tv After Words Joy- Ann Reid The Man Who Sold America CSPAN August 9, 2019 9:10pm-10:11pm EDT
bookstores, fairs and festivals and on our signature programs, "in depth" and "after words." enjoy booktv this week and every weekend on c-span2. >> the new c-span online store now has booktv products. go to c-spanstore.org to check them out. see what's new for booktv and all the c-span products. >> now on booktv's "after words," msnbc's joy-ann reid argues that president trump is damaging american democracy. she's interviewed by author and journalist sophia nelson. "after words" is a weekly interview program with relevant guest hosts interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> host: joy, welcome to the program. let me say, first off, congrats on this book. it is powerful, and in a word,
it's disturbing all at one time. and i want to get into that. and birdies turning, i mean you've uncovered some pretty profound stuff here relevant to 45th president of the united states. so the first question that i have for you in this amazing book titled "the man who sold america," is tell me why did you write the book and why now? >> guest: well, first of all, sophia, i want to say thank you. it's a measure to talk to -- a pleasure to talk to you. and i've got to tell you, the reason i wrote the book principally is just because covering this president, covering donald trump, it's like a fire hose of news that's constantly coming at you, a fire hose of bad things. and they each kind of erase the thing before. so in one day you can have ten headlines where the first one for any other president would have been catastrophic and maybe even presidency-ending, and then that gets erased from the memory hole literally sometimes within
the same day, if not within days. so the main reason i wrote the book was just to preserve the history, as much of it as i could get in before it's gone, to be honest, before we forget what's happening. i think that this presidency is so unique and so in a lot of ways uniquely destable the eyeing and dangerous to our democracy that i just wanted to remember it. the second reason was kind of as sort of a plea or a warning, i don't know which is a better word, because i feel sometimes like americans feel that what we are is eternal, that we can't lose it, that this position we've gained as the leader of the free world, as the, you know, preeminent democracy, the shining city on a hill, people think that's permanent. we're a young country, and it can slide, and it can slide fast, so i wanted to kind of sound the alarm that the things we used to send monitors to other countries to, you know, prevent happening can happen to us and in a lot of ways are happening to us. >> host: joy, i think that's a really great point, and it leads me to the second question.
again, you did a really great job. you've got to roy read this book, it's reporting but it's also insights from you. it's got a good historical context. but one of the things that really made me pause is where you talked about this trump presidency didn't just happen in 2015 in the primaries or in 2016. like, there was a leadup to this happening, to trump presidency. and i want you to talk a little bit about that. how does a guy who was on the tabloids, he was the real estate playboy, how does that guy go from that to leader of the free world? and specifically, joy, i want you to get into a little bit -- you talked about this post-obama white fear, some rage, birtherrism, confederate statues, all of that and how we got to this presidency. >> guest: yeah. i mean, the reality is donald trump benefited from a couple of things. one is celebrity. he was able to worm himself into the american zeitgeist over the
course of decades presenting himself to the media. he presented himself to new york media as far as back as the 1980s as this billionaire lo that are owe who the women could -- lethario. he could date prick access diana if he -- princess diana. all these myths that he made up about himself. he was just a serially married guy who inherited the equivalent of $413 million from his father. but he presented himself as this kind of horatio alger figure, and he did it in part because he wanted the respect of the manhattan heat. the trumps were kind of looked down on. they were queens rich, as we say. they were not considered part of the manhattan elite, but donald trump wanted to be. he wanted to break out of his father's queens empire and be respected by "the new york times", by "newsweek," by time magazine, anna wintour, he wanted to respect him as a part of the fashion elite. he wanted to be a part of that, and he never could quite get in.
what he did instead was created a tabloid version, and it did get him into a zeitgeist. more than 67 rap songs referenced him. he was able to get the new york tabloids to follow his exploits even when he was pretending to be his own publicist and pitching stories about sexual exploits. he was able to get on howard stern and be a weekly are guest and giggling sometimes about his daughter. he embedded himself in the national conversation. people would ask him, you know, phil donahue or larry king would want his thoughts on world events. he had no expeer tease, but -- expertise, but he was trying to run for president twice before. i think where we got trump is he i understood the new york media because that's where he came from. he understand the way they used celebrity because by the time he got on the apprentice, he was
actually a broke man. his empire was crumbling. but he managed to sell an image of success and wealth and privilege that's kind of bamboozled the country. >> host: joy, i'm sorry, i didn't mean to interrupt, but bring that to national stage. so how do we get from there, the new york guy to this national -- let's go to 2015 primary and really what i think you really got into well in the book was this notion of trump kind of wanting, for lack of a better word, revenge, if you will on, like you said, he was looked down on. you talk about the white house correspondents' dinner where president obama, remember when he clowned trump a little bit? he was making a joke of the birtherrism in and apparently trump was angry about that. talk about that, and i want to get into the seeds of anger is and fear that he kind of played into. >> guest: yeah. people ask how can a guy who lives in an all-gold palace relate to average white working class guy.
