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70% of Montanans voted for Donald Trump, but a Democrat was reelected Governor. How is that possible? Well, I have an expert on the topic, that very governor.

Extra Footage Here:

I'm confused about how to be an American right now. There are days when I don't have a lot of hope. That's especially true because of how deeply divided our country feels right now, and also because of the erosion of faith in government, the media, social services, and the FBI.

But I also worry about the loss of faith in the legal system, the military, and law enforcement. These things need to be fixed, and thus they need to be criticized...but at a certain point, that criticism basically becomes calls for revolution or abolition of the systems that have created a prosperous and stable society for many (though, clearly not all) people.

Thanks for watching this long video, I feel very lucky to have been able to make it.

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HANK: Good morning, John. 

It's been almost 2 years since our last big election here in the US. In Montana, during that election, a weird thing happened. While Donald Trump was winning 70% of the vote, we had a governor, who got reelected with 54% of the vote, who was a Democrat. And that just seems a little bit like something I don't understand, and that I would like explained to me.  I have got, coming to my office today, an expert on this topic - I think, probably one of the pre-eminent experts on this topic. 

*reading from Hank's script*

You're reading my script! Stop reading my script! *laughing*

Pssh, I can't read the script! 

Where do you look? Right here or here? 

People won't be able to tell.

This is governor Steve Bullock, of the governor of my state!  How do you like my office?

If all of the America and the World could see it all!

They can't, they can only see this corner. You recently made some headlines, when the FCC was poo-pooing on net neutrality, and this is a big deal in my line of work and Montana - I was sort of surprised, it was the first state to come up and say, well no, let's have a - and you signed an executive order saying: let's have some protections, at least here in the state of Montana, to maintain net neutrality. Why and how does that work?

What we did is said if you're going to sell internet services to the state of Montana, you not only need to have a free and open internet for Montana, but for all Montanas.

So you're not saying that they can't do it?

They can block and throttle all they want, but that just means they can't sell services to the state of Montana - or, now, the state of New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Vermont because other governors have done the same thing.

Did they base that legislation off what you wrote? 

They basically took our same executive order, and we even provided for any governor, you know, you can just click and fill in the template to do so. How this came about though was pretty interesting. Well, my staff came out and said: your daughter is calling through your main switchboard and I'm like: Why? *both laughing*. Why would Caroline call on my main switchboard, so I picked up and she had called our congressional representatives, voicing her concern, and some of her friends about repealing net neutrality. My first answer was: I'm sorry honey, I can't do anything, this is a federal issue, but that got me thinking: No! Actually the states could take the lead on this when the administration is trying to roll it back. You can thank Caroline for saving the Internet. 

Thanks Caroline! *laughing*

I've written in my notes here: Montana (red state), you governor (how?). 

That's what my notes say, so you know what I mean! Like, I'm legitimately very curious about this from several angles, like one, I believe in pushing good, progressive agendas and having you in charge of the state of Montana really helps with that! And like, it functionally helps a lot of people. Second, I think that we have a problem with division in this country and it's getting much worse, and I hope that you can provide me with some hope. 

STEVE*Laughing* First of all, how I got there and how I govern isn't all that different.

HANK: Okay, those are kind of the same thing to you?

STEVE: Meaning that I show up. I listen. I engage with people. I don't just try to find people that share all of my same thoughts. 

HANK: Well, you don't have that luxury...

STEVE: *Both laughing* Yeah you can't quite go and do that in Montana can you?

What do you want? You want a safe community, you want clean air and clean water, a good job, a roof over your head. So those are actually the values that most people have, that's what we ought to be talking about from a public policy standpoint. We actually have to talk to people; Showing up matters a lot.

HANK: Would it be better for all of us if we were trying to win everyone instead of just trying to mobilize the base?

STEVE: Yes, yes. Well, you're never going to win everyone.

HANK: Of course you're never going to, but, like, try? Make your case instead of just abandoning whole sections of the electorate. Say, like, I am out here for you.

STEVE: Nationally, I think that's exactly what we need to do. We need to listen and we need to persuade. The idea of winning isn't about micro targeting, finding this group or this person that fundamentally agrees with everything and drag them to the polls. The idea is actually to engage in that public sphere and say, here is why I will be fighting for you.

HANK: Twenty percent of people who voted for you also voted for Donald Trump. Does that seem impossible to you? 

STEVE: Not at all. Not at all, because I think in this highly polarized system, you have too many people saying, what's wrong with those voters? As opposed to what's wrong with us, our candidates, if we're not actually speaking to those voters. And I know that the twenty percent that also voted for Donald Trump, they may not agree with me on everything, well, my wife and my children don't agree with me on everything. But I think they fundamentally believe that I would be fighting for them, I would be listening to them.

HANK: I worry a lot about the erosion of faith in press and in government.

STEVE: I think a lot of people that run for office are running against government, saying that government is so horrible. There are inefficiencies, there are ways to make it better, but you ought to be running to be part of the solution. And I don't disagree - I mean, the deli- the delegitimization - if that's even a word, if it's not, it ought to be...

HANK: I think delegitimization is a word, but I think the thing you said is not.

STEVE: The tearing down of the media - the hashtag "fake news" for anything that he might disagree with, I mean that's not the way we run a representative democracy!

