Today, Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they would hold a hearing to examine the Texas abortion ban and the Supreme Court`s abuse of its shadow docket. Interview with Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Republican lawmakers are laying the ground work to overturn the next election, but a new report by "ProPublica" reveals how the effort is manifesting itself in unexpected ways.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to a special extended version of ALL IN. I am Chris Hayes.
This is day three of what is essentially the post Roe v. Wade era in America. For almost 50 years, the supporters of abortion rights, pro-choice forces, have been playing defense to protect abortion rights from a massive mobilized effort to destroy them. But in some ways the battle has switched literally overnight.
The Supreme Court basically waived through this Texas ban on abortion, so now the mobilization needs to switch in practical terms on the ground. Texas Republicans and the conservative justices on the Supreme Court have done something the majority of Americans do not want them to do.
I`m not even sure a majority of Texans would support this law, do support this law to be honest. I mean according to 2020 exit polling out of Texas, nearly 80 percent of voters think abortion should be legal, at least available in some instances. Only 15 percent say absolutely no abortions, which is pretty close to what this law does.
The law bans abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in the embryo, something that usually happens and six weeks, and that`s 18 weeks earlier than the legal standard set by Roe v. Wade in 1973 in that landmark 7-2 decision. It wasn`t a 5-4 decision, that Roe v. Wade decision. It was 7-2, easy enough to Google.
And banning abortions after six weeks means essentially banning all abortions because many women do not find out they are pregnant in the first six weeks. In fact, when you have a legal threat hanging over people, it is unclear anyone is going to perform any kind of abortion no matter how early.
Believe you me, right now in Texas, it is an almost certainty there`s a teenage girl somewhere in that state who is pregnant by her abuser or by a family member or by someone who sexually assaulted her, she might be 14 or 15, who cannot get an abortion. That is a near certainty.
There are likely thousands of women who are pregnant who now cannot get an abortion because there are no exemptions in this law, none. This is functionally the most extreme kind of ban, the first of its kind. Essentially it is a complete ban, no exceptions for rape or incest. It is not enforced by state government, the people elected to enforce laws. We don`t want citizens running around enforcing murder laws or anything like that, right?
No, it is enforced by private citizen bounty hunters with a $10,000 check being dangled by the Texas government.
To help carry out the new law, the state`s largest anti-abortion group put out this completely creepy dystopian tip line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need your help. If you are on the sidewalks at the abortion mills or if you hold evidence of an abortion occurring after the baby`s heartbeat is detectable, you can anonymously report that at prolifewhistleblower.com. That`s prolifewhistleblower.com.
You can stop abortion by protecting women and children from unsafe criminal abortions. Those who worship at the altar of child sacrifice tried to shut down prolifewhistleblower.com, but the site is functioning and awaiting your findings.
Through civil enforcement, the Texas Heartbeat Act escapes the talons of activist judges by relying on the public to enforce the law on any abortionist who commits an abortion after the child`s heartbeat is detected is liable to be sued by almost anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m going to say a few things about that. First of all, for a movement that talks about freedom and about how it is tyranny or Marxism to put a mask on, what would you describe a society in which your neighbors creep around spying on you to report out your health care decisions? Does that sound like a free society to you?
Now, I know it is hard to believe that video we played you is real. So is that e-mail. The group is trying to deputize private citizens to sue anyone who performs or aids an abortion or maybe intends to aid as the law says. The website she shared is for reporting people to be sued. Of course, it would be a shame if people spam it to complete ineffectiveness.
But this is all actually happening. I should tell you as we mentioned a couple of hours ago, a judge stopped that group with that incredible video from suing abortion providers and workers at Planned Parenthood under the new law. The ruling however does not affect the abortion ban in general. That`s still in place.
But again, things have changed now. It is incumbent upon people who value this right, whether they be rioters, intellectuals, activists, lawyers, voters, citizens, anyone who believes in the right to bodily autonomy and fully quality for women to fight this, to bring debate to the opposition to force them to defend this law.
