Vice President Kamala Harris discusses the war in Ukraine, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, the battle for democracy, and much more.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Sounds about right. Shout-out to her.
You can always find me online @AriMelber or AriMelber.com. Thanks for spending time with us.
A very special edition of THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID, for the reasons mentioned, and the big interview, starts now.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.
And welcome to a very special edition of THE REIDOUT here in Greenville, Mississippi.
Tonight, we have an exclusive interview with Vice President Kamala Harris, who traveled to Greenville today to highlight the administration`s investment in small businesses.
Here she is meeting the small business owner of Joycee`s Embroidery, Fabrics, Alterations, and Sewing, after a greeting by Congressman Bennie Thompson and the mayor of Greenville, Errick Simmons.
The destination, Greenville, is intentional, a town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. It`s even been called the most Southern place on Earth, a place that is predominantly black and where, during the height of Jim Crow, the threat of lynchings terrorized black people.
So, it is particularly meaningful that the first black woman vice president came here today, days after President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law, and as small businesses in Greenville, the backbone of its economy, continue to battle a global pandemic.
I got to travel with the vice president on Air Force Two, meaning I am back on the road.
And just a short time ago, I sat down with Vice President Harris for a wide-ranging interview about her trip and so much more. Let`s dive on in.
REID: Vice President Harris, thank you so much for doing this.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is wonderful to be with you, Joy Reid.
REID: Well, it is wonderful to be with you and wonderful to be in Greenville, Mississippi.
REID: And I`m sure you noticed, as you were driving in, in the motorcade all of the children with the balloons...
REID: ... and flags all waving at the side of the road.
What struck me is, first, that was wonderful.
REID: But, also, it does show that politicians don`t come to places like this.
REID: Is this something that you plan to keep doing?
REID: And we talked a little bit about why you`re here. But does it say something about the brokenness of our politics that we skip non-swing states in an election year? We just -- politicians just don`t come to places like here.
HARRIS: Well, the reason I`m here is because there are people here who matter, right?
And when you look at a place like Greenville, Mississippi, with a population of about 30,000 people, we`re talking about families. We`re talking about children. We`re talking about people with aspirations and dreams for themselves, for their community. And they deserve to be seen and they deserve to be heard.
And we cannot expect people to knock on our door, to have to come to us in order for us to be responsive to their needs. So, I am here because this is a community in the Mississippi Delta that has a long history of being part of America`s history, including having the needs that should be met, such as access to capital for small businesses, such as access to high-speed Internet.
And so I`m here to speak with folks and to celebrate who they are.
REID: Well, and it`s interesting that you say that, because we are in the midst of a crisis that has disrupted a community that really in many ways is no different than what we`re familiar with here in the U.S.
HARRIS: That`s right. That`s right.
REID: The Ukraine crisis is a catastrophe. It`s a catastrophe we`re all watching happen in real time, where people with real needs and normal lives...
REID: ... have been completely disrupted.
HARRIS: That`s right.
REID: Some four million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes...
REID: ... because of what Russia has decided to do.
Both yourself and the president were in the region recently.
REID: And when the president was there, he gave a speech in Warsaw that was -- it was well-received by many.
But he also said something that I think was received well by some, but kind of surprised others. He said that Vladimir Putin should no longer be the leader of Russia. Do you agree?
HARRIS: Listen, I think that you framed the point quite accurately and well, which is America`s policy has been and will continue to be focused on the real issue at hand, which is, one, the needs of the Ukrainian people, which we will continue to support through humanitarian assistance, for security assistance.
But also ensuring that there`s going to be serious consequence for Vladimir Putin and Russian aggression as it relates to Ukraine, which is why our policy from the beginning has been about ensuring that there are going to be real costs exacted against Russia in the form of severe sanctions, which we know are having a real impact and an immediate impact, not to mention the longer-term impact, which is about saying there`s going to be consequence and accountability when you commit the kinds of atrocities that he is committing.
