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tv   Velshi  MSNBC  January 9, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PST

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he wasn't legitimate. he colluded with the russians to overturn a legitimate outcome. that's corrosive, that kind of thinking. and you saw the drum beat go on and many media, many democratic leaders. then in 2020 it gets worse. it wasn't a coup attempt. no possibility that trump was going to overturn it. republicans certified in places like arizona and georgia that biden actually won. but trump himself, the president, drove the big lie and now a large majority of his voters believe that biden is illegitimate. and what i am suggesting, it's very clear on the back of midterms, the republicans are overwhelmingly likely to win in the house. they're reasonably likely to win in the senate, very likely to take key governor and state legislatures in swing states that are critical for certifying the election. and the republican party is still completely run by trump who could persist with this big lie.
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it is very hard to imagine anything but 2024 being a step change of more broken and more illegitimate and more likely to be a constitutional crisis than anything we have experienced, frankly, since 1876. >> wow. all right, ian, thanks for that. or not. but we appreciate your honesty, candor and analysis. ian bremmer, the host of gzero world on pbs. we're just getting started. straight ahead, senator alex padilla joins me to discuss the future of president biden's big agenda and defending america's democracy. another hour of "velshi" begins right now. good morning. sunday, 9:00 a.m. on the east coast. i'm ali velshi. the january 6th insurrection was the starkest reminder of the deep divide in contemporary america. in the year since that day has left an unreconciled feeling
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across the country. a recent "usa today" poll finally found something that an overwhelming majority of americans agree on. turns out 83% of the country is somewhat or very worried about the future of democracy. you've seen this show before. you know i'm with the majority on this one but that rare consensus doesn't even begin to explain why so many americans across the political spectrum feel that way. for one thing, democrats and republicans remain in disagreement about whether the january 6th insurrection sought to destroy or fix democracy. that same "usa today" poll found that, quote, 85% of democrats call the rioters criminals. two-thirds of the republicans say they went too far, but they had a point. that extends from our citizenry to our most important politicians. last month, president biden invited leaders from over 100 countries to participate in the summit for democracy. one notable omission from the invite list was victor orban, the prime minister of hungary who has suppressed the freedom
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of the press and rolled back civil rights in his country. fast forward to last monday when orban earned the unsolicited support of donald trump who released a statement in which he said that orban, quote, has my complete support and endorsement for re-election as prime minister, end quote. donald trump holds no official position anymore. he left office in disgrace nearly a year ago after being impeached twice. now he's just a man holed up in mar-a-lago who plays golf and spamming inboxes with his unwanted opinions. yet his sycophants continue to debase themselves and this country by spreading his deranged lies and mirroring his shameless attitude toward the erosion of democracy. but this is not some benign threat in the post-trump era of american politics. those sycophants could be the ones running the country soon enough. according to a "washington post" tally, there are currently 163 republicans who support the big lie and who are running for
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positions with authority over election administration. the list include 69 candidates for governor in 30 states, 55 candidates for the united states senate, 13 candidates for state attorney general and 18 candidates for secretary of state. it's tempting to disregard these trump loyalists but proponents of the big lie continue to present a danger to the country because they remain untethered from our electoral reality. meanwhile, voting rights reform remains an elusive goal and gop leaders like mitch mcconnell still don't seem to get the importance of passing it at this moment in history. last wednesday, he took the opportunity to lambaste democrats for tying the anniversary of the january 6th insurrection to the issue of voting rights. >> it is beyond distasteful to some of our colleagues to invoke the january 6th anniversary to advance these aims. washington democrats have been trying to seize control over
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elections for years. the fact that violent criminals broke the law does not entitle senate democrats to break the senate. it is surreal to hear sitting senators invoke january the 6 tot justify. listen to this. to justify breaking rules to grab out ones they have not earned. >> what mitch mcconnell fails to understand or chooses to be blindly ignorant about is what those violent criminals who broke the law on january 6th acted to do. they were undermining our democracy by sowing doubt based on lies about the legitimacy of our electoral system. unfounded lies. so, yes, the insurrection is absolutely tied to the country's voting rights issues. in fact, in the years since the insurrection, voting became harder to do in some states. nbc news reports, this year 19 states, most of them controlled by republicans, enact 3d 4 laws that made voting harder while many blue states expanded access, particularly to male voting. that's according to brennan
