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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 6/23/21

Guests: Tressie McMillan Cottom, David Jolly, Phillip Atiba Goff, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Tom Perez


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs a law to stop student indoctrination and vows to defund colleges for being too liberal. A 49- year-old grandmother from Indiana pleaded guilty for illegally demonstrating in the Capitol Building. President Joe Biden unveils his plan to take on the rise on violent crime in the U.S. Tom Perez launches his bid for governor of Maryland.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: He once again earned the dishonor of being the absolute worst. And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. And you know what happens now. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN. A rising Republican star orders the thought police to college campuses.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I know a lot of parents, one of the things they worry about, you know, if you send a kid to a university, you know, are they just going to basically be indoctrinated.

HAYES: Tonight, the new law that would defund colleges for not being Republican enough, and a new low for a bankrupt political party.

Then, today`s key plea agreement at the epicenter of January 6 prosecutions as an accused Oath Keeper cuts a deal and cooperates.

Plus, the White House takes on rising gun violence in America and why President Biden is in a unique position to do something about it.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re not going to change the constitution, we`re enforcing it.

HAYES: And former DNC Chair Tom Perez and the state of the Dems and his big announcement about running for office when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. You know, ever since human beings started congregating in institutions of what we would call higher learning, colleges, universities, even monasteries, conservatives, traditionalists have been freaked out by just what dangerous ideas are being shared there.

I mean, really, the whole dangerous ideas are coming out of universities is literally as old as universities themselves. It has been the core reactionary concern for millennia. Just like everything else, this old thing is new again, which brings us to the most recent republican freak-out in Florida, which, as you may have heard, has the governor there, Ron DeSantis calling the creepy thought police to campus.

He just signed a bill that will, and I quote here, "Require public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty, and staff about the beliefs and viewpoints to support intellectual diversity." Not only that, he has gone on to suggest that budget cuts could take place if schools are found to be "indoctrinating their students," which is to say, one imagines, if those surveys don`t produce the right answers for DeSantis and his buddies.

Now, on its face, this is a pretty outrageous use of state power to converse and coheres the beliefs and views of people by surveilling that, right, and threatening them to punish them if they have the wrong views. I mean, Ron DeSantis is claiming the mantle of freedom of conscience and free speech, but what he is doing here is just quite literally the opposite of that.

I mean, it didn`t take very long for the masks to fall off all these folks like DeSantis who pretend to care a lot about free speech to start essentially suppressing it or compelling it when it doesn`t say what they want. Whether it`s in bills in state houses looking to ban teaching about certain aspects, the history of racism and structural white supremacy in this country, which is what at least 22 states are doing or already have done. Or DeSantis himself saying he will require students to get instruction on the "evils of communism."

OK, but to me, the most fascinating and revealing part of this has to do with the politics that are driving it all, politics that are at the center of this moment. And Ron DeSantis said this thing when he announced this yesterday that to me, was kind of a tell.


DESANTIS: I know a lot of parents, one of the things they worry about, you know, if you send a kid to a university, you know, are they just going to basically be indoctrinated? Are they actually going to be taught to think for themselves, challenge assumptions, and really be critical thinkers and learners? We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor. We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology.


HAYES: Well, let`s talk about the word indoctrination there, right? It`s kind of always in the eye of the beholder. I mean, DeSantis clearly does not think it is indoctrination the bad thing to teach kids that communism bad -- is bad as a state mandate. That`s just education, right? And I have no doubt the concern expressed here by Governor DeSantis is real.

Here`s what I mean. Because there is something happening in American politics around education, specifically higher education that is one of the prime drivers of the politics of this moment. So, first of all, there`s the generational aspect, right, which is that young people going off to college and then coming out of college and into the workforce are the most left- leaning generational cohort by far. It shows up in exit poll after exit poll. A recent study published by the American Enterprise Institute that found that across 55 schools, only 26 percent of the surveyed students are conservative to some degree, and half of the students are liberal in some capacity.

And I imagine there are pro-Trump parents with MAGA hats, right, in places like Naples, Florida, who are genuinely terrified that when their 18-year- old goes off to Florida State, they`re going to come back not being super psyched about their parents political views. It`s a real thing that happens in the world. I`m sure parents have said that to Ron DeSantis at some fundraiser. It`s a microcosm of a bigger thing which is more of a generational which is that our politics are increasingly dividing along the lines of education.

