Show: POLITICS NATION Date: November 13, 2016 Guest: Jan Schakowsky, Clarence Page, Michelle Cottle, Michael Steele, Henry Louis Gates Jr
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Trump era begins.
DONALD TRUMP, RESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re going to do some absolutely spectacular things for the American people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk of unity in Washington.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Come together, work together.
TRUMP: It was a great opportunity meeting with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But clear signs of the fight ahead.
ELIZABETH WARREN, SENIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS: We will stand up to bigotry. We will not give an inch on this. Not now. Not ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How will Trump attack the Obama legacy? How will democrats respond? What about the Trump/Ryan feud? And who now is the leader of the Democratic Party? A nation divided after a shocking election. Millions of Americans living in fear. "PoliticsNation" starts right now.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton. Tomorrow congress is back in session for the first time since the election. Will lawmakers on both sides beginning to grapple with what a Trump presidency will look like. Back in their home districts, millions of Americans are nervous, especially those targeted by Trump`s rhetoric over the last year and a half.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My eighth grader going to school cried on her way. That`s real.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s just been really disrespectful to a lot of the minorities and a lot of the demographics and he`s about to represent us for the next four years. It`s really unsettling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love this country and I just need that country to love me back as much as I love it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m scared of the hate crimes that will start to spike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully it`s not -- it doesn`t mean mass deportations, separations of families, that`s what -- that`s our biggest fear right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just every interaction that they have might lead to separation from their spouse, from their children.
SHARPTON: Already we`re hearing reports like these in communities across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reports of charged racial scenes in schools after the election. A video clip caught them chanting white power as they held up a Trump campaign sign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vandals at a Twin Cities high school included the president-elect`s name in racist graffiti in a bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Words written on a toilet paper dispenser and the vandal using expletive with the N word and other racist terms on the bathroom stall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A group of community members spent their whole morning today cleaning up a message that at one point said black lives don`t matter and neither do your votes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are several kids chanting build that wall.
SHARPTON: So people have a right to be nervous and fearful. They heard what Trump said during the campaign and are wondering if he`ll follow through on his promises.
TRUMP: On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall. I am going to create a new special deportation task force.
Immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as ObamaCare.
I am putting pro-life justices on the court.
But Planned Parenthood does some very good work, but I would defund as long as they`re doing abortions.
Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.
I would do stop and frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York. It worked incredibly well.
SHARPTON: We`re already seeing signs of resistance. Thousands of protesters in the streets. Democrats promising, quote, total war over ObamaCare. Progressive leaders refusing to back down. Senator Bernie Sanders says he`ll be Trump`s worst nightmare if the president-elect targets minorities and Senator Elizabeth Warren says the fight is on.
WARREN: We will stand up to bigotry. No compromises ever on this one. Bigotry in all its forms, we will fight back against attacks on Latinos, on african-american, on women, on Muslims, on immigrants, on disabled Americans, on everyone. Whether Donald Trump sits in a glass tower or sits in the White House, we will not give an inch on this. Not now. Not ever.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, democrat from Illinois. Still a proud member of the Progressive Caucus. Thank you for being here, congresswoman.
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY, D-ILLINOIS: It`s my pleasure. Thank you.
SHARPTON: There`s real -- there`s real hurt and fear out there. What are you hearing from your constituents and what`s your message to them?
SCHAKOWSKY: The Wednesday after the election I stood with an immigrant coalition and what I heard was fear and tears and determination. These are people who are determined, one, to stick together, and, two, to be fearless in fighting back.
We heard from a young woman, a dreamer, she came to this country when she was six years old and she was so happy when the president made it possible to have her driver`s license, to have a work permit, to be able to get a scholarship, to a public university in Illinois. And now she and her family are afraid.
But those people in that room from all ethnic backgrounds were determined to stick together, not only with each other, Reverend Al, but with that whole coalition that we heard from Elizabeth Warren, with people with disabilities, with the women`s community, with Muslims, who were also at that press conference, we are standing together against the -- we aren`t going to go back. That is the message. We will not go back.
