Republican dystopia has arrived. GOP anti-CRT rhetoric has led to an attack on books. Out of first 100 titles being investigated by Texas lawmakers, 97 were written by women, people of color, LGBTQ authors. Book challenges boosted sales for Author Jerry Craft.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: That does it for me tonight. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next. Hi, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Jason? And thank you for talking about South Africa. It`s really important because I think it is a country that is so similar to our hours and I don`t Americans understand how similar their history is to ours. So, it`s a pretty big deal that de Klerk has passed away.
JOHNSON: They learned apartheid from the American south. So, we`re partially responsible too.
REID: They did. They absolutely patterned apartheid off of the American south. Well said. Thank you very much, my friend. Have a great evening.
All right, good evening to all of you. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with paging Ray Bradbury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I set the books on fire.
That`s good. That`s what I like to see. Sweet reason. Novels aren`t nice. What do mankind hope to get out of all this print? Happiness? What a poor idiot you must have been. This gibberish is enough to drive a man mad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Welcome to the Republican Party of 2021. Our future dystopia is already here. The Republican Party is all aboard when it comes to stoking the anxieties of conservative white suburbanites to maintain control, especially now that Glenn Youngkin rode a wave of fragile feelings to victory in Virginia last week on the boogeyman of critical race here are the and buoyed by a little book banning, namely Beloved, Toni Morrison`s novel about the horrors of slavery and its legacy of black pain, which is apparently really about white feelings since Youngkin`s closing message was an ad featuring a white parent who advocated banning the book in 2013 because it gave her son, a high school senior, nightmares.
And within days of the election, the Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, declared the Republicans are the party of education, announcing plans to unveil a parents` bill of rights in Congress. Virginia is just another stop on a road that they`ve been traveling for months under the guise of anti-critical race theory, which is still not being taught in any public schools, only law schools, launching an all-out war on books, books about Martin Luther King Jr., and even seahorses.
This week, a Kansas school district reinstated 29 books removed from circulation after a parent objected, including Margaret Atwood`s The Handmaid`s Tale, Toni Morrison`s The Bluest Eye and August Wilson`s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Fences, with the approval of Republicans, books are also attack in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott is demanding that the State of Association of School Boards investigate pornographic books and told state agencies to develop standards to block books with, quote, overtly sexual content. That (INAUDIBLE) office state representatives probe into hundreds of books that caused discomfort, almost all of them about race, gender identity and sexuality. In fact, they don`t even want you to learn about the history of Texas in Texas. This summer, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick strong-armed a museum into cancelling an event on the role that slavery had in the whole story of the Alamo.
But back to Virginia, where the new Republican effort looks look like those firemen in Fahrenheit 451. a school board voted unanimously to remove books containing sexually explicit content, with two members advocating, you guessed it, book burning. One board member said he wants to see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff. Another said that they should throw them in a fire, adding that our public schools would rather have kids read about gay pornography than Christ.
Joining me now, Michael Steele, former Chairman of the RNC and Host of the Michael Steele podcast, and Charlie Pierce, Writer-at-Large for Esquire.
I`m going to start with you, Michael, because you are a former lieutenant governor of a neighboring state nearby, not too far from Virginia, neighboring state to Virginia here in the DMV. Can you imagine as somebody who wasn`t a Republican statewide elected official coming into office with your platform and your closing argument being, I will ban Toni Morrison books? At that point, don`t you have to then follow through, right? You took the Trumpian pill. You got to swallow it now, right? How far do you think this winds up going? Youngkin is now tied to this book banning, anti- blackness, anti-history platform. He can`t get away from it, right?
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he can`t get away with it necessarily, but he will try. And I suspect what you will see is sort of a quiet distancing from all of that rhetoric because, hell, I`ve gotten elected now. So, you know, how much of that am I going to need? It`s a one- term position so I don`t have to worry about a reelection bid. And so I think there will be some efforts for Youngkin who, in the main, is not a Trumpian figure or player, but he played one for an election.
And I think that that`s really going to be the interesting road that he is going to have to travel, to your point, Joy, on an issue like this.
When folks in the black community speak to him, and he goes before them in town halls or whatever, and it`s raised, what will you say to them? What do you say in front of those white communities if you`ve not overseen the burning or banning of books, as you said or your supporters said that you would do? So, that`s going to be a very dangerous and tricky spot for him if he hopes to governor the state because at the end of the day, you still got to set up what comes next. And if you want to hold power in the state, you`re going to have to lay down the predicate for that power down the road. It`s going to be hard to sell that to Northern Virginia, because Northern Virginians didn`t buy banning and burning books.
