tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 31, 2020 1:00am-2:00am PST
streaming weeknights on peacock, including tonight's special report, an entire episode dedicated to the victims of covid-19. 50 stories of 50 lives lost. i really do hope you watch that. but of course not before you check out my very good friend ali velshi, who is hosting "the check out my good friend, ali velshi, who is hosting "the rachel maddow show" tonight. good evening, ali. what a pleasure, my friend. have yourself a great evening. and i won't see you again, so have yourself a great new year. good to see you. >> you, too. happy new year. >> thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. rachel's got the night off and we've got a lot to get to, including the news that republicans have decided to put one last speed bump in the road to joe biden's inauguration as the next president. this one coming from republican presidential candidate in waiting senator josh hawley of missouri. we are going to be speaking with senator cory booker about this new gambit in just a few moments. but we want to start tonight with an important story that starts with just a guy on a bus.
in march of 1947, a 47-year-old businessman took this bus route from mexico city to new york. he was actually on his way to maine, but he was feeling sick, so he got off the bus and checked himself into a new york city hotel. he died in a new york city hospital about a week later. it would take a while until doctors knew for sure, but the businessman had died of smallpox. and by the time they figured it out, it was too late. the virus was out. one by one, people sick with high fevers and strange rashes started turning up at new york city hospitals. smallpox is a devastating disease. about 30% of the people who contract smallpox will die. for the ones who survive, they are often left with permanent scars. some go blind. and it spreads like wildfire. it's a highly contagious, highly communicable illness. but by 1947, there was already a vaccine for smallpox, so intellectually, the solution was pretty simple -- vaccinate the
public and stop the disease from spreading. logistically, that's the public health scenario, because for in strategy to work, you have to get shots into millions of arms and fast. you have to outrun the spread of the virus before the virus outruns you. so, when those first cases of smallpox started popping up in new york city, the city's health commissioner knew that he had to convince millions of people not only to get the vaccine, but to get it now. at the time, the best way to talk to an entire city all at once was the radio. the new york city health commissioner at the time was a bacterialogist named israel weinstein. "the new york times" wrote about that outbreak in 1947 and highlighted the public pleas that dr. weinstein gave on the radio. listen. >> we cannot guarantee that there have not been other cases, because not every piece of small
box, or for that matter, of any disease, represents the classic or textbook picture. they vary in degree. now, there very well may have been certain mild cases that have gone about and have not been diagnosed. it's the carrier, the person who carries the organism on his clothes or on his body or the person who has a mild attack of the disease who is the dangerous one. and remember that the person who has the mild attack can give it to one who is unprotected and that person get it in all its severity. if you gamble with your health and with your life, you are very fool hr foolhardy. there is a definite danger as long as people in the city are unprotected. for your own safety and for that of your families and friends,
please, don't take a chance. be vaccinated tonight. >> ladies and gentlemen, you have been listening to a special address by dr. israel weinstein, health commissioner of the city of new york. >> vaccination is the sure preventive against smallpox. >> vaccination is the sure preventive against smallpox. it might sound quaint now, but those radio addresses were a key ingredient in what of the most successful vaccine rollouts in american history, possibly in global history. under dr. weinstein's leadership, the city set up mass vaccination sites for people to line up and -- look at these pictures -- and get their free smallpox vaccine. people listened to the good doctor on the radio and lined up in droves outside hospitals, outside police stations, outside public clinics to get their vaccine. can't imagine people being that close these days. but they sent vaccine teams to every public school in the city. they even sent doctors into nightclubs and to the circus to
make sure the circus performers got their vaccines, too. this is from the "times" -- "the response was so great that the city enlisted thousands of civilian volunteers to help deliver inoculations. armed with vials of vaccine, the volunteers along with professional health care providers administered as many as eight doses per minute. in first two weeks, 5 million new yorkers were vaccinated against smallpox." five million doses in 14 days in 1947. the smallpox vaccine rollout in new york in 1947 is one of the most rapid, efficient, organized vaccination initiatives this country has ever seen. at one point, 5 hundr00,000 dose administered in new york city in a single day. new york's smallpox outbreak could have been one of the worst public health disasters in living memory. instead, it ended ten weeks later with 12 infections, two deaths, and more than 6 million shots in people's arms.
