IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, September 7, 2020

Guests: Atul Gawande, Robert Reich, Julian Castro, Ellen Weintraub, Omar Wasow, Anand Giridharadas


Today, Trump said he will produce a vaccine in record time, suggesting it could be ready as early as next month on a special day. Stock market booms despite millions out of work. Voting in the 2020 presidential election has already begun in some places; North Carolina last Friday becoming the first state to send out ballots to voters.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back on this Labor Day. I'm Chris Hayes with an extended edition of ALL IN.

Just 57 days until the election, there are all kinds of crazy new Trump controversies down the stretch. They're actually hard to keep track of at this point. There's been a million of them over the last few days.

There's a "The Atlantic" report that we mentioned last hour that Trump called American troops killed in action losers and suckers. There's the allegations by Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen, that Trump attacked President Obama saying, quote, tell me one country run by a black person that isn't an S-hole.

There's a report of linked conversations -- these are actually leaked notes. There's a document where notetakers taking conversations between Trump and former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, where Trump declined to condemn Russia for using a nerve agent on British soil against one of their ex-spies. When Theresa May asked him to lead, he said, I would rather follow than lead.

Now, this all feels very familiar in the Trump era. Every possible horrible thing a person can say. The fundamental reality is all these scandals come in the midst of what should be the worst of them all, the one we wake up with every day, the one we go to bed every night with, 190,000 people are dead, due in no part to the absolutely catastrophic failure of the leadership of President Donald Trump.

Six million Americans have contracted the coronavirus. It's now swelling in parts of the Midwest, and there are outbreaks popping up on college campuses across the country. Some looking really bad. Then you have kids and parents and teachers who are trying to make learning from homework with school shut down. Then you've got other folks in schools where it may not be safe.

The Trump campaign's strategy in the face of all this is basically pretend it doesn't exist. It's like, COVID doesn't count, Trump 2020. They're going to run on the economy as if it didn't crash in the last five months.

In fact, the president was out today to brag about jobs numbers, conveniently leaving out that any gains don't even return the country to where it was four years ago. You see how that works. Like when you subtract, and then you add, but what you add is less than what you subtract.

Down 30 million, he's celebrating the gaining back of 10. Oh, we've gained 11 million jobs. Great. Now we're just 20 million under.

While there is some polling and anecdotal evidence to suggest that Trump has got stable approval ratings on the economy, you know what's actually happening with the economy is really, I think, two different stories. And this is a familiar theme in recent American economic history. So one of those stories actually looks pretty good, in some ways surprisingly good, right?

The stock market hitting record highs. But not just the stock market. New home sales hit 14-year highs.

If you go to a car dealership these days and try to get a car, cars are on back order. They can't sell them fast enough. But when you zoom in, you see a bifurcation with a certain set of people that are recovering very quickly and that particularly pertains to people at the top, Trump's rich buddies who already got their tax cut and the ones who own $300,000 boats that they can take out in the Trump boat parade, the ones who stock portfolios are going through the roof that Trump is constantly bragging about.

And then there's the other folks, a lot more of them, 24 million unemployed. And a growing long-term recession that's sort of obscured by all the economic data but it's festering and deepening. You've got food scarcity and evictions and long-term layoffs that continue to mount and huge, I mean, enormous budget cuts that are coming to every state and municipality in the entire country absent a federal rescue.

And that part, that's the real economic story of what is happening under Donald Trump's watch. In some ways, that is the story of this election year as much as anything else.

The irony, of course, the Trump administration has rejected the opportunity to make that better themselves. The continued failure with even to this day involves Trump berating a reporter to take his mask off.


REPORTER: The issue of what happened when you were in France continues to be a story.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're going to have to take that off, please. Just -- you can take it off. You're -- how many feet are you away?

REPORTER: I'll speak a lot louder.

TRUMP: Well, if you don't take it off, you're very muffled. So if you would take it off, it would be a lot easier.

REPORTER: I'll just speak a lot louder. Is that better?

TRUMP: It's better, yeah. It's better.


HAYES: Six months into this nightmare. Six months into this nightmare, and that guy, that president still views the simple act of wearing a mask as some kind of personal insult to him.

