tv Politics Nation MSNBC October 30, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
good evening, and welcome to "politicsnation." tonight's lead, holding the line. right now i'm invested in things working out with the president's infrastructure plan, not because it's my number one priority, but because in order for democrats to keep their majority next year, victories are needed. yet the disconnect between house progressives, senate moderates, and the white house meant yet another vote was punted this weekend. progressives balking again at a vote on the physical spending bill until it's linked to the social spending bill. a scaled-back version of which was unveiled thursday by the white house responding to the cuts demanded by senators kyrsten sinema and joe manchin. i met with senator manchin this week. though infrastructure was not the main topic. as head of the national action
network i joined other civil rights leaders and our foremost objective was to press him on dropping the senate filibuster that has impeded the voter protections we need. amid a nationwide surge of gop-engineered restrictions. of course, that's just one black voter priority to repeatedly die on the floor. what is in tandem with the gridlock is a disillusionment i hear on the street or the radio about what the biden agenda ultimately will be able to deliver for black voters. and that could ultimately affect what black voters will be able to deliver for the democrats, because at the same time, enthusiasm in our community is waning and our communities' right to vote is increasingly
under attack by gop gerrymandering and suppression, a trend that could lead to unpleasant surprises on election day tuesday as well as next year's midterms. so my overarching question tonight is what the conversation between the white house and the congressional black caucus should really sound like. we begin with the black view from congress. joining me now, congressman steven hors ford. congressman, first of all, thank you for joining us tonight. let me go right at it. the house progressive caucus effectively forced speaker nancy pelosi to punt on another vote on the physical infrastructure plan until, of course, you have assurances that it will be linked to the social benefits package.
and you have senator sinema and manchin, the latter of whom we met with this week, continuing to push for cuts to progressive priorities. yet i read where democratic leadership is hopeful to break the gridlock over the social spending bill, and time enough to get both it and the physical infrastructure bill on the floor with the house vote announced for tuesday. based on the negotiations you've participated in, can you see it, and can you see it being a breakthrough? >> well, reverend al, first let me say it's great to be back on and to join to lift up the priorities that are included in both the bipartisan infrastructure bill as well as the build back better act. and the congressional black caucus has been involved in the provisions of both of these bills since the beginning of this congress.
in fact, through leadership of our chairwoman, joyce beatty and our 57 members strong, we have advocated for key provisions that are now included in both of these bills. provisions that are going to create millions of jobs, that is going to help reduce costs from everything from child care to health care, to make historic investments in broadband, as well as in making sure that we are building back a more equitable society, addressing some of the communities that have been left out historically so that they are at the center of the process as we build back better in our country. >> now, congressman, publicly most members of the congressional black caucus, of which you are vice chair, have been in favor of the president's agenda. several cbc leaders meeting with the president earlier this week. your caucus chair, george
beatty, later re-emphasizing where and how much of the social spending bill is targeted to black communities, specifically on housing, hbcu funding and medicare expansion. the congresswoman said there was a perception that black voters are not being prioritized by this administration. watching these negotiations drag on while voting rights bills fail over and over. would you say your caucus is satisfied or upset with the president and the priorities he's pursued? or in your estimation, not? >> well, the president has said that he helped write this bill. he wrote the build back better agenda and the infrastructure bill, but they're influenced by the leadership of the house democrats and the senate democrats. and so with six chairs of the
house caucus that are members of the congressional black caucus, including people like chairwoman maxine waters, we have historic investment in housing, more than $320 billion investing in affordable housing and more section 8 services, going in and retro fitting public housing, through the leadership of our chairwoman, eddie bernice johnson. we have historic investments in science and technology for hbcu colleges and universities to make sure that they are being equipped with the funding and research dollars that they need, through the leadership of chairman bobby scott of the education and labor committee. we are investing in historic amounts of funding for child care, for workforce development so that as we build back better, we do it in a way that does not leave any community behind. and with other leaders like chairman meeks, we're making
sure that we do it in a way that is inclusive. reverend al, i really want to focus on this fact. black men in particular, we're only 6% of the population, but sadly we account for about 50% of the gun homicides in this country. >> absolutely. >> well, the congressional black caucus took that issue to the president and to the vice president, and they listened, and they included a historic amount of money, $5 billion, in fact, for break the cycle of violence, a bill i'm proud to be sponsoring. that is a priority of the black caucus to invest in things like housing, health and wellness, mental services, as well as workforce development for our young men of color who deserve a chance to succeed and not to be threatened. >> congressman, as i said tonight, one thing that i continue to encounter on the