SHARPTON: As we build and see this broad coalition and others are trying to protect things that were done in civil rights and voting rights and a lot of things that all of us are involved with, what can democrats do? What can they do to stop the repeal of ObamaCare, to stop deportations? What can be done when we don`t have a majority democratic congress or senate? What can be done, congresswoman?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, first of all, we can mobilize the majority of Americans that voted for Hillary Clinton. And are still getting their, you know, heads together, but tomorrow, on Monday, we all have to be ready to get to work. I think there are a number of things that we can do. Is the president of the United States and the republicans really going to say to 20 million Americans, you don`t have health insurance anymore, and women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer, oh, I`m sorry, you`re not going to be able to get insurance anymore because of your pre-existing condition. And all those kids that are on their parent`s policies, good bye now, you`re on your own.
They have never, ever offered a real alternative and I think that many of the people who voted for Donald Trump are not expecting to be left on the sidelines with no options at all. And so I think they`re going to have one heck of a time in repealing -- in repealing ObamaCare. And Dodd-Frank for that matter. Donald Trump talked about how we`re going to take on Wall Street. Oh, really? Now he says he wants to participate in repealing the law that actually stopped the abuses of Wall Street?
You know, he`s bumping up against reality, and he`s bumping up against the majority of the American voters who did not go to the polls and support him.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, are there areas that democrats can find common ground with Trump, like infrastructure, for example, he talked about -- are there things that can be worked together, because I heard Senator Sanders and Warren and others say that they would look to work with him where possible. But they`re not going to back down on other things. What are the possible areas if any that can be common ground with president- elect Trump?
SCHAKOWSKY: I think you -- I think you said the big one, infrastructure, which really translates into jobs, improving our local economies, making sure that our bridges aren`t falling down. So it`s good work, good jobs, good pay, in our communities. These are not jobs that can go overseas. So we`ll be happy to work with them on that.
But what we need to see from Donald Trump is that he really does believe what he said, that he wants to be the president for all Americans. We are seeing so much fear right now and so much bullying going on. He has to make sure that he explains to his supporters, the people who did vote for him, there is no place for that in a Trump America or any America.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thank you for your time.
SCHAKOWSKY: My pleasure, Reverend Al, glad to be back with you.
SHARPTON: Now let`s bring in Clarence Page, columnist for "The Chicago Tribune," and Michelle Cottle from "The Atlantic." Thanks to both of you for being here.
CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE COLUMNIST: Thank you, Reverend.
MICHELLE COTTLE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR AT THE ATLANTIC: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Clarence, how do democrats oppose Trump`s policies without becoming the party of no that republicans were in the Obama years?
PAGE: Well, the republicans didn`t become the Party of No, remember, until they started to have something to object to. So I think what we`re going to see is, as Bernie Sanders illustrated, they`re going to put out the olive branches of peace and see if there are areas that they can work together on. But there are some areas where they`re going to have stiff opposition and maybe the only thing they can do is in the senate to use the filibuster or in the house to bottle things up as --
SHARPTON: But even before they had something to oppose, republicans, leaders, republican leaders met the night Barack Obama was inaugurated and said in a three-hour meeting that they plan to block all of his legislation and plan to make him a one-term president. They didn`t have any period, they waited to become the Party of No. They planned that the night of his inauguration.
PAGE: Well, the difference between one-term president Party of No, I don`t think that democrats are going to go and declare that Donald Trump is going to be one-term president. That`s like declaring war which was something that the imprudent republicans did.
I don`t think the democrats will do that off the bat, but everybody can see what they`re up against. I mean, let`s take specific issues like ObamaCare, for example. Even Donald Trump just at a -- at a Wall Street Journal interview that hasn`t aired yet, has indicated that there are some parts of ObamaCare he may keep.
SHARPTON: Yes, he seems to be backtracking a little Michael Jackson moon walking.
PAGE: That`s right.
SHARPTON: Michelle, let me ask you. You heard Congresswoman Schakowsky this morning. Do you think because Hillary Clinton did get the majority of the popular vote that democrats feel that they have to rally and stand on those issues that frankly most American voters did vote for in terms of the popular vote?