well, it's resentment. they resent the same people. even as donald trump is coming up and making all this money, losing all this money and getting bailed out by his dad and the russians, he's really resentful that the culture doesn't respect him, that the elites don't respect him. he shares that with a lot of the republican base. i think the other 16 people who ran for president in 2016, they thought the republican base wanted what they want which is tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, small government. donald trump understood that they want revenge for a country they feel is culturally sliding away from them. the cultural cool is now in the hands of black people. you look at the nba, it's black elites. you look at tv, it's oprah. you look at music, it's hip-hop. it's all of these non-white, non-christian cultures encroaching on white america's one-time dominance and control over the american culture. you know, white americans still is have most of the wealth, but black and brown and gay and all sorts of other people were
taking over what the country meant, what it meant to be american, the pride of place. and donald trump 100% got that because he shares it. remember in the '80s he used to complain about japan, japan is killing us. china, they're destroying us. he always had that same mentality. so when he rode down that escalator in trump tower and said the mexicans are rapists, and they're coming over and sort of invading our country, the base got that. that's how they feel. they locate their pain, their sense of loss, the sense they're not doing as well as their parents, and they blame that onion-white migrants and so does he. so what donald trump did is he took advantage of decades, if not a century of white resentment, of growing white resentment against the culture and against governmental assistance for people who are not white and not christian, and he turned it into a run for president. and, obviously, a lot of people believed what he -- wanted what he wanted, and that's how he was able to win. >> host: so, joy, would you say
this was, in a sense, a backlash to the obama presidency? is that what this comes down to, or are we oversimplifying when we say that? what do you think? >> guest: i don't think so, because barack obama represented bodily in human form all the things that the white working class, if you just put them in a category writ large, were resentful of. not all of them, obviously. but the trumpists. they resent the fact that here's this ivy league-educated black man with this exotic name that in their minds was a muslim, comes from immigrant roots, and then he takes the presidency over the objections of the majority of white americans. he wins by ten million votes with young voters, lgbt voters, black voters, brown voters surging him into the presidency at the same time the census is announcing and broadcasting that america will be a non-white majority country by 2047. rolling back the date from when they first announced it in 1998 during the clinton years that it
would be, like, 2052. so white america is watching the tide of demographic change move into the white house in human form. this black family with their black children with this last name, obama, middle name, husain. and obama represented that in physical form. at the same time, the old coal industry and steel industries are dying away. the america they remember, that their parents and grandparents remember is sliding away while the obama world is sliding in. and when barack obama gets reelected even though his ratings with every single group of white americans -- old, young, female, male, you know, midwestern, southern, everywhere tank, and he still wins by five million votes? the resentment against obama and obamaism with its daca for undocumented migrants, with its profound changes in marriage through the supreme court, with this liberalization on things like health care even though they got health care out of it, there was a huge resentment in a large part of white america, and that drove in the backlash.
you know, i kind of liken donald trump to redemption period and barack obama to period after the civil war, the reconstruction period. whenever we've had forward progress socially in this country that has benefited people of color, there's always been a backlash. reconstruction bred the redemption movement. the civil rights era bred e the nixon and reagan eras. and, unfortunately, the backlash to obama era is trump. >> host: interesting, joy. i'm going to read a passage briefly here. it's in your first chapter and, again, it was one of those moments where i just kind of stopped. here what you write here. many americans awoke on the morning after the 2016 presidential election to an unthinkable outcome, one that many deemed a mark of cultural decline. politics often brings unpleasant surprises, but donald trump, president of the united states, was one that few -- not the
pundits, the professional statistical oddsmakers, the political press or the democratic candidate and her party -- came close to anticipating. let's, i mean, you kind of got into that, but what did everybody else miss that he tapped into? i mean, everybody got it wrong. what did we miss? >> guest: yeah. well, i think part of it is this notion of american exceptionalism, right? so this backlash against migration, migration by non-white and non-christian people, this huge movement that's been flowing out of the middle east and africa into europe, that backlash was happening well before trump. brexit was a reaction largely against immigration into britain and white britons particularly in the countryside and the suburbs saying we don't want that. we want to be british. i think americans didn't think that could happen here, to be blunt. i think americans saw the obama era as a mark of forward progress that couldn't be reversed, as a tide that was
only rolling forward. and so people saw that, and the sort of absurdity of donald trump, i mean, donald trump as president? it just sounded absurd. this is a reality tv star president. americans wouldn't want that. not after we were the country that produced obama. and i think people just couldn't fathom that that many americans, 62 million people, would choose that over progress. but michael moore, i was on with michael moore on realtime, and i recount the story, and i'm sitting between him and tony schwartz, and he predicted donald trump is going to win. i can't believe it, i'm a data girl, democrats should be able to build on what barack obama did in 2012 and one. and michael moore said something interesting, he said a lot of white americans look at that eight years of obama, and they say, okay, great. next we're going to have a woman president. we're told now we have to have hillary. then the gay president, the latino president, where does it stop?
