The election hasn`t even happened yet but the Republicans are already very, very mad that they lost the California recall election and they`re already claiming they only lost it because of all the fraud they saw on Election Day. Alabama hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients.
ELIE MYSTAL, JOURNALIST: And John Roberts can say you know what, Barrett, we`re not doing that because you know what, I do care about the court looking political and so you`re not going to go to the McConnell Center. Brett Kavanagh, you`re not going to go to the Federal Society dinner. We`re going -- Stephen Breyer, you`re not going to go on Fox News.
We`re going to be above the fray. And if John Roberts said that, they`d do it. But he doesn`t because he`s just as complicit in this as you will at the rest of them.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Elie Mystal, Dahlia Lithwick, thank you.
That is "ALL IN" on this Monday night.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Really happy to have you with us tonight.
Are you ready to time travel with me? Shall we do this together? We`re not time traveling very far. So you`re not going to need like a steampunk Victorian costume. Although I`m sure it would look great on you. You will not require a spacesuit.
We`re going to time travel but we`re only going to time travel into the future 26 hours. It turns out we can leapfrog magically into the future 26 hours tonight at this website. It is the campaign website for the main Republican challenger trying to unseat California`s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom.
That election in which California voters will decide whether or not they want to recall Governor Newsom, that election is tomorrow. Polls close at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time tomorrow, which is 11:00 p.m. eastern time tomorrow.
But if you want to see what that future is like, go to that campaign website, the top Republican trying to unseat Governor Newsom. And just click there at the top where it says "stop fraud." you click on the stop fraud tab, and look. It turns out this dude that`s already lost, Gavin Newsom has already won. It`s the future. We can see the future.
The election hasn`t even happened yet. But the Republicans are already very, very mad that they lost the California recall election and they`re already claiming they only lost it because of all the fraud they saw on Election Day, which in real life hasn`t happened yet.
But look, they live in the future. And so they`re able to say this. "We implore you to join us in this fight as you are able, primarily by signing our petition demanding a special session of the California legislature to investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom."
What twisted results? There aren`t any results, twisty or untwisty. The election is tomorrow.
Ah, but this Republican time machine is a powerful thing. They say, quote, statistical analyses used to detect fraud in elections held in third world nations such as Russia, Venezuela and Iran have detected fraud in California, resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor.
Again, this is what they`ve got live on Larry Elder`s website tonight. The election hasn`t happened yet. Governor Gavin Newsom hasn`t been reinstated as governor or recalled as governor or anything else. The election hasn`t happened. It`s tomorrow.
But already, the Republicans` top candidate to replace Newsom says he has lost the election, Newsom is not being recalled, and it`s because of all the fraud they know happened. That they statistically analyzed like Iran. And so they know it happened. They know it happened tomorrow, even though tomorrow is technically in the future.
But oh, by the way, if you do not believe them, if you do not take these claims of theirs very, very seriously, they also want you to know the top Republican candidate for governor in California also wants you to know that there`s a pretty good chance that if you don`t go along with this, if you don`t believe it, if you resist, there`s going to be some shooting.
Here is the opening salvo on that part of the website for Larry Elder, the Republican candidate for governor in California. Quote: they say that in America, there are four boxes of liberty -- the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammo box. We trusted our elected officials to safeguard the ballot box. However, when those officials either through laziness or incompetence allow thieves to steal amidst the dead of night and cheat our ballot box -- what is this translated from? Quote, we can no longer rely on its contents. Will we now have to fight the California jury box? In the hope that the final box, the one most akin to Pandora`s remains closed?
Remember, in this setup the final box is the ammo box. In other words, this is Republicans proclaiming, saying basically, you know, join us in proclaiming in advance that any election won by a Democrat doesn`t count or we will turn to the ammunition box to get our way.
We will turn to the ammo box. And that`s not like a random, you know, screen shot from YouTube comments on some bug-eyed video about how you should pull your -- you know, take your dog`s flea collar off him and put it in your underpants to protect yourself against COVID.
This isn`t just like some crazy town snapshot of weird right-wing paranoia. This is up on the website right now of the Republicans` leading candidate to try to recall the governor of California. And you should leave your dog`s flea collar exactly where it is, while we`re on the subject.