REID: Right. Well, here is the thing. I mean, to stay with you just for a second, Michael. I mean, he played games. He played footsie with far right wing dangerous Trumpism. I mean, there was a treason flag, one of the flag that flew at the Capitol on insurrection day, flew at one of his rallies. He didn`t have a problem with that. He didn`t have a problem having Trump`s endorsement. He is getting like credit for supposedly backing Trump. He never did that. And he quietly was like, wink, wink, wink, I`m with you.
When Ronald Reagan went to the Neshoba County Fair, right, in 1980 and played wink and nod with white nationalists, the way he governed was to do things to go after things where he called it welfare queens and do policies that in my own family, we felt it, right? He didn`t stop. He kept moving. He put his pedal to the metal because he realized those Reagan Democrats, which were white conservative former Democrats, oh, I can keep them in the party. It`s not like people back off once they get on board.
STEELE: No, that`s a very fair point. And that`s going to be the early test for Youngkin around a number of these issues. Yes, it will be one thing to repeal the grocery tax. But then what do you do about a critical race theory? What do you do about those members of the legislature who want to, you know, peruse through every book on the shelf and to see whether or not it`s their definition of morally correct, which I would bet is their definition is a little bit suspect because I bet their past is a little bit suspect too. It is always those folks who want to raise that ire of virtuosity who you pull back the curtain, baby, you don`t have to pull it back too far, you see some stuff. So, if Republicans want to open up this Pandora`s Box, trust me, they`re going to get trapped in it just like they`re trying to trap others. And that`s Youngkin`s challenge and problem.
REID: It`s a really good point. No, you`re absolutely right. It`s a really good point. Charlie, I mean, you wrote a great piece about this for Esquire. I mean, the thing is that Republicans sort of old fashion -- I mean, this dude is -- Youngkin is in the Carlisle Group, right? He is like more of a Mitch McConnell-type Republican. But they`re all willing to embrace and at least keep the racism in the club, because they know that gets them power, Kevin McCarthy is doing it, they`re all doing it. They`re doing it in Texas, the governor, lieutenant governor of Texas, because they want to stay in power.
The Dallas Morning News, 850 books have been probed by Texas lawmakers. Out of the first 100 books that they`ve listed that they think they might want to ban, 97 were written by women, people of color and LGBTQ authors. They`re not even like pretending. There`s a guy named Jerry Craft who is one of the people on that book. It`s a book called New Kid. It was later reinstated. He says it`s boosted his sales. He says it`s actually working for him. But it`s like they`re tied to this now, and now the people who voted for them want the books banned.
CHARLES PIERCE, WRITER-AT-LARGE, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE: Well, I mean, they`ve been tied to it since 1968, or a little bit before that.
PIERCE: But it manifests itself in different ways. And we`ve had -- we have these, you know, textbook thing. We had textbook wars in `70s with the Gablers down in Texas. There seems to me that there is a lot more money and a lot more power behind a general attack on general education right now. It`s coming from a lot of different directions. For example, critical race theory is a slogan. What they`re really attacking is the 1619 project. But that doesn`t sound as scary as critical race theory. They want -- the 1619 project went out of its way to introduce curricula into like middle school and elementary school around the country, or tried to anyway. That`s what they were afraid of. They`re not afraid of critical race theory. 3/4 of them don`t even understand it.
REID: You`re right. But they all are using it to gain power. And here is the challenge. It doesn`t work everywhere.
So there were -- Virginia, yes, it worked. But there are school board racists, Michael, in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Connecticut, where school board members won despite this and defeated this. So, this didn`t win everywhere. Dozens of these races, they were dominated by debates over masks, vaccines, race and history, the same things that Republicans want to use next year. It worked in Virginia because I think -- I saw a Google map the place where they were Googling what is critical race theory the most in the country and was in Virginia. So, Youngkin succeeded with making that dog whistle work for him. It did not work in these other states. So, it`s not guaranteed. And you know what is guaranteed, they`re going to take it too far. The book burning thing shows they are going to take it too far.
STEELE: Yes. And that`s such an important point. Because at the end of the day, these school boards on the front line of education in a whole lot of different ways, these boards are comprised of moms and dads and community activists and the education space, joy, as you know from your coverage of them, both in Florida and nationally, who are concerned about providing good education, right? So, they`re not in the business of banning and burning books. They`re in the business of helping students explore the world around them and expose them to as much as is possible given, you know, the prescriptions that may be provided by their parents or whatever, their religious faith, et cetera. All that`s respected.
