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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, December 8, 2020

Guests: Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley, Jena Griswold, Waleed Shahid, Carolyn Kormann


The Republican Party focuses on election conspiracy theories as COVID rages in the United States. President-elect Joe Biden nominates Retired General Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary. President-Elect Joe Biden unveils his 100-day strategy to fight COVID. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is interviewed about Joe Biden's cabinet picks. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is interviewed about the Electoral College system in the U.S. The Trump administration turned down Pfizer's offer to secure millions of more doses of vaccine over the summer. The first dozes of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the U.K.


JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Happy Birthday, Joy. And I'll see you again on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern for the launch of my new show "THE SUNDAY SHOW." Tiffany Cross launches her new show on Saturday morning also at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Please join us both. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN. The Supreme Court denies the Trump push to overturn Pennsylvania as vaccines begin in the U.K. and the President-Elect unveils his 100-day strategy to fight COVID.

Tonight, the outgoing chaos and incoming competence of Senator Chris Murphy. Then, as the Safe Harbor deadline locks in the Biden victory, why the Electoral College is still a ticking time bomb for democracy. And as America prepares for shots in arms, how did the Trump administration allow 100 million doses to walk out the door?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Pfizer has gone ahead and entered into some agreements with other countries to sell them some of that vaccine.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. We are now 43 days from the end of the Trump administration, the inauguration of Joe Biden. Today was a very big day because in the U.K., the world has been waiting for 90-year-old Margaret Keenan getting the first clinically proven vaccination against the virus. While here in the US, Joe Biden announced a goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days.

And then not long after that, the Supreme Court of the United States slapped down a GOP lawsuit that sought to overturn the results of Pennsylvania. They did that without any dissenting voices from the court. So, there's a lot going on. Every day brings this study in contrast between an outgoing administration, this trafficking and reckless lies and conspiracy-mongering, and an incoming administration that is projecting a grave seriousness of purpose. Whether they can live up to that, we'll see.

At the same time this afternoon, Trump and Biden held dueling events focused on the pandemic. The White House event devolved, of course, into the president ranting about debunked conspiracy theories and pushing to overturn the results of an election he lost, a kind of distorted mirror image of the Biden event where the President-Elect announced a 100-day plan, coordinated with Dr. Anthony Fauci to combat the virus, which included that goal the 100 million vaccinations in 100 days. Dr. Fauci joined the event via teleconference.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I believe, as you do, that in the fight against this pandemic, we must lead with science, and that a key piece of our ongoing work is communicating consistently with the American people.


HAYES: Leading with science, of course, has not been the hallmark of the Trump administration. And in fact, Donald Trump is shrinking in importance by the very day. He's a lame-duck raging evidently against his impending loss of power, whose last best hope may have been the Supreme Court, although they wanted nothing to do with it.

Remember, he was pretty explicit about wanting Amy Coney Barrett on the court in order to help him steal the election if need be. But today, neither Coney Barrett nor any other justice seems willing to play along. The court today rejecting Republican efforts to overturn the results in Pennsylvania in a one-sentence order which did not suggest any dissent among the court's nine justices.

Of course, it was an extremely weak case so take that as you will. But as Trump starts to fade from the scene as his challenges get laughed out of court and his rhetoric grows more and more desperate and irrelevant, the problem of Trump, the problem he represents is only coming into clearer focus.

Because Donald Trump was always a product of the GOP base, a person who channeled their most feral instincts in order to gain power. They matched his own feral instincts. But he didn't create that base. He didn't create the energy within it. And as he himself recedes from view, receives from our attention, we're seeing just how deep the rot is inside the Republican Party.

The modern GOP isn't just detached from reality, much of it is willfully opposed to popular sovereignty and democracy. Many of its leaders are continuing to pursue dangerous delusions that are right now day after day, hour after hour, indeed, minute after minute getting people killed.

In Arizona, this is just a tour of Republican activity over the last few days, the chair of the state party Kelly Ward -- she's somewhat infamous. Mitch McConnell famously called her Chem Trail Kelly -- Kelly Ward, who now runs the party in Arizona with the support of many of her GOP colleagues told the state's Republican governor to shut the hell up after he suggested the election wasn't stolen. And the Arizona Republican Party's official Twitter account is calling for people to die for Trump's cause. Tweeting someone with a Twitter name StopTheSteel who said he is willing to give his life for this fight and adding, he is, are you?