But look, even specifically on that page, with the ammo box threat and all the rest of it, it says right there at the bottom, paid for by Larry Elder Ballot Measure Committee, recall Newsom Committee, major funding from Larry Elder for governor 2021.
Even before the election he happens tomorrow they are telling you tonight not only that they don`t accept the future election results but also that they expect Republican voters in California to do the same and to join with them so as to avoid a shooting war? It has become an article of faith and a central organizing principle of Republican campaigning now in 2021 that elections themselves are not something we should do anymore, election results are not real, only suckers believe in the vote count at the end of an election, only suckers believe in the proclamation of a winner, Republicans don`t believe those things.
I mean, we`re here. This is where we are now. It turns out it`s not some distant dystopian future where one of the two major parties in the United States of America has decided elections are no longer the way they want to participate in American politics. It`s not some far-away future. It`s 26 hours from now. It`s tomorrow night, which means it`s here because apparently they already know they`re going to lose that election and why.
President Biden tonight is in California. We are awaiting his speech tonight at a rally for Governor Gavin Newsom in Long Beach, California.
President Biden spent the day today reviewing wildfire damage in the state of Idaho and also in California. He made an announcement today in Idaho about something his administration did about fires this year that was a surprise, something we didn`t know about before the president announced it today. We`re actually going to have more on that in a few minutes coming up later on this hour. That was super interesting.
President Biden today talked about the growing intensity of the dangers posed by climate change. He did that not just to get specific about the wildfire threat in the west but also to promote his signature legislation, his big infrastructure bill, which includes all of his major proposals on climate, climate resiliency, building up our ability to survive these increasingly large storms and fire seasons, getting us on to cleaner energy and off of the kinds of fuels and processes that make climate change even worse. That is all folded into the big signature Biden legislation that Senate Democrats are now figuring out how they are going to pass.
Back in Washington, there`s actually quite a lot of suspense and interest right now about what Democrats are going to be able to get through when it comes to Biden`s plans. We`re awaiting word any day, any hour now, as to whether there might be some serious immigration reforms in that big bill the Democrats want to pass. On Friday -- I`m sort of surprised this didn`t get more attention. This seems like a really big deal to me. On Friday, Democrats pled their case to the parliamentarian of the Senate that they want to fold some big immigration reforms into their bill. The parliamentarian will consider that request. She could rule on that request whenever she feels like it. But we`re essentially on watch to see if that will happen, anytime now. It could happen tonight, could happen sometime tomorrow, could happen in coming days. The parliamentarian doesn`t have a calendar on which she has to respond.
But depending on her answer this could be the best chance for real immigration reform in decades. And if it can`t be done in this big bill that`s called a budget reconciliation bill that the Democrats are trying to pass, it`s hard to imagine major immigration reform getting done any other way. So this is kind of a do or die very high-stakes decision on a very, very important topic on which Washington has been stagnating for decades.
Today the Democratic leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer also announced that the Democrats have come up with a new combined compromise bill on voting rights. Republicans have thus far used the filibuster to block proceeding toward a voting rights bill that passed the House. But Chuck Schumer says over their break it was a group of nine senators who came up with a new voting rights bill they`re calling a compromise bill. We don`t know what`s in it.
But we do know that conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin helped draft this compromise bill and he does support it.
Since Senator Manchin is the who keeps insisting that surely, surely Republican senators would vote for this, Republicans aren`t against voting rights, of course, they`ll vote for this. Since Senator Joe Manchin has apparently convinced himself of that idea, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has now put Joe Manchin in charge of proving it. He`s put him in charge of rounding up all these supposed Republican votes for voting rights that Joe Manchin says he`s sure are out there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Senator Manchin has been having discussions with our Republican colleagues to try and garner support for this important legislation. This is a good proposal, and I encourage all my Senate colleagues to support it. So the Senate must act. I intend to hold a vote in the Senate as early as next week on voting rights legislation. Time. Time is of the essence. I yield the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A vote perhaps next week, on voting rights. We shall see. I will tell you, we`ve been trying to report this out over the course of today and tonight. I`ll tell you the status of our reporting right now for what it`s worth. One Democratic staffer who`s familiar with the state of these talks tells us tonight that the voting rights compromise bill, which again they say all Democrats are going to support, there`s a question of whether they will carve something out of the filibuster so they can pass it without Republican votes or can they attract ten Republican votes, we`ll see.