What Republicans are doing are not respecting that tradition. They`re trying to say we decide what is morally correct. We decide what is the best book for you to read. And we know in history what that is and what that looks like, looks like what it means. So when communities see this, to your point, they`re like, oh, hell no, we don`t want all that. We`re not looking to ban a book. We just want to make sure that the best education is being provided for our kids. And these individuals who are -- that we elected in the last cycle, they haven`t changed. They`re the same moms and dads and good citizens as they were four years ago or two years ago, depending on what the term was. So, people got to get it.
Virginia may be an outlier more than anything else, Joy, not necessarily the norm that we`re going to see going into the next cycle, election cycle in `22 and beyond. I think parents, by and large, understand. Remember, those people showing up at school boards screaming and shouting, I bet you a dime to a donut, if their parents ask them when the last time they went to a PTA meeting. Ask them when the last time they actually had a teacher`s conference with their teachers of their kids, and I bet you find they aren`t the parents who show up when they`re required. They show up for the noise. They don`t show up for the work.
REID: Right. Or they don`t have any kids in the school. Minneapolis Star Tribune (INAUDIBLE) Minnetonka School Board, most conservative school board candidate states in the metro that ran on platforms opposing mask mandates and critical race theory, lost. Top vote-getter, a former high school chemistry teacher. He said his platform, we need to have an educator on the board. I`m sorry. Go ahead, Charlie Pierce.
PIERCE: No, I was about to say we`re supposed to have arguments about great literature. We`re supposed to read it and fight about it. That`s why I think it`s healthy that we argue about Huckleberry Finn every ten years. You can set your watch to Huckleberry Finn. And it`s a good thing that we do. I mean, it`s a novel that deserves to be read, deserves to be discussed, and deserves to be yelled about. I think I`m not mistaken, Michael, you`re Jesuit-educated the same way I am, right?
PIERCE: We learned how to argue. You got to bring it when you`re going with the society. Otherwise -- but the point is, have these books in the library. Have the kids read them and talk about them. Have the parents, you know, argue about them. But don`t ban them. First of all, all you`ll do is sell more copies, as we learned. And second of all, Glenn Youngkin gets stopped way down the road. He gets to stop at the governor`s mansion. Everybody else in society has to keep going down that road, and it doesn`t come to a good place. Once you`ve put this --
REID: Yes. And, Charlie, just to stay with you for a moment, because this is -- it`s openly -- well, I was going to say it`s openly an attack on books that have to do with slavery and race. But it`s also a very sideswipe attack on the LGBTQ community too, because they keep on saying pornography, because that`s the other piece of what they want to get rid of, Charlie.
PIERCE: Well, yes. And it`s not just, it`s gotten energized by the anti- mask, anti-vaccination people. It`s all been rolled up into one big ball of, you know, abandon wrath. I mean, it doesn`t make any sense to put those two things together but they`re just two things you can get angry about and yell at the school board or across state`s lines and be yelled at school board has happened.
STEELE: Hey, Joy, can I just say --
REID: Last word to you, former Chairman.
STEELE: I was just going the say real quick, all those parents worried about pornography in the literature, kids ain`t worried about pornography in literature. You better take your son`s phone and take a look at what that bad boy is downloading. You better take your son`s phone and take a look at what that bad boy is downloading.
REID: Maybe? Hello.
STEELE: Go to that school dance and see what they`re doing out behind the school, baby. Come on, now, these parents acting like they weren`t teenagers.
REID: Hello? And they don`t have the password, so even if they got the password, they don`t know what`s on it because they don`t know what their kids are watching on the phone. Hello?
All right, thank you very much, Michael Steele and Charlie Pierce, thank you guys very much.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, new Republican power grabs in Wisconsin and Georgia.
And late today yet another roadblock from the January 6 committee for the former president, who has nothing to hide, right?
Also, as defense rests in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial, my thoughts on American vigilantism, and why -- for me, why this trial brought back memories of Trayvon Martin.
Plus, nobody exposes the MAGA crowd the way Jordan Klepper does, and joins me tonight.
And tonight`s absolute worst are engaging with puppets in a political debate and losing, to puppets.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: The Republican Party is continuing to fuel to add fuel -- to the ongoing insurgency fire that`s raging across the country, with even more blatant power grabs.
In Wisconsin, Senator Ron Johnson is literally calling on Republican lawmakers to take over federal elections and circumvent that state`s bipartisan elections commission and the Democratic governor there.
