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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, November 2, 2020

Guests: Nancy Pelosi, Tom Bonier, Cecile Richards, Ron Klain


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi discusses Tuesday's election. President Obama delivers an address in support of Joe Biden in Florida. Former Joe Biden chief of staff Ron Klain discusses the election. What does the early vote say about the makeup of the electorate?



Hi, Ari.


What's going to happen?

WALLACE: I don't know. What's going to happen? I hope everybody votes.

I am so excited by this early vote number. And I think our next mission as a country is to smash records for same-day voting. If you don't have any sort of conditions that make the pandemic an extra scary threat for yourself or your family, to go out and vote tomorrow would be sort of the last way to button up what's been a remarkable election season.

What do you think?

MELBER: I think, as you say, we have huge, record-breaking turnout. So we know more than we normally would. I mean, you and I both worked on campaigns where, a week out, you really don't know much at all.

So we do know there's energy. We do know the participation is way up. And that makes me wonder if that carries over to tomorrow. And the midterms were literally the highest midterm turnout since women got the suffrage vote in the Constitution.

What if, tomorrow -- we will see -- breaks a new record? I think that's what I'm looking for.


And I think it's incumbent to not lose steam, to run through the tape. What both campaigns are trying to do now, right now, today, the rallies that we dipped into in the last half-hour of our show, they're about getting people to make a plan to vote tomorrow.

And I know, this network, we have all been part of the plan your vote, getting people to do the early vote, to request absentee votes. The only game in town now is to figure out how to vote tomorrow, if you haven't yet.

MELBER: Well put. Nicolle Wallace, it will be busy period for you. We will see you soon.

I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER.

And we're going to go right back into some of this breaking election news, President Barack Obama campaigning for Joe Biden.

Let's listen in.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And here's the other thing. You know, I've joked about this, but everybody says that's a good point. They say that.

With Joe and Kamala, you're not going to think about them every single day.


OBAMA: You're not going to have to argue about some crazy tweet that the president sent out this morning. It won't be so exhausting. You'll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president's doing his job, instead of suggesting we inject bleach, that the president's not going to retweet conspiracy theories that the Navy SEALs didn't actually kill Bin Laden.

We're not going to have a president who goes out of his way to insult people just because they don't agree with him. It's not normal behavior, South Florida. We wouldn't put up with this from a teacher, or a high school principal, or a -- or our co-worker. Why would we accept it from the president of the United States?

Because there are consequences when somebody behaves that way, when the person who's supposed to be a top leader acts like that. It emboldens other people to be mean and cruel and dismissive, and racist. And it frays the fabric of all of our lives.

And it affects how our kids see the world. And it affects our families and how they get along. It affects how the world sees America. And that's why Joe talks about the soul of America. And that, more than anything, is what separates him from his opponent. And that's what's at stake in this election.

Joe Biden cares about every American. And Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and I think you, those of you who are out there listening, I think he tries to live up to the values that we cherish, that we were taught, of honesty, and hard work, and kindness, and humility, and responsibility, and giving somebody a hand up when they're down.

Wasn't that what you were taught? That's what I was taught. And we don't always do it perfectly. Sometimes, we make mistakes in our own lives and our own families, but we try to own up to it. We try to make ourselves better. We try to teach our kids to do the right thing, right?

And when you're like Joe Biden, that's what you'll see reflected in the White House. And these are not Republican or Democratic values. I was talking -- we were flying over, because we were Georgia earlier today, and I was telling my staff, if there was a Democrat who was behaving this way, the way our current president does, I couldn't support him.


OBAMA: If I saw -- if I saw a Democrat who was lying every single day, I mean, the fact-checkers can't keep up, it's like, just over and over again.

You know, I would say, well, I don't -- that's not the example I want.

I don't trust that person to manage the country's affairs, because it's violating the values that we try to live by, and these are values we try to teach our kids. They're not white values. They're not black values. They're not Latino values or Asian American values or Native American values.

They're American values. And we have to reclaim that.


OBAMA: Some of you saw some folks -- there was a Biden/Harris bus in Texas.

And they were surrounded by Trump cars and supporters. And, at some point, some of -- some of it got dangerous, right? It looked like folks might be run off the road.

And, look, the president can't be responsible for every single person out there, but he didn't say, that's wrong. He didn't say, in our democracy, there's no place for that kind of intimidation, or violence, or reckless behavior.

He said, yeah, that's great. I love Texas.

I mean, what's going to happen to this country and our democracy if our leaders, when folks act recklessly, and dangerously, and irresponsibly, think that's OK, think that's fine?

It's not. Imagined if I had done that when I was president. Imagine if that was reversed. Imagine if I had gone around in rallies saying, yeah, intimidate folks. We're going to send folks out and make sure it's harder for them to vote.

And people -- people would have said -- Democrats would have said, that's wrong.