And I think the president has been an extraordinary leader. To your point, Joy, I have been to Poland. I was in Romania. I have been to Europe, I think, probably at least three times in the last four months.
I was in Munich, Germany where I gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference. I was in France before that, speaking with heads of state about this issue, among many other issues, but most recently about this issue.
And I will tell you, in sitting down with prime ministers and presidents, often, the first thing they would say to me is thank you to the United States and this administration for bringing us together, for building the coalition, for reinvigorating the relationship between the United States and its NATO allies, reinvigorating -- reinvigorating the relationship and the importance of the relationship to the E.U., in terms of an issue like Ukraine, which is ultimately about one of the most important principles that we are fighting for, which is the importance of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
REID: Well, I mean, on Putin specifically, I think that the world largely agrees, with very, very few exceptions, that what Putin has done has not only been destructive to Ukraine. He`s destroying Ukraine utterly.
There are places like Mariupol that are being wiped off the map. But he`s destroyed his own country as well. He has made Russia into a lone nation, into a sort of North Korea. And the way that the world deals with countries like North Korea, countries like Cuba, is that they don`t deal with them as normal nations as long as the dictator is in charge.
Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, had said that sanctions should continue to be ratcheted up so long as the troops, those Russian troops, are in Ukraine. Should those sanctions continue as long as Vladimir Putin is the dictator of Russia?
HARRIS: Well, I`m not going to speculate about the future.
I`m going to tell you where we are now. They are intact. And we will continue to upgrade them and make them so -- more severe as appropriate. And, as far as we are concerned, everything is on the table in that regard, because we are seeing extreme atrocities. We are seeing maternity hospitals being bombed. We`re seeing a location that was so clearly designated as being a shelter, a place of safety for children.
We are seeing, to your point, millions of people being displaced, potentially permanently, in a war that was instigated, unprovoked, unjustified, against a whole population of people.
So, yes, the sanctions are going to be severe, and they will last as long as these atrocities and this aggression is continuing.
REID: So, no luck on getting you to weigh in on whether he should be -- whether he should remain?
HARRIS: Well, no, listen, I`m going to be very clear. Let me be very clear.
Our -- we are not into regime change.
HARRIS: And that is not our policy.
REID: Let`s talk about our democracy here.
REID: Because we`re struggling with our democracy as well.
REID: As we all know, there was an insurrection, an attempted coup -- I don`t think there`s any other way to describe it -- that...
REID: ... took place last year.
And as we get more information about what happened and who was behind it, we`re finding out there were members of Congress who were complicit. There were United States senators.
You are the president of the Senate, as vice president of the United States. What do you think should be the consequences for people like Ted Cruz, people like Josh Hawley, who are now being named as we learn more about those who were actually putting together the plan to overthrow our election?
HARRIS: I think that what is very much at stake -- I`m going to just make the connection first to the previous discussion, then this one.
You are absolutely spot on, from my perspective, that this is about our democracy and an attempt to weaken the strength of it, but also the legitimacy of it. And there are foreign actors that try and do it, and then we have domestic threats. And that`s part of what we witnessed on January 6. And there needs to be, of course, consequence for that.
So, that is occurring, in terms of the process that is about seeking the evidence about what actually happened and who are the bad actors, because, of course, yes, they should pay a consequence. There should be accountability.
In terms of elected leaders, to the extent that they were complicit in a crime, of course, there should be some kind of response to that. But, also, there should be a -- I think, a continuing discussion about the fact that what happened on January 6 was a concerted attempt to undermine the integrity of our elections system, to suggest that in any way it lacked legitimacy.
And that plays right into the hands of all of those who would attempt to say America does not live its principles. And we have to all stand up and be clear that, no, that does not reflect the majority of us.
The majority of us believe in free and fair elections. The majority of us believe in the integrity of this process. The majority of us will fight for attacks against it, which are both as it relates to what happened on January 6, but also what is happening around the country in terms of legislation that is being passed to make it more difficult for people to vote. All of that needs to happen.
REID: And are you concerned, is the White House concerned with the speed of the investigation?