COTTLE: Well, look, I`m sure that the Democratic Party is going to bring that up a lot. And I`m sure that the Republican Party is pretty much going to ignore it. You know, George W. Bush didn`t win the popular vote either. It happens. But republicans have finally got control of both the White House and both chambers of congress and they are going to move full steam ahead to try to do exactly what they`ve been promising their voters to do.
Now, the question is, they don`t know anything about the president-elect. None of us know anything about what Donald Trump really cares about, what his ideology is, what his politics are. That`s not what he was elected on. So not even republicans know what they`re dealing with in the White House.
SHARPTON: Clarence, the Supreme Court selection. We saw this week democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, he said that there needs to be a vote on President Obama`s Supreme Court nominee. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF MERKLEY, JUNIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM OREGON: We really have to pay attention to the Supreme Court seat. The seat that is sitting empty is being stolen. It`s being stolen from the Obama administration, and the construct of our constitution and it`s being delivered to an administration that has no right to fill it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So if the republicans block president Obama`s choice of Judge Merrick Garland, will the democrats then filibuster whoever the republicans nominate to fill that still open seat, Clarence?
PAGE: Well, that`s their right and we may see a serious clash here because Donald Trump is determined to get not just any conservative, but to get another Scalia conservative. That means a pretty hard core. I doubt that Chuck Schumer and other democrats are going to go along with that. This reminds me of the Robert Bork hearings. We may see that sort of thing coming up again where they said, well, you know, we`ll approve a republican, but not that republican. He`s too conservative. So much so that it begins to challenge the constitution as democrats interpret it. So I can see that possibly happening. At least they will moderate the pick. But I think Merrick Garland is probably toast right now as my point mastication.
SHARPTON: Yes, we`re in a crisis there. But let`s go back to something you said, Michelle, about republicans, nor democrats, we really don`t know what Donald Trump believes and I`ve known -- interacted with Donald Trump for 30 years, nothing really close just sporadically, and I have no idea what he always stood for or believe, but we know what he says and we know the bombast that he is represented. What do you expect to happen in the first 100 days?
COTTLE: I think he will kind of do a continuation of his acceptance speech, where he comes out and he says I want to be the president for all Americans, he`s, you know, kind of moderating his harsh tone. I mean, this is a guy who will say anything on the campaign trail, but that doesn`t necessarily mean that he`ll start out like that.
Now, what happens, though, is when he starts clashing with either republicans or democrats in congress or anyone else who doesn`t want to follow what his particular priorities are, then things will likely get super ugly again. But I think he starts out knowing he`s got people watching him, and knowing that people are nervous, and until he has a reason to clash with folks, I think he`s going to try to moderate a little bit.
SHARPTON: But it may come down also to temperament and that temperament and reason might be different for some people than they are for others. Clarence, Michelle, stay with me. Lots more ahead.
Straight ahead, how Donald Trump`s transition team doesn`t square with his promise to drain the swamp. We`ll talk to the former head of the Republican National Committee. Also, how democrats plan to regroup and recharge. And Henry Louis Gates on how a Trump presidency isn`t all that surprising if you know your American history. Stay with us.
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I don`t worry about intraparty issues. I feel very good with where we are. Donald and I have had fantastic conversations just in the last -- in the last, you know, 18 hours. I`m very excited about our ability to work together.
SHARPTON: A change of tone from House Speaker Paul Ryan this week as he congratulated Donald Trump on his win. Of course, during the election, they clashed repeatedly.
TRUMP: Wouldn`t you think that Paul Ryan would call and say, good going? But there is a whole sinister deal going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it`s a good idea for Donald Trump to release his tax returns?
RYAN: I released mine. I think we should release his.
TRUMP: I wouldn`t want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people, including Ryan, especially Ryan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) can do the job because of the racist -- sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comments?
RYAN: I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country`s interest.
TRUMP: We don`t get the support from guys like Paul Ryan. Look, I don`t want his support. I don`t care about his support.
SHARPTON: A mix of insults and real policy disagreements, over social security, free trade deals, and whether to deport undocumented immigrants or give them legal status.
Right now, Trump and republicans are making a show of unity and they agree on some things like repealing ObamaCare. But what happens when things get hard? What happens if Trump names this guy his chief of staff? Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart, who once called Paul Ryan the enemy. What happens the first time Trump doesn`t get his way?
