all pieces that we think, combined, really set up working families for success, and ultimately the entire state.

Seeberger: Love that. Well, one of the things that we have seen since the far-right majority in the [U.S.] Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ripping away reproductive freedom from millions and millions of women, is we’ve seen about 21 states have actually acted to ban abortion. You guys have gone in a different direction. Last legislative session, you actually expanded access to abortion and reproductive health care services, protected things like in vitro fertilization, the full suite of fertility care. What are some of the biggest reproductive health care wins you’ve achieved, and how do you think that they fit into this overall fight for reproductive justice around the country?

Flanagan: Well, I think we are in a moment where people are scared.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Flanagan: Right? They are afraid. And I want to make sure that they can look to Minnesota—and it sounds cheesy, but I think it’s real—as a North Star, as a place that can offer hope to people about what policy that truly sees the full experience—human experience—of what it means to be a woman or nonbinary and the policies that we are passing. So of course, we protected access to abortion, fertility—as you said—we’ve been organizing around IVF before it was cool, I guess, is what you could say. And these are just things that people should expect. Right now, Minnesota is just an island of access in the upper Midwest. We have folks from all across the country who are coming to get reproductive health care, who are coming to get access to abortion. So really what this means for the future of our states, I think, is that people will see Minnesota as a place where they can come, they can live their lives and just be their full selves. We also banned conversion therapy in our state and protected access to gender-affirming care. We want people to know that, again, you can have the freedom to live your life. And I think it’s so interesting—and I say “interesting” in the most Minnesotan way possible—that conservatives or MAGA extremists essentially talk a good game about freedom.

Seeberger: Oh yeah.

Flanagan: But there is nothing that is part of their agenda that has anything to do with freedom. They’re going to decide what happens when I go to the doctor and need health care. They’re going to decide what books I can read. They’re going to decide how I parent my child. It’s outrageous. And so we want to make sure that Minnesota is a model that other folks can look to and can say, “This is the way that we can exercise our freedom and also have a prosperous future for ourselves and for our families and for the state as a whole.”

Seeberger: That’s great. I mean, for all the progress that you guys made in Minnesota—particularly on the issue of abortion rights, though—that doesn’t mitigate the threat of MAGA extremists, like we talked about, potentially passing things like a national abortion ban that could potentially override some of the protections that we see states like Minnesota and others taking to fortify abortion rights. And so that threat, it still persists. Are you guys taking any steps? I’m thinking about things like the Supreme Court’s going to hear a case on medication abortion or emergency medical care for pregnant patients who may be experiencing a medical emergency and needing to obtain an abortion. What things can states do to help insulate themselves from some of these attacks?

Flanagan: So I think what you said is, it’s really important to name that all of the things that we were able to just do in Minnesota—protecting access to reproductive health care and abortion and contraception—all of that could be done away with if we have a national abortion ban. And there are folks who are currently running for office who are promising just that. So we have here—

Seeberger: In the year of our Lord 2024.

Flanagan: That’s exactly right. And thinking about—these are battles that we have to continue to fight. In the same way that we need to tend to our democracy as a whole, we have to make sure that we’re able to maintain our rights. So in Minnesota, we have protected health care providers who provide abortions. We’ve made sure that people can have access to reproductive care, to contraception, all of these things. But they’re all for naught if we have this national ban. So our job is to provide this model. But also, I think my job is to also travel across the country and talk about what this can look like, ensuring that we are electing people up and down the ballot who share our values of protecting access to reproductive health care. That’s why this election is so incredibly important. And I’m going to talk about this all over the country. My fellow Democratic lieutenant governors are going to talk about this all over the country, about what is needed and necessary. And I think, to be really honest, we need people to be vulnerable in these conversations.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Flanagan: And I think that is the power, certainly that I saw, in 2022 and last year, as we were passing these policies. I have the honor of people sharing their stories of abortion, their stories of infertility, these really powerful, moving, heartbreaking stories. And I hold them, with as much care as I can, to be able to say I have a responsibility to those folks who shared their stories, and also for the people who are going to come after them. As a mom of an 11-year-old girl, oof, this feels urgent.

Seeberger: Personal.

