tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC December 11, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
documentaries they do. is it going to be because the amazing vaccine that will begin the end of the coronavirus was approved? is it the day that donald trump didn't wreck democracy or someone stood in his way? they are both momentous. >> i think the answer is yes. the thing that is -- president trump wants a split screen moment all the time with the incoming president and he wants -- this is a real split screen moment. the supreme court saying we are not listening to this nonsense and the fda starting a climb towards hope. it feels like we are turning a page. >> it does. i start the show with a smile on my face. thank you for all of your remarkable reporting tonight. this is an historic moment. have a great weekend. see you sunday morning. >> thanks.
tonight, we begin with good news. that's a change. it's breaking news. the food and drug administration has just authorized pfizer's covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. this is a major milestone in america's fight against the coronavirus. this approval clears the way for the initial rollout of the vaccine, which has been found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects. the fda's action means millions, millions of highly vulnerable people will begin receiving this vaccine within days. this is the moment. it's an incredibly consequential development after months of suffering. if the approval of the first covid vaccine wasn't enough, there is that other big breaking news tonight. the supreme court of the united states dismissed the sham texas lawsuit that aimed to overturn the results of a free and fair election. the court's unsigned order was
short. texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable recognition. to be clear, it was a bad hope. texas had no hope of winning. the three justices appointed to the supreme court by the outgoing president, upon whom he staked his chances, would not agree to hear the case. this news, as grace as it is, should not overshadow the reality of what has brought us to this moment. the harsh realities behind the course case and covid vaccine. more people in the united states have now died this year from covid-19 than were killed in four years of fighting on the battlefields during world war ii. that's a profound loss for this nation. it's a loss that could have been avoided were it not for republicans. republicans are experiencing mass delusion with devastating
consequences. since the beginning of the pandemic, republicans have denied the seriousness of this virus. that is ongoing. the republican house speaker in new hampshire died from the coronavirus one week after being sworn in. he was photographed with 50 new hampshire gop representatives at an indoor celebration last month. none of them, none of them were wearing masks. this is one example. it typifies the republican party stance. don't believe what's happening before your eyes. take part in the mass delusion. this is not governing, this is not leadership. there's no serious effort on the part of republicans to break free from the deadly fever dream. it's important for republicans to perpetuate some myth about freedoms being violated by being asked to wear cloth over your face than to see what it is. people are sick and dying because of the refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of
this virus. this is bigger than the virus. this has consumed everything in which republicans believe. look at this failed texas lawsuit. 126 house republicans and 18 republican attorneys general wanted to overturn the will of the american people and hand the presidential election to the man who lost. almost two-thirds of the house republican conference, including the majority leader, participated in this attack on democracy. they convinced themselves that the election of one man was more important than the fundamental principles on which these united states were founded. they deluded their supporters. don't believe the real world. believe what we tell you to believe. that problem starts at the top with the man who condoned republicans to delude. the outgoing president refuses to acknowledge the almost
300,000 lives lost on his watch. he tweeted he wanted to overturn the election results. he has gone beyond the lies about fraud. now he is calling for a coup. he tells so many lies so often that i wouldn't be surprised if he drank too much of his own kool-aid and deluded himself into believing it's actually a viable option. republicans have lied to themselves and america for a long time to suit their agenda. this goes back to the earliest lies from fox news in the 1990s. to climate deniers. racist birthers in the obama era. republicans have cared more about telling people falsehoods that make them feel better about themselves as the expense of others than about telling them what they actually need to hear. that is the truth. republicans have cared more about cultivating a mass delusion of lies and conspiracies than about
confronting the real problems that we face in this nation. it's not hard to ignore a virus and the voices of voters when you have been fed lies about everything else for years. where do we go from here? how do we continue when we have one fwununctioning political pa and the other on a retreat? i don't have the answer. there will be a lot of hard times. you cannot break a fever like this overnight. you can speak up. you can make your voice heard. you can take action. you took action. more than 81 million times in november when you rejected the worst deluder of them all. in the end, you do matter. what you do and what you say matters. when this nation is tested, people like you just might be the change agents that break this fever dream. look at the incredible effort on the front line workers who saved millions. those men and women did not give in. they are still fighting.