today's world, of course, is a lot more complicated than the one of 1947, and rolling out a vaccine to one city is a lot different from rolling it out to the entire world. but when you strip it down, that's the playbook to follow, when you can, to mass deliver a vaccine. it's not just about developing the secret sauce inside that vial, it's about building an infrastructure to deliver it quickly into people's arms, train volunteers, build vaccination centers, vaccinate the circus. that's not the playbook the federal government is running to deliver the covid vaccine to the american people in an efficient, orderly way. let's look at florida. this is not a line outside a mall on black friday. this is a vaccine line in lee county, florida. senior citizens camping out overnight at a rec center parking lot to receive the vaccine. the republican governor of florida went against cdc recommendations to give frontline workers the vaccine first. instead, moved florida seniors to the top of the line. but that seems to be where the
planning stopped. at some vaccine sites around florida, shots are simply being offered on a first come, first served basis. that's why the most vulnerable floridians are sleeping in a parking lot for their chance to get a dose of a vaccine. in lee county yesterday, the three vaccination sites reached full capacity by 7:00 a.m. the sheriff had to send out a traffic alert because the waiting cars were clogging up the roads. in other parts of the state, vaccines are available by appointment, if you can get one. "usa today" reports that people in miami spent hours getting busy signals to get an appointment. here's how it's going in texas. health officials raising alarms today that state has more vaccine than they can currently get into people's arms, saying that, quote, unnecessary delays are causing a, quote, significant portion of the precious vaccine to sit untouched. one clinic in arizona says they have too many shots because they don't have enough employees willing to take the vaccines that are sitting unused on their shelves. nbc news tried to track down just how many unused doses might
be sitting around throughout the country. of the roughly 12 million doses that have been shipped to health care providers, just over 2 million have been administered. at that rate, it would take ten years to vaccinate enough of the country to reach herd immunity. tomorrow is the last day of the year. just today we set a new record, the most covid-19 deaths in a single day by a lot. and still, we are nowhere near where we thought we would be in terms of rolling out this vaccine. the trump administration promised it would vaccinate 20 million people by year's end, by tomorrow. instead, we've reached about a tenth of that goal. the disorganized hodgepodge nature of this rollout so far will not make it go faster, especially because the federal government appears to have done none of the advanced work necessary to make this go smoothly. this is not a 1947-style rollout. there are no volunteer armies of vaccinators. there are no federal vaccination centers. there are senior citizens sleeping in parking lots and untouched vaccine sitting on
shelves at a critical time in the pandemic. there were concerns that we would not have enough vaccine early on to make a dent in new infections, but we can't even deliver the few doses that we have. some of them we are literally throwing away. today the governor of california said that the new variant of the virus that was first found in the united kingdom has now been found in california, too. now, this variant is not believed to be more fatal than the original strain, but it is much more contagious. that means more people could catch covid, more people will need hospitalization, and many more people will die, unless, of course, they receive the vaccine in an organized, timely way. colorado was the first part of the country to identify the strain that's circulating through its community. the democratic governor of california, jared polis, announced today that coloradoans over age 70 as well as teachers and grocery workers can expect to receive the vaccine next week. there's no time like the present. joining me now, jared polis, governor of colorado.
governor, good to see you. thank you for your time this evening. let me ask you about this new variant. it was a national guard member who tested positive for the new variant, first in the country. apparently, this person has not traveled, so it's literally i impossible that they're the first case, just the first case we've been able to identify. what's your sense? was there something about your testing system that made this the first state to spot the variant? >> well, i'm proud of our colorado scientists and our state lab, and i think i speak on behalf of all the governors as well as every american expressing gratitude for the role the national guard has played. they've manned testing facilities. they've helped staff nursing homes. they're doing an amazing job. look, i don't think anybody knows exactly how it got here. i think when we found the first case of the variant yesterday, we knew that it was already here. i think it's probably in every state, even more in states that have more travel to the united kingdom, like on the east coast, but we were just the first ones to discover it here. we don't think it's wildly prevalent yet, or we would have seen an uptick in the cases if, in fact, it's more contagious,
but we have found it and we're following the chain of contagion to see where else it might be in our state, and i know other states are as well. >> governor, talk to me about this vaccine distribution situation that we seem to be facing. i've heard every excuse in the book in the last week about why we haven't gotten more shots in arms. somebody saying it's the governors who get it, it's the states that distribute it. others are saying there isn't enough demand. what's the situation in colorado, as you understand it? are you matching the vaccines that you have to people who need it? >> i'm proud that we're in the top five states in terms of get the percentage of vaccinations that we've used. we've vaccinated over 1.5% of the population of our state. today we opened it up to people 70 and up. once those frontline workers that work in health care wards, you know, nurses and doctors and orderlies, are taken care of -- and they mostly are in our state in most areas -- we're moving on to other groups. it's a matter of scheduling some of the vocational-related groups, teachers and others, likely in february getting that
scheduled with each of those units. but in the meantime, our orders in colorado -- use every dose within 72 hours. if we're working with a hospital or doctor, community health clinic that doesn't use it in 72 hours, we'll take it back and give it to somebody who will use it. >> so in a lot of places, unlike florida, where they've prioritized the elderly, there just weren't enough doses yet to get to beyond the health care worker population. where are you getting enough medication to start vaccinating the public as early as next week? >> well, i would take it back from anybody before senior spend nights in parking lots also. the folks like uc health and county health departments that are giving inoculations to seniors, they're scheduling it. you're either scheduling it online, you know, 15 minutes, 15 minutes, the people sign up, they show up, they get a reminder. it's unfathomable that people would be forced, especially our vulnerable seniors, would be forced to spend the night outdoor in line. we would not allow any of our distribution partners to engage in that kind of activity.