Merrick Garland was asked again today why the Justice Department has taken no action on Mark Meadows, who was found in contempt of Congress. These contempt citations are going to the DOJ, and I think the public is just seeing very little action.
The district -- the DOJ has expanded some of the investigation. And they say that they will look as low or as high. They don`t care what position people are in. But is there some frustration out of the White House about the speed of this investigation, given that we have another election, another presidential election right around the corner?
HARRIS: Well, I will tell you, maybe as a point of distinction between our administration and the previous administration, we do not interfere or attempt to influence the investigative and prosecutorial decisions of the Department of Justice.
REID: Are you concerned that the 2024 election will face the same kind of interference? Are you concerned that our democracy won`t hold if there`s no accountability?
HARRIS: I believe that we are stronger than any of these attempts to undermine us as a nation in terms of our democracy. But I do believe our democracy is being tested.
And -- but -- and I -- and let me contextualize it in terms of just my most recent experiences on this point.
I, for four years, when I was in the United States Senate, was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, where we conducted an investigation of Russia`s interference with the 2016 election. And then we actually published our findings in an unclassified version.
There is no doubt that Russia attempted to interfere in the election of president of the United States. And we have seen other examples, which include the January 6 incident, where there have been concerted efforts to undermine our elections` process.
But the American people, I believe, are always going to stand up in the face of those attacks and do the right thing. You look at what happened in 2020, and that`s after 2016. More people voted in 2020 than had ever voted before. And the various courts that reviewed any allegations of misconduct found that the integrity of the election in 2020 was intact.
And, in large part, it`s because the American people, I think, really do know and believe that, if they -- if they want to exercise the freedoms with -- that come with the right of citizenship, voting is the way to go. And that`s what they did in 2020.
REID: There`s so much more with Vice President Kamala Harris up ahead, including her thoughts on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, and the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: We`re back with more of my interview with Vice President Kamala Harris today in Greenville, Mississippi.
REID: You know, we started off talking about Ukraine.
And I wonder if you`re concerned, having, as you said, been in these European capitals, promoting the idea, as President Biden says ,that America is back, that we are back in line with the West and promoting the ideas of democracy, that it may be difficult for our allies to trust that our democracy will hold if a former president can participate in and foment an attempting coup in this country and can walk away from it.
And as this -- in this -- in this country right now, Republicans all across the country are severely restricting the right to vote, severely undermining access to the ballot. Doesn`t that undermine the case that you need to make and that the president needs to make about democracy, about American democracy?
HARRIS: Well, it`s not new that there will be attacks on our democratic systems from within. That`s not new.
The point has to be, what are we doing to stand up against that, right? And so we have been attempting, for example, in the -- in Congress to get the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act passed, the Freedom to Vote Act passed. We need to get those passed, because, after 2013, in Shelby v. Holder, when the Voting Rights Act was gutted, essentially, we need to put back in place those protections.
We are going to continue to work on what we need to do to fight back against what`s happening in those states, including supporting all of the folks at the local level who in many other states are actually strengthening the right to vote.
Essentially, what`s at issue -- and I think it`s plain as day to see -- is that people, again, in record numbers, voted in 2020, and that scared some folks.
So, now they are in the process of trying to put in place laws around -- in various states in our country to make it more difficult to vote, with the expectation and intention that, if you make it more difficult to vote, certain people won`t vote.
I think that folks know, when they stood in those lines in 2020 for hours, when that single mother or father put those kids in the backseat, and then drove to drop that ballot off in the drop box, they went and voted because they said, I want certain things. I want an extension of the child tax credit, and they got it. They said, I want to see money go to HBCUs, and they got it.
They said, I want to see that we`re going to have a real commitment to having broadband and high-speed Internet for all communities, including rural communities that is going to be affordable, including in urban communities. They got that. They said they want to have an administration that fights for affordable child care, so that nobody should pay more than 7 percent of their income in child care. We`re fighting for that.