so in their mind, the forward march of progress is a backward march for them. the sense that the country is being lost and sliding away is deep-seeded and real. and when you combine that with the feelings of a lot of ethnic whites in the north that the democratic party used to focus on them and now the party is focusing on others, focusing on immigrants, even people without documents, focusing on black people's concerns, not us. and so donald trump being the guy saying i'll focus on you, just you, and i'll turn this country back in your favor, and i'll fight the right people. i'll hurt the right people. there is a, there's almost a roman coliseum aspect to trumpism where he's hurting the people they want to see hurt. they're lashing out internally in resentment at the way their lives are, and donald trump says i'll locate your pain in these people, and i'll put them in the coliseum. the lions will eat the right people x. that's how donald trump was able to win. >> host: you know, joy, what you're really saying is, and you do -- look, we all have our politics. some of us are more
conservative, some more liberal, some are centrist, but i think you make a really good case for everything you're saying, and i think what you're really talking about is there are two different americas. depending on who you talk to, there are two different americas. what do you think about that, are we two different americas? >> guest: 100 percent, and we always have been. make no mistake, this country's always been two countries. at first it was the two countries based on where the money came from. so the south was the america where the agrarian economy exploded this country into economic power based on free labor, you know? 226 years of free labor by african slaves and by native americans who were first enslaved. and so that slave-based economy -- which, by the way, it was in the north too, it was everywhere. but the north figured out a way to make money off the commerce of the south. so that america was about moving money. and the southern america was about, essentially, controlling
humans, controlling people and using their labor. those two countries have never really fused into one. times of war, the great depression, everyone could get together, and there was a governmental sale of a story that every american could believe in. and that worked, and it held this country together, these two americas together in times of real stress. but keep in mind the two americas went to literal war and 600,000 people died because one america knew that it couldn't survive without that free labor and wassing willing to kill its -- was willing to kill its son to keep slavery forever. that's what every single southern constitution said, slavery forever. and the north was willing to go to war and send its sons to die to keep the country as one. we've never really fused into one country. we have just had one side essentially temporarily defeated. the civil rights movement had to happen was the supposedly
defeated country never really declared defeat, never accepted defeat. whether or not those people moved into the republican or democratic party, they've moved back is and forth, that america that still at its core wants to be a white, christian country has never really conceded defeat and has never admitted that the multicultural country, the multicultural america even has a right to exist, even has a right to rule. so we're fighting over which of these two countries have the right to rule. if you ask mitch mcconnell, he's very clear. only his america has a right to rule. the other america's president doesn't even have the right to name a supreme court justice. they have no right to vote. they have no right to even ask for the vote. they will be gerrymandered out of power, they will be prevented from going to polls, they will be held down so that his america can rule. and the kind of irony of it is that white americans are being sort of attracted into the mitch mcconnell america, but for the most part, they're not getting anything out of it.
the average white american isn't winning, it's the really, really rich, and the really, really rich control that america and are never going to let it go. >> host: you kind of jumped ahead of me, but we'll go there, talk about the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, and president donald trump, and their judicial appointments. president trump's already named two supreme court justices. if he gets a second term, i don't know that ruth baird ginsburg is going to stay on the court, you know, another four years, so he might get a third or a fourth supreme court pick. talk to me a little bit about trump's lasting impact vis-a-vis these judicial appointments. >> guest: well, absolutely. he has one purpose, one principal purpose which is to control the courts forever. because if you think about it, membership -- mitch mcconnell in donald trump's america in their minds lost control not so much because of legislative
attacks on them. yeah, the civil rights movement, all of those bills that passed, the '65 immigration bill they really don't like, right? but in their minds, it was the court that enforced the hegemony of this other america. and starting not with roe v. wade, but really with the rulings from brown v. board on. suddenly the federal government was telling southern states they had to integrate their schools, was telling cities they had to integrate their neighborhoods and was telling southern parents who pulled their children out of school after brown very board and put them -- brown v. board that they couldn't have a tax exemption for those schools. those were the rulings that kicked off the fury of the religious right. there was a delayed reaction to roe when it first happened. it was sort of a benign reaction to it, but there was a furious reaction to supreme court rulings that segregated schools could not receive federal funds. and progenitors of the religious right realized that was not a good look, it was not a good
cosmetic appearance for the religious right, so they focused and refocused their base on abortion, and that has become kind of the locus of conservative activism ever since. but people like mitch mcconnell, they want control of the courts forever because no matter what the demographics are, no matter how much the culture is, if they control the courts, they control the country. they can stop the tide of change and, essentially, assert minority rule. and the other thing they want is for the very rich is and very big corporations to go untaxed. if they could eliminate taxation, they would. and so the idea of trying to encase the rich in protection from the poor, to make sure that they don't have to pay taxes and don't have to care for the sick and the elderly and the immigrant, if they could get that and control of the courts, that's what mitch mcconnell wants. his perfect avatar is trump, because trump takes that agenda that is for the elite, the literal elite, and he wraps it in populism, and he convinces white americans who aren't even
benefiting that the way they benefit is that trump hurts the right people, that they can locate their pain in those migrants, and they don't have to think about the rich, they don't have to think about corporations. i'm -- i interviewed bruise bartlett, and he said plainly that group of people does not like and fears democracy because they know democracy might bring the white poor and the black poor together. and that would be very bad for the rich. >> host: you know, it's interesting again, joy, we're talking about your new book, "the man who sold america," sub tithing: trump and the unraveling of the american story." and, again, you had some really powerful stuff in here, but this really struck me where i had to read it several times here. and you open with this, and you open with these words here. you say: to truly understand donald trump, you need to have lived in new york city in the 1980 and 1990s when his business and marital escapades were a tabloid staple. or maybe you just need to have grown up on batman.