That exchange is as good a snapshot as any of why we are where we are. But again, without the virus under control, with the economy mired in a recession, Trump is very clearly telegraphed that the whole plan is to throw all the eggs in the vaccine basket as a re-election tool. They're not hiding this. They're very out front about it.

Today, Trump said he will produce a vaccine in record time, suggesting it could be ready as early as next month on a special day. They are telegraphing they will rush it out before the election no matter what. And it is incredibly, incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons.

Joining me now for more on what we actually need to do to get the virus under control, Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School, also staff writer for "The New Yorker". His latest piece is titled "We can solve the coronavirus test mess now if we want to."

Great to have you, Doctor.

And I want to start on the vaccine because it's complicated and thorny in a lot of ways. They have been very clear that they want to rush it out. They want some big announcement before Election Day. The president said it might come out before a very special day.

You'd have a bunch of drugmakers on Friday saying, we're going to come together and basically object to the FDA or anyone rushing ahead of the end of clinical trials. How important was that step that we got on Friday from the drugmakers? What's your assessment of where this stands?

DR. ATUL GAWANDE, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL SURGEON: I think it's huge. You know, the reality is, is that you have a drug industry that's saying, we will not produce tests or produce vaccines if they are not tested and deploy them to the population. They don't want the risk, and they don't want the potential of harming people instead of actually helping. I think that's a really important thing.

That whole industry depends on the soundness of the science, and it's easy for them to come to that place when it's been the practice we've had a long time. They're backing the integrity of the FDA and, you know, fealty to the president, they're saying, will not Trump fealty to the people.

HAYES: So this point is important because I, myself, feel conflicted about how to report on this because we live in a world in which there's a contingent of anti-vax folks and skepticism of vaccines that is not scientifically based and is very dangerous to public health and achieving herd immunity for a whole lot of other things. At the same time, it's very hard to trust this administration.

So, like, what -- I guess I saw a bunch of people say, look, we can trust this thing when they say it's good and ready after Election Day is basically the lesson that I've heard. Is that your sort of takeaway?

GAWANDE: No. I think the bottom line is if trials -- and here's the crazy thing. The trials are moving very fast, partly because we have so much infection running across the country. The ability to test a vaccine depends on how many people are positive and then the quicker you have more positive cases out there, the faster you'll know whether the vaccines are working.

If they happen to work before the election, we should know that. We should have the data. We should have the information. It should be put out there.

That isn't going to be magically the day that all -- that vaccine suddenly becomes available.

HAYES: Right.

GAWANDE: It's going to be -- there's going to be a rollout process that's going to take some time. You have to produce the vaccine. And, yes, they're getting millions of doses available.

But we're hundreds of millions of people. You need to do doses one month apart twice with the vaccines that are being tested now. And more likely we will -- it's highly unlikely we'll see results before the election. There's no harm in knowing the results when we know the results. The danger is --

HAYES: Right.

GAWANDE: -- deciding to do a Russia move and say that you're just going to put the vaccine out there.

And we have the FDA head as well as the drug companies saying they do not want to do that, and that's a good thing.

HAYES: So there's a question now of where things stand in terms of -- you said there's a lot of virus moving around the country. We sort of plateaued at 40,000 cases a day, in that neighborhood. It's quite high compared to other places. And what the fall is going to look like as the weather cools and we move indoors.

What's your sort of sense? That's a lot of very ominous warnings about what that could be. The future's hard to predict. How do you assess where we are?

GAWANDE: I don't understand why we're worried about the ominous warnings of the future. It's ominous now. You know, while we've been distracted by the -- you know, trying to be distracted by the campaign to foment racial strife, we have seen over the course of the summer that we tripled the known number of confirmed cases from 2 million to 6 million people.

As you led at the beginning of this broadcast, when we had 100,000 deaths at the end of -- at the beginning of June, that was an extraordinary and terrible thing, and we're about to hit 200,000 deaths this month. We are very likely to be exceeding 300,000 deaths by the time we come to the New Year.