But one Democratic staffer familiar with the state of the talks tells us that this new voting rights compromise bill could be introduced as early as tonight by Senators Joe Manchin, Raphael Warnock, Amy Klobuchar. We shall see.
I will also tell you a second staffer told us tonight that it might be tomorrow morning if it doesn`t happen tonight. I mean, if the timing is that imminent, there`s not much reason to speculate at this point. We`ll know in fact when it happens.
But again, with sourcing like that talking to us -- sources like that telling us about a pace that fast, it does look like it`s happening soon with Senator Schumer pledging on the Senate floor today that that is moving and it may get its vote, its final vote next week. It does seem like this is happening.
The process is also moving now on Biden`s signature big legislation, the big budget reconciliation bill, which means infrastructure, which means climate change, which could possibly even mean immigration reform at some level. That is all real policy, substantive stuff, with real prospects, and it is all on the move. All here on earth one, where it is Monday night and the California election is Tuesday and Tuesday comes after Monday. So that means it hasn`t happened yet and we don`t know the results yet.
Also there`s no reason to expect in advance that any of the results will be the results of fraud because there`s no sign of fraud whatsoever in real life and in the fact-based universe. Here on earth one, that`s what`s happening. Lots of substantive policy stuff being worked on and an election tomorrow that we can forecast but not yet complain about the results of since there are no results. That`s earth one right now.
But because the other major party in America really doesn`t live on earth one anymore, alongside all the policy that the Democrats are working on in Washington, the leaders of the House and the Senate today also had to fit into their day security briefings on what the Capitol Police are having to do again this week to try to physically protect the U.S. Capitol from the Trump supporters who are coming back again this week for the first time since their January 6th violent attack on the U.S. Capitol to try to keep Trump in office. This time they`re coming back, this Saturday, to praise the January 6th attackers and to demand that they be released from prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Can you talk a little bit about what you briefed the leaders on this morning?
J. THOMAS MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: Yeah, we just briefed them about the demonstration that`s scheduled for September 18th, just the intelligence information that we`re aware of and a little bit about our operational plan, about what we plan to do.
REPORTER: Have you requested that the fencing be put up?
MANGER: Yes. Yes.
REPORTER: Has that been approved yet?
REPORTER: When can you expect that?
MANGER: The fence will go up a day or two before and if everything goes well, it will come down very soon after.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The fence will go up a day or two before. If everything goes well it will come down soon after -- if everything goes well.
Yes, the Trump folks are coming back to the Capitol again. To, you know, proclaim that they don`t believe in the election results and to proclaim specifically that the people who attacked the Capitol January 6th to try to keep Trump in power after he lost the election, those people are heroes and political prisoners and they`re being persecuted for their beliefs and they should all be released. And so, this week the protective fencing around the Capitol has to go back up.
Today, "Politico" was first to report that in a new book by the chief of staff to former First Lady Melania Trump, chief of staff Stephanie Grisham says that on January 6th in the middle of the attack, after the rioters had broken through the barricades ringing the capital she says she texted the first lady, do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American but there`s no place for lawlessness and violence?
According to "Politico`s" reporting and Ms. Grisham`s book, one minute later, one minute after Grisham sent that text to the first lady, the first lady reportedly replied with a one-word answer. Quote, no. No, I do not want to tweet that. Melania Trump chief staff Ms. Grisham ended up resigning a few hours later on that same day, on January 6th.
Now, here we are. One of the two political parties in our country has like been trying to contend with what happened there in that attack on our country and investigating it and trying to get who was behind it and how we could prevent it from happening again. And on the other side, well, there`s the rally celebrating the attackers. This weekend. So the fence has to go back up around the Capitol. The leading Republican running in the California governor`s recall race says in advance that tomorrow`s election in California shouldn`t count and they will claim fraud and for good measure they are prepared to go to the ammo box unless everybody goes along with them on that.
Today, Trump himself sent out a statement on the California recall -- again, in advance of the election actually happening. Calling it rigged, calling it just another giant election scam. No different than the 2020 presidential election scam.