We`re starting to see movement on that. A lot of people on the right recognize it is unpopular. They`ve opened themselves up. The law is indefensible. The mechanics of the law are indefensible. The actual law itself, complete abortion ban, as complicated as most people`s views on abortion might be, they are not complicated on how horrible the law is.
Today, Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they would hold a hearing to examine the Texas abortion ban and the Supreme Court`s abuse of its shadow docket.
Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii is a member of that committee and she joins me now.
Senator, what is the agenda for Senate Democrats to deal with this law?
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Well, one of the things they`re going to do is to have a hearing on the Supreme Court`s abuse of power by abusing the shadow docket to do what they did. They`re letting the Texas law stand. I`m glad you used the word "abused" because that`s exactly what the Supreme Court is doing.
HAYES: Speaker Pelosi said there will be a vote on a piece of legislation co-written by Ayanna Presley who was my guest on the program last night that would codify the Roe standard into law, into federal law. Is there appetite for that in the Senate? Obviously, we need to pass it in both houses for it to become law.
HIRONO: There`s an appetite for that and the companion bill that 48 Democratic senators signed. I am one of them. So when we have this hearing on the abuse of the shadow docket, what is going to come out I think is the need for Supreme Court reform and that --
HAYES: What do you mean by court reform?
HIRONO: Court reform, the fact we have a Supreme Court abusing its powers so we can talk about term limits for the Supreme Court, we can talk about applying ethics provisions to the Supreme Court, we can increase the number on the Supreme Court, we can cycle circuit court judges through the Supreme Court. So I think what is going to happen is when it comes to -- when it becomes obvious that the Supreme Court, which, by the way, has used the shadow docket 28 times during the Trump years and only four times during the entire Bush and Obama terms, this is an abuse.
So you use the shadow docket where you don`t have to even say who is voting, who is, you know, doing the position that uses the shadow docket and there`s no hearing. There`s nothing. So there`s no accountability they hope, but in this case we have four justices who filed dissents on what the five other justices did.
HAYES: Forty-eight, I can`t help but notice, is not 50.
HIRONO: That`s right.
HAYES: That seems to me -- well, that is sort of the issue, right? You have the filibuster but before you get to the filibuster, you can`t beat 52 votes with 48. I wonder if it changes the calculation of any of your Senate colleagues.
HIRONO: I hope so, because to me we need filibuster reform also. At least you have a shot at it if you don`t have to have 60 votes to codify Roe v. Wade at the federal level. We also need to codify it at the state level such as what the state of Hawaii did many years ago. There are a number of states that have codified Roe v. Wade.
That should be happening at the state level, which is why all of the people I see marching now in the streets, having awakened to what is happening to women all across the country, I hope that they will make sure that their states codify Roe v. Wade.
HAYES: Yeah, you make a good point here which is that in the same way that very conservative states have taken huge steps constantly to sort of push against abortion rights and abortion restrictions, there are opportunities for states that have elected representatives who believe in abortion rights to expand access and to enshrine and protect it.
HIRONO: Yes. And so this is why we need to be mobilized at all levels. It is not just Congress that can take action, but it is all of the state legislatures. And, as I said, when it becomes clear that this is actually a very activist, conservative Supreme Court where, you know, the rule of law and precedent out the window when they feel like it.
So Citizens United, that was -- you know, that opened the door to billions in dark money being spent in the Shelby County that has a major part of the voting rights law, to Janus which stymied the public sector unions and their ability to collect dues. These are all done by a very activist court peopled with folks like the Trump nominees, Trump appointees, all of whom I voted against.
HAYES: Do you think -- there`s polling that indicates liberals and Democrats think highly of this court, they think highly of John Roberts. They approve of the court. They particularly approve of John Roberts. What do you think about that?
HIRONO: John Roberts at least cares about the institution of the Supreme Court. I think he cares that the Supreme Court is not seen as just some kind of ideological right wing court. I think he cares about that. But his colleagues do not, and clearly, the three people that are the Trump appointees, they basically do not. They are very ideologically driven in my view.
HAYES: Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, thank you so much.
HIRONO: Thank you. Aloha.
