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Transcript: The ReidOut, 10/13/21

Guests: Don Calloway, Madeleine Dean, Adam Serwer, Ari Berman


Conservatives play politics with COVID-19; Florida Governor DeSantis fines county for mandating vaccines; GOP doubles down on anti-vaccine rhetoric; Right turns Kyrie Irving into an anti-vaccine martyr; Republicans turn their back on businesses by banning vaccine mandates; Ben Collins on Kyrie Irving, unvaccinated people who claim they`re not anti-vaccine usually list government conspiracies; January 6 committee subpoenas Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark; Trump aides scheduled for depositions this week could face criminal referrals if they don`t show up. Insurrectionists have been shown leniency in court.



JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing? I mean, I love popcorn. Let`s go back to Hot 97 because that was my station. I lived in New York for a very long time and that was my station. So, it`s the hottest station.

MELBER: Hot 97 has everything you need to know. I`m glad you used to listen or still do, probably.

REID: It definitely has everything you need to know. Thank you very much. As to you, my friend, have a great evening.

All right, everybody, good evening, everybody. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a renewed effort by the American right to make sure COVID is here to stay. First, they came for the schools. Now, it`s the businesses, an astonishing 180 for the party that once claimed it stood for limited government, free enterprise and protecting Corporate America from burdensome regulation.

These days, the once grand old party stands for nothing other than the quest for absolute power, which they intend to achieve by embracing a foaming at the mouth brand of conservatism that includes worshipping the disgraced former president, dismantling democracy and forcing businesses, forcing them to operate on their terms, which happened to include opening the doors to the pandemic with the worst of them even associating the killer virus with freedom itself.

They`ve also launched a new national past time empowering anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers to mob up and scream at, spit on and attack workers who have to mask up to work when they`re not harassing teachers and health care professionals or moms walking their kids to school for masking up to prevent COVID. A life does need variation.

And we now have abortion bounty hunt Governor Greg Abbott of Texas banning any entity in his state, including private businesses from mandating COVID vaccinations for workers or their customers. He`s denouncing vaccine mandates as federal overreach, while his COVID-loving side kick Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is making good on his promise to punish local governments for taking steps to protect workers because COVID must be let in, otherwise, how would one market his top donor`s remedy at fancy popup clinics.

Florida`s Leon County is now facing a $3.5 million fine for requiring proof of vaccination, as baby MAGA is also exploring options to legally block vaccine related terminations in the private sector. If leadership could kill. Oh, wait, it can.

This comes as other Republicans and MAGA minions double down on their anti- vax talking points. Jim Jordan tweeting that we should ban all vaccine mandates, period, a move that would allow polio, measles and hepatitis to flourish in our schools because, why not. Charley Kirk of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA got the COVID party started, reject tyranny, catch the freedom flu, despite the fact that Kirk`s colleague, the co-founder at Turning Point, died of COVID last year.

Conservatives are also turning NBA star Kyrie Irving into an anti-vax martyr. The Brooklyn Nets guard is forbidden from playing or practicing with his teammates until he`s fully eligible under New York`s COVID-19 vaccination guidelines, prompting Donald Trump`s number one failed son to once again tweet about actually talented people, this time pretending he cares about black people, saying Kyrie just sacrificed more than Kaepernick ever did. Narrator, he doesn`t care about black people.

Joining me now is Tim Miller, Writer-at-Large at The Bulwark, and Don Calloway, Democratic Strategist and Founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund.

And, Tim, I have been searching for the rationality in the idea of embracing COVID as a thing, and saying COVID is king, let it in, let it in your business, let in your schools, feed it to your kids with the breakfast cereal, COVID, COVID, COVID, right? This love of COVID makes no sense to me except that they also want to market cures for COVID, right? They want you to go and buy you some hydroxychloroquine or go buy you some ivermectin. Maybe there`s some financial incentive to it. So, maybe that`s it. Maybe they just want to have popup clinics with their favorite remedies. Maybe that`s it.

But this thing about bossing businesses around, that seems to me even harder to explain with the Republican brand. Can you explain it?

TIM MILLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I`ll give you a more simple answer than that, Joy. I think that the explanation is this is simple contrarianism, anti-elitism and just populism gone awry. It`s a simple as that. Look, these guys think everything that Joy Reid is for, that Dr. Fauci, that the elites on the coasts are for, they`re actually against. And if that means letting unnecessarily their own citizens die, they`re going to let their own citizens die.

Look at the state of Texas. In the last two months, while we have a life- saving vaccine, 16,000 people have died in Texas of the novel coronavirus. Greg Abbott, during that two months, supported private businesses having the right to have a vaccine mandate. He looked at the 16,000 deaths, and rather than thinking the solution is what can I do as somebody who has influence with many of these people not getting vaccinated, what can I do to help encourage them to get vaccinated, he is doing the opposite.