>> do you have enough vaccine? do you have as much vaccine as you want? >> no, of course not. we used every dose we have. we're still only at 1.5% of the population here. we can't necessarily count on the number every week. in fact, our pfizer last week was under. a number of states noticed that. we hope that the federal government continues to keep the supply reliable, but really, we only know what we have when we get it, and we have a good sense of one week ahead. very little sense of two weeks ahead. no sense of a few weeks ahead. >> governor -- well, that i was going to ask you, because in a few weeks, we'll have a new administration, a new president. joe biden says he wants a million shots a day, he wants 100 million shots in the first 100 days of his administration. how do we get there? what do you need from the federal government to accelerate the rate at which you are inoculating people? >> well, frankly, i'd love to see another vaccine approved. i saw united kingdom approved astrazeneca, but i heard it might not be approved here until april when we get the first doses.
we would love the fda to move that up to march or february. it might not be as effective as the 95%, but even 60%, 70%, 80%, we'll start giving it to young people, 20s and 30s, my goodness. we'd start getting it tomorrow and give the people in their 70s and, ultimately, in their 60s, the pfizer and the moderna. >> governor jared polis, good to see you. thank you for taking time for us tonight. jared polis is the governor of colorado. joining us now is dr. atul go wandie, a surgeon at brigham and women's in boston, one of president-elect biden's covid advisory board members. doctor, good to see you. thank you for taking time for us tonight. if you could help me with understanding the exponential nature of the spread of a vaccine. so, the idea that this vaccine might be 50% more infectious or more contagious is much, much worse than it being 50% more fatal. >> and you're talking about the
variant. yes. >> yes, correct. thank you. >> yes. the most important thing about it being more contagious is that it doesn't necessarily mean it is more likely to cause serious illness or death. and yet, because it is more contagious, it will fill our hospitals faster, you'll see more people in the icu, and you'll see more people die. and we've seen that happening in the uk. we are already maxing out hospitals -- a quarter of the hospital icus are filled or near full. that is a concerning situation, to say the least. >> we were talking to the health director of los angeles county last night. we were discussing a hospital in the southern california area that is essentially rationing care. they've said that if somebody comes in really, really sick, and they determine that life-saving efforts to keep them alive may not work, they will save those resources for someone who's more likely to live.
that's not the kind of thing we're used to hearing publicly spoken in the united states. obviously, hospitals have to make choices, but they don't typically have to make choices about who lives and dies. >> these kinds of crisis standards of care, as they're called, are not where we want to be. we need a tremendous amount of public support. mask-wearing is still the most important tool we have, and we still have significant parts of the country, even in every state, where you have people who still insist that this is no more significant than the flu. we're past well over 2,000 deaths a day. that makes it now the number one killer in the country, bigger than heart disease, bigger than cancer. >> you just heard governor polis saying he would like to see this astrazeneca oxford vaccine that was approved in the united kingdom approved here in the united states earlier than april, which is our earliest guess. what's that all about?