look at the vaccine. we have our first covid vaccine because people like you saw the danger of the virus. you accepted the danger was real. you got to work. look at the four attorneys general who just helped get that sham texas lawsuit rejected by the supreme court. those attorneys general, two of whom will join me in a moment, did not buy into the delusion. they used their voices and their power to fight back against the lies and conspiracies to protect our democratic institutions, for which people have died. you might not be able to create a vaccine on your own. you might not be able to fight a fake lawsuit in the supreme court. do not discount the importance of your voice. you can fight back against this delusion. no act is too small. this time of year is a hopeful time of year. the vaccine is hopeful. the supreme court order is hopeful. joining us now, alison barber. she's outside the pfizer
manufacturing plant on a remarkably historic night. it's quiet behind you now. within hours, that will be a beehive of activity from which the cure, the thing that will end this virus will emanate. >> reporter: yeah. as i was making my way over to the camera for this report, i was struck by how quiet it was. a lot of the media had left for the evening. some are coming back now. you can hear the rain and quiet hum that you expect of a manufacturing plant. other than that, it was quiet. i thought, this will not be quiet for long. now that the fda has given the official green light, workers can begin packaging up the vaccine. within 24 hours, we expect to start seeing trucks moving from this pfizer plant. they will put the vaccin subzero containers and leave the plant and head to fedex and u.p.s. distribution centers in memphis and louisville.
from there, we expect fedex to handle the bulk to states that are west of the mississippi. u.p.s. to handle the majority of states to the east. there are some u.s. states and territories that will need to be accessed by plane. u.p.s. and fedex will play a critical role for the lower 48 states in getting this vaccine out. the federal government has said the first 6.4 million doses of the pfizer vaccine will be allocated to states based on their adult population. only half of that, a little less than half will go out in the first shipment. this is a vaccine where you need two doses. the first dose and in another three weeks after. pfizer will hold some dosages back so they can get it out to the people to get their second dosage when it is time. obviously, this is an enormous moment. states will decide how they allocate and hand out the vaccines once it gets to the states. here in michigan, in this
community, there is great pride in the fact that this vaccine was made here. efrler today, i was sitting in this area in my car. two gentlemen were trying to talk to me. they said they came by because they wanted to see this moment. they ask me who i was with and where i was from. they are from here. they said, this is historic. we are so excited to finally see this happen. tonight, this community has been a part of something, of maybe a brief moment of a sigh of relief, a step towards hope for a lot of people. i met a lot of them through my reporting. they were not able to have the vaccine in time, but for a lot of people this is a step in the direction many people have been waiting for. >> many people still won't get it in time. history has turned a corner tonight. for all of us expecting shipments, if your stuff is delayed over the next few weeks, be okay with that.
