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Special Report

Where is the Democratic Party headed after Trump's victory?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," November 11, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

JANE SANDERS, BERNIE SANDERS WIFE: And 15 states that Bernie won went to Trump. And 90,000 people in Michigan voted all the way down ticket, all the other races, but didn't say anything in the general election in the presidential race. We will see that all over the country. People are hungry for new direction. I think that's why Trump has won this election. They want change.

MATT BENNETT, THIRD WAY: This is the worst shape that our party has been in since reconstruction in the 1920s or before in the 1870s. We lost across the board. We lost very progressive people. We lost moderates. We lost everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, the map does look a bit red today as we get ready for a Trump administration. As we mentioned before, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid outgoing issuing a statement today, "If this is a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs, at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the Electoral College does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans."

Senator Joe Manchin just responded with a statement, Democrat from West Virginia. "Senator Harry Reid's statement today attacking president-elect Trump is wrong. It's an absolute embarrassment to the Senate as an institution, our Democratic party, and the nation. I want to be very clear he does not speak for me. Senator Reid's words needlessly feed the very divisiveness that is tearing this country apart. Now more than ever it's time for us to all come together as Americans. Unfortunately there are some who forget that at times like these it is wrong to put party and politics above our country." Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia.

Let's bring in our panel, syndicated columnist George Will, Leslie Marshall, syndicated talk radio host, and Charles Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times. You heard the historical references for the Democratic Party where it stands now. George, your thoughts?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Hysteria is overwhelming Democrats like that staffer who said climate change is going to kill her in 10 years or so. Hillary Clinton is a historically untalented politician and she won the popular vote. Republicans have lost the popular vote in six of the last seven elections, so they're not an irresistible juggernaut.

Our political parties are amazingly supple market mechanisms and they adjust very fast. In 1964, the Goldwater debacle, the Republicans lose 44 states. Goldwater candidacy gets less than 40 percent of the vote, and everyone said they are going to disappear. They won five of the next six presidential elections. So it's a little premature to write the obituaries for the world's oldest political party, which the Democratic Party is.

BAIER: Although there was some parts that just did not hear what was happening, obviously, Leslie. I talked to Senator Jim Webb as he was getting ready to run for president, and this is part of the interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM WEBB, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who would be the represented party for the working people in the country? And that has the traditional role of the Democratic Party. The people who have no voice in the quarters of power could always count on the Democratic party to be talking about those issues, economic fairness issues particularly.

BAIER: You said Democrats could do a better job with white working people. But you concede in recent years that particular group has gone to the GOP.

WEBB: I totally agree they have. This is a values-centered culture. This is a culture that does not envy wealth. It's a culture that's very heavy on personal honor, military service.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: It's like they didn't listen to him at all.

LESLIE MARSHALL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know what's interesting is Hillary didn't listen to her husband. If you remember Bill Clinton warned about disenfranchised white voters years ago. And we all know it's the economy, stupid, economy 101.

And one of the things that my candidate -- and I'm still in the angry denial phase. I'm moving forward, though. One of the things she didn't do was address the economic woes of the nation, which is the working class, the middle class, not visiting Wisconsin as an example. And not putting forth -- Democrats are the party of unions, and look at those workers and look at the demographics of those workers among the working class. She wasn't speaking to them. She wasn't giving a plan. How are we going to bring jobs back?

Donald Trump spoke about jobs. We saw in the polls, although we don't want to look to those much, that he was stronger with regard to the economy because of not only his business background but what he was saying to the people as he was campaigning all along. And that's what people are most concerned about is the economy, is jobs, is their bottom line. And that wasn't addressed.

BAIER: How does he take that and turn it to governing?

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, it will be interesting to see. It's going to be an uphill battle because, obviously, his campaign was very much a populist one. He is going to have to work with Republicans, conservatives in Congress, which I don't think is a bad way to go, and I think good results can come of that.