how come some countries approve vaccines that typically are made there faster, and yet, we are still months away in the united states? >> well, some of that, for example, with astrazeneca, the concern is that their claim about the effectiveness of the vaccine hasn't been released in the form of data that you can really examine. i give credit to the fda for insisting that they have to review the data and look at it extremely closely. they've uncovered things in the last round with the last two vaccines, for example, finding that even one dose showed early signs of effectiveness at levels we hadn't anticipated. i would love to see that the astrazeneca vaccine turns out to have a 90% effectiveness, like they have claimed, but that data still has to be brought forward and reviewed. i would agree with the governor, it would be great to get that data early, and then the fda has signaled and shown that they have committed to moving quickly
once that data -- [ inaudible ] >> dr. gawande, thank you for being on the show tonight. one of president-elect biden's covid advisory board members and is a surgeon and professor at the harvard school of public health, surgeon at brigham and women's hospital in boston. thank you for your time tonight, sir. >> delighted to be here. next, mitch mcconnell pleaded with his colleagues not to do it, but one republican couldn't help himself. senator cory booker joins us next to talk about what's about to go down in the senate next week. what's about to go down in the senate next week do you have a life insurance policy you no longer need? now you can sell your policy, even a term policy, for an immediate cash payment. call coventry direct to learn more. we thought we had planned carefully for our retirement. but we quickly realized that we needed a way to supplement our income. our friends sold their policy to help pay for their medical bills and that got me thinking. maybe selling our policy could help with our retirement. i'm skeptical, so i did some research and called coventry direct. they explained life insurance is a valuable asset that can be sold. we learned that we can sell all of our
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after the electoral college formally voted to make joe biden the next president, senate republican leader mitch mcconnell took to the senate floor and finally, finally acknowledged for the first time that biden was the president-elect. it was a full six weeks after election day, six weeks filled with republican dodging questions about joe biden's win, twisting themselves into verbal knots, and getting very philosophical about words and their meaning. what even is a president-elect, anyway? but mitch mcconnell finally came around. better late than never, i guess. and with the electoral college vote done, the only thing left to do was for the house and senate to formally certify the results in a joint session on january 6th, next wednesday. a number of house republicans have been making noise about challenging the election results that day in a last-ditched, doomed effort to overturn biden's win, either because of voter fraud or venezuelan voting machine gremlins or rudy
giuliani, or who knows what. a dozen house republicans even met at the white house with president trump to strategize about that challenge. also at that meeting, vice president pence, who will actually preside over the joint session of congress next wednesday, certifying the election results. but there was one other thing that that merry band of coup plotters needed -- a united states senator. you see, any house republican, or a dozen, or 100, can object to certifying any state's slate of electors, but the objection goes nowhere, unless at least one senator signs on. and on that day just over two weeks ago, when mcconnell finally uttered the dreaded phrase, "president-elect joe biden," he got a phone call with his fellow senate republicans in which he reportedly warned them not to do this thing -- do not sign on to any challenges to biden's victory, mcconnell told them. as politico reported, mcconnell told his caucus that challenging the results would force republicans to take a terrible
vote because they would need to vote it down and appear against president donald trump. the number two republican in the senate, john thune, told reporters that any attempt to challenge the election results in the senate would, quote, go down like a shot dog, end quote. but it appears that mcconnell's warnings and thune's disconcertingly grisly metaphor were not enough to keep their caucus in line, because today, senator josh hawley of missouri announced he will challenge the results of at least one state on january 6th, next wednesday. hawley claims that pennsylvania and other states did not follow their own election laws and that congress should investigate nonexistent voter fraud. and for good measure, he says, social media companies interfered in the election, too. now, to be entirely clear, this gambit is almost certainly not going to result in anything more than a clay delay in certifying results on january 6th. all hawley can do it force a two-hour debate on
pennsylvania's electors or multiple two-hour debates on many states' electors, but joe biden is still going to be the next president of the united states. what senator hawley may succeed in doing is opening up a major rift among senate republicans, because each senator will have to choose between voting to support trump or voting to support the results of a democratic election. let's just be clear, that's what the vote's for. it's either for democracy or it's against democracy. josh hawley has come out very clearly against democracy today. he's also widely expected to run for president in 2024, and clearly, he thinks he knows which way his party is headed. joining us now, senator cory booker, democrat of new jersey who sits on the judiciary committee with senator hawley. senator booker, you know, there was a day, there was a time when you and i used to talk about interesting policy matters, but now every time you're on the show, it's got a "what on earth is this" quality to it. so, why dens you tell me? you know josh hawley. you sit on judiciary with him. what on earth is this? >> well, i can't get inside his head, but i do know this -- you
