AFL-CIO President Trumka on the 2018 midterms

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 6, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The vote is on, 35 Senate seats, 36 gubernatorial scenes, all 435 House seats, they are all up for grabs. Who's taking them?

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. And this is "Your World."

And we are all over this country with AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka in Washington how big labor could be voting, legendary football coach Lou Holtz in Indiana on why Donald Trump has him rallying.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis on what today says about 2020 and where that is heading.

And our own market pros on whether this election will have investors buying or selling.

We begin with Mike Tobin in Greenwood, Indiana, a state that is already seeing very heavy turnout -- Mike.


They joined to jump in here in Johnson County, massive turnout. They did have a computer problem earlier in the day. But Ron Goins, the inspector, the elections inspector here at Johnson County, says it does slow down the process of intaking people and getting them a ballot. It didn't impact the integrity of the vote.

We have heard some people complain about the long lines and that's just because of the massive turnout. Goins tells us it has been this way all through early voting. He anticipates that the numbers this time will just absolutely eclipse the turnout numbers from the 2016 general election.

The candidates have largely been laying low today. Mike Braun was on social media, encouraging Republicans to text their friends and get out the vote. Senator Joe Donnelly, the incumbent, has also been on social media.  He posted a phone number for people to call if they need a ride to get out to the polls.

But the people here in Johnson County say that politics, this Senate race have been the primary topics of conversation in just about every social setting, but they say it's not about Braun or Donnelly, this is a referendum on Donald Trump -- Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Mike, thank you very, very much.

To Florida right now. A couple of hotly contested races going on there, one in the Senate, of course, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, Republican Governor Rick Scott in the battle of their lives.

Peter Doocy in Naples, Florida, with the very latest.

Hey, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, I just walked -- I just watched as a young man walked by. He was on the phone telling somebody on the other end that he showed up here and was told he was ineligible to vote, which was very frustrating to him because he was telling this person on the phone he did six tours of combat and wasn't able to vote here in Naples today.

There's just a ton of interest and attention this race. The Senate contest pits three-term Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson against a two-term Republican Governor Rick Scott. Nelson's campaign about protecting the environment and protecting Obamacare. Scott's campaign more about the economy and having a direct line to Donald Trump.

They have both won statewide before, but they both might have their fates sealed by candidates who have not, and that is the gubernatorial candidates. Ron DeSantis, the Republican, came from behind and won the primary with President Trump's endorsement. Andrew Gillum, the Democrat, won the primary with Bernie Sanders' endorsement.

The question is, will either have them be a boost or a drag to the Senate candidate from their party, Neil?

CAVUTO: All right, Peter, thank you very, very much.

Well, this could be a tale of two evenings here. In the Senate, things could be wrapped up relatively early, or at least we will have an idea relatively early. The House, well, that's a whole 'nother matter.

To Fox Business Network's Deirdre Bolton on why that could be the case.

Hey, Deirdre.


This is going to be our evening ahead. We're just going to do the follow- the-sun programming, but less than three hours away until the first polls close. So we want to take you through some of the key races.

Most of the ones we will show you will be Senate races. But the first post closing 6:00 p.m. in Kentucky, parts of Indiana. Of course, as we know from Indiana, the only state with two time zones. Health care a huge issue in that state. Democrat Joe Donnelly, the incumbent, trying to hold off GOP challenger businessman Mike Braun, a close race and some say could really start to shift some of the weight in the Senate.

So, 7:00 p.m., we're going to be more focused on Indiana, as we mentioned, of course, Georgia as well, that gubernatorial race a little bit more interesting than any others. We know Secretary of State Brian Kemp really facing off against the progressive former State Rep. Stacey Abrams.

And 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, you're going to see all where the polls start closing there. Basically, this is the largest batch of states that are going to begin to be closing, including eight states with super competitive Senate races.

So you can see, obviously, all of the ones lit up here. We're going to be most focused on a Florida and also Missouri. So you have in Florida, of course, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson trying to hold off the term-limit GOP Governor Rick Scott.

And then in Missouri, you have the state A.G., Josh Hawley, vs. the Democrat incumbent, Claire McCaskill.

Now, 9:00 p.m., as we sort of go along again, all of these are in Eastern time, really going to be most focused on Texas, Arizona and North Dakota as well. So in Arizona, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema against Congresswoman Martha McSally. This is airtight, from everybody that we have been speaking to.

North Dakota, you have, of course, the incumbent, Heidi Heitkamp, trying to fend off Congressman Kevin Cramer. And then in Texas, the most expensive Senate race ever, $100 million, not even counting super PACs, incumbent, of course, you have Senator Ted Cruz, Beto O'Rourke.

I want to mention as well, for Mr. O'Rourke, a lot of his money is coming from Silicon Valley employees, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple. By 11:00 p.m., not surprisingly, Neil, we will find ourselves on the West Coast.

And out there, I just want to highlight actually two House races. So we will pull those contests up. You're going to see here for the Golden State two of these areas which are really not only tight. CA-10, we will pull that first one up.

But one of the other reasons that we're following the Harder vs. Denham contest is because this area actually had voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Same can be said for Rouda vs. Rohrabacher.

And we know from this area even geographically not a huge surprise there, Neil, that immigration is going to be a huge issue in both of those areas.

Neil, we will be here. Long night. That's -- those results back in a few hours for us -- back to you.

CAVUTO: You had to rub that in, didn't you?