Johnson said: "There`s no mention of the governor in the Constitution when it comes to running elections. It says state legislatures. And so, if we`re running the joint, and I`m not, I would come out and I would just say we`re reclaiming our authority. Don`t listen to WEC anymore. Their guidance are null and void."
In Georgia, the Republican-controlled legislature continues its efforts to dilute last year`s Democratic victories. They have introduced a bill to double the number of seats on the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. Not only is their county the state`s most diverse and the second most populous county in Georgia, but for the first time in nearly three decades, Democrats took control of the board of commissioners last year.
And for the first time in its history, it has a black chairwoman. Can`t have that now, can we?
At the same time, Republicans are using the threat of mob violence for political gain. We saw Margie Q. Greene. publish the phone numbers of GOP lawmakers who supported the infrastructure bill. Some of them then got death threats.
And Paul Gosar indulged a sick fake anime fantasy where he murders a Democratic colleague and takes a pair of knives to Joe Biden. That`s the kind of domestic extremism that Kevin McCarthy has welcomed with open arms in a deal with the devil that he hopes will land him the House gavel.
With me now, Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney, and Kurt Bardella, adviser to the DNC and the DCCC.
And I guess the first kind of question for you, Joyce, at what point does this playing footsie with insurrection cross the line into committing crimes? What do they have to do to actually cross over that line?
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s a deceptively difficult question, because it has to be asked on an individualized basis in each situation.
Joy, you and I have talked about this before. I think, the minute former President Trump makes phone calls into Georgia asking them to find him the number of votes he needs to win that state, that he has committed the Georgia crime of soliciting election fraud, of trying to alter the results of that election.
Our problem is less what conduct qualifies as criminality, but who is going to finally step up and prosecute it?
REID: And also whether or not the select committee can even really fully investigate.
To stay with you for a second, Joyce, this appeals court, three judges on this appeals court have now put a stay on what had been a victory for the 1/6 panel to get these records that the National Archives has for Donald Trump. Now that that stay is in place, we`re talking about the end of November between a full court hearing on like the merits of it.
But can you explain to us how it could be not open and shut that the current president decides what is subject to executive privilege? How can this even be a question, in your view?
VANCE: So, I`m not quite as discouraged about this decision to stay and to hold a full hearing on November 30 as some people might be. And let me tell you why.
For one thing, courts just seem to move at a glacial pace. I would have loved to have seen this hearing happen, say, in 72 hours. That doesn`t really seem to be how our courts work.
But what this does is, procedurally, this will allow the parties to brief issues and to have a hearing in front of the court. And then I suspect this panel will affirm Judge Chutkan`s extraordinarily well-written order. There is no reason to delay this turnover. So we will put up with a delay of two weeks in order to give this seal of legitimacy on the court`s ultimate decision.
Of course, that won`t keep the former President Trump trying to appeal to the Supreme Court. They are not obligated to hear that appeal, and they can simply slap it down and refuse to hear the issue, or I suppose they could also take it on.
REID: You know, and, Kurt, what Joyce has described is -- and I think it is. It`s a glacial pace of sort of the system working.
But while that glacial pace thing is happening on the one hand and sort of proceeding amid the norms, with the proper norms, on the right, you have Paul Gosar making a fake anime of himself killing a fellow member of Congress, and taking knives to Joe Biden.
There`s a censure attempt by Democrats, of course. I assume Kevin McCarthy is going to whip against it, and that Republicans won`t want to vote for it. You have them like really stoking violence even against their own members to punish them for voting for infrastructure for their districts, right?
They`re giving out the phone numbers. Marjorie Greene gives out the phone numbers of people.
Can we play some of this? Do we have a little bit of the death threat that -- OK, let`s play a little bit of this threatening voice-mail. This is cut number four. This is the voice-mail that was received by Representative Fred Upton of Michigan after Marjorie Greene published his phone number.
Take a look.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor. That`s what you are. You`re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor. I hope you die. I hope everybody in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) family dies, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) trash mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
Voted for dumb (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Biden. You`re stupider than he is, and he can`t even complete a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sentence, you dumb mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor, piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) piece of trash.
I hope you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) die. I hope your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) family dies. I hope everyone in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) staff dies.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID: Behold, the Republican base.
And while that`s happening, you have Matt Gaetz saying that everyone who voted to give infrastructure to their own district ought to be stripped of their committee assignments. That`s the current GOP, Kurt.
Does that does that match with the slow pace of the way the normal system is working?