said it clearly and unequivocally -- the next president of the united states will be joe biden. and according to the 12th amendment and the electoral count act of 1887, there is absolutely no way to prevent that. what, unfortunately, this does, is i think it's another whack at the free and fair elections in the united states perpetuating lies and deceits and conspiracy theories launched for the first time in my lifetime by the president of the united states, who is not only seeking to undermine a free and fair election, but really, it looks like he's seeking to wound our democracy. and if that wound is compounded again and again and again by those who want to play into conspiracy theories, lies, and sdee deceits, it could actually do a lot of harm to future elections, and the biggest spirit that is necessary for our democracy to function, which is faith and trust in our electoral process. >> yeah, and this is the thing, josh hawley may have concerns that he thinks are valid about
congress looking into the way elections are run in this country, but that's not what this thing on january 6th is about. the thing on january 6th is taking the electoral college numbers, counting them all up, doing a roll call and certifying them. that's it. it's not the place for this conversation. >> no. i mean, look, we've seen the place for the conversation, in my opinion. we saw dozens and dozens of giuliani-backed lawsuits that failed time and time in state court and in federal court, and even up at the supreme court. we have seen trump officials from his appointed judges knock this thing down time and time again. you've seen the attorney general barr say that this was a free and fair election. other trump officials in the cybersecurity realm have said this was a free and fair election, no signs of interference. time and time again, trump official, republican state leaders, governors, secretary of states, have all said these are lies by the president, deceit and misinformation. and so, to perpetuate that is
something i've never seen before. i think it's damaging to our democracy and it's only advancing this conspiracy theory that people who are part of trump's -- consider themselves trump loyalists, are taking hook, line, and sinker, it seems, many of them. >> it's also going to wreck the republican party if it keeps going this way. but most of your republican colleagues i doubt are interested in this. they do not want to see themselves in a position, as mitch mcconnell suggested, where they're going to have to vote that this stuff that you're suggesting is bonkers, we're voting to certify the election. >> well, i know one thing quite confidently -- and again, i'm not a fortune-teller -- but i know that history's going to look back on this moment and see what we did, how we conducted ourselves. did we act in the best interests of our nation or did we perpetuate attempts to undo its most sack sinkt ideals like free and fair elections? i think history's going to look back on this moment and see what
each individual senator decides to do and their reasoning and rationale. and i think it will frown on people if they play into the fraud that this president is not only doing since the election -- remember, he's been, even before the election, he said, if i lose, i'm going to try to do everything i can to overturn the results. and to play into that right now, i think you're going to -- the shadow of history will leave you in a very cold place of remembrance. >> i want to ask you about the judiciary committee. joe biden's team, according to "the huffington post" asked senate democrats, like yourself, to send him judicial nominees asap. the last four years have been marked by a record number of judicial appointees. president-elect joe biden, according to the article, wants democratic senators to recommend nominees to him who are diverse, not just in terms of race or gender, but professionally, something progressives have been clamoring for, for years. in a letter obtained by "huff post," biden's incoming white house counsel tells senators to find public defenders and civil rights attorneys in their state
who they think would be a good fit for federal judgeship. are you familiar with this? >> i am definitely familiar with that spirit in my conversations with transition members. my senior senator, bob menendez, and i have been working very hard on coming up with a very qualified, diverse, long list of judges for the judicial emergency we really have in the state of new jersey. so, what donald trump and mitch mcconnell have done to the federal bench -- and i say both of them, because even before donald trump came into office, mitch mcconnell seemed to be doing everything he could to slow down the process of -- and even undermine -- the process of obama appointees. and so, now we have years now of donald trump putting on more judges than anybody else in the modern era. many of them were deemed unqualified by the aba. they are young, and many of them represent the farthest right wings of judicial thought. so, i think we need to work to balance the court out as the
constitution prescribes, and joe biden should be doing everything he can to get federal judges appointed as quickly as possible. and again, this is why georgia is so important, because mitch mcconnell has already shown what he'll do to joe biden because he did it to obama, if he's in charge of the senate. i have no confidence that he's necessarily going to move quickly to get biden judges confirmed. >> well, we're going to be talking about that georgia election, which is next tuesday. senator booker, good to see you, as always. thank you for joining us. happy new year. and here's to some good, substantive policy discussions in 2021. >> i look forward to that, sir. thank you so much. all right, up next, there is reason for democrats to be cautiously optimistic tonight. it has to do with what the senator was just talking about, the all-important vote in georgia next tuesday. we'll explain when i come back. georgia next tuesday we'll explain when i come back
georgia, 2020 doesn't end for another six days. that's when georgians will go to the polls to decide which party will control the united states senate for at least the next two years. today was the last day of early voting in fulton county, georgia's biggest county, which includes most of the city of atlanta, while other counties nearby, like dekalb and cobb county, can still vote early tomorrow. already, more than 2.5 million georgians across the state have voted. that turnout has given democrats some reason to be cautiously optimistic. according to politico, early voting has lagged in some key republican-controlled areas, worrying some republican operatives. one analysis shows the democrats are on pace to turn out about 80% of the voters who came out to vote early for them in november, while only about two-thirds of republicans have come back out to vote early in this election. now, if you're wondering why republicans are not showing up in bigger numbers, it may have something to do with the ongoing effort by president trump and his cronies to cast doubt about the results of the last election in georgia, alleging widespread