CAVUTO: All right, Deirdre, thank you very, very much, Deirdre Bolton.

All right, I want to take a look at the corner of Wall and Broad today. We were up a lot on the Dow today. Now, there is a sort of a consensus building -- always dangerous, I hasten to add -- that we're going to see slip government after this midterm election, that is the House under one party's control, Democrats, and then the Senate under the continued Republican control. Of course, the White House would remain under Republican control.

And markets like that. Now, the consensus could be very, very wrong and it doesn't pan out that way. There are other variables here.

Let's get the read on how all of that would sort out for the investment community with my buddy David Asman, the host of "Bulls & Bears" on Fox Business Network, and market watcher Alan Knuckman.

By the way, David, looking at this and these crosscurrents here, the first thing you have to ask is, that consensus for split government, markets like that, don't they?

DAVID ASMAN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Markets generally prefer split government.

Gridlock is a dirty word in the world of politics. But markets find it to be enlightening because it means that they can't get stuff done. They can't spend more government money. That tends to leave a lot of Wall Street and private sector off the hook.

I should just say, but no matter what happens tomorrow, there have been 18 midterm elections since 1946, 18, and in every single one, 18 out of 18, the 12 months following that midterm election, the markets are generally up.

So I think we might have some pretty good times coming in the next 12 months. Lord knows what's going to happen beyond that.

CAVUTO: Yes, I can't even go to the next 12 minutes.

But, Alan, I'm curious. When you look at this, you always have to brace yourself for surprises and whether there's an unexpected development.


CAVUTO: Let's say the Republicans were to hang on to the House, and then they continue to run the table with all the levers of government under their control. What do you think?

KNUCKMAN: Well, I'm of the opinion that optimism wins. And you have got to be very optimistic.

Obviously, David just went through that fantastic number that every single time a year after the midterm, the market was higher. So you have got to put this in perspective. We're on a very strong upward path. We bounced 25 percent since the Trump election, but you can total up. It's 311 percent since that 2009 low.

I don't think this changes anything. Again, corporations are going to do well in any political environment.

CAVUTO: You know, David, one of the things that comes up a lot is the idea that there's a possibility that the Democrats have a surge, and in that surge, they might just take the Senate. It's one of the less likely variables here, but then what?

ASMAN: Well, if they do, or if it's just the House -- but certainly if it's both -- President Trump is going to have to be a consummate deal maker.

And there are certain deals that he wants to make with Democrats, infrastructure. Remember, there's $1.5 million in infrastructure spending that the president and Democrats want to do together. There's also the question of regulation.

And the president fancies himself as a deregulator. He's done a terrific job in deregulating the private sector. However, he wants to put more regulations on things like pharmaceuticals, like drug prices. He wants to have price controls. Democrats wants price controls.

That could worry Wall Street quite a bit. And there's also concern about the banks and big tech. Remember, he's talked about breaking up some of the biggest high-tech companies.

CAVUTO: Alan, I know you're looking at the half-full glass here.

Regardless of how the midterms turn out, I'm wondering whether all the other items that are backing up like planes at La Guardia are an issue.  That is the upcoming G20 meeting between our president and the leader of China. We might have a Mueller report before this month is out.

The Federal Reserve busy with another meeting, and while that isn't the one that it's expected to raise rates, it could telegraph that. What do you think?

KNUCKMAN: It's going to be December.

Well, there's always got to be concerns and worries. Otherwise, this wouldn't be any fun.

So, we have gotten through every one of those. But I'm a big believer that global growth -- growth is driving it. It's not just us. If you look at unemployment wrong world, Canada is at 40-year lows, Japan's at 2.3 percent, Germany's at the lowest unemployment level ever.

So around the world, everybody's doing well. And I think that's very much a positive. We have been able to get through all these -- these woes and worries in the past. I look for that to happen once again.

Let me point out. Let's go back in the way-back machine, when we had a split government. If you go back to Reagan, we had a split government and everybody can probably agree that we did pretty well economically at that time.

CAVUTO: Yes, we forgot, in '82, when the Republicans lost a lot of seats - - I think 27 -- of course, the market a year later was up another 19 percent, right?

ASMAN: Can I bring it back home, though, just for a second?

Because beyond the congressional races and Senate races, there a lot of initiatives on the ballot and a lot of them have to do with taxes. They're 18 states that have initiatives involved in taxes. Colorado, which has a flat tax for income tax, they want to change it into a five-bracket tax, almost double -- double the high end of that.

State of Washington has a carbon tax. There is a whole bunch of taxes.  And those should be looked at, because they could affect business, certainly on a local level, to a great extent, and on a personal level.  You could be paying thousands of dollars more or less, depending on how you vote.

CAVUTO: Yes, and where you live.


CAVUTO: All right, thank you, David, final word on that.

Alan Knuckman, I want to thank you.

KNUCKMAN: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right, and when we come back here, besides looking at some of the money issues at stake here, I want you to picture this, the AFL-CIO chief, Richard Trumka, and the legendary football coach and Notre Dame sensation Lou Holtz. What do they have in common?

We will explain after this.


CAVUTO: Well, you're looking to live right now at a polling place saying in Greenwood, Indiana, the president campaigning in the Hoosier State just yesterday.

He was joined by college football Hall of Fame sensation the coach Lou Holtz.

Lou Holtz joins us right now on the phone.

Coach, very good have you.