KURT BARDELLA, DCCC ADVISER: No, and this is the big problem. This is the big threat.
This is what Republicans who are trying to play January 6 denialism are counting on, that their rush to radicalism, their rush to extremism, that the tools and the barriers that are supposed to be in place to act as a check and balance to those behaviors, that they won`t be able to keep up with what they`re trying to do.
And they`re right. It`s not going to. We need to take a very serious look at how we can give Congress and the courts real-time enforcement mechanisms that they can activate immediately. There is a clear and present danger to our democracy. It is coming from the enemy from within, from the Republican Party.
It is coming from members of Congress elected to uphold our Constitution who take that oath who are turning it against their fellow colleagues. They are literally creating content designed to incite violence and fear and terror against their own colleagues.
I mean, you look at what`s going on right now, Joy, and I don`t know how anybody who works in that building -- and I spent better part of a decade walking the halls of Congress -- I don`t know how I feel if I`m walking down the hall and I see a member of Congress who has made a death threat against me, I see the staff who helped create that piece of video and put it up there for that congressman.
I mean, this is insanely dangerous. And anybody who wants to hide behind the ridiculous refrain that, oh, it`s just for fun, it`s social media, it`s not to be taken seriously, January 6 shattered any illusion that the people who consume this, the fans of the Republican Party, the base of the Republican Party, anybody who thinks that it`s harmless, January 6 proved that it`s not.
They treat this stuff like gospel. They see this as their marching orders. They see this as justification to perpetrate terror and violence against people. And is it going to really take someone trying to shoot a member of Congress? Is it going to really take someone trying to murder a member of Congress? Because that`s what their party, their leadership is telling them to do.
I mean, that`s where this is going to go.
REID: Well, and...
BARDELLA: I don`t think anybody watching right now should be shocked if there is a death threat attempt against a member of Congress at this point.
REID: And here`s the thing, is that the only thing that`s new about this is that now they`re doing it to each other, right?
I mean, Kurt, back during the Obama era, it was Democrats who were getting rocks thrown through their windows, who were getting death threats, N-word- laced voice-mails screaming at them for voting for health care, right? How dare you vote for health care?
Do we have this video of the gauntlet that Nancy Pelosi and a bunch of CBC members, including the great John Lewis, had to walk after voting to give Americans health care, Obamacare, that everyone now loved and doesn`t want to let go of?
One member was allegedly spat on. This is the same base. Nothing about them has changed, except that now they`re willing to direct this kind of viciousness and violence against other Republicans, right up and to and including Mike Pence. "Hang Mike Pence." Remember that?
Kurt, your thoughts.
BARDELLA: I mean, and the thing that I find so remarkable about all of this is, the very people, the targets of this violence, Mike Pence himself, still go out there every day trying to cater and pander to them, trying to win their affection and their support.
The Republican Party right now is built on an entire group of people that, at any other time, in any other place, in any other country, we would call domestic terrorists that support these people. And that`s what they`re trying to do to America.
And to watch people like Mike Pence and people like Josh Hawley and all of these characters, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene continue to drive this insane cycle that`s going wanting to only end in violence and tragedy and mayhem, while Kevin McCarthy just sits there does nothing, while it`s up to Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats to hold some semblance of accountability?
BARDELLA: We need to take a serious look at how we`re going to start getting actual accountability in real time, or all of this is just going to fall apart on us.
REID: And let`s just remember that the Tea Party movement, with all the violence and the racism, that produced a whole bunch of members of Congress.
A lot of the reason a lot of these people who are extremists now are even there is because they benefited politically from that movement. And this is the new Tea Party. A lot of these insurrectionists are going to end up in Congress or in office in some other way.
Joyce Vance, Kurt Bardella, thank you both very much.
Up next: The Kyle Rittenhouse trial is starting look a lot like the George Zimmerman trial, full of American vigilantism in the name of self-defense. I have thoughts.
And, later, Jordan Klepper from "The Daily Show" joins me. You do not want to miss it.
REID: So I was talking with my brilliant sister friend Errin Haines of The 19th with the asterisk on Wednesday night, the evening after Kyle Rittenhouse tearfully testified at his murder trial in Wisconsin, like a mini-Brett Kavanaugh.
And we were talking about how this case reminds us so much of the George Zimmerman trial, in which Zimmerman, an adult, was acquitted on July 13, 2013, of murdering a teenager, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Much like the Rittenhouse case, the Zimmerman case was fundamentally about American vigilantism and whether it is legal in America for a person not in law enforcement to take it upon themselves to arm themselves with a gun and mete out what they view as justice in the name of self-defense and investigating property crime.