Well, you know what? This is wrong. And it needs to change.


OBAMA: And you have the power to change it.


OBAMA: But if we're going to change it, we have got to turn out like never before.


OBAMA: We can leave no doubt.

We can't afford to be complacent, not this time, not in this election.

The reason I'm back here, South Florida, is because I know some of you have not voted yet. Some of you haven't voted yet. Some of your friends -- probably all of you who are here have voted.


OBAMA: But some of you who are -- who are hearing me right now, some of you haven't voted yet.

And it's not because the guy in the office is doing a good job. It's not because you don't see the pain that's going around because this pandemic has been mishandled. But it's because you're skeptical that your vote's going to make a difference, or you're just frustrated because you don't think government can make a difference.

And so I want to talk to you. I don't know what your circumstances are, but if you're hearing me right now, and you haven't voted yet, I want you to understand that a president can't solve every problem. Government can't solve every problem.

But you know what it can do, is, if you have people in there who care about you, it can make things better. If we elect a House and a Senate, and a statehouse and a state senate that are focused on working people and getting them the help that they need, it can make a difference.

I wasn't able to make sure that everybody in America got health insurance. That's what I wanted to do. I got blocked. We got what we could. But you know what? More than 20 million Americans got health insurance that didn't have it before.


OBAMA: Over a hundred million people had protections if they had a preexisting condition that didn't have it before. It made things better.


OBAMA: A president by himself or herself can't eliminate all racial bias in the criminal justice system. That is a legacy that dates back a long ways.

But if we elect district attorneys and state's attorneys and sheriffs focused on equality and justice, it can make things better. It can make sure some of the things that young people were protesting this summer don't happen as frequently.

It's worth voting for. Voting is not about making things perfect. It's about making things better, about putting us on a track so that, generations from now, we can look back and say, you know what? Right then, in that election, we took a new path, and things got better.


OBAMA: That's how so many of us enjoy the benefits of others who voted in the past. All right? The reason we got minimum wage is because union workers were willing to work hard and sacrifice.


OBAMA: And then that got better for everybody.

The reason women have the right to vote and to run for office is because, generations back, suffragists marched and advocated, until they got the right to vote.

The reason that I'm able to stand here, as a former president of the United States, is because people like John Lewis...


OBAMA: ... were willing to brave armed -- batons and horses and dogs and fire hoses to fight for us.

The reason that this is a country that has embraced and accepted immigrants is because there were others in the past who were willing to make this journey to America, believing that, you know what, we're going to leave behind the old undemocratic order, the old injustices.


OBAMA: We're going to try to make a new life here for our children and our grandchildren.


OBAMA: They didn't think it was going to be perfect when they got here.

The folks who left Cuba or Haiti or Guatemala, or the folks before that who came from Eastern Europe, or -- they did not expect that, suddenly, everything was going to be all set. But they were willing to take the risk, and make the effort, and put in the sacrifice.


OBAMA: So, if you haven't voted, if you haven't voted, just think about that.

Compared to what our parents and our grandparents, our great-grandparents had to do, this is such a small thing. Typically, in most elections, a little bit over half of us vote who are eligible. Think about that. Close to half of the people who have the right to vote don't vote.

Imagine if 60 percent of us voted. Imagine if 70 percent of us voted. Imagine what we could do. Imagine, January 20, when we swear in a president and a vice president who've got a plan to get us out of this mess, who care about working Americans...


OBAMA: ... who have a plan to help you start getting ahead, who believe in science, who have a plan to protect this planet for our kids, who believe in racial equality and gender equality, and are willing to do the work to bring us closer to that point where, here in America, it doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter where you come from or who you love, or how much money you have got.

You are treated with dignity and you are treated with respect. And you can make it and chase your dreams.


OBAMA: It depends on you right now.

If you're not voting, I need you to vote. All of that is possible. All of that is within reach, if you vote.

For all the times -- people have asked me these last four years, they said, boy, how have you been -- put up with all this? And I confess, I said, look, there are times where Michelle and I were at the dinner table, we'd get discouraged. We're just surprised when we hear the president say, well, there are good people on both sides after a Nazi march.

You know, there are times where we're discouraged by some of the outlandish statements that are made. But even though we have seen some of our worst impulses encouraged, we have also seen America at its best these last four years.

We have seen folks stand up and be heard. We have seen folks of every age and background pack city centers and town squares so that families wouldn't be separated. We have seen the Parkland kids lead us so that another classroom wouldn't get shot up...


OBAMA: ... so this would be a moment when we finally achieve commonsense gun safety laws, where we see health care workers like Grace risk their lives day in day out to save somebody else's loved ones.

We have seen people contribute and volunteer, help out their neighbors, look after that elderly person that maybe doesn't have somebody looking after them, bringing them groceries, helping them out.

We have seen Americans of all races joining together to declare, in the face of injustice and brutality, that Black Lives Matter, no more, but no less.


