Interview with Bill Nye on climate change. TRANSCRIPT: 9/6/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: That is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being
with us. And up next, a special edition of “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes in
front of a live studio audience and that starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on a special edition of ALL IN.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, UNITED KINGDOM: Spare us the
theatrics. Behave yourselves.
HAYES: I have seen America’s future and it looks like Brexit.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Call me Mr. Brexit.
HAYES: Plus, what to do in the era of climate catastrophe with Bill Nye,
big movement on guns with David Hogg, and the Friday conversation on what
matters most for Dems in 2021. Live from Studio 6A in Rockefeller Plaza,
ALL IN begins right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hello! Thank you. Thank all. Thank you. How are you doing?
Thank you. Thank you very much. It is great to be here in our Friday-
night studio here in 30 Rock. It’s been – it’s been a week of watching a
hurricane tear through the Atlantic and watching the president lose his
Both of which have had big consequences. The devastation in the Bahamas is
truly horrifying. We’re going to talk about that in just a little bit.
Right now, thankfully, the storm seems to be pulling away from the U.S.
East Coast and go back out to sea. And for most parts, the United States,
we’ve been fairly lucky to have missed the worst of what could have been.
Perhaps no place was more lucky than Alabama which was lucky. Alabama has
no effects from the hurricane, none, because he never came anywhere close
to Alabama. No one thought it ever would really accept the President of
the United States who to this very day, I mean, like an hour ago, is still
trying to convince everyone that when he said on Sunday that Alabama was
going to get “hit much harder than anticipated,” that was actually true.
It wasn’t true. The National Weather Service said it wasn’t true.
Everybody knows it wasn’t true. So then – so then the President of the
United States brings out a six-day old chart that has clearly been altered
with a Sharpie by someone. Both Bloomberg in the Washington Post report
Trump drew the Sharpie because of course, he did. Who else would do that?
It led to this bout of like you know, the – like laugh to keep from crying
humor that’s very familiar to us in this era. Like – there’s the
#TrumpSharpie on Twitter that was featured other things released by the
White House this week on this accurate image of Trump golfing.
These are new polling numbers that are just out. They look pretty good for
the President. The President’s inaugural crowd size, do you want to take a
look at that? Also, his hand size which is – and my personal favorite I
am America’s first centaur president.
It’s ludicrous. Well, you know, you just laugh. He’s drawing the
Sharpies. But there really is a hurricane. The stakes of that are really
important. But the situation in the Oval Office is absurd manifestly. The
thing about it is we are not alone in that respect.
If there’s one place in the world where the combination of extremely high
stakes and complete absurdity even exceeds our own, it’s our closest ally
across the pond the United Kingdom, right. There somehow the politics are
even more bizarre than ours.
This looked like the British version of an American T.V. show this week.
Vice President Mike Pence was treated to what must be a very familiar
experience which is having to sit next to a wild-haired world leader
prattling on about imports and meat products. No, really, seriously, look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: But it is still the case
that, you know, the United States of America – the people of the United
States of America don’t eat any British lamb or beef or haggis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It’s true. We don’t even a lot of haggis. You guys having in
front of our eyes essentially a full-scale society-wide political nervous
breakdown. It’s a really crazy thing to watch particularly because it’s a
little like looking into our own future.
Do you remember back in June of 2016, the people of the United Kingdom,
they came together a referendum and they voted to leave the European Union,
to Brexit? And I’m going to be totally clear with you about this. I do
this for a living. I’ve been reading about it, I’ve been studying, and I
remain completely baffled about what the hell is happening over there,
All I know is that it’s like when a machine starts to break down and you
start to smell the smoke before it explodes, and that’s what the entire
U.K. governmental system is like right now. Boris Johnson, of course, is
the new prime minister but he doesn’t control anything.
This week a guy from his Conservative Party literally walked across the
aisle to leave the Conservative Party and take away Johnson’s majority from
him, right. So – and Johnson’s hold on Parliament’s collapse. He has now
lost three votes in a row.
And amidst this chaos, this guy who looks like someone drew him in a
cartoon of a British top decided to just like lay down while everyone
debated the fate of the nation. There’s people yelling at him to sit up
and show some respect. People are yelling at each other all over the place
even more than usual, and no one knows what’s going to happen. Literally,
no one knows.
It is possible – it’s not the most likely scenario but it is genuinely a
possibility that Britain will just dump out of the E.U. and then they won’t
have toilet paper or pharmaceuticals or bananas. I mean, a full-out self-
imposed, self-created nationwide catastrophe like the kinds that you would
expect during war or in the aftermath of a natural disaster except there’s
no war and there’s no natural disaster.
