Town Hall with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. TRANSCRIPT: 3/29/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Meanwhile Mohammed bin Salman enjoys life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And that`s HARDBALL for now.
Coming up next, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortes sits down with Chris Hayes for
an exclusive interview on her Green New Deal, domestic policy, and much
more. That starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: America prides itself in doing big things,
stretching a railroad across the continent, storming the beaches of
Normandy, landing a man on the moon, building highways and the
infrastructure for the Internet. Our politics today seem incapable of
producing change on that scale.
We face a civilizational challenge right now and the clock is ticking. If
we don`t radically transform our economy away from fossil fuels in the next
decade, we are courting climate catastrophe.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: We are facing a national
crisis. This is about American lives.
HAYES: The Green New Deal is a vision for reinventing American society
around a new vision of a carbon-free economy that works for everyone. Is
it a fantasy or the beginnings of a new historical pivot point? The answer
is unfolding right now before our yes. This is ALL IN AMERICA The Green
New Deal with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from the Bronx, New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We are
here at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine which is part of the fewer
health system. I was actually born in this very Hospital here in the
Bronx. And the year I was born in 1979, 40 years, you`re doing the math in
your head, there were 338 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide
in the world.
In 1989, that`s ten years later, it`s also the birth year of the
Congresswoman who represents this very district, it was up to 355 parts per
million. And as of 2017, it was 405 parts per million. What do those
numbers mean? We`ll put it this way.
That 405 parts per million is the highest in recorded history in ice core
records dating all the way back 800,000 years, OK. And here`s the other
thing. Half of all the carbon emissions that we have put in the air as a
society have happened in the last 30 years when we basically knew what we
So in 2018, the U.N. scientists issued a report and they basically said we
have to get on this problem. If we gotten on it earlier, it would have
been easy. If we started in 1979, we could have cut a little bit every
year or if we start in 1989 or 1999. But we didn`t and now we`re here and
what we have to do to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change
is to cut emissions in half in 12 years. 12 years, that`s the project
we`ve been tasked with by the earth that we inhabit.
There is an urgency felt like never before in a rising generation of
Americans and across the world who realize that the clock is ticking and
getting close to running out. And into the vacuum has come a bold new
policy proposal that might be the most controversial thing in American
politics at the moment you`ve probably heard about it. It`s called the
Green New Dea.
It envisions a carbon zero economy by the middle of the century and a
transformation of the American economy and indeed society. Some people
call it a socialist monster, some people call it our only hope for survival
here in the way of life that we hold dear.
The Congresswoman, the one who was born in 1989, the woman who represents
this district, the youngest woman to ever represent a district the United
States Congress who is the co-sponsor of that resolution has become kind of
the mascot for it as well. And tonight we`re going to talk to her about
what her vision means. Please welcome Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
AMERICAN CROWD: AOC! AOC! AOC! AOC!
HAYES: Hey, how are you? Have a seat.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you. Thank you.
HAYES: Surreal hostile crowd. This is going to be tough really. How are
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I`m well. I`m well. I`m excited now that I`m back in the
HAYES: Yes. I am too.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: It feels good to be home.
HAYES: How do you – let me – I want to start with a very broad and basic
question. And it`s something I ask a lot of politicians which is how did
you get your politics? Why do you have the politics you have?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, for me I think that my politics is just an
emergence of my life experience and it`s a reflection of all of our
experiences here, not just in the Bronx but as working people. You know, I
come from in some ways since I`m Puerto Rican, first-generation, 500th
generation. You know, it`s that`s a whole other issue. But to grow up to
a first-generation New York family on my mom`s side, on my dad`s side he
was born in the South Bronx, two working parents, and to live the American
You know my dad started a small business. My mom, she cleaned houses to
get me through school. And to also experience the other half of that which
in 2008 where you can do everything right and have it all taken away at the
same time and what happens in that case. And to me when all of that
happened, it became very important that – and in my framework, in my
belief that we not just have a wealthy society but that we have a moral
HAYES: What happened in 2008? What was that experience?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, so in the fall of 2008, as we all know the markets
crashed and my father also passed away from lung cancer. And all of a
sudden overnight, I was the daughter of a single mom with a younger brother
and we had to work our way through that situation. We`re on the brink of
foreclosure. Our home was about to be taken away.