gotham city -- [laughter] which the brooding billionaire bruce wayne polices as his vigilante alter ego is an exaggerated dystopian send-up of old new york. you've compared the president of the united states to "batman," to gotham city. help me with that -- [laughter] that was a powerful, a paradox, an analogy, if you will, where you're making an equation there. break that down. >> guest: well, in my analogy, donald trump is actually the joker. [laughter] you know, i used that quote from the joker, because he reminds me of the penguin. the cover photo for the book, he kind of looks like the penguin. he is sort of a figure that's ripped out of a comic week universe with that the hair, it's not clear where it starts or where it ends -- [laughter] or where it finishes and just his overly long suits, these huge suits, this supposed billionaire who doesn't seem to have a tailor, right? but in a lot of ways, it's his
odd way of speaking, his over the top, exaggerated rallies, the way he sort of tries to hypnotize the press and his base. i grew up on d the c comics. -- dc comics. i know marvel is hot, but i was more of a dc girl, "batman," superman, aqua man -- who's now cool now because of the movie. [laughter] the joker and batman are both billionaires, both brooding, both angry, but batman polices gotham and grumbles and scowls because he really is angry about injustice. so he uses his billions and his brooding to try to protect people from villains. whereas the joker, who's also a billionaire in most of the universes, the dc universes, he uses his wealth and his time on his hands to just attack batman. everything about batman makes him mad. everything about "batman," you know, destroys sort of his psyche. and so his goal is to just
destroy batman. and in a lot of ways barack obama is trump's bat match. he's obsessed with him. he can't stop thinking about him. he wants to top everything. obama gets a nobel prize, he wants a nobel prize. he seems to be so zero-focused on barack obama that it is sort of a joker/batman relationship. >> host: i want to share the quote since we're talking about the joker. introduce a little anarchy, upset e the established order, and everything becomes chaos. i'm an agent of chaos. now, you talked about this at the outset of this conversation here about how everything about this presidency is a little bit like pig pen. that's my analogy, he's got a bunch of dirt swirling around him. [laughter] talk about the chaos that is donald trump and how that's really impacted our, how we cover politics now and how we react to it, this constant chaos. enlighten us about that as you talk about it in the book.
>> guest: yeah. you know, another way to put it is little finger in game of thrones said chaos is a ladder. the media can't focus on one thing. donald trump will literally be accused of rape on monday, and it's forgotten by wednesday because he's throwing so much chaos into the system that it's hard to keep putting your finger in the dike. it's hard to keep up with him. and he understands how to use chaos to get what he wants. the more chaos he sows, the more he keeps refocusing attention on himself, it's very hard to focus on steven miller being the architect of a policy of caging little can kids and ripping them away from their parents and holding abuelas for 50 days. oh, john kelly, like, all of that is so complex. well, what he's doing is simple, he's tweeting a crazy thing, east going to dmz and doing a tv show can with kim jong un. now he's flying to europe and sitting with mohamed bin salmon and calling him his best friend.
he's doing all these things that make him seem mad, but the press has to figure out, a, how to cover him. to coifer him as president and give him the deference that the western press give to presidents, and at the same time this madness. and i think that he understands that we don't understand how to cover that. we don't understand how to keep up with that and that the media does not want to be in an adversarial relationship with him. so the media would give him so much deference and so much give, and he knows he's going to get it. so he complains and he whines, and he demands more deference. he demands more of an opportunity, and then he fills that space with chaos. that's made it extremely hard to cover, extremely hard for democrats to stop, and it's made him to be blunt, extremely well positioned to get reelected because chaos is a ladder. >> host: yeah, you know, i'm in agreement with you on that. i think when it becomes so
overwhelming, people check out because people are business i city now. you're living life, you've got to take care of the kids, work, be home, can be people see it almost as entertainment. which brings me to, again, and i really want to get back to this because the title of your book is profound, "the man who sold america." you're saying the president of the united states, both before he became president and let's talk about during his presidency, you know, there's a lawsuit about the e moll you meants clause that elected officials, particularly in the executive, are not to benefit from their high office. most presidents, joy, as you know, put their assets in blind trust, they sell off assets. not in this president. i want you to spend some time talking about a couple of things. one, talk to us about this notion of who donald trump is financially and how it is that he sold america. secondly, and i think very present at the moment, is his son-in-law, jared kushner, and his daughter, ivanka -- who are both, by the way, employees of
the white house, of the administration, but are still actively engaged in the business dealings of the trump organization -- talk about that. i'm actually shocked that they're doing this in broad daylight, and no one seems to care. >> guest: yeah. >> host: talk about that a little bit. >> guest: and no one's going to be able to stop it. one of the principal fears of the founders of this country was the president of the united states falling under the sway of a foreign power. they wrote the clause into the constitution -- along with the census, by the way, which donald trump doesn't seem to respect either -- for a reason, because they wanted not to have a king. the very reason these wealthy planters broke away from great britain was to rid themselves of a king. so they really worried that america would not only eventually develop a king themself, but that king would fall under the sway of foreign powers, whether it be britain, france or some other empire. donald trump, number one, doesn't know that history. it's clear that he is not a
student of global history, let alone american history. asked the other day by a new york times reporter if he believes in liberal democracy, first of all, he said no. he thinks liberal democracy means liberals in california. he doesn't even understand the basic tenants of political -- [inaudible conversations] yeah, he thought busing was how do you physically get this. >> host: yeah. >> guest: he doesn't understand. he's not a profound man. he's not a very learned man. yes, he got into an ivy league school, but his father paid his way in. he's not a very bright man. but he understands one thing, marketing, right? and he understands it for one purpose, trump. to enrich himself. donald trump, i interviewed two people in this boom who know donald trump very well who made it very clear he didn't think he was going to win the presidency. he ran twice before as marketing stunts to, in one case, enhance his contract negotiations for the apprentice with nbc.