In South Dakota, where one in every 68 people in the state tested positive in just the past two weeks, that Republican Governor Kristi Noem is effectively ignoring the virus, opening this -- opting this weekend to travel to Texas, to leave her state, to ride a horse, and hoist a flag at a rodeo as if it's 2019 and there's no pandemic at all, as if people aren't dying by the dozen every day in her state, as if it doesn't have one of the highest per-capita death rates in the world right now.

In Texas, the Republican Attorney General there, Ken Paxton, who's currently under investigation and has multiple former staffers filing whistleblower complaints about illegal activities -- these are former diehard Conservative Republican staffers of his who say the guy is not on the level. That guy Ken Paxton, who you see there, he is now suing four states that didn't vote the way he liked, seeking to have the Supreme Court blocked them from voting the Electoral College.

Basically, Texas is just saying to Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, you voted the wrong way. You don't get to vote for president. That's the official position of the Texas AG. This kind of thing is widespread. Numerous state legislators have called in Republicans in Congress not to accept their own state's electors. 64 of them in Pennsylvania writing a letter asking their congressional delegation to throw out their own states' electoral votes. Think about that. Those are the same boats that got them elected. It's the same people voting in the same election that gets all these people.

Just today, Republican Congressman named Alex Mooney sought to condemn the handful of elected Republicans with the temerity to acknowledge that Donald Trump lost. And here's the thing. It's not just backbenchers and it's not just the sort of most extreme members of the caucus. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Roy Blunt, House Speaker -- House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy today block the Inaugural Committee from recognizing Biden's win.

Senator Ron Johnson, we know him well, he used his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for a dangerous circus act today inviting an anti-vaxxer and others who reject mainstream science to join him in spewing dangerous nonsense to the public as the pandemic kills and kills and kills some more.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): It's certainly worse than flu, but is it that much worse? I think the root cause of our problem is just closed minds?


HAYES: Is it that much worse than the flu? In a bad flu year, we lose 60,000 people. We're knocking on the door of 300,000. So, yes, it's the deadliest year in American history. More than 2,200 Americans are dying of the virus every day. 130 Americans died in just the 90 minutes of disinformation that Ron Johnson hosted on the Hill today.

But that's the thing. All those people I listed, Kelly Ward, Ken Paxton, Ron Johnson, Roy Blunt, Mitch McConnell, none of them are Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not the issue. Everyone wants to pretend that it's Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the problem. He's intimidating these people. That's a misunderstanding.

The issue, the problem is not going to go away when he does. And also, he's not going to go away, because he's Donald Trump. But this is it. This is -- I mean, as we head into the Biden era, in the midst of the worst winter of our lives, in the midst of the pandemic, the number one challenge to American democracy right now is what to do about this faction of the country. What to do about a faction of the country that seems intent on destroying everything in their path and what the majority of the country can do about it.

Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat of Connecticut, one of the lawmakers who will have to grapple with Trump base no matter who wins control of the Senate in the Georgia runoff election, and he joins me now.

Senator, I was most struck today of all the things I ran through the little -- the backwater, genteel world of the bipartisan Inaugural Committee. This is not -- this is -- you know, this is not -- we're not talking about a committee that deals with abortion, or police reform, or contentious issues. They print up the invitations, they make -- you know, they do all that. It's a ceremony.

The fact you couldn't get a majority vote to start an inaugural process for the Biden-Harris administration, for Mitch McConnell, McCarthy, and Blunt said something to me. What does it say to you?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, I was proud of Steny Hoyer today who put on the table a pretty simple idea that the committee in charge of inaugurating the president should confirm who that President is. And the response was really priceless. The response from Republicans on the committee was that, well, that's not really the inaugural committee's job, right? We're just, you know, in charge of ordering the drapery and the tables. And the question of who's actually on the podium, you know, somebody else can figure that out.

And as you mentioned, you know, these are pretty institutional Republicans on that committee. I mean, Roy Blunt is not the one normally, you know, at the front of the ramparts. It just shows that this ethic has infected the entire party.

And over the next four years, though Trump has, you know, disappeared from the White House, everybody in that party is going to be so deadly fearful of getting crosswise with him, that he is still effectively going to run the congressional caucuses from Florida or wherever he's going to be decamped. Because the minute he makes a proclamation, I think the message will be given to Republicans in the Senate and the House, get behind. And if you don't, you're operating at your peril. You're risking a Trump-fueled primary.