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center's latest tally. the challenges before us are many. beyond voting rights, president biden's social infrastructure agenda remains up in the air. that's important to millions of americans. it's important to me. but it is not actually more important than democracy itself. we cannot resume the important work of policy until we ensure that there are sufficient safeguards for democracy. joining me now is timothy snyder, a professor of history. the author of many books including "on tyranny: 20 lessons from the 20th century." professor snyder, good see you. this is an important moment in which to talk about the work that you've done and the way in which you've seen democracies come to unfold. one of the important matters to bring up is that democracy and tyranny are not binary. there are lots of authoritarian regimes today and in history that have elections in which some people get to vote and some people don't and some votes get counted and some don't. a lot of people think that
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democracy is not in peril because we're still going to keep voting. >> yes, that's a wonderful point. both historically and in the contemporary world you can have a kind of degradation where elections cease to become a legitimating principle, slowly, slowly become something like a ritual. and it's very hard to know just exactly what point your country stopped being a democracy. historically this has been true. there are contemporary cases where this is true. like, for example, russia. russians had a couple of free elections and then from a certain point, they were no longer free. hungarians had a series of free elections but the elections can no longer be considered to be fair. so you got your fing or something very important. it's not going to be because we stop having elections. the person who overturns democracy in this country will groebl it on the occasion of some kind of an election and then try to have ritualistic elections thereafter. >> let's talk about, obviously,
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because what you do and the books you've written and the things you teach, people who talk to you or invite you on their shows like i do want to hear your view about tyranny and about authoritarianism and dictatorship and the decline of democracy. but i think that lots of americans don't. lots of americans would like tong of january 6th and donald trump as things in the rear-view mirror. and frankly we'll get bored with the conversation about democracy because they're worried about their finances and covid and things like that. how does this conversation sustain in a way that is important to people without turning them off? >> yeah, i mean, that's a tough one. number one, the -- want me to phrase the point you're making. this country doesn't have a very good memory. democracy needs history and the last few decades we haven't done a very good job of teaching history. democracy needs history because history teaches you about your mistakes. it gives you the chance to do the self-correction which is supposed to be the essence of democracy. if everybody thinks that they're
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right all the time, you can't really have democracy and history teaches you that. but i think there's another point which has to do with the future. much as it's right for you and i to be talking about the scenarios by which this can all unravel, it's also very important to make the point that a working democracy is going to deliver a much better future. it's going to represent us. it's going to deal with the problems that are ahead of us. it's going to make sure that this country continues. it's going to create a better life for our children, grandchildren. there's a very positive story to be told as well, and i think we're probably not telling that one. >> let's talk about that. there are legislative fixes to some of the problems that we've got with respect to voting that we're talking about and debating and there will be a vote in the senate apparently before january 17th on two of the big voting acts. but this is bigger than that, right? this is bigger than what the senate does. this is how the american people come together and think about the positive incarnation, positive story about a robust democracy going forward. a more perfect union if we will. how do you narrate that story?
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>> yeah, it's tough. but i think it can be done. of course, i am in the middle of all of this. i understand how violent people's disagreements are about the particulars. and i completely agree there has to be truth about what happened, especially about very important events like january 6th. at the same time, these very disturbing poll results do show that at least rhetorically, at least at some level, americans actually care about their democracy and i think there would be something -- there's something to be said for having roundtables, perhaps organized by business or some other neutral -- or a neutral civil society after where people, not in washington, but around the country, before the november 2022 elections sit down and talk about democracy as such. and i think that's important because there's some relationships between the local and state level democrats and republicans and independents and all kinds of folks that we're going to need if we have a
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negative scenario that unfolds november 2022. >> i hope we can find a way to do that at scale where lots and lots of americans can be involved in meaningful discussions. i hope you have some role in that. it's a great idea. tim snyder, a professor of history at yale university. the author of a very, very important book "on tyranny: 20 lessons from the 20th century. it's it's not a long book but an important book. i'm joined by democratic senator alex padilla. a member of the homeland security committees. he is a former secretary of state of california because these days, senator, we talk to a lot of secretaries of state because in my mind, they have become the fire line. they've become the defense against some of the worst things happening in our democracy. but you in the senate have got a deadline now. according to chuck schumer, you've got until january 17 tot have a vote that talks about