HAYES: In 2017, even though Donald Trump Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress, they could not repeal the Affordable Care Act because of the intense public pressure whipped up by grassroots progressive groups like Indivisible, which took to the streets, called out their elected officials. So, what can people who support women`s rights do now?
Meagan Hatcher-Mays is director of democracy policy at Indivisible, and Amy Hagstrom Miller is the founder of Whole Woman`s Health. That`s the organization that challenged the Texas abortion ban in the Supreme Court and they both joined me now.
Amy, let me start with you because you are in Texas. There are so many people that want to do something, that feel so enraged and upset, rightly so, about this. What should they do? What should people who want to support you be doing?
AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, FOUNDER AND CEO, WHOLE WOMAN`S HEALTH: I think there`s a few things that we can ask people to do. The first would be to donate to Texas abortion funds that are helping folks get access to abortions in Texas and outside of Texas, AOC/ActBlue, and I think the other thing that seems a little more subtle but I think is extremely powerful is for us all to begin to talk about abortion through an affirmative, positive framework, about how access to safe abortion makes our communities healthier, how it has added value to people`s lifts, how people we know and love have had access to abortion that has made them be able to build and plan a future and to have healthy families.
I think that`s incredibly important. I think the Women`s Health Protection Act would be amazing, if we could use this momentum and this impetus to really get Congress to step in, and protect those of us who live in states where these kind of politics are constantly happening so that we can really secure the rights and really flesh out the full access for all people.
HAYES: Meagan, what do you see as the sort of points of pressure here to react to this?
MEAGAN THATCHER-MAYS, DIRECTOR OF DEMOCRACY POLICY, INDIVISIBLE: Yeah, I think Amy is right. You know, the best thing you can do is -- I mean the best thing Congress can do is pass the Women`s Health Protection Act. As Senator Hirono was saying, not only do we have all 50 Democrats on it but we don`t have a commitment from all 50 to change the rules to get it done. Yet again the filibuster is being used to block a popular thing from going into effect.
But more importantly, this court is a disaster. The way that this court is currently made up cannot continue. So there really needs to be a serious conversation, not just about the shadow docket which nobody knows what that is, but about the court itself. So I`m glad to hear that Senator Hirono said they would be looking at expanding the number of seats on the court because there`s no universe in which these six conservatives are going to wake up one day and say, wait, I changed my mind about reproductive health care, I changed my mind about abortion, I`m okay with it now.
This has been a 50-year-long project on the part of the right to get us to this moment and now they`re here.
They`re not going to just change their minds. There has got to be something done in Congress about this court, and so that is going to be a really critical piece of the fight beyond codifying Roe at the federal level, making sure we can keep it by adding seats to the Supreme Court.
HAYES: Amy, I want to ask you a question that you may not be at full liberty to discuss because of obviously the legal environment that you now find yourselves in because the Supreme Court has decided to allow this law to stand, but I will ask it anyway, which is what are the conversations among reproductive service providers like yourself like in Texas right now? What is your understanding of what you can and can`t do and are women -- are there any -- is there any place women are allowed to get abortions, can get abortions in Texas, or is the entire state essentially right now under a ban?
MILLER: I appreciate that question, Chris. It is complicated. I want folks to know that abortion is still legal in Texas, that clinics are still open all across the state including the four Holmes health clinics in Texas. We are offering care to the new legal limit of about six weeks into pregnancies and then we are also helping folks have ultra sounds and figure out how many weeks they might be into the pregnancy and trying to assist them to get the care that they deserve.
Nobody is more compassionate, more kind or more informed with the actual information that people need than the clinics in Texas and then the abortion funds in Texas to help people. There are some websites like Need an Abortion, and Avow and the Little Fund and a whole bunch of folks are keeping up the information that people need.
Our staff, our values, our commitment to this work hasn`t changed just because this law has changed. We have seen lots of people come in since this law was passed. Heartbreakingly, we have had to turn away quite a lot of people and it has been really, really difficult for our staff members who are there because of their commitment to this work, because of their commitment to the human rights and justice issue that is abortion, having to look people in the eyes and deny them care that they could provide just two or three days ago.