HAYES: Yes. And that's -- I mean, to me, that's going to be the defining dynamic of the opposition in the near term, which is going to determine lots of things. Like, there's a debt ceiling vote in June. No one wants to think about that now, but you know, blow that up. Like, we got to fund the government. We have to -- like, to the extent there is a force of nihilistic obstruction, Uber Olus, in the face of this crisis, is going to have a massive effect on the governance of this country.

MURPHY: No, that's right. And, of course, many of our worry has been that it will happen immediately. You know, it may be that McConnell decides to show deference to Biden and allows for a cabinet to be seated. But it may also be that Biden has a hard time getting anybody put into place. Already, you're hearing, you know, this opposition to Javier Becerra who is unquestionably qualified for the job, having worked on health policy in Congress and in California for decades.

And you sort of see this vision of maybe not being able to have people in place in HHS, at CDC, in time to be able to distribute the vaccine. That's really, really worrying. You're right, this all has consequences for the health and the security of the country.

HAYES: So, we've got -- we have -- it looked like the contours of a COVID deal today, which may be fell apart again. There seem to be these sort of two exchanges, right. So, Democrats have pushed from the beginning from the Heroes Act on for some aid to state and local governments of all different places, of all different geographies, red and blue, Republican and Democrat, because they're getting absolutely hammered.

McConnell has opposed that, and he has insisted on liability protections for corporations who could face liability if they endanger their workers. He wants them not to face that. This is what he had to say today, and I want to get your response to it about his proposal for a deal. Take a listen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We have some very serious questions about the actual need of additional state and local assistance. What I've suggested to them internally and suggest to you publicly, why don't we set aside the two obviously, most contentious issues, we know we're going to be confronted with another request after the first of the year. We'll live to fight those another day.


HAYES: So, take them both off the table. What do you think of that?

MURPHY: Well, it would be an absolute disaster. It would be life-ending. We're not going to get the whole country vaccinated until far into 2021. And right now, states and municipalities are literally running out of money, right? They do not have money to stand up testing programs.

I've got a hospital in Manchester, Connecticut that cuts off its testing at about 12:00 every day regardless of the fact that the lines can be around the block, because we don't have the funding to do it in my state. That's costing lives. McConnell is carrying water for the K Street crowd. He's carrying water for all the big corporations who want to use COVID as an excuse to get total reform done, right.

He's searching for a problem and offering a solution which is broad based immunity from lawsuits that would extend far beyond the COVID crisis and far beyond this year and next. So, once again, you know, McConnell is carrying, you know, all of this sort of corporate and K Street baggage here and he's willing to, you know, essentially create a public health catastrophe as states and municipalities run out of money through the winter.

HAYES: I want to ask you finally about the man who has been announced as a nominee for Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, former CENTCOM Commander, decorated veteran. He has been retired under the seven years that statutorily is required to preserve civilian control of DOD and therefore requires what's called a waiver.

Now, the idea is that we have a civilian control military and so, you know, we don't put generals to run the DOD. Mattis got a waiver. This would be the second in as many administrations. And many people think that's a really bad idea in terms of this sort of core constitutional Democratic function. I'm very curious what your views are on this.

MURPHY: So, in general, I mean, I'm going to give and gladly give deference to the Biden team with respect to their national security picks. I think they've had an A-plus series of selections thus far. And so, I'm willing to hear them out as to why they think it's important to get this waiver for General Austin.

At the same time, I was one of a handful of senators that voted against giving General Mattis the waiver because I have seen how powerful the Joint Chiefs are and how powerful our military and military-industrial complex are with respect to our defense policy. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have been far too reliant on the Department of Defense to solve problems overseas that are inherently political, have become far too reliant on selling weapons as a means to win friends and influence enemies abroad. So, I mean, I want to hear from the Biden team as to why they think that this selection and this individual is so important to the team that they need the waiver. I guess I'll need to be convinced.

HAYES: All right, Senator Chris Murphy, that was an interesting answer. And I appreciate your time tonight. Thanks a lot.

MURPHY: Thanks.

HAYES: Next up, we now know that President-Elect Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by a margin of over seven million votes. And yet it's important to note that we were still uncomfortably close to a Trump win. A ticking time bomb that is the Electoral College next.


HAYES: Joe Biden won the presidency decisively. And he did it in a country that is nearly as polarized as it has ever been. We know basically the final vote count, right. Biden's margin of victory is over seven million votes, 4.5 points in the popular vote. It's a larger margin of victory than Barack Obama's win over Mitt Romney in 2012.