Joining me now is Michael Steele, MSNBC political analyst and former RNC chairman. Thank you for being with me this morning, Mike.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Great to be with you as always.
SHARPTON: Republican leaders and Trump are all smiles right now. Is this really a lasting peace in your opinion?
STEELE: I say right through the inauguration everybody is going to be feeling each other out here, it`s a whole new regime that`s coming to Washington. I mean, typically in these transitions, whether it`s democrat or republican, there are a lot of familiar faces that come back into town. Some that are already here, are sort of brought into the administration.
You`re going to see some of that, but not a lot of it. There`ll be a lot of new faces, less political in their orientation, more of the world, more out of the business world if you will. So there`s going be to be adjustments on both sides. But between the speaker and the president, and the majority leader and the president, that trifecta, that relationship has got to develop and has got to be tight. It`s going to be tested. It`s going to be tested early. Donald Trump is a big thinker. He`s going to be a big doer. He`s going to do programs.
SHARPTON: But let me push you -- let me push you right there, because what happens if then President Trump decides to ban Muslims or deport millions of people. What happens then?
STEELE: Well, first off, I don`t think that`s going to happen. I think you saw at the end of the campaign that the rhetoric on that shift. And shifts significantly and as the polls -- exit polls showed that, you know, his supporters never took that seriously. The press took it literally. They never took it seriously. And I don`t think that`s going to be part of the agenda. But I`ll go with that. If that`s the type of legislation that comes out of the west wing, and presented to the congress, yes, there are going to be some really strong thought lines drawn there and some pushback. But I don`t think the administration is going to proceed down that particular road.
I really believe, Reverend, that you`re going to see Donald Trump govern as a pragmatic populist. He recognizes he`s in the best spot any president has been in in a generation and which he`s not beholden to democrats, because he`s not a democrat and he`s not beholden to republicans because he`s not really a republican.
SHARPTON: But let me throw one name at you. Steve Bannon has been throated around as a possible chief of staff. He called Paul Ryan, Speaker Ryan, the enemy. If he is appointed chief of staff or plays a key role in the Trump white house, which he`s expected to, what does that do to the trust of Speaker Ryan, this late trust he`s displayed in Donald Trump?
STEELE: Well, it goes back to the -- you know, you want to talk about trust, what was said by the Clinton campaign about Barack Obama in 2008? Yet they found a way to get around those -- that hot rhetoric, particularly from the former president, Bill Clinton, during that campaign in places like South Carolina. The racist undertones of the comments that he was making at that time about Barack Obama.
What Joe Biden said about Barack Obama and, you know, being well-dressed and articulate and all of that. In politics as in business, you find a way to get along. You get over those hurdles, so I suspect, Reverend, with Steve Bannon, if he comes into the administration in any way, Paul Ryan and Steve Bannon will work together because the president will want them to.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, I have to ask you this before I let you go, we`ve seen a lot of names floated around. Let me give you some. Former house speaker Newt Gingrich may be a candidate for secretary of state. Treasury secretary, may be a Goldman Sachs banker and congressman. Secretary of defense, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Attorney general former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. What happened to this whole idea of, quote, "draining the swamp" and putting in some fresh faces? These do not look like fresh faces to me.
STEELE: Well, as I said at the beginning, there will be some familiar names and faces that will be part of the mix. But that`s --
SHARPTON: Low in the mix though.
STEELE: Well, but that`s a small portion of the overall cabinet and administration of the Trump government. So, let`s wait to see, first off, if any of these people land the kind of positions that are being touted right now. The one thing you know, Reverend and I know that in this transition period, a lot of names will float. Why are they floating? To see how people respond to them, to see what the trial balloon tells them about that particular person and that particular position.
A lot of these names are not going to wind up in the jobs that they`re being touted for. Some of them will have a different role in the Trump orbit. We`ll wait and see. But if they are at the table, that still doesn`t mean that Donald Trump`s overall effort will be to drain the swamp.
SHARPTON: All right. Michael Steel, thank you for your time this morning.
STEELE: You got it, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead. Still ahead, we`ll look at why Trump may not have the mandate that republicans claim and we`ll dart into the search for new leadership in the Democratic Party. Who should set the party`s agenda? All that plus some historical perspective from Dr. Henry Louis Gates. Stay with us.