street is the lack -- is just a general lack of knowledge of what's actually in either part of this megabill. obviously the question before or after, that is, what will this plan do for black communities? i know that you have legislation included in the build back better act designed to reduce gun violence, but briefly tell us where does it fit in the $5 billion the president has allocated for community violence. intervention? i mean, where does it fit? >> it's in the build back better budget, and we're it fits is the funding will be administered by approximate health & human services agency. funding will be made available to communities across the country, not only big cities like chicago and new york, but cities like mine in north las vegas and in rural communities,
because they need help and support as well. reverend al, i met with a group of young men recently in a roundtable to talk to them about this bill. these are young men who literally one of them is a constituent of mine. he was shot in the face when he was 17 years old at a local party in his neighborhood. now, he could have gone out and tried to retaliate and gotten into the cycle that is never-ending violence, but he chose to do something different. now he's a youth activist at one of our nonprofit organizations, nevada partners, where he's actually encouraging other young people to put down the guns, to turn away from violence, and to help build back their communities. >> and that is why -- >> so the funding in this bill will go to support programs just like that -- >> that's why we need those bills to move forward and we need specifically to tell
different constituency groups that were promised we would be looked out for if we did the right thing. we voted in record numbers and i think people are just asking for clear answers. i'm not saying the answers are not there, but i'm saying they must get to the people because people are not getting that message. that's why i wanted to bring you on to give you that opportunity. thank you for being with us, congressman. let me bring in my panel. a nonresident senior fellow of the brookings metropolitan policy program and the founder, president, and ceo of global policy, dr. maya rocky more cummings and congressman from florida and msnbc political analyst david jolly. david, i'll start with you voters will head to the poll on tuesday across the country. there are two governor races we're watching very closely. in virginia, it looks like a virtual tie between democrat
terry mcauliffe and republican glenn youngkin. with youngkin up less than 1% according to the real clear politics polling average. in new jersey, incumbent phil murphy is holding on on to nine percentage points over his republican challenger. but let's remember, this is a state joe biden won by nearly 16 points in 2020. what are you expecting to see on tuesday night? >> it appears phil murphy is very safe and we're coming out of the dynamics of the covid environment, phil murphy was one of those governs that took a strong leadership role. so i think voters -- it is telling that voters are going to likely reward him with another term. virginia's different. virginia is a big deal. we'll see what it turns out. largely it will be a momentum play for either party. how far it turns out, that won't be the story line a year from
now, but it's an important momentum play. it's a time stamp on the biden and democratic leadership over these past 11 months. i think the reason it's a big deal, though, rev, in virginia, is over the past couple of cycles, analysts have begun to say, you know what? virginia is now a blue state. democrats now hold virginia. it is no longer competitive. so win or lose, look, unless mcauliffe pulls off a five to seven-point win, and very well he might, there is going to be a lot of examination by both parties what they got right and wrong. but there's going to be a lot of studying by the democratic party, this one almost got away from them even if they do win it. >> maya, recent polling shows the president's support has started to waiver. president biden has the lowest approval rating of any president at this point in their presidency since the 1970s. do you think this will be a
factor in tuesday's races? what can the white house do to turn things around before the midterms? >> well, we see that the president has actually been out there actively campaigning. the candidates are welcoming his participation, so if they thought that his lower approval ratings were to have any stain on them, they're certainly not reflecting it. i should say this, that president biden has a lot of time to turn things around before the midterm election. and certainly for african-americans whose poll numbers have shown that their approval has declined as well, you know, they're looking for things like, you know, police reform, and they are looking for things like voting rights reform. and so on top of that, you know, once the democrats get this build back better in place, i think that there's time for a victory lap because there is a lot to like within the build back better framework. and so, you know, biden and the democrats have work to do, and certainly the romance of campaigning has hit the reality
of governing, and biden is feeling it. but i don't think it's going to affect the midterms. >> they must do a better job of saying, which i think congressman was on for, what is in the build back better plan that relates into the black community as well as, as you stated, voting rights and police reform were not new issues. these were the issues during the campaign that were committed to. so it's not like we came up with these things once they were in, that's what drove a lot of us to the polls. david, the president has hoped to go into this overseas trip with some concrete progress to tout on the environment, the scaled-back version of the build back better plan president biden introduced thursday, including $555 billion going towards clean energy investments to help reach the goal of reducing all u.s.
carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. even though it seems uncertai, the president meets with world leaders in scotland, doesn't this plan represent a historic step forward? should it become a reality? >> sure. the priority is to retrain thought process of the american voter that climate should be a priority, just like education, just like defense, just like transportation. we're not trying to radically change lives and their human behavior. we're incentiveizing new energy for the largest contributors to climate change, and that is in our building infrastructure and in our vehicles. so the opportunity for the federal government to create incentives, to provide additional regulation that ultimately change the footprint of the united states on the world stage when it comes to
climate, joe biden has that opportunity right now. we can't say this particular bill is the win or lose bill for him. i think he has four years to change the direction of the country. >> as the congressional select committee continues to ramp up its investigation on the january 6th insurrection, new revelations about that date continue to trickle out. the "washington post" has new reporting on emails trump lawyer john eastman sent to vice president mike pence's staff, blaming pence for the storming of the capitol and continuing to press pence to overturn the election even as the rioters were breaching the capitol complex. the former president meanwhile continues to try and stonewall document requests, and many of his allies are refusing to cooperate with the probe. where is all this heading? >> i believe it was the great leader and philosopher hillary
clinton who once said, and once spoke of a vast right-wing conspiracy. and what we see emerging from this investigation is from the white house to state houses across the country, from right-wing media to certainly right-wing think tanks and certainly right-wing nonprofit organizations, that they were all in on it, that there was a coordinated and massive effort to stop the biden/harris basically win. and so in our late president -- former president, excuse me, was in on it as well. and so i want to commend the chairman for doing a great job with the january 6th commission, benny thompson, and i think we're going to see eye-opening revelations about who all was involved and what happens that day. i now think that there may -- and there needs to be some real accountability here, not just basically wiping our hands of
it, but basically pursuing charges against people who were involved. >> and enforcing those charges. i said that, you didn't. thank you both, david jolly and maya rockeymoore cummings. coming up, mass incarceration is nothing new, and the human rights crisis under way in america's prisons is only expanding. i'll tell you how to rise up against the latest injustice next. but first, my colleague steven roma with today's top news stories. >> thanks, rev. now the stories we're watching this hour. the u.s. now closing in on 46 million confirmed cases of covid-19, nearly a quarter million have died. in washington, d.c., today, vice president kamala harris got her covid-19 vaccine booster shot. the vp got her third dose of the moderna vaccine the same month it was approved by the fda. president biden meanwhile is in rome this evening where earlier in the day he attended
the g20 summit of world leaders. the group endorsed a minimum 15% corporate tax rate worldwide. tomorrow president biden heads to glasgow, scotland, for a u.n. climate summit. more "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton coming up right after this break. student loan debt? move to sofi-and feel what it's like to get your money right. ♪ move your student loan debt to sofi—you could save with low rates and no fees. earn a $500 bonus when you refi-and get your money right.