OBAMA: Just like Hispanic lives matter, no more, no less.


OBAMA: Everybody's worthy of respect and dignity and fair treatment.

And we don't want any child in this country to feel the continuing sting of racism. We have seen it here in Miami, in South Florida. We have seen it all across the country.

America is a good and decent place. But we have seen so much noise and nonsense and misinformation, sometimes, it's hard for us to remember that. Sometimes, some of us get confused. Some of us have friends who, they're looking at their Twitter feed, or they're watching certain programs on TV, and they -- they're good people.

They just -- they have gotten wrong information. But the truth is, we can do better than we're doing. We are better than what's been reflected these last four years in our politics.


OBAMA: And I'm asking you to remember what this country can be. I'm asking you to believe in Joe's ability to lead this country of the dark times and help us build back better.


OBAMA: I'm asking you not to abandoned the Americans who are hurting right now.

I'm asking you not to let down the young people who are out there marching because they believed what we had taught our children about justice. Help them channel their activism into action. We can't just imagine a better future. We have got to fight for it. We got to outhustle the other side.

We have got to vote for it.


OBAMA: The president's declared that he's basically planned to announce victory no matter what the numbers are.

Well, you know what? If we beat him soundly, he won't be able to do it.


OBAMA: But that requires everybody turning out to vote. That requires folks right here in South Florida to vote.

If you are eligible to vote, and you believe the country can do better, I need you to cast your ballots. Make a plan. Tomorrow, we can choose to protect health care for our families. Tomorrow, we can build an economy that rewards working Americans.

Tomorrow, we can elect leaders who reflect our best instincts and not our worst. Tomorrow, we can just hope over fear, and unity over division.

And, if we do, Florida, if we vote like our lives depend on, we will elect Joe Biden as president.


OBAMA: We will elect Kamala Harris as vice president, and we will leave no doubt about who we are and what this country that we love stands for.


OBAMA: Thank you, South Florida. Let's get to work. Vote tomorrow.

I love you!

MELBER: Former President Barack Obama giving a rousing speech there.

He just made a little bit of the basketball shot sign impromptu to someone in the crowd. We're still going to watch this. It looks like he's putting his mask on.

The former president doing the elbow bump, fitting for 2020.

We just heard him lay out his case. And it was strong. Fight for it. Vote for it. Win by such a margin, he told Democrats assembled in that crowd, that Donald Trump won't be able to mess with the results, a reference to reporting that the current president may try to declare victory, regardless of what happens, an unusual time,an unusual speech.

President Obama, as he has been over the last several days, being quite forceful in his rebuke of Donald Trump and Trumpism. I also want to mention the president speaking about John Lewis, about the health care record, about reforming systemic racism, and making reference to that caravan crowd of Trump supporters that interfered with the Biden bus.

We're watching the former President Obama there depart the Biden stage.

And we want to turn now to a very special guest on this election eve.

I'm thrilled to tell you we have a very busy and very newsworthy guest, longtime adviser to Joe Biden Ron Klain. He was a chief of staff to Joe Biden, as well as to Al Gore. We have seen him there. The pictures tell the story, one of the former vice president's most trusted and long-serving aides.

I know you're busy tonight. Thank you for coming on THE BEAT, sir.

RON KLAIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, it's a pleasure to be here, Ari. Thanks for having me.

MELBER: I want to get to a lot, including some of the legal victories that the Democrats and the Biden side have scored. But let's start with what we just heard there.

What do you see as important in Barack Obama's closing message for his former running mate?

KLAIN: Well, look, obviously it's powerful and impassioned, as you say.

I think what was really important there was, he was speaking directly not just to our core supporters, and not just to rallying the core Biden/Obama supporters, but to people who have become cynical about government, people who may not vote.

And I thought that end part of the speech, Ari, where he looked right into the camera and said, look, if you're out there, and you think government can't help, if you think government can't make a difference, here's how your government can help.

And it was a realistic argument. He didn't promise that every single problem would go away on January 20, when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris come into office, but what he did say is, it makes a difference to have a president, a vice president, a House and Senate that want to look after working people, that want to fight this pandemic that Trump has given up on, that want to put working people ahead of wealth.

And I think that message, that effort to try to reach those people who haven't voted in the past, kind of fallen out of the electorate, that's a really important goal here at the end.

I mean, we have know we have banked -- almost 100 million Americans voted, an incredible early vote. But the question is, what will get those last tens of millions of Americans to the polls tomorrow? I think that's the pitch President Obama was making there in South Florida.

MELBER: Yes. And I mentioned it was impromptu, but we saw him make this -- the sign of shooting hoops, which was a moment that went fully viral.

But for our viewers to either relish it again or, if you're seeing it for the first time, this was all over the Internet this weekend. Joe Biden was with Barack Obama. They were both masked up, walking through the basketball court. Let's take a look.