So, you know, and that is the reality. We have not mounted a campaign to fight this virus. If we decide not to fight this fire, we will only have more fire running through our society. It's going to shift in its places. It was, you know, New England and the West Coast. Then it became the South.

Now it's rising in the Midwest and college towns, and this is a -- this is ominous now.

HAYES: I saw this chart the other day about how much people's behavior in reopening -- because this relates to this question of like what -- how we're living our lives now. They sort of looked at states that opened early and then states that didn't, and they kind of tried to sort of track the economic activity.

What they found was like there wasn't actually that big a difference between the obstacle isn't the -- it's not the state policy. It's that people don't want to get the virus, right? So, you know, there you can see the control states versus states that opened. You don't get a huge benefit from opening early because people don't want to go out. And that continues to be the kind of weird, you know, eternal now we're stuck in in this country six months into this thing.

GAWANDE: Well, I think the important thing to understand, one thing, one of my colleagues at the Harvard school of public health really put it well in saying that we we've almost been fooled by the metaphor talking about are we in the first wave or the second wave.

And it's not a wave. This is a fire that's burning. The fire is spreading. You can do well in part of the country. I'm in Massachusetts where the virus count rates are low.

But we have lots of college students now who have come to the state, and we are trying to make sure that everybody's tested when they come across the border. But you can't just put a wall up and prevent the fire from coming in.

HAYES: Right.

GAWANDE: You know, we're nowhere near being able to say, hey, everybody can just hang out and go to the bars, hang out in dorms. You know, people are being expelled for having a party in their dorms.

That's the nature of the world we're in, in one of the best performing states here because it's a national outbreak. It's a national crisis. And you're not going to be able to make it so you've got an isolated bubble at a statewide level.

HAYES: That's a great, great point. Dr, Atul Gawande, always great to talk to you, sir. Thank you very much.

GAWANDE: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now for more on the economic devastation of Trump's failure to stem the virus, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, whose latest book is "The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It". And former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, now co-chair of the Housing Playbook Project, to reimagine the federal response to our nation's current and a future housing challenges.

Robert, let me start with you. I -- you know, I'm sort of an amateur, like, macro-economic data consumer, and it has been funny because in some ways all over the place, like you can find real data points out there in the economy that suggest things are coming back or that things are actually doing quite well. You don't have to invent a story. Like there are data points you can talk to that show that.

Then there's data points about food insecurity or, you know, people who have not paid their rent or their mortgage that look like we're in the midst of something truly horrible, maybe even worse than the great recession.

What is -- how do you think about the sort of conflicting stories about where the economy is at right now?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Largely, Chris, it's because there are three separate economies. There's the economy of the billionaires. They're doing better than ever. In fact, there was one day a couple of weeks ago when Jeff Bezos actually made $13 billion in a single day.

And then you have the economy of the top 10 percent. These are managerial and professional workers. They are working remotely, most of them, and they are doing reasonably well.

The stock market has caught up with where it was -- just about caught up with where it was in February, and they own a lot of the stock market. And generally speaking, they're not wanting.

But then you have a third economy that is very different from the first two. The third economy is comprised of the bottom 90 percent. Many of these people are either without jobs or they are on the verge of losing jobs. Many of these people are working at very, very, very low rates of income, of money.

They -- you have -- you have many of these people are essential workers, so-called. They are at risk of getting certain kinds of diseases, particularly COVID-19. They exist in a completely separate economy, but they are the vast majority of Americans.

HAYES: Julian, you've been talking a lot about the sort of housing crisis happening in our midst, and the data on this has been crazy. And I've noticed that we haven't seen en masse the number of evictions you might have anticipated by this point just in terms of people who are behind on their rent. How do you interpret that, and what the housing situation looks like in the country right now? How insecure is it?

JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER HUD SECRETARY: Well, you know, we're still potentially facing an evictions crisis. By one estimate up to 30 million people in this country could face eviction through the end of October. But, Chris, you're right. In a lot of places we have not seen that wave, that tidal wave of evictions that some folks forecast.

And I think that we have to give credit here to those everyday Americans that work hard and are doing the responsible thing. They understand their priorities. I think back to the caricature of the Reagan years and arguments that too often Republicans make about how irresponsible, you know, everyday folks are with their money. Oh, that they're going to go spend it on X, Y, and Z, and why do they have a $1,500 television?