According to the laws maneuvered into place by the NRA, that is indeed legal in America, statistically, mainly if you`re white. European history on the American continent from 1619 to today is an almost unbroken record of vigilantism in the name of defending property rights, whether that property was human and African and enslaved, or in the form of wives or daughters who had no individual property or voting rights of their own, and whether -- or whether it was physical land.
America is a country formed by men who threw off the European kings to become little kings of their own, with land and slaves and women under their charge.
And whether it was the colonizers` merciless enforcement of their own made- up authority to forcibly seize indigenous people`s land, often wiping out entire tribes, or the fugitive slave laws that authorized any white man to forcibly recapture enslaved people who broke for freedom, or the religious fanatics who claimed the right to try and burn at the stake any woman deemed to be a witch, or the more than 4,000 lynchings from the Redemption era to Emmett Till and the massacres from Elaine, Arkansas, to Wilmington, North Carolina, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and on and on and on.
Any white man who claimed a crime had occurred felt completely entitled to enforce the law himself, sometimes with a gang of his friends. And the best part, these sacred laws almost never applied to these men. They were virtually immune from the law themselves.
American media has even glorified the white male vigilante, from Steve McQueen, to Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, especially in Westerns. It gets trickier for some folks when the vigilante is named Django or Nat Love.
But given that vigilantism is so steeped in American culture, should we really be surprised that a 17-year-old Proud Boys fan believed that he had the perfect right to cross state lines and protect property with the AR-15 he got because he thought it was cool, or that Zimmerman believed it was his duty to investigate property crime by following a 17-year-old kid and shooting and killing him, even after police told him to stand down?
These two teenagers, Kyle Rittenhouse and Trayvon Martin, exist on entirely opposite sides of the American legal system and of Black Lives Matter, right?
The white kid with the AR-15 who shot three white Black Lives Matter protesters, FOX News types and, apparently, Tulsi Gabbard view him as someone who could be their son, clean-cut and innocent, maybe even heroic, while a black kid who was holding candy and iced tea in his hands for his little brother, and for whom the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was born, not so much.
He must have been a thug, right?
And everybody who`s willing to pay attention knows what I just said is true. It should be no surprise that, in America, three white alleged vigilantes believed that they had the right to enforce the law against property crime on an unarmed black jogger who hadn`t committed any crime, Ahmaud Arbery. And they will probably get away with it too.
Or that hundreds of Trump supporters believed they could take it upon themselves to write the so-called wrong Trump believe had been committed against him in the election by black and brown voters in key states by getting him installed by force by invading the Capitol with a noose, defecating on the grounds, flying the treason flag, and attacking police.
Or that Texas men who oppose abortion believe the law should authorize them to collect the bounty on women who legally obtain an abortion under the soon-to-be-defunct Roe v. Wade.
Because, in these men`s minds, they are the law, the only law that matters in America. And you want to know why they think that? Because the law keeps telling them so.
We will be right back.
REID: It takes a certain kind of person to enter the MAGAverse, troll its citizens in their natural habitat, and live to tell the tale.
For comedian Jordan Klepper, who has covered the MAGA faithful, including during the Capitol insurrection, it`s a tale about cultish obsession, bonkers conspiracy theories, and -- you guessed it -- violence.
None of this has stopped Klepper from venturing out again to more recent rallies in Iowa, North Carolina, to get the inside scoop on the MAGA psyche.
Here`s a peek at what he found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN KLEPPER, "THE DAILY SHOW": Who is running the government right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump.
KLEPPER: He`s running the government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the military.
KLEPPER: And he`s running the military?
So, we should blame him for what happened in Afghanistan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t co-parent with the government.
KLEPPER: Well, you don`t want to co-parent with the government, don`t get pregnant in Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There we go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re in public school.
KLEPPER: So, you do kind of co-parent with the government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that regard, I guess, yes, if you want to say my taxes pay for that, yes.
KLEPPER: But you`re giving back your child tax credit?
Did you vote for school board?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t even vote.
KLEPPER: You don`t even vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
KLEPPER: You could vote for somebody who reflects your values.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could vote. You`re right, yes.
KLEPPER: But that`s a hassle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don`t take the time to do it. I`m sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Jordan Klepper, comedian and contributor to "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah."
Thank you for being here.
I commend you for going out into that MAGAverse. I mean, I couldn`t obviously do it, because, as a black lady, they be -- they would -- I would stand out in a way that would make it uncomfortable for everyone.