they are busy distributing vaccines. joining us now, dr. rob davidson, an emergency room doctor in west michigan. the executive director of the committee to direct medicare. you and i have not had a lot of occasion to celebrate. every time you and i talk, it's bad news. tonight is not bad news. tonight is the beginning of the end. it's a long, dark, cold tunnel until we get to the other end. it started. we can see that light now. >> amen. i appreciate the way you are talking about it. it's the beginning of the end. this is a step. the president has described this moment as the end of the line for him and his attempt to fight back this pandemic. again, getting this vaccine out to at least 70% of the 330 million people in this country is going to be one of the biggest tasks we have mrta undertaken. we should celebrate. i find myself a bit emotional
tonight thinking about all of the weeks and months that we have been fighting this and fighting the disinformation and people calling it a hoax. the president calling doctors that are trying to profit this. we are trying to keep people safe. we need to keep doing that. we need to tell people to wear masks. we know that there is a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. excited to be here tonight to talk to you about it. >> i should be emotional tonight. everybody should be emotional tonight. this is really happening now. i'm here in houston, has the largest medical complex in the world. i just can't wait to get out there and know that while i won't see it inside, there will be doctors and nurses and front line workers who have risked their lives every single day to save the rest of us who will be a little safer in the coming days and the coming weeks. they will be alive to keep us alive until we get that vaccine. >> i promise you, for the vast
majority of us, our biggest goal is to protect our communities. i worked in the same community almost 20 years. i have been trying to protect those folks for my career. with this pandemic, i continue to do that by speaking out, promoting the public health practices and working the clinical shifts and doing work you have to do. i'm excited to get the vaccine. i signed up on the email. i will find out when i get it. i want to share that with everyone. i want doctors and nurses to show people that we are continuing to lead the way. our next goal is to then protect everyone around us, all of our communities. >> i want to put up a poll releases tuesday. if the vaccine were approved and available at no cost, would you agree to be vaccinated. yes is 63%. it was 61% earlier in the week. in the 50s earlier. i'm not worried about this. once people see it out there,
once people see the daily infection rates going down, once they see death numbers going down, it has been out there and they are not seeing reactions, i think that number will go up. >> i think it's all about communication. i think if we are honest with people and show them when we get the vaccine, we show them the next day when we may be feeling off, because our immune system is responding. it's doing what it is supposed to do. we can see the numbers, the 3,000 people in this country who died yesterday, who died today, the death that we will see in the coming weeks, start to go down. hospitalizations go down. we will see that together we can fight this back. i agree with you. i'm hopeful. i think there's a lot of work to do to communicate the safety and communicate the necessity. i think we are up for it. >> i want so badly not to talk about politics for a night. but i have to say, one of the reasons why people doubt this vaccine, despite the hard work medical professionals and public
health officials do is because it has felt at certain moments politicized. new came out tonight, it was reporting the white house ordered the chief of the fda to authorize this vaccine by friday night or submit his resignation. i want this vaccine out there with everybody as badly as you do. but i didn't want it a second before we determined the safe way to get it out there and that it was safe. that's the kind of thing that makes people worry about this. we want to know this vaccine was developed by scientists, tested by experts and being distributed by people who know how to do this. we don't want the president meddling for political gain in this. >> yeah. i am choosing not to let the actions of one man affect the celebration we should be having. i trust the career scientists. i trust the people who were part of the vaccine trials. i trust the doctors. i trust the folks at the fda who have stuck through the attacks they faced for months and
potentially for years. i know that these folks are there to help protect us. the actions of one president, although he seemed to have tainted everything he touched, i will not allow that to happen. put blinders on. don't listen to what he is saying. let's get to work. >> get that shot. you are one man but you represent the medical establishment and public health workers and nurses and doctors and front line workers who have kept us going. there are months ahead before everyone is vaccinated. months of long days and long nights and seeing your colleagues still get sick. we will be at the end of this. you and i will mark that day like we have marked this one. rob davidson, thank you for everything. >> thank you. have a great night. coming up, more on the big defeat for donald trump in the supreme court tonight. the biggest defeat. they have rejected the texas lawsuit to overturn the election results in four battleground
states. the attorneys general of two of those states join me next. one of the worst things about a cold sore is how it can make you feel. but, when used at the first sign, abreva can get you back to being you in just 2 and a half days. be kinder to yourself and tougher on your cold sores. ♪ you're still the one ♪ that i love to touch ♪ still the one ♪ and i can't get enough ♪ we're still having fun, ♪ and you're still the one applebee's 2 for $20.
now that's eating good in the neighborhood. is often unseen. because the pain you're feeling could be a sign of irreversible joint damage. every day you live with pain, swelling, and stiffness... you risk not being able to do the things you love. especially in these times, it's important to keep up with your rheumatologist. schedule an appointment today. yit's more than just a house. it's important to keep up [music playing throughout] it's a kitchen that's been passed down, along with the recipes. three generations on the wall... with room to grow. the rhythm of home... the smells, the sounds, the flow... the feeling of owning a home is not black or white. citi is working across our business to make home ownership a reality for more black americans.