LOU HOLTZ, HALL OF FAME FOOTBALL COACH: Well, thank you, Neil. Pleasure to be with you. I watch your show all the time.

CAVUTO: I'm very honored by that, coach.

I mean, obviously, you have been a close friend of the president's long, long before he was president. And then you carry considerable clout in your state and elsewhere. That was a very early and welcome endorsement.

And I'm wondering whether you -- the crowd you saw and the enthusiasm you saw is going to translate in that state to a Democratic senator maybe losing?

HOLTZ: Well, that's very possible, because Joe Donnelly's a very popular individually.

He is also a Notre Dame alum, which put me in an awkward position.  However, the main point I made to the people and enthusiasm of the crowd, there were 12,000 people there. They were jammed in, enthusiasm. And there were an awful lot of young people there and thousands outside.

But the point I made is, President Trump needs some help. Everybody is ganging up on him. You got the media, you got the Democrats, you got the academicians. We have to send people there.

Joe Donnelly is a wonderful individual, I'm sure. But we need people there that are going to support the Supreme Court justices, going to support his thing. And Notre Dame is undefeated this year.

And, as I said to the crowd, you want to go back to a couple years ago, we won four games and lost eight? No.


HOLTZ: Then why would we want to move -- why would we want to go back?

Every time I turned around a winning situation -- or a losing situation, nobody ever said, coach, we like it better when we are losing.

But this is the mentality of the media. So, I believe in what he's doing.  And I supported him, endorsed him before he got the nomination.

And I spoke at a Tampa bay rally the day and the Saturday before the election in 2016. The enthusiasm was great. Nobody gave him a chance, but I thought, good lord, everywhere I go, it is this way. And maybe it is going to translate into the midterms, but history goes against it. We will have to wait and see.

CAVUTO: Yes, it's early on. I like how you can relate football and Notre Dame and to the state of the economy. That is pretty clever.

But, Coach, I'm curious about what you make of Senator Donnelly, who is very popular in the state. The president has made multiple visits to Indiana. He was still doing quite well, that is Senator Donnelly.

Would you be disappointed or worried for Indiana, then, given your bias and preference that he go, if he were to stay in there? Because he has very shrewdly incorporated a lot of views of the president and speaks obviously very highly of you, so he walks a tight line and a rope in a state that requires him to.

HOLTZ: This isn't a case of having good vs. bad.

I think they are both very good candidates. I just know that Braun will support the president. I can't say that about any Democrat. The Democrats will say one thing, but when they get in, there were 40-something people that were up for the House on the Democratic side who said, we will not vote for Nancy Pelosi.

But I happen to know that you take a vow, that when you go in there and you are elected, you are going to vote for Nancy Pelosi. And he will back Schumer. Joe Manchin voted for Kavanaugh, but he only did it after the nomination was secured with Collins' vote.

And that is like jumping on. But I just think that President Trump needs help there. We have a lot of Republicans that are never-Trumpers, but look to what has happened to the economy. Look what has happened to this country. Look what has happened. He's caring about the people.

We're worried about the caravan people coming in. What is going to end up -- how about the homeless people on the street? Go into San Francisco. Go into Denver. Go look at the poverty we have there. Let's take care of our people first.

CAVUTO: All right, coach, it's always good having you. You are doing well coming out of your shell, by the way, so keep working on that.


HOLTZ: Well, Neil, you can mark me down as undecided.


CAVUTO: All right, coach, thank you. A real honor talking to you. I appreciate it.

HOLTZ: Always a pleasure, Neil. Bye.

CAVUTO: All right.

In the meantime, we have another tight race in Missouri, right? This is a pickup that Republicans are salivating over, but you got get behind those numbers, which we plan to do after this.

Then the AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, on why this president might be helping unions a little bit more than some of his Republican predecessors, but apparently not enough for Richard -- after this.



SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.: This race is just way too close to call. So we don't know what's going to happen, but we feel great about the effort.

JOSH HAWLEY, R-MO., SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We're excited. Just voted, and on to victory tonight.


CAVUTO: All right, Missouri, that's a key Senate battle Republicans are hoping for a pickup, defeating, they hope, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill.

Republican challenger Josh Hawley, both of them voting today. Both very confident things will work out their way.

This is a state that Donald Trump, by the way, won by about 18 points.

Kristin Fisher is there with the latest on how it's all going down in Saint Louis.

Hey, Kristin.


Well, we have seen a steady stream of voters at this polling place just outside Saint Louis all day today. And when the Democratic incumbent, Senator Claire McCaskill, voted here just a few hours ago, she said that she thought this race was still too close to call.

She's been trying to make the case that she's not too liberal to represent a state that President Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016. But her opponent, the state's Republican attorney general, Josh Hawley, says she's still too liberal for Missouri.

And President Trump helped him make that case at a rally last night in Cape Girardeau. Now, blue-collar Missourians, they overwhelmingly voted for President Trump in 2016 by nearly 20 points. But they also drove the defeat of the state's right-to-work Proposition A just this past August.

So one of the big questions, Neil, is, how are these union members in the state going to vote today? That could be a big driver in who wins this race now, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, thank you very much, Kristin.

And I'm going to raise that point with the AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who joins us right now.

Richard, I'm looking at some of these union numbers that have picked up, including unemployment levels among union families that are about the lowest they have been in 20 years. And I'm wondering why you would be against the president of the United States, if he's helping you provide those numbers.