Today, he also issued an endorsement for a Republican candidate who is vying for the statewide office that runs elections in Arizona. He endorsed the Republican candidate for Arizona secretary of state. The man is a state representative right now in Arizona and he has supported the bogus audit of the presidential election in Arizona. This is a guy who last week somewhat hilariously tried to personally proclaim that the presidential election results in Arizona should definitely just be flipped to Trump now. He said last week, I am calling it. Oh, really? Are you?
I am calling it. I call on Arizona to decertify the election of 2020 and recall the electors. There is already enough evidence to show clear and convincing fraud. We have a duty to act.
So last week he said that. Today, Trump gave him his endorsement to be Arizona`s next secretary of state. Which means -- I mean, what`s more valuable than a Trump endorsement in a Republican primary, right? In the Republican primary for secretary of state with this guy having Trump`s endorsement now, he`ll probably right? Which will make him the Republican candidate for secretary of state in Arizona, running on a platform that Arizona should have its presidential election results from 2020 tossed out and even though Biden won there, the state`s electoral vote should just be given to Trump. That`s the basis on which he got the endorsement which will secure him the Republican Party`s nomination, which will give him a shot at getting that job.
And I will tell you -- this is the third of these that`s happened in a row. This is the third statewide secretary of state endorsement that Trump has made this year.
One of them is this guy in Arizona, this guy who says Biden`s victory in Arizona should be thrown out and the state should be given to Trump. Trump`s endorsed him for Arizona secretary of state. Trump has also endorsed a Republican candidate in Georgia who says Biden`s victory in Georgia should be thrown out and the state should be given to Trump. Trump also endorsed a Republican candidate in Michigan who says Biden`s victory in Michigan should be thrown out and the state should be given to Trump.
Those are the three secretary of state endorsements Trump has made this year. Notice a pattern? If you`re a Republican politician, you look at this pattern. You look at Trump`s sway in the Republican Party right now. What do you think it takes to be nominated by the Republican Party to be secretary of state in any state in the country? Do you think anybody`s going to win a Republican primary t state`s top election official this year without pledging first that Trump should be given that state`s electoral votes?
Things on earth two are definitely weird. But never let it be said that they are complicated. It is getting more and more simple all the time there. Back here on earth one, Democrats are working on policy and we may get their new voting rights bill as early as tonight. I mean, back here on earth one, it is actually the night before the California recall election, which means it hasn`t happened yet, which means we should talk to Steve Kornacki about how the polls look.
We are live from earth one tonight and every night. Watch this space.
MADDOW: In the city of Los Angeles alone, there are currently three efforts under way right now to recall members of the Los Angeles City Council. And the tone of the "L.A. Times" here is telling. Quote: Another day, another recall notice.
In the city of Los Angeles, you need a grand total of five voters to get together to begin the process of calling for a recall for a Los Angeles official. Five voters. Literally, you can start a recall with the number of people you can fit in your Camry.
And it`s not just L.A. Across the state of California, there are more than 70 elected officials who are facing the threat of recall just this year, because that`s how they do it in California. California asks for recalls all the time. You can mount a recall campaign against any statewide elected official for any reason at all if you can achieve the grand results of collecting signatures from just 12 percent of people who voted in the last election for that seat.
Not 12 percent of registered voters but 12 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election for that seat specifically. That`s all you need to be able to get that statewide elected official put up for recall. As low bars go this is kind of so low, it just sits there on the floor and invites you to walk on it.
And so every governor in California for the past 60 years has faced at least one attempt to recall them. And you will, of course, recall the successful 2003 recall of Democratic California Governor Gray Davis. That`s how we ended up bizarrely with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for a hot minute.
But now the Republicans are trying again with this recall attempt they`re mounting against Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. The polls close tomorrow tonight -- excuse me, close tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Right now, as we speak President Biden is with Governor Newsom in Long Beach, California for a final get out the vote push.
And I`d love to tell you how it`s all likely to go. We have seen tonight that the Republicans are already proclaiming that Newsom has won and it`s because of fraud and the election results must therefore be protested. The election hasn`t actually happened yet. There are no results. But good to know how you guys are planning to approach this in good faith.
Honestly, I mean, California is so weird about recalls and recalls themselves are such weird birds among elections, I do feel like I have more questions than answers tonight, at least as to what to reasonably expect tomorrow. What are governor Newsom`s odds of actually being recalled? Are there any sort of recall-specific variables we should know to watch for that differ from a normal election? When should we expect to see results again? Polls close tomorrow 8:00 p.m. Pacific, which is 11:00 p.m. on the east coast.