Obama, of course, was an incumbent then running for reelection with all the advantages of that. And it's larger than George W. Bush's win over John Kerry in 2004, again, an incumbent defeating a challenger. And get this. That 51.3 percent, it's the highest vote share of any candidate challenging the sitting incumbents since FDR's win over Herbert Hoover back in 1932.

And that's because it is hard to beat incumbents. So hard, in fact, that only four elected presidents have lost in the last 100 years. But the country rejected Donald Trump. And the week since election night, we've been on this rollercoaster ride. The polls were off again, and Trump looked like he might pull it out on election night.

And then of course, there was the long drawn out counting process and we waited for days for the outcome in a few key states. And then, of course, there was the President's ongoing attempted coup, for lack of a better or more precise word.

In the end, Joe Biden won cleanly and clearly and fair and square. But as that comes into view, we should not forget that we also dodged a bullet. I mean, the outcome in this election came down to just a few tens of thousands of votes in the right places.

Biden won Arizona flipping it Blue for the first time in more than 20 years by just over 10,000 votes. In Georgia, the margin was hardly any bigger, less than 12,000 votes. And in Wisconsin, it was a little more than 20,000. Those three states, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin have a combined total of 37 electoral votes. And Joe Biden won them by a combined margin of just under 43,000 votes.

If you flipped just those 43,000 to Trump, out of nearly again, 160 million votes cast nationwide, the electoral college would have ended up tied to 269 to 269, and we would be in a mess, in nightmare scenario where the House of Representatives will get to decide the election, but with each state delegation getting only one vote.

Now, if you just add one congressional district to those three states, say Nebraska second district where Biden won by 22,000 votes, well, that's the whole ballgame, a second Trump term. It would take only 65,000 votes, a tiny, tiny, trivial fraction of the entire electorate going the other way. 65,000 votes in three states from one congressional district against a popular vote margin of seven million, of the popular vote margin of 4.5 percent.

This is the problem with the Electoral College. It's random at a certain level. I mean, the thing itself is a slapdash compromise thrown together at the end of the Constitutional Convention as they were way out the door. And for most elections in our history, the outcome of the Electoral College has been the same as the popular vote.

But now, they are systematically divergent. I mean, it's happened twice in the previous five elections, each going in the direction of the same party, the Republicans winning without a popular vote. And it is now a ticking time bomb. If we do not change it, it will absolutely cause some kind of constitutional crisis and democratic breakdown. I am sure of that.

Now, scrapping the Electoral College in favor of a simple popular vote would be an enormous change requiring either a constitutional amendment or a coordinated interstate compact. And both would be hard. They would represent huge structural shift in how the country is governed. That's the history of this country. We used to not have equal production due processes as we're trying the 14th amendment.

Before the 17th amendment, we didn't even directly elect our senators. Women couldn't vote until 100 years ago. We need large scale democratic reform like we've done before if we are going to save American democracy.

I'm joined now by someone who has been fighting for that much-needed change introducing a package of bills to ensure equal representation for every American called a Blueprint for Democracy, Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon joins me now.

Do you think as you look at this result about how close we came, Senator?

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): Oh, absolutely. It's stunning when you have millions of votes different, that it comes down, as you put it, to what 65,000 votes. And I must say, it puts shivers down my spine.

HAYES: You know, there's both the democratic legitimacy problem but also just the sort of jerry-rigged nature of this process. We get the Safe Harbor deadlines and the states announcing the electors and all this opportunity for mischief that the Trump administration, the Trump campaign has pursued with without actually winning. But we wouldn't have any of this if it was just straightforwardly who won the most votes.

MERKLEY: Oh, absolutely. And that's why I've introduced the constitutional amendment to do that. But as you know, and I know, it's very unlikely we're going to get the two-thirds we need in each chamber plus three-quarters of the state to agree to a constitutional change because too many states are red states that want to use every strategy they possibly can to retain power, even when it represents massive misrepresentation of the American people.

HAYES: Yes. What's strange about it, too, is that there are tons of Republicans who are not benefited by this. I mean, you know, millions and millions of California Republicans whose votes essentially don't count. There are Republican voters in your state of Oregon. I'm sure you hear from them a lot. And, you know, they don't -- they also kind of don't matter in this current setup. So, it's in some ways, it's an insult to voters across the political spectrum, even though it sort of has a systematic bias in terms of one political coalition.