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Well, Neil, this president of the United States isn't on the election ballot today.

There's a number of people that support workers and those that don't.  We're supporting people like Claire McCaskill, who stands up for us, Josh Hawley, who supports right-to-work.

So we're supporting those candidates that support working people.


TRUMKA: And, by the way, we have about 1,500...


CAVUTO: But I just want to be clear.

The working families and all of that, if that's happening under Republican leadership, you're -- you're not buying that this is sustainable beyond the president? Is that what you're saying?

TRUMKA: I don't think that the president's on the ballot today.

Claire McCaskill is on the ballot, and Josh Hawley's on the ballot in Missouri. And they're going to say, who's the best for us? It's clearly Claire McCaskill.

Josh Hawley is out of step. He supports right-to-work that that state rejected by better than two to one. And so it's an election about them.  And she will win tonight.

CAVUTO: All right, so if we fast-forward to 2020, the president's up for reelection, and you do and have in prior interviews credited the president with helping unions doing more, certainly than other Republicans have, would you endorse him?

TRUMKA: Look, I'm not going to get there until 2020.

We have an election tonight to take care of, Neil. Look, we will see what he did. We will judge what he did to help workers and what he did to hurt workers. And if he did more to help workers and he didn't -- then, of course, like every one other candidate, he will be considered, but I'm not making that decision.

My executive council, all my members in each one of the states help us make that decision. So it's not Richard's decision. It's the membership's decision.

CAVUTO: Well, but you're also the big cheese. I mean, this doesn't happen without you weighing in, right?

TRUMKA: No, they make that decision. They actually do.

I didn't endorse any of the candidates running today.


CAVUTO: All right.

So let me step back from this and understand. Do you think things are looking very good for the economy right now?

TRUMKA: Well, it depends on where you sit.

If you're a worker, things are still not good for the economy. We have had three decades of flat wages. You have had your health care go up. You have had your pensions attacked. And you're about to, in many cases, even lose health care and lose your pensions.

So it's not a very secure place for us to be. If you're at the very top of the heap, yes, this is a good economy for you, you're doing great.  Hopefully, we can see wages increase. But, Neil, there's only one way that's going to happen. And that's to give workers a voice on the job, so that they can negotiate with their employers and get a bigger share of the wealth that they help produce.

CAVUTO: All right. But it just seems odd that you're going for Claire McCaskill in this case and other prominent Democrats who were there and through that period of time, long before this president came to power.

Republicans had the run of the table in Washington. And they might be listening this and saying, I can't figure Trumka out here. He's taking it out on at least trends that in the last couple of years have looked good for his members, looked good for union workers, record low unemployment among young workers, Latino workers, African-American workers, union workers, average manufacturing workers.

TRUMKA: It's real simple.

I speak for my members. And I have a fidelity to one group only, and that's to the American worker. When their wages are flat, their health care is under attack, and they're paying more and more and more for health care every year, when their pensions are under attack, I'm going to stand with them and fight whoever it is, no matter what party, that's attacking them.


CAVUTO: But their wages have been running at a clip.

In the latest employment report, their wages are running at a 3.1 percent clip, the strongest it's been now in decades, and certainly over a decade.  And I'm wondering how that jibes with workers who might be disadvantaged.

TRUMKA: I'm sorry. I didn't understand your question.

CAVUTO: Well, if things are so bad and wage growth is running at a 10- year-high clip, what's so bad for workers who have not been seeing that?


TRUMKA: By the way, that's for one month. That doesn't erase the two decades of flat wages.


CAVUTO: Well, wait a minute.

Did you complain about that when it was Barack Obama as president?

TRUMKA: I did.


TRUMKA: You remember when he tried to do TPP?

CAVUTO: But you supported Barack Obama. You supported Barack Obama.

TRUMKA: I was against him. Whenever he didn't do things that I agreed with, I'm against him.

I treat Barack Obama exactly like I treat Donald Trump. If they do something good for workers, I support them.


CAVUTO: Who was the last Republican you supported, Richard?

TRUMKA: We're supporting Republicans right now.


TRUMKA: We're supporting Brian Fitzgerald in Pennsylvania.

We're supporting Republicans in New Jersey. We're supporting Republicans in Ohio. Here's the problem, Neil. There are precious few Republicans that support workers.

When they support workers, we support them. When they don't support workers, we are not foolish. We don't support them.


CAVUTO: I understand.

But if unemployment goes down among your workers, if their prospects dramatically improved over the last couple of years, whether you want to pin that to Donald Trump or not -- and I know you draw a distinction between the president and many and his party.

But, I mean, that's progress you were not seeing under the last president or the president before him or the president before him, right?

TRUMKA: Look, Neil -- look, Neil, this is a nice conversation. It has nothing to do with today's election.

But if Donald Trump is the candidate who has helped workers the most when it's time to endorse, our members will tell us that. If he is not, they will tell us that as well.

He isn't on the ballot today. People like Claire McCaskill are on the ballot. People like Bill Nelson are on the ballot.


CAVUTO: I understand that.

But who is the last Republican presidential candidate you have supported?

TRUMKA: I don't know.

You ask us about Republicans. We support Republicans in every race. If they support workers, we support them.

The last Republican -- Mitt Romney didn't support workers. He had a bad record with workers. And I can go back through the list all the way back.

Probably the last one that actually supported workers would have been Eisenhower. Eisenhower actually did support workers.


