Town Hall with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. TRANSCRIPT: 3/29/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rachel Cleetus, Demond Drummer, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Ro Khanna, Bob Inglis, Heather McGee

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.




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.




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

were doing.


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.




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

you doing?


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

to this?


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

an economy.


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

for fuel.




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.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What is this Green New Deal?  Answer, radical

environmental socialism.


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.



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.



take away your hamburgers.  This is what Stalin dreamt about but never





HAYES:  Yes, the infamous Stalin five-year program to get rid of

hamburgers.  Were you expecting that?


OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Yes, 100 percent.


HAYES:  That?


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.




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




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

and equity.


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?



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

environmental issue.


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.


HAYES:  Why?


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

this off.


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

after this.




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







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?




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?



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

Deal apart.


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

start now.


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





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.






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:  Absolutely.


HAYES:  Really?


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?






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

are doomed.


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

revolutionary change.


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.







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