I think the people in 2020 made an order. They put in their order when they voted and said, this is -- these are the things they want, and they got those things. And then, in the next election, they`re going to know that, when they vote, that vote matters, and it produces results based on what they dictate.
REID: Well, one of the things that we`re seeing is NBC News polling and others showing a disconnect between the performance of the economy and, as you said, the actual substance of what has been passed and what American voters have received, and people`s contentment, including with the administration.
There is an enthusiasm gap that is north of 10, 12 percent. Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats. And when you dig down into those numbers, it`s because many in the Democratic base don`t feel that they`ve gotten what they voted for, what they were promised by the Biden-Harris campaign, now that is the Biden-Harris administration.
One of the reasons for that is that Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Kyrsten Sinema have stood in the way of extending the child tax credit, have stood in the way of increasing the minimum wage, have stood in the way of many of the -- the Build Back Better bill, have stood in the way of passing voting rights.
Are Senators Manchin and Sinema, in the view of the White House, are they allies of this administration, or are they opponents?
HARRIS: Not one Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan, which brought $1,400 checks to people when they needed it most, when we had millions of people out of work through no fault of their own.
Not one voted when we were extending the child tax credit. And working parents know what that meant and what it means in terms of helping them get through the days in the month and satisfy their basic responsibilities to parent their children.
When we look at what achieved in terms of putting in place a system around getting vaccines for people, so now over 200 -- I think it`s -- 215 million have been vaccinated in our country. And, as a result, we`ve been able to reopen our schools. Ninety-nine percent of them are reopened. Businesses are reopening.
These are the achievements that were made possible in spite of the fact that not one Republican in so many of these policies voted.
So, I`m not going to get caught up in kind of an internal firing squad, when you`ve got to look at the fact that, if we`re talking about party politics, you`ve got a system where you also have an entire group of people who I believe have diverse interests and needs, but are for some reason falling in line behind a party, instead of behind a policy that actually is in the best interest of their constituents.
REID: Let`s do a quick lightning round.
REID: Let`s talk about Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
HARRIS: I don`t do lightning rounds, I`m just telling you, but -- because there`s -- it`s not that simple for me ever.
HARRIS: So, before you ask any question, know that.
REID: And I don`t mind that at all.
HARRIS: OK, OK.
REID: I don`t mind that at all, I`m looking at the clock, the person who is minding the clock behind you. But I`m fine with that.
HARRIS: OK. OK.
REID: Do you believe that the revelations about Ginni Thomas have revealed that the ethics rules for Supreme Court justices need to be strengthened?
Should Clarence Thomas recuse himself from any cases related to January 6 or future elections?
HARRIS: I definitely think that the court needs to take a critical look at its rules around ethics. And that relates to a series of issues that have come up over the years, yes.
REID: We all sat and watched the Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings, in which she very calmly sat through...
REID: ... what I think a lot of particularly black women, let`s just be honest, felt was brazen disrespect from senators like Lindsey Graham, senators like Tom Cotton, senators like Josh Hawley.
What did you think when you watched that hearing?
HARRIS: I will tell you, Joy, I experienced great joy when I watched this brilliant, phenomenal black woman jurist be so smart and just cut through the political gamesmanship that they were attempting to incite.
And she just was composed, and, as far as I`m concerned, was taking a whole lot of people to school.
And I watched that with incredible joy, because it was just brilliance being displayed for the entire country to see. And I cannot wait to see -- that will only be matched by the joy that I experience when I see her take the oath to be the next justice on the United States Supreme Court.
REID: Vice President Harris, thank you so much.
Really appreciate you.
HARRIS: Thank you, Joy. It`s good to be with you.
REID: Great to be with you.
HARRIS: Thank you. Thank you.
REID: Up next, we`re joined by a distinguished panel of guests to discuss my interview with the vice president.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: I will tell you, Joy, I experienced great joy when I watched this brilliant, phenomenal black woman jurist be so smart and just cut through the political gamesmanship that they were attempting to incite.