But you use your ability to walk in there and get them to talk to you, I think for good. And stuff like them saying "I don`t co-parent with the government" in North Carolina, when, literally, they`re sending their kids to public schools, like, what -- in local -- it would be funny if Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Q. Greene and Madison Cawthorn didn`t exist, right?
I mean, when you look at those people and talk to them, do you see people who are not very informed, or do you see future members of Congress as Republicans?
KLEPPER: Well, I see people who are perhaps differently informed.
Everyone I talk to has their own set of sources that they get their information. And more often than not, the sources are not the sources that myself or our crew walk into the spaces to discuss these contents with them.
So, I don`t think, if you talk to anybody out there, they`re going to see themselves as misinformed. I think they just see themselves as coming from a different knowledge base. And then they meet you head on. And, yes, and maybe down the road, you see those folks in Congress.
REID: I mean, I think it`s likely.
I mean, I think about the Tea Party people who were thought of the same way, and everyone laughed at their signs of calling President Obama a lying African, instead of an African lion, and they came up with monkey dolls.
And that kind of person then became like a de rigueur regular Republican candidate. And I feel like the party is moving so far to the right. Do you get a sense that, whenever you`re going from state to state to state, that you are meeting sort of the rank-and-file Republican base?
KLEPPER: Well, it`s always hard to get context with this.
Am I just meeting the people who are fanatics for whoever the rally is for, predominantly Trump rallies, or am I meeting basic Republicans?
I will say this. The last rally I went to was in Iowa. Trump was at it. And, normally, when you go to these rallies, you get more traditional Republicans, who might roll their eyes at some of the QAnon theories, or get frustrated when you push them on the things that the people next to them are literally wearing on their shirts.
This last rally, everyone had something on their shirt that we had to blur.
KLEPPER: Our editor practically went blind with the amount of time he spent blurring swear words or derogatory comments towards Kamala Harris.
And so what I started to see was that the majority of these people here were buying into the fun of these rallies, but more so the conspiracy side of it all. I think, once you buy in to...
KLEPPER: ... the -- quote, unquote -- "big lie," and you don`t believe the results of the election, then you`re looking for what`s next.
And what I started to see was that January 6 didn`t happen, or it happened, but it was because of the CIA.
KLEPPER: Or it happened, and it was partially because of the FBI, or January 6 isn`t even a date on the calendar.
KLEPPER: Like, once you cross the threshold of reality, you`re just getting hungry for more thresholds to cross.
REID: No, 100 percent.
Look, I was in Cleveland at the Republican Convention and was shocked at seeing people who looked like Girl Scout leaders and somebody`s mom wearing "Trump Can Grab My" starts-with-a-P shirts and thought that was totally normal and buying them for their moms, their -- for the grandma.
But you talk about January 6. I want to play a little bit of a video, because this is not funny. This was what you dealt with on January 6 at the Capitol. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KLEPPER: The rioters brought real weapons and committed real atrocities.
They attacked our democracy, our police, and even our cameraman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, he assaulted me.
I was laying, and you assaulted me!
KLEPPER: Trump`s fake tough guy military are literally throwing themselves on the ground to perpetuate victimhood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You know, Jordan, when I think about the fact that that was a mix of hairdressers, business owners, members of Congress, cops, people with military backgrounds, all mixed in with QAnon people, conspiracy theorists, 3 Percenters, they were all there.
That says to me that we`re not just talking about a fringe that has attached itself to the Republican base, that that is the base, and that is an insurgency that`s inside of a political party. I don`t see -- I cannot get away from that, because I don`t see that those are just some fringe people. Those are regular rank-and-file Republicans who are there.
Does it concern you that what we`re sort of laughing at and giggling at it in your brilliant videos is a sign of something much darker to come in this country?
KLEPPER: Well, I think it`s both -- what I saw January 6, it`s both completely ludicrous and absurd and frightening and depressing at the same time.
I mean, what you saw was a man who was dressed in military fatigues -- I would guess this is not a military man, but somebody who wants to be a military man -- that tended to be the people that we ran into -- throwing themselves on the ground and playing victim.
I also interviewed a man on a Segway who must have been in his 60s or 70s attempting to drive up and overthrow the government. It was absurd.
And I think you have gotten to the point where the militants and the absurd QAnon folks and the people who think this is just a fun tailgate, they all get in the same big old group. And when you get in a big old group, I think you see the I.Q. drop, the inhibitions drop.
And when you don`t have an adult in the room, bad things happen. It gets scary.