CAVUTO: And I wish we had more time. And you have been a great guest, as always.

But I know, when we last had it, you said my -- I don't see a political persuasion here. I look at how they help unions, how they help union workers, how they help average folks.

If things are now in this economy going the way they're going, with one of the strongest recoveries we have seen, you find precious few Republicans to support in this environment, right?


TRUMKA: For whom? Wait, wait, wait, Neil. Wait, wait, wait.

Strongest recovery for whom? Workers haven't seen that recovery yet.  Workers are seeing their health care go up.


CAVUTO: Richard, do you look at the same data I look at?


TRUMKA: I do. I do, Neil.


TRUMKA: Well, if you would give me a chance to explain, I will explain.

CAVUTO: But I'm not an apologist for any side, Richard.

But do you look at the same data I do?


CAVUTO: Record low unemployment across every major demographic group?


CAVUTO: And you still say not good enough?



TRUMKA: You had one month of wage increase, one, one quarter. Three decades, that doesn't wipe out.

CAVUTO: You have had two years of improving numbers, Richard.


TRUMKA: In addition to that, health care -- our health care out-of-pocket costs went up 5.9 percent last year. They're scheduled to go up for an individual $1,500 next year, Neil.

That's a lot of money for individuals. So you can't pull out one statistic and say, this is great, or one group of people.


CAVUTO: I'm not pulling out one statistic or another.

I'm just trying to be very, very clear. What would it take for you to sort of say, all right, things are better than they have been? I mean, yes, wages could go at a stronger clip in real inflation-adjusted terms. They most certainly good. You're absolutely right about that.

But the arc, the trend is your friend right now for union members, for those who -- who -- many of whom attend these rallies where Donald Trump speaks. So, what do they see that apparently you do not?

TRUMKA: Well, look, they will tell me if that's the case.

If they want to endorse him, they will. But we went to our members in Ohio, we have had a conversation with them; 50 percent of those that voted for Donald Trump have told us they're voting for Richard Cordray and for Sherrod Brown. That's 50 percent of the people that voted for Donald Trump.

So, apparently, his argument hasn't persuaded them. They know that Richard Cordray is better than DeWine. And they know that Sherrod Brown is their friend that will stick up for them. So they're voting for them.

That's what we see in this election.


CAVUTO: I understand.

But when they -- when they look at what's happening around them...

TRUMKA: Do you really?

CAVUTO: Well, I'm taking your word for it.

So, when they look around at what's happening, and they see some of these improvements, are you telling me that they're simply not good enough, or that the progress on trade deals that they had argued, you had argued to me -- now, don't -- just be careful -- and you had told me were not really good for union members, what do they see now? Do they like them or dislike them?


TRUMKA: Neil, I know -- I know you want to make this an issue about me and you and us and them.

But, look, that's a nonissue right now.

CAVUTO: I don't know what you're saying.

It's not about you or me or us and them.


TRUMKA: Here's what I'm saying. Here's what I'm saying.

CAVUTO: I'm just curious, do you like the trade deals of this president?


CAVUTO: You did not like a lot of those trade deals. Now, I don't know if these newer deals he's designed are in your favor or not. Do you like them, or you liked the old deals better, the old trade deals better?

TRUMKA: NAFTA, it is quite -- it's too early for us to decide whether yes or no.

There's some improvements.


TRUMKA: There's some places where he's digressed.

When we know all the facts, we will make a decision. And all the pundits who are going crazy right now, being either gushing for it or gushing against it, are simply wrong, because they don't have the facts yet.

We will judge it on its merit. There are improvements in it and there are areas where it's going backwards. If we can enforce this agreement, if the enforcement mechanism is there, if we can get the Mexican government to allow wages to rise, so that there's less downward pressure on the wages in the United States, then, yes, we will endorse that.

If it doesn't do that, then we won't. But it's too early for us to be able to tell.


TRUMKA: Am I encouraged? Wait. Am I encouraged that we're talking about it?

CAVUTO: Right.

TRUMKA: Yes, I am encouraged.

I'm also encouraged and proud of union members and workers across the country, because the debate right now isn't whether we're going to have a new NAFTA. The debate right now is how we fix a broken one.

CAVUTO: So, the idea and the guarantees that are supposedly in there -- and you know this far better than I -- to hire more union workers, to hire them at wages that were not in the prior deal, do you find that promising, or do you find it accurate, or what?

TRUMKA: Well, first of all, we don't know.

We don't know how it will be enforced or what will be enforced.

CAVUTO: All right.

TRUMKA: We don't know how the labor chapter will be enforced, how the rules of origin will be enforced, or several other things.

So we need to find out that language. If it's good, then, yes, it'll be encouraging. If it isn't, and we can't enforce the agreement, it doesn't matter what the agreement says. It's unenforceable.

CAVUTO: OK, so, finally, real quick final question.

The number -- you said you support a of number Republican candidates, but do you have a breakdown of the percentage of Democrats you are supporting vs. Republicans? I would just be curious.

TRUMKA: No, I don't. I don't, because we are up and down the ballot this time far more than we have ever been. There's a lot of local races, state house members, state senates.

And so I don't have that. I will be able to get you that tomorrow.

There's about 1,500 union members that are running for office on the ballot this time. And we're working hard to get them elected, so that they can stand up.

CAVUTO: All right.