and when he finally ran in earnest, it was in large part or to put himself on the biggest global marketing stage ever so that he could impress the kremlin to get his long-desired moscow trump tower so that he could sell more apartments around the world. so that he could get richer. because donald trump was never as rich as he claimed to be. and so donald trump understood that the way to make money, big money, was to get on that stage. and when he won, it was sort of a surprise to him and everyone else, but then he realized, you know what? i can make money doing this. look at the people he admires, the people who are pure kleptocrats. vladimir putin, kim jong un, people like that are his lode star. when xi jinping became president of china, he congratulated him. when rodrigo due tar today in the philippines said he could personally kill people, donald trump said he could personally shoot someone on fifth avenue,
and he wouldn't lose support. he ad mires the out to accurates because in his sense it's like, now i'm president, now it looks like he has an opportunity to make money. his son-in-law, jared kushner, and his daughter ivanka made over $100 million off his hotels while serving, for free with no salary, as his advisers. his son and his entire brood packed up and went off to england to enjoy the fruits of americans' labor in great britain, whining and dinesing themselves with the monarchy in britain. and i think they see themselves as monarchs in the united states. his cabinet is full of grifters, people who are using their positions to get richer, to make money. his entire presidency a grift. this is a man who, while broke, starred in the apprentice, teaching people how to get rich. you know, when the producers came in -- go on. >> host: no, no, let me ask you
about that. again, this is important, i think, that we're talking about that's fundamentally important to the constitution, which is the e emoluments clause. the courts have allowed it to go toward. i'm cure -- forward. i'm curious where you think it's going to end up. do you think there's going to be this open possible of making money and congress is just not going to stop it? the what do you think about that? and aye got a couple more questions before we wrap down. go ahead. >> guest: absolutely. think about the fact that the general accounting office allows the president of the united states to lease the big hotel that he leases from the government that he runs in d.c. foreign governments are swiping their credit cards in that hotel, actually paying them every time they show up, they're packing that hotel. they boosted the room rental rate at that hotel. they're packing into mar mar-a-o e where the secret service has to pay the president of the united states a fee in order to rent space at mar mar-a-lago to protect him. they have to rent space at trump
tower. donald trump is making more money off of the emoluments that he's sucking in as president than his salary that's $413,000 a year that he's donating, with no evidence that he's donating it. donald trump's sort of grubbing off the presidency is in the open. he's not hiding it, you know? there isn't any mechanism that i've been able to see that's stopping him. i was with one of the greatest constitutional lawyers in this country, among other really smart lawyers, and they've all essentially admitted that the constitution never accounted for someone as brazen as donald trump. busted through the emoluments clause. no one is stopping him. congress doesn't seem to have figured out how to do it. the courts are slow, and he's able to just get away with it. there was a tweet this morning from former official in the obama white house that said donald trump is getting away with it all and sadly, frighteningly, he is. >> host: well, let's get to that
because i think that raises another thing you talk about in your book which is about the resistance. now, in 2017 blue wave, certainly states like mine, in virginia you saw a massive a amount of democrats elected, the same in 2018. so there does seem to be a pushback, right? there does seem to be -- you have people like ayanna pressley now and aoc, and you have a new crop of women, more women than ever. so in one sense, he's getting away with it, right? but in the other sense, he's spurring on this new generation of leadership and resistance. talk about that a little bit. >> guest: yeah. the two americas are in this co-civil war as i describe in the book. in some cases a hot civil war because some of the white nationalist violence that we're seeing perpetrated on our streets. but there is a resistance. and the actual majority which is liberal rights, brown people, black people, asian-americans, that's the majority, right? they're the functioning majority, but they haven't been
functioning because that majority has produced lower voter turnout than the other america, the trump america which is almost exclusively white. they vote in why numbers. but so do black women. so you're starting to see a reaction. you're starting to see women react. and so this, the last two midterm elections, the 2017 and 2018 elections, produced record turnout among women, people of color and among young voters. in the 2018 cycle, more millennials voted at higher percentage than baby boomers for the first time in history, for the first time since 21-year-olds were able to vote. so the reality is that the actual majority has woken up. they are frightened enough and alarmed enough by trumpism that they are coming to the table. so whenever that happens, there's also a reaction. again, there's always a backlash. so i would expect that in 2020 you're going to see the most profound, far-reaching and aggressive voter suppression effort we've probably ever seen, at least since the 1950s and
'60s. it's going to be dirty, it's going to be a dog fight, and it's going to involve foreign influence. every foreign nation that wants donald trump to stay in has an open door to come in and meddle and attack our election, the russians, is saudis. trump and william barr have essentially invited them in. so i would expect a very ugly election in 2020. >> host: let's pause there, and i want to talk about that and segway a little bit because what you said, again, it's disturbing. i opened with this book is powerful, but it's disturbing. [laughter] i want you to talk a little bit about the voter suppression issue and how it impacted two candidacies which is andrew gillam in florida and stacey abrams in georgia. you had two young african-american candidates in the deep, deep red south narrowly lose those elections. talk a little bit about how voting rights is going to be impacted in this age of trump vis-a-vis those types of candidacies. what do you think about that? >> guest: oh, absolutely. andrew gillam was a case of the