No. It's that people have been in tough times, even desperate times. But what do they do? They understand they're going to provide for their family. They're going to pay their rent first. They do everything they can to take care of that. It really is, I think, a powerful demonstration that, you know, we should have confidence in everyday Americans.

We also saw this in, you know, a different context, the housing context, which was the housing first approach to ending homelessness. You know, the housing first approach said the first thing that you want to do is to get somebody permanent housing.

And there were conservative critics that said, what? What are you talking about? They should have to jump through hoops. They've got to demonstrate that they're clean and sober. They've got to go get a job. They've got to jump through these hoops before they get permanent housing.

And it turns out that the better approach was to trust in, to believe in the responsibility of these everyday Americans. And they're showing it again.

HAYES: Well, so what you just said there about the way that people have used what money they do have coming in relates to me to the big story here, which is that both on a fiscal level, right, the money passed by Congress and signed by the president in the CARES Act and then subsequent supplementaries and the level of monetary policy, the Fed, Robert, we have had the largest injection of money into an economy we've probably ever seen, and that has really paid some dividends.

Like it has helped people weather the storm and kind of tricked a bunch of analysts and members of the Republican Party into thinking, like, we're good now. And my worry is it's running out now, and you've duped yourself into thinking that once was enough.

REICH: I share that worry, Chris, because, you know, after July 31st, those $600 a week extra unemployment benefits simply vanished. A lot of people were relying on those payments to keep them not only in house and home but also food on their table. And what we are seeing from anecdotal evidence, although we don't have very clear surveys at this point, it's still too early in September.

But what we're seeing is a lot of food insecurity, a lot more people who are homeless or on the verge of being evicted. I think that Secretary Castro is exactly right. Americans are extraordinarily good and clever and diligent, and they do find ways to take care of themselves, but only up to a point.

If they don't have jobs, as so many people still don't, they are going to be in trouble.

HAYES: Yeah. Is that -- is that your view on this, Secretary Castro?

CASTRO: Oh, absolutely. I also agree that, you know, the initial investment of stimulus and of support for folks, that was, that I think, a powerful example of the kind of thing that we should be doing, supporting families and individuals.

But it is running out, and you combine the fact that the eviction moratorium has run out and the stimulus for many folks is in the rearview mirror, and that Mitch McConnell and his buddies in the Senate have not taken up the HEROES Act that would infuse more stimulus that's needed and include an evictions moratorium with $100 billion of direct rental assistance for folks.

And this is where we're at. Where we're at is a president who instead of getting Mitch McConnell to pass the HEROES Act or at least negotiate in good faith, you know, he says that there's this temporary evictions moratorium that is a band-aid approach that is allowing for back rent to pile up, allowing for late fees and penalties, and truly is going to create a bigger avalanche of potential evictions when it does run out conveniently right after Donald Trump's election.

REICH: The other thing I think --


HAYES: There's a bunch of things that have been --

REICH: -- is we've got state and local governments that are running out of money at a very, very rapid clip. And a lot of these state and local governments are responsible for everything from health care to education, social services, and they will not be able to go on. I mean, we're seeing the beginning potentially of a real disaster. I don't want to be alarmist about it, but it could than if nothing is done, if there is no additional funding, a lot of people are going to be in very, very difficult straits.

HAYES: Yeah. That's my concern as well.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro -- gentlemen, thank you both.

REICH: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, the voting has already begun in an election year unlike any other. Ellen Weintraub is a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission. She is raising awareness on how you can protect your vote. She joins me right here next.


HAYES: Voting in the 2020 presidential election has already begun in some places if you believe it. North Carolina last Friday becoming the first state to send out ballots to voters. And as we now enter the actual voting, there are two big things to watch, right? One is the polls and the politics, you know, in the state of the race.

The other, which might become more determinative and important as we go forward, is how the election is administered and how the process of voting goes, how fair and equitable it is from mail-in ballots to possible foreign interference. It is a whole bunch of novel territory we're entering.