I started working in restaurants. And so for me as an economics graduate
in the wake of the recession, I started – I decided that I needed to go
back home to the Bronx and that I needed a work in education advocacy and
organizing, but just economically speaking that wasn`t enough. So I also
worked in restaurants and it wasn`t that experienced being shoulder to
shoulder with undocumented busboys and chefs with children, people at my
age that were basically in the same exact situation.
So many of the people that I worked with were college graduates who had a
parent pass away or someone in their family struck with an enormous medical
issue and it really became clear from that experience that our issues and
our economic issues are systemic and they`re not an accident. They are a
result of an economic system that enriches the few in enormous amount at
the cost of the working class and middle class.
HAYES: You come out of the gate, you represent this district here in the
Bronx of Queens. People got all sorts of issues, all sorts of issues. And
the first big issue you`re doing is the Green New Deal.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: That`s right.
HAYES: So why this issue front and center first thing? What connects you
OCASIO-CORTEZ: So this issue is not just about our climate. First and
foremost, we need to save ourselves, period. There will be no future for
the Bronx, there will be no livable future for generations coming for any
part of this country in a way that is better than the lot that we have
today if we don`t address this issue urgently and on the scale of the
But how I access this issue is that I started looking at all of our
problems. We have runaway income inequality. We are at one of our most
inequal points economically speaking in American history. We are dealing
with the crisis of how our economy is even made up. Our economy is
increasingly financialized which means we are making profits off of
interest, off of leasing your phone, off of doing all of these things, but
we aren`t producing and we are an innovating in the way that we need to as
And I also is looking at our issues of social justice, social and racial
justice of which we are – which we have a nexus here in the Bronx. And
what I started thinking about to myself was listen, we`re looking at all of
these issues, Medicare for all, a living wage, tuition free public colleges
and universities, and there`s this false idea that we need to put them all
in a line and say do this or do that. Do you care about health care or do
you care about the economy or jobs.
And then I started to realize that these are not different problems. These
are all part of the same problem. And this is – in the past when we`ve
confronted this type of stagnation and this type of systemic threat as a
country – first of all we`ve been here before. We`ve been here before
with the Great Depression. We`ve been here before with World War Two even
the Cold War.
And the answer has been an ambitious and directed mobilization of the
American economy to direct and solve our problem, our biggest problem. And
historically speaking, we have mobilized our entire economy around war.
But I thought to myself it doesn`t have to be that way especially when our
greatest existential threat is climate change.
And so to get us out of this situation, to revamp our economy to create
dignified jobs for working Americans, to guarantee health care and elevate
our educational opportunities and attainment, we will have to mobilize our
entire economy around saving ourselves and taking care of this planet.
HAYES: It comes out of the gate and I think it comes out of the gate in
some ways as a political vision. The political vision you just enunciated
right, which is look, we don`t have to talk about a carbon tax. Like,
we`re not going to come out of the gate and like you`re going to pay more
HAYES: They try that in France and people literally rioted.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: That`s right.
HAYES: So we come out of the gate and say no, jobs, industrial policy,
like clean water, the whole thing, and the right just loses its mind. And
– I mean for sure. I don`t know if you`ve noticed. Should I even
mention? Maybe it`s not a good idea. I just want to give a little taste
of like it is a 24-hour – on Trump T.V. it`s like 24-hour – in the
conservative movement, it`s 24 hour AOC GND, like that`s what it is.
Here`s a little taste of what it looks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is this Green New Deal? Answer, radical
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: A real serious threat to our way of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An absurd socialist manifesto.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a green socialist manifesto.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a socialist experiment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like your kids spew nonsense at you and you`re
like quiet, quiet, learn something before you come back to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was a bartender like two years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s kind of adorable. It`s sort of in the way that a
five-year-old child can be adorable.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And she`s ranting and raving
like a lunatic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re trying to get rid of all the cows.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I support cows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got 100 cows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more loaf, no more cheese, no more steaks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No self-coated milkshake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheeseburgers and milkshake will become a thing of the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re going to ban hamburgers.
SEBASTIAN GORKA, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: They want to
take away your hamburgers. This is what Stalin dreamt about but never
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, the infamous Stalin five-year program to get rid of
hamburgers. Were you expecting that?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, 100 percent.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I mean –
HAYES: I mean, they`re – they took it to 11 –
OCASIO-CORTEZ: It is next level. I didn`t expect them to make total fools
of themselves. I expected – frankly, I expected a little more nuance and
I expected – I expected a little more concern trolling.