OBAMA: That's what I do.


OBAMA: That's what I do!


MELBER: Ron, you are inside this campaign. Is that going to be what tomorrow looks like for Biden and the Democrats? Or is it too early to tell?

KLAIN: Well, look, I feel very, very good about where we are in all the key states and nationally.

When you look at what's happened with the early vote, it's very encouraging. But no one's taking anything for granted. And we're going to fight through the tape. And that means, first of all, as you said, going to court today to try to protect voters' rights, to make sure people -- people have the right to vote, make sure those 120,000-plus ballots in Texas that were cast early do, in fact, count.

But it also means just an all-out effort coast to coast to call voters, text voters, knock on doors...

MELBER: Right.

KLAIN: ... do everything we can to get people out tomorrow.

The election started a long time ago. It ends tomorrow.


MELBER: Ron, let's -- me show that point that you're making for viewers and then have you respond, because we just call it as it happens.

So, if the Trump campaign were winning a bunch of cases yesterday or today, I would report that. That doesn't happen to be what's happening.

Your team, your side and your allies have been winning most of these court battles.

The news breaking late today, which I want to update viewers on, if they have been watching these rallies and didn't see this yet, as Ron mentioned, Republicans losing a last-minute case that was trying to toss over 120,000 votes in Texas.

The judge rejecting Republican challenges to drive-in vote in, finding people suing couldn't even bring that case. It comes after Republicans lost another ruling Sunday in D.C. federal court, where a federal judge backed expedited voting by mail, reinforcing team Biden's arguments against Trump administration efforts to hamper the post office.

And Politico is now reporting the Biden campaign is already fund-raising for potential legal battles to defend any Biden victory that may occur, the campaign telling donors it "quickly expects litigation to flood the courts in the hours after the election."

Ron, you're the perfect person -- you brought this up -- perfect person to walk us through it. You, your campaign is taking the view that even a fairly clear victory tomorrow, if you were to get it, may not be the end of it? What are you preparing?

KLAIN: Well, first of all, let's be clear.

I think, as President Obama said, if voters come out in sufficient numbers tomorrow, and we can win these key states by sufficient margins, I don't think Donald Trump will have any basis to fight this thing on. And I do think the election could end in a relatively short time.

But if the election is close, we know Trump has said what he's going to do. He's going to go to court to try to throw out votes, to try to end the vote-counting. We're going to be prepared to defend people's rights.

And I want to say one other thing about this, Ari. When we go to court to defend the right of votes to count, we're not just defending the right of Biden votes to count. We're defending the right of everyone's votes to count.

When Trump says he wants to cut off votes after tomorrow, late-arriving ballots and things like that, we're talking about military people who are overseas ,who have the right to mail on their ballot and have it be counted.

Some of those 120,000 votes in Texas that we were talking about a minute ago, I'm sure many of those were votes for Donald Trump. I'm sure a lot of people in Texas voted for Donald Trump.

Our point is that people have the right to vote. We're going to defend that right. Voters have the final say, not the courts, the voters. And the voters can speak loudly and clearly tomorrow and avoid all this post-election mess.

That's obviously our preferred option.


And those rulings, as I mentioned, have been basically, on the facts, good news for Democrats.

When it comes to potential good news for the Trump side, their folks say they feel great about Florida, that you had Barack Obama there, on the one hand, making these strong arguments, but, on the other hand, a sign that that's where he needs to be, because it's that close.

They say Texas is all hype, they have got it on lock. And they say you guys are playing defense in Minnesota.

So, as is the case with the election eve clash, people want to hear your response to all that.

KLAIN: Well, look, President Obama's in Florida because Florida is Florida. I spent 36 days there in 2000 fighting an election.


KLAIN: I don't think anyone's ever going to take Florida for granted. Ari.

And President Obama, next to Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, is our best spokesperson for this ticket. And having him there in Florida is important.

We know we put up a big lead in the early voting in terms of the Democratic ballots returned vs. Republican ballots returned. And so we feel good about Florida. But we're not going to take anything for granted in Florida, for goodness' sakes.

And, of course, Vice President Biden spent all day to day in Ohio, Pennsylvania. He will be back in Pennsylvania tomorrow. Look, we're fighting this thing out in the battlegrounds. And we're fighting this thing out in the states that will decide the Electoral College.

I feel very good about where we are. But there is no one who's going to take this thing for granted. And we're going to just fight through all the way to the finish.

MELBER: When you look at tomorrow, for viewers -- everybody's tuned in -- what do you see as important from, admittedly, a Biden campaign perspective?

For example, we have already seen some games in Pennsylvania, where they might be trying to delay when we hear about certain votes, the skepticism being that it's a way to try to initially undercount Biden, a -- quote, unquote -- "red mirage."

What would you say to everyone about -- obviously, you want your side to win, but also about how they should view information over the course of the night, Ron?