He`s saying, anybody that tells you to get vaccinated, do not comply. Texas Representative Chip Roy tweeted this week, do not compile, even though you know Chip is vaccinated.

I think that what these guys are doing is absolutely unconscionable. It`s all about positioning. It`s all about negative partisanship all the way down. It has nothing to do with leading their state obviously or caring about their citizens, all that stuff is way -- has gone by the wayside. I don`t know that there are words to describe just how unconscionable the move that Greg Abbott`s made in Texas is.

REID: Right. I mean, these are the same people who are screaming, go back to work, but then also screaming catch the COVID flu or the freedom flu and don`t go to work if you have to get vaccinated. That means you`re not going to work, which is the thing you demanded that they not do. You`re saying go to work now but you`re saying don`t go to work. None of it is non-coherent, Don.

I mean, the other thing about this --


REID: Right, exactly. Don, the other piece of it is the elitism, the sort of fake ante-elitism. The people who are screaming the loudest, hello, Tucker Carlson, et cetera, these people are vaccinated or work at places that require vaccination. Fox News has the strictest requirements to be vaccinated and to report your vaccination status to them. It`s the straightest in the media business.

So, these are vaccinated elite people and then they are doing this thing where they`re trying to like cosplay as if they`re the black people during the civil rights movement, right? They`re like no, see, if you really look at history, like the real victims and the people who are getting fire hose on them, that would be us, like elite rich white people, like we`re really the ones who were in those pictures. We were really the ones. And to do that, you need a couple black people, so that you can say, see, segregation, look at that black guy.

And so now we enter Kyrie Irving, another person elite, because the NBA has elite opportunity to get yourself the vaccine if you want it, right? They get tested. They get everything. He`s refusing to do it. He`s now got people who are trying to say oh, no, no, no he`s upholding a huge principle. He`s being principled, this is sort of puff piece in The Athletic. No, he thinks it`s a principle people that shouldn`t have to lose their jobs and they`re claiming that it`s not about him being anti-vax.

We have an expert, Ben Collins, that does this for a living and says that is exactly what anti-vaxxers said. They say, I`m not anti-science, I`m not anti-vax, I just believe in a principle. Your thoughts on that?

CALLOWAY: Well, I just -- first, you know, the House Republican party has staffers, many of whom are 25 to 35 years old. Those young staffers have become aware of the Twitter and other forms of the social media. And that`s why you see people like Ted Cruz standing with the Kyrie Irvings. Six months ago, there is no way in the world you`re standing with Kyrie Irving, as he rocks Black Lives Matter and I Am Built by Black History T-shirts on the court, right? So, there is this selective, performative trophy thing of aligning yourself with people of social media influence otherwise known as flout chasing. I`m going to leave you with that, Joy Reid. You can use it as your leisure.

But the thing about -- so that`s the performative thing that we`re seeing emerge amongst the Republican caucus to get attention for themselves. But it`s so fundamentally bereth (ph) of any time of intellectuals. When you talk about egalitarianism and contrarianism that Tom talked about a moment ago, that leads us to one place, it is anti-intellectualism.

One of the two major political parties in this country has so aggressively adopted anti-intellectualism that they don`t see it as consistent to pass a Texas abortion ban based in some specious theory of bodily autonomy and not have a problem with the inconsistency between that and raging against people not wanting to get vaccinated or some same theory of bodily autonomy.

I know that was muddled. My point is they don`t recognize that these things are inconsistent and that`s a problem. They don`t recognize it because they broadly embrace the same intellectualism, which is not only keeping them from getting vaccinated but also keeping them from admitting that they`re hurting us all by not being vaccinated.

REID: But the thing is that the people doing it, Tim, they went to Harvard. I`m so -- Harvard shame, because that`s where he went to school. These people are Harvard, Yale, Princeton -- these are Ivy League rich people who are being, like I stand with the common man. Okay, Ted Cruz. If Ted Cruz saw Kyrie Irving in his neighborhood, he would call the police on him. You`re in the wrong neighborhood. 911, he would call the cops on him. That`s the truth, okay?

But the other piece of this is too is that on the business front, if they claim they care about business to stay open, to be viable economically, these businesses have to do that. Look at all these businesses that are based in Texas. AT&T, Halliburton, Hewlett-Packard, ExxonMobil, but I`m really thinking of Southwest and American Airlines, the airlines. In order for them to thrive, they need these mandates so that people will feel safe getting in the plane, 7-Eleven, they need it.


And so I wonder if at some point the business community pushes and say you can`t do this to us.

MILLER: Yes, that classic woke liberal corporation, Halliburton, they`re stepping on that, Joy.

REID: So woke.

MILLER: Look, I mean, look at this, I want to go even a step lower than that. Think if you`re in a nursing home, right? And if you`re in a nursing Texas and you have a lot of obviously elderly people there who re- vaccinated, they have co-morbidities, they have other reasons why they could have breakthrough cases, you -- I think everyone who has their mom or aunt or uncle or grandparent in a nursing home would want that place to have a vaccine mandate, right? Like who wouldn`t want that?

