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Interview with Bill Nye on climate change. TRANSCRIPT: 9/6/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Mehdi Hasan, Bill Nye, Zerlina Maxwell, David Hogg, Maya Wiley, Dorian Warren


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.


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.


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.


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 mind.

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.


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.


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, completely.

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 mean?

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?  They’re trapped.

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 option.

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?


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 background.

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 coming.

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 forecast.

HAYES:  Right.

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 force.

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 extreme events?

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 the wind.

HAYES:  Right.

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 better straws.

HAYES:  Right.

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 innovation.

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.

HAYES:  Yes.

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 money.

HAYES:  Yes.

NYE:  That’s not a bad thing.

HAYES:  Right.

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.

HAYES:  Yes.

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 worked.

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.

HAYES:  Right.

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 go.

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 mobile phone.

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 seven people. 

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 here. 

You -- you took a gap year where you were doing organizing on this issue.


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 flip.

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 their land.

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 past.


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 talking point 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?

HOGG:  Yeah.

HAYES:  You’re a freshman at Harvard, right.

HOGG:  Yeah.

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 first place.

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 license and 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.

HAYES:  Yeah.

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.

WARREN:  Exactly.

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.



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 about money 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 any.

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 of Americans.

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.

HAYES:  Yes.

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 country. 

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)     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.