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what i just talked about, protecting the right to vote in this country. >> good morning, ali. good to be back with you. happy new year. haven't seen you since. >> you, too. >> but, no, you're right. the time is now. the urgency is there. in part because we're not talking about the next presidential election, but we need to make sure everybody's fundamental voting rights are protected. we're not even talking about the november midterm elections. primaries are upon us. and so the time is now to act to protect the right to vote and trust me, i am relishing the opportunity to bring my experience as a recent secretary of state to these deliberations and be able to walk my colleagues, both sides of the aisle, whoever is willing to listen, through the mechanics of why things like automatic voter registration is important. same-day registration opportunities are important. and i'll emphasize this. it's not just for ensuring access to the ballots. a lot of these same reforms
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actually improve the integrity of our elections. election protection measures in addition to making it easier for eligible americans to register, stay registered and cast their ballot. >> senator, there are no perfect elections anywhere in the world, including in the safest places but we're actually quite good in america. but somehow, i have conversations with people whom i otherwise find reasonable who say, what's wrong with tightening things up? what's wrong with making the -- making our voting systems tighter? and that has been the basis of the anti-democratic activities in georgia, in texas, in arizona, in pennsylvania to some degree, in michigan and wisconsin. how do you change that narrative? >> well, by reminding people, and reminding the general public, that a lot of these supposed election protection -- election integrity measures are really a solution in search of a problem, right? here's the facts. for all the voter i.d., voter purging measures that we see
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taking place across the country, the fact is massive voter fraud does not exist. voter fraud is exceed league rare in the united states which says our current protections are actually working. here's what's worse, ali, and you've touched on this. it's -- the fight is no longer is it easier or harder for eligible people to register to vote to stay on the voter list or to be able to cast their ballot. the republican party is now attacking election administrators. if you don't toe the line as a local election administration, they're coming after you. you're getting primaried, they're going to replace you or take your powers away. so this vit over our fundamental voting rights is at a whole other level which underscores again our need to act federally. we have done it before. the federal voting rights act of 1965 was congress acting to protect the votes. the help america vote act. the national voter registration
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act all measures when congress deemed it appropriate to step in and ensure the integrity of our elections and i think it's time to do that again. >> you've got time. not that much time. january 17th is when chuck schumer wants a vote. what is it that you and others are going to do to try and get some understanding that voting rights needs to pass the senate and pass with 50 votes and you have got a couple of holdouts on your side. >> it's not that complicated. either number one, convince the republicans to do the right thing. we've tried and tried repeatedly this year. i'm not holding my breath that that's going to happen. or we massage the rules of the senate. you know me. i'm for eliminating the filibuster. if we can't do that, we've got to work out a way for the voter protection measures, before the -- the freedom to vote act to come to the floor and be able to pass with a simple majority vote. it is too important.
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look, a lot of eyes are on my colleague from west virginia, senator manchin. another former state secretary of state. which has been helpful in our conversations. and in my conversation with him, i do know that he is genuinely torn. he has abided by the filibuster by a long time and that means a lot to him but he understands as a former state elections official the importance of ensuring the right to vote. so we need to continue to appeal to that piece of it for him to realize, if we have to modernize the rules of the senate to restore the ability for the senate to function and particularly to ensure the right to vote and protect our democracy, it has to be done and the time is now. >> senator, good to see you. thank you for taking the time. democratic senator alex padilla is also the former secretary of state of california. coming up -- is there a plan b to save democracy? protecting votes rights is crucial but american voters actually want more than that. what democrats need to consider
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ahead of the midterms. then secretaries of state play a critical role in this fight and a lot of their seats are up for grabs this year. look at that map. after this you'll want to know who is running to be your secretary of state, where they stand on the big lie and the right of every american citizen to vote unimpeded. right after the break. as tensions between ukraine and russia come to a boil, high-level talks start tomorrow between the united states and russia. the u.s. already hinting at what it's bringing to the table. at it's bringing to the table [bacon sizzles] [bacon sizzles] ♪ [electronic music plays] ♪ [bacon sizzles] ♪ [electronic music plays] ♪ woo!