HAYES: Well, you`ve gotten that too.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, but more on my party, I think.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, on the concern trolling, there are people that you
guys issued an FAQ. It had some things that people thought were ridiculous
and radical like anyone that was unable or unwilling to work when we
guaranteed a job. The FAQ was withdrawn and said it was preliminary, a
draft. There was a lot of fight about that. Like you do you – do you
think you guys rolled it out the right way? Did you bring it back any on
OCASIO-CORTEZ: What I will say is that there – I definitely had a staffer
that had a very bad day at work and did release a working draft early. So
I get that that`s what they`re seizing on. But really what we need to do
is have a serious conversation. And even in in those draft versions, what
they were talking about and – is really about the fact that we need to
innovate on our technology you know? Obviously like, I had a staffer you
know, released a document to talk about cow flatulence but –
HAYES: Which is an issue, I just want to say.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Which is an issue but here`s the thing.
HAYES: It sounds ridiculous but it literally is an issues.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: But actually it`s an issue when it comes to contributing to
methane but that doesn`t mean you end cows, it means that we need – what
it means is that we need to innovate and change our grain – our cow grain
from which you know, they feed in these troughs, that we need to really
take a look at regenerative agriculture. Like these are our solutions.
HAYES: One of the things I want to do tonight is talk about what this
thing is and we`re going to bring on some folks and get into that. But
before we do, it`s a sort of a personal question but I`m going to ask it
anyway we`re just you and me here. Like what – it`s just you were in the
center of like every aspect of America`s polarized, divided politics is
right now coming right at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who was waitressing a
year ago and just got health care insurance for the first time.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes. First time in years I should say.
HAYES: Yes. What – like what is – what does that feel like?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, for me it`s surreal obvious. And I`m just really
thankful that I – you know, I still live in the neighborhood and I`ve
always lived in the Bronx in Parkchester, you know. And I go to my same
bodega guy and that`s what I always go back to because – and it`s not –
that to me is not like oh, look at me I`m still the same person, it is
literally the grounding force for my life.
Because I do find when I go to D.C., I`ll be there and you know, the
workweek is about four days a week in D.C. then I come back home and do
community work here. And on that fourth day, fifth day in D.C. I`m like
get me out of here, you know. It can seriously be the upside down. And I
have to come back to my life in order to come back to the solutions and to
the commitment to these solutions.
Because this is not – this is – in a lot of what the Green New Deal is,
it`s about shifting our political, economic, and social paradigms on every
issue. Because we don`t have time to wait, we don`t have time for five
years for a half-baked you know, watered-down compromise position when
people are dying because their insulin is skyrocketing. Because when
people – you know they`re sending to their kids to schools that have led
in the water, it is – this is urgent. This is urgent.
And to think that we have time is such a privileged and removed from
reality (INAUDIBLE) that we cannot tolerate.
HAYES: I agree about the urgency and I think that`s where a lot of the
world is right now, actually. So I want to talk about what is this thing?
What is the Green New Deal aside from the fact they`re taking away my
hamburgers. If you will stick around –
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, which is not happening.
HAYES: Which is not happening, not happening. We`re still going to have
burgers. Just stick around. We`re going to be right back. Don`t go
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Absolutely. Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I think people see there`s a little bit of like the combination
Taco Bell-Pizza Hut situation here. It was like it`s cool they`re together
but do they need to be together?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: They do. They do. And it`s not like the situation at all.
HAYES: We`re back here Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx,
New York talking about the Green New Deal. And you know, the Green New
Deal idea is obviously a reference to the New Deal which was one of the
largest mobilizations that happen in American history. And I think it`s
easy to lose sight of the scope of the thing right?
I mean agriculture, financial policy, Industrial Policy, the Works Progress
Administration going out and doing everything from taking slave narratives
to building bridges, to dynamiting tunnels through the Alleghenies to put
in roads. It was a kind of comprehensive reshaping of American economy and
And to join me to talk about how that metaphor works in the urgency of the
crisis, I want to bring in Rachel Cleetus who`s an Economist for the Union
of Concerned Scientists and the Policy Director there. Good to be with
RACHEL CLEETUS, POLICY DIRECTOR, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: Thank you
for having me, Chris.