And she just was composed, and, as far as I`m concerned, was taking a whole lot of people to school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That was Vice President Kamala Harris telling me how she felt watching the Supreme Court nomination hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
And joining me now with the reaction, Democratic strategist Juanita Tolliver, Kurt Bardella, adviser to the DNC and the DCCC, and Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian.
Thank you all for being here. I truly, truly appreciate each and every one of you.
Juanita, I am going to start with you. Your reaction to the vice president`s reaction, because, in a way, I guess she was all of us.
JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: She was all of us and truly reflective of what we were feeling in that moment, watching Judge Brown Jackson essentially take these Republicans to task at, one point saying, "Senator, I have said what I`m going to say," and just being clear.
And I think the vice president had the same appreciation that we all have for that. But, Joy, I have to say it must have also been a little bit complicated for the vice president, as she was a prominent force on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And we can all only imagine how she would have also went to task against these Republicans and defended Judge Brown Jackson in the moment. And that just reemphasizes the need for black women to be a part of the Senate body, for black women to be there in the Senate Judiciary as well, so that they can have that presence.
But I appreciate that the vice president watched it with joy and glee, like a lot of us.
REID: Yes, I agree with that.
And, Kurt, I`m going to come to you next, because part of me thinks that, in their own minds, people like Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, and Lindsey Graham, they feel like they won big, right? Those performances they put in, they feel, well, QAnon loves them now. They are now the QAnon senators.
But, big picture, they showed a side of themselves that just reminded everybody who isn`t a white man this is a very new Senate, where they don`t live in a past in the 1950s and `40s. But they seem to which they did. They were offended that this black woman was even there. And you could tell. And they showed everybody that.
And now voters who are going to go into the ballot box in November know that about Republicans.
KURT BARDELLA, DNC AND DCCC ADVISER: Yes, Joy, I really think that, for all the prognostication we hear about what`s going to happen in 2022, if the Republican Party shows themselves to be the face of Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Marsha Blackburn, if that`s the face of this party, and that`s the way they`re going to conduct themselves, they`re taking out a big billboard for every voter to see the absolute worst of the Republican Party.
And I think that is something that is going to repel voters. I think it`s something that`s disgusting. I think anybody who`s watching that proceeding who has just any common decency in them watched that shaking their head, watched that feeling what all of us, I think, felt watching it, the disrespect, the overt sexism, the racism, the dog whistling.
I mean, these guys basically just took the white hoods off and said, this is who we are, and they`re proud of it. They`re high-fiving one another. They think that they won that day. They think this is a good thing.
And I will tell you, if that`s the way the Republicans think that this country wants, if that`s the direction they`re going to go, they`re not going to have the night in November 2022 that they think they are.
REID: Michael Beschloss, when I watched it, I have to say, I sat through every day of it, and it was painful to watch, because I was so angry on Judge Jackson`s behalf, not just because I know her enough to know that she`s a good, good, good, good person.
REID: But, also, I was angry on behalf of every single black person and black woman in America, because I felt like I was watching Senator Eastland.
I felt like I -- as I saw Lindsey Graham snarling and barking into the camera, and Tom Cotton sneering at this woman, and the bizarre charges being dropped by Josh Hawley, it felt like I was watching old Strom Thurmond.
And it wasn`t just their accents. It was their attitude. It is, to me, ironic, that, in a way, the current Republican Party, is the Dixiecrat party made more modern. Am I way off? Because that`s what I felt when I watched it. What did you feel when you watched it?
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I felt exactly the same thing.
I think they`re not as subtle as the Dixiecrats were, that racist offshoot of the Democrats in 1948, under the banner of Strom Thurmond.
And, Joy, until the day I die, I will remember your voice in my ears saying that those Republican senators treated her like a black shopper who was going through a store and being followed. That`s exactly what this was like in the year 2022.
The clock is being turned back. We have to do everything we possibly can to stop that from happening.