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well, tomorrow top diplomatic officials from russia and the united states will gather in geneva, switzerland, for security talks amid russia's rising tensions with ukraine. in recent months the kremlin deployed tens of thousands of troops along its border with ukraine. western allies of ukraine are preparing for a follow-scale russian invasion. ahead of those talks, new reporting from "the new york
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times" suggests the united states and its allies are preparing a crushing set of financial, tech and military sanctions which it would levy against russia if it chose to invade. the times is describing the escalating situation as one of the most perilous moments in europe since the end of the cold war. according to "the washington post," senior biden administration officials say tomorrow negotiators for the united states are also prepared to discuss the placement of missiles and the scope of military exercises in europe. joining us from moscow is nbc's matt bodner. good afternoon to you where you are, evening to you where you are. it's very rare that governments telegraph their moves in advance like this. moscow has always been annoyed by u.s. military exercises and build-ups along the russian borders in eastern europe. how is this going to be received? >> sure. thank you. good morning, ali. basically what we're seeing from the united states right now, i think, is a bit of trying to
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provide both a carrot and a stick. we've heard a lot about the stick the past few weeks. basically since the concerns about russia's intentions came into focus just before the holidays. the united states has been telegraphing that it is prepared to take sanctions measures, for example, that it hasn't before. but i guess on the other side of this, you need to give russia something where i think we all remember russia has come out with a series of demands of nato that it's going to bring to these meetings. they've published those demands as well and they're nonstarters. we've heard this much from officials, from blinken on down. blinken on friday called them gaslighting. the united states needs to show up at these meetings with something that russia might want, something historically that we know russia is very interested in. his arms control talks, specifically focused on anti-missile defense deployments. so it appears the play going into this is to try to offer russia one of these things that historically we know they wanted in the hopes that this is really more than anything else, russia
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staking out a tough initial bargaining position. >> matthew, thank you for the reporting on this. we'll watch this very closely as this unfolds over the next few days. matt bodner live in russia. coming up, they're guardians of your state's election laws and many americans didn't even know their names. why secretaries of state are central to the battle to save democracy and the threat upon us this november, spawned by the big lie. - oh, darn! - let me help. lift and push and push! there... it's up there. hey joshie... wrinkles send the wrong message. help prevent them with downy wrinkleguard. feel the difference with downy. age is just a number. and mine's unlisted. try boost® high protein with 20 grams of protein for muscle health. versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein. some people say if you want to see america, see it on the 4th of july.
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and fermentation. fermentation? yes, formulated to help your body really truly absorb the natural goodness. new chapter. wellness well done. i got a question for you. off the top of your head, don't google, can you name your state's secretary of state? it's an elected position that doesn't garner much attention. that is until we came to the brink of democratic disaster in 2020 and people realized that some secretaries of state have the power to certify the results of elections. that's why donald trump targeted them specifically in his attempt to overturn the results of his own election. he failed then. but what did help him and his
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cronies identify structural weaknesses in our democratic system that they could exploit. that's why the secretary of state races are being closely watched this election season. per npr's count there are at least 15 gop candidates in 13 states running for the position. nothing wrong with being a republican running for the position. there should be one. at least in every state. but these all believe in the big lie. 7 of them, nearly half the list, are running in the battleground states of michigan, arizona, and nevada. they recently said there's a coalition of america first secretary of state candidates. i really like that name. i think all secretaries of states should be america first. these particular ones want to, in his words, finish the job donald trump started with respect to the big lie. speaking of the failed ex-prrkts he's already endorsed three secretary of state candidates in michigan, arizona and most