KLAIN: Be patient.

We are picking a president and a direction for our country, not some kind of, like, quick bake cake or something like that. And, in 2000, we didn't know the night of the election. 2004, we didn't know the night of the election. 2016, we didn't know the night of the election.

I think people just have to be patient. Look, I hope we have a great night tomorrow night. I hope we put up big margins in all these states. I hope this is an indisputable outcome tomorrow night even for Joe Biden.

But the most important thing for our democracy is for people on both sides to be patient, let the results come in, let all the legal votes be counted, and then we will see who won.

And Vice President Biden has been very clear about the fact that, if he's at the short end of that stick, he will concede defeat. I don't think that's where we're going to be, but we're prepared to accept the verdict of the voters.

Hope Donald Trump will do the same thing. And I think that verdict will be a verdict for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

MELBER: Well, I appreciate the perspective you're offering, Ron.

And I especially appreciate that, while you're a big advocate of Joe Biden, much of what you said right there was in the spirit of the civic obligation we have. Let's go through this tomorrow. And, as citizens, let's do this the right way against pressures, obviously, from the president and elsewhere to constitutionally do it the wrong way.

The last thing I will say, Ron, is, win or lose -- you have been an expert on THE BEAT before. Win or lose, I hope you come back. No one knows what's going to happen. If your side does lose, you might be an easier booking, or a harder one if you win. I hope you will come back either way on THE BEAT.

KLAIN: Either way, Ari, it's always a pleasure to be here. I'd love to come back, win, lose or draw.

MELBER: There you go.

Ron Klain, thank you very much. Such a busy night for Biden folks. I appreciate you joining me.

We turn to someone else who's very busy on this final day of voting.

I'm thrilled to tell you we're joined by the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

Thank you for being here.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I would say my pleasure, except we've topped over 230,000 people who have died of the coronavirus so far.

And that's what the president is trying to change the subject from to talk about people voting in their cars and the rest, rather than talking about people dying from his miserable failure when it comes to addressing a pandemic in our country.

MELBER: Well, Madam Speaker, I suppose that goes to the first question, which is, what do you see as the stakes tomorrow?

PELOSI: The stakes?

Oh, our democracy is at stake. That's what is at stake tomorrow. And, again, I believe in the American people. I want them all to vote, however they vote, but I want their vote to be respected.

And it should be respected by the president of the United States, first and foremost. But we have no reason to think that that will be the case.

But, again, we feel confident. We -- I was on the phone, of course, constantly with my -- with the candidates, and with both incumbents who are running and candidates in our red to blue. And there is a great deal of confidence on the ground.

So, I feel confident that we will win the House. It's very possible we will win the Senate. And, on January 20, Joe Biden will be inaugurated president of the United States.

MELBER: A confident stance.

Madam Speaker, you're a leader of your whole party. You're a leader of the entire House.

But you also, as I think you know, are seen as a big leader and barrier-breaker for women in politics, rightly so.


MELBER: And so I did want to ask you about something. Again, I've mentioned this to viewers. We're learning more than we usually know earlier with this record-breaking vote.

And so we're seeing women outnumbering men here in what is now 90-plus million votes; 53 percent of them are women, or 46 million total, compared to 38 million for men.

I just wanted to get your reaction on that potentially record-breaking number, if it continues into tomorrow.

PELOSI: Well, I've always said that women are very smart voters, and women of color especially very smart voters.

But I do think that they're exercising great judgment. They care about our country's future. That's all about the children. And anyone who sees the performance of the president, whether it's degrading the air that our children breathe, undermining the education they receive, assault on the economic security of their families, opposition to protecting them from gun violence, the list goes on and on.

So, women make judgments, based on what it means to them in their lives. And they see very clearly that Joe Biden's -- Joe Biden's vision for our country, his knowledge of the issues, his connection to people and their concerns is something that is making a difference in this election, hence so many women voting, and so many women voting for Joe Biden.


And it's really striking because we know, in general and from last time, women voters more skeptical of Donald Trump. So, if those numbers continue, that could have a huge impact tomorrow. We're all waiting on that.

We did put something together, looking at the way that you, as mentioned, as the top Democrat in the government, have dealt with this very unusual president. There have been Trump-Pelosi clashes.

Let's take a brief look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Nancy Pelosi is doing a terrible disservice to the people of our country.

PELOSI: Mr. President, please don't characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting.

I don't hate anyone and always pray for the president...

TRUMP: God bless America. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: What did you think of Trump's speech tonight?

PELOSI: I tore it up.

TRUMP: Nancy is a mess. The Democratic Party is a mess.

PELOSI: The president is afraid of the American people. He knows that, on the legit, it would be hard for him to win.


MELBER: Here we are, election eve.