TRUMKA: Some are Republicans. Most are Democrats. But some are Republicans.

CAVUTO: All right, Richard, very good chatting with you. I appreciate it.

TRUMKA: Thanks for having me, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO.

Meanwhile, to New Jersey and voters there going to the polls, closing out what's been a very contentious and expensive Senate race between incumbent Bob Menendez, the Republican challenger, Bob Hugin.

Let's go first to David Lee Miller in Mountainside, New Jersey, with the latest on finally the end of what has been a very nasty race, huh?


This has been a very hard-ought battle and, as you said, a very nasty one at times. Democratic senator Bob Menendez is vying now for a third term as New Jersey senator. Although he has been considered the front-runner all along, some analysts say that in a blue state like New Jersey, it should have been a lock for Menendez, that he should be certain to win.

However, victory is not certain here. Menendez is considered vulnerable following a corruption trial last year that although resulted in a hung jury did tarnish his reputation. Republican challenger Bob Hugin, meanwhile, who has been endorsed by President Trump and who has donated to the president's 2016 campaign and also was the chairman of his finance committee here in New Jersey, is trying to distance himself from President Trump, saying that he is a different kind of candidate, that he is independent.

Meanwhile, as voters do go to the polls, there have been many reports, multiple reports today, Neil, of problems at polling stations, ranging from long lines and machines that have been malfunctioning.

We expect the polls here will close in just a little under three-and-a- half-hours. That is 8:00 local time -- Neil.

CAVUTO: David Lee, thank you very, very much.

It's not that New Jersey has not elected its share of Republican officials.  Of course, Chris Christie is a former governor, two-term governor. There's a Democratic governor now.

And, of course, before him, of course, it was Christie Todd Whitman, who joins us right now.

Governor, good to have you.


CAVUTO: It is tough for Republicans to get elected in New Jersey.

WHITMAN: It is. It's a challenge.


WHITMAN: We're a little bit outnumbered in the number of registered voters.

The only thing I will say, though, the part that's growing is the independents. Democrats are losing...



Now, the Hugin-Menendez battle has been pretty sharp and very expensive.



CAVUTO: What do you think of it and the kind of coverage it's been getting?

WHITMAN: It's been getting a lot of coverage. And it's exciting to see that Bob Hugin is doing as well as he's doing.

And I think it's within the realm of possibility that he could knock off Menendez, because Menendez has such a bad reputation, and being censured the way was by both Republicans and Democrats, more importantly.

That's come to people's attention, even with the disparity in registration and more Democrats. There are still people that don't like the fact that they have someone in office who has been censured that way and found to be lacking ethically.

CAVUTO: It's happened on the governor's side, not so much on the Senate side, in New Jersey to get a Republican in power there. Why is that, you think?

WHITMAN: I don't know. It's hard to say.

It's ideological. It's because the senators go where -- they think the big thoughts. The governors have to deliver. And so they're looking for slightly different things in those two offices.

CAVUTO: Right.

WHITMAN: They want someone in a governorship who they think can really deliver on their promises, not just come up with new ideas as to how to approach things.

So, it's more ideological, I think, when you look at the senatorial races than it is at the gubernatorial level.

CAVUTO: Bob Hugin, of course, is a very rich pharmaceutical executive.  He's forked over more than $35 million of his own money presumably into this race.

Does he have the future if for some reason it doesn't turn out, he doesn't win tonight?

I think, if he wants to have one, he can, absolutely, because he's been a very credible candidate. He's well-spoken. He's a bright guy. He had a good reputation as a CEO.

Menendez has tried to attack that. But Bob has had some very good and, I think, forceful responses to those attacks. So, it's been an ugly race, unfortunately. And we're seeing that across the country. And that's just not in our best interests, I don't think, in the long run.

But I do think, if he wants to have a future, he certainly could. I don't know, when you have spent this much of your own money, and done this, put as much heart into it as you have...

CAVUTO: That's a lot of money, yes.

WHITMAN: ... whether you're going to want to come back and try to do something else again.

CAVUTO: All right, Governor, thank you very, very much, Governor Christie Todd Whitman.

We will be following that very, very closely.

In the meantime, Georgia voting is already under way. They're looking at governor. Health care is a very, very big issue there. And that health care keeps playing out again and again, in race after race.

The read from the former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis on why that is -- after this.


CAVUTO: You know, it's not just Congress up for grabs; 36 gubernatorial seats are on the line, including a very tight race going on in the Peach State of Georgia between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp.

Health care a very, very big issue there, as it is across the country.

Jonathan Serrie in Atlanta with more.

Hey, Jonathan.


When it comes to health care, the candidates running for governor in Georgia could not be any more different. You have Republican Brian Kemp, who cast his ballot earlier today, saying that he will fight what he calls a socialist takeover of health care. This plays well with his conservative base in rural parts of the state.

Democrat Stacey Abrams, on the other hand, says she wants to protect Obamacare. This appeals to her base in large cities. But she's also making the case to rural Georgians that expanding Medicare would reverse the trend of hospital closures in less populated areas.

Voter turnout is setting new records. Before Election Day, more than two million Georgians had already cast ballots, more than doubling the previous record for early voting in a midterm election in this state.

And then, Neil, coming back to our live shot, you can see voter turnout today, on the Election Day, is very heavy. The secretary of state's office telling us voter turnout is heavy in all parts of the state -- Neil.

CAVUTO: Thank you, Jonathan, very, very much.