It is really -- it is really heartbreaking for all of us to be put in this position. It is unjust. It is cruel to put clinic workers and clinic staff in this position after all they have done during this pandemic as front line health care workers, to keep access to safe abortion available to people all across the state.
So I think it is encouraging to see how people are outraged. It is encouraged to see how many folks really know that this doesn`t represent the majority of people in Texas. This small group of people who are elected who have this power don`t represent the feelings and beliefs of the majority of people in this country, and surely not people in Texas. I think it is high time that the real Texas was paid attention to and our voices were heard, and we can respect and empower the activists on the ground in Texas who are doing some amazing work to bring about justice.
HAYES: All right. Meagan Hatcher-Mays and Amy Hagstrom Miller. Thank you both. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
MILLLER: Thank you so much.
HAYES: This week, "ProPublica" uncovered a widespread movement of hard-core Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists organizing to take over election. In a piece called "Heeding Steve Bannon`s call," election deniers organized to cease control of the GOP and reshape America`s elections. And here`s the thing, thousands have been successful.
Next, the amazing details in that piece with one of the reporters who broke the story. You don`t want to miss it.
HAYES: We have talked at length on this show about how the insurrection did not end on January 6th and how Republican lawmakers are laying the ground work to overturn the next election. But a new report by "ProPublica" reveals how the effort is manifesting itself in unexpected ways.
They report at the urging of former Trump adviser and pardon recipient Steve Bannon and others, thousands of Trump supporters have taken over local election positions in swing states across the country.
According to the report, quote, the new movement is built entirely around Trump`s insistence that the electoral system failed in 2020 and that Republicans can`t let it happen again. The result is a nationwide groundswell of party activists whose central goal is not merely to win elections but the reshape their machinery. They feel President Trump was rightfully elected president and it was taken from him, said Michael Barnett, the GOP chairman in Palm Beach County, Florida, who has enthusiastically added 90 executive committee members this year.
They feel their involvement in upcoming elections will prevent things like this happening again.
So, what does it mean for the 2022, 2024 elections?
Isaac Arnsdorf is one of the "ProPublica" reporters who broke this story and he joins me now.
Isaac, it`s a great piece of reporting. First, let`s just start with Bannon`s role in all of this, what he has been kind of fomenting explicitly that people heeded the call for.
ISAAC ARNSDORF, PROPUBLICA REPORTER: The idea here is that because the 2020 election was stolen, Trump supporters need to take over the Republican Party to prevent that from happening again, and people listening are probably thinking, well, wait a minute, take over the Republican Party? Doesn`t Trump already control the Republican Party?
But according to this version of history, the reason that Trump isn`t president anymore was not just the widespread fraud, that was just the beginning, but the seconds piece is that Trump was sold out by the Republican Party, by the state legislators who didn`t throw the Electoral College votes to Trump, by the Republican members of Congress who didn`t vote to overturn the Electoral College results on January 6th, but the senators who voted -- by the members of Congress who voted to impeach him for inciting the insurrection.
And, you know, people like Brad Raffensperger in Georgia who certified the election results that Trump insisted was fraudulent, and so the idea here is that they need to take over the party from the bottom up, from the local level, giving them the power to elect the party officers higher up the chain, at the county, district, state and national level.
They need to get rid of everyone like Brad Raffensperger who doesn`t agree that the election was stolen, and they need to use these party powers to pass new voting restrictions like the laws in Georgia and Arizona, to have more audits like the one in Arizona, to expand the role of Republican- controlled state legislatures in running elections and controlling the outcome of elections.
And the way that they do this is through these precinct positions, which, you know, most voters have probably never heard of before, but these are just the lowest level positions in the party organization and they`re the worker bees of the party, so to speak. They`re the ground game. They`re the field organization. They`re knocking on doors. They`re making phone calls.