In Texas, Greg Abbott is banning nursing homes from being able to have a vaccine mandate, so you could have an unvaccinated nurse coming in and there is nothing that you can do it legally in the state. It`s absolute madness. Obviously, this is also the case for the (INAUDIBLE) and the Southwests of the world. And I think that if you think about these niche examples, there are extreme examples that show how ridiculous and (INAUDIBLE).

And I do want to have just one very small disagreement with Don on the Kyrie thing. Look, if Kyrie wants to be a voice, like if all these guys that want to be a voice for the voiceless want to quit their job, all these millionaires, I hope the Ted Cruzs of the world stand with them. It would be great for Ted Cruz and Tucker Charleston and Laura Ingraham to all do what Kyrie is doing. They should walk away, as well. They`re in vaccine mandated places. I think that if they want to be a voice of the voiceless with Kyrie, they all should stand shoulder to shoulder and do their civil rights cosplay together. I think that would be great for the country.

REID: And, by the way, when he`s not working anymore, you know, how they`re going to think about Kyrie, a black man who quit his job and ain`t working, they`re going to really stand with him. Don Junior is going to be right there with him fisting the air like Josh Hawley, right? No, he`s not. They`re going to call the police on him.

Don, the other issue is, I think, for the Democrats, at some point, do you start to gather the vaccinated, the pro-science, the rational and start to try to make them into a political force? Because it feels like the people who don`t want their grandmothers to die in a nursing home in Texas might actually be a useful voting bloc.

CALLOWAY: Yes, absolutely. And we hope that that is at least -- that that tactic is partially taken away from us as we move into the midterms next year. Because if Democrats can`t run for office as being the House and Senate of the vaccinated, of the sensible, then that means it`s been taken away because COVID has gone away.

I would rather have COVID go away than to be able to use it as a -- the networks that last long enough that it could be organized into a politically organizing principle, especially that we would see the results pay off electorally. So we hope that COVID goes away before it can get to that.

So, the other side is that, like you said at the beginning of this, I don`t think that Republicans would have it go away because they have -- they are not above the moral shitshow of them being able to use it as a political cudgel. I told myself I`d stop cussing this year. I`m sorry.

REID: You know -- and here is the thing.

MILLER: I`m jealous.

REID: All grandmamas, they`re not going to yell at you, Don. They`re going to yell at me. All the church ladies with the church hats, please @doncalloway -- how do we find you on Twitter? We`ll tweet you. Don`t tweet at me. Don`t @ me.


REID: Rick Wilson thanks you for being not the guy who cursed today, and Rick Wilson is like (INAUDIBLE). Thank you guys very much. Tim Miller, Don Calloway, you guys are great, I appreciate you.

Up next on THE REIDOUT the big push for accountability. Members of the January 6th select committee say they may pursue criminal charges against anyone who ignored their subpoenas that. Hopefully, it`s not just may, hopefully, they may will.

Plus, the increasingly political Supreme Court, conservative justices have their ideological checklist in the hand, but they want you to believe that they are above politics.

And tonight`s absolute worst, the three things that could bring down American democracy, and it could all happen in a matter of months, not years, months.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: The House select committee on January 6th today issued a new subpoena for records and testimony from one of the most notorious figures in Trump`s effort to steal the election and subvert our democracy. Late today, they subpoenaed Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department and Trump loyalist, whoc tried to nullify the election results in Georgia and other states, saying his efforts threatened to subvert the rule of law.

Meanwhile, a moment of reckoning has come for several other targets of the committee subpoenas. Tomorrow is the day Trump ally Steve Bannon and former Defense Department Aide Kash Patel are scheduled to be deposed, followed by Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino on Friday. If they defy their subpoenas and don`t show up, criminal referrals could soon be in the works. It`s a message that members of the committee have been reiterating all week.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The committee is completely in solidarity. Every single person on the committee recognizes how important it is for us to make sure that we enforce subpoenas that.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We are of one mind. Anyone who does not comply, we will refer for criminal prosecution and there needs to be accountability.

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): I would recommend the full extent of consequences, jail time, fines. We need to make sure that these people understand that this is not acceptable.


REID: And at the top of the list for a possible criminal referral is Bannon, the accused build the wall scammer who made Breitbart the home of the white nationalist alt right and rebranded Trump as a faux populist, and has indicated that he will refuse to cooperate.

The arrogates of the people who are facing these subpoenas may have something to do with the relative leniency that`s been shown up to now for the accused shock troops of the insurrection. Today, there really haven`t been serious consequences for any of the defendants from January 6, the people who sprayed bear spray in police officers` faces and beat them with their own shields.