HAYES: And Demond Drummer who is at the – it`s called the New Consensus.
You`re the co-founder and executive director. And if folks don`t know what
that is, it`s kind of a think tank that has been – it`s the – it`s the
birthplace of the Green New Deal in many respects.
You`ve been working on climate policy for a while, Rachel, so when you
think about the depression right, you think about a crisis that`s like at
the door. People are literally eating dirt, right, in Oklahoma. People
are starving to death in the streets of America. That`s not what we have
really right now. We have something different. But why should people
think that the scale is the same crisis wise?
CLEETUS: Yes. The reality is – our human-caused emissions, the heat-
trapping emissions that are due to human activities like burning fossil
fuels and cutting down forests have already led to an increase of about a
degree Celsius. That`s nearly two degrees Fahrenheit. And we`re already
seeing the impacts of climate change around us and more extreme weather
So the impacts of climate change are very real. They`re here and now. And
the kind of temperature increase we`ve seen, frankly – I see a lot of
young people here in the audience, most kids who are graduating high school
have not seen Europe without a record-breaking temperature. We`ve had 18
of the 19 hottest years since 2001. So this is the future into which our
young people are growing up.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And I think it`s important to note that that this is here.
This is not something that`s coming. We have – you know, on the events of
September 11, 2001, thousands of Americans died in one of the – in the
largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And our National Response whether
we agree with it or not, our national response was to go to war in one then
eventually two countries. 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico in the aftermath
of Hurricane Maria, where is our response?
HAYES: There are – so the Green New Deal – just to give people thought
right, the Green New Deal is a resolutions. Resolutions aren`t legislation
and they`re not policies. It`s sort of a set of goals. There`s five
goals, one of them is net zero emissions, good high wage jobs,
infrastructure and industry, a clean and sustainable environment, justice
Demond, as someone who sort of worked on this, like what`s the theory of
the case of why the things have to go together?
DEMOND DRUMMER, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW CONSENSUS: So the
Green New Deal is a massive investment in our industrial capacity and
American manufacturing to deploy all the resources of our entire society
not just our money but our ingenuity to tackle this crisis and to do so in
a way that grows our economy and that gives people a share in that new
wealth, in that new growth.
HAYES: I think people see there`s a little bit of like the combination
Taco Bell/Pizza Hut situation here. It was like it`s cool they`re together
but do they need to be together?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: They do. They do. And it`s not like that situation at all
because here`s the deal. Here`s the deal, is that we could solve all of
the environmental issues in the world if those climate policies and
solutions are drafted onto the existing framework of economic injustice.
Then we will perpetuate our social problems.
And so even if you do pass – and the yellow vests in France are perfect
example of what happens when you do not address economic and social justice
in the same sweep as climate policy because what happens is that A, the
policy becomes unsustainable. B, society starts to fall apart which is
what happens in income inequality. And then C, we don`t actually solve the
CLEETUS: And they are connected because of you know, the higher asthma
rates that people of color in this country suffer from particularly
children of color, we know the exposure to toxic is much higher for
communities of color and low-income communities. These are all connected.
And we can solve these problems together.
HAYES: OK. But here`s my – just to push back on that right, because for
so long that I`ve covered karma policy it`s like, price on carbon, put a
price on carbon. And congratulations it now costs for more for electricity
and fuel. How long is that going to last right?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: That`s right. That`s right.
HAYES: But the flipside is – and I want you to respond this Demond, is it
– does it make more sense – the urgency of this crisis we got to solve
right, to also tack on say universal health care which is a big difficult
fight in and of itself. Like, doesn`t that make it harder to actually
attack the crisis that we`re talking about?
DRUMMER: Actually, it makes it easier to attack the crisis.
DRUMMER: Because if we`re talking about making investments to create
millions of high-paying jobs, policies like universal health care, policies
like universal family care, make it easier for people to join in on that
mobilization. And so this isn`t a nice-to-have, it`s absolutely necessary
because it`s about reshaping the entire economy, a fossil fuel economy that
is designed to exploit and extract right, requires disposable people and
disposable places. What the renew deal says no more disposable people, no
more disposable places.
HAYES: So – but then, I mean – but then the people that are – the
people that are listening to this, right and are saying, I feel you on the
climate, agreed. It`s getting hot. But like that sounds like socialism.