They just decided to do this to themselves. That is what we’re watching.
And that’s why I can’t keep my eyes off it because I feel like I’m looking
into our future. I mean, when Brexit happened back in June in summer 2016,
we were all watching the Trump campaign at the time, and a lot of people
were like well, this is nuts and maybe entertaining but the guy is not
going to be Present of the United States.
And then Brexit happened, it was like oh, it’s completely possible. It’s
totally possible to democracy if you just come together and collectively
decide to do something insane. That’s the total possibility. And they’re
like a million headlines after Brexit vote.
What does Brexit mean for Trump? Is Trump America’s surprise? And Trump
himself who knew nothing about Brexit a few days before Brexit started
telling everyone like they’re calling me Mr. Brexit. What does that even
And then he won in November. Maybe you remember that. And ever since I
feel like every time you look across the pond, you are looking into our own
terrifyingly depraved near future. And as crazy and dysfunctional as our
politics are, somehow they do seem even crazier over there.
I think there’s a reason for that. They don’t really have a way out over
there. Think about this. So they’re there on a kind of collision course
in the U.K. between direct democracy and representative democracy, right.
The country voted in a majority vote, like the voters went out to the
voting booth in a referendum to do a thing that is a terrible idea. And if
they do the thing that’s a terrible idea, then they are keeping faith with
that vote with direct democracy. But the representatives of the country
think it’s a God-awful idea.
And if they manage to stop it, well then, representative democracy wins but
then what the heck did you do about that vote? Why did you go ahead with
this big referendum? What does that mean if you get a do-over, right?
If someone could pull the emergency brake, they would. In fact, that’s
what the people who were abandoning the Conservative Party, those who are
walking across lines, that’s what they’re trying to do. The Parliament has
been around a long time but it has faced this set of circumstances never.
And it has to craft an emergency break out of nothing in the midst of the
speeding train and they’re watching the train hurtle towards impact which
is some deadline where they’re no longer in the E.U.
I mean, they don’t have a constitution over there. It’s a little weird.
It’s sort of (INAUDIBLE) for them. They have traditions. And people are
testing all those traditions. Like some are so desperate now you hear this
that the Queen is somehow going to save them.
The Queen, Deus Ex Machina, like her majesty will fix it, like we’re a
perfectly functioning democracy, like please. So over here I think we have
a similar situation in some ways with a big advantage which is that we have
emergency brakes on the train. We know democracies can come together and
collectively select bad, bad ideas. They’re capable of doing that.
In our defense – in our defense, the bad idea, Donald Trump, was not
democratically selected in the strictest sense, right? I was talking to
the Electoral College last week. He did lose by three million vote, right?
He was not a majority vote. He was also the subject of two different
criminal conspiracies to sabotage his opponent. That we know of. All
right, it’s always good to keep that in mind.
Both the U.K. and the U.S. developed democracies, has land in a situation
where they have currently on a terrifying track and they are trying to
figure out how to stop the train or how to reverse course and Britain’s
trying to figure out how to do it right now, but we can do that. We can
wait till the next election and hope the train doesn’t crash by then, one
But the Constitution does provide two emergency brakes to pull before the
next station. Like in the Constitution they thought of this. If you made
a terrible mistake and you ended up with the most powerful person in your
country and in the world arguably who was a criminal and was abusing his
office and committing high crimes and misdemeanors, hypothetically, there
is a mechanism to remove him.
The Founders understood it was important to build an emergency break into
the train. And then years later, we passed another amendment, we ratified
one, to deal with the president who is not fit for office. Like OK, let’s
just say hypothetically. What if Donald Trump lost his mind? No, if –
what if he had a psychotic break in front of all of us? And what if for
the next 12 months all he talked about was Alabama and Dorian?
No, I mean, like – no, I mean, think – seriously, lay out the thought
experiment. Like OK, days go by and every question at every press
conference, every official address at every event he does, every tweet it’s
just about that it was going to hit Alabama. At a certain point I think we
would have to remove the guy, right? Like if he had a break.
I don’t know how long it would take, but we would just I think come
together as a country at some point two months, six months, eight months
into him just still talking about Alabama that like we got to take the
presidency away from him.
You don’t have to applaud that. That’s grim. That’s grim. So aside from
impeachment, there’s the 25th amendment. And you know, if he’s deemed
unfit and we’re lucky enough to basically have a consensus of his cabinet
and the Republican Party, you know, we couldn’t theoretically void the
utter disaster that the U.K. is right now heading towards because we do –
we do have an out. We do have an out.