And many of these defendants have had the nerve to complain about even having to be in jail at all, moaning about the food or not having the spiritual requirements met, or their ankle monitors causing blisters or beeping too loudly or needing time off to go to a wedding or on vacation.

It just shows you the privilege of the January 6 defendants, When plenty of others, mainly people of color, have been languishing under similar or worse conditions across this country for a long, long time.

The latest complaint comes from defendant Christopher Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys, who is accused of injuring police that day and who`s now arguing that the D.C. jail cannot be trusted to oversee his cancer treatment, because they have taken months to approve surgery on his broken hand.

According to NBC`s Scott MacFarlane, one community activist commented: "Welcome to the club."

And in an ironic twist, given that Worrell is a Proud Boy, it turns out that his cancer treatments are being provided at the medical center at Howard University.

But in a very on-brand moment for a country desperately in need of lessons in Critical Race Theory, his complaint was heeded by a federal judge, who today held jail officials in contempt for violating Worrell`s civil rights, because of course they did.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. She was a Trump impeachment manager earlier this year.

And, Congresswoman, you have been on the show, and in very emotional terms talked about what you went through that day, the fear that you faced, the fear your staff faced, these young staffers.

When you hear these jailed defendants who were beating police officers, who were responsible for multiple deaths that day complaining that their jail conditions are too harsh, or it`s inconvenient to wear an ankle monitor, I am just interested to hear what your response is and the fact that a judge siding -- a judge is siding with them, basically.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): I say, roll the tape, Joy.

I`m pleased to be with you tonight.

But we must never forget the violent insurrection that descended on our Capitol, incited by a president and aided by others. And that`s why, when people who are in jail for their participation have these whining complaints, I have zero sympathy.

And, in fact, I want to make sure that more people are prosecuted and held to the highest extent of the law for their criminal insurrection behavior. We must not forget what this is about. This was not a break-in of some ordinary place in our country. This was an insurrection, an attack on our democracy.

Every single one of our lives was at risk as they came in saying we will hang Mike Pence and calling for Nancy. We know that, had they gotten their hands on any one of us, lives would have been lost.

REID: Yes.

DEAN: So, again, roll the tape. There`s no sympathy for anybody who`s spending time in prison. And I hope they get the fullest sentences they can possibly get.

REID: Yes, they certainly didn`t have empathy for you all at all, including the young staffers.

We know that at least some of these people are -- some of the defendants on the other side, the people who are accused of knowing a lot at the higher levels, some of them are complying.

So, Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting attorney general under Trump, he was scheduled to appear today before the committee. He apparently has now been interviewed in person today. That sounds like progress.

Do you expect that, short of being rounded up by the U.S. Marshals, most or all of these defendants will show up? And if they don`t, what do you think should happen?

DEAN: Well, and I had the chance to speak just in the last couple of days to both Jamie Raskin and Pete Aguilar, who are serving on the select committee.

They assure me and your tape reveals that, in a bipartisan way, the members of the committee will make sure people show up, that records will be secured, that we will get the facts and the truth.

But I don`t expect that every one of them will comply. But when you see Jeffrey Rosen and others, this is a different time. We were involved in impeachment one and impeachment two under the Trump administration, where he encouraged others to not obey lawful subpoenas of Congress. We don`t have the same attorney general, thank God.

We don`t have the same administration, who would use the Department of Justice for its own purposes. So I expect a very different set of circumstances with some bad actors trying to avoid coming forward and obeying a subpoena.

But I also expect that Chairman Bennie Thompson and this committee in a bipartisan, singular voice will say, we will hold you in criminal contempt if you fail to comply.

REID: And just to show you the difference, the White House today issued a second letter today reiterating that they are rejecting Donald Trump`s claim of executive privilege.

And in this letter to the National Archives, the White House counsel writes: "President Biden does not uphold the former president`s assertion of privilege, in light of the urgency of the select committee`s need for information. The president further instructs you to provide those pages 30 days after your notification to the former president, absent any intervening court order."


Do you expect that this will wind up going to court? Because I can foresee a Steve Bannon thinking, I will go ahead and break this law. I will risk arrest. I will risk contempt of Congress charges, in the hopes that they can reinstall Trump as president in 2024 and then, in 2025, he can pardon them.

Do you worry that some of these people who already have no respect for the law, no respect for the United States and its traditions will roll the dice?

DEAN: I think some will, and they will try to run the clock out.

But we have an administration and a Department of Justice and I hope a judiciary who will not allow them to do it. Somebody like Mr. Bannon reveals himself and his stellar legal defense by claiming executive privilege to which he`s not entitled.

And, of course, we have an administration who said, we`re not offering executive privilege to those who might be entitled to it.

What I want to remind people of is the urgency of this. Sure, there are going to be bad actors dragging their feet, breaking the law. This is a committee that will work, I think, really swiftly in the face of that. But what I want to remind people of is that this was a violent insurrection attempted, and parts of it, the violence, was accomplished on January the 6th.