And if you don`t mind my saying, making a historical comment, that interview you just did with the vice president, I loved it, because here you were talking to her in the state in which Emmett Till, as you said, gave his life, those three civil rights workers in 1964, Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney, gave their lives, and centuries of enslaved people suffering and, in many cases, giving their lives.
I`d love for all of them to come back and see the two of you talking that way. Dr. King said, famously, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Any of us who have been living through the last five years, much as we love Dr. King and honor him, may have questioned that.
But just seeing that same of you two guys today down there in Mississippi, you think that perhaps Dr. King was right, after all.
REID: Michael, to stay with you for just a moment, I have to say, when I set foot on Air Force Two today and walked up to the front -- and this is really for all of you, but I`m going to leave it with -- for you, Michael, because you are our in-house family historian.
I felt something in my spirit that two black women never were imagined in the way this country was constructed.
REID: This panel was not imagined.
REID: But there we were, and there she was.
This black woman is the second most powerful -- holds the second most powerful office in this country. She is vice president of the United States. That is her plane. That is her plane. And she had a staff of young and older. She had people of color. She had women, black, white, brown. It was beautiful to me.
Just give us, to wrap this segment up -- but I know we`re going to have more -- when people say originalism, I kind of cringe, because we weren`t included in the original idea of this country.
BESCHLOSS: No, that`s right.
REID: She wasn`t included.
What do you -- you go ahead and wrap this segment for us. What do you think...
BESCHLOSS: Well, I think I would say what you would say.
REID: ... when you hear people insist and demand that someone like -- yes. Yes. Go ahead.
BESCHLOSS: It`s sickening, what we saw with Judge Jackson.
But even the scene of the two of you down in Mississippi and flying down there today, how many years did that take? Two hundred and three? America works, but it is much too slow. Why did it take all this time, first woman, first black woman, first Asian American woman?
That was not supposed to happen? Our system is supposed to be a little bit more responsive than that when it works. But, at the same time, I think we have to say anyone who watched Judge Jackson or the two of you today, how could you not love what you`re seeing and feel that, for all -- all the things it doesn`t do well and all the wrongs and all the dangers to democracy that all of us are living through at this moment, at least it brings us scenes like that.
Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, look at this screen. This is the future. This is the America that you`re trying to stop.
BESCHLOSS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
REID: And you cannot stop it. This is what the future looks like.
REID: Don`t go -- don`t go anywhere, because, up next, our panel, wonderful panel, will address some of today`s top stories, including the sizzling jobs market.
We will be right back.
REID: Some good news on the economy today for the Biden administration and for Americans. The economy`s hot streak is going strong.
The Labor Department reports that 431,000 new jobs were added in March, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.6 percent, the lowest in more than two years. With more than 90 percent of jobs lost in the pandemic now recovered, you would think that Republicans would be racing to congratulate President Biden, like Kevin McCarthy and Rick Scott crowed when it was at the same level in 2019, and there was a Republican president.
Yeah, but don`t hold your breath.
Back with me, Juanita Tolliver, Kurt Bardella, and Michael Beschloss.
I`m going to start with you in the middle. I`m going to go right to the middle, Kurt, because the challenge here is that Democrats, despite having actually an economy that`s working, are facing an enthusiasm gap.
Because you used to be on that Republican side, and they are really good at messaging, Why do you think that is? Is it something that Democrats are doing wrong that they`re not able to get this message across? And is there something they could be doing better?
BARDELLA: Joy, I look at it this way. And Republicans seize on this and take advantage of it all the time.
The media are the biggest partners for the Republican Party, the most unwitting partners. They follow every single Republican talking point, every single denunciation of everything going wrong that Republicans put out there. And they allow it to follow them to the White House Briefing Room. They allow it to just dog Democrats. And it`s kind of insane at this point.
Biden is having and presiding over, by any historical metric, a booming economy, an economy that is putting people back to work in record numbers, that is producing jobs that at record numbers, and is creating wages at a record number. And yet, when you turn on the news in general, when you look at the "Washington Post" Web site, that`s not the story that you get see told every single day.