[what's this?] oh, are we kicking karly out? we live with at&t. it was a lapse in judgment. at&t, we called this house meeting because you advertise gig-speed internet, but we can't sign up for that here. yeah, but i'm just like warming up to those speeds. you've lived here two years. the personal attacks aren't helping, karly. don't you have like a hot pilates class to get to or something? [ muffled scream ] stop living with at&t. xfinity can deliver gig to the most homes. my hands are everything to me. but i was diagnosed with dupuytren's contracture. and it got to the point where things i took for granted got tougher to do. thought surgery was my only option. turns out i was wrong. so when a hand specialist told me about nonsurgical treatments, it was a total game changer. like you, my hands have a lot more to do. learn more at factsonhand.com today.
it's quite a night when i'm 20 minutes in and turning to the story that would in any other world in any other time be the biggest story of all. this is the other breaking news of the night. the supreme court of the united states rejected the last-minute hail mary attempt to overturn the presidential election that was filed by the texas attorney general. the court noted, the state of texas's motion is denied for lack of standing under article iii of the constitution. the targeted states responded to the lawsuit with blistering briefs. michigan attorney general arguing it was unprecedented and without factual foundation. pennsylvania's attorney general calling the lawsuit a isn abuse the judicial process. it puts an end to donald trump's
absurd efforts. joining us is josh shapiro and dana nestle. i can't begin to imagine what you have been through in the last little while. you had all sorts of complexity in your state with violence and threats against your secretary of state, against your governor. this one is one that the whole country was looking at. they were looking at your four states to stop this from going through. what did it feel like tonight? >> relief. honestly, we are exhausted. this has been going on for so long. it feels like this process is never ending. most of us were hopeful that once the votes were tallied we would declare a winner and move on. unfortunately, that's not how this president operates.
i would like to think that that's it and we can move on from now. i don't have that total confidence. i could never have predicted that a lawsuit like this would be filed. >> there's actually nothing about this, attorney general shapiro, that we could have predicted. the threats, the calls by the president, the ushering by the president of people to the white house to convince people in state legislatures to overturn the will of the people. in your state, in pennsylvania, our state, because we are neighbors, in pennsylvania, there were efforts by the legislature for months to try and figure out ways to adjust the outcome of the election. i heard you say earlier tonight that you almost wish that this was heard and overturned or decided against so that we could put a nail in it. this ends one thing. it doesn't end this fever dream that donald trump and his
supporters are involved in. >> we did ask the court to quickly rebuke texas and trump and their enabling states and members of congress. that's what they did. we are pleased about it. you used an interesting term before. unpredictable. of course, this president has been unpredictable. of course, we couldn't predict that all of these members of congress and some of our fellow attorneys general, who took an oath of office to the constitution of the united states, would seemingly swear their allegiance to donald trump. one thing that's predictable is that our institutions held and the courts did their job. they adhered to the rule of law. that is something we can all take great comfort in. >> your colleague in texas, who brought this case, responded saying that the argument is that the four defendant states of
which you two represent two of them, should conduct their elections in a manner that complies with the constitution and all federal and state laws. he had a number of other attorneys general who joined in that lawsuit. it's just weird. the court was clear in the fact they don't have standing. we have 50 presidential elections. we don't have a federal election. they were taking issue with pennsylvania and michigan and wisconsin's way of running an election. >> yeah. not only did our elections comport with state and federal laws, each and every court who evaluated this, some almost dozen cases filed, whether it's state or federal court, whether they were judges that were appointed by democrats or judges that were appointed by republicans, they all found these lawsuits were without merit. in fact, we did follow the law in michigan. i don't think that texas would
like it very much if states like michigan or pennsylvania were to sue the state of texas. i think -- i had a lot of problems with the way i saw voter suppression handled in texas. you didn't see either ag shapiro or myself phiing l infiling law against texas. >> you put out a statement this evening that was given the moment quite conciliatory. you are hoping we go forward as the united states. the chairman of the texas gop put out a statement in which -- i will read you a sentence. perhaps law abiding states, meaning those who supported the texas lawsuit, should form a union of states that will abide by the constitution. that is a nonsense statement.