RYAN: What Donald Trump just pulled off is an enormous political feat. It`s an enormous feat and that he heard those voices that were out there that other people weren`t hearing and he just turned a mandate and we now just have a unified republican government.
SHARPTON: Speaker Paul Ryan claiming that president-elect Trump has a mandate to pass his agenda. But, of course, Ryan had a different view four years ago about President Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president wins 330 some electoral votes, every battleground state with the exception of North Carolina. Does Barack Obama now have a mandate?
RYAN: I don`t think so because they also re-elected the house republicans.
SHARPTON: So it`s a mandate for Trump now, but not a mandate for Obama back then. Even though Obama won by a much larger margin. Folks, here`s what we know about the will of the American people. More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Trump. Period. Trump won because of the Electoral College. And you know what he said about that four years ago, quote, "the Electoral College is a disaster for democracy." That`s what Trump tweeted after Obama`s re-election. The thousands of Americans who marched in the streets after the election night this week may agree with that.
And look at this, Trump actually got fewer votes than Mitt Romney did when he lost the election in 2012. Trump in that race would have been the loser, not the winner. These are all facts for democrats to think about as they face the road ahead. What are the right lessons to take from this election and what are the wrong lessons? Who is now the leader of the Democratic Party? We`ll talk about that next.
SHARPTON: Democrats enter the Trump era facing some tough questions. They`re a party out of power, with no clear sense of who`s in charge. But before they chart a way forward, they need to understand how they got here on Election Day. The democratic base did not turn out. Hillary Clinton`s share of black vote was down from 2012. Her share of Latino vote down. Her share of young vote down. Her share of the union vote down. That might have been a key factor in Rust Belt states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
So democrats have a tough job ahead. They need to expand the party and regain the trust of working class white voters. But they also need to regain and re-energize the Obama coalition. Let`s bring back Michelle Cottle and Clarence Page.
Michelle, democrats need to find a way forward into Trump era. They can`t blame the minority vote that was there, wasn`t it Obama, nobody was there. But many women, whites, came and did not vote for Mrs. Clinton. How do they re-energize their base white vote, white working vote, and energize the minorities at the same time?
MICHELLE COTTLE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR AT THE ATLANTIC: Well, just on that point exactly, white women usually don`t vote for the democrat. White women usually break for the republican, so --
SHARPTON: Even when it`s a woman candidate that`s going to break the glass ceiling?
COTTLE: Even when it`s a woman candidate, women don`t vote with the block.
SHARPTON: And you have a candidate on the Republican Party that had done things that many women consider offensive? Even --
COTTLE: Exactly. It is surprising what people will put up with from their team`s standard bearer. So going forward, though, the problem was Hillary Clinton was never an inspirational candidate. She never motivated people the way Barack Obama did with that kind of gut level hope, change, feeling that she could make a big difference. She was a workhorse candidate, she was highly experienced, highly qualified, but when people are voting for president, it`s going to be the person who moves them with a message, more often than not, and it just wasn`t what she did.
SHARPTON: Well, Clarence, so let`s talk about -- let`s talk about that message, because people want change. We have heard it, we have seen it, many of us have been fighting for it a long time. Listen to what Elizabeth Warren said they need to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN, SENIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS: This political system is working for a slice of those at the top. And shutting everybody else out. The American people want to see change. Our job now is to try to give some direction to that change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Is she right, Clarence?
CLARENCE PAGE, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes, every election is about change versus more of the same. And this was certainly a year where you wanted to be on the side of change. Hillary Clinton was just stuck, because she`s so familiar and she could not get a really winning and engaging and inspirational theme like Barack Obama had with his hope and change themes. So that it really prevented her from having more of -- more victories among more states.
By the way, I think Michelle would agree with me that while married women tend to vote republican, single women tend to vote democrat and this year especially educated women with higher degrees and all turned out in larger numbers than before.
And I just point that out because the funny thing was Trump, as you mentioned, got fewer votes turning out than Mitt Romney did, but he had a different constituency. A lot of the voters have turned out for Mitt Romney didn`t show up this time and others who didn`t vote before did show up and they were much more conservative.