bradley effect where the polls showed him easily winning that race. it was a much more complicated race that had to do with absentee ballots not coming back. remember, florida is where people who hate taxes go to retire, okay? this. [laughter] if you hate taxes and you live in pennsylvania, virginia or new york, where do you go to retire or? florida. [laughter] so it's filling up with anti-tax conservatives every year. >> host: i'll remember that. >> guest: yeah. the fun grandmas move to las vegas, and the angry grannies are in florida. florida is getting redder and redder and redder over time. so there's a little bit more complicated case there, but it does have voter suppression particularly since in this last cycle voters overwhelmingly, by two-thirds majority, by two-thirds to one-third voted in -- allowed former felons to vote. 1.7 million people got back their rights to vote, and the republican governor and legislature promptly passed a poll tax and said, okay, you have to pay all your fines
you've ever had in your life. you can see the south is still the south. in the case of georgia, there was an outright theft. there's no other way to describe it. the man who was running the election, the secretary of state who's now the governor, essentially engineered his own victory by not allowing hundreds of thousands of people -- 38,000 people just in the final stages of that cycle to vote. he let them go to court and try to get back on. the voter suppression in georgia is the most blatant, right now it's outpaced north carolina, which is saying a lot, and outpaced texas, which is saying a lot. what we have now is that the redemption country is still fighting the country that wants reconstruction, and they're fighting hard, and they're not admitting defeat. so be vigilant are, i would say, with your vote. i've encouraged people to not just register to vote and register the other people, but make sure you're still on the rolls because they're not admitting defeat on the other side. they are fighting your right to vote tooth and nail, and and they're not going to stop. >> host: joy, we've got probably
15, 20 minutes left, and i wanted to save the best for last, if you will. again, this book, "the man who sold america: trump and the unraveling of the american story," is profound, and it's disturbing. i'm going to keep saying that. [laughter] birdies turned -- by disturbed, you and i have talked about a lot of behavior we've never seen before from a president. and that brings me to mueller report. i'd be remiss if we didn't discuss this. michael cohen sits in jail, paul manafort, a lot of people, michael flynn. there are a bunch of people in the trump circle who are now in prison, yet he's still president of the united states of america. and i wanted to get your thoughts on, one, the impact of the mueller report and what you think about it, and then the response to it from congress and whether or not you think it's going to lead to impeachment hearings, and, of course, we know mueller will testify before congress, and that ought to be, you know, an interesting thing for us all to debate as it takes
place. but i'm just curious about your thoughts on the mueller report and whether or not it's going to result in impeachment hearings. >> guest: yeah. you know, i start the book with a superhero analogy, and i think for a lot of democrats, democrats were waiting with bathe -- baited breath, and i think that was a fool's errand. so many people put all their stock in this one man, that this one, you know, former fbi director, this republican, that this man was going to come in and save us from donald trump. that was never robert mueller's mission. he is a company man. he is a man by the book. he is an eagle scout. he is a literal, you know, marine war hero from vietnam, but he's not trying to be the hero that saves the republic. he had a very narrow mission, robert mueller; what did the russians do to attack our election in 2016? he's produced a string of indictments about that. and what did the president do to try to obstruct the investigation into thing one?
he did a thorough-going investigation of that and found ten instances where this president did attempt to obstruct the investigation into the russian attack. but he, because he's a man by the book, said that he couldn't act on what he found, a, because donald trump wouldn't talk to him, and pointedly enough, he didn't try to subpoena the president and make him talk to him, and because there's a memo at the department of justice that says a sitting president can't be indicted. that's it. that's robert mueller a to z. a thousand prosecutors said there are crimes, obstruction of justice at least ten times, but he can't do anything about it. he found a definite attack on our election, and he campaigned -- the trump campaign, that was more than open to getting that help and that in many instances sought and enjoyed, took advantage of that help, but he can't do anything about it because as special prosecutor, that's not his job. so i think what democrats need to grapple with is that what he found would normally then lead
to congress picking up the ball and doing what the constitution says is only their job, is unique to house of representatives. that the president, he cannot be indicted, he can only be impeached. that's their version of an indictment. and if they won't do it, what nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house, is saying, they would rather wait for the state courts to indict donald trump when he's out of office, that some future federal president will indict donald trump when he's a civilian again. okay, that depends on the idea that he'll be defeated in an election that will likely not be free and fair, the presumption that the american people will defeat donald trump in an election that they think will be free, open and fair. and then he'll come out, and who's going to indict him? leticia james in new york, it's all on her. i think that's such a misreading, and it's kind of shocking.