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notably in georgia where he's backing jodi heis over the incumbent, raffensperger who he tried and failed to intimidate. jodi is the house of representatives member for georgia's 10th district. last year he was on the house floor when the insurrection to smash their way into the capitol, which you think would upset him a little bit. it would upset me if people came into my workplace and did that. after the mob was cleared, he voted against certifying the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election. this is the question we now have to grapple with. what happens if we hand over the keys, literally. that's what the secretaries of state have, the keys to our democracy. to people who are intent to burning down the house to which they have the keys? here with me now, trey grayson, former republican secretary of state of kentucky. mr. grayson, thank you for being with us. you are here to underscore the point that this should not be a
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republican or a democratic issue. this should be an issue of upholding the democracy that we have as a nation, shared, the republic that we are trying to make better on an ongoing basis. the more perfect union. yet, some people, most of them from your party, all of them from your party actually have fallen into this thing in which they are trying to perpetuate this big lie. it's going to work for some of them. >> it is a concern. i'm a republican who is concerned about it and that's why i'm speaking out and willing to talk to anybody about this issue. the good news is there are credible, good, solid republicans running in those primaries in most every state. so maybe the voting republican elect rat will take control of this. i'm glad the spotlight is being shined on it now. >> there are lots of people who are secretaries of state of their state who then go on to be either an attorney general or lieutenant governor or governor and they do other things. it's an important job in a
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state. i just talked to senator padilla who was a secretary of state in california. but when you run for secretary of state, your -- one of your main jobs is elections and the way they run. i don't even understand really what are typically the partisan differences between democrats and republican secretary of state candidates when it's not about the integrity of elections? >> generally, the democrats tend to want to expand voter access a little more. the republicans probably tend to focus more on cleaning up voter rolls and election security. kind of this balance between easy to vote, hard to cheat is our secretary of state in kentucky puts it. that's usually the fault line. it's usually not putting your fingers on the scale to weigh the election in favor of one candidate or another. i had plenty of friends running for office when i was secretary of state. some who won, some who lost. we went where the votes told us and certify the elections. that was just the way we should
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do it. follow the facts, we follow the law. some of these folks pledged to not do that. >> is there some version of best practices for secretaries of state? because one of the things we've learned in the last few elections is how different federal elections are, state by state. some of them do really well. there's great voter access and high voter security. right? that's the magic. that's the place in which republicans and democrats should come together. a state where security is high and everybody who is qualified to vote can vote. is there some way of sprinkling that electoral magic around the state to say, republican or democrat, those are not goals that are at odds with one another? >> a couple of states that i'd highlight. florida has worked to make their elections better. we all remember the -- 20 years ago, the challenges that we faced when it all came down to florida and we weren't really ever sure who won it was so close and there were so many
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issues. they worked together to make their system better and you can vote however you want, election day, by mail, early on, in person. they have some good safeguards. i think -- and colorado is a similar kind of situation. to me, the biggest thing we can do is build in safeguards into the system so that no one person or one group has the ability to do something. we always say the backstop of the courts but a lot of states it's decentralized. the counting usually takes place at the local level, overseen by republican and democrats with media and other public watching. raffensperger had a clear role to play, but a lot of this was done at the local level. if you're looking to be reassured, they usually don't have as much power as you might think. they certainly have some power and it would be harmful to our system if you had an election deier take hold but these laws do help to ensure that everything is done on the up and
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up. >> you brought my heart rate down a little bit, which i appreciate. the bottom line, though, for our viewers is, they should know who is running. they should know who their secretary of state is and i totally get that may not have been important in prior years. it's now really important. know who your secretary of state is. know who is running for office. know where they stand, particularly on the big lie and know what issues the secretary of state will be dealing with in your state. trey grayson is a former republican secretary of state for kentucky. january 6th, the painful day for so many of us, but for congressman raskin, democrat of maryland, it's unthinkable. we'll have his story, next. in addition to the substitute teaching. i honestly feel that that's my calling-- to give back to younger people. i think most adults will start realizing that they don't recall things as quickly as they used to or they don't remember things as vividly as they once did. i've been taking prevagen for about three years now. people say to me periodically, "man, you've got a memory like an elephant."