Flanagan: And regardless of your political affiliation, we are having conversations that matter. And women are powering so many of those conversations and, ultimately, this change. So we cannot stop. And I know this year will be hard for folks, it will feel like a slog. But we have to keep going and we have to be unrelenting, because there are folks who want to undermine our democracy as a whole, but also our access to be able to have the freedom to make our own choices about how and when and if we start a family. There’s nothing that’s more personal than that.

Seeberger: Well, because I know you’ve been having those conversations, you are clearly in touch with your constituency. Recent elections and polling show the majority of Americans support abortion access. But there are other issues where we’ve yet to realize kind of the full potential. I’m thinking particularly gun safety, right? The public widely supports commonsense gun reform measures—like Minnesota’s recently adopted background checks bill, which would expand background checks to private gun sales, as well as your red flag warning system. What makes these gun violence prevention measures so popular? And what are you hearing from folks on the ground as they’re getting implemented?

Flanagan: So when we have days at the Capitol regarding gun violence, it’s packed. And I have conversations, especially with moms, who’ve said, “I have never come to the Capitol before, other than my third-grade field trip, but I decided to show up today because this is so meaningful to me.” And we haven’t been able to make the kind of progress that is needed and necessary nationally. And so that’s why I think looking to states is really important. So as you said, the background checks and the red flag legislation—this, again, is really common sense. And I think we have gun owners who’ve also been part of these conversations, right? Of course, in Minnesota, we have a long tradition of hunting and sportspersonship, and that’s part of our identity. I myself am a pheasant hunter. And that matters, but we cannot allow our young people to not be safe in our schools or just in community overall. And so, I think we’ve all been through a lot of collective trauma when it comes to gun violence, and it’s an issue that is impacting regular people. And they’re showing up, and we have to listen. And I think finally we are seeing just progress because people, just frankly, aren’t willing to live this way anymore.

Seeberger: Yeah, they’re demanding it.

Flanagan: Right. And we don’t have to. And even recently, tragically, we experienced the loss of two police officers and a firefighter in the community of Burnsville due to gun violence. And it is horrible and tragic, and we don’t have to live this way. So I am so grateful to all of the people, all of the moms, all the young people who have just said “enough” and are willing to take that risk, to meet with their elected officials, to step outside their comfort zone, and frankly just be experts in their own lives—

Seeberger: Yeah.

Flanagan: —to say that, “This is what we demand of our communities.” There’s more that we can do, and certainly more that’s being worked on for this legislative session. But I think we are in a moment where people are going to refuse to put up with this anymore. And as a mom who has heard my daughter come home after they’ve had active shooter drills at school—and I remember she said to me, “Mom, we won the prize. We got candy for our classroom because our classroom was the most quiet.” Chills.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Flanagan: Right? I just had never experienced that in the same way. This is my baby who’s talking about—our young people shouldn’t have to do that.

Seeberger: I mean, we didn’t have that when I was in elementary school or middle school.

Flanagan: We had like tornado drills, right? Where we—

Seeberger: Totally.

Flanagan: —hid under our desks or went in the windowless auditorium.

Seeberger: And our parents had the nuclear weapons, threat drills.

Flanagan: That’s right.

Seeberger: And this is, I guess, this generation’s.

Flanagan: That’s right.

Seeberger: Well, lieutenant governor, we’ve talked about a lot of different policies. But if you’ll indulge me before you go, our listeners know that we are big “Bachelor” fans.

Flanagan: Excellent.

Seeberger: And we are coming up on a season finale soon. And I know you’re team Daisy, because to quote you on Twitter, “Nothing beats a Minnesota girl.” So do you think she’s getting the final rose? What kind of predictions do you have as we get closer to finale night?

Flanagan: Well, my advice to Joey is that if you’re smart, you’ll pick Daisy, because you’ll pick a woman from Minnesota. I mean, for goodness’ sake, she took him to a Christmas tree farm where she grew up. Right? Like she’s, her father—

Seeberger: She’s laying it all out there.

Flanagan: —100 percent. And in the “Golden Bachelor,” I have not yet recovered from Leslie—

Seeberger: Leslie.

Flanagan: —not getting the final rose—who is lovely, by the way. But I think it’s March 25. We will know the outcome. But I think Daisy is wonderful. She is a Minnesotan through and through. We are cheering her on.