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want to bring attention to the continuing dehumanization of incarcerated people in this country. and if you're a regular watcher of this show, you already know that these issues disproportionately hurt black and brown folks who are more likely to get swept up in america's mass incarceration machine. just this month, north carolina prisons stopped allowing incarcerated men to receive physical mail, including letters, cards, photos, and art work on, an expansion of a
program they were already using in women's prisons. instead, the state has partnered with a private company to scan these items and deliver printouts for a fee. furthering severing ties between inmates and their communities. it's only the most recent attempt to do so. some states have provided inmates with tablets to use, charging them to communicate with their loved ones and even to read books that are otherwise free and in the public domain. and that's when those books are allowed at all. american prisons have wide discretion over reading material, and many of them ban books about racial and criminal justice. in kansas, for example, tony morrison is persona non grata, but prisons the reading of hitler's autobiography. in some states, incarcerated
people have to pay to make calls, which may seem reasonable for those of us outside of the prison system, but these fees can be exorbitant, but the initiate calculated the average wages of american prisoners at around 86 cents per hour, and multiple states pay nothing at all. so how can we rise up together to stop this injustice? the good news is that public pressure works. multiple states rolled back plans to ban physical boxes in favor of tablets in response to public outcry. for far too long, incarcerated people have been left to solve prison injustices alone, and i'll have much more on that topic on tomorrow's show when i host the team behind the new documentary "attica."
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welcome back. election day is on tuesday and races heat up from new jersey to virginia. after the 2020 presidential election broke the record for the largest voter turnout in a century, now voting rights across the country continue to be in a state of peril, especially for black and brown americans. according to the brennan center for justice, since the start of this year, 19 states have put in place 33 laws to make it harder to vote. with me now is former governor
of massachusetts, duvall patrick, who is spearing a grassroots outreach effort to empower voters of color. the new jersey and virginia governors races are three days away. both states have largely democratic electorates, much like massachusetts, where the current governor is charlie baker. what is your take on these races, governor? >> well, first of all, i think these are critically important races, but i think we have to remember all races are important. in fact, all of them today are critical. these two in particular because under democratic leadership in both new jersey and virginia, people have seen their government responding to them, doing things to help them help
themselves, try what government can do to make a whole community a statewide community more fair. every race is critical because what we've seen is that the republican side, particularly the hard right, which is more and more of what the republican party seems to stand for, is out of ideas. they have concluded that the only way they can win is by cheating or by discouraging voters. so you see in virginia, for example, reports of all of these republican poll watchers showing up to try to intimidate voters from coming out. in the same way we did, reverend al, 30, 40, and 50 years ago when black and brown people were just beginning to assert through the voting rights act their right to vote. so what we're trying to do with bridge together, which is a new initiative we've just recently launched is to invest in existing grassroots organizations, community groups
that know the neighborhood, know their neighbors, are organizing relationally using modern tools, buildings networks that are permanent, not just in time for elections, not just through a given campaign or for a given candidate, but building community and electoral power on an ongoing basis in key states going forward. >> speaking of virginia, "the washington post" reported this week on armies of so-called republican poll watchers, who you referred to, who have descended on early voting stations wearing republican badges in democratic counties, supposedly to oversee voter check-in and voter tallies. many african-american voters are understandably wary of these citizen efforts to monitor the vote. do you think there's an element of voter intimidation going on here? and what can be done about it? >> i think it's all about voter intimidation, reverend al.