voter fraud, despite overwhelming evidence that no such fraud exists. yesterday, georgia's secretary of state's office released results of an audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes cast in cobb county, finding absolutely no instances of voter fraud. that result sent donald trump into yet another tantrum against top georgia republican officials. this morning, trump ramped up his attacks against georgia's republican governor, calling on him to resign from office. just hours earlier, trump tweeted a baseless and debunked conspiracy about how georgia's republican secretary of state, brad raffensperger, has a brother who secretly works for the chinese government. like much of what the president says, that claim is entirely untrue. but even as georgia's top republican officials become pariahs in trump land for not entertaining the president's baseless claims of fraud, keep in mind, they have not given up on the republican party's long-term agenda of using that baseless fraud or those baseless
fraud claims to try to limit access to the polls. today, the president of georgia's naacp publicly resigned from a bipartisan voting rights task force created by georgia republican secretary of state brad raffensperger, accusing raffensperger of supporting attempts to disenfranchise eligible georgia voters and calling the task force a farce. joining us now, reverend james woodall. reverend woodall is the state president of georgia's naacp. reverend, good to see you. thank you for being with us tonight. >> thank you, ali, for having me, and good evening. happy early new year to you. >> and to you, sir. thank you. tell us about this, because to many americans who had no idea who brad raffensperger was, he almost has seemed like a bit of a hero for the last several weeks as he has stood up to the attacks of donald trump, who continues to claim that the election on november 6th in georgia was fraudulent. you've got a different view of what brad raffensperger and republicans in the state are up to. >> well, for sure. and one, let's be very clear --
me resigning from the task force is saving white people's lives. our secretary of state here has committed himself to partisan attempts to keep black and brown georgia voters from being able to cast their ballot in a very safe, secure, and accessible way. when you have a secretary of state who is more concerned and more committed to maintaining his political party and the power that he yields, or lack thereof, within that party, than actually ensuring that every single eligible voter can participate in this year's election and beyond, then i can't participate in that, and i would urge any other person to see it for exactly what it is. and what we are trying to do is save people's lives. this is deeper than partisanship. this is deeper than any candidate or any election. what we're trying to do is make sure that when a voter casts their ballot, they don't have to fear for their life. we're trying to make sure that when an election worker shows up to work an election and administer that process, that they don't have to fear for their life. but the secretary of state is making that job much more
difficult. and in fact, i would even argue that he is responsible for his own threats, because he continues to try to play the fence and play this partisan game. >> and we need to remember, because you know, the voting situation in georgia came to public light over the last few years where we have realized that those things we thought, that many people in america thought were from decades past, are still alive and well. in resigning from the task force, you wrote in an email to raffensperger, "i cannot in good faith continue to work with your office in a non-partisan fashion if you publicly commit to disenfranchising thousands of eligible voters on a purely partisan basis and continue to use your office as a way to push conspiracy theories that place georgia residents in harm's way. your latest actions are troubling to say the least and put the work of the task force in jeopardy, as the spirit in which we were convened has seemingly disappeared due to political pressure." for folks who don't follow this as closely, what's the issue at the heart of this? >> the issue at the heart of this is the ability of the
people of georgia, both democrat and republican, black, white, urban, rural, to be able to show up and cast their ballots in a safe, secure, and accessible manner. what's happening right now is not that. and in fact, the spirit of that task force, i believe, is needed, that we need to come together, regardless of identity or affiliation and work to solve these issues. because let's be clear, even though that we had record turnout in this year's election -- and right now, the runoff election has more turnout now than we saw in the runoff in 2008 -- but we still have major work to do in our election processes here. but instead of working on that, the secretary of state, the republican party here in the state of georgia, they're working to make it harder, in a day in age where we're living in a public health pandemic, they're working to make it harder for georgia voters to be able to participate. that's voter suppression. and so, we're concerned that post january 5th and beyond, we're going to see even more and
more concerns and more egregious efforts by the republicans here in this state to disenfranchise georgia voters, and we're not going to stand by it. because at the end of the day, we're not just fighting for political parties or political candidates, we're fighting for lives, and lives are at stake. and so, we're going to continue to do everything in our power to protect and to fight against all of this. >> well, the good news is that the eyes of the entire country are on georgia. the eyes of the entire world, really, are on georgia in the next few days. and we know much more about voting in your state as a result of the attention that you and others have brought to it. thank you, sir. reverend james woodall is the state president of georgia's naacp. thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you, sir. happy new year. >> and to you. we've got an update to a story that's been a national outrage for more than six years, coming up after the break. stay with us. than six years, coming up after the break. stay with us $9.95 at my age?