That sounds – no, I`m serious. Like that`s a big – you`re talking like,
OK, all right – but I`m saying not everyone applause when they hear that
right? They`re like, oh my goodness, you`re talking about this huge
mobilization issue, and I`m like I don`t trust the government could pull
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, you know, here`s some – here`s a couple of issues
here. One is that you know, if you want to bring up these labels and this
that and the other and have that whole conversation, that`s a whole other
thing. But the one thing that we cannot rebuke and the one thing that we
cannot deny is that climate change is a problem of market failure and
externalities in our economics.
And moreover, Exxon Mobil knew that climate change was real and man-made
starting as far back as 1975. The entire United States government`s knew
that climate change was real and human cost in 1989, the year I was born.
So the initial response was let the market handle it. They will do it. 40
years and free market solutions have not changed our position.
So this does not mean – this does not mean that we change our entire
structure of government, but what it means is that we need to do something,
something. And that is what the solution is about.
HAYES: So much to this conversation – so much to this conversation about
the politics so I want to just play a thought experiment and put the
politics aside and talk about like can it be done. So I want to do that
next and I want to thank Demond and Rachel. Thank you so much for joining
us. We`re going to be back with more on the Green New Deal special right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And they wave this wand and they say oh, it`s going to cost
you know, a bazillion dollars. Like they sound like Dr. Evil, like $100
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re back here in the Bronx.
All right, so what we`re going to do right now is, everyone talks about the
Green New Deal, they talk about politics, let`s just put that aside for a
second. I want you to imagine there`s 435 members House of Representatives
who are down for the Green New Deal and there`s 100 members of the U.S.
Senate down for the Green New Deal, and a president down for the Green New
Deal. Now the world we live in, but just think about that world. We`re
going to exist in that world for a little bit.
I want to bring in Rhiana Gunn-Wright who is the policy director of New
Consensus. And for those of you that don`t know, Rhiana I think is like –
has spent more time thinking about the Green New Deal than maybe anyone.
Is that fair to say?
RHIANA GUNN-WRIGHT, POLICY DIRECTOR, NEW CONSESUS: Probably close, yeah.
HAYES: You`re humble. You`re humble, but it`s true. You have been
working on this a lot. And I want to bring in Congressman Ro Khanna of
California, good to have you here, congressman.
HAYES: So no political obstacles, OK. We`re not talking about political
obstacles, just technical feasibility, zero emissions by 2050, cut in half
by 2030, right? Those are the goals, basically, around that?
REP. RO KHANNA, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, we got to start. I mean, look,
there`s some very pragmatic things we could do. Instead of the president
yelling at the GMC on Twitter to create jobs, you could actually expand the
electric vehicle tax credit, link it to domestic manufacturing and open
up a lot of those GM plants to make electric SUVs.
You know, the Green New Deal is also the green energy race. China is
making 50 percent of the electric vehicles. If you care about having that
industry in the United States, why aren`t we incentivizing that? Why
aren`t we building solar plants and wind plants? We could – $93 trillion
number is crazy. It would – for $300 billion more, you could look at the
math, we would match China`s spending and we could get to 50 percent solar
and wind energy by 2025.
California`s already doing it. We`re going to get to 60 percent by 2030.
HAYES: Yeah, so the $93 trillion, the figure the critics use, is that
figure you`re thinking of?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: No. And first all of we wave a magic wand and we passed
the Green New Deal resolution tomorrow, what happens? Nothing because it`s
a resolution. What our resolution that we introduced means is that it
passes the House and it passes the Senate,separately, it just means that
we make it a national priority and it says that the scope of the solution
must be on the scale of the problem. And so it outlines the ways we can
pursue that scope.
But in order for us to pursue this agenda, we don`t have to do it all at
once. But it outlines the ways and hows of doing it.
HAYES: But to the – one of the criticisms it`s like it`s a wish list,
right. So, I guess, Rhianna, someone who`s spent a lot of time thinking
about this, like is it technically feasible? Like, do we have what we need
right now, if everyone was committed and we can spend as much money as we
needed to do get the U.S. to meet these goals emission wise?
RHIANA GUNN-WRIGHT, POLICY DIRECTOR, NEW CONSESUS: Yeah. It`s technically
feasible. i think the key piece people miss out on and why the Green New
Deal is focused on investment, is the work force piece. This is going to
create millions of jobs.