But, you know, the revolution that sort of catapulted the Republican Party through what it has been through over the past 18 months I feel like is still waiting to happen inside the Democratic Party, and with all these WikiLeaks and all this kind of stuff that we're seeing just how much the system worked behind the scenes to get -- to make sure Hillary Clinton got the nomination. I think that there's going to be -- there's going to be hell to pay for that going forward.

BAIER: I want to turn to The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Donald Trump, the president-elect, in which he says that after conferring with President Obama, he would consider leaving in place certain parts of the Affordable Care Act, indication of possible compromise after a campaign in which he pledged repeatedly to repeal the 2010 health law. In health care, Mr. Trump said a big reason for his shift from his call for all out repeal was that Thursday meeting at the White House with the president who he said suggested areas of the Affordable Care Act to preserve. "I told him I will look at his suggestions out of respect. I will do that. Either Obamacare will be amended or repealed and replaced," Mr. Trump said. Here is what Paul Ryan said last night on the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Obamacare is failing so it has to get replaced quickly. That's clearly high on our list.

BAIER: You had passed a bill to repeal and replace. It got vetoed by President Obama. But it was the replace part that we never had a sense that Republican were singing from the same sheet of music on what it looked like.

RYAN: That was our better way agenda was about. So 274 House Republicans all agreed and signed up for a full replacement plan. Donald and I spoke of this today. We're on same page on these things. And it resembles exactly the kinds of reforms that he was talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: George, if you look on the website, the better way plan does say "Our plan gives you more control, more choices, and our plan makes sure that you never have to worry about being turned away or having your coverage taken away regardless of age, income, medical conditions, or circumstances." It goes on. But the point being here is it's in every replace option that the Republicans currently have. So this isn't necessarily a shift for Donald Trump, is it?

WILL: No. Donald Trump is acknowledging it seems to me a change in the national ethic. To some extent Barack Obama propelled it. To some extent he just took advantage of it. But the American people have decided that everyone ought to have health insurance. And whatever comes next is going to -- it can do without a mandate, it can do with premium support. But everyone will have it.

And 125 years ago, medicine was too small a part of our economy to appear in national income statistics. People were born at home. They died at home. And all medicine could do is make you comfortable while nature healed you or killed you. Today we have this amazingly competent medicine, 18 percent of our economy. Our health care sector is larger than all but five national economies in the world, and people feel very much as though they have a piece of this.

BAIER: Leslie, do you think he's shifting, changing, even though it's kind of part of the plan they had on table?

MARSHALL: I expected this. I think honestly candidates when they become elected do it on both side in whatever office, whatever level, state or federal. But one of the things that I looked at are, what are the experts saying that crunch the numbers that are nonpartisan? What they're saying is some of the problems Republicans are going to have are some of the problems the Democrats have with Obamacare, which is finances, which is transition.

And you are looking at millions of people. And millions could be affected negatively and left off, and in addition, the pre-existing conditions, which obviously they address. I don't feel this is a replacement. I feel it's an amendment with a name change. And sometimes people might say, that's just semantics. That's all you need obviously in politics. Like you said, this is not Donald Trump's new way. This is in a sense Paul Ryan's, who interestingly enough just the other day, if you heard him speak, he said we're going to make amendments -- he said we're going to make amendments to, and then he said we're going to repeat, we're going to replace. So once again, this is an amended Obamacare plan in my opinion.

HURT: You know, nobody more than you, George, have talked about over the years the waning power of Congress. And what I hope to see out of this is a contentious relationship between the Republicans in Congress and the Republican in the White House. And let them fight it out. And let the Republicans on Capitol Hill be the conservative bulwark to try to make some sense out of that. And if Donald Trump is going to negotiate with somebody, I would like him to be negotiating with the Republicans. I think it might work out better.

BAIER: He did say in this article he was not going to move forward or didn't think he was going to move forward with a special prosecutor. He said he is thinking about many other things.

WILL: That's last thing he needs is something from the campaign hanging over him.

Just one more thing. If you get rid of the mandate and if you replace it with essentially a voucher that is health savings accounts, and if you have premium support to let people go into the market and buy what they want, that's not changing the name of Obamacare. That's fundamentally altering it.

BAIER: And changing over state lines to increase competition.

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