MERKLEY: Well, and we have kind of a bizarre twist that occurred in our history, in that you have the situation where the Constitution says the state can choose to allocate the votes in the Electoral College as it as it wants, and states do it in a different fashion. But most states have decided to give all of their electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote in their state. And they do that to magnify the importance of their state and hope that candidates will campaign there.

But the result is that blue states are basically states that the Republican candidate doesn't visit red states the Democratic candidate ignores. And it comes down to a series of swing states. So, most of the country is ignored in the presidential campaign, as these small set of swing states are fought over.

And that's not healthy for our country at all. It'd be much healthier under a situation where every vote is counted to have the candidates of both parties proceeding to say, I know I need to harvest votes everywhere I can find them. So, I'm a Republican, I'm going to those blue states like California to harvest some more Republican votes and similarly on the other side. It'd be much better in terms of the dialogue that's called out during the election.

HAYES: You know, one of the other things this this weird post-election period is exposed is that -- I mean, it's even unclear whether we get -- you get to vote for president, right? I mean, when they were toying with the idea -- as the president is toying with the idea of states overturning the popular vote in their states, you know, they can't do that because of state law, but it's just state law binding them.

Like, my understanding of the Constitution is a state could pass a law that doesn't do that, that comes up with some other way of awarding the electors that doesn't give it to the people that want -- you know, the candidate that won the state.

MERKLEY: No, that's absolutely right. And so, you could have a state saying, hey, you know, we're -- we have a Republican legislature. We're going to allocate electoral votes to whoever the Republican candidate is, regardless of how the vote comes out in our state. And that leads us to an interesting twist because that power can be stood on its head. And that's where the interstate compact that you mentioned in the introduction comes in.

If enough states say, by law, that they will award their electoral votes to the individual getting the most popular votes nationally, suddenly, we have a national popular vote system. And that effort is well underway.

HAYES: Yes, there are a number of states -- I forget the number off the top of my head, but I think we've got -- how many do we have now in the NPV. The compact is, it doesn't kick in until you get the number of states that would go over 270. At which point it would become determinative of the outcome, right?

MERKLEY: That's right. So, we have 15 states and the District of Columbia that have opted in, and that totals up to 196 electoral votes. So, 74 more are needed to get to 270. And so, we're two-thirds over two-thirds of the way there, three-fifths of the way there. So, here we go. It definitely is possible to do it and there's a lot more states still that have initiative systems where the issue could be put before the people of that state.

And so, this is well worth pursuing across the country. It's really the only way we can get there is a national popular vote compact.

HAYES: That's a fascinating point. So, in states where obviously you have Republican legislators who are not going to agree to this, you're saying that if there's a -- if there's a state ballot initiative process to go that route.

MERKLEY: That's right. Absolutely.

HAYES: All right, Senator Jeff Merkley who has been a strong voice for this, to me, utterly obvious and straightforward constitutional reform, thanks for making time.

MERKLEY: It's a very important issue for America. We need to get it done. Thank you, Chris, for covering it.

HAYES: Coming up, more on that plan to sideline the Electoral College without actually abolishing it. The agreement already placed in 16 states to decide the president by popular vote, next.


HAYES: George W. Bush won Florida by 500 votes, 537, while Al Gore won the national popular vote by 500,000. Once again, this year, we see a similar pattern, right. Joe Biden wins by 7.5 million votes, seven million votes and wins the needed states by just 60,000. It's another reason the Electoral College is so dangerous.

The margins of victory in individual states are going to be closer and tighter and much more subject to mischief or litigation or outright attempt to steal and overturn the national vote. With me now is Jena Griswold, Secretary of State of Colorado, who state joined the national popular vote interstate compact last year, a multi-state agreement that would ensure the candidate who wins the popular vote also wins the Electoral College and Waleed Shahid spokesperson for Justice Democrats, an organization that supports the abolition of the Electoral College.

Secretary of State, let me -- let me start with you. You were -- you're a strong advocate for Colorado, joining this compact. What was that process like and why did you want to see that happen?

JENA GRISWOLD, SECRETARY OF STATE, COLORADO: Well, Chris, thank you for having me on tonight. And I was a strong advocate. So, we pushed legislation in 2019. Our state legislature passed it. But to tell you, it actually went on the ballot this last election. And the people of Colorado voted. They decided to pass the national popular vote compact. And Colorado is now the first state to adopt the national popular vote by the people's vote. And I just think it's fantastic.