The question is do we have the political will to take the out? Look over
across the pond at those MPs who have abandoned Johnson, right, including
Boris Johnson’s own brother who is named Jo Johnson which is perfect. And
he’s like I can’t. I can’t. I’m leaving. I’m out. I don’t – I cannot
be with my own flesh and blood. I’m going to betray him to save the
country and work on the emergency brake.
And if we have that attitude here, we could do it. I mean, we have an out.
We are actually in a better position than they are. We don’t have a
deadline ahead of us where the country will have some disastrous, enormous
change that will happen.
We don’t have to fashion the emergency brake out of tradition. We’ve got a
system in front of us. It has been used before. It has been front of the
nation. And the question is whether we have the people that have the
courage right now to take the out.
Joining me now, Columnist for The Intercept, Host of UpFront’s Al Jazeera,
and the first person to appear in two episodes of All In live, Mehdi Hasan.
How are you, Medhi?
MEHDI HASAN, COLUMNIST, THE INTERCEPT: I’m good. Confused.
HAYES: You and I had – you and I have had a good ongoing discussion about
this, about the parallels between Brexit and Trump in the U.S. And one of
the things that had up until now been the case is that the Tories standing
by essentially in this line. It broke this week. What is the significance
of that happening this week?
HASAN: Oh there’s so much significance, Chris. And I think you eloquently
explained it in your introduction, you know, the craziness in Britain right
now is just beyond belief. We’re in day six of Sharpie-gate here in
Washington D.C. And every time you think American politics can’t get any
crazier, Britain says hold my beer. It’s just depressing to watch from a
distance as a Briton in Washington D.C.
And I just say this to you. You’re right to say that the Americans have a
get out and the U.S. Constitution provides get out. And it’s true, I mean,
Donald Trump is for the next five years max, Brexit is forever which is
what makes this whole October 31st cut off such a big deal. There’s no
going back. There’s no undoing it.
But what is interesting is you just mentioned it towards the end, is the 21
conservative MPs who did abandon him this week and helped defeat a prime
minister in his first-ever vote. No Prime Minister in the U.K. has lost
their first-ever vote since 1894. 21 senior MPs abandoned him. His own
brother abandoned him.
Can you imagine happening – can you imagine that happening in this city?
Can you imagine 21 House Republicans voting against Donald Trump? Can you
imagine Ivanka Trump quitting the White House in dissent? No, you cannot.
HAYES: Right. And there’s – the other – the other part of this makes
this tricky in both places, right, is you know, I think for you and I feel
as clearly as a disaster both in terms of Brexit and Trump, but there’s
many of our fellow citizens on both sides of the Atlantic who don’t.
And you know, in the case of the U.K. and here, like if you impeach Donald
Trump, millions of people would see it as illegitimate. They would see you
is robbing and trying to undo an election that he won fair and square and
in the U.K. there was a majority vote. People didn’t come out and vote for
this thing, and that that seems like it has to loom large for everyone
figuring if what you do over there.
HASAN: Yes, and that’s part of the problem. Even people who are opposed
to Brexit recognized as a real democratic challenge on both sides. The
Parliament is supposed to be sovereign in the U.K. Boris Johnson’s trying
to ignore Parliament. He’s suspending Parliament next week for five weeks
which has never been done before on that length of time to try and avoid
these parliamentary debates.
He said tonight in the U.K. he was asked will you follow this law that was
just passed in Parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit, and he said he
won’t. He said it’s in theory. So the Prime Minister of the U.K. is
saying he will defy the law. Who does that sound like, a president who
said he would defy subpoenas, a president who said he would defy the
Supreme Court on the citizenship question.
This is about democracy and the rule of law fundamentally. And
unfortunately we’ve unleashed on both sides of the Atlantic these forces of
populism, nationalism, illiberalism, and yes racism on both sides of the
Atlantic that’s driving a lot of Trump and Brexit. How do you put those
forces back in the bottle? No one really has a solution. And that’s why
things are only going to get worse on both sides before they get better.
HAYES: There’s one other big difference here and I think about this a lot
which is you over there keep having deadlines, right. It’s like we have to
do this or we’re dumping out of the European Union. Here, that doesn’t
exist. So there’s not the sense of the ticking time bomb in the
But what it also means is every day we all wake up and we roll the dice
that there’s not some huge catastrophe. That the mismanagement and the
manifest on fitness doesn’t result in something genuinely generationally
changing horrible happening in the moment. And I wonder sometimes if that
makes us more complacent here than in the U.K. where everyone sees it
HASAN: Yes. And I think that’s definitely the case in terms of – you
know, as I said Brexit is forever so there’s no undoing it. I think there
was this sense come November 2020, American will make things right and get
rid of Donald Trump in an election.