Joining us now is the one man I trust to have all the answers to these questions and more. Steve Kornacki, MSNBC`s political correspondent.
Steve, thank you so much for being here tonight. I really appreciate it.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, happy to do it, Rachel. I hope I don`t disappoint. I`ll do my best. I`ll put it that way. I hope the bar isn`t too high there.
MADDOW: Well, tell me about -- I mean, the recall thing in California, the history of it, the sort of narrative history of it, it`s so bizarre. It`s so easy to start a recall effort. Actually getting somebody successfully recalled, though, is pretty difficult at the statewide level.
Ballpark figure, just first question, how likely do you think based on the polling it looks that Newsom is to actually survive this recall effort and what are the kind of variables you`re looking for?
KORNACKI: I mean, Gavin Newsom tonight has got to be hoping the polls are right because if the polls are at all accurate in this thing, Gavin Newsom`s going to survive tomorrow. What we can show you here, these are all the most recent polls. This is basically the final week of the campaign.
When you see keep here, keep Newsom, do not recall, no on the recall. So keep leading in every poll taken over the last week. In fact, double digits in all but one of the polls this week, one even over 20 points. The average of the final polls in this recall race is to keep Newsom by a margin of 14 points.
You mentioned rare kind of to have a precedent here. He with went back and looked, though. In 2003, so when Gray Davis was recalled, Democrat Gray Davis was recalled, Schwarzenegger became the governor, the polls in the final week of the 2003 recall were yes on the recall by an average of 16 points.
So that`s a significant difference in the polling in the run-up to this one versus the run-up to the one in 2003. Again, that one in 2003 ended up passing by a margin of 10 points.
MADDOW: Steve, when you`re looking at specific voting groups, projected turnout, signs of effective field work, that sort of stuff, when we approach a general election in normal circumstances, sort of state by state, you get to learn where to look, bellwether counties, bellwether demographic groups and that sort of thing. For a recall election and for this one in particular, is there something specific that you`re looking at that could be determinative, something that we might have an early idea of when we start to see for example the exit polls tomorrow in terms of who`s actually turning out to vote?
KORNACKI: Yeah, we`ll get some exit polls tomorrow and then you know, I think what`s going to happen here, take you through the kind of peculiarities of it but basically we`re going to get a lot of returns in that 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Pacific to midnight eastern hour tomorrow night. It may basically tell us the result. If it`s real close, it may take days.
But if this is anything like the polls are showing, I think really that first hour, that first 90 minutes tomorrow night really could be determinative. I mean, what you`re seeing here, I put this up. This is Biden over Trump in California, almost a 30-point margin for Biden last year in the presidential race. Very similar result in 2016 with Hillary Clinton. Very similar result with Gavin Newsom when he got elected in 2018. He won by 25 points.
So what you`re kind of looking at on this map here is sort of the standard Democratic victory in California. And I think to me that`s the key with this recall. If the recall`s going to have any chance of succeeding, you could talk about one particular demographic group or turnout, the big picture thing that has to happen for recall supporters is they need lots of people who voted for Biden in 2020, who voted for Newsom in 2018, who voted for Clinton in 2016, who typically vote Democratic.
They need a lot of them to vote for the recall. And so, just take a look at this map right here. You see some red area. I should say the red areas you see on the typical map in California tend to be rural, smaller population areas. The big population centers are the blue areas on the state.
For instance, I think this is one interesting way of looking at it. L.A. County, there`s 10 million people in L.A. County right here. That`s bigger than New Jersey. This is 25 percent of all the vote in the state of California is going to come out of L.A. county. And if you just add in Orange County to the south, San Diego there, and then the inland empire, this is San Bernardino and riverside. If you just look at this sort of block of votes here, that is more than half the votes statewide is going to come out of this small pocket right here.
And again, you see it`s all blue right now. So, the challenge for recall supporters. Just for instance if you take organ county here, Biden won Orange County by nine points over Trump. Trump got 44 points here.
If the recall is going to succeed tomorrow and you`re looking at a place like Orange County tomorrow night, the number for the recall has got to be like at least 60 percent. It`s got to be get a county like Orange 60 percent support.