i think there is no -- there's nothing behind this except the big lie and the notion that if republicans used their bully tactics in this way, as they have in so many others, that people will be discouraged and will stay home. the early vote tally has been pretty strong in virginia so far, as i understand it, that tends to favor the democrats. so of course you see a whole bunch of vigilantes being sicced on the voters and make them uncomfortable. this goes back to the importance of organizing at the grassroots. you need your neighbors and your posse around you. you need your friends and your community members to make sure that folks understand they have a right to cast that vote, to do so confidentially and privately, and to do so with integrity and without zero and without interference by some of these poll watchers. but governor, your organization
bridge together is an outreach effort to help empower and educate voters of color in key swing states on issues like criminal justice, education reform, and women's rights. historically black americans have been disenfranchised and feel left out of the political system. tell me briefly what do you hope to accomplish ahead of the midterms and beyond that when it comes to connecting with black voters? >> so if you think about the best campaigns, reverend al, you know that they have an element of grassroots organizing as a part of the campaign. but for a lot of campaigns, that means sending people and resources in the eight weeks before the general election. there's a different kind of organizing, which is about permanent grassroots organizations. it's about community engagement. and it may involve, you know, issues that are going to be on a federal candidate's -- as a part
of the a federal candidate's campaign, but they may also be about issues with the local school or issues about how to deal with food insecurity for neighbors in the community. it may just be a way of building community. the point you made and remarks you gave right before you had me on about how we're all accountable for each other, that's what a community is. >> right. >> and that gets built. that's an intentional thing that gets built by organizing. so what we want to do is make it possible for those groups not to have to soft flex up just in time for gotv to get out the vote, but to stay bulked up, to keep organizing all the time, well before the next election so that they build a sense of common cause, of common understanding. they overwhelm the obstacles and barriers being put up, to keep people from voting or be intimidated at the election site, and they understand at the
end of the day that they have a stake in their neighbors' dreams and struggles as well as their own. >> i want to ask you about the kyle rittenhouse trial. mr. rittenhouse shot and killed two people and injured one during the kenosha protests last year. his actions were caught on tape during the evening when there was no rioting, no looting going on. yet a wisconsin judge said that prosecutors cannot, i repeat, cannot call those who were killed by him as "victims," but can be labeled as looters and rioters, even though there was no looting or rioting going on at the time of the shooting. i'm deeply disturbed by this. they lost their lives and cannot be called victims? that i know you served as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the department of justice under president clinton. how can the judge bar the
prosecution from calling the deceased victims, but okay them being called looters? >> you know, i read about that story, and as a former civil rights official and as a lawyer, you know what i want to do is understand the whole context for it. but my first reaction is my, my, my. it is -- it is -- you know, you talked in the remarks right before i came on about the ways we dehumanize people who are incarcerated, how we forget that 97% plus in the end will come out one day and we're doing less and less to make it so they are safer and less dangerous when they came in when they went in. we do that with people who are not incarcerated, and -- >> this man shot these people at night, killed two, injured one. there was no rioting or looting
going on at the time, but they can be called rioters and looters at trial but they cannot be called victims. >> it makes no sense. >> deval patrick, thank you if she being with us. coming up, nine months before rosa parks did it, icon claudette call dren was arrested in alabama for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, and she's still on probation 66 years later. her lawyer will tell us about the pending court case to clear her record for good. that's next. tonight, i'll be eating a buffalo chicken panini with extra hot sauce. tonight, i'll be eating salmon sushi with a japanese jiggly cheesecake. (doorbell rings) jolly good. fire. (horse neighing) elton: nas? yeah? spare a pound? what? you know, bones, shillings, lolly? lolly? bangers and mash? i'm... i'm sorry? i don't have any money.
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nearly a year before rosa parks took her historic stand by staying seated, a 15-year-old black girl had also refused to yield her seat on a crowded montgomery, alabama, city bus, citing the 14th amendment, even as she was arrested, claudette colvin was charged with two counts of breaking the city's segregation laws and one count of assaulting an officer, charges that have yet to be fully expunged. but this week after more than 66 years, colvin and her legal team filed to do just that, and they have the blessings of the county prosecutor.
we were supposed to have ms. colvin on the show tonight, but at the last minute she had to cancel because she was not feeling well. but with me now is philip ensler, her lawyer, her attorney for claudette colvin. attorney ensler, we thank you for your time and for taking this case. we hope ms. colvin will be able to join us at another time. to familiarize our audience, she's essentially been on probation for that act of protest for about as long as i've been alive. much of it spent here in new york where she moved after her 1955 arrest, always fearing arrest in she returned to alabama and to her family. now, i understand -- and as i was refamiliarizing myself with her story, a move by this week's news, because it sounds like at least one of her main motivations for this, in addition to justice, of course,
is family. do i have this right? >> yes, reverend al, you do. thank you so much for having me on and thank you so much for sharing her story. she really is a pioneer of the movement and this is long overdue credit for her and making sure she gets the justice she deserves. she's been thinking since 1955 she's on probation. the court put her on indefinite probation, and understandably her and her family took that very literally to mean until told otherwise, she is on probation and she has said this is very much about letting her kids and her grandkids know that justice has finally been achieved, and also for younger people today. all of the activists out there, especially young women and young people that are fighting, that she gives them inspiration to know that things are difficult, that it does take time, but if you keep fighting, justice can ultimately prevail. >> counsel, i'm certainly no stranger to the pre-text often
used today to arrest activists of color. i've been arrested many times fighting for justice. and for that matter, here you are, you had a 15-year-old girl in 1955 montgomery charged with breaking jim crow laws and assaulting an officer. i want to ask you about jim crow. but assaulting an officer? based on your research, how much or little did that mean at the time? >> right. so it could have been as simple as when they took her off the bus and the put her in handcuffs, i mean, if her finger happened to touch the uniform of an officer, they could have called that assault. to have this hung over her this whole time for something that she was just trying to do the right thing, that charge is absurd and it's long overdue that the court expunge it and finally clear her name and her record of that.