Even when you control for other things, right, and some demographics across race or income, people with higher levels of education are more liberal. Those with less education are more conservative. Pew Research, in fact, found that from 2015 to 2019, the share of Republicans and those who lean Republicans saying colleges have a negative effect on the country went from 37 percent to 59 percent. This educational divide is particularly sharp among white people.

In 2020, Joe Biden won 51 percent of white college graduates, while getting 32 percent of support from white non-college graduates, right? Big divide. We see that educational divide every election night when we look at the maps of the different regions or areas or neighborhoods where votes are coming across the country.

Here`s just one at random right. Here`s Indiana. Basically, all red except a few blue -- a few blue spots where you have the big city, Indianapolis, right? And what else? Oh, the college towns, University of Indiana, and Notre Dame. So, there`s a real thing Governor Ron DeSantis is putting his finger on, right? These colleges, people go into them, they come out liberals. What`s going on>?

Except the solution for it is a perfect example of the kind of cultish authoritarianism in the modern Republican Party under Donald Trump. They have a political problem. Clearly, right, winning over college educated voters. Political problem winning over young voters, particularly those coming out of college in record numbers, by the way, right, because college attainment levels keep going up and up and up every year.

So, what do you do about that? Well, as opposed to thinking about what that would mean for reformulating the party either in its substance or its message, the solution they come up with is to just take the sledgehammer of the state, to the institutions of higher education. You see this everywhere you look now with the Republican Party, it`s a party that is incredibly strong and robust. It`s a party that controls more than 54 percent of all local state legislative seats across the country. It dominates, absolutely dominate huge swaths of America.

And yet, the Republican Party has lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight elections, seven of the last eight elections, failed to attain a plurality or a majority. And so, they have given up on figuring out how to appeal to a majority of the country. Instead, the modus operandi now is trying to find ways to use the power they have within their circles, right, to entrench their power even if they can`t reach out. That`s the logic behind voter suppression. That`s the logic behind voter suppression. If we reduce turnout, if we make it harder to vote, well, then we can win without persuading new people to join our coalition.

It`s the logic on display in this Florida bill, which is rather than try to figure out how to appeal to this court, these people were moving from colleges and coming out liberals, right, college-educated voters who are moving away from us, let`s just try to coerce these institutions with the possible threat of budget cuts into enforcing some kind of ideological with rigidity and litmus test.

It`s particularly ironic for Governor DeSantis who is in the state of Florida has been a fairly deft as a political operator, appealing to some of the people Donald Trump has alienated. I mean, as recent as last month, more than half of Floridians approved the job he`s doing, right? In that sense, he`s negotiated the politics of Florida pretty well.

But here`s the thing, he has national aspirations. This is what the National Party demands, which is why we go to war on the libs and all their institutions. Institutions that now apparently include the United States military which we will have more on later, because that`s the version of the modern Republican Party, right?

The party of the 45th President, the previous president, has made it a party of the 47 percent. That`s Trump`s vote percentage, 47%. Now, how do you govern the 47 percent in a democracy, right, where you need a majority? How to use the power from 47 percent to protect your power? How do you give up on winning majority of voters, but keep power in your hands with a minority? That is the focus of the republican party at this moment.

David Jolly is a former Republican congressman who represented Florida from 2014 to 2017. Tressie Mcmillan Cottom is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of the book, Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy. And they both join me now.

Tressie, you`ve written and thought a lot about the politics of education, particularly higher education. I`m just curious what you -- when I heard DeSantis say parents are telling me they`re worried, I heard a real complaint that he has heard from parents which is this idea that this is what happens. We have our precious little kids and we bring up our values and they go to colleges and they come back without them.

TRESSIE MCMILLAN COTTOM, RESEARCH PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: I don`t doubt that that is a real concern. But a real concern that has been --that has been directed at DeSantis does not make it a legitimate concern, one grounded in reality. And that`s the distinction. Look, Chris, we have two things happening here. We have (AUDIO GAP) campaign and a disinformation campaign. And we`ve seen the merging of these two things come together in the moral panic over critical race theory, right?

So, on one hand, you`ve got the misinformation campaign which mischaracterizes a legitimate subfield of academic study, right? Critical race theory has its tenets, has its proponents, has its scholarship. It is, however, not taking over higher education curriculums. Arguably, economics perhaps has done that, but not critical race theory is legitimate, but it is not the central work of most institutions of higher education today.