One of the people whose job it is to oversee and enforce election law is Ellen Weintraub. She's a commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, who's been outspoken about protecting the integrity of the election, and she joins me now.

Commissioner, I know that the FEC has a certain sort of portfolio largely in the regulation of money and politics. You spend your time thinking about the American election system, so in a broad sense, like how prepared, ready, do you think the system is right now?

ELLEN WEINTRAUB, FEC COMMISSIONER: Well, I've got my fingers crossed. I know that people across the country in the election administration business, which of course happens at the state and local level, are all working very hard night and day to try and get us prepared. It would be really good if they had more resources.

It was estimated earlier this year by the Brennan Center that states and localities could use an extra $4 billion in order to run this election properly with a ramped up mail-in as well as all the extra protections they're going to need for the in-person voting. And Congress has only allocated 10 percent of that amount, $400 million. The Zuckerbergs, the Chan-Zuckerberg decided to throw in another $300 million, so that was nice of them.

There are basketball stadiums that are donating their space. There are employers who are offering to pay their employees to be poll workers. So, the entire country is trying to pull together, but it's starting to have the feel a little bit of a GoFundMe for the election, which is really not the way we ought to be running our election.

Having said that, I think that everybody --



HAYES: Oh, no. I said it's a little like our COVID response. This sort of like haphazard, underfunded, not really coordinated sort of plucky civil society actors trying to plug in the holes. It seems a little like our COVID response, but I agree with you. There is a tremendous amount of various folks trying to come together to make this election work.

WEINTRAUB: And I think that if people vote early, that's my biggest advice to everybody, that you'll be okay. So if you're voting absentee, make sure that you are, a, registered, and that you request your absentee ballot early. As you pointed out, North Carolina has already started to send those out. Other states are going to be following along soon.

So, get your absentee ballot at the soonest opportunity and get it back at the soonest opportunity. If you don't want to put it in the mail, most jurisdictions have secured drop boxes. Get your information from your board of elections, from your secretary of states. Go to, and you can follow the links to your own state and locality. Make sure you're getting reliable information.

And if you decide to vote in person, do that early too. It will take strain off the system on Election Day.

HAYES: That's a great point. You can also go to your vote, where we've been running that. You see that on your screen there.

I want to ask you some questions about the law, and I know that as a commissioner, you can't comment on individual cases, so I want to ask you, they are related to things in the news, but they are broad sort of questions of what the law is.

There was a "Washington Post" article about Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, in which people named people on the record say two things, one that they felt pressured to make donations, and the other that after they made donations, they were reimbursed. Putting aside whether those allegations are true or not and the specifics here, just in terms of the law, is it lawful to have your employees, you say, go write a check for this fund-raiser, and later you give them that amount in a bonus. Is that lawful, or is that illegal?

WEINTRAUB: Again, talking just generally about the state of the law, the law protects our right to know who is giving as well as making sure that contribution limits are observed. Therefore reimbursements are not allowed. So, it's illegal to provide a bonus after the fact that would reimburse an employee. And if that bonus is coming from a corporate account, that could present an issue of an illegal corporate contribution. So that's the general framework of the law.

HAYES: Another question about the general framework of the law, and this has to do with what campaigns can and can't spend money on. There was an article just today in "The New York Times" about the filing of expenses for the Trump campaign. Obviously, campaigns have lots of expenses and there's a political question about, well, are you using your resources well? They've burned through a lot of cash.

But just as a sort of legal matter, can a campaign just spend money on anything? Can you just decide, like, I'm running for president, and, you know, I'm just going to buy my family a bunch of properties and call it a campaign? Like are there basically -- what are the lanes of like what is lawful and unlawful in terms of what campaign expenses can be?

WEINTRAUB: Well, the basic limit on campaigns spending money is that you can spend it on anything that you think is going to benefit your campaign. What you can't do is use it for personal use, put it in your own pocket, use it to pay expenses like gym memberships or country club dues or buying yourself new clothing, paying your mortgage on your home, going on vacation because, you know, you really are exhausted from all that campaigning. All of those things would be personal use, and they would not be allowed.