And of course, the bigger issue is number one, will he lose. And number
two, if he loses, will he go? This was a man who won’t accept a weather
HASAN: Do you think he’s going to accept the election result?
HAYES: Yes, it’s a great point. Mehdi Hasan of The Intercept, thanks so
much for making time tonight, Mehdi.
HASAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Don’t go anywhere. We’re talking climate with Bill Nye the Science
Guy coming up next.
HAYES: We’re getting more accounts of what happened in the Bahamas. There
are 30 people that are confirmed dead. The Health Minister said “the
public needs to prepare for unimaginable information about the death toll
and the human suffering.” And he warned of a staggering final count.
They’ve been barely even search for the hundreds who are still unaccounted
for. The destruction in the Bahamas is a reminder of one of the central
facts of the era of climate crisis which is that it will hit with unequal
It will affect everyone but the places that are expected most exposed to
climate impacts like the Caribbean Islands, for instance, places that are
poor are going to experience catastrophe. And we need to think about what
that means for all of us who share this planet.
For that, I’m joined by the host of the podcast Science Rules of Bill Nye,
Bill Nye the Science Guy. Bill, obviously hurricanes have been decimating
the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico for years. We have historical records
of these things happening. What do we – what does the science say and
what do we know about the ways in which climate affects these sort of
BILL NYE, HOST, SCIENCE RULES: Well, people are continually trying to
connect each extreme event with climate change computer models, but it’s
quite difficult to do. But this we can say it’s how much bigger is a given
hurricane now than it would have been before human-caused climate change.
So there’s all this trouble now with not only the size of hurricanes but
how the winds aloft affect how fast they move. And as has been pointed out
as did by many people over the last few days, it’s not the category number
that matters it’s just how much rain does it dump for how long along with
NYE: And so in the good old days, there was not very much infrastructure
in the Bahamas or other Caribbean Islands because the fewer people lived
there century ago or so. But now electrification and the ways of the
developed world are making their way into these areas. And so when they’re
– when everything is torn up, it’s a mess.
And so the people who live there, of course, it’s very troublesome. But
that’s just one example of other places around the world that are going to
be affected even more strongly where they have less ability to travel and
change their way of life and so on.
This is a very serious problem. The poor people are going to be affected
the most. But look, we’re all in this together. You know, New York,
Boston, parts of Nova Scotia are being affected by Dorian. I mean, this is
a big old storm, everybody.
HAYES: And there’s also the ways in which those areas that are affected
like as you’re saying the sort of development that they have creates the
conditions in which people can adapt or have to move. I mean, when you
think about place like Bangladesh which is extremely exposed to sea-level
rise or places throughout the developed world where farming will be
impacted. I mean, it does seem that we will start to see and already start
– have start to see big migration movements of folks that cannot live
where they currently are.
NYE: There you go. And where are they going to go, and who’s going to pay
for it, and so on, and so on. That’s why we’ve been saying for decades,
the sooner we get to work on this, the better. Now, to me, climate change
along with all the trouble fills me with optimism because we’re going to
solve problems that we’ve never saw before.
And for me, the icon, the thing that just hits me so strongly is this
business of plastic straws versus papers straws, OK. A plastic straw is
just better. It just works better than a paper straw.
HAYES: I agree with that.
NYE: You can chew on it. It’s great. It remains – it holds its shape.
A paper straw, you know, you could smudge. No, it’s nothing. So what
should we do, ban plastic straws? They’re horrible. How can you even
think of using a plastic straw, you’re a bad, not progressive person? No.
We will use the technology in the paper utensil industry to create even
NYE: And there will be a time coming very soon where people will forget
about the whole problem because we will have solved it.
HAYES: You know, we –
NYE: And are you saying we should apply government money to make better
straws? Yes. It’s kind of what I’m saying.
HAYES: You know, I feel like we have – we have already gone through –
we’ve already gone through this with lightbulbs. Because I remember when
you had regulation back in 2006 and said you have use compact fluorescent
lightbulbs, and those light bulbs were terrible. And yes, look at that.
And then we – and then now you go and you get light bulbs in the Home
Depot and they’re incredible and that was just forced by regulation, that
NYE: Well, yes. Well – and of course everybody benefited. And I remind
you, perhaps you know this, about the cowman and the farmer. The cowman
and the farmer should be friends.
NYE: It’s in a song.
HAYES: I just saw Oklahoma so that’s the top of mind.
NYE: So people who raised food depend on the internet to plant all the
seeds, to get extraordinary modern seeds that are beneficially genetically
modified where it would be able to feed four or five or ten times as many
people as we could two centuries ago because of improvements of
agricultural technology. But that technology was developed with government
NYE: That’s not a bad thing.