But the misinformation campaign confuses people about the legitimate tenets of what critical race theory means. Then you got the disinformation campaign. That`s the campaign that labels any idea that the conservatives find disagreeable as critical race theory. This misinformation and disinformation campaign, as you so eloquently pointed out, is the sort of like last, you know, gasp of a powerful party that is still, however, intellectually impotent, right?

And an intellectually impotent ideology and party, you know what it`ll do, Chris? When it cannot win, it will cheat. It will cheat. And so, if you cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas, what you fundamentally do is what DeSantis is doing. You ask the market protectionism, right? It doesn`t want to compete against ideas about learning about poverty or learning about the real history of this nation or global capitalism, so it wants to cheat. That is consistent with modern-day Republican politics, but it is inconsistent with intellectual ism.

HAYES: That is very, very, very well put. David, you know, the sort of -- the anxiety here and this driving fact that education polarization increasingly is one of the big stories of American politics, it`s actually story across the entire OECD world, right? It`s happening in all kinds of places. It`s amazing for me to watch Republicans turn against colleges en mass, right, as a cultural thing. I mean, you`ve got parents who are middle class, upper-middle class, affluent folks, who like I want my kids go to college, who are now turning against the institution, like what, I don`t like this thing.

DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN FROM FLORIDA: Yes, Chris, look, each week brings to continue to affirmation that the Republican playbook for 2022 will be culture wars. It will be a war on education. It`ll be descriptions of critical race theory. It will be issues around immigration and crime. And in large part, they will manufacture these anxieties and Republicans will follow along.

I find it fascinating that Governor DeSantis said the premise of this is that parents worry about their kids going to college and being indoctrinated. I would suggest that if parents feel secure in their beliefs, and in the beliefs they`ve instilled in their children, if they feel secure in the beliefs of their family, they`re OK with those beliefs being challenged.

In fact, the greatest value in public education would be teaching their own children to think critically, to be confronted by diverse ideology, diverse thought. And so, I would suggest if the governor was securing his own beliefs and his own convictions, and if of the nine people in that frame, if all eight white men and the one white woman felt secure about their convictions in the way they brought up their children, I think they would welcome that diversity of thought that occurs in our college campuses.

That`s not what`s at play here. It is performative politics and it is geared towards `22. It is geared towards Ron DeSantis` presidential run. And Chris, I will say one thing about Ron DeSantis` presidential run. Ron DeSantis is more successfully executing Trumpism than Donald Trump himself has.

HAYES: Totally.

JOLLY: He absolutely has. He may not be the next president of the United States, but when there is a next Republican President, I do believe it`ll be Ron DeSantis.

HAYES: I think that`s very -- that`s true. I will also note that like this is -- at one level of certainty, but the other level, like genuinely creepy when the survey start going around here. The professor was like ask -- answer your views as like polled by the state which is surveilling them.

You know, I want to play this bit of sound which is adjacent to this, which is, you know, I opened the show by saying, look, conservatives are traditionalist worrying about the universities is as old as millennial, OK. But turning this same kind of cultural thing on the military is remarkable to me. Like, they have now -- now the argument is no, another bastion of like, woke radicalism in America is the Pentagon. And this was this was the subject of an exchange today with Mark Milley who`s the Army General at a hearing today. Take a listen to what he had to say.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I do think it`s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. And the United States Military Academy is a university, and it is important that we train and we understand -- and I want to understand white rage, and I`m white and I want to understand it.

So, what is it that cause thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here. And I do want to analyze it. It`s important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guardians, they come from the American people. So, it is important that the leaders now and in the future do understand it.

I`ve read Mao Zedong. I`ve read -- I`ve read Karl Marx. I`ve read Lenin. That doesn`t make me a communist. So, what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend? And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned and noncommissioned officers of being, "woke" or something else because we`re studying some theories that are out there.

That was started at Harvard Law School years ago. And it proposed that there were laws in the United States, antebellum laws prior to the Civil War that led to a power differential with African Americans that were three-quarters of a human being when this country was formed. And then we had a civil war, an emancipation proclamation to change it. And we brought it up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took another 100 years to change that.

So, look I do want to know. And I respect your service, and you and I are both Green Berets, but I want to know. And it matters to our military and the discipline and cohesion of this military.


HAYES: One note, Matt Gaetz definitely not a Green Beret. I think he has a green brain partying. But I just thought like, that was a pretty good distillation of the response, Tressie.

COTTOM: I thought it was excellent. I can`t believe I find myself agreeing with the general, but pretty much captured not only what critical race theory is, but why it is important to both the intellectual endeavor and to public life. And this is an important turn that I think Democrats are going to have to make that I don`t think that they have yet made for various reasons. But critical race theory is anti. It is performative massive resistance, right? It`s in that grand tradition.