KLEPPER: I do think -- I think, if something bad is to happen again, if America is on the threshold of anything dangerous, it`s not coming through well-plotted, thoughtful overthrows of a government that you would see in a fancy Hollywood movie. It`s coming from stupidity and dumb actions.
I`m not hearing people make coherent arguments. I`m hearing people getting together, and they`re making dumber arguments than they would alone.
REID: Well, that`s how lynch mobs happen, right?
What do you make of the fact that there are now people who oppose things like Toni Morrison books and biographies of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are now talking about actually burning books?
KLEPPER: Well, I will say, I don`t usually get into too many literary conversations with the folks at Trump rallies.
KLEPPER: It doesn`t appear as if those books are super important to these folks, not big book club crews.
KLEPPER: Most of them are holding Constitutions on their body.
A lot of them reference the Bible, although, if you push on some of the tenets of the Bible, you realize still probably not big book club folks.
KLEPPER: So, again, this just smacks of -- at its worst, it smacks of racism and trying to control the knowledge base of their -- of our students in America.
At its worst, it`s just -- and what it probably is and what it seems to me, it`s just the politics game over and over again.
KLEPPER: It feels like people are consistently engaged in trolling. And it just doesn`t stop.
REID: And where are you going next?
KLEPPER: Well, we have a little piece.
I can`t spoil it yet, but there`s some place in America where people are misinformed, and they`re gathering.
KLEPPER: And, boy, when that happens, I tend to find myself there.
REID: You just -- you`re like Batman. There may be like a Bat Signal goes up or that`s shaped like Trump`s hair or something, and then you just show up and do brilliant stuff.
REID: Jordan Klepper, thank you very much, my man. Thank you for all that you do. Appreciate you.
KLEPPER: Thank you, Joy.
Coming up next -- cheers -- our lovable "Sesame Street" friends have yet again ruffled the feathers of right-wingers. Tonight`s "Absolute Worst" is next.
REID: Well, hello, boys and girls. It`s great to see you again.
I thought it would be nice to have a chat and introduce you to today`s letter of the day. It`s P for persistence, because, you see, in the days since people on the right, including Rafael Cruz, whose name is also Ted, went on the attack against our feathery friend on "Sesame Street" for trying to keep all of you kids safe from COVID, Big Bird has announced his candidacy for Cruz`s Senate seat.
He hit the campaign trail calling for upgrades to the state`s energy grid. Of course, that`s a great issue to bring up against Ted, who we all remember flew the coop -- you see what I did there? -- when Texans needed him most as they faced a terrible winter storm.
Instead of staying to help, he buried his beak in the sands of Cancun. And, already, Big Bird has lined up a great campaign team that any candidate would be lucky to have. No word yet if Grover is joining the team, but that seems like a no-brainer.
Now, I know Big Bird isn`t actually running against Ted Cruz. His campaign is just a parody account. But it`s a great lesson for you boys and girls that, if you`re being bullied, you should stand up for yourself and fight for what`s right. That is how many of our great elected leaders got started.
But, speaking of parody, it seems that some on the right really want to have a debate mano a Muppet. Waiting to outdo old Cancun Cruz, Newsmax anchor and former FOX meanie Eric Bolling not only went after Big Bird, but also after his friends and the most famous Muppet power couple of all, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, calling them communists.
And I`m not even sure he knows what that means.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC BOLLING, NEWSMAX: Not the first time these little felt communists have tried to infect the minds of our youngest and most vulnerable children.
A decade ago, way back in 2011, I called out Kermit, that cute little green monster commie.
Guess what? The invite`s still open, Miss Piggy. If you or your emasculated frog boyfriend, Kermit, ever wanted to join this desk, it`s free.
So, yes, at first, I thought they were mere ideologues. And now I think they`re just stuck on stupid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: They`re not going to come and visit you.
You know, like -- anyway, they`re -- I`m not sure which would be more fun, a Big Bird-Ted Cruz debate or watching Miss Piggy and Kermie take on that guy, Eric Bolling.
Either way, you can count me in as a supporter of a Big Bird for Senate campaign, because Texas deserves a senator who people actually like. And just about everybody likes Big Bird, because he`s nice and vaccinated.
Wait. Maybe Big Bird can teach Ted how to be nice, so people will like him too.
But for going after our beloved Muppet couple with such a mean and silly attack, Eric B. for Bolling and for bully, you are tonight`s "Absolute Worst."
And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.
And to all the men and women who have worn the uniform of our country, thank you for your service, and happy Veterans Day.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.