Despite now months of robust job creation, the story that you see is often tilting negative. And that`s, in part, because the Republican propaganda machine preys, they prey on the news media. And they`re biased towards both-sides-ism to try and take advantage of it and peddle their propaganda that everything is horrible, that there`s doom and gloom, that would that we`re all doing terribly, that America is broken.
But the data, the reality, the facts say otherwise. I`ll tell you, the media has got to stop falling for this Republican game and being played, because the facts say otherwise. The economy`s doing great. Yes, there are things that could be doing better. There`s challenges. There are always challenges.
But what Joe Biden has done with this economy coming out of a pandemic is nothing short of historic.
REID: And, Juanita, the other piece to it -- and I was talking with -- we were in this motorcade. And the lady who was driving us is from here. She`s native to Greenville, Mississippi.
And we were talking about the fact that people don`t really come to places like this. Part of the issue with our politics is it`s like 16 state politics. It`s just swing states. So, it`s 2022, so everybody goes to Michigan, everybody goes to Pennsylvania, and everybody goes to Wisconsin.
Nobody comes to Mississippi. But there are so many needs out here. And there are so many things that Democrats could do that would actually rouse voters in places where you have low voter turnout, but high percentages of black voters and younger voters who, in theory, could create more swing states.
What do you make of that, the fact that our politics is so limited, that people don`t come out and talk to folks like those in Greenville? Because I can tell you, right now, the people here are excited just to have the vice president of the United States here. We were seeing them on the side of the road waving.
It was like a holiday, because it`s so unusual. Your thoughts?
TOLLIVER: Joy, I think the vice president addressed it in your interview too, because she said, these people have needs, and we`re here to respond to those needs, whether it`s high-speed Internet access, whether it`s capital for small businesses.
And recognizing and responding to that in a 50-state approach, I think, is what Democrats should be doing more of. And we saw the benefits of that pay dividends just in Georgia in the 2021 Senate run-offs, where you have Democrats now taking control of the Senate to be able to advance the confirmation of someone like Judge Ketanji Brown, to be able to consider other pieces of legislation within the Biden agenda.
And that, I think, is the proof that Democrats have that intention and should be expanding it more, because it can pay dividends in states like Mississippi, where there is this energy -- where this is -- there are larger black populations that, let`s be real, have been marginalized and excluded for decades and decades and decades, just waiting to be addressed, waiting to have their needs met, so that they can provide that same political power to the party.
And I think the party is seeing that, again, after Georgia, and looking to advance that playbook in other states across the country.
REID: And, Michael, I -- listen, I know enough history -- I`m not a historian like you, but I know enough history to know that Mississippi...
BESCHLOSS: No, I know you do.
REID: ... actually was one of the most successful states in Reconstruction, right...
REID: ... because it was a majority black state.
REID: Before the Great Migration, this was a majority black state.
And they were the first to elect black people statewide after the Civil War. And Mississippi was a swing state in 1980. That`s why Ronald Reagan came down here...
REID: ... and did that horrific speech where he did his states` rights thing.
BESCHLOSS: Philadelphia, Mississippi.
REID: When did we get to the point -- absolutely.
When did we get to the point and how did we get to the point where politics became limited to like 15, 16 states?
BESCHLOSS: A lot of it had to do with the fact that Republicans embraced racists and white supremacists.
As you well know, before 1960, the Republicans had a better record on civil rights than the Democrats did, because the Democrats were a largely Southern white party.
The state in 1960 that went to John Kennedy by the biggest margin -- you may know this -- was the state that Juanita just mentioned. It was Georgia by about something like 65 percent. And that was not black people saying, we`re for Kennedy for civil rights. That was a state in which many black people could not vote. The majority could not.
These were white voters saying to Kennedy, we expect you to behave like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, other Democrats who stood against civil rights. That was pretty recent.
1964, Barry Goldwater said, he thought the Civil Rights Act, as you well know, Joy, was unconstitutional. And ever since then, in ways subtle and, in recent years, not so subtle, Republicans, especially in the South, have sent a message that, if racism lurks in your heart, and if you`re afraid of black people and others who might gain more influence in the country as their numbers rise and their influence rises, we`re the party that will keep that from happening.