SHARPTON: And therein lies the problem. But let`s get to the leadership question of who`s going to lead the Democratic Party, Michelle? We`re hearing names floated like Howard Dean, Congressman Keith Ellison. We`re hearing mister former governor O`Malley and others. We even hearing Thomas Perez. Will the fight really be about the future of the direction of the party and that determine the chair person?
COTTLE: I think a lot of people are going to be looking back to the Elizabeth Warren more populist version of this and saying, you know, maybe it`s time we too go in this direction. And I think that`s kind of the big split that they`re going to have to figure out. And I think Elizabeth Warren in the senate will be a very big voice, you know, pushing in that direction.
SHARPTON: Michelle Cottle, Clarence Page, thank you for your time this morning.
PAGE: Thank you, Reverend.
COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Up next, presidential history made this week, but not the type many were expecting. Renowned historian Henry Louis Gates helps us put it all in perspective after the break.
SHARPTON: If you look at the backlash after the great society, and of a lot of the unrest, that is what defeated Hubert Humphrey and brought in Richard Nixon. He did all of the dog whistles. This is not Bernie Sanders populism. This is George Wallace populism that he`s doing.
Five hours after Donald Trump declared victory, I was on the air trying to make sense of what it meant. After the civil rights progress of the 1960s, we got Richard Nixon. After the nation`s first black president, we got Donald Trump. There were a lot of factors, voter suppression, inequality, apathy and working class anger. All issues we must confront in the years ahead.
Joining me now is Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard professor, and the creative force behind the new documentary, "Black America Since MLK, And Still I rise." Thanks for being here, Dr. Gates.
DR. HENRY LOUIS GATES JR, HARVARD PROFESSOR: Thank you, Reverend. Thanks for having me on your show.
SHARPTON: Put this election in context for us. How are you thinking of it from a historical perspective?
GATES: 1876, the Hayes/Tilden compromise, the end of reconstruction. To me, it`s a perfect analog. The greatest time for, in the history of African-Americans right after the civil war was reconstruction. We had more power, we showed that we were human beings, that we were equal, elected senators, elected members of the House of Representatives. We ran in the labor force. Ten years, boom, the door is slammed shut. And what happened? The period called redemption. Who was redeemed? The south. It was the birth of Jim Crow, segregation, starting in the 1890s, separate car act in Louisiana, the proliferation of racist images about black people, reducing the complexity of our humanity to ciphers, to Sambo imagery, culminating 1915 with what birth of a nation, shown where? The White House. By whom? The president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson.
SHARPTON: So we`ve always had these heights and then it`s immediately followed by these great depths.
GATES: Absolutely. Except you and I, anyone in our generation, thought that this cycle was over. That it would be impossible to repeat it. Particularly after the election and re-election of the first black man in the White House. I don`t know about you, Reverend, but I was totally shocked.
SHARPTON: No, I was -- I was shocked and at the same time I was challenged because this will change things one way or another and maybe energize people. But let me ask you directly how will President Trump change the life of the average person of color in this country?
GATES: Well, I have no idea. But I`m more concerned -- well, right now, the first thing I want to talk to you about was how he`s going to affect the legacy of a man you and I both love and admire, Barack Hussein Obama.
GATES: You know, there was a black pharaoh, the 25th dynasty in Egypt was the Nubian pharaohs, right? And they ruled all of Egypt. And the greatest of the pharaohs was a name Taharqa. If you Google him, he`s in the book Isiah. When he lost his throne, they chiseled his name off monuments.
GATES: And that`s the analogy. I keep waiting up and thinking of Barack and Taharqa. And this is what at least president-elect Trump, candidate Trump, more or less, pledges himself to. And it worries me, the Supreme Court, ObamaCare, the image of diversity and openness.
SHARPTON: Criminal justice reform. I mean, all of these things are at stake. But let me go to your documentary, because it`s important to me. Your documentary focuses on the last 50 years of black history. Here`s part of the trailer. Let me show that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My grandparents were colored. My parents were Negros and, me, I`m black.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From I have a dream to I can`t breathe. From straight out of Compton to the White House, black history is American history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must not surrender people for lies.