And it`s not over. You see my colleagues, Republican colleagues, on the floor continuing the big lie. The threat is not ended. It is not over. We see that the former president, whose name I`m not going to use, is continuing to try to water those seeds of discontent, to continue the big lie, though, for every American, know that we in Congress recognize the very democracy that we enjoy and that we must practice and protect is at stake.

And that`s why the work of this committee and the work of this Congress is to hold people accountable, so this never happens.

REID: Again, let me play for you Stephanie Murphy, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of the select committee. And this is what she said ought to happen to those who do not want to comply with these subpoenas. Here she is.


QUESTION: Are you going to use the Marshals Service to bring people like Mark Meadows to Congress?

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): I know that we have engaged with a wide variety of law enforcement offices, including the U.S. Marshals, in order to issue the subpoenas.

And we will use everything, as you said, with all due respect. We will use all of the agencies and all of the tools at our disposal to issue the subpoenas and then enforce them.


REID: Congresswoman Dean, do you expect to see U.S. Marshals out on the streets rounding up people who need to be before this committee?

DEAN: Well, I know that the committee in the Congress has several options.

I want to speak exactly to Mark Meadows, for example. So we can talk about legal wrangling and avoiding subpoenas and will I get my lawyer to get in the way and is there any way I can claim executive privilege in the face of an administration that won`t let me?

Mark Meadows is a public servant. He served in this Congress alongside Elijah Cummings, who was his friend. His calling is as an American first. He needs to come forward and say absolutely everything he knows about the insurrection, what happened before, who helped plan it. What was the president doing all day long? Why was he avoiding coming forward with the National Guard to protect his own vice president and Congress?

Mark Meadows needs to step up as an American and speak up and say: I am here. I will go under oath. I will tell you everything I know.

REID: We shall see. One should hope.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, thank you very much. Really appreciate your time, as always.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: A Supreme Court justice directly went after my next guest for being -- quote -- "inflammatory" because he dared to point out that the conservative court is acting politically.

Now, I have looked, and I have searched, and I cannot detect the lie.

so, we will discuss when we come back.




SAMUEL ALITO, U.S. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: Here`s a line from a recent piece talking about our refusal to grant an injunction in the Texas abortion case -- quote -- "The conservative majority on the Supreme Court was so eager to nullify Roe v. Wade that it didn`t even wait for oral argument" -- ends quote.

Now, put aside the false and inflammatory claim that we nullified Roe vs. Wade. We did no such thing.


REID: Recent decisions by the Supreme Court and how they were made are putting the conservative majority on the defensive, as the nation`s highest court gets called out for playing politics.

Now, as you just saw, Justice Samuel Alito was in full dudgeon in a recent speech, saying it`s just wrong to depict the court as a dangerous cabal that is deciding important issues in a novel secretive, improper way in the middle of the night, hidden from public view.

Of course, their ruling to allow Texas to move ahead with the nation`s most restrictive abortion law made in the middle of the night, literally, without hearing a single oral argument, doesn`t really help their case.

And the journalist that Alito was calling out in that sound bite that we just played for you, "The Atlantic"`s Adam Serwer, writes that the fact that Alito is publicly speaking out only proves his point -- quote -- "Alito`s speech perfectly encapsulated the new imperious attitude of the court`s right-wing majority, which wants to act politically without being seen as political, and expects the public to silently acquiesce to its every directive, without scrutiny, criticism or protest."

And this all comes as President Biden`s commission studying potential changes to the court is expected to release its preliminary report tomorrow.

Joining me now is Adam Serwer, staff writer for "The Atlantic."

Adam, it`s always great to talk with you.

Just looking at the way that these shadow docket cases have gone down, the Trump administration won 28 out of 41 cases. That`s a 70 percent success rate. Let`s look at some of the things that they have been able to do. Just -- it`s up there.

Texas restrictive abortion law to go into effect. That`s new. The pay-to- vote system, which is basically a poll tax in Florida, they upheld that. The Muslim travel ban, the banning transgender troops. You can go on and on. Redirecting military funds to build the wall.

Your argument, I thought, was brilliant, by the way, that essentially they`re doing politics, but they don`t want to be seen as doing politics.


Just please explain.

ADAM SERWER, "THE ATLANTIC": Thank you very much, Joy. That`s very kind of you to say.

Basically, what`s going on right now is that the Supreme Court has a conservative supermajority. And they don`t want their decisions to be questioned. They don`t want their decisions to be seen as political, even though that 6-3 majority is a result of decades of conservative advocacy.

They want to -- they want the public to see them as simply apolitically interpreting the law. Now, obviously, that`s not true. They didn`t get -- these people didn`t get put on the court to simply apolitically interpret the law. They were put on the court to decide cases in a way that the conservative legal movement would prefer that they be decided.