Right now our work force system is very broken, right. And then we have
these low unemployment numbers, but that hides is that within certain
communities, black communities, Latinx communities, unemployment is still
quite high. So, there`s a lot of slack in our economy.
And so what the Green New Deal is about is making sure that we have the
training that people have the health care that they need so that they can
move where jobs are, right, that people have universal family care so they
have child care so they can participate, that`s what sets the Green New
And when that`s in place and we have the full workforce of America at the
ready, what we can do is unknown.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And the other note that I would have is that this is not
just about what industries we`re going to grow, but again it`s about how
we`re going to grow them. And there – one of the reasons that we are
really moving in the direction that we are moving in, with good, dignified,
unionized jobs, is because a couple of weeks ago the New York Times took a
deep dive on the resolution and they said Green New Deal is technologically
possible, but is it politically feasible?
And we cannot allow for fossil fuel jobs to be better, more dignified and
high wage with a stronger labor movement behind it than new energy jobs.
And so we need to transition and have just transition, because what I`m
tired of is us worrying more about the future of fossil fuels than worrying
about the future of fossil fuel workers.
DUNN-WRIGHT: And the congresswoman brings up a good point, that is one of
the reason s that the Green New Deal ties together climate change and
income inequality, because the same types of investments that we`re talking
about in the Green New Deal to tackle climate change are the same
investments we have needed to tackle income inequality from the very
HAYES: Final question for you. California is sort of the leader right
now, I think it`s fair to say. There`s a cap and trade. They`ve managed
to bring down emissions, even like in absolute terms, right, not in
relative terms, like emissions have come down in California.
What are the lessons about the frontiers of the possible in your state.
KHANNA: Well, California is a leader, but so are states like Iowa and
Texas, and I want to say that, because this is something that states across
the country can do. California has set a standard, 60 percent renewable
energy by 2030. Every new home built in 2020 should have solar panels on
There is a real investment in creating solar farms and wind farms. This
is something so eminently doable in our country. And the idea that the
economics don`t make sense is a myth. The Republicans, I mean, just in
candor, if they were to come back and say, OK, we want to spent $500
billion. We don`t want to do this. We can start a discussion. But
they`re engaged in nonsense. They`re engaged in nonsense.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And, you know – and they wave this wand, and they say, oh,
it`s going to cost, you know, a bazillion dollars. Like they sound like
Dr. Evil, like $100 million dollars.
And how about we start by fully funding the pensions of coal miners in West
Virginia? How about we start by rebuilding Flint? You know, let`s just
HAYES: Rhiana Dunn-Wright and Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you both.
We want to talk obstacles and promises after this quick break. Don`t go
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it`s a universal basic income a little bit later.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Hey, hey, hey. That`s unacceptable. And that`s the
difference between me and Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re back here with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx for our
Green New Deal special.
We were talking about the technical feasibility of zeroing out emissions by
mid-century, but of course the politics are a real obstacle, so we have to
hit those head on. And I want to talk about that with Heather McGee, who
is a DEMOS distinguished senior fellow. She used to run DEMOS, which is a
progressive think tank and worked about how moving policy through the
political system. She`s also an MSNBC analyst. And Bob Inglis, who has
got some scars to show for his – the degree that he cares about climate
change. He`s a Republican congressman from South Carolina who was
primaried, actually, in 2010 and defeated largely because you said you
believed in climate change.
Have things gotten better or worse politically on the Republican side of
the aisle since 2010?
BOB INGLIS, FRM. CONGRESSMAN, (R-SC): Much better, incredibly better.
HAYES: Is that true?
INGLIS: Plaintiff`s exhibit number one, if you will. Headline Republican
side of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on February 6, Republicans
are focused on pragmatic solutions to climate change.
Next day Fred Upton, Greg Walton, and John Shimkus (ph) penned an op-ed,
the lead Senate said, climate change is real and, we, the Republican
leadership are ready to do something about it.
Mitch McConnell on the senate floor just this week said he does believe in
– off the floor, on the press release, it was during a press conference.
It was to the press, he said that he does believe that humans cause climate
change. This is Mitch McConnell.