HANK: So, you've run for office a couple of times, a few times. It looks, from the outside, terrible. You're travelling all the time, you're away from your family, but also you're being dragged through the mud,  everything is public. Does it suck?

STEVE: This isn't the time to launch Hank Green for governor, based on the way that you phrased that!

So the best advice I ever got was actually from a Republican, it was a guy named Tom Ridge, he said "You run to win, but you win to run" so you run for office to win, but you win to run government. I know that we have kids in publicly funded preschools now because of our work or healthcare, notwithstanding, the fact that these horrible ads... You focus on what you can do, it makes some of the challenging parts a little bit less challenging.

HANK: It sounds like a kind of unique job, that maybe you don't really know how to do when you show up first, is there a training course or a private Discord channel, just for governors to talk about governor stuff? 

STEVE: Now this is just between you and I...

HANK: Who do you call when I don't actually know a hundred percent how to governor right now?

STEVE: Your peer group is small when you first get elected, there's something called, well I call it, Baby Governor's School, they send you down and maybe how to stand like a governor or talk like a governor...

HANK: Who's doing this?

STEVE: National Governor Association. 

HANK: Okay, there is a National Governor Association. I was right!

STEVE: And I'm about to become the Chairman of the National Governor Association, come December.

HANK: You're in your second term and ready to lead.

STEVE: Got six years and I got elected to be charge of it all.

So, learn some for my peers, and you try to do is surround yourself with really good people. Listen, hopefully as much as you talk. You start out just drinking from a fire-hose, and it's not without a challenge.

HANK: I'm very interested in having more young people interested in running for office and being part of government, what would you say to people who might not have considered that or maybe you're thinking about it and... advice.

STEVE: There is no magic age to get involved, first of all. We have a state legislator in Montana that hadn't graduated high school when he got elected. There are so many things that you can do growing up, but I know that I can impact people's lives. Be willing to take that step, you may fail but I've learned more from my setbacks probably that my success. 

HANK: You are a Democrat in a 'gun culture' state. We need to have a gun discussion in this country. Can you give some insight into how to bring people into that conversation, rather than the institutions that are trying to control people's perspectives?

STEVE: I talked earlier about sort of how we share values.

There was this group, Pew, that did this big research project just last year, and said that two-thirds of the gun owners, one of the main reasons why they own them is to keep themselves or their family or their communities safe and they don't trust the government's ability to do it. What those folks that want some restrictions, they want to keep themselves, their community, and their family safe. They don't trust the government's ability to do it with all these firearms out there. So I think that there's more commonality than we would think. 

Now we're not gonna solve all gun violence, but a public health approach, like with cars is, we put in seat-belts, we didn't quite get there, we put in airbags, didn't quite get there, but we continued to improve. We know that, if we did universal background checks, we know that it could makes a meaningful difference. There's 'red flag' laws, the idea that family member or law enforcement sees somebody at a point where they could be a danger, the ability to go petition in order to take their gun for a period of time. We know, there are things that can be done. 

You'd asked earlier about young people getting involved. Parkland, Florida students may actually fundamentally change and when we saw Montana students walking out just in recognition and protest, so maybe this will finally be the time where the grown-ups are listening to the kids.

HANK: What are you most afraid of? Not in terms of your own personal existential dread...

STEVE: United States always has been the place that everyone looks to as beacon of hope, the beacon of opportunity. In some respects, we are advocating our role as the international leader and I can say that from everything from climate to coalitions where we're trying to do peacekeeping, I worry, as you mentioned too, about the divisiveness in the system. And everybody's life isn't consumed with what happens in government. But if government isn't working, it can negatively impact everybody's life. What do you most worry about?

HANK: You aren't supposed to ask questions...

This is a remarkable opportunity that I got to talk to you. And you got to see my family and thank you so much for coming by and I'm sure I imagine you are super busy and that's very cool.

STEVE: It was my pleasure for sure, so I really appreciate it, Hank. 

(off-screen) That's fun!

HANK: If you want to watch more of my interview with Governor Bullock, where we talk more about what's it like to be governor, voting and what we're afraid of, stuff like that, I've taken some of the bits that I took out of this and put it up on Hankschannel. 

This was a fascinating and cool thing to be able to do as the governor was leaving, he said a thing that I've been thinking about ever since. He said that, if you win by writing off everybody who disagrees with you and only pulling the people who really deeply agree with you to the polls then maybe you win the election, but also maybe, you lose the ability to govern. We might be seeing what that looks like right now, but if government stops working, yes that hurts everybody, but it especially hurts the people who needs help the most.

John, educational video are exempts from time limits and I will see you on Tuesday. 

(cut to black)

STEVE: (off-screen) I Snapchat with my daughter. So I only Snapchat with few people, and that's my two daughters. 

HANK: Did you already snap me or should I say 'Hi' or something?

STEVE: Why don't you say...

HANK: (waving) Hello...

STEVE: Their names are Caroline and Alex. 

HANK: Hello Caroline and Alex... this is weird.

STEVE: We passed one of the most progressive campaign disclosure... (phone ringing) 

HANK: Jesus, lord... are you serious... (takes out phone) TRAVIS!


Should I just start swearing if we want to cut... 

HANK: Yeah! What you want to do, you want to be relatable to the youths, so if you could just, I don't know, say 'lit'... *both laugh*