NYE: That’s the thing. And everybody who develops that technology in
Silicon Valley, I’ve met them, they all eat food. And that food is
produced by farmers generally in the breadbasket of the world which is here
in the United States and Canada. So the farmer and the cowman should be
friends and we should all be getting along and working together.
Now, I think all the time about – we just celebrate about how – we just
celebrated the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon. In 2010 dollars,
that’s about a $150 billion somewhat more in modern dollars. OK, you can
get a lot done with $150 billion, OK.
NYE: So for example – I’m not saying this is the answer, I’m just saying,
for example, there’s a company trying to do very, very hot fusion. This is
not cold fusion, this is very hot fusion. Now, since I was a kid, since I
was in engineering school, people have been trying to do fusion by shooting
a beam of protons into a hydrogen that has an extra neutron. It has not
But these guys and gals have an idea to use Boron which you’ll find in 20
Mule Team Borax and Hydrogen.
HAYES: Yes. You have just happen to have that laying there.
NYE: I just happen to have it – to produce three alpha particles, the
same alpha particles we get inside the Sun. And they believed they could
do it for $30 billion. And they have this scheme to raise the $30 billion
with derivative technology that they’ve got by this new battery storage
thing and this new capacitor in the system.
Now, if we spent five times that kind of money, we could see whether or not
this technology worked. And if it did, it would change the world.
NYE: So this whole idea – this whole idea of just wringing your hands of
what we can’t do, we can’t eat meat, we can’t do this. No. Let’s go,
people. This is the United States. Let’s build things.
HAYES: You know –
NYE: And so yes, air transportation has to be solved. Ground
transportation has to be addressed. We have to electrify all ground
transportation. We have to probably electrify air transportation. Let’s
HAYES: Yes. And I will say one more thing on that note which is that we
also have to then transfer that technology and make it accessible to places
like the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic, and Bangladesh.
NYE: When we go – when we go to the developing world, everybody has a
HAYES: Yes, exactly.
NYE: Because that technology became cheap enough. But bear in mind, it
was started with largely investment in the military. That’s what led to
the internet. That’s what led to all this efficiency and data
transmission. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a thing. Let’s work together,
everybody. We can change the world.
HAYES: All right, Bill Nye, thank you very much. When we come back, one
of the cofounders of March For Our Lives David Hogg will join me here on
set. Don’t go away.
HAYES: Standing here talking to you on Friday, it’s extremely easy to
forget there was another mass shooting in America less than one week ago.
A guy in Texas ran around shooting people out of his car window. He killed
And since the murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012,
there have been
at least 2,216 mass shootings in America in which four or more people were
shot. Many of those, I would say the vast majority, never make the news.
But as numb as the culture may be and the news may be, the fact is there is
some movement politically that is happening right now.
Walmart announced a big policy shift this week, no more open carry in their
stores. The Republican lieutenant governor of Texas came out in favor of
background checks for gun sales between private citizens. And Democrats
are planning to come back to Washington next week and make gun violence and
gun safety a priority.
And it’s impossible, I think, to think about us getting to this part of
where we are with the politics without the movement building that happened
after the mass shooting that happened last year in Parkland, particularly
the March for our Lives. The students there have galvanized a nation
around this cause. And joining me now is one of the students who is at the
center of that organizing area, David Hogg.
HAYES: Thank you for taking time away from school and everything to come
You – you took a gap year where you were doing organizing on this issue.
DAVID HOGG, GUN CONTROL ACTIVIST: Yeah.
HAYES: I talk to people all the time and say it’s never going to change,
never going to change. What to you think about what’s happening right now?
Like where are we right now in this movement?
HOGG: I want to acknowledge first of all that the movement didn’t start
with us, it started decades, arguably centuries ago, and has been
predominantly led, oftentimes, by women of color that have been working
against gun violence prevention so much.
HOGG: For example – as an example of that, the marches across the country
were like the number one group of people that were most of the march
organizers were actually women of color that were networking on gun
violence prevention previously and decided to do it, and enabled us to have
one of the largest protests in American history.
But now that we’ve acknowledged acknowledged that importantly, because of
tens of thousands of people across the country, including people like Eric
Ford in New York City who works right over in
Jamaica, Queens, I think we’re at a moment where the table is about to
HAYES: You really feel that way?
HOGG: Yes, I do.
And I think it’s because of really what it’s going to be is corporations
like Walmart taking
action on this issue. But what I think we have to do more than anything is
reinforce that good behavior first and foremost. We need to go out and
show our support for companies like Walmart when they do take action on
these issues, because CEOs are scared if they do take action on these
issues because they’re worried about blow-back. And we need to reinforce
when they stand on the side of peace and justice.