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january 6th is indelible in so many of our memories. it's a true "where were you" moment. for congressman jamie raskin, a democrat of maryland, the week holds a painful significance. on december 31st of 2020, his 25-year-old son tommy took his own life after years of battling depression. days later on january 5th, 2021, january 5th, 2021, think about that date, he was buried. raskin returned to work the very next day to follow through on his duty to certify the 2020 election. he took his daughter with him and his son-in-law. they were welcomed by kind words and support from his colleagues in the chamber. they even received a standing ovation. then the day took an unimaginable turn. a violent mob stormed the
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capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the presidential election. raskin was hurried away while his son and daughter-in law hid under a desk. in his new memoir, "unthinkable," raskin details his son's passionate engagement in human rights, animal advocacy and the defense of democracy as well as the shock and fallout of that fateful day in january. joining me now is jonathan capehart, host of "the sunday show." i believe you'll be talking with raskin. >> yes, i will be talking with congressman raskin. i just finished his book on saturday. and it is truly -- it's a remarkable book. it is very transparent, very raw. poignant memoir of his life and his relationship with his son which the pain of losing him, but the love he has, still for his son, is woven through every
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page of that book. but also, ali, we're going to be talking about the theme of today is about saving our democracy. senators debbie stabenow and tim kaine will be here and maxine waters will be here to talk about a strategy for getting voting rights and build back better legislation pass chd is an uphill battle with senate rules. the filibuster and, of course, republicans standing in the way. and finally, you'll not want to miss this. a painting depicting jesus as george floyd is stirring up controversy at one university. i'll be talking to the artist about his painting and the pushback which is coming from the students. all that and more coming up just minutes away on "the sunday show." >> i'm looking forward to seeing it, jonathan. we'll see you in about 19 minutes. stay tuned, right after "velshi." this is a crucial year for the future of this nation. the clock is ticking. democrats have until the midterms to make good on some promises or else they risk the
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not to be too dramatic, but democracy as we know it is on the line this year. democrats have until the midterms to turn things around or president biden's entire agenda could collapse. if republicans take back the house and senate, democrats can kiss voting rights, the investigation into january 6th and everything in the build back better plan good-bye. the senate will likely take up voting rights legislation this week. senate majority leader chuck schumer has pledged to bring up filibuster reform by january 17th, which is martin luther king jr. day, if republicans block voting rights again, which i'm pretty sure they will. protecting voting rights has become a top priority in preserving democracy, but american voters do care about other tangible things that affect their everyday life, including ending the coronavirus pandemic and healthy economy.
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so if democrats have a plan b to follow through on promises made to their constituents, this might be the time to use it. because failure to tangibly improve the daily lives of americans in the short term could potentially pave the way for another trump presidency in 2024. the atlantic's adam serwer writes if the nation continues on this course, trump may return to office not only with popular legitimacy, but with what he and his cronies will interpret as a mandate to pursue an authoritarian agenda. americans were only barely spared the last time around. hold that thought because you may agree with it, you may not. i want to talk about this with alencia johnson and jennifer ruben, opinion writer for "the washington post," after a quick break. r a quick break. everyday item to become dangerous. tide pods child-guard pack helps keep your laundry pacs in a safe place and your child safer.
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all right, as promised i'm joined by alencia johnson, democratic strategist and jennifer ruben, opinion writer for "the washington post" and msnbc contributor, author of the book "resistance: how women saved democracy." i think the unsaid part in andy serwer's article is lots of americans maybe care about democracy and its demise, but it is not their daily motivator, particularly in the day of covid where we can't seem to get this under control and then the economy that, you know, is good
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for some people, but some people are still struggling through. if democrats don't answer that question, there is a chance they lose, not on the issue of democracy, but on the issue that people vote on, pocketbook issues and health and safety issues. >> 100% agree with that. we think about our immediate needs first before we think about our future and aspirations. we saw that play out here in virginia. the focus on anti-donald trump rhetoric lost democrats the governorship. so we saw that here and i'm so concerned that our fight for build back better and voting rights is getting lost in the conversation about saving democracy. we need people to vote for democrats. in the way they vote for democrats in november is, one, they're going to make sure there is economic relief, there is going to be relief in this pandemic that only comes through some of the legislation like build back better and then we want to make sure when they get to the ballot box, they can
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exercise their right to vote, the freedom to vote act. if the biden administration can focus on those three things, voting rights, build back better, as well as getting this pandemic under control, we do have a strong chance of maintaining a slim majority in congress and then therefore we have a better chance of saving democracy by not having donald trump elected in four years. >> so, jennifer, you're not on the other side of this equation, but i read enough of your stuff, you share a deep concern in the nature in which we have to deal with the threat to democracy. how do you see that fitting in? how do you see democrats or whom ever in this country, republicans included who are pro maintaining democracy, push that to the top of the agenda, while not ignoring those things that alencia is talking about? >> well if the economy is not better and covid is still raging, the democrats are in deep trouble. but frankly, i'm not sure the president of who is going to be