As Secretary of State, I'm guided by the principle of one person, one vote, and that's what national popular vote does. So, I'm excited to have this conversation and to continue to see the momentum of the national popular vote compact.

HAYES: I think some people think this is a fairly abstract affair, and it's happened twice, and it doesn't affect our politics in the intervening periods. But you're someone who works intimately in our politics at the ground level. And I wonder if you think it has a kind of systematic skewing effect to how the parties operate what our politics look like.

WALEED SHAHID, SPOKESPERSON, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: Yes. I think everything that Democrats want, whether you're a conservative Democrat or a progressive Democrat, whether it's, you know, action on health care, clean energy jobs, criminal justice reform, requires a democracy that allows the majority of people to govern.

And right now, with the Electoral College and several other institutions in our country, majorities have a really hard time governing. And so, Democrats of all stripes, lowercase D Democrats should support ways to make it easier for majorities to govern. And that that brings together, you know, all the different factions of the party.

And one thing that is just has been so absurd to me is that in my own lifetime, Republicans have only won the popular vote once. And that is not a help. You know, people keep asking why Millennials are angry. That is a reason why we're angry, because it's only been once and then they get to, you know, look at the 2016 election. They lose the popular vote but get to a point three Supreme Court justices.

With the things that Secretary Griswold is working on in Colorado and other states across the country, that would reform some of these arcane institutions that would help majorities govern.

HAYES: Secretary, you guys did a -- in your state, you did a ballot initiative. You said that was the first state that did that. Do you think this is a model for other states, because there's a lot of states in which because the issues become so partisan, and the split has a partisan advantage and disadvantage, I don't think any Republican state legislature anywhere is going to let this happen.

GRISWOLD: Well, in the past, Republican state legislatures have passed this law. And I think that advocates for free and fair democracy should look at all the tools in the toolbox. At the end of the day, if you ask most Americans, do you believe that your vote should count equally to other Americans? The answer is going to be usually yes.

And I'll tell you, as someone who grew up very working-class and rural Colorado up in the mountains, that a lot of people like me, rural folks, feel left behind. And one thing that I firmly believe in is that even if you're from a small town like me with more elk than people or a big city, your vote should count equally.

That is what national popular vote is about. It's about adding a level of fairness into our elections that is lacking.

HAYES: Well, and the Secretary brings up a point, Waleed, that is a bigger issue that in some ways, I think, is an increasingly defining issue of our politics, which is the kind of spatial polarization in America, and indeed, the kind of spatial inefficiency of the Democratic coalition, which is fairly tightly clustered, right? Joe Biden's won the presidency with fewer counties than anyone who's ever won, right?

Now, more people, seven million more people, because that's where the people are. But this sort of this kind of ways in which constitutional structures allow this minority to retain power, I think, even exacerbates that kind of divide between the different parts of the country.

SHAHID: Yes. I think that's true. And you know, there are ways in which Republicans are clinging on to the existing rules to enshrine that minority rule, so that they don't even have to appeal to a majority of Americans to win elections and govern. You know, even in New York, where I live, there were lines around the block where, you know, Black families, immigrant families, young people were voting.

And imagine if there was actually an actual, you know, operation to turn out votes in states like Illinois, New York, or California, the popular vote margin would have been way higher than seven million people in terms of Joe Biden's defeat of Donald Trump. And so, I do think that if you want to deal with polarization and gridlock in this country, and you know, actually bring people together, unify the country, you have to be able to break the institutions that perpetuate the polarization in the country and not actually solve it.

HAYES: Final question for you, Secretary. You know, you have this job. It's a very important job, and particularly a very high profile and important job if you happen to be a state that's a swing state where the margins stand, right. Colorado was not that this year. Joe Biden won fairly comfortably.

But I do think what we've seen is exposed that there's -- I mean, I guess I wonder, like, do you have confidence that every future iteration of a Secretary of State with tremendous pressure brought to bear on them at that margins of 500 votes, or 1,000 votes, or say 12,000 is going to be able to look the President of the United States or the party leadership in the eyes and not succumb to their pressure to overturn the votes of their state.

GRISWOLD: Well, I would say, the job of Secretary of State is important in all states, not just swing states, to make sure that people have their voices heard, you know, especially in a pandemic, making sure that elections are safe, secure, and people don't have to risk their lives to vote is extremely important.