That doesn`t mean they`re always going to do that. But they`re going to do it more often in their favor than a court with a different composition would be.

And to observe that is really just to state the obvious. But the justices on the court have very high opinions of themselves. And they don`t like the suggestion that they are in any way politically influenced, even when they are acting in ways that are very obviously political.

And that is really what explains all these public statements from the justices, in contexts that are actually plainly political. I mean, the Notre Dame thing was not as egregious as justices speaking at the Mitch McConnell Center in Kentucky, talking about how they -- that they`re not political hacks.


SERWER: Well, then don`t act like one.

Unfortunately, I mean, this is -- this is what the conservative legal movement has worked for. And if the left wants to change this set of circumstances, then they should be as committed to shaping the courts the way they want them to be shaped as the conservative legal movement has for the past three, four, five decades.

REID: What`s interesting -- right, because you point out that, I mean, Alito was saying this in a forum in which the press aren`t allowed to be there.

And there is this sort of imperious attitude. As you said, they want to conservative right-wing legal outcomes. And so they stand aside and say, oh, we can`t -- sorry, we can`t help you in Texas, because we want that outcome. We`re willing to let it sit there, because it`s a weird thing.

Like, it reminds me of the overall right. They want these right-wing outcomes that the majority of the public doesn`t want. But they -- for some reason, they`re bothered by the fact that -- the discontent, right? The discontent bothers them. They want the praise that like the Brown v. Board decision got. Like, they want to be praised for doing it.

And they must know that they cannot.

SERWER: Yes, I mean, I chose my words very carefully in that piece. I did not say that Roe v. Wade had been overturned. I said that it had been nullified.

And you know what? Alito got very angry about that. But the truth is, the women of Texas do not need me, a columnist from "The Atlantic," that tell them that they no longer have the right to end up a pregnancy. They don`t need me to tell them that they no longer have full control over their own bodies, because that is what the legal situation is in Texas.

And if that bothers Alito so much, then maybe he should have reconsidered the decision that he and the other court`s conservatives made.

REID: Do you think that part of the answer here is for Democrats to be as unembarrassed about moving the court back in the pro-Brown v. Board/Roe v. Wade direction as conservatives are?

You sort of alluded to that, because you`re right. They`re acting very politically. They don`t want to be criticized for it, but they know that they want these conservative outcomes. We all know that. They wouldn`t have gotten the jobs. They very actively campaigned to be that person.

Everyone knew what Kavanaugh and these guys were ideologically. That`s how they got in. Should Democrats be as unembarrassed about trying to pull the courts back the other way? Is that the answer?

SERWER: Well, I don`t think it`s a question of shame. I think it`s a question of the fact that the Republican Party is much less diverse ideologically than the Democratic Party.

They are a conservative party. They`re mostly made up of conservatives. The Democratic Party is made up of conservatives, moderates, and liberals. And so the same unity of action is not there.

The courts have driven votes for the Republican Party for generations. And, unfortunately, as far as the Democrats are concerned, Democrats do not get as exercised about what the court does as Republicans have in the past. They`re not as committed to shaping the courts in their image.

Now, maybe that will change. I mean, I think a lot of people thought that the 2000 decision, Bush v. Gore decision, would be that flash point, especially since the court in that case literally said, you know, this decision only counts for the president circumstances, which was kind of an acknowledgement that they knew that they were behaving in a political way.

REID: Right.

SERWER: But we have yet to see -- I don`t think it`s a question of unembarrassed. I think it`s a question of we have yet to see Democrats` constituencies demanding this kind of aggressive action as far as the courts are concerned that we have seen on the Republican side.

REID: But that might change, because the courts are behaving in ways that even these politicians can`t make happen. And those decisions can really impact and harm so many people.


I recommend everybody read this piece in "The Atlantic." You should put the "Ether" beat under it, though, if you read it out loud, because that`s really the only way to read it properly.


REID: Adam Serwer, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here.

SERWER: Thank you for having me.

REID: The brilliant Adam Serwer.

Up next: the evil forces behind the unprecedented threats to our democracy. Our "Absolute Worst" is next.


REID: Supreme Court decisions have consequences that reverberate for decades.

And we are still feeling the impact of the Voting Rights Act was gutted in 2013. States no longer need to get federal approval for their election laws, including redistricting, which means that they have a lot more freedom to game the system, so Republicans can keep far more power than they deserve.

And that`s exactly what happened in Texas in the middle of late -- in the middle of the night last night, when the state House passed a proposed map that increases the number of districts that are majority white, while decreasing that Hispanic- and black- majority districts, despite the fact that people of color made up 95 percent of the population growth in Texas over the past decade, 95 percent.


As Ari Berman points out, only 40 percent of Texans identify as white, but 59 percent of the districts gerrymandered by the legislature are majority white. And while 39 percent of the Texas population is Hispanic, they`re only the majority in 20 percent of the districts. And 12 percent of Texans are black, but they`re the majority in less than 5 percent of the new districts.

