PopPolitics: Garry Trudeau on the Midterms, Norman Lear on the Clintons (Listen)

Garry Trudeau says that if Republicans take back the Senate on Tuesday, it “would probably be good” for “Alpha House,” the Amazon series he created about four GOP senators who share a Capitol Hill home.

“It would be a nice plot point for us,” he says on the latest edition of Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “The Republicans would be in a position to get committee chairmanships.”

The show’s four fictional Senators are grappling with the real and present political landscape, struggling to pivot as the GOP veers to the far right, something that Trudeau believes will only be corrected if the party has a “cataclysmic election year,” perhaps in 2016.

“I think they need a much bigger fall the way the Democrats had in 1980 with Carter and in 1984 with Mondale, to have a Goldwater moment where they lose 45 states, which would bump them to the center,” he says. “Because at the moment, they are just getting stretched to the point where the party is almost unrecognizable.”

Whether a stinging defeat comes in 2016 “depends on who emerges,” Trudeau says. “If someone as mainstream as Jeb Bush emerges, I don’t think it would happen. If it is Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, then there is a very good chance of it.”

Listen below:

Alpha House” in its second season features a storyline about a reality series centered around the senators’ children. Trudeau, however, didn’t even know about Discovery Channel’s reality special “Rival Survival,” in which real-life senators Martin Heinrich and Jeff Flake were put on a desolate island for a week. “I’m given far more credit for being prescient than is justified,” Trudeau says.

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The show’s second season features cameos from John McCain, Grover Norquist and Elizabeth Warren. Has it been difficult getting GOP senators to appear? “Not at all,” Trudeau says.

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In part two of an interview tied to the release of his memoir “Even This I Get to Experience,” Norman Lear talks about his longtime friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, and of the time that he stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom during the Lewinsky scandal. He says that the relationship between the Clintons is a strong bond on many levels, and is even “beyond understanding.”

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Lear says that he is not in complete agreement with Paul Krugman’s assessment of the Obama presidency as an historic success. If he could change anything, Lear says that Obama “would be the father I was looking for. The country needs a father. Age does not matter to me. The nation needs a father. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and see ourselves honestly.” He also talks about how he would love for Elizabeth Warren to run for president — but he doesn’t specify when, given that Hillary Clinton is widely expected to run. He says that it is “too bad one isn’t a Republican. We would get to see the two running against each other.”

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On The Mix, U.S. News’ Nikki Schwab and USC Annenberg lecturer and journalist Mary Murphy talk about why Al Franken has been successful in Minnesota — by staying away from showbiz.

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Another entertainer seeking elective office is Clay Aiken, in a race for a congressional seat in North Carolina. But he, too, is downplaying his “American Idol” past. Schwab and Murphy talk about why Democratic celebrity candidates try to distance themselves from their showbiz past while Republican figures like Arnold Schwarzenegger have embraced their fame and on-screen personas.

Listen below:

PopPolitics” airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET and Fridays at 6 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124, hosted by Variety‘s Ted Johnson. Guests this week include Aaron Sorkin, creator of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” and Lou Cannon, author of “Ronald Reagan: Role of a Lifetime,” on Jerry Brown.

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