HEATHER MCGEE, SENIOR FELLOW, DEMOS: And I think that`s a result of the
millions of particularly young people who have been mobilizing on this
MCGEE: And I don`t think you would have Lamar Alexander and Mitch
McConnell for the
first time just this past month say climate change is real and human beings
are causing it if it weren`t for the Green New Deal, if it weren`t for a
solution that is rooted in one of the most popular pieces of
American history, the New Deal, that is coming out here, that is saying we
can create millions of jobs.
This is a fundamentally popular idea. It`s popular in Colorado, in North
Carolina, in Iowa, in Maine, these places where Republican senators are
looking at their prospects and saying why do we want to be the party of no
on millions of new jobs?
HAYES: Let`s say 2021, there`s a Democratic president, and there`s a
Democratic majority in the House? And through remarkable inside straight,
there`s – Democrats have a majority of the Senate, like there`s not the
votes for this, right? I mean, that`s what everyone says. What – this is
so far from what could ever pass.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, that`s why the way the Green New Deal was designed –
and I encourage everyone here and watching to actually look it up, because
we intentionally wrote it for the people of the United States, because I`m
here necessarily to convince my colleagues, I`m here to go straight to the
electorate, because – and that`s why I firmly believe this is not a
partisan issue because frankly there are Democrats who will get in our way
from saving ourselves too.
And – but…
HAYES: Do you want to name them?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: You all probably already know.
But the thing is is that you don`t necessarily have to replace everybody,
even if you want – you can if you want to. You don`t necessarily have to
replace everyone. If the electorate prioritizes it and overwhelmingly
supports it, then we create the political room to pass it.
HAYES: So, I guess to ask you, Bob, like, there`s two ways of looking at
the Green New Deal. I`ve seen conservatives say you`re alienating the
people you need. They hate all the socialism stuff, just focus on the
carbon tax and you can make a grand coalition.
And I see other people saying, like, we have tried that for 20 years and it
hasn`t gotten anything. What do you think?
INGLIS: Well, I think we`ve seen the formation of a Tea Party to the left.
The Tea Party to the right that tossed me out 10 years ago and went into
this decade of disastrous disputation, I think we`re at risk of that
happening now on the left.
Because, you know, last night Donald Trump was in Michigan. There was a
crowd that was really cheering for him.
HAYES: They were also chanting “AOC sucks” at some point, I think?
INGLIS: And so – but what I`d ask you is what is the difference between
last night and tonight? This is the mirror image. This is the flip side.
This is the…
HAYES: That`s a good..
INGLIS: You guys are making his point when you do that…
HAYES: No, let me think about this.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: So here`s what I think, what I think is that we are
committed to policies
that make American lives better. And we`re actually talking about
something substantive, we`re not calling anyone names. People say Tea
Party of the left, and I find this phrase very interesting, this phrasing
very interesting, because the grounding of the Tea Party was xenophobia,
the underpinnings of white supremacy.
But you know I understand politically people say Tea Party to the left,
because I am a progressive Democrat that won in a primary election and
ousted the fourth most powerful person in the Democratic Party. I
understand why people would say Tea Party of the left.
The exception is that my district is overwhelmingly progressive and our
representative was not representing our actual position, so this is not a
Tea Party of the left, this is a return to American representative
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And here`s a really big difference, the Koch Brothers
founded the Tea Party and every day people funded my campaign.
HAYES: I want to come back to this point. But when people say – I mean
there`s two ways to interpret the Tea Party, right, one is as a sort of
they feckless and nihilistic enterprise that has led to this bad situation,
the other is a very effective political movement.
For instance, if you are organizing a political movement, because you don`t
want action on climate change, the Tea Party was an effective movement.
They literally primaried you and got you out and delayed action on climate
So, at some level, it`s like, I wonder this all the time with progressive
activists, like when you think, Heather, of Tea Party to the left, do you
think about that as a good or bad thing?
MCGEE: I think about the country we want to see. Just the Green New Deal,
this idea, even when pressure tested and talking about higher taxes and
saying, oh my gosh, Democrats are proposing it, it`s more popular than the
Republican tax cuts, the $1.5 trillion we just found to give away to
corporations and the wealthy, it`s more popular than the wall.
So I think when we have this idea that left ideas are moving and shaking
inside the political atmosphere right now, it`s true, but they`re left in
terms of inside of Washington. In terms of the American people, they`re
centrist ideas, because they`re about taking back our democracy and our
INGLIS: What we do is if we have a – basically the mirror image of a
Trump rally on climate change that we drive all the people away that
could come our way and solve this thing now, and then could we come back to
things like universal basic income? Could we come back to health care?