Then there`s Arkansas, whose governor just approved a map splitting the state`s most populous and diverse county into three districts. He said today that he heard the complaints that the map would dilute the influence of minority voters, but signed the legislation anyway, noting that people have the option to challenge it in court.

Cool. Very helpful.

Now, gerrymandering is just one weapon Republicans have. They can and are directly also just directly suppressing votes. According to the Brennan Center, at least 19 states have enacted 33 laws that make it harder for Americans to vote. And guess which kinds of voters those target?

If that doesn`t work, just convince voters that all elections are rigged anyway after the fact. Yesterday, Trump supporters in Michigan held a conspiracy-filled rally endorsed by their favorite disgraced president to try to force the state to do -- you guessed it -- an audit of the 2020 election, with GOP congressional candidate Jon Rocha declaring, "This is how a revolution starts."

Not surprisingly, QAnon was present, with a state rep wearing a Q button. But not to worry, though. She says it was just the flag with a Q on it, and then clarified that Q is the highest level of security in the federal government, hashtag, that is what a QAnon believer would say.

Orange Julius Caesar is now threatening to support primary opponents to Michigan Republicans if they don`t audit the election. And "The Detroit News" reports that Michigan Republicans are replacing election officials with people who have questioned the validity of the election.

So, because of the unprecedented threat to our democracy this country is facing because of that, Republicans who are doing everything they can to assure that they will win all future elections, including enabling the big lie, you are tonight`s rather fascistic, anti-democracy "Absolute Worst."

But it`s not just Republican antics that we need to pay attention to. We also need to talk about whether Democrats are fully awake to it. More on that next.



REID: Benjamin Franklin was once asked what kind of government we have, and he said a republic, if you can keep it.

Today, the system he helped devise, the one designed to keep the worst intentions of men and women at bay, is on the verge of collapse. The Republican Party has abandoned the once lofty principles their party was formed with at the very beginning and have wholeheartedly embraced Donald Trump`s authoritarian mantra.

They`re passing laws to ensure that they get to decide who wins and loses elections. They`re passing laws to strip your right to vote. And they`re approving maps that hand them control of state legislatures and the U.S. House of Representatives, no matter how the people vote.

All of this is exhausting to think about. I get it. And sometimes you just want to curl up in the fetal position and just wait for it to pass. But here`s the thing. It ain`t going to pass. Trump and Trumpism is here to stay. In fact, he`s getting stronger, because GOP lemmings have completely embraced his brand of political poison.

Take Virginia, for example. In three weeks, voters will choose between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, who`s been endorsed by Hugh Hewitt, Sebastian Gorka, and Donald Trump. Youngkin is rallying Republican supporters, vowing to repeal COVID mandates, promising to keep Critical Race Theory out of schools -- it ain`t in schools -- and hinting at a desire to rollback reproductive rights.

And polls show the race is close, very, very close.

Joining me now, Ari Berman, senior reporter at "Mother Jones," and "New York Times" columnist Michelle Goldberg.

Thank you both for being here.

Ari, you put out those numbers on what they`re doing in Texas, but what I thought is that it`s easy to sort of demonize the way they`re doing things in Texas and Arkansas. But a state like Virginia, it`s more subtle, because Youngkin doesn`t seem as extreme.

But, at the end of the day, the forces that are compelling Republican politicians all compel in one direction, demonize women`s right to choose, throw Critical Race Theory red meat at the base. They`re all going to do it.

Do you have concerns that even people who try to fool themselves and fool you into thinking they`re sort of moderate, like Youngkin, all wind up playing the same game in 2024?

ARI BERMAN, "MOTHER JONES": Well, Joy, I think it`s become very clear in the last year that there are very few moderates left in the Republican Party and that attacking the democratic process is now the central organizing principle of the GOP.

Remember, the Republican candidate for governor kicked off his campaign by lying about what happened in 2020, and made that his key platform.

But I think what Republicans are doing in Texas is so revealing, because it`s really the prototype of their governing strategy, which is to pass so many extreme and unpopular laws, from basically banning abortion, to allowing you to carry a gun without a permit, to whitewashing how history is taught, to extreme voter suppression laws.

But they want to be able to do all of this extreme stuff without any accountability. And that`s why they`re doing the gerrymandering and the voter suppression, so they can essentially override the will of the voters who want to hold them accountable.

REID: And, Michelle, the thing is that they`re not satisfied to just do this in places like Texas and Arkansas.

They`re coming for blue states. They made a run at the California governorship, trying to unseat that governor and replace them with a Trumper. This governor in Virginia, he`s talking the same way that Trump is, just at a lower volume.

And if he gets in, the challenge Democrats are going to have is that he too will be in position to mess with the vote in Virginia in 2024. And I feel like, at this point, voters need to be single issue on that. I`m not sure that they are in a place like Virginia.