Do you see him as the most challenging, as the least legitimate of any president you've had to deal with? And what do you say to voters who are watching this and -- you heard it -- it may not be true, but you've heard some people say, gosh, I don't know the difference. I haven't paid attention. What's the difference between all these options and parties?

PELOSI: Well, first, let me just say that this president, of all the presidents I have seen and studied in American history, is the most insecure.

He knows he can't win by letting the people speak their voices, so he's trying to disrupt the election. We are concerned about foreign powers coming in and undermining the integrity of our elections.

He is undermining the integrity of our elections himself. And why? Because he's a very insecure person. That's why he takes cheap shots at everyone. He's really projecting his own weaknesses, and he recognizes them because he has them.

But let's forget about him. Let's talk about the future. Let's talk about what this election is about. Elections are always about the future, about how we make the future better for our children.

And when he talks about who loves America, who loves America? Who loves our land from sea to shining sea and wants to protect it? Not Donald Trump. Who loves America? By and large, a nation of immigrants, the beautiful and constant reinvigoration of America of newcomers to our country.

Who denigrates them? Donald Trump. Who loves our Constitution and all of the rights contained therein and the beautiful genius of the separation of powers? Not Donald Trump. He undermines our Constitution.

And who loves our values as a country, a beacon of hope to the world? Not a president who is taking babies out of the arms of their parents, without any thought of sending them home. That's not who we are as a country.

So, this election has a clear, clear contrast, and a person so completely different, so confident in his beliefs in our country, so connected to the concerns, hopes and dreams of the American people, so authentic about what he stands for, and that is Joe Biden.

So, it's going to be a great day for our country. We will contend with the president's skullduggery. He's actually, in so many ways, just trying to change the subject away from the fact that he has been, again, a total failure in terms of this pandemic, among other things.

But the fact is that the people will speak tomorrow, and their voices must be heard. Their vote is their voice, and that is what a democracy is about.

It's not about undermining that voice or vote because of your own insecurity as president, because you know you can't win unless you disrupt and cause chaos.

MELBER: Well, here we go.

We are grateful, on a busy night, Speaker Pelosi, for you spending time with us and giving us the closing argument.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

PELOSI: Well, I tell our folks, be calm, be confident, be patient.

And don't be celebrating until everyone has voted across the country, because we have a lot at stake in our House and Senate, gubernatorial, local races. There's a lot at stake for our country, not just in the presidential.

So, thank you.

MELBER: I think it's fair and sound advice.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

We're going to fit in our first break of the hour.

But up ahead, we have new numbers, the record early vote, what you need to know about it, and what it shows for the potential electorate tomorrow.



QUESTION: Who are you voting for this year?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe Biden. There's no doubt in my mind.

QUESTION: Who are you going to vote for an Election Day?


QUESTION: Joe Biden?



QUESTION: President Trump.


QUESTION: You're sticking with him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sticking with him.

QUESTION: Who did vote for today, if I can ask?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to vote for Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm voting for President Trump today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had to stay with Trump.


MELBER: Brand-new field reporting from American voters themselves, as we have had our reporters around the nation.

And we turn now to election experts, Supermajority co-founder Cecile Richards, Color of Change co-chair Heather McGhee.

Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Heather, how do you see this race closing right now?

HEATHER MCGHEE, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, these enormous numbers that we're seeing across the country make it very clear that this election is about the will of the people.

This is a historically unpopular president. He's down today double digits among likely voters. So, Donald Trump is running against the will of the people. He's running against the people, trying to sow doubt on the idea of counting every vote.

And anyone running for office can say whatever they want to, but, ultimately -- and we will see this tomorrow -- it is the will of the people that decides. And the record turnout is showing that that will is strong to overcome what the Republicans are throwing our way and to put an end to this chapter in American history.

MELBER: Yes, I think that's a fair point, because the Republicans have sort of revealed some of the game, Cecile, to Heather's point, because they're out in your state of Texas and in other places trying to get votes tossed, to have a lower-turnout election by potentially illegal means.


MELBER: And so that's sort of a tell about what they think about this rising turnout.

I do want to play a little bit of the president. We started with President Obama absolutely ripping Donald Trump.

For his part, the current president claims that, while he's not known for being shy -- fair -- maybe his voters are. Take a look.


TRUMP: We have a lot of people that say, we don't want to talk to you, and then they go vote for Trump, right, you know, the hidden voter or whatever they call them. Somebody said they're the shy voters.

My people are not shy.


TRUMP: They're not shy.


MELBER: First, by definition, his people would have to be shy if he makes up these numbers.

RICHARDS: That's right.

MELBER: For example, he is lagging in Republican support.

If he were to get close tomorrow, it would be because people who identified as Republicans were shy all year and then, tomorrow, emerged from the woodwork for him.

Your thoughts on all of the above?

RICHARDS: Well, sure.

And he has to have a lot of people who are saying that they're not voting for him suddenly be so shy, and then end up voting for him, because, as Heather says, he's down in the polls.