And i will share with you. Over the last two years, we partnered in Colorado with the Native American tribes to increase participation rates by about 20 percent, which we are very proud of and love the partnership. But to your point, we need guardrails on our democracy. We cannot just have rogue elected officials try to undermine our elections in a really corrupt attempt to take power for themselves.

So, that includes reforming how states apportion their electoral votes. That's what national popular vote compact is about. It's also about a package of democracy reforms. We need federal law to make sure that every American has access to the ballot box. We need federal coordination to make sure we're countering foreign disinformation. And that list of creating America that Americans can believe in goes on, but I know we're going to get there, and I just am so optimistic for our future.

HAYES: Jena Griswold and Waleed Shahid, thank you both for making time tonight.

GRISWOLD: Thank you.

SHAHID: Thank you.

HAYES: Tonight, as the U.K. becomes the first in the world to distribute Coronavirus vaccines, the new Biden plan to distribute them in America, new controversy over why Donald Trump let 100 million doses walk out the door. That's next.





HAYES Don't you feel great to watch that? In the midst of what can seem like a never-ending flood of bad news, we finally got a real bright spot, a sign we may be at a turning point in the duration of this horrible pandemic, albeit with a long way to go.

Today, the 90-year-old you saw there, Margaret Keenan is her name, she became the first person in the world to receive a fully tested COVID-19 vaccine -- God bless her -- as the United Kingdom officially launched its nationwide Coronavirus immunization program.

Obviously, the U.K. still has a long way to go. It probably helps to have a national health care system when you're trying to do something like this, rollout a massive vaccine. And this is the kind of good news we're still waiting for in the U.S. especially because we may not have enough doses thanks to a decision by the Trump administration.

The New York Times reports the Trump ministration turned down the chance to lock in more supplies of the Pfizer vaccine over the summer. And now, "the company cannot guarantee it will be able to deliver more than the initial 100 million doses enough to inoculate 50 million people since its vaccine requires two shots before perhaps next June."

Now, Trump tried to make good on this monumental mistake today by signing an executive order to ensure Americans get the vaccine first. But even the Chief Science Advisor for the administration's Operation Warp Speed doesn't know how that is supposed to actually work.


Frankly, I don't know. And frankly, I'm staying out of this so I can't comment to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know?

I really don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're the Chief Science Advisor for Operation Warp Speed.

Our work is, you know, rolling. We have plans we feel that we can deliver the vaccines as needed. So, I don't know exactly what this order is about.


HAYES: Refreshingly honest. It is just incredibly difficult to scale. Any system, our current health care system up to the challenge of sort of rolling out these vaccines when they're approved. I mean, we've seen this time and time again, right, with the pandemic, the problem of scale of throughput, right.

In the early parts of pandemic, you got a clinic that could do 80 tests a day. But then, when they're asked to do 800 tests a day, everything fell apart. The systems got overloaded. Now, if we want to dose a million Americans a day which is a lot and they all need two doses, that is a real logistical undertaking even if we have enough vaccines.

Today, Trump held a press conference to celebrate the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, an event that the actual vaccine companies wisely declined to attend. But of course, rather than provide a strategy to bridge the vaccine rollout with the incoming Biden administration, Trump just did his election shtick.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next administration will be the one ultimately that implements a lot of the distribution of this vaccine and will oversee much of the future of the way Operation Warp Speed goes forward. Why not include members of the Biden transition team as part of this summit that you're hosting today?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to have to see who the next administration is because we won in those swing states and there was terrible things that went on, so we're going to have to see who the next administration is.


HAYES: Spoiler alert, it won't be you. At the same time Trump was denying reality, President-Elect Joe Biden was introducing his health care team whose priority, of course, will be to get us out of the pandemic, first item on the agenda, laying out an optimistic goal-driven plan to get people vaccinated and keep more people from getting sick.


BIDEN: I'm absolutely convinced that in 100 days, we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better. This team will help get at the latest at the last 100 million COVID-19 vaccine, at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people in the first 100 days. Masking, vaccinations, opening schools, these are the three key goals for my first 100 days.


HAYES: It's pretty concrete. I mean, in some ways, it's like the most basic threshold for competent governance, a coherent national plan to actively prevent people from getting sick and dying and protecting them, but we haven't had one all year. That said, the reality is most of us will not get a vaccination for many, many months. Even when we do, it also doesn't mean everything will go back to normal. We're going to talk about that right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nurse who gave the first injection, May Parson, 17 years of experience, told me this is the start of a new chapter.