i don't whether it's misinformation. we have a problem where 77% of republicans polled the other day felt there is something fraudulent about this election despite the 56 court cases in which not one instance of voter fraud has been discovered. what do we do? >> we are certainly right on the law. the law says joe biden will be sworn in as our next president on january 20th. we both agree that the problems are going to persist long after donald trump is out of the white house. he has infected this country with hate and division. he has enabled idiots like that in texas who said what they said to carry on the way they did and have an audience of people that support that. we have a lot of healing to do in this country. we need to get back to the days where we can have honest debates over criminal justice issues, or tax policy, or environmental
policy. we can't do that when we can't agree on a basic set of facts, a basic set of realities we can operate under. donald trump and his enablers have infected this country in a way that's going to require all of us to repair. i'm prepared to do that work. it's going to fall to all of us to labor in the vin yarteyards repair this nation donltd trald has worked so hard to break. >> we have immediate concerns. "the new york times" reporting that michigan's 16 president ia electors will get escorts as officials brace for protest. i will speak with your secretary of state who has been subject to intimidation by armed people. your governor was subject to a plot to kidnap and harm her. there's an immediate issue, how do -- we can deal with political
stuff. how do we deal with the fact that there are people who seem to be talking and acting like this is a civil war? >> i'm very concerned about it. there's no question that it is a dangerous set of circumstances. to echo some of ag shapiro's sentiments, to me, donald trump is a dangerous drug to this country. right? we are all addicted to him. we either love him or we love to hate him. either way, it's literally shredding the fabric of our democracy. we really have to move on. this is what he reduced us to. i would love to go back to the time that we would debate these more intellectual topics and not just threaten each other. we need to do that or democracy is not going to survive. i'm concerned for the immediate
future. i'm concerned in regard to our elected officials and also we have been -- the safety of these electors who tradition dalally nameless officials that no one knew about. no one knew about this process. here we are having to provide police protection for them. we need american society to change and to change dwra m dramatically and quickly. >> thank you to both of you for your hard work over the last few days. we appreciate your time. coming up, last night steve schmidt and the republicans bring unrest. e republicans bring unrest
over two million meals provided. over four hundred national parks protected. in fact, subaru and our retailers will have proudly donated over two hundred million dollars to national and hometown charities through the subaru share the love event. (vo) get 0% for 63 months and subaru will donate 250 dollars to charity. (burk(customer) deep-something like that... (burke) well, here's something else: with your farmer's policy perk, new car replacement, you can get a new one. (customer) that is something else. (burke) get a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ my husband would have been on the sidelines. but not anymore! an alternative to pills voltaren is the first full prescription strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory gel
to target pain directly at the source for powerful arthritis pain relief. voltaren. the joy of movement. i just got to shop online and i get cash back. i love using rakuten during the holidays, because i can get the sale and i can get cash back. and it's so easy and the best way to start off the new year. sign up today and get cash back with rakuten.
my name's dimitri. and i'm on biktarvy. biktarvy is a complete, one-pill, once-a-day treatment . . . . . . used for hiv in certain adults. it's not a cure, but with one small pill . . . . . . biktarvy fights hiv to help you get to and stay undetectable. that's when the amount of virus is so low . . . . . . it cannot be measured by a lab test. serious side effects can occur, including kidney problems and kidney failure. rare, life-threatening side effects include a build-up of lactic acid and liver problems. do not take biktarvy if you take dofetilide or rifampin. tell your doctor about all the medicines and supplements you take, . . . . . . if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis. if you have hepatitis b, do not stop taking biktarvy without talking to your doctor. common side effects were diarrhea, nausea, and headache. if you're living with hiv . . . . . . keep loving who you are. and ask your doctor if biktarvy is right for you.