But not only that, they have these formal powers that give them a direct role in how elections are run, and the details are a little bit different in every state. But sometimes it is picking the poll workers, sometimes it is picking the members of the boards that oversee the elections, sometimes it is having a say in who actually gets on the ballot either because they`re collecting signatures or because they`re voting directly in nominating conventions instead of public primaries. So this was the plan that Bannon highlighted in February, and after he put it on his podcast, which is one of the most popular podcasts on apple, it has tens of millions of downloads.
After Steve Bannon`s podcast featured this, it went viral all across far- right media. I don`t mean FOX News and Facebook. I am talking about people like Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, sites like Telegram, and Gab, and QAnon talk shows, and this became the it thing everyone was talking about.
The key thing is they weren`t just talking about it on the internet. Thousands of people actually went out and did it. So what we found by calling around to dozens of key counties in competitive states, we`re talking about the states that decide presidential elections and who controls Congress, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and we asked these county chairs, hey, all of a sudden are tons of people calling you asking to be precinct officials and mostly they said, yeah, we`ve never seen anything like this before.
Sometimes they frankly had no idea why it was happening, and sometimes they figured out that it was because of this viral episode of Steve Bannon`s podcast. Sometimes actually the county chair was a new county chair who had been elected by a lot of these newcomers to the party. So you are already seeing them start to put those powers to use and starting to have effects up the chain of the party organization.
HAYES: So here is a key point I think that your article lays out and I think people need to understand, is that party positions are actually part of the election supervision architecture at the ground level in the U.S. So there will be these sort of -- you know, the county will have like a three and three, the Democrats and Republicans have six people that oversee, you know, these sort of -- these bipartisan boards.
So if the party official sitting there, you know, usually it is an equal amount for both parties. When you are talking about party positions, it is not just they`re party positions. They`re the people that end up playing these sort of official roles of election supervision.
ARNSDORF: That`s right. It is traditionally a gate keeping function. The reason that we have this entrenched two-party system and there aren`t third parties is because the parties have this entrenched legal, formal role over the nuts and bolts of American politics, and the actual running of elections. That`s exactly what this movement is targeting.
The lesson that they learned from last time is that the reason that Trump is not president anymore is not actually because of the widespread fraud by the Democrats, but it is because the Republicans, even though they knew the election was stolen, didn`t use these powers to stop it. The reason that they`re focused on taking over these positions now is to change that next time.
HAYES: And we saw this. I mean, the place where this was most highlighted to me was in Michigan last time around because you had the Wayne County board of electors, whatever they are, right? Again, it was one of nose -- those, you know, I think it was three and three, three Republicans, three Democrats.
ARNSDORF: That`s right.
HAYES: Again, they`re playing -- the party is the one that assigns the people a role, but they`re playing this official role in the county. We remember, right, two of the Republicans voted not to certify the results, and Donald Trump called to congratulate them. They ended up backing down. Then it went up to the state board of elections I think.
And, again, there were several different Republicans I think who voted against certifying the results and one who did who I think subsequently got threatened and all of this stuff. I didn`t really think about the role, the leverage point, the kind of leverage point that these random party, you know, officials are in making sure an election gets certified.
ARNSDORF: Absolutely. I want to give you another example. So right next door in Wisconsin, the county parties actually nominate the poll workers. So the people who actually work in the polling place running the election. Historically, you know, and the law actually says whoever the party nominates, the county clerk who runs the election has to hire those party nominees.
HAYES: Oh, wow.
ARNSDORF: Now, historically this really hasn`t been an issue because the parties kind of didn`t bother. You know, they were more interested in, well, we`re going to use our people on Election Day, you know, getting out the vote and that kind of thing. But now --
ARNSDORF: -- several county parties have seen this and they said, you know what? We are going to stack these rolls with really hard-line Republicans and we`re going to make sure that they are in those polling places on the lookout for fraud.
Yeah. You go to vote and you have the QAnon Shaman welcoming you in. It could be a bad scene.
Isaac Arnsdorf, really good reporting. Thanks for laying it out so clearly. I appreciate it.
ARNSDORF: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, the escalating fight in Texas over the way students can learn about race and slavery in the classroom, that`s next.