i'm actually surprised that people elected, the sheer scream of the president, rein in this president. rein in this president so he won't take my health care. that's the message of the 2018 election. rein in this president so that he won't take my rights away as a woman. rein in this president so he'll stop the horrors at the border. so the democrats come in, the people say, bring him in, and they say we'll go to court for his taxes eventually. we'll wait, like, 180 days, 240, we'll do hearing, be -- but proceed like he's jeb bush yet whackier. i question what the strategy is. i don't know what it is, but it is weird. >> host: and, joy, i think that, to your point, when you look at the constitution, there are clear functions for the executive, the judiciary and the legislative. and you're right, congress has the unique duty to impeach the house, and then the senate has to do the trial. now, i think what concerns me as
a citizen and should concern all citizens is this issue of we don't want to do our job because we might lose our jobs. because that's what i hear. is that what you hear? >> guest: that is what i hear, is that the democrats are afraid that those 40 or so freshmen democrats who won in trump districts are the reason, the moderate democrats in purple states are essentially saying we can't touch trump, because his voters, some of them voted for us. and so we need to protect him to protect these seats. and in their mind, it's to protect the majority so that the house is in the democrats' hands so that at least there's some check on the president. and i get it, they want to make sure they don't lose the house. but the presumption that they'll keep the house if they just protect him and if they just are gentle enough with him and do deals with him and do transportation deals with him and let him sign bills, if they just encourage him to be a normal president, somehow that will make trump voters turn to
the democrats in 2020? it's interesting the two parties are so different. republicans fear their base. republicans won't take one step away from their base. and the media never demands that republicans do it. they never say when will republicans attempt to appeal to the other side. why don't republicans reach across the aisle. that's never asked. republicans understand they're never going to be asked, they can just defend their base. democrats spend all their time thinking about the republican base. i kind of liken them to somebody who got broken up with -- [laughter] by white, working class voters, and even though they have, like, a cute new thing going on and a new friend, they want their old thing -- >> they want their ex back. [laughter] they want their ex back sod badly that they kind of ignore their current flame. >> host: that's interesting. >> guest: and the current flame of the democratic party is black and brown people and g ark y and lesbian and trans people and liberal white folks. that's their new thing. but they really want that old thing back. >> host: before i wrap up with
my last question, i would be remiss, again, let's talk about the 2020 election for a moment. you're leading into this which is if you were to go back to the beginning of 2019 as we're going to head into 2020 and you looked at the polls, joe biden was the man of the hour because he's that moderate, white democrat, they believe he'll win pennsylvania, michigan, etc. talktalk about that to me, becae you said something profound about wanting the ex back. talk about kamala harris and buttigieg, elizabeth warren, what do you think about who end up being, you know, top dog in the primary next year? >> guest: yeah. the big risk when you neglect your new flame is the new flame will leave you. and democrats just presume that their base has to vote. they have no choice. republicans would never say our base has nowhere to go. they're constantly catering to their base and doing whatever they want. the democrats sort of leave
their base on the side because they just assume, they've got nowhere to go. where are the black people going to go? are they going to go where the president said in charlottesville the neo-nazis included very fine people? no. people can go home. they can go and not vote, and hillary clinton found out the soft turnout in three states -- and it wasn't that all of these voters turned to trump. maybe 9% of voters were obama to trump voters. the bulk of her problem was people who just stayed home, partly because of russian disinformation which was pitting young black voters and saying she is not for you. don't vote, don't vote, don't vote. vote jill stein, write in bernie sanders. just pinning and pinning and pinning progressive voters and saying don't vote for her and voter suppression. so there was a lot that decreased her vote. trump lost by three million votes. so i think democrats are always fighting the last battle. they look at michigan,
wisconsin, we need the nostalgia to beat nostalgia. we need an older white guy to beat an older white guy because they're just fighting the last war. what they don't understand is the president of the united states that became president and won easily and won those states and was a able to win reelection was the black guy who incited liberals and people of color. barack obama did get crossover republican votes because this was a backlash against the bush e rah. but that's not how he won. he got people off the sidelines who never vote. remember are, only in a good year 6 in 10 americans vote. 4 in 10 americans don't. who are those? poor white knocks, poor black folks, people who don't have any money. they're the majority of the non-voters, and most of those non-voters, if they voted, would vote for democrats. if i look at this field who's the most like him? i would say right now it's the women.
it's kamala harris and elizabeth warren. they are the candidates who are moving because women, if particularly women of color, are the constituency that's hungry. and i think that i would not be surprised if your final two were women, warren, harris or harris warren. >> host: do you think, and i'm going to ask you my last question so you can kind of hang it up there. joy, do you think there's a chance that there's a two-female ticket of harris warren/warren harris? >> guest: i think there is a chance. and not only that, but i would argue that there's a case for it. and the case i would a make is that a reelect, which is what this is, this is a reelect, it's a change election, right? you have to change what people already have. and most voters will stick with what they have, that's why it's so hard to unseat an incumbent. he has the power of incumbency and a ton of money, so you need to present change. what's the most profound change? women. you take one, you double it.
white women, you only came in at 48% for hillary clinton. can i get you to 49? you've got a little bit of everything here. one is a little bit more to left, one's a prosecutor, you're not comfortable with that, she's leavened by this woman who has been the scourge of wall street. if you think warren is too liberal, you've got harris who's a little more to center. you've got somebody who could take down donald trump in a debate easily. .. >> the pain of migrants and giving you the revenge porn against migrants which president trump is giving you. he is destroyed your economic prospect with his trade wars.