It is against a long list of things. What the general did there that is actually I think, really good politics, and just really good for the health of public debate is that he made an affirmative case for what critical race theory contributes to public life.


COTTOM: And I think more people are going to have to do that, more politicians are going to be called on the carpet to do it, and it cannot just be people of color. It has to be someone -- the most powerful thing he said there to my mind was, I`m white and this matters to me. I think people need to see that happen in public discourse.

HAYES: I will note that in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces, the two most deadly wars they fought were against enemies committed to the cause of white supremacy and racial superiority. It`s probably a good thing to study. David Jolly and Tressie McMillan Cottom, thanks so much for making time.

JOLLY: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: So far, some of the most serious changes related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol involve the Oath Keepers with 16 members of the extremist group facing conspiracy charges. Remember that footage of them walking up in the Capitol, there`s now still a lot of we don`t know about what they were planning and who was involved, but that may be about to change.

That`s because today in a federal court, we learned that one of the so- called Oath Keepers is now cooperating with the government. We`ll talk about what that means next.


HAYES: Back in the end of May, Republicans blocked bipartisan legislation to form a commission to investigate what happened on January 6 when a mob of people attack the U.S. Capitol. Since then, there`s been an open question as to whether House Democrats who of course hold the majority would take matters into their own hands and essentially empanel their own investigation.

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she`s looking at creating a select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Her office did clarify she would still prefer a bipartisan commission and that she will announce her decision this week. I wouldn`t hold my breath on the bipartisan commission.

And as the fallout from that fight plays out in Capitol Hill, federal prosecutors are moving forward with cases against the nearly now up to 500 people charged in connection with the attack. And today, in Washington D.C. courtroom, a first, the very first sentencing of one of the rioters, a 49- year-old grandmother from Indiana who pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating in the Capitol Building. She received three years of probation, 40 hours of community service, and a $500 fine.

We also saw the first guilty plea in one of the government`s conspiracy cases connected to the riot. 54-year-old Graydon Young pleaded guilty to conspiring with other members of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers and also to a charge of obstructing Congressional proceedings. He is now cooperating with prosecutors who agreed to drop four other charges against him.

More video evidence continues to come out day by day by day. This new video released today is part of the government`s evidence against Brian Mock, a Minnesota resident. You can see him in a hood wearing a backpack right there and shoving an officer to the ground right there.

Scott MacFarlane is an investigative reporter NBC4 Washington. He has been knee-deep in these cases and all these developments. And he joins me now. Scott, let`s first start with what the expectations were going into that first sentencing today and where they kind of came out based on where those expectations might have been, what we`ve learned from it.

SCOTT MACFARLANE, NBC4 WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, I think we learned Chris, this is a very impactful day. It was a really good day for the prosecutors and a really bad day for defendants. Here`s why. Anna Morgan Lloyd, 49-years-old, a grandmother from Indiana, walked into court today pleaded guilty to the lowest of charges, unlawful parading and picketing. She apologized to the American people. She said that she was surprised by the savagery of January 6. No criminal history, no evidence she assaulted anyone, no evidence she damaged anything or incited anyone, and her sentence is exactly what the federal prosecutors wanted. Three years probation and continued supervision.

If in this case, what seems to be among the lowest of the low cases, the Feds got what they wanted. Perhaps it sends a message, Chris, to the other nearly 500 defendants of what awaits them.

HAYES: What`s the significance of the Oath Keepers aspect of this and real cooperation now on a conspiracy charge where, you know, there -- obviously, there`s going to be a ton of different people. They`re going to plea, they`re going to get various, I think, sentences depending on the severity of what they did. But the question here of like a broader case that moves up a chain of organization, what`s the significance of that plea and the cooperation?

MACFARLANE: Yes, this is another reason why it`s a good day for the prosecutor. Gradon Young at this point is the high watermark of the prosecutors, the first person charged with conspiracy to plead guilty. Another Oath Keeper pleaded guilty, but this is one of the Oath Keepers, one of the groups facing a conspiracy charge. He agrees to cooperate with the prosecutors, agrees to testify before the grand jury. That should send a chill down the spine of a lot of other defendants. We have a cooperator who`s right there in the heart of the case.