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call that a, quote, guy was pointing a gun at people, saw this 12-year-old black boy, tamir rice, playing with a pellet gun. one of the two officers shot tamir rice, a 12-year-old boy. he died the next day. tamir rice's family's been seeking justice ever since. in 2015, one avenue for that justice closed to them when a grand jury in ohio declined to indict the officers for shooting this boy. now another avenue is closed to them. the federal justice department put out a statement that its investigation into that killing, quote, found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against the officers. tamir rice's family did receive money from settling a federal civil rights lawsuit, but they remain disappointed that the officers who killed tamir rice have not been prosecuted. one of the officers was fired in 2017, though not because of the killing. the other officer is still on the job six years later. meanwhile, nine months after 26-year-old breonna taylor died when three police officers shot into her louisville, kentucky, home, several officers involved
in that botched raid are still on the job, but that might change soon. the louisville metro police department aims to fire two more officers involved in the shooting death of breonna taylor. if both officers are fired, they will join brett hankison, who was removed from the force in june and charged in september with wanten endangerment for firing, by the way, into a neighboring apartment, not for firing into breonna taylor's home. so, that would add up to three officers finally removed from the force. but is that what justice looks like? activists and protesters have marched across the nation this year calling for justice for breonna taylor, for george floyd, for elijah mcclain, for jacob blake and so many other black people killed or seriously injured by police. every time, protesters have specifically asked for new policing standards, the reallocation of police department funds, charges for officers who kill innocent civilians and increased accountability for officers. but as 2020 comes to a close,
have they gotten anything that they've asked for? have they gotten justice for the lives lost this year? the officers who killed george floyd are now facing charges, but the police involved in elijah mcclain's death last year remain uncharged. for shooting jacob blake in front of his children and leaving him paralyzed, officers have been placed on administrative leave as they await the results of an investigation, and those results are expected to be announced soon. and in the case of breonna taylor, there are still no charges for her death. but two more officers might lose their jobs nine months after she lost her life. these are the unanswered questions of 2020. after a year of protests and fervent pleas for change, where do we stand now? will we see the change that protesters have asked for under a biden administration? joining me now, elisa garza, civil rights activist and co-creator of the black lives matter movement. good to see you again.