It used to be said quietly. It`s now set out loud. Look at 1964. And you`re right about -- contrast the Reconstruction, when black people voted for black senators and other black officeholders before the middle of the 1870s. In 1964, Mississippi went for Barry Goldwater over Lyndon Johnson, the author of the Civil Rights Act, by something like 85 percent to 15.
This was not even a close race. This was 85 percent. It`s like an election in Nazi Germany or in Russia.
REID: Yes. And we still have a United States senator who said that he would have, had he been around then, opposed the Civil Rights Act.
His name is Rand Paul...
BESCHLOSS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
REID: ... who is up for reelection...
REID: ... against an African-American challenger.
And people in the Democratic Party, Juanita, will write that off and say, well, that`s Kentucky, that`s a red state. But you have somebody who is on the record of saying he would have been against the Civil Rights Act running against a movement candidate, and -- in the case of Charles Booker.
And I wonder if we`re just -- oh, I think we`re -- I think we`re out of time.
But, very quickly, is that a problem for the party? Do they need to start looking at those races and saying those are possible too? Super quick.
TOLLIVER: It`s absolutely a problem. And I think the Democratic Party needs to give Charles Booker the same energy they gave Amy McGrath, and do some major investments in the state of Kentucky...
TOLLIVER: ... so it can pay dividends in the long run.
Everybody is going to stick around, because we love this panel, and they`re going to stick around to play "Who Won the Week?"
That is next. Don`t miss it.
REID: We made it to Friday once again, folks, so now it is time to play "Who Won the Week?" There`s the song.
Back with me, Juanita Tolliver, Kurt Bardella, Michael Beschloss.
Juanita Tolliver, who won the week?
TOLLIVER: Nikole Hannah-Jones won the week for me, Joy, with her speech to the United Nations General Assembly marking the remembrance of the people harmed by the international slave trade.
And she did not mince words in front of this international community, where she called even the former nations that were driving the slave trade and driving colonization globally, and said that the descendants of Africans deserve reparations, and it`s long past time for it.
I particularly also appreciated her giving humanity for enslaved Africans and highlighting the fierce resistance that enslaved Africans put up globally throughout the slave trade and slavery writ large.
REID: Amen, amen. That`s a good one.
Kurt Bardella, you got to be a good one. Who won the week?
BARDELLA: I think that the deaf community, the hard-of-hearing community won the week.
Here, you had this amazing moment, a groundbreaking moment, where a community that has historically struggled to literally and figuratively be heard won the biggest prize at the Academy Awards, had this amazing opportunity to draw in people who have never even thought to watch a film about deaf people be awarded the most prized and prestigious award in all of film and television.
BARDELLA: And we don`t have many moments where we can culturally talk about something like that. And so I just think it was just an amazing thing to happen...
BARDELLA: ... that this community had this moment on Sunday night.
REID: Wonderful answer.
Michael Beschloss, this is a tough night. Who won the week?
BESCHLOSS: I am happy to say Zelenskyy and democracy.
We were talking six weeks ago. Would any of us have imagined that Zelenskyy would still be standing there and Ukrainians would be winning a war against the vastly militarily superior Russians?
For me, it`s almost like something out of the Bible that tells you important things about human nature.
Plus, two things.
BESCHLOSS: Donald Trump seeing the end of his political career.
REID: You can get an amen, yes.
BESCHLOSS: He is discredited as someone who is in bed with a war criminal. Plus, Americans, seeing Zelenskyy in Ukraine, now know what democracy means.
BESCHLOSS: A lot who were on the fence may see things a little different.
I cannot beat that. This is going to be the rare occasion where I`m going to let this wonderful panel win.
All of you won the week. Thank you so much for being with me for this wonderful, very special show. Juanita Tolliver, Kurt Bardella, Michael Beschloss, all of you won the week.
That is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.