The FBI director has been quite clear about this. There are different tiers in this federal investigation. One tier includes all the people unlawfully in the building. We didn`t hurt anybody or assault anyone, the other tier, those who were violent, those who conspired those who were equipped. The Fed say the Oath Keepers didn`t just show up January 6, that they conspired and planned, came with military gear, came with encrypted signal communications, formed a military stack to breach the Capitol. One of those people is now cooperating with the feds, Chris.

HAYES: This -- who is running this? Is this just the local district D.C. frontline assistant U.S. attorneys who are sort of coordinating all of this?

MACFARLANE: It`s a little bit of both. Yes, this is all coming through the Washington D.C. federal courthouse which, not coincidentally, is right there on Capitol Hill. But because there are so many cases coming into such a small courthouse, they`re bringing in extra help. So, you have prosecutors from other jurisdictions coming in to deal with the backlog or the choke point of cases.

What`s more, you have other federal defenders coming in. There`s only so many federal defenders, less than 12 in D.C. You need the outside resources because of the tonnage of cases.

HAYES: Yes. I can imagine this is like -- it`s like trying to, you know, watch the snake swallow the pig. Like there`s only so much throughput that any of these systems have, 500 defendants, again, in very high stakes cases here where you also want to like make really sharp distinctions between the different levels of action people took.

MACFARLANE: There`s a huge spectrum, Chris. And we saw it today. We saw one of the most serious high-profile defendants and one of the lesser defendants. But in both cases, in both cases, the feds got what they wanted.

HAYES: Scott MacFarlane who really has been an indispensable resource on covering this story, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Coming up, the President`s response to rising violent crime across the country and why he`s in a unique position to do something about it.


HAYES: One of the most fascinating aspects of the Biden presidency is that this man as president is a kind of time capsule of American politics over the last like, five decades, right, elected at 30, serving at 78. Back in the late 1980s, the early 1990s, as interpersonal violence and recorded crimes were skyrocketing up, Joe Biden was one of the people who was leading the push among Democrats to "get tough on crime" and to appropriate the law and order politics of Richard Nixon to their own ends.


BIDEN: I know it`s hard to believe, but this very day, violent drug offenders will commit more than 100,000 crimes on this day alone. And the sad part is it that we have -- we have no more police in the streets of our major cities than we had 10 years ago.

There are people who are saying, by the way, why are these predators on our streets? Why don`t you put them away for a long time? Well, let me define the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now for 60 new death penalties. That`s what`s in this bill. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is 400,000 cops. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 125,000 new state prison cells.

It doesn`t matter whether or not they`re the victims of society. The end result is they`re about to knock my mother on the head with a lead pipe, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, taken on my son`s. So, I don`t want to ask what made them do this. They must be taken off the street.


HAYES: You really get a full sense there of the rhetoric, right, the rhetorical pitch, the messaging there, the view of how to deal with this. So, in the mid-1990s, as crime became this historic fall, right, from over 750 violent crimes per 100,000 people at its peak, to ultimately less than half that by 2014. Democrats bragged about the crime bill which Biden helped write as one of their great accomplishments. They`ve practically put it on their business cards.

But then, also, by 2020, the U.S. had four percent of the world`s population and nearly 25 percent of the entire world prisoners. The vast criminal industrial complex was swallowing entire families and communities and generations in misery, not to mention state budgets. Violence and unemployability resulted. The punishing racial disparities made the entire system look a lot like, as author Michelle Alexander famously called it, just a new Jim Crow.

And new reform movement began to push for decarceration, non-police solutions for violence. And by the early parts of that 2020 presidential Democratic primary, Biden was on the defensive over what had once been a signature accomplishment in his own mind.


BIDEN: This idea that the crime bill generated mass incarceration, it did not generate mass incarceration. What happened is the mass incarceration occurred by the states setting mandatory sentences.

HAYES: I mean, that`s partly true. But remember, that was the guy waving around the bill was saying there can be 125,000 new state prison cells, right? Then, of course, came George Floyd`s murder and the largest civil rights street protests in a generation in a year of pandemic and a rupture of everyday life like we`ve never seen one that coincided with the single- largest one year spike in homicides since 1968. One study showed homicide rates were up 30 percent in 2020 from 2019. Aggravated assault and gun assault rates in 2020 were six percent, eight percent higher respectively.

This year, as far as we can tell, and the data is really patchy for all sorts of frustrating reasons, crime numbers appear to be on the same pace, at least violent crime specifically and most importantly. And despite the opportunistic rhetoric on the topic from proponents of mass incarceration, those increases happen in cities almost uniformly no matter what their policies were or whether they had district attorneys who are criminal justice performers or not, or whether they added to or took away from police budgets.