The read on that enthusiasm now from former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, also the former Massachusetts governor.

Governor, very good to have you.


CAVUTO: Same here.

What do you make of these high turnout numbers across a broad swathe of groups here?

DUKAKIS: Well, I think Donald Trump has got people pretty excited.

In many cases, they're very angry with him. In some cases, they like him.  But I have seen it in my teaching. As you know, I have been teaching at Northeastern University here in Boston for the past 28 years.

And I have never seen, Neil, the kind of interest in public service that I'm seeing on the part of my students these days. Most of them, at least up here, don't like Trump.

But the important thing is that this is finally got them out seriously thinking about serving in public life. And I think that's great, and I hope it continues and we can encourage it.

But I do think this turnout tells you something.

CAVUTO: Governor, normally, when the last ballots are counted in the midterms, within hours, they're working on the next campaign.


CAVUTO: And we're expecting quite a few prominent Democrats to throw their hat in the ring for president.

And there has been a concern among some in your party that Democrats are driving a hard left, and it's going to hurt them. What do you think of that?

DUKAKIS: That's always been a concern.

And I don't see anything unusual about it. We're going to have an active primary. We're going to have a lot of candidates. But in the last analysis, whoever wins that nomination is going to be somebody who, in my opinion -- don't know who it's going to be, I don't have any particular preference -- is somebody who will work his or her way through the primary and come out as a strong and effective nominee.

And it'll be somebody who can appeal to a very broad cross-section of Americans. And we always have this discussion.

CAVUTO: Right.

DUKAKIS: But in the last analysis, we end up with folks that are making a lot of sense, and I think in this case will.

And I think we're going to get rid of the guy that's in there and get ourselves a president who really reflects what America is all about.

CAVUTO: All right. People can bicker over that, Governor.

But I am curious what you make of what could be a crowded field.

Elizabeth Warren and this whole DNA, Native American testing and everything else, what did you think of all that?

DUKAKIS: Well, I think the whole thing is kind of silly.

I don't like -- I'm not a fan of Trump's, needless to say. He's an insulting guy and he's somebody who I think is pretty disagreeable all the time.

CAVUTO: Now, that shocks me. I thought you liked him, but go ahead.



DUKAKIS: But this Pocahontas stuff, what's the matter with this guy? He's the president of the United States.

We have serious issues, both here and abroad. And this kind of stuff, I think, well, it reflects basically the kind of racism that this guy seems to stand for.

I mean, is there any group, any minority that he likes? We're all immigrants. My parents came over here.

CAVUTO: But do you think it was dumb of her to do it, though, Governor?

Do you think for her to go ahead and do that and try to satisfy that issue or resolve it, that she just created a bigger one, and might have doomed her chances to be your party's nominee?

DUKAKIS: I don't think so.

But, look, she's -- I know her well. I admire her greatly. I worked hard to help her get elected to the Senate. And I'm proud of that. And she's got to make judgments. We all have to in a campaign like this, or in a situation like this.

And I thought it was a reasonable thing to do. But it's -- really, isn't this so silly? I mean, the question is, what kind of country do we want?  What kind of future do we want?

And let's knock off this insulting stuff. I mean, I just can't stand it.  And I don't think the American people can stand it, which is one reason why I think the results tonight are going to be pretty good.

CAVUTO: Now, we don't know. And you could be right on that.

But are you surprised, Governor, the economy is doing as well as it is?  Now, Barack Obama claims credit for that, that it started with him. And he might or might not be right. But it's certainly picked up momentum under President Trump.

And I'm just curious how you reconcile that with your personal opinions of the president.

DUKAKIS: Well, first look, we were in terrible shape under the last Republican administration, in terrible shape. The country was floundering around badly when Obama got elected.

And it's pretty obvious what happened here, Neil. I mean, he and the work he did and the first Democratic Congress had everything to do with the fact that we came out of that terrible, terrible situation.

And by the time he left office, the economy was in pretty good shape. In fact, it was growing faster than it has been growing at least in one of the periods that Trump has been governing.

So the notion that Trump somehow came into this terrible situation and turned it around is nonsense. This economy was in damn good shape when Barack Obama left it.


CAVUTO: To your point, it was certainly in a lot better shape than the...


DUKAKIS: Wait a second. Look...


CAVUTO: Do you think that that job growth, the complexion of those jobs, Governor, is better than they were, that pay is going up, unemployment levels among all sorts of groups is at record lows?

Does that surprise you?

DUKAKIS: Neil, let me tell you what bothers me.

We're now heading for a $1 trillion annual budget deficit. Now, I'm supposed to be a liberal, but I used to describe myself, as you will recall, as a liberal who could count.


DUKAKIS: And I was a governor who had to balance budgets.

Where are we going with all this? A trillion dollars-worth or red ink on an annual basis at a time when we're at full employment? I mean, this is preposterous. And it's very serious.

CAVUTO: But we had $10 trillion added to our debt right in the last president, right?

DUKAKIS: Well, that's true, because he inherited an economy, it was in a shambles, and had to revive it.

CAVUTO: But it's a bipartisan problem, right? It's a bipartisan mess, right?

DUKAKIS: No, this is not a bipartisan problem.

When you cut taxes mostly for the wealthy by billions and billions of dollars at a time you're in full employment, that's terrible economic policy, in my judgment. Terrible.

CAVUTO: All right, we shall see.