And, of course, the group that has been consistently opposed to the reelection of Donald Trump is women. And, as you know, and I think you even showed some numbers earlier in the show, women are outvoting men by significant margins, probably a 10-point gap nationwide.

And in the critical states, whether it's -- you look at Texas, I think women are like maybe 58 percent of the early vote, Pennsylvania, 57 percent of the early vote.

Women have -- and really since March, ever since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris -- well, and then eventually Kamala Harris went on the ticket -- but ever since Joe Biden has been the nominee, women have been in favor of Joe Biden by about 20 points. So, that's a huge gap for this president to overcome.

And, as we see, whether it's his belittling of his -- of opponents, of women, his just horrific behavior, only underscores the reason that women oppose him and don't want to see him as president.


And, Heather, I also want to show, to -- to Cecile's point about the emerging coalition, we're seeing first-time early voters -- I think we have this -- over eight million people voting for the first time. That's compared to about 3 percent age 75 or older, basically -- this is from our TargetSmart data that's really been a gold mine.

We don't know about tomorrow. We will repeat that all night, Heather. But what we know about everything up to today is the suggestion of a new emerging electorate.

MCGHEE: That's right.

And you think, what are the issues that people are voting for? I know we spend so much time talking about Donald Trump. Even the former President Barack Obama spent a lot of time talking about Donald Trump.

But people are voting for commonsense gun reform, right? You have got millions of young people who are facing too much fear, whether it's a pandemic, or it's mass shootings, or it's climate change. And they want to see someone who's responsible in charge.

That is a huge thing that's bringing people to the polls, young people, particularly, and first-time voters. You have also got eight million more people who have been plunged into poverty because of the mishandling of this pandemic and our inability to get it under control, the way so many other countries have been able to.

And so you have got so many people that are voting for a country that is just functional, for a functioning democracy, for us to have our morals be reflected at our borders, to be able to drink clean air -- clean water, and to be able to breathe clean air, to be able to know that we are a country that is living up to our ideals, and that we are a country that's worthy of our children.

So, people are voting for a lot of things, and not just against Donald Trump. But I think that's where you see these numbers. And that's on the ballot, not just at the top of the ticket, but all over the place.

We have already got the most progressive and most diverse Congress in American history. And I do think that Democrats are going to be able to take back the United States Senate. And, if they do, there are going to be a number of more African-Americans in the U.S. Senate, which is very exciting.

So, there's a lot that's on the ballot, not to mention the ballot initiatives that are everything from repealing terrible anti-tax measures, to marijuana legalization, to paid family leave.

So, there's a lot that Americans are voting for in these record numbers.


And, Cecile, briefly, as such an elections watcher, I'm going to put the same question we put to Ron Klain, which is, how do you advise people watch an unusual set of results coming in tomorrow night?

RICHARDS: Oh, just be patient, as this is not like any election we have ever seen.

As Heather said, this is record turnout. In Texas, we have already voted as many people as voted in the entire -- in the 2016 election in early vote.

So, this is something -- this is a time -- and I think, to the speaker's point, it's important for him that the will of the people is heard. And that means being patient and letting the votes be counted, and not allowing this president to do a power grab and declare himself reelected before folks have had their chance to have their voices heard.

MELBER: Yes. Yes. All good points.

I want to thank Cecile and Heather for joining our special election eve edition of THE BEAT.

And now we turn to something very important.

We started the show hearing directly live from President Obama. Then we heard from Joe Biden's former number one chief of staff Ron Klain. We heard from the speaker of the House.

So, we can't rank everything, but I will tell you, the next thing we're going to hear about is one of the most important things for tomorrow on a big night.

And that's the hard evidence, because we actually know more on election eve than any other election eve in history because pandemic voting is changing the game, 96 million votes now cast, for example. That is 70 percent of the entire vote count from 2016, a point Cecile was just alluding to.

And we know there are rising numbers of these new voters and people who skipped the 2016 race. So, if those trends continue, the total vote by tomorrow night might be larger and different than other years.

So, what does that mean for the big question of who wins? Well, Democrats point to their lead in early voting in these key battlegrounds. They believe any shift in this electorate is already going towards them where it matters. We're seeing states already process some of those very early ballot surges, like right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The available data does suggest Biden is currently in a better position tonight, with more pathways to victories.

But here's the thing about probability you have to understand for tomorrow night. Anything above zero is possible. If you hear one candidate has an 80 percent chance of winning and their opponent has a 20 percent chance, it sounds pretty unlikely for the underdog.

But 20 percent is still something that happens once a week. Like, most weekdays, you have your keys in your pocket, but, say, once a week, you misplace them. That's how often that can happen.

That was one lesson from 2016, where Donald Trump's underdog path was sometimes treated more like a virtual impossibility, until it became totally possible, as the results came in on that fateful night.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Right now, a historic moment. We cannot project the winner of the presidential race. CNN projects Donald Trump wins the presidency.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": You're awake, by the way. You're not having a terrible, terrible dream.