HAYES: And I imagine there's like a pretty good, like, line of law on this. Like there's been a lot of prosecutions. There's been a lot of cases. There's been a lot of rulings about which side of the line a campaign expense is on?

WEINTRAUB: There is a great body of law on this, but, you know, we still get questions about things that haven't arisen in quite the exact factual predicate that shows up one day.

HAYES: Right.

WEINTRAUB: And then, you know, we have to answer questions. Of course one problem is that one way people can get those questions addressed is to request an advisory opinion from the FEC. And as you know, it takes four commissioners to issue an advisory opinion, and right now and for most of the last year, we've only had three.

HAYES: Yes. That's because the president has not appointed anyone, rendering the FEC essentially a -- not a full-strength body. Let's put it that way, although Ellen Weintraub is there and working very hard on our behalf.

Thank you so much for making the time. I appreciate it.

WEINTRAUB: My pleasure.

HAYES: Still ahead, we're in for the fourth month of sustained Black Lives Matter protests in cities across the country. And a new study tracking the movements disproves one of the president's favorite talking points. The findings after this.


HAYES: Protesters are in the streets of Rochester, New York, for the sixth straight night tonight, and that's after video was released showing officers holding 41-year-old Daniel Prude on the ground after placing a spit hood over his head back in March. Prude died days later. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide caused by, quote, complications of asphyxia.

Well, there have been violent encounters between activists and Rochester police with officers firing pepper balls at protesters. The protests last night and so far tonight seem to be very peaceful. A few days ago, the first major survey from the last several months of protest was released by Princeton University's bridging the divide initiative. In its examination of demonstrations and political violence in America, the survey found, quote, in more than 93 percent of all demonstrations conducted in the Black Lives Matter Movement, demonstrators have not engaged in violence or destructive activity while authorities have used force in over 44 percent of the demonstrations on which they have engaged.

Joining me now is Omar Wasow. He's assistant professor of politics at Princeton University, who studies protests and unrest.

It's great to have you, professor.

I know this was done -- colleagues at Princeton who did this study and you've done studies of some of the things that happened in the 1960s. I guess the first question is like these -- the terms themselves are very difficult and loaded about what counts as destruction or violence and what you count as police use of force, and those definitions themselves seems to be at the heart of the sort of political battle over what the protest themselves mean.

OMAR WASOW, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, PRINCETON: That's absolutely right. And sociologists, social scientists more generally have had to come up with criteria where a protest that is coded as violent is one in which there's significant injury or death or, you know, arson, but it's got to cross a threshold. As you mentioned, 93 percent of these events have been peaceful, and that really has, I think, allowed the Black Lives Matter movement to capture a kind of moral high ground in the country in the larger debate as people have tried to make sense of this.

HAYES: How -- how have these reactions happened in the past? I'm thinking of the 1960s, which you've studied particularly, and I know in Ferguson there was -- because there were both. I was on the streets in Ferguson, and there were stores that were burned down. There were stores that were broken into.

There were -- there were gunshots in the street, though not necessarily directed at police, but there was violence on the streets. There was also huge largely peaceful protests. How common, I guess, is that mix of elements in the setting of street protest?

WASOW: It's quite common. I mean in the 1960s, we had hundreds of these events. I mean this was part of what drew me to this research is I was aware of events like the Watts uprising or Newark, Detroit. But it turns out there were more than 750 protests in which protesters engaged in more aggressive, more violent resistance to state violence, white supremacy, and so I was interested in trying to understand that period.

And what we see is that people -- you know, and as you noted earlier, one of the most common patterns is there's a kind of escalation that happens. The police -- there's some incident, maybe a young man is shot by the police. That leads to protests. Then there's a kind of crackdown that in turn escalates things.

So that pattern is actually quite common both in the U.S. and internationally. I think one of the things that's interesting about that study is it really helped put the U.S. case in a global context where the kinds of things we're seeing here are actually really common around the world and speak to some of the challenges that America faces as a polarized society with high degrees of inequality, and then that kind of mobilizes as calls for justice on the street and also non-trivial amounts of state repression.