DUKAKIS: This is a time when we should be getting ourselves back in shape and getting the economy in shape and getting the budget in shape. And we're not doing it.

CAVUTO: All right. All right. I will put you down as a maybe on Donald Trump, Governor.

It's always good having you. Continued good luck with your teachings.  Good seeing you again.

DUKAKIS: Great to chat with you, Neil. Thanks.

CAVUTO: All right.

DUKAKIS: Really appreciate it.

CAVUTO: All right, the read from former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  CAVUTO: All right, you just heard the read from a former Democratic governor on what hurts our country and who gets credit for the improvement in the economy in our country.

Fair and balanced now, the read from a former Republican governor of Louisiana, of course, former presidential candidate as well Bobby Jindal.

Governor, good to have thank you.

BOBBY JINDAL, R-FORMER LOUISIANA GOVERNOR: Neil, thank you for having me back.

CAVUTO: Michael Dukakis made an interesting comment about, the debt is growing. Of course, it grows under, it seems, Democratic and Republican presidents alike. And it does seem to be choking us now.

What do you make of that? And do you worry about it?

JINDAL: You know, Neil, I actually do. That was one of the few, maybe the only times, I have actually agreed with Governor Dukakis.

I do think we have got to get control of the debt. Look, I think President Trump has done many good things. He said he was going to cut taxes. He did that. He said he was an appoint conservative judges. He did that.

He said he was going to rip up the Iran nuclear deal. He did that. He said he was going to stand with Israel. He did that.

One of the things that hasn't been done yet, though, the Republicans in D.C. have yet to really get spending under control. They haven't cut spending. They haven't balanced the budget. So I think that's a valid concern.

But, overall, it -- and it's an important concern. I'm not trivializing that. And it's funny to see Democrats all of a sudden get religion on deficits, after eight years of record-setting debt under President Obama.

And so certainly that's a valid criticism. But going into this election, I think overall the Republicans have done a great job, and they deserve to be reelected.

CAVUTO: Are you troubled, though, that neither party seems to be addressing this spiraling debt, and the fact that, with interest rates rising, it's only spiraling more?

JINDAL: Absolutely.

Look, I understand why it's good politics for President Trump -- and he said this as a candidate -- he said he wasn't going to look at or touch the entitlement programs. I don't think that's sustainable.

I think they have to be reformed going forward. I'm a strong supporter of premium support within the Medicare program. I do think getting the economy growing is a strong part of balancing the budget.

And he's doing that. President Obama had defined a new normal, where 2 percent growth was seemed to be the best we could do. We didn't have real wage growth. And President Trump campaigned and said, we could get back closer to 4 percent.

And we're on the way to doing that. So I think stronger economic growth is a big part of balancing the budget. But we have got to cut spending. Part of that is entitlement spending.

CAVUTO: Do you think Republicans should embrace that more forcefully, though?

Do you think, just like Democrats look the other way at some of their pet programs and all, that everyone should get on board with curtailing at least the growth in entitlements, and maybe grandfather in benefits for those closer to retirement age, but change them, raise them in other areas, either for Social Security, Medicare, but that that's got to be done?

JINDAL: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: And there's some political risk to that, but there's greater risk to the country if you don't do it.

JINDAL: Absolutely.

And look, to his credit, Paul Ryan championed that. And there are Republicans in Congress that have championed that. And, again, I understand politically why Republicans don't want to do that. It's always -- it's not very popular in the short-term.

We have got to do it. If we don't do it, in the longer run, you're going to have Democrats trying to...


CAVUTO: Well, Donald Trump doesn't want to do it. He did not want to touch Social Security.

Now, that might change in the future. Do you think he should consider it?

JINDAL: Well, look, I think it'd be better for the country.

I get the political cost. But the reality is, I think, the earlier we act, the easier it is to do modest reforms. I think you're right. We need to grandfather people that are near retirement

I think you can do it. If you do it now, we're not talking about cutting these programs.

CAVUTO: Right.

JINDAL: We're talking about slowing down their growth rates.

And you can do it with competition. And, for example, in Medicare, give seniors more choices and more efficient private health care plans.

CAVUTO: Governor, we have a lot of races, the governorships, up for grabs, 36 of them. Republicans are thought to be in danger of maybe losing 10 10 of those races. So, it could be more even.

That obviously says a lot about the Census Bureau and how it goes about its business, what rewards are handed out in the next election.

Are you worried for your party?

JINDAL: Well, look, I think governor's races are incredibly important.

Part of this is, we had an incredible run four years ago. We had a record number of Republicans in office in the state capitals. But you're right.  Not only are they important for political reasons, like the census and the presidential race.

From a policy perspective, when you think about health care policy, whether the states expand Medicaid, whether they put work requirements in Medicaid, whether they reform welfare, whether they cut taxes, whether they -- all these decisions get made at the state level, whether it's -- you enforce and implement state level religious liberty laws.

And so these are important elections. I think, oftentimes, they get overlooked. Everybody is focused on the Senate and the congressional races.

So, I do think these are important races. I know you were looking at Georgia recently. Look, those -- you have got two stark contrasts. You have got a far left liberal Democrat running against a pretty conservative Republican.

So, these aren't just differences in personalities. These are fundamentally different approaches.

CAVUTO: All right, we will see how they settle it all out.

Governor, it's always a pleasure. Thank you very, very much.

JINDAL: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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