And so, now many voices, both Republicans and Democrats and more than a fair share pundits are looking to revive the old politics of law and order. That`s where we are. And so today, President Biden came forward to offer remarks on one of the most fraught subjects in his own history in the nation`s history and at this pivotal moment, how to ensure our fellow Americans are secure from violence in a nation where violence is common, while not consigning millions of our fellow Americans to a quasi-permanent existence behind cages. How he plan to try to balance those key imperatives, next.



BIDEN: I`ve been at this a long time. And there are things we know that work to reduce gun violence and violent crime and things that we don`t know about. But things we know about, school is off for the summer, teenagers are in tough neighborhoods, note, who aren`t up neighborhoods, no jobs, more trouble.

We know summer job training -- summer jobs, training, and recreation for young people work to help make sure young people pick up a paycheck instead of a pistol.


HAYES: Today, President Biden laid out his plan to address the nation`s surge in gun violence calling for more funding for law enforcement, a ban on assault weapons, and renewed investment in community violence intervention, jobs programs like the one he mentioned there. Now, Biden has been in national politics for nearly half a century and we`ve seen him evolve quite a bit on the right way to decrease violent crime, gun crime, interpersonal violence. He`s now land on an approach that is a kind of, I don`t know, all of the above includes increasing employment opportunities as a preventative measure as well as a way to help formerly incarcerated people reenter communities.

Phillip Atiba Goff is the co-founder and CEO of Centre for Policing Equity, a professor of African American Studies and Psychology at Yale University. Brittany Packnett Cunningham is a former member of President Obama`s 21st Century Policing Task Force, and now the host of the podcast Undistracted. And they join me now.

I know both of you have been thinking about these issues for a long time. I just want to start, Phillip, with what your reaction was to the outline of the -- what the President laid out today.

PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Yes, so you call it sort of an everything and sort of all hands on deck sort of thing. And I got to say, there`s a number of organizers that we work with who are, frankly, terribly disappointed by it. The number -- the amount of money that`s going towards new law enforcement, increases in law enforcement at a time when law enforcement got about as high budget as ever had, and still we`re seeing violence go up, that`s going to be disappointing.

In addition, the kinds of services that are necessary to prevent the need for law enforcement in the first place, that`s not just community violence interventions, that`s also mental health, substance abuse, child welfare, homelessness services, all of those things we also know work. We don`t need to put just evidence-based by it. There`s scientific consensus around the fact that you can prevent violence by giving people the resources they need. Those don`t show up here.

And also, we`re talking about potentially billions of dollars going towards organizations like Life Camp run by Erica Ford, by community organizations that have actually been doing this for a long time. So, there`s good in this, and there`s rough stuff in this.

But I`ll say it`s a little bit dispiriting, but not just the stuff that`s not in here, it`s the timing of it. It feels to many folks as if the only time that we`re paying attention to violence is when there`s black bodies on the ground or there`s one political party saying the other political party isn`t doing enough and not enough sustained attention in the middle. So, my hope is that we can break that trend after we`re past this moment.

HAYES: Brittany, what do you think?

BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, HOST, UNDISTRACTED PODCAST: I couldn`t agree with Phil more. That tends to be the case. Look, I think what`s really frustrating here is that we hear the White House say that handling crime and transforming public safety don`t have to be mutually exclusive. And I agree. In fact, if crime prevention and community support is done correctly, they are complimentary.

But I worry that in a plan like this, these historic levels of investment and hiring more police officers and expanding police budgets, will actually undermine the kind of investments that we`re seeing in community-based interventions and the work that people like Eric Ford and Pastor Michael McBride are doing.

They commissioned a study, those organizations commissioned to study under the coalition LiveFree and 68 percent of community members want federal funding going toward community-based solutions first. People want for the federal government to really understand that the resources we are asking for are not a radical idea. And Chris, it should not be radical to invest in what we know works, community-based intervention, gun control, direct relational interventions, public health approaches, well-funded social services. Those are things that actually work.

And that shouldn`t be a radical idea, especially, especially if those funds come from bloated police budgets which continue to be an institution that`s not actually giving a good return on that investment. They sell themselves as being able to prevent and solve crime, and over the years have simply not done a good job of that. There`s no reason why we should keep trying the same thing and expecting a different result.