the supreme court rejected donald trump's effort to overturn the election. there are the 126 house republicans, members of congress, who put their names on a document. they signed it stating their belief that the court should invalidate the votes of millions of americans just because their guy lost. those are anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-american ideas championed by this man on the left, house minority leader kevin mccarthy and the house minority whip, steve scalise. nearly two-thirds of house republicans. they described the cravenness of the republican party's move. >> the competition in american politics is not between a democratic party, meaning, a party that believes in democracy, versus an autocratic party. we have never seen that. when you see that many members
of congress breaking faith with their oath, to overturn an election because they don't like a result, we are off the reservation to a place we might not get back on it from. we are one election away from losing the country to people who no longer believe in democracy. >> an autocratic party, that's what the republican party has become. we had no idea, had no way of knowing that waltz was not committed to democracy. today the democratic congressman bill pascrel who is demanding that those republicans not be seated in congress. in a letter to democratic leadership, he cites an amendment which prohibits anyone who engaged in insurrection from
serving in office. men and women who would act to tear the united states government apart cannot serve as members of congress. we will be back in a moment with the staff writer for "the new yorker" to discuss this. new yorker" to discuss this. ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list sales event. sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down, zero due at signing, and a complimentary first month's payment. with zero down, zero due at signing, we try to soothe it with this. cool it with this. and relieve it with this. but new preparation h soothing relief is the 21st century way to do all three. everyday. preparation h. get comfortable with it.
you're on it. you may think you're doing all you can to manage type 2 diabetes and heart disease... but could your medication do more to lower your heart risk? jardiance can reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults who also have known heart disease. so, it could help save your life from a heart attack or stroke. and it lowers a1c. jardiance can cause serious side effects including dehydration, genital yeast or urinary tract infections, and sudden kidney problems. ketoacidosis is a serious side effect that may be fatal. a rare, but life-threatening bacterial infection in the skin of the perineum could occur. stop taking jardiance and call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of this bacterial infection, ketoacidosis, or an allergic reaction and don't take it if you're on dialysis or have severe kidney problems. taking jardiance with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause low blood sugar. lower a1c and lower risk of a fatal heart attack? on it with jardiance. we are committed to making jardiance available and affordable. with our savings card, eligible patients pay as little as $0.
fixodent ultra dual power with our savings card, eligible patients provides you with an unbeatable hold and strong seal against food infiltrations. fixodent. and forget it. working, parenting, problem solving. at new chapter vitamins we've been busy too... innovating, sourcing organic ingredients, testing them and fermenting. fermenting? yeah like kombucha or yogurt. and we formulate everything so your body can really truly absorb the natural goodness. that's what we do, so you can do you. new chapter wellness, well done. i've been involved in. communications in the media for 45 years. i've been taking prevagen on a regular basis for at least eight years. for me, the greatest benefit over the years has been
that prevagen seems to help me recall things and also think more clearly. and i enthusiastically recommend prevagen. it has helped me an awful lot. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. and still going for my best. even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib... ...not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin, i'm reaching for that. eliquis. eliquis is proven to reduce stroke risk better than warfarin. plus has significantly less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. what's next? i'm on board. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily- -and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding,
like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. ask your doctor about eliquis. and if your ability to afford... ...your medication has changed, we want to help. joining me now is the staff writer for "the new yorker." she's joining us on the phone. good to hear from you. thank you for being with us. i have to ask you, you studied these places in which the law is not protected by the courts, law is not applied fairly. my first thought after the supreme court ruling was that there is still 40 days of donald trump at president. he lost his best chance with the supreme court. that doesn't give me peace.
that worries me a little bit for a man headed toward athis when e lost his best chance. looks like we are still having trouble. we will try to get masha back to have her conversation. she has written the book on how authoritarianism creeps into societies and affects democracies. i want to talk about the death toll from coronavirus. this is far from over. 2,977 lives were lost on 9/11. at that time, think back, if you remember, it was an unimaginable number of lives to be lost in a day. sadly, that number is no longer unimaginable. we are either nearing or on some days have exceeded that number of deaths on a daily basis
because of the coronavirus. the cdc director said we will see more deaths of that magnitude in the coming weeks and months. >> we are in the time frame now that probably for the next 60 to $90 d9 90 days, we will have more deaths than 9/11. >> some of the deadliest days have occurred this month because of the outrageously number of covid deaths. the deaths are now on par with the battle of gettysburg during the civil war when 3,155 people were killed in a single day. the 1906 san francisco earthquake and fire, when more than 3,000 people died. the attack on pearl harbor when 2,403 americans were killed. coronavirus deaths have gotten so out of control that six of the deadliest days in american history have now occurred in the last two weeks.