HOGG: I think we’re coming to an important moment as well in that we
realize that this is not a
Democrat or a Republican issue, this is a purely American issue first and
foremost, and that we have the highest gun death rate of any more developed
country in the world, and we have more guns than people. And people
realize, and are beginning to realize more and more, that considering the
fact that we have more guns than people, if guns made us safer, I wouldn’t
be sitting here right now, plain and simple, right. And I think people are
realizing that what this conversation really revolves around first and
foremost is what is worth more, guns or our children.
HAYES: What the – for you, you said something very important there about
the sort of gun violence and what the daily reality of it is. And I think
there is a little bit of a mismatch. The things that get covered are the
most gruesomely spectacular in the most sort of morbid sense shootings,
like what happened at your school. There is a grinding gun violence that
happens across communities and where you have activists that you are
referring to that have been working for years. There is also suicides that
happen which are the leading cause of gun death, like how do you think
about opening the aperture? Because what ends up happening is the focus
is on the individual mass shootings, and
then people say well, that person wouldn’t have passed a background check.
There is a broader conversation.
HOGG: Yeah, I think the broader conversation that we all have to realize
is that for us to be successful in this movement, we need to create – we
don’t just need to change congress. The only thing that ever really has
changed congress or has changed our country is when our culture changes.
And I think with that, we need to actually be talking about why there are
these motivations for
people to believe that violence is a resolution to our problems, why people
feel that it is more American to pick up a gun because you’re afraid of
what you don’t know than it is to actually explore what you don’t know and
have the courage to actually address that.
Because I would personally argue that peace is patriotic, right? Loving
your fellow Americans is patriotic. And I think – I think what’s
important to realize as well is that the plans that we’ve proposed not
everyone agrees with whatsoever, but I think we have to ask ourselves what
is the plan, you know?
If we only pass universal background checks, great, but that’s putting a
band-aid on this massive dam that is about to break, right. And we need to
rebuild the dam.
HAYES: Right. I mean, it’s interesting you say that, because sometimes
that very argument is used by opponents of gun safety measures, and not –
I mean, disingenuously but incorrectly, which is they will say this thing
you want will only affect a little bit of this. And it’s true. Like, we
have a ton of guns. We have a culture that is a very violent culture in
America. Like how do you and the movement think about that?
HOGG: I think it comes down to reckoning with our history, and our history
of white supremacy in the United States and the fact that we live in a post
genocidal society oftentimes that was orchestrated by the United States
government and that if we want talk about mass shootings, we recognize the
massive number of indigenous mass shootings that were committed by the
United States government.
I think back to the battle of wounded knee and predominantly men, women and
children that were slaughtered by the United States government back in the
19th Century and how that’s never discussed as a mass shooting, right, and
that’s wrong, because those people were not armed and we were stealing
I think it comes down to reckoning with the tough history and realizing
that it’s OK if you recognize the actual history of the United States, it’s
OK to hate that injustice that much of this country has been founded on and
much of the oppression that this country was founded on, that doesn’t mean
you hate America because it means you that love your fellow Americans so
much that you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes we’ve made in the
HAYES: Thank you.
HOGG: And with that I think we – going back to what you’re saying,
specifically about what’s not talked about in this, I think a major part of
it is this major stigmatization of mental health. And what doesn’t happy
that is when NRA-backed politicians go out and use mental health as a
when they don’t want to say, oh, like – when they’re essentially racially
profiling white mass shooters and saying, oh, they weren’t a criminal, oh,
they weren’t a terrorist. They weren’t illegal. They were mentally ill.
Oh, what could have possibly caused this? And that’s not helpful at all,
because if we’re only talking about mental health after someone picks up a
gun and does something horrible, we’re only stigmatizing it more.
And we need people to realize that where the real courage has to lie in our
conversation around mental health and what it really means to be a man,
because men do – are taken disproportionately by suicides, predominantly
in rural and suburban areas is that the real strength of being a man comes
from having the courage to actually talk about what’s affecting you and not
bottling it up in the first place. And reaching out for help.
HAYES: Can I ask you – I want to ask you on that score, like, just you
have – I think about you a lot. I think a lot of people think about you
and your classmates a lot because we all watched you in the public
limelight in the midst of trauma. How just like how are you doing?
HAYES: You’re a freshman at Harvard, right.
HAYES: That’s great. Like how are things going?
HOGG: So they’re going pretty good. I get mental health for my PTSD. And
like I’m very open about having that and depression that I have as well.
And I think that’s part of like the courage that we need to have in these
conversations is like people that do have mental health issues such as PTSD
or depression, like if they’re comfortable with it, talk about it more.