SHARPTON: What lessons should the younger generation learn from this history?
GATES: Well, the conceit of the series is this. Imagine Martin Luther King woke up and said, Al, what`s happened since I`ve been gone? What would you tell him? You`d say on the one hand, Reverend, it`s the best of times for our people. The black middle class doubled since 1970, black upper middle class tripled. Why? Because of something called affirmative action.
We have the biggest black middleclass in history, we have a black president, we have more black elected officials, over 40 black people in the black caucus. What is the black caucus? You know, we have so many congress people and they have an organization. You say, wow, what happened? Was there a revolution? You say, well, in a sense there was. He`d say, well, that means poverty was obliterated, right? Because remember, he died and poor people -- well, Rev, afraid it didn`t happen that way. So, Al, how did it happen? How many black poor? You say, well, when you died, 41 percent of all black children are living at or beneath the poverty line. What is it today? Thirty-eight percent. What`s happened?
We have a class gap. The biggest class gap among the following three groups. white Americans, Hispanic Americans, and African-Americans, we within our own people, within the race, have the largest class gap. It`s called the gene co-efficient. Because affirmative action open up the doors of power and historically white institutions for some of us and then slammed shut. And then it slammed and shot, it left people in a self- perpetuating cycle of poverty.
The prison -- look at the growth of the prison -- Martin Luther King couldn`t believe that, over 800,000 black men in the prison system, a huge percentage of the prison population, black men are 6.5 percent of the population, and 33 percent of the incarcerated.
SHARPTON: President Obama was just beginning to make some inroads in.
GATES: Absolutely. A black man has a one in three chance of going to prison. One in three. Think about how many black men you know and just do the math. What`s it for a white man? One in 17. So it`s the best of times, it`s the worst of times.
SHARPTON: So throughout the documentary, you really talk about the successes and the setbacks. Is that how we should view this election this week?
GATES: Yes, I think so. I think, well, I think that we -- what we have to do is mobilize as you indicated. We have to anticipate, and mobilize. I think that we became complacent, not enough of us voted. None of us could actually believe the outcome of this election was possible. I think that we thought now that we crossed this ultimate barrier, and remember the joy that we had, eight years ago, when Barack was elected that it was impossible to go back and it certainly is possible to go back.
Like I said, nobody in reconstruction thought it was possible to go back to slavery. They didn`t go back to slavery, they went to neo slavery. They replaced slavery with sharecropping. They disenfranchised black men. Remember on men could vote. It was horrible.
SHARPTON: And they re-enslaved slavery by another name. I think black man`s vote.
SHARPTON: Dr. Gates, thank you for your time this morning and be sure to catch his documentary "Black America Since MLK and still I Rise, premiering this Tuesday on PBS.
GATES: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
Up next, what President Obama told me about a Trump presidency before the election. And what you can do about it now.
SHARPTON: I mean, can you imagine how you would feel standing on the steps of the capitol having to hand over the power and watch him put his hand on that bible and become your successor after saying you weren`t even a U.S. citizen?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, the thing is I don`t take any of this personally because he is not somebody who`s fit to be president in any circumstances. I would feel deeply frustrated not because anything he said about me, but because I would fear for the future of our country.
SHARPTON: My interview with President Obama just days before the election, asking about what then seemed unimaginable. This week, we saw the president shake hands with the man who denied he was a U.S. citizen, over Trump`s shoulder was a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. If that image angers you, then do something about it. Look at this. Nearly half of the eligible Americans didn`t vote. That means Trump supporters, just 26 percent of the whole, made the decision for the other three-quarters of the population.
This is not how democracy supposed to work. So if you didn`t vote, vote next time. If you did vote, then get more involved. Attend the rally, march in a protest, volunteer to help immigrants or the poor. It`s time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get busy. When I saw Dr. King`s bust, it reminded me, had they given up? Had they just winning the pity parties? Had they just said it`s worth in this? We would have never had the right to vote. We would have never had a Barack Obama. We must protect it. Many of us are mobilizing in many ways to do that, not to be against somebody but to be for something.
We`re going to culminate King`s day and King`s name, so that bust would not just be a statue but it will be the values that we continue to aspire in this country. That does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you back here next Sunday.
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