joining us is the historian john meecham. he is an unofficial advisor to president-elect joe biden. good to see you tonight. i started the show saying that in -- i think you and i know that of all the crazy things that have happened in the last four years, this night be be talked about. i'm trying to figure out because we got the vaccine and we see within trucks rolling out in a way we have never looked at a vaccine. this is the most sought after vaccine in the history of the world. or is it the day the supreme court shut the door on donald trump's attempt to overturn democracy? >> when you do narrative non-fiction, you look for coincidences to make a point. this is one where god handed it to us all. you don't have to do a lot of
stretching. it's a remarkable day in the life of contemporary america, because there is a great amount of hope. but if we are being honest and if we are learning from the last five years, we also know that we have to have a kind of trepidation about what comes next. this is an enormous public health undertaking, to vaccinate this vast population, to overcome skepticism about vaccinations and about expertise. then on the political side, 60% of the house republican caucus, the party of lincoln and reagan and the bushes and a party that only eight years ago -- 12 years ago nominated john mccain signed on to a lawsuit that the supreme court, of which three members were appointed by this president, dismissed out of
hand. do those folks suddenly have a kind of road to damascus moment over the weekend? i don't think so. i think that the thing we have to do is in a way return to an 18th century motto, which was, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. we have to be vigilangilant abor health and of our neighbors and the democratic institutions. >> i think that is a great lesson of the last four years. what worries me is where we went in the last four weeks. earlier i was speaking with the attorneys general of michigan and pennsylvania. josh shapiro was concerned about the degree to which people are taking up arms. there are ads for people to stand up for the stolen election. there are threats against public officials. there are -- is a call by the head of texas gop for the states that were on the wrong side of
this decision of the supreme court to form a union of their own. you are a historian. at what point do we say that's nonsense and something is afoot? >> something is clearly afoot. this is a great columbia historian from the middle of the 20th century coined a phrase called the paranoid style. it was a certain fringe. that has gone mainstream. there's this sense that every battle is existential. these are the forces of god's armies fighting. there's this hyperbolic atmosphere, hyper charged, fed in many ways by the president, the outgoing president. one of the interesting questions moving forward is going to be his continuing role in the culture and in the lives and
imaginations of many of his most devout followers. we have to take this seriously. my own argument for citizens would be, we do share a common set of values in the country. i heard the pennsylvania attorney general say we are having a hard time with a common set of facts. it's liberty and opportunity and it's making the democrclaration independence real for all of us. we shouldn't have to disagree on the ends. right now, it seems to me that a task for entrepreneurial citizenship is to recommit ourselves to this notion that we can, in fact, agree on the end of america, meaning the purpose of america. >> john, at the beginning of the trump administration started with what was -- a white lie
about the inauguration crowds. "the washington post" tallied the lies over the years. the last several months was donald trump saying that this is going to be a fraudulent election and i will not admit i lost if lost if it doesn't seem fair. it was all setup, and that's what i worry about that people have been setup for this moment. how do you have that conversation with people? how do you say to someone you know you're being manipulated? >> you just have to do it. i don't think there's a lot of pregaming. i really do. and i think we have to listen to each other, and i think we have to be open to learning from each other. politics is supposed to be -- supposed to be about the mediation of differences and the resolution of problems for a given period of time. that's what politics is supposed to be. what politics has become is this existential struggle where it's
almost sherman-esque, right? it's total warfare. for me to win you have to lose everything and vice versa. and there is a way, and i think it can be done in a values based language of saying this isn't who we have to be. it's really not. and there was a consensus in this country it was not perfect but it ran for about 1933 to 2017 and it was a figurative conversation between fdr and reagan. and to restore some of that conversation by having conversation at least that's a steps possibly in the right direction. >> every smart person i talk to tells me that, the answer is going to be dialogue not sherman-esque total warfare, but sometimes it feels that's the only thing we're involved in. jon meacham, we appreciate your time as always. up next, some information
finding the right words can be tough.n it comes to autism, finding understanding doesn't have to be. together, we can create a kinder, more inclusive world for the millions of people on the autism spectrum. go to autismspeaks.org ♪ when you're celebrating, keeping your devices safe & sound isn't always easy. add affordable protection to the devices that connect us. walmart protection plans by allstate.