And like especially for like young men, this has to be a generational
change that starts with us and talking about our mental health in the
And on that topic, probably the best thing that has been the most
therapeutic for me over the
past, you know, year-and-a-half or so since the shooting is the amount of
division that we saw after the shooting, but more specifically the
conversations that I’ve had with people that don’t agree with me and how
much common ground that we’ve been able to find, especially with other, you
know, young Republicans.
I have a couple of them that go to Harvard or, you know, work in different
areas with me that
don’t agree with me on everything, but we do find common ground on this
issue oftentimes, and that something has to be done, such as background
checks, and, you know, really the fact that if you need a license to go and
by a car and need training to go and buy a car, you certainly should need a
training to buy any weapon whatsoever.
HOGG: And that – those conversations is what makes me hopeful about the
future of our country, because the real thing that we should be demanding
from both political parties and our politicians is remembering who they
actually work for, and that’s us.
HOGG: Right, remembering that – remembering and reminding Democrats that
passing universal background checks is great, but that is certainly not the
last step, it’s only the first. And we actually need a comprehensive plan.
We need the Voting Rights Act or the Civil Rights Act for peace
in the United States.
HAYES: That’s a great vision.
You can check out March for our Lives which has the peace plan that you
guys put out. David Hogg, thank you so much. Really, thank you.
Stick around. We’ll be right back.
HAYES: Welcome back. There’s something I’ve really been wanting to talk
about, if the Democrats can take back power in 2020, what needs to be the
number one priority?
Here with me now to talk about that, the host of Signal Boost on SiriusXm
radio, also an MSNBC political analyst Zerlina Maxwell. Also with me
tonight, the senior vice president for social
justice at The New School and an MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley; and the
president of Community Change, which organizes in low income communities
across the country, Dorian Warren.
I’m somewhat obsessed with this. I’ve been asking every candidate, because
candidates don’t want to choose. They want to say everything is a
priority. But if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. It
is zero sum. Like, there is going to be one big piece of legislation
you’re going to push on. I personally think should it be climate just
because of where the climate is, but what you’re looking at me like no.
DORIAN WARREN, PRESIDENT, COMMUNITY CHANGE: No, you’re wrong, Chris.
You’re wrong, you’re wrong. OK, I’ll be really quick and succinct. We
just celebrated the 125th Labor Day on Monday. Happy Labor Day, everybody.
So, this won’t be a surprise to you, labor law reform, in my view, should
be the number one priority, because it’s a two fer. One, if you increase
bargaining power for workers and a voice at work and bring democracy in the
workplace, then workers with bargain for higher wages. We’ve had wage
stagnation. This addresses inequality.
HAYES: It’s kitchen table.
WARREN: It’s kitchen table. But the second part of it is you actually
build power. You build power especially for low income people, people
struggling to make ends meet. Unions are one of the best sources of
getting people out to vote, so you’re building a civic institution at the
same time you’re addressing a key issue of inequality.
HAYES: We should note that Republicans do the opposite.
HAYES: Which is that when they take over a state house, often the first
thing they do is go after a union. We have seen this happen in Ohio and
Wisconsin. Of course, the other issue there is that that means, if you do
that, you don’t do immigration. and you don’t do…
WARREN: Well, immigration would be my number two.
HAYES: Well, yes, but only one thing has to be number one – Maya.
MAYA WILEY, THE NEW SCHOOL: Well, I maybe should run for president,
because I can’t pick one either.
ZERLINA MAXWELL, HOST, SIGNAL BOOST: I think you should.
WILEY: But I am going to say health care reform, and specifically include
in that prescription drugs. Biggest reason is because one of the things
that Democrats must do is make sure that every American feels the
difference. And health care is still one of the biggest…
HAYES: That’s a great point.
WILEY: …costs that American families suffer under. We actually have a
huge number of Americans who, thankfully are more insured, but a lot more
who are under-insured.
Plus, I work at a university, I see what the health care costs does to the
cost of tuition. So if we want to actually deal with people’s ability to
send their kids to college, we also have to deal with health care.
HAYES: I mean, my – all of that is true, and from a just concrete thing
Democrats have been
running on prescription drugs, they’ve been – right. I do – one thing I
worry about from a political standpoint is just watching, like, we watched
in 2008, health care became the priority because of that debate. They
passed the stimulus, and then the first big thing they did was health care,
and it took a lot of political capital.
The next administration comes in and the first thing they do is health
care, and they try twice, and they fail and it takes a lot of political
capital. And it’s like just a little worried about rerunning the script.
MAXWELL: But climate change doesn’t take political capital?
HAYES: That’s exactly right.