HAYES: The map shows this is the sort of scope from the study of these protests that did happen, you know, in an almost unprecedented fashion and sort of divides between riots and protests. Again, there's sort of a definitional question there.

But there's another sort of lesson from your research and from others about the perception in the media about the nature of the protests and the battle over which element of that, right? So if 1,000 people come out and march peacefully and also stores are broken into and a building is lit on fire and people throw rocks at police. The question of, like, which of those two stories about the night is the story about what happened?

WASOW: Yeah. That's, I think, one of the most important things that I took away from my own researchers. These are contentious events. They're complicated.

There are, you know, incidents of people throwing water bottles at cops and cops retaliating in some kind of aggressive way, and that can escalate, or it can de-escalate. And how do you describe something where there's some kind of moderate or, you know, there's a small percent of protester-initiated violence? And what happens often is the media then is sort of sent to interpret these events. And, you know, there's an old saying in the TV business, if it bleeds, it leads.

So violence is inherently newsworthy. From the media's perspective, we don't cover a plane that lands peacefully, that doesn't crash, right? So violence and conflict are inherently more dramatic. In the 1960s, protest organizers really began to understand that violence helped draw the media, so they made themselves the target, the objects of violence, to draw national media.

HAYES: Right.

WASOW: And have it be sympathetic coverage. But that's not always what happens. In some cases we've seen front page coverage of, hey, look at these images of police engaging in violence against protesters. But there's also been attention to the incidents of, you know, buildings going up in flames, and that's led in part to, you know, softening of support for Black Lives Matter even as overall 60 percent of the country still supports police reform as the main message they're taking away.

HAYES: It's a really good point. And the sort of way in which this is mediated is central to the story.

Omar Wasow, thank you so much for making some time tonight.

WASOW: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: With an administration marked with prison sentences, scandals, an impeachment, is there anything that could change any person's mind about President Trump before the election? What that means for the next 57 days after this.


HAYES: Less than two months until the election. We are at the start of what I suspect will be an extended period of, quote, bombshell revelations about Donald Trump. Jeffrey Goldberg's "Atlantic" piece with the president calling Americans who died in war losers and suckers, that's the latest piece of damning reporting, there have already been two books by a member of the Trump family and a former national security adviser.

Then this month three more books come out from former Trump -- Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen, from former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and from Watergate journalist Bob Woodward with devastating inside information on Trump, his 2016 campaign, and his presidency.

All of it would make for a major controversial for any other candidate, but the big question about Trump is, would anything out there about his personality change anyone's mind anymore?

To discuss the implications it may have for the next 57 days, I want to bring in Anand Giridharadas. He's "Time" magazine editor at large and author of "Winners Take All". And Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Alabama.

Joyce, let me start with you. Alabama born and raised and there right now, you've got a competitive, we think, Senate seat for Doug Jones there.

And I just wonder, like, the degree to which any of this about Trump personally, about the kind of person he is or the things he says penetrates in the ecosystem that you exist in down there, in the state and local media, just like, or if it matters to anyone or have they sort of chalked it up one way or the other?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So I have to confess, I'm a California girl who moved to the South.

HAYES: Oh, wow.

VANCE: But that said, politics is the topic of the day.

Yeah. Politics is the topic of the day in Alabama like every place else. And I think something that can be difficult for folks to focus on, particularly for me, I'm guilty of this, is we get caught up in the doings of this administration because we're interested in these issues.

That's not what life is like for most Americans. We're in the middle of a pandemic and a financial crisis. I think these revelations, even if there's just something extraordinary in them, will not have a lot of impact. We've seen frankly extraordinary revelations from the start of Trump's first campaign on.

What impacts with people right now are kitchen table issues. Will they be able to pay the rent? Can they provide their family with food? How are they going to get through this pandemic?

And so, those are the issues that my sense is that this election will turn on.

HAYES: Yeah, Anand, I think there's always a sort of temptation with Trump that because he's so anomalous and so odious in so many ways because he does and says things that are genuinely outrageous, to sort of be lured into running against him on that. I think, you know, that happened in 2016. Clinton, I don't think it was a crazy idea that she would run on that.