Because, you know, I was in two congresses that were totally consumed by
health care. You can`t do in a single congress the entire Green New Deal,
it is literally impossible with the number of committee references that you
would have in the course of that.
So, is it possible that we say, listen, climate change is the thing that
we`re seeing the whites of its eyes. We`ve got to act now. Can we come
back maybe to universal basic income a little bit later?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moron!
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Hey, hey, hey, hey, that`s unacceptable.
And that`s the difference between me and Trump.
INGLIS: That`s true.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Now, back to the actual issue, back to the actual issue, we
– you do not wave a wand and pass omnibus, all at once.
But, we can have these priorities. And I absolutely agree with you on
However, this is the way political opposition works, they don`t say no,
they say, maybe, mm, hey, huh – and the idea…
HAYES: They slow walk.
OCACIO-CORTEZ: And here`s the thing is, I get that in our political
context, in the history of health care, and the history of labor rights, in
the history of women`s rights, these are long struggles and
intergenerational struggles, and that is something important for us as
young activists to learn, as well. We are not the first. We will not be
the last. And we stand on the shoulders of giants.
But, climate change is different because we have an expiration date, and
the IPPC report says we`ve got 12 years to turn it around, 12 years. So my
concern is that we are going to be the frog in the pot of boiling water,
and we are going to debate and debate and debate and debate, and then when
we actually finally pass something, it`s a wimpy carbon tax and our kids
HAYES: The threshold now is, we got 12 years to cut emissions in half.
And if you want to jump into that debate, great, that`s what the debate is,
like that`s the debate. You want to get in the pool, then get in the pool,
and we`ll have a debate. But that`s, like, that`s how everybody – that`s
the threshold to get people in, and I think that, itself, is a pretty
Heather McGee and Bob Inglis, thank you so much for coming through.
INGLIS: Good to be with you.
MCGEE: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ll be right back with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after this.
Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: We`re back here in the Bronx with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez who represents this district here.
You ran a primary that was successful, a campaign that was successful, by
saying, look, the status quo was broken in some fundamental way. And then
you came to Washington as the youngest woman ever to represent a district
in congress saying we have got to change how things are.
And then there is also the fact that, like, you`re doing a new thing and
learning how to do it like
any freshman rep. How do you balance those two, particularly in the
context of this big new policy problem, like, here`s a civilizational
challenge, let`s mobilize like the New Deal, how do you balance those
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think is great about it is I actually think that
coming in as a freshman member does give us an advantage when it comes to
approaching new policies, because we aren`t weighed down by how things have
historically been done, and because we have an office that does not accept
any corporate PAC money, is not funded by any corporations…
OCASIO-CORTEZ: …it gives us incredible latitude.
You know, when you come in, no one kind of tells you exactly how to do
everything, every little thing. And so we just structure everything in
order to prioritize social, racial and economic justice from how we staff
to how we prioritize a particular policy.
And we don`t know that we`re even doing things differently. You know,
we`ll go to another member and say this is how we`re doing thinks and
they`re like what? And we are like, oh, is this strange? And so, it is –
you know, we don`t know any different, but it`s to our advantage because we
can structure our approach differently.
HAYES: How do you think about your future? You`re 29 years old.
HAYES: You can – are you – this – is this your life`s calling? Is this
what you`re doing?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I have always felt and for a very long time have felt that
my life`s calling is to serve people. I didn`t know that that was going to
lead me to congress. I didn`t know that, that this is where it would take
me, and so I can`t, and I won`t project into the future how I feel is that
I will at any given time do the thing that I think can create the most good
and the most opportunity for good, and that could mean that I`m in office
for two years and I just take huge political risks for the next two
years, and they kick me out of there because they realize I don`t belong
there, you know. Or it could mean that I`m there longer.
But for me I think that it`s always about asking the question of where and
how can I do the most good and do good for my community and the country,
and that`s really what guides my decision making.
HAYES: That does it for our special with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-
We will have much more to talk about, so we`re going to keep this
conversation going and put it up on our website as a special All In extra.
Please, check it out.
My great thanks to our guest, to our audience at the Albert Einstein
College of Medicine. And of course to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez. Good night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the