HAYES: You know, James Forman, a professor at Yale Law, colleague at Yale wrote this amazing book in 2017, won the Pulitzer, called Locking Up Our Own, about the sort of politics of African American voters and community groups and the great crime surge and mass incarceration.

One of the points he makes in that book quite well is that there were these calls from neighborhoods that were really undergoing tremendously traumatic levels of interpersonal violence for more police presence and also a lot more community investment. And when it got to the state legislature, like they got the cops and none of the community investment.

This is like a very old story, right? Like this sort of both end and then it`s like, well, we`ll get to that and later. And I guess the question for you, Phillip is like, when I talk to policing people on this, right, their whole thing always is, look, I can`t control the level of investment, I just got to -- we got to police our way out of it. Like, you know, no one is going to get an argument from me of the west side of Chicago, you know, where east side of Baltimore is underinvested. Like, clearly, it has been for 70 years. But I just got to go out there and do my job, so don`t talk to me about all this sort of like, liberal investment stuff.

GOFF: Yes. Well, I mean, on some level, they got a point. If you want to complain about the way the budgets are apportioned, it doesn`t make sense to go to the people who got the money, you should go to the people who are making decisions about where the money goes. And so, when I talk to police chiefs and union folks, they say the same thing. We can only watch what`s in front of us.

And so, I think that`s exactly right. Because part of what we got to do right now, we got to change the logic of what is the problem and how do we get out. If the problem is that some folks just love to crime and what do you need to stop that is police, well, then this is exactly the right set of things and, you know, tough on crime is the right way to go. But if the problem is we`ve given a bunch of people terrible options, and they make some choices within that, well, then we got to change their options. And that`s the root cause of violence.

Nobody thinks that the root cause of violence is just simply no cops around because then we have problems in Bridgeport the same way that we have in Boston.

HAYES: Brittany, where do you see the -- I mean, there are a lot of people I`ve talked to in this sort of activist world, organizer world who are worried about the conversation on crime because we -- you know, I mean, I lived -- I wrote a whole book about it in 2017 called A Colony in a Nation which is about like, watching the crack panic of New York City when I was 13-years-old in my city when there were really were like, a crazy number of homicides. It really did get very dangerous in New York. And it turned into the machinery that produced the kind of mass incarceration state that we now have.

CUNNINGHAM: Yes. I mean, the great irony here is that we have a lot of people setting prescriptions for communities that they are not part of. And then when those communities actually speak up for ourselves, people don`t want to invest in the solutions that we have built. The fact of the matter is, we actually can have safe communities from the ground up if we get to these root issues that Phil is talking about.

And organizers, activists, that is all we have been pushing for. We want safe streets. We want safe communities. Many activists and organizers in this movement are survivors of criminal activity ourselves. The fact of the matter is, we know personally what this feels like. And still we believe that safe communities does not mean locking more of our people up. Safe communities actually means investing in our people.

So, we are frankly very tired of being the punching bag and the punch line of far too much political rhetoric that blames us for things that are not our fault, and fails to spotlight the continued abandonment of our communities. We want to get to these root issues probably more than most people. And we want to actually make sure that the funding and resources that we deserve to do that are had by our communities.

HAYES: Phillip Atiba Goff, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, it would be great to have you guys back to keep this conversation going. This is not going anywhere. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Ahead, former DNC Chair Tom Perez made a big announcement today about his political future. He is here to talk about it next.


HAYES: The 2020 election was crazy and historic for lots of reasons. We`re in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic. And despite that, and Republican efforts to make it harder to vote, Americans voted in record numbers. More ballots were cast in 2020 than in any other election in the past 120 years. And Joe Biden won with the most votes ever cast for presidential candidate, more than 81 million.

Man who oversaw that the Democratic Party is Tom Perez, former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Perez rose to national prominence in the Obama administration when he served as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, and then his Secretary of Labour.

Now, he is getting back to local state politics. He is announced he`s running for governor of Maryland, seeking to replace the outgoing Republican Governor Larry Hogan who is term-limited out. And Tom Perez joins me now.

Tom, we`ve had you on the program a bunch of times. I`ve followed your work for a long time. You know, elected politics -- I`ve been talking to people about like whether they want to run for office. And it`s interesting to talk to people that, even people who are interested in public life, have done a lot of stuff. Like there`s a lot of downsides of running for office. You`ve dial for dollars a lot. There`s a lot of -- there`s a lot of things that keep people away from it. Like, why did you want to run for office?