If Biden won 53 to 44 over Trump to get to 60 percent, a lot of people who voted for Biden, a lot of Democratic voters have got to support this thing. That`s the big challenge recall supporters have. They`re trying to do this in one of the bluest states in the country.
MADDOW: Steve, let me ask you about one other dynamic I think must be hard to model and hard to get quantitative about because it`s a relatively new phenomenon, which is on one side of the ledger Republican leaders and Republican trusted voices and indeed people in conservative media telling those core voters that the election`s rigged, that their vote won`t be counted, that the system is stacked against them.
There was a lot of questioning after the Georgia Senate races following November 2020, there was a lot of questioning whether or not Republican voters actually sat home because they had been essentially demoralized about the integrity of democracy because of the way that Trump was questioning the presidential election result.
And a lot of speculation that that contributed to those Democrats winning those two Senate seats in Georgia. Is that away quantifiable dynamic since we`re seeing the Republicans hit that line so hard heading into the California recall tomorrow?
KORNACKI: There`s a couple things. We will look tomorrow whenever we do get the final results, we`ll look and see the core Republican areas, how was turnout there relative to the Republican areas, you know, was there sort of a disparity there.
We ended up seeing that when we looked at Georgia. One thing I would say, though, with California is unlike Georgia every voter in the state was automatically -- registered voter was automatically mailed a ballot and they`ve been mailing them back in for weeks. So, there is some question -- hardcore anti-Newsom, pro-recall folks, had they already voted before this latest sort of messaging you`re describing started going out there? I think that`s one variable.
But the other variable is if you were looking at polling a month ago, there was enough a month ago that political observers were getting curious about this race because a month ago, the recall was within single digits in the polling. There were even a couple of polls that had the recall leading. You could quibble with the methodology in all of them, but curiosity had peaked when it came to California a month ago and much more recently you look at the polls I just showed you a minute ago, the polls almost uniformly showing solidly for Newsom surviving.
I think there has been a shift in interest level in this election. It`s really worked in the Democrats` favor. Again, it`s a 30-point Biden state.
This is Orange County. I should put the state back up. It`s a 30-point Biden state. Democrats started getting the word out, started spending money, starting getting media coverage here and it does seem like the Democratic electorate woke up. At least that`s what the polling is suggesting to us.
MADDOW: Right, which is the gigantic asterisk that hangs over our heads like a sword of Damocles every day now.
Steve Kornacki, MSNBC`s political correspondent -- Steve, as always it is wonderful you have to on nights like this. Thank you so much.
KORNACKI: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The town of Cullman is in north Alabama right between Birmingham and Huntsville. The local paper there is the "Cullman Times." And a few days ago, the story that led their print edition was an obituary, antiques and auctioneering. Businessman Ray DeMonia remembered for community service. It`s their lead story.
And there`s a reason it was at the top of the paper. Mr. DeMonia was clearly a beloved local figure. For decades, he`d been dealing antiques and hosting auctions in Cullman, Alabama, many of them for charity. The paper printed a great old photo of him hosting an auction in his younger days and included an excerpt from a profile the "Cullman Times" had done about him a decade ago.
It said, quote, his showmanship makes for a fun day, watching him encourage, cajole and entice his audience is a thing of beauty. He knows his customers. He plays to them. He elicits moans and bursts of laughter at his antics.
Ray DeMonia lived his whole life in Cullman, Alabama. But he did not die there. He had a cardiac emergency that he suffered in Cullman on August 23rd. But he ended up dying nine days later and 200 miles away from home in a hospital across state lines in Mississippi. And here`s why.
Here`s why Mr. DeMonia`s warm, loving sweet obituary in his hometown paper is not just a local story about this loss for his family and Cullman who will no longer get to enjoy his auctioneering antics.
Because when Mr. DeMonia`s family published their own of him, they included this at the end. Quote: In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not. In an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies. Due to COVID-19, Cullman Regional Emergency Center Staff contacted 43 hospitals in three states in search of a cardiac ICU bed and finally located one in Meridian, Mississippi. He would not want any other family to go through what his did.
I mean, for everyone who says that getting a vaccine is a personal choice that doesn`t affect anyone else, line that up with Ray DeMonia`s obituary and what his family has just said about his death, right? I mean, your decision about your vaccine may feel personal to you. I get it. But you live in a society. You live in a country. And your decision about your vaccine is ultimately the decision that fills up hospital beds, that makes all the difference to your society, your community, your country. It makes all the difference as to whether a man like ray DeMonia gets that ICU bed or not.