>> now, attorney ensler, as i mentioned at the top, the county prosecutor is on record in favor of full expungement for your client. does that make a done deal? where do things stand? >> so as you know, until the judge grants it, it's never a done deal. but we are very optimistic having the local district attorney be supportive as well as mayor reed here, who's been instrumental in it and other community activists. that makes us very hopeful and we're hoping to hear any-day from the judge that he'll grant the motion and expunge her record. >> we certainly think that is due. you know, i have a book coming out in a little while called "righteous troublemakers." and i wrote about ms. colvin even before i knew she was going to come forward because there are so many people who have not become household names, but they have paved the way for the civil
rights movement where many of them are more known we know, but we need to know the people like claudette colvin. i write about her and i write about others that never got the limelight, never became famous, but stood up. she stood up six, nine months, i believe, before rosa parks. and i think her story, among others, all the way through till now, are to be told, and i'm trying to tell that while i have platforms to do it. attorney philip ensler, thank you for being with us. we'll certainly have ms. colvin on when she's up to it. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us. >> hey, everyone, i'm alicia menendez. ahead for us a busy show on "american voices." congressman adam schiff is here to talk about the biden agenda and what it will take to secure our democracy. plus, actress and director natalie morales on her
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and i'm coming for him. there is nothing more vital and potent than exercising your right to vote which is why the decades i have been involved in civil rights activism i fought to protect the right to vote and fought with many others to even get early voting days. i have also been told practice what you preach. so before i hit the road i went and voted early. these local elections in your city, your county, are as important as the national elections. they are the ones that when the federal government does send money down, they are the ones that administer it, the ones managing it. you should vote and if you are
in a state where early voting is, you ought to do what i did, vote early so nothing will get in your way. if you are in a state where they are trying restriction laws that we are fighting as hard as we can and on this show for just about over ten years we have been on we fought from voter id laws to these new kinds of exercises to protect your right to vote. go in early and you can challenge anything they try to do to prevent you from voting. vote early. don't just get angry, yes, march, no one marches more than me, but vote. that is a potent weapon to decide who makes the decisions you live by. you are going to live by them so you should have a vote on who makes the decisions in your life. we will be right back. fe
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but it's what you do with it, that makes life worth living. principal. for all it's worth. fries or salad? salad! good choice! it is. so is screening for colon cancer. when caught in early stages, it's more treatable. hey, cologuard! hi, i'm noninvasive and i detect altered dna in your stool to find 92% of colon cancers even in early stages. early stages. it's for people 45 plus at average risk for colon cancer, not high risk. false positive and negative results may occur. ask your provider if cologuard is right for you. (all) to screening!
that does it for me. thanks for watching. i will see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for another live hour of politics nation. congressman adam schiff will be here to talk about the latest in the january 6 investigation and a new movie about the uprising in prison in a prison called attica in attica, new york. >> hello, everyone. president biden is on the world stage in europe, as back home
they work to get one step closer to voting on his agenda. we are told they plan to vote on the two bills tuesday. president biden got one of his goals, securing a 15% minimum corporate tax for world leaders. local democrats are watching the race in virginia for governor. it is a dead hit. in new jersey, a poll shows phil murphy with a lead over the republican. in capitol hill they are trying to get the package passed with most democrats on board. as it stands the u.s. is one of six countries without any form of national leave in the