HAYES: The anti-abortion legislation in Texas is not the only example of the state Republicans` extremist right-wing politics. Republican Governor Abbott signed an extensive ban on critical race theory earlier this summer, but state Republicans weren`t satisfied with that. So they sent a second bill restricting how race and history are taught in Texas schools to the governor`s desk.
This culture war has been bubbling under the surface of Texas politics for a while now. You might remember one incident a few years ago from a town of Southlake, Texas, a small down in Dallas/Ft. Worth suburbs. And a video of white teenagers shouting the N-word went viral.
In response to that incident, as well as others, Southlake decided it would take action. It held listening session and created the Council on Diversity. And after all of the work, the school board unveiled a new proposal last summer, which would require diversity and inclusion training for all students. It would amend the student code of conduct to ban micro aggressions.
The backlash was swift. Outraged parents accused the school board of promoting Marxism and leftist indoctrination and the small Texas town became a microcosm for the larger fight over how we teach the legacy of racism in this country. The story of which is masterfully outlined in "Southlake" a new six-part podcast series from NBC News.
Antonia Hylton is an NBC News correspondent, one of the hosts of "Southlake" podcast, along with an NBC reporter Mike Hixenbaugh.
Antonia, welcome and congrats. It is a phenomenal piece of work. People should listen to it and binge it. It`s really, really good.
Tell us just a little bit about this town and how you started getting into the story.
ANTONIA HYLTON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Chris.
So, look, Southlake is one of the ground zero communities where this entire fight began. Because their fight got started in 2018, long before most people knew what the phrase critical race theory meant and long before we were all seeing these fights play out at school board meetings across the country. Initially this council comes together, it has conservative, liberal parents, everything in between and they get ready to present this diversity plan and it takes almost two years of work.
The plan is ready right in the months of George Floyd`s murder in which the political conversation around how to talk about race history in the classroom is entirely different than it was in 2018. So this document, despite how it had been worked on for so long by members of the community, is now in that politicized context and there`s a massive backlash. Parents raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and even launched a lawsuit that leads to a restraining order that stops the district from implementing any kind of diversity and inclusion training for kids in this large and very well-known school district in Texas.
So this opposition effort here though in this community in Southlake has really become representative of the movement we have seen around the community because the Republicans there, many of them are extremely well- connected. This is a town full of, you know, American airlines executives, bankers, and many of them are closely tied to politics in Texas.
And they launched this effort with a PAC on the local level, but they`re explicit about the fact they see school board seats as being a critical part of the political infrastructure, as a huge part of the way in which they can wield power and influence. They talk about that very openly in these months after the plan comes out.
I want to introduce you to one of the parents involved in this effort, this opposition work. His name is Juan Salvidar, a former army officer with a child in the school district there. He essentially believes that systemic racism is not real, that incidents like the video you saw there where kids were chanting the "N" word can be addressed on a case-by-case basis and he essentially refutes a lot of what the black and Asian minority families in town have been trying to tell about their experiences over the last couple of years.
So, I want you to listen to the conversation I had with him featured in our upcoming episode.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HYLTON: I`ve spoken to several black families over the last couple of days, many of them are considering leaving town over this. When you hear that, does that not make you think there might be something systemic going on?
JUAN SALDIVAR: I think that every incident should be investigated to the fullest to find out exactly what`s going on.
But no one has any basis to make assumptions about what is in another person`s heart.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HYLTON: What you heard Juan say there is pretty representative of what the opposition movement in Southlake has said about this plan and about its supporters all along, that essentially the plan is not going to be necessary in a community like Southlake and that they feel that even despite the testimonies that people have come forward, and in some cases hundreds of testimonies of racist incidents like that video you just saw there, that essentially the community already has the tools in its hands to deal with that and no comprehensive plan is needed in Southlake -- Chris.
HAYES: Can you talk about the racial makeup of the school and what you heard from black students and parents in the school district?
HYLTON: Well, this is a really fascinating suburb because I think people recognize it in their own communities all over the United States. This is a majority white town. The school district used to be 80 something percent white and over the last several years has gone down to 60 percent something white so it is rapidly diversifying, especially with Latino and South Asian families and an influx of some black families there.