Other people`s decisions about their vaccine made the decision for him as to whether or not he could get the critical care he needed.
His business daughter tells the "Cullman Tribune," quote: Dad was a team player always. He was vaccinated for his own health and everyone else`s health. He did everything he was supposed to do.
If that time named Cullman, Alabama, is ringing a bell for you, if you feel like the town sounds familiar from something else recently in the news, you are correct. Cullman, Alabama, was recently the site of a giant Donald Trump rally. This was last month.
The state Republican Party claimed 50,000 people attended, which would make it the largest political event in Alabama history if true. Do we believe it`s true? I don`t know. It was a big event.
Two days after that event, Ray DeMonia went to the Cullman Hospital with his cardiac emergency and it did take calls to 43 different hospitals to find him that cardiac ICU bed. And to be clear, it`s not like we can say that giant Trump event caused Mr. DeMonia`s death. But a place where tens of thousands of people show up and at that rally booed vaccines, that`s the kind of place where the local hospital is probably going to be filled up with mostly unvaccinated COVID patients.
And whatever the reason that the hospital is full, if the hospital`s full people who need those hospital beds are not going to get them in a timely way. And for some people that`s going to be the end of their life.
Alabama is one of the least vaccinated states in the country. The only states with a lower vaccination rates than Alabama are West Virginia, Wyoming and Idaho. In Idaho, crisis standards of care have been formally implemented in a huge swath of the state. Patients from Idaho are also now starting to overwhelm hospitals in neighboring Washington state.
As of today, the state of Alabama does not just have zero ICU beds available. The state`s ICU bed availability is in negative territory. They have 0.7 percent negative ICU bed capacity. Ray DeMonia`s daughter telling the "Washington Post" today, quote: Dad would just want things to get back to normal. If people would realize the strain on hospital resources that`s happening right now then that would really be amazing. But they don`t know if that will ever happen.
Joining us now is Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo. She is director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Marrazzo, it`s an honor to have you with us tonight. Thank you so much for taking the time.
DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: My pleasure, Rachel. Good to see you.
MADDOW: So you were warning a month ago that Alabama was out of ICU beds. You warned publicly that if things continued the way they were going you said that this month could be apocalyptic. How are things in Alabama right now? It feels like that ICU capacity number has been negative for a while.
MARRAZZO: Right. Exactly. And when I used that term, you know, some people took it in the literal biblical sense. But what I was really referring to was a breakdown of a social order, a breakdown of our ability to expect that we as a community, especially a medical community, can care for each other, right?
If your father like Mr. DeMonia is in need of acute care because he`s having a cardiac emergency, you assume in a normal world where we do take care of each other that you can actually go to an emergency department, maybe not the one next to your house but maybe within a 20-mile radius and get care. His story is unfortunately incredibly sad and tragic, just heartbreaking. And we`re seeing that play out.
This is not an isolated event. Most of our emergency departments in the state are really overwhelmed.
And we`re boarding people there, taking care of people who really need the ICU beds that you mentioned are in such short supply. Right now, our ICUs are mostly filled with people who require to be on a ventilator.
And that means we`re taking care of some incredibly sick patients in the rooms outside of the ICU. These are people who could use an ICU bed, but at this point, the bar is so high to get into the ICU, you really need to be on a ventilator.
And that is a very stressful situation for families, for nurses who are taking care of these patients on the floors and in the ERs, and for everybody who`s involved in that care. Not to mention the patient.
MADDOW: I think about what it must mean for health care staff working with patients on ventilators who are that sick, who are that close to the end and working in an environment that isn`t by design as resource intensive as it could be.
I want to put something to you that you actually said here on this show back in June of last year. You were here last summer and you told me this. You said, I think people aren`t paying attention that much -- excuse me -- I think people aren`t paying attention that the health care workforce is not an exhaustive supply. You said, the people who are working really, really, really hard to care for these patients are facing serious exhaustion not to mention the psychological stress of seeing patients die and having to deal with all the concerns about getting infected themselves.
You were talking about that stress in a way that really struck with me and moved me more than a year ago. Now more than a year later, it`s the same staff. I have to ask how you feel the workforce is keeping given how bad it`s been for so long.