No, my point about it more is that you get one, you get like a budget of
political capital up front that you have to sort of choose to spend.
MAXWELL: So, my answer is a little bit different and it’s more broad.
HAYES: You can’t do everything. You’re not running for office.
MAXWELL: I’m not doing everything, I’m doing anti-corruption and public
integrity. So, Elizabeth Warren has a bill in the Senate…
HAYES: Which she says would be her first bill.
MAXWELL: It would be her first priority. She’s one of five candidates,
actually, still in the
primary that have said this is going to be their priority. And the reason
is because we need to overturn Citizens United and reform our democratic
processes so that they actually are democratic.
Part of the problem is, I think – you know, the David Hogg generation, I
feel like they understand this. They understand that the reason why…
HAYES: They understand a lot.
MAXWELL: Right. They understand that structurally the reason why these
bold reforms cannot happen is because the politicians that are in
Washington are bought and paid for by dark money corporate interests.
HAYES: So that also connects to what Dorian was saying that this is one of
the big sort of choices, right. So even when you’re talking about
individual issues, they’re actually to me like a meta choice, which is do
you do things that structurally build power, right, so structural form
and politics or a national voting holiday. Like just the first bill, let’s
have election day off. We’ll give you a holiday or labor unions, all of
those are in the same category of you build power and then there’s, like,
your prescription drugs are lower, and that’s a tough choice because it’s
like, the immediate effect of the kitchen table at issue is always there,
it’s always beaconing, but the long-term effects of investing in building
power and capacity pay dividends.
WARREN: But with all due respect to my big sister, and I agree with health
care, but liberals and progresses love policy, the other side loves power.
And I think we have to get ourselves in the mindset of understanding the
rules of the game matter just as much as the policy. We change the rules
of the game and empower more people of actual people power, we can win on
any policy issue that we want.
WILEY: So, I agree with that.
I did learn that when people start with all due respect, they don’t have
HAYES: My big sister, particularly.
WILEY: But putting that aside, but I think part of the thing that’s a
little artificial about the
discussion is it really should be the levers of power at the same time that
there’s attention to policy, but policy that really impacts the daily lives
But I will say, because none of – because this is something that doesn’t
require legislation, but if Democrats take back the Senate and hold on to
the House and have the White House, judges because if we don’t give…
HAYES: Well, and that’s – let me say, that’s a great – but that’s also a
great example of exactly the same. Part of the issue I think is that
Republicans, the Republican domestic policy agenda, it’s cutting taxes,
like that’s it. And so they tend to focus on these structural power
things, because there’s not a lot of things they want to do, other than
regulatory roll backs and cut taxes. Democrats come into office every time
with like, they’ve got a bunch of policy they got to tick through, and so
what you end up is that choice to go for the policy.
MAXWELL: And the importance of the judges is because if you pass the
legislation, you don’t have conservative judges coming behind us tearing
down all of our legislation.
HAYES: You can already see, let’s say through some incredible act of
political will and activism like there’s a Democratic president who passes
a Green New Deal, a huge, you know, a huge trillion dollars of investment,
infrastructure, like is a Roberts court going to sit there and be like, oh,
cool a nice Green New Deal.
WILEY: One additional point I’ll make about health care, just on the point
about – because levers of power are critical, but one of the things that
we forget is that it’s a Republican strategy to kill
policy that will deliver to every day people through money.
WILEY: But health care is sucking so much money out of the economy. It’s
impacting money for education, it’s impacting money that might be available
for housing policy. These are also major things that we need in this
HAYES: We’re up against it here, but the last thing I’ll just say on this
is immigration reform. From a pure coalitional politics, when you survey
the coalition, you say, OK, here’s our coalition, what immigrant
communities and immigrant adjacent communities have been put through by
this administration, a lot of that can be undone through executive action.
But I have watched that fight from McCain-Kennedy back in 2005-2006, and it
never gets done, and it didn’t get prioritized by Barack Obama, which is
defensible given all the things he had to do, but to come into office and
not turn around to those folks who have been with you for all of those
years while you have not provided some status to those 11 or 12 million,
like that is very, very, very tough.
WARREN: Thank you for saying that. Thank you.
HAYES: And so from a pure coalitional politics, Zerlina Maxwell, Maya
Wiley, Dorian Warren, that was excellent. Thank you so much.
We have much more when we come right back.
HAYES: We’ve done this show here in studio 6A, three Fridays in a row. And
you know what, it’s been a lot of fun. I think maybe we’ll be back again.
I want to thank everyone who came out here to 30 Rock, and those of you who
watched at home, along with everyone here, all of this amazing crew that
made it possible. Thank you.
That is all for this evening. “The Rachel Maddow Show” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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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