TOM PEREZ (D-MD), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: The opportunity to make a difference here in Maryland are unlimited. I want to run for governor -- I`m running for governor because I want to make sure that every Marylander can realize their full potential. I want to make sure that we`re punching above our weight as a state, not punching below our weight.

The National reckoning on race, Chris, is taking place here in Maryland. And I`ve spent my entire life as you know fighting for economic justice and racial justice. And these are the things we want to do in Maryland. And we have a Democratically controlled Senate, a Democratically controlled house, and they`ve done heroic work, but they need a dance partner so that we can go even further, so that we can combat climate change, implement educational reforms, making sure people have a good job.

And I want to bring my experience, my proven track record of accomplishment to bear. And when you can help people at scale, that`s what it`s all about, making sure people can succeed.

HAYES: You know, there`s three Republican governors in the sort of eastern seaboard of the country who are in states that are very Democratic at the national level. You got Phil Scott in Vermont, Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, and Larry Hogan who`s leaving Maryland. Hogan has been remarkably popular in your state, which is like a plus 30 Democratic state. Why is that the case? What have you figured out about why he has been so popular and what does that mean for this race?

PEREZ: Well, Larry Hogan has spoken out against Donald Trump and I appreciate what he has done. But Larry Hogan has also underperformed in so many areas. Look at our blueprint for educational equity and educational reform. That is a dramatic blueprint to reform public education in our state, and he vetoed it and the Democrats had to override it.

Martin O`Malley, 10 years ago, was the national leader on offshore wind. And then Larry Hogan came, and now we`ve been overtaken by other states. And so, I really believe -- and again, I appreciate that Larry Hogan spoke out against Donald Trump. So did I. I work for four years to get rid of Donald Trump and elect Democrats. But we need to do more. And we`re punching below our weight here as the state.

And so I believe now with Donald Trump not on the ticket, you know, people are going to be looking for leaders who can move the needle on the issues that matter most. We are a purple state, Chris, and there`s no doubt about it. We`ve lost Democrats three out of the last five elections. And if people want to see the blueprint for success for Democrats in 2022, go to because we have that blueprint.

HAYES: I want to ask you, you recently joined a law firm in the Washington area. It`s a law firm that does a lot of practices. And like a lot of corporate law firms, one of those practices is labor law. Those tend to be management-side labor law. And often what that means is consulting to keep unions out particularly. Some people noted that that was on the Web site of the law -- the law firm you worked at and that you`re a former Labor Secretary and called yourself a proud union guy and thought, is he going over there to like help these clients bust unions? What`s your answer to that?

PEREZ: Of course not. And I`m working in a law firm that is Paul Sarbanes old law firm. Paul Sarbanes had a 100 percent labor record. I`m looking at the law firm that Kamala Harris` husband worked at for years. And some people asked Kamala whether she was going to be a challenge there.

I`m working there part-time. And frankly, in a year, when I win the governor`s race, then I will become a governor. And my record on union issues and my record for labor, I`m very proud today. We were at our rollout today, and we have a number of union leaders there with me. I`ve been fighting for unions my whole life.

When Verizon was on strike, Chris, who settled that strike? Tom Perez. When the West Coast Ports were on strike, we settled that strike. I went out there. And I firmly believe that when union succeeds, America succeeds. And my long track record, that`s what this race is about.

You know, we need governors who can make sure that we are delivering results. Vision is really important. And I`ve articulated my visions. But in addition, we need folks with the necessary experience, the proven track record of accomplishment. People in Maryland, are waiting six months to get their unemployment check, Chris. That is unconscionable. I`m going to make sure government works for you every single day.

HAYES: Quickly, with under a minute left to go. You`re going to -- you would be governor in a year from now, right, and it`s a midterm election. What do you anticipate being the biggest issue then? No one can see the future, but what do you see?

PEREZ: Sure. Well, we need to look at post-pandemic Maryland. There are many jobs that were existing two years ago that aren`t existing now or they`re existing in lesser numbers. So, we`ve got to train people for the jobs of the future. Health care is a huge issue. 25 percent of a COVID deaths in Maryland were attributable to the fact that people didn`t have health insurance. I want to make Maryland the first state in the country where everybody is insured, a huge issue.

Education, education, education is a very big issue. And we have the blueprint for reform. We`ve got to implement it. Those are the things that are on people`s mind.

HAYES: Tom Perez announcing he is running for governor of Maryland. Thank you so much for making some time tonight.

PEREZ: Always a pleasure.

HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.