MARRAZZO: Yeah. Thank you so much for remembering that. I will say that it`s gone from a feeling of really fear, anxiety, all the sort of stuff I was conveying to you back then, to a sort of numbness. And that`s so much worse because when you start to feel like, you know, you can`t see an end to this, right? We don`t know what`s going to happen. Hopefully delta will decline like it has in other countries, the U.K., Israel. But nobody`s really sure that`s going to happen. Plus we have the Mu variant in the waiting room. Hopefully, that won`t take off.
But the bottom line is this exhaustion coupled with uncertainty about when this is going to end and when we`re going to be able to get back to taking care of people for all the other things they really need.
So I think people are at a very dangerous level of almost disassociation and emotional exhaustion because you`ve got to get through the day.
The other thing that`s making it very hard is -- and I think people probably aren`t talking about this enough -- is that a lot of health care workers are really angry because this was preventable, right? Mr. DeMonia did not need to die in the way he did. And he had gotten vaccinated. The negative feelings when you`re trying to take care of patients is something people are having to deal with, converse about, talk about and really acknowledge.
MADDOW: Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo is director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Marrazzo, thank you for being with us, thank you for coming back and talking to us again. I`ve seen the hospital census numbers tick down a little bit, a little bit in recent days.
MADDOW: And that is a blessing and I hope there is much more of that to come. Good luck.
MARRAZZO: Thanks. Appreciate it. Bye-bye.
MADDOW: Thank you. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: They call them smoke jumpers, which is a very cool name. But it is also a literal description of what they do. Smoke jumpers who are firefighters who are an unparalleled resource for fighting remote, hard-to- get-to fires because the way they get to the fire is by literally jumping out of an airplane to get there. They parachute in from 3,000 feet above the fire and it turns out that is a much faster way to get to the fire than trying to drive there when roads and trails might not be accessible or they might not exist at all.
It takes a lot of rigorous training to learn to be a smoke jumper and you need to be in really good shape. You have to carry 85 pounds of equipment on your back while you parachute down to the blaze. And that`s before you start work, just remarkable stuff, smoke jumpers.
Today, President Biden visited the national interagency fire center in Boise, Idaho, which is basically the command center for fighting wild fires all over the country. The president met there with a team of smoke jumpers based in Boise. He got a tour of the facility and leading the response to one of the worst wild fire seasons we`ve ever had.
The president in his visit today stressed the correlation between these increasingly devastating wild fires all over the west and climate change. He says the U.S. should be investing in solutions to protect the country from more extreme weather in the future since we`re already starting to live with its consequences.
But in the midst of that big picture stuff, we also brought up a very small picture problem. A more immediately, more granular right now problem facing the smoke jumpers he met with today and facing other firefighters. It is a very specific problem that has a pretty direct fix.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Believe it or not, the massive shortage of fire hoses, I think you all get it. But the idea that we went into this fire season with a shortage of fire hoses, that`s all I heard from my guys back East and the Midwest, no fire hoses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No fire hoses?
The president saying today the firefighters not just fighting the wildfires in the West but all over the country have been hobbled by a shortage of fire hoses of all things. The pandemic wrecking havoc on the supply chain affects everything. It affects like couches and computer chips and also the hoses that your local firefighters need to put out fires everywhere.
Well, today, President Biden said he was fixing the fire hose shortage. He announced he has invoked the Defense Production Act, the wartime era law that lets the federal L.A. essentially take over private business functions to manufacture essential supplies that the country needs.
President Biden forced to use the Defense Production Act to boost the production of COVID vaccines earlier this year. Today, he announced he has invoked the law for the second time in his presidency, to manufacture 22,000 new fire hoses. These hoses are manufactured by an American company based in Oklahoma and then they get into the hands of firefighters all over the country.
Honestly, it`s a fascinating story, right? The president using this tool from another era to basically magic up 22,000 new fire hoses to help brutal fire season out West. But in the b biggest picture of all, President Biden keeps saying that what he feels like he needs to prove to the world right now is that U.S. government can work, is that democracy can work, that our federal government has the authority it needs to solve problems large and small.
Using the Defense Production Act to get more fire hoses built, that`s his government working in its own weird way.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: For tonight. I will see you again here tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.