MAY PARSONS, NHS NURSE: For me to be able to offer that to Margaret today, the first one, I feel very privileged and thankful and proud. It's the light at the end of the tunnel.


HAYES: Think of this. Every single country in the world, every government in the world of every type, everywhere is now facing one of the most difficult governing challenges of the era, right? Like a space race or running a war, how to get -- acquire the vaccine, give it to your people and protect them. And everyone's going to be trying to do it as fast as possible very quickly.

The massive logistical challenge of vaccinating millions of Americans and scaling up until about 70 percent of population is immune and we can safely stop worrying massive social distancing is detailed by the New Yorker staff writer Carolyn Kormann, in her new piece titled Countdown to Coronavirus Vaccine, and she joins me now.

It's great to have you, Carolyn. I learned a lot from your piece. Let's start with some timeline stuff here. The FDA meets for emergency use authority on Thursday. What is emergency use authority? How common is it? And what's the expectation of what's going to happen this week?

CAROLYN KORMANN, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: So, an emergency use authorization is sort of just an earlier version of FDA authorization. And it hasn't been granted by the FDA in a century. So, I mean, it's a big deal for these very unusual circumstances.

And actually, on Thursday, it will be an advisory committee that -- the FDA's Advisory Committee, an independent group of experts who will be publicly discussing the FDA's internal review of Pfizer's clinical data and then to voting whether to recommend that they give this EUA, Emergency Use Authorization.

HAYES: And we expect -- I mean, we expect that to happen, and then to move fairly quickly in terms of when the first shots would happen?

KORMANN: Yes, it could happen the next day. They could -- they could authorize it. And --

HAYES: And that --

KORMANN: Go ahead.

HAYES: No -- they can authorize the next day, and then like my understanding is there's already these doses in the, you know, in the possession of lots of folks out there to begin actually administering.

KORMANN: They're at the manufacturing plants waiting to be shipped, yes. So -- and Pfizer's because it needs to be stored at negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit, there's a whole cold chain that will begin as -- you know, by next week, we'll be seeing these doses out there.

HAYES: What is your understanding of the plan for scaling this in say the next -- I mean, under this administration, you talk about some of the details in the piece, but from you know, say next week when those first shots start happening, like how developed is that plan and how confident are we in that?

KORMANN: Well, there really isn't a national plan for this rollout that's clear. People in the Biden -- on the Biden COVID Task Force have been saying that there are a lot of unknowns. I mean, the rollout will be conducted by the states independently. But they're -- and each state will have -- you know, will have to determine how many to order, who's going to be administering them, but they need -- states need a lot more money in order to do this.

And so, it will really fall to the Biden administration to create much more of a national plan and guidelines for the rollout and supply chain.

HAYES: Let's talk about the AstraZeneca situation which is an interesting one. So, you know, the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was -- they were partnering with Oxford University, it looked very promising early on, and they've had some data problems. So, Pfizer, and Moderna came in first with very high efficacy 90, 95 percent, respectively.

AstraZeneca came in 70 percent efficacy, and now their data looks like it has some problems. What does that mean in terms of their timeline and also for having a kind of bundle of available accessible vaccines in the U.S. and around the world?

KORMANN: Right. That's a good question. Their efficacy -- in their press release, they announced their efficacy of on average of 70 percent. But it was based on the combination of two different dosing regimens and an accident and one of those dosing regimens in which they only gave half dose in the first shot, because all these vaccines require two shots, or at least the ones that are leading the pack.

And so -- and there are also just some strange omissions in that initial press release. And so, it was immediately called into question. And I think that does do damage to, you know, in terms of public perception in regards to transparency, which has been, you know, an issue from the start of the pandemic and as we've watched these vaccines be developed at record pace.

HAYES: Based on your reporting, do you think the goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days is a realistic one?

KORMANN: I think by the end of the first quarter, we could see that definitely, or into the second quarter. Because that's 50 million people and the first phase will vaccinate at least 20 million and then -- I mean, the tricky part will be who comes after the first recipients which will most likely be healthcare workers and long-term care residents.

Who comes second, who comes third, those essential workers, something like 90 million essential workers? That's going to be a huge challenge, but also a huge opportunity for the Biden administration and for everybody to really rally together and make sure that role out happens in the right way. But, you know, how do you determine between -- you know, how does the pharmacy know between a bus driver and a meatpacking plant worker?

HAYES: Right. It's going to be hard decisions. Carolyn Kormann, thank you so much. That is ALL IN for this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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