he has done nothing in china, just text a lot. what has he done for you actually, is . that coalition, i think would rally to, harris and i think a lot of liberal white voters in particular white women she can see that by 1% then that ticket wins. it would not surprise me and i think there's a case for it. there is certainly a data case for, a marketing case, remember you're going up against the best marketer in politics. you but have some marketing come back at him. >> all right, we have our last few minutes, we have about seven minutes left and i wanted to save this question because it's obvious question, outstanding
man who sold america, and the unraveling of the american story and let me say try people who are watching, whatever your politics, readable under liberal, conservative, pick up this book and told yourself. read it, keep an open mind because you've known me a long time and i know you a long time, i am sent right in your centerleft and we have been friends for years but i read this book and i had to shake my head at a lot of stuff. i had to think about it. the obvious last question, we talk about recently the president of the united states into the dmv and walked to north korea for the first time. he has coddled the saudi government who is alleged in a wicked evil way. what happens to america if donald trump is reelected in 2020. let's talk about that, what happened to america if donald trump gets former years? >> this is something, it's a
great alignment with the never trumper's, we were in the opposite side but i'd in 100% agreement of jennifer rubin on this point, after world war ii, from over two on, america organized the western world, say what you want about our internal policy, we really got that right, but the story that a market told about itself particularly in wilbur two, we were the last democracy standing. europe was in ruins after the war. nazism has destroyed germany, japan had destroyed japan, we nuked two cities in japan in order to end the war. the u.s. stood itself up as a leader of the free world in our story, what we told about herself that were multi-racial democracy which all men are created equal, perfect and caring but we said it. and every president said it. there have been recent presidents before, we have talked about this before.
gibbon woodward wilson, racist as you can get. but he is still saying the song of what america is. fdr said, we represent freedom, want, religion, worship, eisenhower hero, could've been democrat or republican he was that nonpartisan, he said let's do a project together, there was a lot that was super problematic, but it was a national project. reagan said, even nixon saying the song of america which is so useful in organizing that west and having the west stand up to communism. stand up to the soviet union. stand up even when we didn't ultimately the market people made us stand up from mandela. that story of america is powerful and whether or not it is perfect, it is powerful. donald trump is a purse president to never sing that song. barack obama was quote never loving to work. when he went abroad, he wa manad
to come together, he sing that song of america, reagan did it, even george w. bush, i disagreed with, do we all believe that was 100% true? no. but he said it. and this is the first president who will not say. he said blatantly he does not believe in liberal democracy but he rather have an axis of autocrat where he and his autocrat friends all get rich. he'd rather be for the kim jong-un the prime minister of britain or the leader of france or the leader of germany. he would rather be friends the saudi dictator, he would rather prop up the corruption that we see where his wife just got indicted for corruption. but he wants to be friends with people have an autocratic entity and risk the country of immigrants. the leader of poland, trump admires him. he wants immigrants out, the people who trump myers and associates himself with are not
the best the world has to offer. these are people who want for themselves. vladimir putin is the worst example someone who hates that a worker has led the world. he hates us. and donald trump loves him and a meyerson. it is shocking to be to watch a president of the united states can be with people like kim jong-un and vladimir putin in who leads a west when we do not? there is no one. there is not any country that has the power that we have, the part of our military or the part of our story. so donald trump stays in power, the story is probably done, it'll be very hard to get back and get back in the supply chain of freedom. the supply chain of that story of goodness and mutt democracy. so i worry that we will keep sliding, sliding towards hypocrisy and rickets will learn to live with her. and then i don't know what happened. >> as we are now about two minutes out from wrapping this
program. it is been very informative, the man who sold america, get this book read this book, challenge herself, alternative yourself. what you want people to read herself walk away knowing? >> i want people to understand what we are is fragile. what amoun and merck are built t eternal. it can be taken apart by one person who is determined to take all that was built before him and use it for himself and enrich his family. we can have an american abu too easily. i want people to take away the everything we built is fragile but we can also protect it and we are the people who can protect our democracy of virtually we don't have a government during that and as you said whether conservative, liberal, publican or democrat you may want to protect what the country built because there's nothing else it in the world.
if we decide who would rather be a republic than a multi-racial democracy they got helpless but god help the world. because the country is behind us later buying for global leadership is not us and do not care about democracy. they also care about capital. i worry about a country that is slighty in that direction, no one will win but the super rich. i hope people take from this book that they should defend what we've got and try to get back to america as we envisioned herself to be. >> thank you so much, everybody check her out on a enjoyed on msnbc on the weekend. thank you for what you do. i love the book and good luck with it. >> thank you sophia. >> this and oliver "after words" programs are available as podcast and can be viewed on a website, booktv.org.
>> on sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on "after words", virginia democratic governor talks about his book beyond charlottesville taken a stand against white nationalism. >> it's of value to people that the president he might say the stuff, i can too. and that emboldened them and that's with a comfortable coming to charlottesville. if he could speak publicly so can i. people used were hopes. and they used to do this at night. they don't think they have to wear hoods anymore. and charlottesville came out and this was the big coming-out party but they got hurt badly in charlottesville. >> watch "after words" sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on book tv, on c-span2. >> campaign 2020, watch our live coverage of the presidential candidate on the campaign truck and make up your own mind. c-span campaign 2020 your unfiltered view of politics.
each year that i was state fair is held in des moines over 11 days in august. it was first held in 1854. in every four years the des moines register and vice president hopefuls to talk with voters. i live coverage features washington state governor at 10:00 o'clock. senator, kamala harris at 1130 and cognizant at 1030, here's to delivering remarks are scheduled for 350 followed by former governor john hickenlooper, and offer pretty by senator elizabeth warren and cory booker closes out the day at 530. [inaudible conversations] >> good