my gums are irritated. add affordable protection to the devices that connect us. i don't have to worry about that, do i? harmful bacteria lurk just below the gum line. crest gum detoxify works below the gum line to neutralize harmful plaque bacteria and help reverse early gum damage. crest. coto build a house, you need ary ststrong foundation. [music playing throughout] the same is true for building a business. black-owned businesses are an integral part of america's foundation. they lay the groundwork for other black businesses like mine - that turns concrete into something beautiful. i'm kimberley robles, and i'm the owner and founder of robles concrete design. the citi foundation is helping our community partners facilitate more loans to black-owned businesses.
okay, i'm not kidding you now. joining us now really is the staff writer for "the new yorker" and author of the book "surviving autocracy." before i ask a question i'm going to establish that masha is there. hi, masha. >> i'm here. can you hear me? >> we've been talking a lot about autocracy and how you go down that world. and one of the thing the attorney general of pennsylvania brought up, the attorney general of michigan brought up, i just talked to jon meacham about is the care we have to take, the vigilance we have to employ to ensure things like today, that supreme court case, nobody want today be just close to the edge. we were really there. we were on the edge of an election being overturned. >> absolutely. and we shouldn't think of it as -- while that is undoubtedly
true that's not the important part. the important part is that there were 126 republican members of the house of representatives who were willing to sign-off to a completely nonsensical lawsuit in a naked attempt to grab onto power. so nonsensical that anyone could see it including them. congress is an institution. the job of congress as an institution is to exercise checks and balances on presidential power. and so we have a president who's lost an election who's trying to hold onto power by any means possible, and we have 126 members of the institution that is charged with keeping him in check. yeah, we'll come along for that ride. >> how did that happen, masha? how does that happen? these are supposedly normal people who are not fringe.
we thought about conspiracy theorists and qanon and white supremacists and anti-semites and islamaphobes of being along side this. >> this is the question we're going to have keep asking after trump leaves office. we can't possibly go back everything is normal, everything was an anomaly and we can go back to business as usual. i think there are some possible answers. one of them is that we have this idea that a career in politics is a lucrative career, a career that excuses people who enter such a career from constrains of the law and morality and values, that the job of a party is important enough that any means are justifiable to reach the
ends that the party has set for itself. you know, these are some ideas that are not actually crazy in the american political context. they're recognizable. and they logically lead to 126 members of congress signing onto a nonsense lawsuit. >> masha, i've got 30 seconds on this. i want to ask you you do you believe as jon meacham does as long as we're more vigilant about this and we don't assume there are institutions that will protect us, that we actively protect ourselves that we can maintain this democracy, or have we passed an important line? >> there's always hope. we always have a chance, and our chance is much better than many other countries. but, yes, we can do it. >> masha, thank you. i'm sorry for the struggles in getting you into the show but it was really important to get you into the show, so i appreciate your time. a staff writer for "the new yorker" and author of the book "surviving autocracy." of course you can catch me
tomorrow night and sunday morning 10:00 a.m. can and this weekend i'm going to be bringing you stories of front line workers struggling. i'm going to hear about a black owned winery here in houston, texas, is bringing small businesses together and how a peruvian bakery is catering virtual celebrations during covid. that's it for me tonight but brian williams is going to be up with "the 11th hour" right after this. well, good evening once again. day 1,422 of the trump administration. it's been 34 days since the election was called for joe biden. 40 days remain until the inauguration of joe bidesen. there are two headlines, big ones this evening. and let's state them plainly. und nu