Seeberger: Justice for the Minnesota girls.

Flanagan: That’s exactly right. So I’ll be watching. And Minnesota’s lieutenant governor is absolutely part of Bachelor Nation.

Seeberger: Love it. Love it. Lieutenant governor, thank you so much for joining us on “The Tent.”

Flanagan: Thanks so much for having me.

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Gibbs Léger: All right. That’s going to do it for us this week. Please be sure to go back and check out previous episodes. Before we go, Colin, it’s March Madness.

Seeberger: Yes. Have you finished your bracket?

Gibbs Léger: No! I have, like, four that I need to fill out, and I realized that the deadline is—

Seeberger: Tick tock, tick tock.

Gibbs Léger: Tik tock. We don’t have to talk about the game last night between my beloved Virginia. This wasn’t our year. I almost kind of wish that they didn’t even make it into the play[offs] because it was brutal to watch. But you know what? Whatever. We won a national championship in 2019, and I’m going to ride those coattails until they disintegrate in my hand.

Seeberger: Yes, yes, as long as you possibly can. Yeah, I know. It’s been tough in my house. My husband is a big Wake Forest fan, and they were well-positioned to make it into a slot in the tournament. And unfortunately, it was a rough last few weeks of the season for them and they did not squeak through. But I am looking forward to—my UT [University of Texas] Longhorns play on Thursday against Colorado State. So I will very much be looking forward to seeing what happens there.

Gibbs Léger: I guess I’m rooting for UT then.

Seeberger: Hopefully they can build on the success of the football team from this year. So we’ll have to stay tuned.

Gibbs Léger: Well, you know what else happened?

Seeberger: And we are welcoming of fans.

Gibbs Léger: OK, I didn’t say I was a fan. I just said I was going to root for them.

Seeberger: OK.

Gibbs Léger: Because I’m mad at Colorado State for embarrassing us. But you know what else happened this week?

Seeberger: What?

Gibbs Léger: The “Women Tell All” of “The Bachelor.”

Seeberger: Of course.

Gibbs Léger: Oh my goodness, it started out the gate, like, spicy.

Seeberger: It was something else, man. I felt like the women were coming out for blood with Maria.

Gibbs Léger: They were.

Seeberger: I felt like Maria was hustling trying to get that “Bachelorette” role for next season.

Gibbs Léger: Yes.

Seeberger: It was a little much for me.

Gibbs Léger: You know, I—as someone who liked Maria all season until her last episode where I felt she was a little manipulative—I’m back on team Maria. I thought she was great.

Seeberger: She’s amazing television.

Gibbs Léger: She’s fantastic television. And I appreciated the way she stood up for herself.

Colin Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: And wasn’t going to let like people like the Sydney and Jess and whomever else, the other person—oh, Lea—

Seeberger: Lea.

Gibbs Léger: —like, try to write this narrative that wasn’t her truth. And so I appreciated not just her standing up, but then other people in the house saying, “That’s not true. That didn’t happen.”

Seeberger: Yep, yep.

Gibbs Léger: So it was great. We also saw what happened with the note.

Seeberger: The note was ridiculous.

Gibbs Léger: It was!

Seeberger: The note was self-sabotaging. Whether that was by her or whether that was—we’re talking about Kelsey A.—whether that was by Kelsey A. or by the producers’ doing—it was so sad. Like, I felt terrible for Joey. He was totally distressed. I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him it’s going to be okay.

Gibbs Léger: I know. It’s like, this man has been saying all season—and to her—that his greatest fear is that he gets to the end and the person there is not there with them.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: So you’re going to leave a note that just says, “We need to talk”?

Seeberger: Nope.

Gibbs Léger: No, you’re not going to do that to my—

Seeberger: We are not going to do that.

Gibbs Léger: —my king Joey, whom I’ve loved since Charity’s season.

Seeberger: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: To be clear.

Seeberger: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: So I did not like that. I wasn’t surprised that Rachel ended up going home because—

Seeberger: They were very much in friend territory.

Gibbs Léger: —they were in friend territory. And actually, I really do want to see them hang out together.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Because they’re just funny together. But the hate—online hate—that she’s been receiving was really disappointing and not surprising, unfortunately.