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setting the tone for the election can do a whole lot about either one of those. the economy is baked in. and covid either people are going to get vaccinated or omicron is going to rage throughout the country, but what he can do is assume a position of leadership, and that's what he did on january 6th. he was so strong, so resolute, and i think when he does that, it will enhance his ability to get through the rest of the agenda, just because he looks like a strong tough leader. and i will say that i think he's been perhaps too passive, too hesitant to call out president trump on the theory that maybe he will go away, but he's not going away. i think the degree to which he can continue to pound away and as alencia said, voting rights is democracy protection. he's got to talk about democracy if he wants voting rights reform. i think he can do both, but i
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would like to see him do much more of what he did last week. i think it was very effective. it was incredibly reassuring for democrats who have kind of bemoaned the fact he hasn't taken on trump and i think you'll see democrats' approval of him go up when he does this, and we're going to see him again on next week or this upcoming week in georgia when he talks about voting rights. so i think he can't put this issue aside, he's the leader of the free world, democracy is a good issue. this is how he won the presidency, fighting for the soul of democracy. when he does it, you can feel him get that irish up as they say and become feisty and that's i think the face he has to show to the american people. >> i'm smiling because you just have given me an idea, i'll get a t-shirt made up democracy is a good issue. the president going to georgia on the 12th. chuck schumer said by the 17th martin luther king jr. day he
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wants a vote on the two bills that are before the senate one way or the other with respect to voting rights. a number of those active groups in georgia, those women, women of color, who were in large part responsible for the turnout that resulted in two democratic senators and a democratic state in georgia said do not show up without a highly specific plan and a road map as to how we're getting voting rights done. i'm not sure they're going to have that, the president and the vice president will have that by january 12th. >> you know, i can understand why the women, specifically the black women in georgia who carried this election and president biden's victory over the line, i can understand why they're saying that. it is frustrating to hear constant promises since 2019, the battle for the soul of the nation. i believe that president biden and vice president harris, they absolutely believe that this is the most critical piece of legislation. but we got to make sure we have a bill that a full congress -- we have enough support to get it
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passed. listen, we're not having this really big conversation about eliminating the filibuster. there is this conversation about, you know, getting joe manchin over there, over the line, kyrsten sinema, got to eliminate the filibuster and make sure those two are going to vote so we can get the freedom to vote act passed by a slim majority. so i'm with the women in georgia, let as not just have promises and fiery speeches which are amazing and galvanize the base, but we need some action, we need something to come out of this vote coming up soon. >> what does that look like, jennifer, because clearly the fiery rhetoric does help. a lot of people were relieved that joe biden did go out and talk about donald trump and what he thinks of him last week. that bully pulpit might be important in achieving what these activists in georgia want, what frankly all of us want in terms of pushing sinema and manchin and maybe a republican or two over the line about
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voting rights matter more than anything else right now because without them, you got nothing. >> i think what activists are looking for, what they have been pleading for is a very definitive statement. i do not want the filibuster to stand in the way of voting rights. we need to figure out a way around it, through it, beside it, but democracy cannot be defeated because of a minority uses a senate rule to block voting rights reform. that's un-american, that's unacceptable. and i think it does come down to those two people. and the question is how to turn up the heat on the two of them so that they understand the stakes, that this is not simply about one election, it is about democracy. and i think he's going to have to be very definitive about the filibuster. and, you know, if you watch jen psaki's press conference every day, you see she's beginning to drop some hints, yes, he's given a speech before about the filibuster, oh, yes, he's been strong on this issue. so i would not be surprised at
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all if you finally hear an unequivocal statement the filibuster cannot be the barrier to voting rights reform because our democracy will suffer. >> we shall take this show as the primer for the idea that this is going to be a big week for conversations and commitments around democracy in this country that could stay with us for a long time. thanks to both of you. i really appreciate you being here for this. alencia johnson, former adviser to the biden campaign, jennifer rubin an opinion writer for "the washington post." catch me every saturday and sunday morning from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. eastern. grab some coffee if you need. but hold up until the next commercial break. because "the sunday show" with my friend jonathan capehart begins right now. the mission to save democracy by protecting the vote. senate democrats and president biden promise a big week ahead.
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>> we have to be firm, resolute and unyielding in our defense of the right to vote, and to have that vote counted. >> senators debbie stabenow and tim kaine join me to talk about what's next. congressman jamie raskin joins me with a new look inside the insurrection. i'll talk to him about his new book and what he calls the three rings of the coup attempt. and the painting that touched off a fierce debate over race, religion and art at catholic university. the artist joins me live. i'm jonathan capehart. this is "the sunday show." >> this sunday, democrats find new momentum in the wake of the january 6th insurrection anniversary to bring voting rights to the resolute desk. president biden had a clear and


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