But I also do think that some of the most boring things about him, like he's trying to take your health care away and suing the ACA are sort of more salient but the hardest to kind of penetrate from a kind of campaign perspective.

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS, "WINNERS TAKE ALL" AUTHOR: Well, I think it's, as much as there are these revelations every few hours for the last few years, I think it's important to remember that his resilience to them is not a property of him so much as it's a property of where our country is right now. You know, I think we are in a cold civil war as I've described it where we have these two mutually impermeable societies that have their own temples of reality, their own tribal rituals, their own languages, their own media, their own sense of what is true and false. And very few things cross the line.

And so, I think a revelation on its own, an "Atlantic" story on its own, which exists completely within one of those tribal worlds and not the other. Those things are their own do very little.

But I think there is a temptation to fatalism about that that is also wrong. It is not the case that nothing crosses over from one kingdom to the other. If that were the case, Trump's approval rating and electoral odds would have been the same every day for the last few years, and we all know that's not true.

HAYES: Right.

GIRIDHARADAS: They go up and down.

So things get through. But it's important to understand what gets through. I think often Democrats continue to speak in a tribal language that doesn't quite get through or have too much faith in these scandals doing the work on their own.

And I think what's important now in these last 50-whatever days is to really find deep, guttural values based language that speak to 99 percent of Americans, that tell a story about this corruption that has gone on for years, tell a story about this heartlessness, this cruelty, that ties it to kitchen table issues, that explains that the reason you don't have health care is because of men like this, but doesn't simply rest on the laurels of this being a bad dude.

HAYES: Yeah, yeah. I think that's well said. I think it's interesting, right? When you think about the different universes that people get their news from, the pandemic is sort of the ultimate test of that in so many ways.

It's so fascinating and in some ways hopeful and also depressing about it, right? At one level it does cut through, you know, different sort of realities. It does cut through different sort of markets for information.

You have seen lots of polls showing that like large majorities of Americans across political divides are worried about the virus, are wearing masks, for instance, right? So there is a kind of silent majority of Americans, Joyce, that is like the silent majority of people who like are still worried about the pandemic we're in the midst of. And I do think that kind of silent majority campaign is sort of what Biden's running, Joyce. Like that is in some ways ironically the sort of value proposition here is that, like, I'm speaking to the non-shouters who are like worried about the state we're in.

VANCE: This is one of the most interesting facets of this election, Chris. The notion that a public health crisis could have been politicized to a point where wearing a mask is a sign that you're a Democrat and refusing to wear one is a way of showing support for President Trump, I think that's something that's virtually unparalleled in our history.

And the question as we get closer to November is whether people will synthesize all the different aspects of what that means. For instance, if we watch increasing rates of infection as children go back to school with poor plans for bringing them back into the classroom, as universities continue to have soaring infection rates, we'll have to see whether that issue crosses the barrier between the two different tribes and helps people make their selection in this election.

HAYES: And then the other thing I think about, Anand, and I think the cold civil war, you know, framework is a powerful one, is like whoever is president next, let's say it is not Donald Trump, but it is Joe Biden, is then going to have to govern a country in the midst of both sort of the ruin of the pandemic and also the cold civil war won't get better. In some ways sort of the promise is maybe we can make it a little bitter when it's not Donald Trump, but I'm just not that hopeful on that front.

GIRIDHARADAS: Yeah, I have maintained for the last few years while being very focused on Donald Trump and his depredations that he is kind of pussing boil on a very badly disease body politic that has problems on a scale that dwarf even his presidency, that made him possible.

And so, the question then becomes if you're Joe Biden and you inherit this, what are you going to do to create a kind of super majority for a restoration of some kind of decency and frankly the advancement to a level of decency we've never had in many ways? And it's going to require frankly that something Joe Biden has a lot of head room on which is really having passion among his followers and stirring that in this home stretch.

HAYES: Yeah. It's going to be interesting to see that.

Anand Giridharadas and Joyce Vance, it was great to have you both on this Labor Day. Thank you for taking some time with us.

That does it for our very special edition of ALL IN. Thank you for joining us. We'll be back at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night. Good night.


Content and programming copyright 2020 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.