thank you for being with us. what a year. what a year it's been. on some levels, it's been a deeply sad year for social justice, and on another, it's been a remarkable awakening, the likes of which we have not seen since the civil rights movement. but now we move into a new era. what does that look like to you? >> well, i think in this new era, what we really need to be paying attention to is not continuing to sweep this epidemic under the rug. what we've seen for not just this past year, but at least the last decade, is that, honestly, we are facing a situation where police officers and law enforcement in this country have more rights and more protections than the civilians that they are sworn to protect and serve. and that in and of itself is a tragedy. but then, bigger than that, what we're seeing is that there are no consistent accountability mechanisms. and frankly, there isn't the political will to enforce those mechanisms when they do exist. that is why we see such uneven levels of accountability across
the country, from department to department, and we even see it in what i would say is a severely weakened department of justice, especially under the trump administration, and certainly, under attorney general bill barr, or former attorney general bill barr, as the case may be. so, for us, i think moving into 2021, there's a few things that we need to see. number one, we need to see an uprooting of racism in every aspect of our lives, and that includes police departments and it includes law enforcement. number two, we need to see a reallocation of resources across the board. what we're seeing is that we are bloating the budgets of these police departments with no accountability and no transparency and no oversight. and so, the results are very clear. but what if we reallocate those resources into the community needs that we have? mental health services, all of the things that we're calling on police to help do something about but that they're actually not trained to do and they're
not the best people to do it. and then thirdly, i think what we really need to see in 2021 is a strengthening of oversight mechanisms, whether it be at the federal level or whether it be in cities and states where most law enforcement policy, right, is actually developed and implemented. >> amazing that you've laid that out as clearly as you have. numbers two and three are political. they can be done. number one -- uprooting racism. we've been trying to do that, i suspect, for a very long time. what does that involve? that's not just about having a biden/harris administration. that's a different, a bigger thing. >> it is. but it's important for the biden and harris administration to actually take this on as a core component of their administration. the problem here is that too often, the way that we talk about racism is that it's about mean people being mean to people. and that actually is not racism.
that's just people being mean. but racism is about rigged rules, it's about keeping people from power, decision-making, and dignity. and we see that in systems across the board, whether it be law enforcement, whether it be education, whether it be health care, whether it be in our employment and in our economy. racism is fundamentally about rigged rules that keep people who have been designed or designated as other from the things that they need to live well. and the biden/harris administration needs to make this a core component of their agenda for their administration, and they, too, need to embrace this notion that racism is not, again, about people being mean to each other. racism is fundamentally about rules that are rigged against communities that have been left out and left behind for far too long. once we start to address that from that perspective, then we can take on the mandate of changing those rules, getting rid of those rules and replacing
them with rules that allow people to access dignity equally. >> what an amazingly clear description of that. i appreciate that. i'm always smarter for talking to you about this, alicia. alicia garza is a civil rights activist and co-creator of the black lives matter movement. may you have a strong 2021. we'll see you next year. >> happy new year, ali. thanks for having me. >> my pleasure. we'll be right back. thanks for >> my pleasure we'll be right back.
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tomorrow's the last day of 2020, but i want to take you back a long time, to 1942 in new york city. fearing wartime air and naval attacks on its historic skyline, in december of 1942, new york city was under what's called a mandatory dim-out, a city, essentially, in darkness. as a result, the decades-old tradition of a luminous new year's eve celebration in times square looked very different that year. here's the front page of "the new york times" on january 1st, 1943 -- "400,000 revelers fill times square in dim new year's." how's how the "times" covered that dark new year's eve celebration -- "new year's eve in times square had a weird quality last night. a crowd of some 400,000 swelled by enormous numbers moved zombielike through the dimness. the restless thousands lacked zest. war somehow laid its hand on the celebration and tended to mute it. last night was the first new year's eve since 1908 that no ball glowed to signal the death
of the old year and the birth of the new." new year's eve tomorrow will undoubtedly look very different from what we are used to. there will be no crowds in times square at all. the normal new year's celebration is canceled, as the country reels from over 340,000 americans killed by this terrible virus. 2021's going to start on a somber note, but it's worth remembering that we as a country have overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges before. in december '42, our country, in the midst of a long and painful war that would claim the lives of over 400,000 americans, we managed to adapt. we are beginning to see an end to this pandemic. at the very least, there's a collective sense a newfound hope with these vaccines. a new year is, after all, a reason to be hopeful. we've made it through awful times in our nation's history before, and we will do so again. but despite and because of how much it is felt this year, we are, in fact, all in this together. and together, we will prevail. it's been my distinct honor to
spend so many of these hours with you this year. my gratitude to rachel for trusting me to deliver this show and to her absolutely incredible team of journalists who are so deeply committed to uncovering the truth for you night after night on "the rachel maddow show." we'll do this again next year. until then, i wish you a safe and happy new year's holiday. it is time now for "the last word" with my friend, lawrence objection donnell, who has a very, very special guest for us tonight. lawrence? >> thank you, ali. we have dr. anthony fauci with us, something i've been looking forward to all year. obviously, we have so many questions for him. he predicted that this would be a dark winter for us with the pandemic, and that's where we are tonight. we're also going to have jon ossoff join us later in the hour as the days close in on that georgia election that will decide who controls the senate. jon ossoff will be joining us once again on that tonight. >> you have a great show and a great new year and i will see yot