What you hear when you speak to minority families, as more minority families have moved in the tension increased in the town. They hear from some white residents in Southlake that they feel the identity of Southlake, the true Texas roots of Southlake are now being threatened. As they come forward and try to have a dialogue about some of the racist harassment their students have faced at school, the comments, the exclusion that their kids complain about -- I mean, student after student has spoken to me and my co-host, Mike Hixenbaugh, and they often use the word isolation. They go through the school district and they feel completely alone the entire time.
They keep trying to tell these stories and they feel that their neighbors essentially have told them, you know, either get with the program, the culture of this town, or get out.
HAYES: What does this sort of backlash mean in terms of the way the school is dealing with issues now? Have they managed to essentially curtail this proposed curriculum?
HYLTON: Well, the district`s hands are tied at the moment because the restraining order is in place that bars any kind of work on a diversity and inclusion plan. I mean, when you talk to administrators, even when you try to speak to them just on background they are afraid to talk to you about the details of the plan.
HYLTON: I had an exclusive interview with the superintendent of the district, Dr. Lane Ledbetter, who has kind of become the face of the fight in town agent both sides expect him to bring unity despite the fact there`s this restraining order in place. So, he is in this incredibly difficult position in which he is charged with making students feel safe in this town but also is told he cannot do anything new, can`t bring any new diversity programming in to address the very clear and direct concerns students of color have brought forth.
So, he often feels like he is essentially walking into something like a land mine. You know, I asked him point-blank in our interview, for example, is there racism in Southlake. I didn`t say is all of Southlake racist, just is there any racism here and he essentially declined to answer the question and sort of gave me an answer about how people have different perspectives and we need to have empathy about that.
There have been multiple incidents of students using the "N" word in the district. His answer to the question, is there racism here, his inability to address it tells you about how toxic the discourse has gotten there, how challenging it is for people in positions of leadership who are dealing with parents who in many cases are refusing to communicate with each other, and somehow they`re supposed to forge the path forward.
HAYES: Antonia Hylton, thank you coming on. The two episodes of "Southlake" are available now. Episode three comes out on Monday and you should check it out wherever you get your podcast.
Coming up, Joe Manchin`s latest threat as the president visits Louisiana and surveys the damage from Hurricane Ida. The latest after this.
HAYES: President Biden traveled to Louisiana today to tour the damage left behind by Hurricane Ida. Nearly a million people are still without power and the heat index just topped 100 degrees. The president met with local leaders and emergency officials, and at a round table with Governor John Bel Edwards, he reiterated the need to address the climate crisis.
(BEGIN VIEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a significant piece of legislation, both infrastructure bill and a budget thing, a reconciliation bill, that calls for significant investment in being able to deal with what is about to come. In other words, for example, when you guys are putting back up those high-tension wires again and that`s working, you`re not going to put up the same exact system. You guys are going to have to build it better, and it`s resiliency.
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HAYES: That budget reconciliation bill the president mentioned included vital pieces of his climate initiative. It faces however new challenge. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia penned an op-ed in the "Wall Street Journal" yesterday of all places calling for a pause to the $3.5 trillion framework which he voted to pass just three weeks ago or at least continue ahead.
Greg Sargent writing in "The Washington Post" says Manchin`s move could have dire long-term consequences especially if it is not resolved before the November Climate Conference in Scotland. Quoting a foreign affairs expert, Sargent warns that a lack of commitment to the bill`s clean energy standard would send a signal to the world the U.S. isn`t taking this seriously and would embolden other nations to choose not to engage.
I want to turn to someone who has written extensively about the climate crisis, is currently leading a major research project on climate change and the future of cities, professor of sociology, Eric Klinenberg.
Eric, I`ve been thinking about you for the last few days because this is really the work that you devoted yourself to.