Seeberger: Not surprising. What was surprising—and actually, I have to give props to Jesse—

Gibbs Léger: Yes.

Seeberger: —was him speaking forcefully, clearly, and saying that this is unacceptable and it’s not something that’s invited by the franchise. It just really, I felt like, took a very proactive stance against that kind of hate being spewed against a fellow contestant. I feel like a lot of franchises either tried to bury the dirt whenever it happens, or try to make excuses for it and—

Gibbs Léger: Try to sidestep it.

Seeberger: Exactly. And Jesse was not having that.

Gibbs Léger: No, not at all. And he gave her the time to, like, work through her tears and emotions and to say what she wanted to say.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: I think I have always—look, Chris Harrison, I didn’t not like him. But I wasn’t in love with him as a host.

Seeberger: No.

Gibbs Léger: And I think Jesse Palmer has been so good.

Seeberger: He’s killing it.

Gibbs Léger: He’s absolutely killing it. He’s funny. But yeah, what he did on Monday night, looking direct to camera and being like, “We don’t want you if that’s the kind of person you are”—kudos.

Seeberger: Yes. That is how you do it, folks.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly.

Seeberger: That is how you do it. Well, Daniella, you will have to stay tuned for my interview with the lieutenant governor, because we got to talk about her predictions for the rest of the season.

Gibbs Léger: Oh, and what did she predict?

Seeberger: Well, you’ll have to stay tuned.

Gibbs Léger: I’ll have to listen. Okay, fine, fine. What’s your prediction, though?

Seeberger: Well, you know, I was feeling pretty good about Kelsey A. until the note.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: But I feel like now, after that, I think it’s going to be Daisy.

Gibbs Léger: I think so too.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: I think that that note shook him so much that he’s probably like, “I don’t know.” But I mean, they started this season at the end, and they’ve been building up to this, “You’ve never seen an ending like this before.”

Seeberger: I mean, they say that every season.

Gibbs Léger: They say that every season. And honestly, with Charity’s season, it was like we knew she was going to pick Don, that wasn’t a surprise.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: So I just don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think it’s Daisy.

Seeberger: I will be very excited to see the women with his family and how they all interact and whatnot—

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: —how they fit in. But yeah, it’s been a fun season, and ready for finale night happening on your birthday.

Gibbs Léger: Yes, on my birthday. Very exciting.

Seeberger: The stars have aligned, folks.

Gibbs Léger: And the day before my birthday is the new “Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard.” Yes.

Seeberger: We will have to check that out—

Gibbs Léger: Exactly.

Seeberger: —and see our recent guest, Preston Mitchum.

Gibbs Léger: Well, that’s all for us this week. Be sure to get caught up on your reality TV watching.

Seeberger: We need joy in 2024. Oh, and also your former “Tent” episodes.

Gibbs Léger: That’s exactly right. And get your antihistamines because spring is springing.

Seeberger: It’s no joke, folks.

Gibbs Léger: Not at all. Take care of yourselves. We’ll talk to you next week.

[Musical transition]

Gibbs Léger: “The Tent” is a podcast from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It’s hosted by me, Daniella Gibbs Léger, and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Erin Phillips is our lead producer, Kelly McCoy is our supervising producer, Hai Phan and Matthew Gossage are our video producers, Mishka Espey is our booking producer, and Muggs Leone is our digital producer. You can find us on YouTube, Apple, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Daniella Gibbs Léger

Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategy


Colin Seeberger

Senior Adviser, Communications

Erin Phillips

Broadcast Media Manager

Kelly McCoy

Senior Director of Broadcast Communications

Mishka Espey

Senior Manager, Media Relations

Muggs Leone

Executive Assistant

Hai-Lam Phan

Senior Director, Creative

Matthew Gossage

Events Video Producer


Hai-Lam Phan

Senior Director, Creative

Matthew Gossage

Events Video Producer



Explore The Series

Politics. Policy. Progress. All under one big tent. Produced by CAP Action, “The Tent” is a news and politics podcast hosted by Daniella Gibbs Léger and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Listen each Thursday for episodes exploring topics that progressives are focused on.


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