Also, you're not dead and you haven't gone to hell. This is your life now. This is our election now. This is us. This is our country.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE": This was an earthquake unlike any earthquake I have really seen since Ronald Reagan in 1980.


MELBER: That's how it went last time.

We're joined by Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a political data company that has partnered with us at NBC, to get into all of these numbers.

Thanks for being here on election eve.

TOM BONIER, CEO, TARGETSMART: Thanks for having me on.

MELBER: Based on the hard evidence you have, what is most important tonight?

BONIER: Well, I think the most important thing we're seeing is a number that you shared just a moment ago -- two numbers, really -- one, the fact that almost 100 million Americans have already voted in this election.

So, as you say, we could still see another 60 million votes cast tomorrow, but that will be fewer votes than we have ever seen on Election Day in this country in probably 50 years, but a higher turnout than we have ever seen by far in any election.

But the real important one that we're looking at is those eight million-plus voters who voted for the first time in their lives, and they have already voted in this election. These are the people who are changing the electorate are the people we have been focusing on.

And when you talk about that Democratic lead, that lead of about 1.7 million votes at this point in the early vote in those battleground states, these are the voters that are really driving that change in the electorate and putting Joe Biden in that position headed into Election Day where he's got that lead, and Donald Trump is going to have to find a way to make that up in one day.

MELBER: Yes, make up that -- make up what has been a banked lead, which is an important point, which is why, if you did a blind taste test, any campaign manager would prefer Biden's position to Trump's tonight.

But, as I mentioned, that doesn't mean there's not the 20 percent or whatever probability of something still happening. If you look, for example, in Florida, you have the early vote here, and this is where it's tight, right?

You look at North Carolina -- these are your numbers -- it's super tight. And then we also have Arizona. But guess what? It's 20,000 votes, which is a margin anyone could make up tomorrow.

So, what do you see in the ballot here, as we have gotten more and more numbers, where, on the one hand, the Democrats seem to be doing very well, particularly in the demographics nationwide, with women turnout up, as we spoke to the speaker about, with minority turnout up, with first-time voters' turnout up, and yet, then, in your -- the data you have crunched for us, key states much tighter than it is in other parts of the nation?

BONIER: So, there's a couple key things happening underneath that data.

One, when we look at states like Arizona, these sort of the emerging battleground states that are must win for President Trump, in 2016, Republicans actually went into Election Day and on Election Day had a significant advantage in party registration.

So the fact that it's even close at this point says a lot. Similar in Florida. Republicans ended up with a one-point advantage in 2016. Right now, Democrats have an advantage a little bit bigger than that, similar in North Carolina.

So, those numbers -- and what's driving that really is unaffiliated and independent voters. As we have seen in the polling, they're more likely to support Vice President Biden. So, what that says is, Donald Trump can't just replicate the 2016 electorate. It's not good enough for him to make an electorate that looks as Republican as it did in 2016, because he's lost too many of these middle-ground independent voters.

And so that means he's going to have to get turnout even above and beyond those 2016 benchmarks.

MELBER: I won't ask you who's going to win, but, in 10 seconds or less, by what time do you think we will have clear results tomorrow, if at any time?

BONIER: Those are the three states to watch. They count quick, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

If they if they go for Biden, it will be a very early night.

MELBER: Tom Bonier with the numbers, thank you.

It's a big election eve edition to THE BEAT. We have some special announcements right after this.


MELBER: Now, we had been planning on featuring the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir on THE BEAT tonight, which I'm very excited about, but a ton of election eve news and live events, including former President Obama's appearance in Florida, has scrambled our plans.

As the old saying goes about breaking news, if you have got a warrant, I guess you're going to come in.

So, first of all, let me say, you can still go to Bob Weir's voter registration push at right now. They have helped register over a million people. It's as good a time as any to go visit them at

And, also, I want you to know we still will have Bob Weir on THE BEAT for this interview. We're going to try to do it later this week. And we are still excited as ever about that, big breaking news or not.

So, we wanted to give you that update, because we had mentioned that in the program last week.

Also, some Election Day news as we look to tomorrow. Biden and Trump will make their final pitches, Joe Biden from his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, then a rally in Philadelphia, underscoring how big that state is.

Trump plans to be at the White House. He will watch the results, we're told, in the East Room. NBC News has also learned about 300 to 400 people are slated to be at the White House for it.

MSNBC's special coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. Eastern with our whole team there, Chris Hayes at 5:00 p.m., Nicolle Wallace before that, so plenty for you to watch, as we all get ready for this election.

And, as we have said before, if you or anyone you know hasn't voted yet, make sure you still do that.

This is Ari Melber on THE BEAT. Thank you, as always, for tuning in.



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