The first thing I want to say is, one thing that`s so striking when an extreme weather event happens is all sorts of features of the infrastructure become apparent in a way they weren`t before. So, in New York, you know, I never thought about the fact that the BQE in certain parts is down and the expressway is below. When it floods and those services become lakes, I hadn`t thought of that until I saw it turn to lakes. It gives you a hint of the scope of what has to be thought through as we think about all of our built infrastructure.
ERIC KLINENBERG, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: It can feel overwhelming when you are looking at one city like New York. The issue in the United States now is we have yet to do any comprehensive climate planning with respect to mitigation, converting our energy systems, so we depend more on renewables. Or when it comes to adaptation, we do things project by project, neighborhood by neighborhood.
And we notice, that place is really low. It`s a flood risk. We have to look granularly. We also have to look at the big picture.
This is a once in a lifetime moment we are in right now to turn things around. I heard Senator Manchin say, Congress needs to take a pause this week. I don`t know how your week was. In New York City, it didn`t feel like climate change took a pause. In the United States, it doesn`t feel like the health crisis has taken a pause. Now is our time to act.
HAYES: One other aspect of this that`s striking is the human toll. We have got I think up to 40 or over 40 people that lost their lives in this. That`s in the part of the country that wasn`t -- the one that wasn`t getting ready for the storm, down in the Gulf. This is in the Northeast.
Your first book was about this incredibly deadly heat wave in Chicago in which hundreds of people lost their lives. It points to how vulnerable human life can be to extreme events, particularly those that we don`t view as the big ones that we have to prepare for.
KLINENBERG: That`s right. There`s so many disasters that have been invisible. We haven`t recognized them. In some cases, they don`t have spectacular imagery. People die in heat waves not just because it`s very hot but also because we have a lot of very poor and very old and very isolated people who tend to suffer invisibly every day. They are at risk when a heat wave comes around.
Why did so many people die in New York City? Why did people drown in the floods? It`s partly because we have tens of thousands of people in New York City who live in effectively basement apartments. We call them garden apartments.
It`s a story about social class and social protection. It has become a kind of line in progressive circles that climate change is a social justice issue. I think that`s absolutely right. But we need to show the substance of that. We can`t just deal with climate as a weather problem. It`s connected to the everyday inequalities that organize American life. Chris, I think that`s why it`s so important that we own up to this moment with a policy agenda.
You know, when I hear some members of Congress say, let`s slow down a put the brakes on infrastructure, I hear them saying, let`s get through this one particular crisis we`re having this month and do everything we can to get back to the status quo. Let`s conserve the order of things now. I think there`s another big rising part of America. I think it`s the majority saying, we have seen enough. It`s time to hit the reset button.
We need a new model for how we get energy. We need a new model for how we do planning. We need a new model for how we deal with inequality. Frankly, Chris, I think that`s what`s at stake in this battle over infrastructure. That`s why this issue about how Manchin and Sinema are going to vote is so important.
HAYES: Finally and quickly, I think we can focus on gloom and doom and it is terrible. But it is an opportunity, it`s a cliche, to build new stuff and try new things and reconfigure space. You have a great piece that I loved about a landscape engineer who is trying to grow a lot of oysters around New York, which turn out to help with dealing with storm surges. It just made me think, there are so many ways to re-conceptualize what our infrastructure is. It`s exciting in that way.
KLINENBERG: I mean, we should be asking ourselves, how happy were with our cities, our neighborhoods, the way we were living five, ten years ago? Before we really had this reckoning we are in.
I think a lot of us wanted do something different. Kate Orfa (ph) about whom I wrote, she`s one of the many designers who is saying, seizing the moment and doing something different around climate change is actually a way for us to make better cities, to make better communities, to give ourselves lives that are more meaningful and enriching than the ones before.
Maybe we are spending too much time going for speed and efficiency and the latest technology. Maybe we need to find better ways to be with each other. Her work is designed do that thing. This is a moment for thinking differently and building differently. I think that`s what`s exciting about being alive right now. It`s terrifying but there are great possibilities.
HAYES: Eric Klinenberg, that piece is really a great piece. Thank you so much for making time tonight. Really appreciate it.
KLINENBERG: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. We`ll see you next week. Please have a great holiday weekend.