What do you think?


And Virginia -- a state like Virginia is obviously a much bigger prize for the Republican Party. I mean, as much as we all like to forecast the day that Texas will finally turn blue or at least purple, it`s pretty likely that the Republican is going to win fair and square in Texas in 2024.


It`s a lot less like that they`re going to win a state like Virginia, which is why a party devoted to minority rule, a party that believes that only they actually have a legitimate right to govern, why they would -- why they would need to be in a position to mess with the process in Virginia.

And so I think that that`s what -- they sort of showed us, even in their shambolic way, how you can mess up an election, how you can, with the right -- with the right people in place, send dual slates of electors to Congress, how you can get a Republican House to perhaps -- how you can get people to sort of mess up the counting of the vote.

And so they have the game plan. This time, they -- now they know how to enact it.

REID: And the thing is, Ari, they have got a -- both front-end and back- end strategy.

On the front end, they just make it hard to vote. And then they do things to mess with gerrymandering to sort of ensure that these are as many Republican districts as possible, as red as possible, and to sort of drown out Democratic candidates by, like, putting two congressmen in the same district and make them run against each other, like they`re apparently doing in Texas.

But on the back end, then they say, oh, the election was invalid. We will just recount, recount, recount, until we win. It`s like they have got both sides covered.

And so I mean, that is why I am concerned about a Virginia race, because if they get control of any part of that government, and particularly of the governorship, there`s no way to stop them at that point.

BERMAN: That`s right. I mean, the easiest way to steal an election is to rig it ahead of time, which is why they have been so focused on voter suppression and now so focused on gerrymandering.

If somehow that doesn`t work, then they`re going to try to steal the election after the fact. And I think that`s what`s so new and disturbing about their strategy, is they have been doing the front of it for a long time, Joy, but the back end of it is what is newer about their strategy and what makes all the election subversion so dangerous.

REID: Yes.

BERMAN: And we have learned over the last year that states are national battles, that if you care about what`s happening in Congress, you care about the national landscape, you have to care about the states, not just because states copy each other, and a lot of people obviously live in those places, but also the fact that states are the ones -- the place where the voting happens, right, and where the election is certified before it even goes to Washington.

And so I think we really have to pay very close attention to what`s going on in places like Texas, what`s happening in places like Virginia, and then the fact that Republicans are doing everything they can to make it harder to vote. Democrats who have power in Washington need to do everything they can to make it easier to vote, to protect voting rights. That`s the piece that`s been missing here all along.

REID: Yes.

And the urgency, Michelle, I think is missing. Right. I think that the urgency on having a national strategy, a national bill and getting that through, that`s gone way back burner. Voter elect -- the electorate is getting exhausted watching them fail to do it.

And, meanwhile, you have Youngkin running with a running mate who`s toting an AR-15. He`s out there doing the Critical Race Theory game. He`s saying a lot of the same things. And yet you look at the polling. McAuliffe is only up three points over him in the latest YouGov poll.

He`s winning on COVID vaccines a little bit, but create more jobs, that sort of old-fashioned traditionally Republican issues, which I don`t know why people believe that, he`s winning on that.

It concerns I think a lot of folks who look at Virginia, because it doesn`t feel like that urgent message is getting through.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think -- I mean, look, voters are demoralized.

They stayed on high alert for four years. They have contended with crisis after crisis, trauma after trauma. Part of the promise of a Biden presidency, or at least the hope of the Biden presidency, was that people didn`t have to pay life-or-death, minute-by-minute attention to the news.

REID: Right.

GOLDBERG: But, in fact, Trumpism hasn`t gone away.

And so I would be worried about these polls, especially since we know that Republicans are just less likely to answer pollsters in the first place.

REID: Right.

GOLDBERG: At the same time. I do think we saw, in California, that if you light a fire under Democrats, if they understand the stakes and sort of understand what Republicans have in store for them, they will ultimately turn out.

REID: Well, the fire would be, Ari, do you want Virginia to be Texas in terms of COVID, in terms of vaccine mandates, in terms of silly fights over what`s taught in schools? Do you want Virginia to be Texas?

Isn`t that probably the simplest way to put it?

BERMAN: Yes, exactly.

And Virginia 10 years ago was a lot more like Texas than Virginia is today. So, states can move forward, but they can also move backwards. We have learned that throughout U.S. history, and they have made a lot of progress there. And I don`t think they want to lose those things they fought over the last 10 years.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

Ari Berman, Michelle Goldberg, thank you guys both very much.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

Tomorrow night, by the way, a REIDOUT exclusive. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who`s been at the forefront of the fight against the big lie, joins me in his first national interview since launching his campaign for governor.

Thank you all for joining us tonight. That should be a hot one.

Vote, vote, vote in Virginia. Vote in Virginia. Very important.